KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Fernando Contreras believes his race and tattoos caused police to jump to conclusions after he was shot. He said police took and have yet to return his SUV, wallet and cell phone after almost two weeks.
"Because I got shot?" he said, a sling on his arm. "Is that a crime?"
Contreras said April 13 just before 2:00 a.m., he and some friends were at a gas station on 12th Street to get some beer when he heard gun shots.
"Everyone was running," he said.
His cousin took his SUV and drove him to a hospital. That's where he said police officers handcuffed him to a hospital bed and took his belongings including the SUV.
"This isn't how you treat a victim," attorney Jean Ann Uvodich said.
She doesn't understand why the items were taken or why it has taken so long to get them back.
Since April 13, Contreras' SUV has been in the hold lot of Kansas City impound until the investigation was done. It just got released from that hold Wednesday morning.
"Yesterday, they would not give us any time frame as to when his property or vehicle would be released," Uvodich said of a conversation with police Tuesday.
But hours after we called, impound lot records show the vehicle was taken off hold. Even though his vehicle is now available, Contreras isn't happy he is still expected to pay a $200 towing fee and storage if he doesn't pick it up immediately. Impound lot manager Nathan Pare said police routinely waive those fees.
"We could be looking at $65,000 to $70,000 a year that police waive," he said.
Why not for Contreras? He claims police told him he wasn't cooperating with the investigation. He argues he doesn't have any help to give.
"How do you want me to put somebody in prison if I don't see nobody (sic)?" Contreras said.
The Kansas City Police Department declined to talk on-camera but told us the SUV and other items were taken as part of the investigation. They did release this statement:
“The department’s process of evidence collection and analysis is done with the intent to assist with the prosecution of those that commit these crimes. The integrity of each investigation demands this process is completed with precision and in a consistent and well documented manner. In the end, we hope that this process is successful in locating and taking the suspect of this shooting off the streets.“
There is no sign the tow lot fees will be waived, but late Wednesday afternoon, police said Contreras could get his other possessions as early as Thursday.