A man in Arizona who was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol even after a breathalyzer test indicated that he was sober has filed a lawsuit claiming a violation of his civil rights.
The suit was filed by 64-year-old Jessie Thornton against the Surprise Police Department. Thornton, who is seeking $500,000, claims his traffic stop and arrest constitutes racial profiling.
Thornton was arrested for DUI during a traffic stop in December. Police officers pulled him over for crossing a white traffic line while driving, and after noting that his eyes were bloodshot, insisted that he submit to field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer test.
The breathalyzer was negative for the presence of alcohol in Thornton’s system, but the officers arrested him anyway. Thornton claims he was arrested because he is black.
Thornton claims that the DUI arrest is the latest of several instances of alleged harassment by Surprise police over the past four years.
According to the lawsuit, the arrest has caused permanent damage to Thornton’s reputation because the DUI charge, which was later dropped, still remains on his record.