A Chicago man who says he has been stopped more than 60 times on an arrest warrant issued for another individual with the same name and birth date is speaking out after filing a federal lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department.
“Yes, I’m scared,” Darren Cole, 50, says. “It’s been going on for 15 years.”
Cole alleges he has been detained more than 60 times on the belief that he was the man named in a southern Illinois arrest warrant. The warrant stems back to 2006, when another man named Darren Cole, who also shares the Chicago man’s birthday.
Cole filed a federal lawsuit last week alleging he’s been punched and has had guns pointed at him by officers during stops that started in 2006. While the stops didn’t lead to charges, the lawsuit states that Cole was frequently held for several hours during several of the instances.
“They say ‘sir, you know you’ve got a warrant,’ and I say ‘I ain’t got no warrant,’” he says.
Cole says things got so bad that he put himself on a curfew, not leaving home after 5 p.m., and if he did, he wouldn’t leave unless he was driving someone else’s car.
“My kids would not ride in a car with me,” he says.
Cole says that he has done everything in his power to fix the problem, even driving with documents to prove his identity. He even obtained a letter from a police sergeant swearing that he was not the person for whom the warrant had been issued.
According to the Associated Press, the last stop occurred on Dec. 7, when Cole was detained for a malfunctioning brake light.
Now, Cole has filed a lawsuit alleging that the stops were unconstitutional, and is seeking damages in the case.
The Chicago Police Department has declined comment on the case, citing the pending nature of the litigation.
Cole says he still feels uneasy about driving his own car, so he’ll continue borrowing vehicles from his family members.
“I’m not going to drive that car. I’m scared. There’s too much history,” he says.