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Father Sues Police Who Opened, Searched Baby's Urn

Lawsuit alleges cops spilled, 'desecrated' remains
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2021 3:35 PM CDT

(Newser)

A grieving father in Illinois is suing police, alleging officers "desecrated" his daughter’s remains after they searched, and possibly spilled, some of the girl’s ashes. Dartavius Barnes was pulled over in April 2020 by police who say he was speeding and ran a stop sign. The officer who stopped him also thought Barnes’ car had been hit by a bullet, CNN reports. Barnes was handcuffed and put in the back of a patrol car while police searched, with his permission, his blue Chrysler. That’s where they found a tiny urn holding his daughter’s ashes. In bodycam footage, an officer can be heard saying he checked the urn for cocaine “but it looks like it’s probably molly.” Barnes soon realizes what the police have, and starts protesting. “That’s my daughter in there,” he says.

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Barnes tries to reach for the ashes, even in handcuffs, the Chicago Tribune reports. He explains that his daughter, Ta’Naja, who lived with her mother, had died of neglect recently. Twanka Davis, Ta’Naja’s mother, and her boyfriend were charged with first-degree murder and sent to prison. Davis is serving 20 years and Myers is serving 30. Even as they hand the urn over to Barnes’ father, they explain that the ashes “looked similar to molly.” Barnes’ father, holding his 2-year-old granddaughter’s ashes says, calmly and patiently, “common sense, man.” Barnes was released without charges.
(Read more police stories.)

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