The Times West Virginian

February 17, 2013

‘It’s a give and take’: VIDEO

During police stops, officers and citizens have rights, responsibilities

By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — On March 26, 2011, Justin Byrd, then a student at Fairmont State, was involved in a fender-bender on the High Level Bridge when a car driven by a white female rear-ended his vehicle.

He later sued City of Fairmont and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, claiming he’d been targeted when the police drug dog was called in to search his car but not the other.

When police arrived on scene, the suit alleges, rather than issue a traffic citation to the woman who hit Byrd’s car, the officers began to search Byrd’s car for guns and drugs, ignoring the traffic violation.

Officers then reportedly called in a drug-sniffing dog, which damaged Byrd’s laptop and the interior of his car in the search, the suit claims. The encounter allegedly took a solid hour, the suit claims, and the traffic violation was never cited.


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