DWB - A Never-Ending Situation
The newest instance of DWB has happened to former South Carolina standout and San Francisco 49er Marcus Lattimore, stopped with his wife in the car on “suspicion” of hauling drugs.
Just to prove it can - and does - happen anywhere, this one happened in Nebraska. Last year’s DWB, leading to the arrest of Shai Werts, of Clinton, happened in Saluda, South Carolina. The SC officer just could not believe the truth - Werts’ car had bird poop on it, and Shai tried to wash it off. It was cocaine, the officer was convinced.
And when you’re surrounded by the police, standing beside your car, there is no “unconvincing” an officer.
Reports say that Marcus Lattimore and his wife Miranda were stopped by the Nebraska State Patrol near Kimball. They were traveling back to South Carolina from Las Vegas. Miranda had said she and Marcus “previously planned a cross-country trip and decided to still go through with it as it would be safer driving in rural areas of the country than flying into an international airport.”
The Coronavirus has made air travel very challenging.
“I’ve been racially profiled before, but the events that just went down in Kimball, Nebraska were unspeakable. I can’t even begin to describe the numbness I felt when an officer asked my husband and myself to step out of our vehicle because I was ‘shaking,’” Miranda said on Twitter. An officer urged Marcus to “claim your drugs,” a report said.
The Lattimores were traveling 5 miles per hour over the speed limit. They were “accused of trafficking 30 pounds of cocaine and heroin,” said Marcus, who’s had previous encounters with racial profiling.
The Nebraska State Patrol is investigating itself. It says in in tweet: “We are aware of the allegations involving a traffic stop that occurred this morning near Kimball. NSP takes complaints seriously and has a thorough process to diligently review each case. NSP is in contact with the motorists involved and the review process is already underway.”
Whatcha wanna bet the officers will be found to have been not at fault.
Remember in August, 2019, we wrote:
“Prosecutors have dropped a drug charge against Shai Werts, of Clinton - Newberry Bulldogs - and the starting quarterback for Georgia Southern. A substance on his car allegedly field-tested positive for cocaine - it was bird droppings. Werts still faces a speeding charge in Saluda - but does not face team discipline and should be ready to start against LSU.”
As it turned out, Werts was held out of practice and later suffered an injury. Last year’s football season was very challenging for him.
Saluda authorities release a bunch of video related to the arrest - that’s not always the case, local jurisdictions make that call themselves. Body-cam video was withheld in a DUI case of interest in Clinton not too long ago.
We posted a lot of links to video in the Werts case on our website. Prosecutors dropped drug possession charges filed by the arresting officer.
So, I’m not really qualified to speak about DWB - it has never happened to me.
It should not happen to anyone.
If I had to guess, it probably had something to do with the car Marcus Lattimore was driving. Authorities can seize “assets” purchased through alleged “drug proceeds” - Sheriffs in South Carolina do it all the time (per The Greenville News). The Feds did that recently to a confessed drug dealer whose ring ran drugs out of a rural house in Laurens County, South Carolina - The Index-Journal, Greenwood, has been closely following this case.
And, apparently, possible prejudice can even extend to WWB. FITS News has a really good article about a man accused of “walking while black” receiving a civil settlement from Orangeburg.
This commentary is not intended to offer a solution. That would take diligence to “reasonable suspicion” on officers’ part. And, yes, I know they have a tough job and the “one bad apple” theory and all that.
But, this I know, it just takes one - one more - DWB to bring all those bad memories and all that racial prejudice back to the American focus. That’s a shame.
(Vic MacDonald is editor of The Clinton Chronicle. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chronicle. MacDonald can be reached at 833-1900 or firstname.lastname@example.org)