Driving while brown: KY prosecutor ripped for saying being Hispanic is probable cause for arrest
A Kentucky prosecutor is taking heat after saying that being Hispanic is reason enough for a police officer to pull over a motorist for questioning, reports the Courier-Journal.
In courtroom video, Oldham County Attorney John K. Carter is seen standing before the bench of District Judge Diana Wheeler as attorneys discuss a traffic ticket given to Mauro Martinez for allegedly speeding.
Assistant County Attorney Travis Combs can be heard saying the defense claims Martinez was “stopped because he was Hispanic.” Carter, who was standing next to Combs, can be heard adding, “That’s probable cause.”
“I’m going to act like I didn’t hear that,” Martinez attorney Dawn Elliott immediately interjected.
“I am too,” Judge Wheeler said.
Carter, a Republican who has been the Oldham County attorney since 2011, claims he was not talking about the man’s racial background, stating, “I never made any reference to the ethnicity of the defendant. And you won’t find it anywhere on the tape.”
Defense attorney Elliott disagrees, telling reporters, “Clearly he had an opportunity to clear that up on the record over 24 hours ago, but now there’s buzz about it. My reaction and the judge’s reaction speaks for itself. We certainly interpreted him talking about probable cause for my client’s ethnicity.”
According to the speeding citation given to Martinez — who is Guatemalan — police did not specify how fast he was going when he was pulled over.
Combs, who is prosecuting Martinez, claims the local police do not racially profile suspects.
Watch video below of the court room exchange: