Photo Credit: Marten Bjork
Black Hotel Worker Held At Gunpoint By Tempe Officer Plans To Sue For $2.5M
A Black hotel employee is planning to sue the city of Tempe for $2.5 million after he said he was held at gunpoint at his workplace by a police officer searching for a white suspect.
Lawyers for Trevonyae Cumpian said the incident took place Aug. 29 at the Hawthorn Suites.
The notice of claim from Cumpain’s attorney said the money would cover treatment for psychological damage as well as send “a message to the police department that this behavior is not acceptable.”
A press release from the police department states that Officer Ronald Kerzaya responded to the hotel manager’s report of a man pointing a gun an employee.
The manager described the suspect as a white male wearing a black shirt and tan pants.
As the officer was looking for the suspect outside the hotel, Cumpian exited the building in the area where Kerzaya was searching.
Cumpian identified himself as an employee, and despite not matching the description of the suspect, Kerzaya held him at gunpoint for several minutes until he could verify Cumpian’s employment status.
“Our initial review indicates that this incident was not handled in accordance with the professionalism and respectful behavior that we, and the public, have for our officers,” the press release states.
The actual suspect was never found, police said.