Local News

Highway Patrol Changes Focus Of Investigation Into Alleged Racial Profiling

Posted April 10, 2002

— An investigation of a Highway Patrol officer accused of targeting Hispanics on DWI stops has shifted away from racial profiling.

The

Highway Patrol

said its investigation of Trooper Clinton Carroll is now focused on procedural errors Carroll made that were not related to the racial profiling accusations.

The Highway Patrol's decision to shift the focus of its investigation of Carroll away from accusations of racial profiling disappointed Rev. Maria Palmer.

Palmer has heard a number of stories about Highway Patrol officers targeting Hispanic members of her congregation.

"I don't think it's healthy to say there's not a problem. I think it's sad to say, you know, when you have a disproportionate number of convictions that just happened," she said.

The Highway Patrol released data showing that in 2000 and 2001, about a quarter of all alcohol-related crashes in Durham County involved Hispanics, even though they make up just 8 percent of the population.

"Our data suggested that this is a trend that's still occurring that was found in prior studies that the Hispanic community is not getting the message on traffic laws and traffic safety," said Sgt. Everett Clendenin, of the N.C. Highway Patrol.

"I agree that there is a problem with driving and drinking. And I think we need to address that. I don't think that we should look at that and justify not addressing other problems on the other side," Palmer said.

The case against Highway Patrol troopers in Durham County appears to be broadening. An attorney familiar with the situation said that there is a motion to dismiss more DWI cases involving Hispanics and the Highway Patrol.

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