A significant number of the arrests resulting from the subjective observations of police officers turn out to be erroneous. The alleged traffic offenses that precipitate police pulling someone over could easily end up in bad arrests if the officers fail to follow the proper procedures and protocols. This issue is at the heart of a federal lawsuit recently filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against one Georgia county and one of its officers.
The case highlights the importance of what occurs during traffic stops. In this case, an officer said to be a trained drug recognition expert evaluated three individuals. Based on his “expert observations,” the three people were placed under arrest for driving under the influence of drugs.
Reportedly, no search warrants were obtained for the blood draws that subsequently took place, and they were held by Cobb County for an extended period of time. These individuals now have arrests on their records based on the “hunch” of one officer who, it turns out, may have failed to properly follow procedure at the time the incidents took place. Eventually, it was found that none of the three had any drugs in their systems at the time of the stops and prosecutors dropped the charges.
This lawsuit deals with just three people whose supposed traffic offenses led to a nightmare. How many more Georgia residents may be in the same position due to faulty police work based on subjective observations? The investigation into any arrest on the side of the road begins with the traffic stop and covers all activities from that point forward. Any mistakes, lack of protocol or violation of an individual’s rights needs to be addressed quickly and effectively before the mistake causes any further damage to his or her life.
Source: leafly.com, “ACLU Sues Georgia Police Over DUI Marijuana Arrests”, Sept. 29, 2017