Police accused of 'desecrating' ashes of US man's daughter after suspecting they were drugs

Dartavius Barnes in the back of the police car.
Dartavius Barnes in the back of the police car. Photo credit: Illinois Police Department

Police are accused of "desecrating" the remains of a US man's infant daughter when they took the urn she was in out of his car and told him they had tested positive as drugs.

Dartavius Barnes is suing police after he was pulled over by police in Illinois for allegedly speeding on April 6 2020.

He was handcuffed and put in a squad car as police searched his car.

They told him they had found 80grams of marijunana and a small metal container, the contents of which had tested positive for meth or ecstasy.

The contents was his infant daughter Ta'Naja's ashes, who had died a year previously aged two after starvation and neglect from her mother. 

"Please give me my daughter, put her in my hand," body camera footage released last week shows Barnes asking officers.

His father was also at the scene, and told officers the container held his granddaughter's ashes. 

Barnes is now suing the police, saying officers "desecrated" his daughter's remains by spilling some in the vehicle, and also opening the container without his permission when they illegally searched his car. 

He is seeking compensatory damages and a trial by jury which is set for August 2022.