GULFPORT, Mississippi – Two medical professionals said police swarmed their car Sunday night, handcuffed the newlyweds and pulled guns on their children before determining the family lived in the house a neighbor thought was being robbed.
“I totally think they racially profiled me,” said the father, Kelvin Fairley, a registered nurse who happens to be black. “They never would even tell me why they stopped me. From the moment they pulled us over, there were six to seven police cars. They immediately had their guns drawn.”
Fairley said the officers told him to get out of the car with his hands up. He kept asking why they had pulled him over, but he said he got no explanation.
He said he offered to show the police his identification, which would have immediately established his address was the same as that of the house reported as being robbed.
“They wouldn’t tell me what it was about and they held guns on us, even on the kids. And they told us to shut the f*** up. Why would you hold a gun on kids, drag them out of a car and talk to them like that?”
Their 16- and 12-year-old sons, 9-year-old daughter and 12-year-old nephew were with them. Fairley said he was handcuffed and put in the back of a patrol car. His wife, psychologist Natasha Krikorkian, also was handcuffed, he said.
The shaken couple went to the police department Sunday night to report how they had been treated. They were told to fill out a form, but politely insisted on speaking to someone.
Fairley’s sister videotaped the exchange with a police department employee who identified himself as Officer Wilder. Fairley told the officer what had happened, making it clear the family had been terrified.
“Obviously, you don’t understand our business, OK?” Wilder said.
“Your business is to protect us, right?” Fairley asked.
Wilder continued, “Our business is, We don’t know who –”
“To protect us, right?” Fairley asked.
“Oh, Jesus, really?” Wilder said. Wilder explained that police must first determine whether an individual will do them harm before they get the rest of the facts, the video shows.
Wilder soon told Fairley, “Well, obviously, our conversation is not going anywhere. There’s the form. Fill it out.”
Fairley said he plans to contact an attorney.
“Last night, I would have been OK with an apology,” he said, “but after what happened at the police department, that’s it. My kids are totally distraught.
“They literally cried themselves to sleep last night. That’s something nobody should go through.
“I worked too hard and put myself through school to protect my family so they wouldn’t have to be in situations like that. To be treated like that by people who are paid to protect and serve, that’s ridiculous.”
The family, who lives on Woodforest Drive, was on the way to Fairley’s mother’s house when they were pulled over on Dedeaux Road.
“We’re not upset that the neighbor called the police,” Fairley said. “We’re upset with how police handled it.”
Police Sgt. Clayton Fulks said the department is investigating the way the family was treated during the stop and at the police department. Fulks said Fairley walked out Sunday night without filing a written complaint, but the department is aware of the family’s grievances from social media.
Police will give a detailed statement once the investigation is finished, he said.
“While no formal written complaint has been filed,” Fullks said, “we take any such allegation seriously.”