'Drug Whisperer' Accused Of Illegally Arresting Drivers For Pot

By Victoria Kim 09/27/17

The accused officer, who is a certified drug recognition expert, is now being sued by the ACLU.

Police officer handcuffing and arresting a well dressed, white collar suspect.

A Georgia cop will have to answer for his alleged pattern of harassing innocent motorists and arresting them without legitimate cause for driving under the influence of cannabis.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against Officer Tracy Carroll, as well as the Cobb County Police Department and Cobb County—seeking compensatory damages for the grief that Carroll’s reported actions put innocent people through.

Tracy Carroll was the subject of a previous WXIA investigation from last spring. The detailed report shed light on three arrests made by Carroll with no probable cause, based on his so-called expertise as a “drug recognition expert” (DRE).

Among his colleagues in law enforcement, Carroll was awarded for his work. He was given a Silver Medal for making 90 DUI arrests in 2016. But as one of his victims, Princess Mbamara, pointed out to WXIA, “He’s getting an award for just arrests, not even convictions.”  

Princess Mbamara is one of three motorists pulled over and arrested by Carroll whose arrest was profiled in the original WXIA report. Dashcam video showed the college student being grilled by Carroll on the side of the road about her alleged marijuana use. “I don’t smoke weed,” she told the officer. But even after passing a sobriety test, Carroll cuffed her, saying, “I think you’re impaired by cannabis,” based solely on his own instincts.

The report included the arrests of two other individuals, a restaurant server named Katelyn Ebner and Auburn University student Ayokunle Oriyomi—all of whom were “forced to have their blood drawn and held in a jail cell for hours based on Carroll’s ‘hunch’” that they were under the influence of marijuana, according to WXIA.

They each presented negative drug tests, but still spent months and thousands of dollars in legal fees to prove their innocence. All of the charges have since been dropped for all of Carroll’s victims.

Carroll is certified as a drug recognition expert by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which involves taking a 160-hour training course. There are more than 250 police officers in Georgia with this DRE certification. DREs are required to perform a 12-step process to determine whether or not a motorist is impaired. According to WXIA and dashcam video of the arrests, Carroll failed to perform the steps.

In light of Carroll’s alleged actions, Cobb County PD is letting go drivers suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana, and delaying formal charges until they are drug tested.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

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