Bodycam footage of a traffic stop during which Illinois police tested the ashes of a man’s 2-year-old daughter for meth has been released, Saturday reports show.
Dartavius Barnes is suing the city of Springfield and the Springfield Police Department for the April 2020 incident, alleging unlawful search of his vehicle that led to the police officer mistaking a sealed urn of his daughter’s ashes for drugs and spilling its content for a test, according to WICS.
Barnes claims that the search was made without consent, valid warrant, or probable cause, the report said.
Barnes was reportedly pulled over for speeding through an area where gunfire had been reported. At first, Barnes did not admit to possession of drugs to only later acknowledge that he had marijuana.
“No problem if I search?” the officer asked Barnes.
“Yeah, go ahead,” Barnes responded according to the footage.
Upon searching the man’s car, the officers found an illegal amount of marijuana and what they believed was either meth or ecstasy.
“This was in the center console,” said one officer, opening the suspicious container and showing it to his colleague. “At first I thought it was heroin, then I checked for cocaine, but it looks like it’s probably molly.”
“X pills?” the other officer asked.
Minutes later, the officer showed the container to Barnes, who had already been sitting handcuffed in the police cruiser.
“You got too much weed, anyways. And it’s gotta be in a different packaging,” the officer said, taking the urn out of a glove.
“No, no, no, bro, that’s my daughter!” Barnes shouted immediately after seeing the urn.
“No, no, no…. she just passed a year ago,” he explained. (RELATED: Man Bowls A Perfect Game Using A Ball Made With His Father’s Ashes)
The test undertaken at the scene yielded positive results, but the powder in the cylinder was indeed the ashes of Barnes’ daughter, Ta’Naja, according to KTVI.
Ta’Naja died in February 2019 after police found her unconscious and wrapped in a urine-soaked blanket, the report said. She reportedly died of malnourishment and negligence at a hospital.
The girl’s mother, T’wanka Davis, and her mother’s boyfriend were arrested on murder charges and have both been sentenced to decades in prison, the KTVI reported.
“I’m just gonna give him a notice to appear on the weed,” one of the officers can be heard saying in the police car.
“OK, aside from pissing off dad and testing the dead baby ashes,” the other responded.