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.