A 64-year-old Arizona man was cited for a DUI despite the fact that he was stone cold sober, and now he's arguing he was the victim of racial profiling.
Jessie Thornton, of Surprise, Ariz., was pulled over recently for crossing the white line in his lane.
"[The officer] walked up and he said 'I can tell you're driving DUI by looking in your eyes,'"
Thornton told Phoenix's local station KNXV. "I take my glasses off and he says, 'You've got bloodshot eyes.' I said, 'I've been swimming at LA Fitness,' and he says, 'I think you're DUI.' He goes, 'Well we're going to do a sobriety test.' I said, 'OK, but I got bad knees and a bad hip with surgery in two days.'"
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Knox performed a field sobriety test, but was handcuffed and taken to the station anyway. Police gave him a Breathalyzer test, which showed a 0.00 blood-alcohol level. Officers then called in a drug recognition expert to do a blood analysis test.
"After he did all the tests, [the expert] says, 'I would never have arrested you, you show no signs of impairment,'" said Thornton.
Indeed, the blood analysis showed no sign of any drugs or alcohol in Thornton's system. But he was still initially rung up on a DUI charge, which resulted in the brief suspension of his license and his car being impounded. The charge has since been dropped.
"This is a case of D-W-B, driving while black," Thornton's attorney, Marc Victor, told KNXV. "This is not the way American citizens ought to be treated by officers or treated by anybody for that matter."
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Thornton is now seeking $500,000 from the city for the mistake.
"Here [Jessie] is being harassed for no other reason than the color of his skin," attorney Charity Clark said. "It's frustrating that somebody had to go through this type of experience, they poke and prod him and arrest him for nothing."
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