Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Task force" agents are going out of their minds (and authority) when they pull over Hispanic drivers on Tennessee roads

In 2008, when Deputy Ricky Wade of the Henry County Sheriff's Department was on a Tennessee highway on assignment to the 24th Judicial District Drug Task Force, he pulled over Carmina Perez and her ten year old son Raphael Adame. Wade's treatment of the two, in violation of their legal rights, resulted in a $75,000 jury award in their favor in 2010 (story here).

A few weeks ago, as part of a NewsChannel5 investigation, a supervisor from the 23rd Judicial District Drug Task Force was caught on tape pulling up alongside a vehicle, following it for a while, and then accusing it of weaving in and out of its lane, which was not supported by the video (above) at all. The driver was Hispanic. An internal investigation is underway.

Today, NewsChannel5 reports that a federal judge has ruled that there is no credible evidence that a Hispanic driver was actually speeding before he was pulled over by an officer working for the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force.

It happened in the 24th, the 23rd, and now the 17th judicial district. Someone high up over all of the drug task forces in Tennessee needs to take systemic action to ensure the legitimate and lawful exercise of their power.

When law enforcement officers operate outside the law, they pervert the authority we have given to them. At that point, it can no longer be said that they are serving and protecting the public.

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