Any time police pull someone over for a traffic stop, they can start looking for evidence of various crimes. For instance, police often look for signs that a driver is under the influence of drugs or in possession of drugs.
However, even if police find drugs or paraphernalia in the vehicle, such evidence can be thrown out if the traffic stop was unlawful in the first place. This is what happened in the case against NBA player Mike Scott and his brother.
Scott and his brother were reportedly driving in a rented SUV when a police officer pulled them over. The officer claims the driver, Scott's brother, initially sped up and refused to pull over. Eventually, the cop said, Scott stopped and the officer found marijuana and MDMA in the car.
However, witness accounts and the timeline did not match up with the officer's account. Additionally, a thorough investigation into the arresting officer's employment and arrest history revealed credibility issues and sparked accusations of racial profiling.
According to reports, his record shows that over the course of one year, the officer pulled over 1,400 vehicles but issued only eight tickets. He made 47 arrests, and 44 of them involved minorities.
A judge agreed with the argument that the officer had no reason to stop Scott's vehicle, and the search that resulted from the stop was therefore improper. Because of this, the evidence collected in that search was thrown out. Without this evidence, there was not enough to support the felony drug charges against the two men, and their charges were dismissed.
Racial profiling and improper search procedures during a traffic stop are very real concerns for motorists in every state, including Tennessee. These actions violate people's legal rights and protections, so it is critical to investigate stop procedures, officer arrest histories, and searches when they lead to serious charges like drug possession.
If you are in this situation, then consulting an attorney can be wise. Competent criminal defense attorneys know where to look and what to look for when it comes to improper police procedure, and they can provide valuable advice and guidance for anyone unfairly charged with a criminal offense.