Wendell Tomlin III, is a high school student that lives outside of Richmond, Virginia. His friends and family lovingly refer to him as “Tank”. Tank plays Basketball for the high school he attends, he loves his family. Tank says he doesn’t have a lot of friends but the friends he has, he considers family. During the pandemic, his schooling was cut down to two days a week in class. At that time, Tank took on a part time job. The job required him to work a graveyard shift. On the way to work one day, a police car came up behind him with lights flashing. Another police vehicle pulled alongside him, turned his lights on then proceeded to force him off of the road. One officer approached Tank with his gun drawn. Two more officers approached the passenger side of the vehicle with guns drawn. The officers pulled Tank out of the car, placed him in handcuffs and put him in the back of a police vehicle.
“When I first saw the gun, the first first thing running through my mind was keep your hands up and do what they say. That's it, you're just trying to make it home”, Tank said as he recounted what he was thinking at the time. Tank, obviously confused as to what was happening. The officers told him you are being arrested for passing a police vehicle at 120 mph. The dash cam of the squad car showed a vehicle which met the description of Tank’s car, although the license plate was illegible from the video. The vehicle in the video was believed to have been involved in a recent shooting.
Years earlier, Tank’s mother, Regina, had started to use the app, Life 360, so she could know the whereabouts of her family. The application allows people to know where the people in their circle are, as well as keeping a GPS record of where they have been. As Tank sat in the back of the squad car he remembered the app. Tank told the officer he has an app on his phone that tracks his location. With his hands handcuffed behind his back he was able to show the officers his exact whereabouts and when he was there. The officers eventually conceded that they did not have the right person and Tank was released from custody.
These images were created on assignment for Life 360, During the filming of the documentary short, telling Tank’s story. The film was directed by Josh Fletcher.