Miguel Copete Muñóz and his two children, a boy aged 16 and a girl aged 10, were on their way home from church early Sunday evening, January 12, 2003 when Mr. Muñóz ran into a grocery store in Washington, DC’s Mt. Pleasant neighborhood to pick up some baby bottles for his wife who was at home with their baby son.
Muñóz, a legal US resident originally from Colombia, reportedly rolled down his window and the officer told him that he rolled through a stop sign. (Muñóz’s daughter says that the officer’s allegation is a lie – the nearest stop sign was two blocks away, and they had only just pulled away from the store). Muñóz replied that he didn’t speak English, his daughter recalls. The daughter says the officer yelled at him “Speak English, don’t speak in Spanish.” Muñóz reiterated that he didn’t speak English, and the offer allegedly told him “I don’t care.”