Maine – February 12, 2021

A Maine lawmaker recently filed a complaint about a top award the state police gave to a trooper who is accused of racially profiling a man in a traffic stop.  The representative wrote in the complaint: “Either the Maine State Police Commanders don’t watch the nightly news on television and are devoid of the knowledge of the tragedies sweeping the nation in reference to police misconduct and racial profiling, or this award was sent as a signal against the movement for racial equity and justice.”

Questionable traffic stop.

In an August 2019 traffic stop, the officer who  received the award was recorded talking to another trooper on a cruiser microphone shortly before stopping a motorist driving through York on Interstate 95, stating that the driver  looked like a thug, citing his dreadlocks and shirt, but also told the other trooper he was not racially profiling the driver, who is Black. Drug possession charges that were brought against that driver were subsequently dismissed, and judges overseeing two other traffic stop cases involving the named police officer with black defendants are reconsidering how this possible bias-based profiling may affect those  cases.  A police brutality lawyer can inform victims of bias-based profiling activity and guide them through the process of civil and criminal legal actions available to them.

Bias-based profiling encounter.

Bias-based policing is the intentional practice by an individual law enforcement officer who incorporates prejudicial judgments based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, religious beliefs, or age that are inappropriately applied in the performance of his/her duties.  Racial profiling hinders effective police presence in the communities because it destroys trust and respect.  When citizens are being stopped, searched, arrested, demeaned, and become victims of aggressive police encounters, then reducing criminal activities becomes harder because communities will not assist law enforcement officers.

Victim action.

Victims who have been illegally detained, or met with excessive force by a Police Officer in Maine should not escalate the situation by counter aggression.  Eye-witnesses are important, try to collect names and contact information.  Take photos at the scene, or video-tape the encounter if possible.  Get medical attention to assess injuries and collect a formal report by a physician to support a case in a court of law. Victims should file a misconduct report with a supervisor, or higher authority of law, if they are afraid to do so with the Maine Police Department, and  hire an attorney  who can file a complaint with the Department of Justice, and initiate a civil, or criminal suit when appropriate.

Supporting law.

Federal laws under The United States Constitution addressing police misconduct include criminal and civil statutes to cover officers’ actions in state, county and local jurisdictions including prisons and jails.  The laws are to protect all people in the United States.  Victims of police brutality should speak with a police brutality attorney who may be able to act to secure damages, or a criminal defense attorney if an arrest was complicated and the victim is being charged.