By John Clark
A 64-year-old retired firefighter was arrested and charged with drunk driving this week in Surprise, Arizona, despite the fact that he had a blood alcohol content of 0.00 percent, according to a report from the Huffington Post.
Sources say the driver, Jessie Thornton, claims he was merely being punished for “driving while black,” and he told sources that he plans to file a lawsuit against the Surprise Police Department.
Indeed, this prediction proved true, as Thornton later filed a notice of claim that he would soon sue the police department for violating his civil rights and causing emotional distress. The retiree plans to sue for $500,000, according to sources.
The lawsuit stems from an incident a few months ago when Thornton was charged with a DUI by Surprise police, even though both breathalyzer and blood tests revealed that he did not have a drop of alcohol in his system.
Sources say police pulled Thornton over after the driver crossed a white lane marker, and the responding officer, citing the driver’s bloodshot eyes, insisted he was drunk.
Thornton, however, told the officer that his eyes were simply irritated because he was traveling home from a local health club, where he had exercised in an indoor pool.
He also told officers that his poor performance on a sobriety test was due to chronic knee and hip problems that prevented him from walking smoothly, sources say.
After the police took Thornton to the station, he registered a sterling blood alcohol content of 0.00 percent, and toxicology experts concluded that he showed “no signs of impairment,” according to reports.
During this time, Thornton’s car was impounded, and his license was suspended. In addition, the state told him that he had to attend a DUI class.
After months of prolonged court negotiations, Thornton was finally able to have the charges dropped, but not before his reputation was irreparably damaged, according to the driver.
And this isn’t Thornton’s first trouble with local police. According to Thornton, he has been pulled over by Surprise police on 10 separate occasions and received four tickets for bogus traffic violations.
In the notice of his forthcoming lawsuit, Thornton claims that he has been a victim of racial profiling, and has consistently been abused by local police for four years.
In response to Thornton’s allegations, the Surprise police department refused to talk to sources, but attorneys for the local police will likely have their hands full if Thornton’s unsettling allegations prove to be true.