In 2014, James King, a 21-year-old college student at the time, was walking between his two summer internships in Grand Rapids. James had no idea his life was about to change when he came upon two men leaning against a black SUV. They were dressed in scruffy street clothes.
These men were a local police detective and an FBI agent working as part of a joint task force looking for a fugitive who was wanted for the petty crime of stealing a box of empty cans and several bottles of liquor from his former boss’ apartment.
The officers had a vague description of the fugitive: a 26-year-old white male between 5’10” and 6’3” with glasses. They were working off of two pictures, neither of which in any way resembled James. But James was a white male with glasses between 5’10” and 6’3” tall, so, the officers stopped him.
Without identifying themselves as police, the men began asking James questions and ultimately pinned him against their vehicle. When one of the men took James’ wallet, James believed he was being mugged, so he did what any rational person would do: He tried to escape. But when he did so, the men tackled James, choked him unconscious, and severely beat him.