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Woman calls Ravenna police on Black man sitting on his car on the phone, falsely claims he has a gun

Updated: Sep. 9, 2020 at 10:29 PM EDT
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RAVENNA, Ohio (WOIO) - A Hudson man said he was sitting in his car talking on the phone when he was suddenly surrounded by police officers.

It all happened in a parking lot on South Chestnut Street in Ravenna.

Darren Cooper, 50, works for Summit County Children’s Services.

He was at the Portage County Job and Family Services building for a training event.

He got there early so he was sitting in his car eating breakfast and talking on his phone.

“I really thought my life would end that day on Aug. 13,” Cooper said. “At that moment in time when the officer drew his weapon.”

“Keep your hands where I can see them OK? Come back here real quick. Just gonna pat you down real quick and tell you why we’re here hands behind your back,” an officer said to Cooper.

A woman sitting in a parking lot across the street from Cooper called the police.

“There is a person sitting adjacent to me in a black mustang it looks as he has a pistol,” the caller told the 911 dispatcher. “He was holding it up. He is moving around in his seat erratically. He lowered the gun, but yes, I really believe he’s sitting there with a pistol.”

When police pulled into the lot Cooper had no idea, they were here for him until they surrounded his car.

“So, the reason we’re here is somebody across the street said they saw you raise up a gun several times in front of your window,” the officer told Cooper.

“OK you can check my cell phone,” Cooper calmly told the police officers. “I’m here for training.”

Cooper explained he does have a concealed carry license but did not have his gun with him.

He suggested that maybe the woman thought his iPhone was a gun.

“At first it just seemed so surreal that they were even talking to me because I was just minding my own business and then I started playing things through my head like he’s actually speaking to me I need to do what I told my wife and kids, and family remain calm and comply with all directions from the officer and move slowly,” Cooper said.

Police searched his car and found nothing. They apologized and left.

“We notice a lot of things going on in America especially with African American males, Black males having incidents with police departments when they’re innocent and they’re not doing anything wrong, and I was in that same situation I was just very lucky to be able to leave that situation alive,” Cooper said.

The Summit County father believes the woman who made the call should be criminally charged because things could have turned out much worse.

“Is he pointing it?” the 911 operator asked the caller.

“No,” the caller replied. “He was just holding it up in his right hand close to the rear-view mirror in the car. He’s settling down he’s ignoring me now and he’s not showing the pistol. I’m pretty darn sure it’s a pistol.”

“I definitely feel the individual needs to be held accountable because when someone is making a false police report it’s always important for attention to detail but especially when someone’s life is in jeopardy or in danger,” Cooper said.

19 News did try to reach that woman but could not get a hold of her.

Ravenna Police told us they have no comment as the case is currently under investigation while they interview the woman who made the phone call.

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