Highway Patrol Stands By Trooper Amid Claims Of Racial Profiling
Posted January 16, 2003 5:13 a.m. EST
DURHAM, N.C. — For the second time, State Trooper Clinton Carroll has been cleared of racial profiling by the Highway Patrol, despite a judge's ruling that Carroll's actions undermined the values of the judicial system. However, officials from the Highway Patrol stand behind him.
In September, Judge Orlando Hudson dismissed a DWI case against Juan Villeda. Hudson concluded that Carroll pulled over Villeda simply because of his race. Immediately, the highway patrol reopened an internal investigation into Carroll's traffic stops.
The patrol again found that Carroll did nothing wrong, even though Hispanic drivers made up 70 percent of his drunking driving arrests.
"You have to look in the areas where he was working. He was working in areas with lots of Hispanic motorists," said Sgt. Everette Clendinin, of the Highway Patrol.
Highway Patrol officials point out that if you look at all of Carroll's arrests, not just DWIs, the racial makeup mirrors Durham County's population. The patrol alleges Carroll pulled Villeda over for a seat belt violation and discovered he had been drinking.
"As we see it, Trooper Carroll based his stops on clear-cut substantial violations," Clendinin said.
Even though the Highway Patrol's investigation into Carroll is over, there are still more than 12 cases involving Hispanic drivers and Carroll pending at the Durham County courthouse. Lawyers for many of the drivers have already filed motions to dismiss the cases on the grounds of racial profiling.
Carroll has since been assigned to Alamance County.
The state has appealed the judge's ruling involving Villeda's DWI dismissal. Other cases involving Carroll are set for June.