A Maine Point out Police trooper took the stand for the to start with time Thursday to solution concerns about allegations of racial profiling all through his targeted visitors stops on Interstate 95.
A prosecutor dismissed a felony circumstance past year right after a cruiser microphone captured Trooper John Darcy describing the Black male he was pulling in excess of as “looking like a thug.” Darcy, who is white, denied that he stops drivers mainly because of their race.
But the federal judge presiding above a independent situation authorized a protection lawyer to cross-analyze Darcy on Thursday about his recorded reviews. Other attorneys and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine are actively hard previous arrests produced by Darcy on the identical foundation.
“Trooper Darcy has what the protection now is aware to be a pattern of manufacturing factors to end and impermissibly detaining and looking individuals of shade, notably as they generate on Interstate 95 in the vicinity of York, Maine,” assistant federal public defender Daphne Hallett Donahue wrote in one motion.
The Maine State Law enforcement performed a overview of the targeted traffic quit that associated his recorded responses but explained before this yr that the conclusions are confidential. Point out law enforcement also have not designed Darcy obtainable for an interview. So when he testified in U.S. District Court docket in Portland on Thursday in the course of a listening to on a movement to suppress evidence from a single of his stops, he was generating his very first general public remarks about the accusations against him.
“When I utilized the term ‘thug,’ I was referencing a individual concerned in prison activity,” Darcy claimed Thursday. “The objective of what I was hoping to say was … race wouldn’t matter in anything we do.”
The recording in problem came from a site visitors stop on Aug. 15, 2019. Darcy, who is white, pulled about a Black male who was driving north by way of York on I-95. The inside microphone in the cruiser caught Darcy’s feedback to an additional trooper times just before the quit, and they have given that been quoted in motions submitted in that situation and many others.
“This dude kinda looks like a thug to be honest with you,” Darcy mentioned to an unidentified trooper driving with him.
This movie includes vulgar language. Trooper John Darcy is heard talking with an unidentified trooper and can later be observed questioning the driver of a vehicle he pulled above. Darcy afterwards located drugs in the car, but the circumstance was dropped right after the online video was released as proof of what the defense lawyer known as racial profiling.
Darcy went on to say the driver in question seemed “like a thug” mainly because, “he’s donning a wifebeater” and “he’s got dreads.” A “wifebeater” is a reference to a sleeveless white T-shirt. He then tells the other trooper that he is not racially profiling the male.
“I detest when individuals check out to make it feel like that is what it is,” Darcy mentioned. “I care about the place persons are from, and the way they seem … you know what I necessarily mean? Do they appear like they can be concerned in drug working or gangs or some thing. I never give a (expletive) if someone’s black or white.”
Darcy then stopped the gentleman for driving in the center lane of the 3-lane highway with out passing or overtaking any other motor vehicles. Maine legislation claims that drivers ought to remain in the suitable-hand lane when the speed limit is better than 65 mph except they are passing other motor vehicles. A research uncovered cocaine and pills, and the driver was ultimately charged in federal courtroom with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and keeping a counterfeit drug for sale. When the man’s lawyer raised the recording, the prosecutor dismissed the expenses without having rationalization.
Other lawyers have given that employed the recording to problem other site visitors stops and criminal situations involving Darcy. They have requested the courtroom to suppress evidence from all those stops and order the federal government to generate data about Darcy’s policing.
In a single circumstance, the federal defender’s workplace submitted motions in April that known as into dilemma at minimum 11 website traffic stops led by Darcy. Donahue, the community defender, wrote in her motion that those people conditions all involved persons of color, and the stops look to be dependent on created motives or selective enforcement. She stated she thinks that sample extends to the condition police’s Proactive Felony Enforcement group, which consists of Darcy and focuses on intercepting illegal drugs coming into Maine, and she produced a sweeping request for info about their operate.
“These are probably just some of quite a few illustrations of Trooper Darcy’s predatory, race-primarily based, policing approaches,” Donahue wrote. “There are very likely several other people of color driving northbound in the point out of Maine who have been subjected to this sort of unconstitutional lookup and seizure, but who are eventually permitted to go on their vacation mainly because the queries yield absolutely nothing.”
The ACLU of Maine echoed people arguments in an amicus transient.
“By emphasizing the will need for officers to be truthful and by explicitly recognizing the racist bent to Trooper Darcy’s instruction, working experience and inferences, the Court can rewrite the rulebook that is currently in circulation, at least among the the Maine Point out Law enforcement Professional-Active Enforcement Staff,” that brief states.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office environment has not yet submitted a response to individuals motions.
Amid the instances cited by the federal defender’s place of work is the just one that was dismissed past yr. Yet another is that of Damon Fagan.
Court docket paperwork show Darcy pulled Fagan around on I-95 in 2019 after he allegedly slash off a tractor-trailer. He asked for a narcotics pet that was introduced to the scene. The trooper later observed drugs on the person, and he was charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin. U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby rejected a movement to suppress evidence from that targeted traffic stop last yr, but reopened the issue so the lawyers could question Darcy below oath about his recorded reviews. That listening to took position Thursday.
“Trooper Darcy, does a person’s race participate in a aware job in your conclusion regardless of whether to pull them more than for a targeted visitors infraction?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Scott asked him.
“No,” Darcy answered.
Scott argued that the trooper stopped Fagan for making an unsafe lane improve, not for any subjective intention.
“Overall, what the proof in this situation demonstrates is that Trooper Darcy had lawful foundation to stop the defendant,” Scott reported.
Defense legal professional David Bobrow pointed each to the recorded feedback and a concept Darcy despatched to a different trooper in advance of he stopped Fagan: “I’m on the hunt tonight.”
“Why does that cast question on his credibility?” Bobrow claimed. “For the easy cause that it casts doubt on his motivations.”
Hornby did not make a ruling at the listening to and stated he would concern an buy at a later date.
Just before Darcy stepped down from the witness stand, Bobrow also asked him about a site visitors end he created about an hour right before he pulled around Fagan. The trooper testified that he known as for a narcotics puppy to conduct a look for in that quit as perfectly, but the dog was not out there, and ultimately he did not arrest any person from that car or truck.
“Do you recall the race of the operator?” Bobrow asked.
“I do not,” Darcy answered.
“If I ended up to notify you that it was a Black male, would that surprise you?” the attorney questioned.
The prosecutor objected, and Darcy finished his testimony with out answering the issue.