Some Georgia drivers are finding their lives turned upside down after getting a DUI for being entirely sober. This will make you furious!
Katelyn Ebner spent a night in jail and months fighting DUI charges, all because of what one attorney calls police “guesswork.”
Georgia law enforcement officers are now arresting people on the “suspicion” they’re impaired. No breathalyzer. No blood test. Just an “expert” law enforcement officer deciding he knows what he sees.
The HufPo reports:
When a police officer in Cobb County, Georgia, pulled Katelyn Ebner over in April 2016, the 23-year-old figured she had nothing to be worried about. She’d just gotten off a waitressing shift at a restaurant, but she hadn’t been drinking. She was tired, maybe, but not drunk ― and certainly not high.
Over the course of a nearly half-hour traffic stop, however, Officer Tracy Carroll made it clear that he believed Ebner was driving intoxicated, which had supposedly caused her car to cross the center line. And Carroll was intent on confirming that suspicion using his training as a drug recognition expert, a controversial certification that some critics say can put innocent people in jail based on “guesswork.”
In a dashcam video later obtained by WXIA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Atlanta that first reported on Ebner’s story, Carroll asks Ebner to step out of her vehicle, then he proceeds to conduct a 20-minute field sobriety test. Ebner repeatedly says she’s “nervous,” telling Carroll it’s the first time she’s been pulled over. At one point, Carroll shines a bright, blueish light into Ebner’s eyes for nearly three minutes. He asks her to blow into a Breathalyzer, which returns a negative result. Then Carroll makes Ebner perform a number of exercises: walk heel-to-toe, touch her nose, look here, look there.
Finally, he makes his conclusion.
“You’re showing me indicators that you have smoked marijuana,” Carroll tells Ebner as he goes to handcuff her.
Watch the video:
Carroll is considered a “Drug Recognition Expert” by the International Association of the Chiefs of Police. In other words, he can simply look at a person and determine if they’re under the influence, and make an arrest based on that assumption. Absent from that determination is probable cause, according to many critics.
Princess Mbamara was also arrested by Carroll. And like Ebner, she also tested negative for any illegal substances after being arrested and charged with DUI. She told reporters;
I remember my lawyer trying to talk about a deal…I was like, ‘I’m not taking a deal. I didn’t do anything! I want more than just a deal — I want more than just dismissal; I want my life back. Can you reverse time? If you can go back in time, then that’s what I really want.’
According to Mbamara, she spent the better part of 2016 fighting the charges in court. All the while, Carroll was racking up more DUI arrests, 90 in all.
Now, it seems, these new “Drug Recognition Experts” are the latest iteration of such schemes, joining red light cameras, bogus field drug tests, nearly impossible to pass field sobriety tests, stop and frisk, car tossing, and sniff tests. Only now, it seems, they don’t have to go on the smell of marijuana, they can just listen to those voices bouncing around in their heads.
And they’re not open to any criticisms at all. According to WXAI, reporters were prevented from interviewing officer Carroll about his expertise at “Drug Whispering.” Who knows how many innocent people, among the nearly 1700, took the easy way out and plead guilty to a DUI they know they did not commit?
Insanity! What a waste of resources that most likely is allowing real drunk drivers to skate.
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