PORTLAND, Maine — The U.S. Attorney’s Office has dismissed charges related to an August 2019 traffic stop after a defense attorney submitted video of the stop as evidence of racial profiling by a Maine state trooper.
Col. John Cote said in a written statement submitted by an attorney that the traffic stop is under review by Maine State Police, the Portland Press Herald reported Thursday. Attorneys have begun to scrutinize the trooper’s record related to other cases as well.
“The act of racial profiling by law enforcement is illegal, and the Maine State Police do not condone it in any way, shape, or form,” Cote wrote.
Maine State Trooper John Darcy was recorded talking to another trooper on a cruiser microphone moments before stopping a Black motorist driving north through York on Interstate 95.
Darcy was quoted in motions filed in the U.S. District Court in Portland as saying that the motorist “looks like a thug” because “he’s wearing a wifebeater” and “he’s got dreads.” A “wifebeater” is a reference to a sleeveless undershirt.
Darcy told the other trooper he was not racially profiling the driver.
“I hate when people try to make it seem like that’s what it is,” Darcy said. “I care about where people are from, and the way they seem … you know what I mean? Do they seem like they can be involved in drug dealing or gangs or something. I don’t give a [expletive] if someone’s black or white.”
The American Civil Liberties Union defines racial profiling as the discriminatory practice of “targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual’s race, ethnicity, religion or national origin.”
The motorist’s defense attorney, Leonard Sharon, wrote “Our Courts should not dignify these prosecutions of black people who fall prey to racial profiling or any citizen who has been unfairly profiled because of their hairstyle and clothing. The price our country pays for this behavior has proven excessive.”
Christopher Parr, the state police attorney, said that Darcy is on regular duty status.