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Racial profiling played a role in charges of drug crimes

Approximately two years ago, Mike Scott, a former Atlanta Hawks basketball player, and his brother were arrested after a traffic stop. They were charged with felony drug crimes after police allegedly found marijuana and Molly (powered MDMA) in the vehicle. As it turns out, a judge recently ruled that the traffic stop that started it all was racially motivated, and more than likely, Scott and his brother were not the first victims of this treatment.

According to reports, Scott and his brother were stopped by police. Evidence suggested that police had no probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle, and the judge agreed. Since the initial traffic stop was not proper and in violation of the rights of Scott and his brother, the subsequent search of the vehicle was also not legal.

This means that any evidence allegedly discovered cannot be used against either individual since the stop and search violated the Equal Protection Clause. With the evidence suppressed, the case against Scott and his brother goes away. Furthermore, the judge found evidence that a pattern of racial profiling by Banks County law enforcement — and the arresting Banks County Sheriff’s deputy in particular — existed.

Justice is supposed to be blind to issues such as race, gender and other factors, but in reality, biases remain. Scott’s case illustrates the importance of traffic stops in subsequent criminal charges. In every traffic stop — whether here in Atlanta or elsewhere — that results in charges for drug crimes (or other crimes for that matter), one of the first steps criminal defense attorneys take is to scrutinize the circumstances surrounding the initial stop. If it turns out that an individual’s civil rights were violated and the stop was not legal, any charges could be dismissed as they were in Scott’s case.

Source: slamonline.com, “Mike Scott’s Felony Drug Case Dropped After Judge Cites ‘Possible Racial Profiling’“, Ryne Nelson, May 3, 2017

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