Cops held him at gunpoint for 'driving while Black' – now he’s getting $50,000 and an apology

A man who was held at gunpoint by police in Chester, Vermont, during a traffic stop has reached a $50,000 settlement with the town government, the Valley News reports.

The Human Rights Commission found that the Chester Police Department illegally discriminated against Obadiah Jacobs, who is Black, during a traffic stop in 2019 when police were looking for a driver from another town.

"I thought I was going to be arrested or shot," Jacobs said in regards to when police ordered him out of his car at gunpoint. "I couldn't believe this was really happening. I didn't know if I made the wrong move at that point if I would have a bullet shot at me. It was terrifying."

According to Jacobs' attorney, there was no reason for the traffic stop.

"The evidence is clear: He did nothing wrong," attorney Thomas Bixby said. "The vehicle didn't match the description other than him being an African American."

In a statement to its website early this month, the town offered its apologies to Jacobs.

"The town of Chester sincerely apologizes to Mr. Jacobs, recognizing that no arrest or other action was taken as a result of the stop and that no basis was found during the stop to believe that Mr. Jacobs was engaged in illegal activities," the statement read.

"The town of Chester wishes Mr. Jacobs the best in his future endeavors," the statement added, "and hopes that he will feel welcome and secure whenever he has occasion to be in Chester in the future."

The Human Rights Commission's report found that police were looking for a Black man who had been driving a car and waved a firearm at another person in a road rage incident. Jacobs obeyed all commands from police and agreed to a search of the vehicle, where no firearms were found.

When Jacobs asked what the stop was about, Sgt. William Frank told him, "Because yesterday or the day before… allegedly you waved a gun at somebody, pointed a gun at somebody," the report said.

Jacobs replied there was no way it could be true.

When Chester Police Chief Rick Cloud arrived, the report said, Frank told him Jacobs was known as a "player" who would "sling dope."

Read the full report over at the Valley News.