BY JASON RANTZ
Arlington Police were called to a bus stop near a middle school after a report of a young Black man brandishing a handgun. That man, Tamon Leverette, later said “he was stopped and frisked” by police “for no reason” other than “‘being Black.’”
But police in Arlington, Washington, say their investigation showed it was actually Leverette who reported himself to 911. And it’s not the first time this has happened.
While the motive is unclear, it appears the intent was to “goad” police into falsely accusing a Black teen of having a gun. The Arlington Police Chief even says Leverette’s Community Corrections officer explained, “the subject has mentioned that he (Leverette) could see himself in a similar situation as ‘George Floyd.’”
Reports gun toting young Black teen in hoodie
Police say Leverette called 911 on Feb. 22 to report a Black teen in a tan hoodie. He was supposedly holding a handgun with a red bandana tied around it. That sometimes is used by gang members with the Bloods.
The caller identified himself as “Stacy Williams” and told a 911 operator that the teen was “too young to even have a pistol. He only looks 16, 17 years old.”
“Well, I’m at the bus stop, and there’s a colored young man, and I can see a pistol right there,” he said on the 911 call, noting he was with his young sister at the time.
“I saw him fidgeting a pistol at the bus stop, kind of scared me,” he explained.
The incident report notes, “it sounded like a male speaking in a higher pitch to simulate that of a female’s voice.”
Police search Leverette
When officers arrived, they spotted the suspect (Leverette), thanks to the 911 caller’s detailed description. They briefly searched him, but did not find any weapons.
“Tamon pulled up his left pant leg, showing me a Department of Corrections (DOC) GPS tracking ankle band,” the officer writes in an incident report. “He informed me that he was not doing anything wrong, just waiting for the bus to come so he could go to his DOC check in with his assigned DOC Officer.”
The latter point proved to be true, as he was on his way to see the officer supervising him. Leverette is currently under DOC supervision. The report says he has an affiliation with the “Bloods,” a dangerous gang.
The officer said he “wanted to understand why someone would call in with concerns that he was handling a firearm at the bus stop as described.” Leverette said he was unsure, did not have a weapon, and thanked the officers for their professionalism.
But the next day, Leverette told the DOC officer he was a victim of racial profiling.
According to the DOC officer, per the incident report, Leverette told him “he was stopped and frisked by ‘Everett Police’ for no reason the previous day because of ‘being Black.’”
The scam unravels
The officer called the reporting witness “Stacy Williams” to follow up, but received a voice mail message. It ended up outing Leverette as Williams.
I noted that the voice mail was set up by a mail with a voice that seemed very similar to that of Tamon. I asked Dispatch if this phone number had been previously used for any calls to 911 Dispatch. The Dispatcher notified me shortly after that the phone number had called 911 on five separate occasions in December of 2020 for “Civil” calls at an address of 520 Commercial Ave, Darrington WA. Dispatch advised me that the only name used to call into 911 on those incidents was “Tamon L.”
The officer then contacted the DOC to see who was supervising Leverette. After a quick call, he found out that Leverette’s number matched that of “Stacy Williams.”
Leverette was arrested with two counts of false reporting, but a charging decision has not yet been made.
He’s allegedly done this before
The incident report accused Leverette of a similar incident in December 2020. He made the call under the name “Eric Johnson.”
“I’m with my daughters right now,” the caller said. “There’s a young African American male, teenage. He has on black and red. I’ve seen, he has a gun on him. And, you know, I have my children here.”
The newest incident report says a separate officer “contacted the male, determined that the male was not armed and had not made any threats. That male was identified … as Tamon.”
Did Leverette do this to help his current legal predicament? Perhaps it was to create more turmoil between police and the public? It’s unclear. But it’s the latter issue that is most concerning.
All this does is drive a further wedge between police and community members. It’s dangerous: It can lead to unnecessarily tense meetings between Black suspects and the police.
“This event tied up police resources for an extended period of time and unnecessarily placed our officers, our community, and the subject making the false call at risk,” Arlington Police Chief Jonathan Ventura told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “These type of calls only serve to create division at a time when we need unity. This call highlights the training and professionalism of our officers despite the apparent attempt to goad law enforcement into some type of negative response or altercation.”
Activists claim racist police are targeting Black Americans, particularly young men, with impunity. And this could have been written off as one of those stories.
Leverette could not be reached for comment on this story. It’s unclear what his excuse is for the alleged conduct. But Chief Ventura is upset that it occurred.
“To have this type of situation come up at a time where we’re working so hard to bridge that gap and to be more transparent and open with our communities, and to build a stronger relationship with our communities,” he said, “… this really works against us in making that happen at a time where we’re being told that we need to be working harder than ever. It’s just so anti-productive and it really, unfortunately, ties up our resources.”
The incident report notes that the DOC mentions an unspecified medical issue with Leverette. Is it a mental health issue?
“I don’t have anything for that suspicion except in speaking with the investigating officer as he was talking to the Community Corrections officer that is supervising the subject,” Ventura said. “The officer asked the Community Corrections officer, ‘Does this subject have mental health issues?’ And the response wasn’t a definite yes or no, but it was possibly so. We’re not sure.”