A seemingly simple DUI case has turned into a racist issue and a possible lawsuit.
Jessie Thornton, 64, was stopped in Surprise, Arizona by police who claimed that he was drunk driving. According to Thornton, the police officers pulled him over because he ran the white line in the middle of the road. The cops then declared that his eyes were red, as reported in the Daily Mail.
“An officer walked up and he said, ‘I can tell you’re driving DUI by looking in your eyes.’ I take my glasses off and he says, ‘You’ve got bloodshot eyes,’” Thornton said. But the Ohio native said that he just came from swimming at LA Fitness, hence the red eyes.
Apparently the cops weren’t convinced, and proceeded to conduct a sobriety test. True enough, the breathalyzer read a blood alcohol level of “0.00″, which means that there was zero alcohol in his bloodstream. Thornton confirmed this, saying that he did not drink any alcoholic drinks prior to driving.
Despite this, the officers brought him to the station, where he was subjected to drug tests for possible substance abuse. The station’s drug recognition expert declared him completely “free from impairment” caused by drugs.
After being released, Thornton learned that his driver’s license was going to be suspended for the time being, and his vehicle impounded for three days.
Thornton claims that the arrest was fueled not by DUI but by race. He says he was DWB — driving while black. He is now in talks with a lawyer for a possible lawsuit against the Surprise police station, amounting to $500,000 in damages.