Another case of racial and religious discrimination at the hands of police has been reported in the midwest. Police body cam footage shows Dearborn, Michigan police officers harassing and mocking international recording artist Dandre Mason, professionally known as M City JR, after what was described as a routine traffic stop.
Mason is a platinum-selling recording artist, who’s single “Addicted to My Ex” has amassed hundreds of millions of streams and sales worldwide. He’s also a creative collaborator with Moneyball Clothing and an art collector and Lansing Michigan’s largest personal art donor. Mason was pulled over during a reportedly routine traffic stop for driving without a license plate or insurance on his car. Mason explained that he purchased the car earlier that same day so it was not yet insured. During the stop, officers can be seen and heard on dashboard cameras making comments about his religion and religious attire. Mason adheres to the Moorish Sciences of America religion and was wearing traditional fez headwear. He presented his US. Passport and a religious identification card commonly accepted in Illinois, where he has been staying due to a state statute recognizing Moorish Americans.
During the stop, Officer Powers and others said “Mason’s religion ‘made him nervous’” and other officers commented that his religious card was “nonsense”. Officer Gibson claimed it was odd that Mason had a clear record and no warrants because “these guys usually have a lot of felony convictions”; then advised fellow officers to be cautious because Mason was likely to be violent based on his views towards Moorish Americans.
Despite Mason’s protests and proof that he is a United States citizen, he was arrested and taken to Dearborn Police Department headquarters to be interviewed by narcotics officers.
While in custody, Dearborn officers closed a drug sniffing dog alone inside Mason’s car without basis for drug search other than a large amount of cash ($20,000) Mason asserted was for a charitable donation. Mason and his advocate, disputed the arrest, harassment, and subsequent inventory search, which they assert is normally performed to catalog personal effects in a car and not perform a search without probable cause.
No drugs were found in the car on the scene of the stop, during the search, or later after Dearborn officers sent the car to customs and border protection, who produced the same negative search with their x-ray technology. Mason and his advocate are talking with the police department for explanation, acknowledgement, and return of seized items and a possible settlement for harassment and mistreatment.