A white grandfather says he wound up in cuffs after being accosted by police, all for walking home with his black granddaughter.
Scott Henson, a former journalist who now researches for and blogs about the criminal justice system, wrote about the experience on his popular blog, "Grits for Breakfast."
Henson, who describes himself as "an almost stereotypical looking white Texas redneck," said he was walking home from a roller skating rink with his 5-year-old granddaughter Ty, who is African-American, on Friday night.
On the blog, Henson explains the relationship. Ty's mother is his goddaughter, and Henson and his wife often find themselves "tasked with unplanned impromptu babysitting duties, like hundreds of other parents and grandparents around Austin."
That night, Henson opted to walk home from the rink instead of having his wife come pick up him and Ty.
"This was a terrible mistake on Grandpa's part," he said.
According to the blog post, which was published Saturday, Henson was stopped by a deputy constable, who told him that there were reports of a white man kidnapping a black girl. He was ordered to step away from Ty, and the officer began to question the girl.
"He's my Grandpa!" Ty said, according to the blog post.
Satisfied, the officer released Henson and Ty, who continued to walk home until they were stopped again -- this time, by five flashing police cars and a crowd of police.
"The officers got out with tasers drawn demanding I raise my hands and step away from the child," Henson said. "I complied, and they roughly cuffed me, jerking my arms up behind me needlessly."
"Meanwhile, Ty edged up the hill away from the officers, crying."
Henson said he provided officers with phone numbers they needed to verify that Ty was his granddaughter, "but for quite a while nobody seemed too interested in verifying my 'story.'"
Police again questioned Ty, and Henson was eventually released.
Corporal Anthony Hipolito of the Austin Police Department verified that Henson was stopped on Feb. 10, as police were searching for a kidnapper who'd allegedly snatched a young black girl nearby.
"Officers verified that the man was her grandfather through a phone call to her mother, and they were released," Hipolito said to the Daily News.
Still, Henson, who has written about a similar experience on his blog before, isn't satisfied.
"How hard would it have been to perform a safety check without running up on me like I'm John Dillinger and scaring the crap out of a five-year-old?"
He also noted that he was released without an apology.
"I hated for a five-year-old to be subjected to such an experience," Henson said. "I'd like her to view police as people she can trust instead of threats to her and her family, but it's possible I live in the wrong neighborhood for that."