Racial Profiling in NJ Criminal Arrests
- April 14, 2012
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In State v. Boyd, a man convicted of drug charges sought the arresting officer’s personnel records following a traffic stop for which he felt racial profiling was the basis. Boyd was pulled over in Sussex County, New Jersey on Route 80 for what the officer stated as “erratic driving”. Upon approaching the vehicle the officer believed he had reason to fear for his safety and, upon Boyd’s opening the car door, after first refusing multiple times to open the door, the officer sprayed Boyd with pepper spray and pulled him out of the car. A search of Boyd’s person revealed 250 bags of cocaine and he was arrested.
Boyd did not feel the stop was based on “erratic driving” based on comments by the officer such as I am “not your bro.” Boyd sought the officers personnel records in an effort to determine whether there were similar prior incidents in his jacket. In State v. Kennedy, the New Jersey Court held that discovery of such records was permitted if the defendant could establish a “colorable basis” for the discrimination claims. In this case, there was a prior civil action pending against the officer
Although major reforms have occurred in New Jersey to fight racial profiling by police, it still exists and no area is immune. Whether the incident occurred in Bergen, Morris, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, Somerset or Middlesex county, if you believe you were stopped or arrested as a result of racial profiling, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to determine whether your rights have been violated and what you can do to protect yourself from continued prosecution for the charges you are facing based solely on your race.
For more information on criminal charges in NJ, visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com.