The client in this case was only stopped at 1:00 AM for speeding. The SFSTs were done in insanely cold and windy conditions next to an open field. My client was without a coat. He asked to be taken to a reasonable location to do the SFSTs but the officer declined. He admitted on the witness stand to 5 drinks over the course of the evening social event beginning at 6 PM. There was no reason for any of the alcohol to be in his system at 1:00 AM as he stopped drinking at 10:30 PM. He was and is physically unable to take a breath test. His truthfulness as to the amount consumed was important for his credibility. Some lawyers are put off by the number of drinks, but it is not how many, but when they were consumed in relation to the driving.
After he was acquitted the officer came up to me in the hallway and wanted to know what he could do better. I am not giving away my Schtick, but I told him that in these weather conditions, he should have taken him indoors or under some cover. The MDTA officers offer that when the weather is poor. I then told him to go out and get me some more business. He laughed and shook my hand. He then turned to my client and they shook hands. The officer in this case drove my client home from the police station, and they chatted about things other than the DUI on the way. Unlike the rudeness that has unfortunately occurred in Baltimore City for years where the police have alienated the citizenry, it does not have to be that way. There was zero animosity between my client and the officer. My client understood why he was charged and the officer understood why my client was acquitted. If either one of them needed a ride from the courthouse, the other would have provided it. Do you think that happens in Baltimore City. I am sick and tired of hearing about how many times black men have been asked to lay down on the street and been asked questions about guns and drugs. A BUSINESS OWNER, FATHER OF 2, HOME OWNER, SCHOOL AGE DAUGHTER IN PRIVATE CATHOLIC SCHOOL IN THE CITY, is stopped 3 weeks ago by 2 Baltimore City police officers as he leaves a friend’s house in West Baltimore. The friend and his family are not criminals. He is questioned, he is asked to consent to a search of himself and his car, and he refuses. He is scared, and as he walks away a Sgt. runs up behind him, and he thinks the 3 police are going to throw him to the ground. He is again asked about drugs and his refusal to consent to a search. He stands his ground and they write him a ticket (police encounter document) and he is allowed to leave. He calls me scared to death because he got this ticket. I explain it is just proof of the police interaction with a citizen that they are required to write. I demand the ticket and for him to give a written step by step report because I am not going to let this pass. He is so worried about how nuts I am going to go that he will not provide it. I am sure that anybody reading this who is not black and does not live in Baltimore City has never encountered this type of behavior, nor have your children. It is unfathomable to think that a county, any county, police officer would treat a member of your family this way. If you saw your son or daughter laying flat on a sidewalk so that they could be asked about guns and drugs, I would be crazy busy handling assault on police officer cases in the counties. This is why citizens in Baltimore City do not cooperate with the police and why it is open season for drug dealing or shootings in these areas. The police don’t respond to burglaries and car thefts without multiple calls in Baltimore City. Law abiding people are ignored when they are victimized. And now they need the Justice Department to come in and train the police how to be police! What the hell are they doing at the police academy???
I did not set out to write a rant, but as I got to the part where we all left court together, I got pissed off thinking about what was done to my friend. Because he is black, he should not have to fear visiting a friend who lives in the Western District area of Baltimore City (where Freddie Gray was arrested). He has built up a business Baltimore City that anyone would be proud to own. He built it, nobody gave it to him. And he has to cringe and fear that the 3 police officers whose salaries he pays are going to hurt him because he will not be bullied and intimidated into giving up his right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure. The Baltimore City Police Department that I knew as a prosecutor is dead and buried. If the newest Commissioner is too much of a moron to hire decent human beings and train them correctly, then send him back to California, and find someone who can. That should be the first suggestion from the Justice Department, and it needs to be done now.