A father from Illinois has been left outraged after police allegedly "desecrated" an urn containing his daughter's ashes which has resulted in him filing a lawsuit against the officers responsible.
This was a terribly tragic turn of events...
The incident occurred during a traffic stop last year in Springfield.
According to a police report, Dartavius Barnes was initially stopped for speeding and running a stop sign.
The officers asked him to exit the car where he was handcuffed and put in the backseat of the police vehicle.
Bodycam footage of the event shows one of the officers asking for permission to conduct a search of Barnes' car.
A few seconds later, he is seen holding a bass object which turned out to be an urn with the ashes of his daughter inside.
The officer at the scene stated that he thought it was a "rifle round", which was similar to other items he'd seen that had been "utilized to contain narcotics," specifically e*stasy.
Then he turns to one of his colleagues and says "...I checked for co*aine, but it looks like it's probably m*lly."
The police then told Barnes that the item had tested positive for dr*gs to which he protested saying: "'No, no, no, bro. That's my daughter. What are y'all doing bro … give me that bro, that's my daughter."
Some of the ashes were "desecrated" when they were spilled onto the floor during this search.
The urn was a commonly used cremation necklace containing the ashes of his 2-year-old daughter, Ta'Naja Barnes. Before her tragic death, Ta'Naja was living with her mom and her mom's boyfriend and she died due to neglect, starvation, dehydration, and the cold, reported WICS.
Both are serving prison sentences for the roles they played in the little girl's death.
The officers then decided not to re-test the ashes and gave them back to Barnes' father who arrived at the scene later on.
"Common sense, though, man," Barnes' father is heard saying the video, regarding the contents of the urn.
Following the incident, Barnes filed a lawsuit against the city, including 6 police officers.
I hope Dartavius Barnes gets every fuckin penny he can from Springfield Police Department.— katt williams doesn’t get enough respect. (@luvablackqueen) May 21, 2021
In the lengthy lawsuit, his attorney, James C. Pullos claimed that the officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure and that they initially stopped his car without reasonable suspicion or probable cause that Barnes had committed a crime.
In a report cited by CNN, it was said that Barnes' vehicle was stopped because was also "a potential suspect from a nearby report of shots fired."
Pullos also stated that they didn't have a valid search warrant or consent, and claims the officers acted intentionally and maliciously.
However, the state of Illinois has fiercely denied the claims.
While @Springfield_IL Police illegally searched Dartavius Barnes car, they unsealed and poured out the ashes of his 2 year old daughter.— John Keating 🏴🚩 is an Ecosocialist💚💚 (@Keating4Change) April 17, 2021
PD attorney's are claiming #QualifiedImmunity.
We need to pass HB1727 and #EndQualifiedImmunity
In Illinois.https://t.co/dUWeabSUNB pic.twitter.com/0XCJPf4KIr
They even went onto claim that its officers are protected by "qualified immunity as their conduct was justified by an objectively reasonable belief that it was lawful."
Barnes is currently seeking "compensatory and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial, plus attorney's fees, costs, and litigation expenses and any other 'relief as the Court may deem just or equitable."
A trial is said to take place next year.