Jessie Thornton, a 64-year-old retired firefighter was arrested for
drunk driving in Surprise, Arizona earlier this month. The catch?– His blood alcohol
content later registered 0.000 and he is now suing the Surprise Police
Department for $500,000 for wrongful arrest.
“I can tell you’re driving DUI by looking in your eyes.”
Jessie’s wife is an ER nurse so he tries to match her nocturnal lifestyle
by sleeping during the day while running errands at night. When he was
pulled over for crossing a white line, the officer told Jessie, “I
can tell you’re driving DUI by looking in your eyes.” The
retired man replied saying that he’d just been swimming at a local
health center, but the police officer ordered him to take a field sobriety
test – despite Jessie’s warnings that he had bad knees and
was scheduled to have a hip replacement surgery in two days. The elderly
man passed the test, but was arrested anyway and mistreated on his ride
to Surprise Police Headquarters.
Unlawful Arrest and DWB
Back at the headquarters, Jessie blew a 0.000 and a drug enforcement officer
conducted a series of tests before telling him, “I would never have
arrested you, you show no signs of impairment.” It was too late
– his car was already impounded and Arizona’s Motor Vehicle
Division had already been notified of the DUI.
Jessie has been stopped 10 times since retiring to Surprise, Arizona for
what he and his lawyer are calling DWB – driving-while-black. While the law usually grants law enforcement a degree of immunity, the
Fourth Amendment protects citizens from
arrests without probable cause. Indeed, the arresting police department is going
to have a difficult time defending the reasonableness of its actions.
“This just wasn’t right.”
As a retired firefighter and the father of a policewoman, Jessie has nothing
against law enforcement. He says that his case is about more than just
the compensation he is seeking: “I have nothing against police officers,
this just wasn’t right.” Does the sober man arrested for DUI
have a $500,000 case? Jessie Thornton’s lawsuit will definitely
be followed by many people.
If you believe you’ve ever been wrongfully arrested for a DUI or
any other criminal charge in Texas,
contact the defense attorneys at The Kyle Law Firm for your free consultation today.