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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Default Wrongful Arrest With Possible Racial Discrimation

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Oklahoma
    My wife and I live in a small town called Poteau. She is black and I am white.
    My wife walked to the store at 1:10 am. She drank maybe 2 beers before she left. A police officer stopped her and proceeded to ask her questions. She told him she did drink a little but she wasnt drunk. The officer used a flashlight and made her follow the light with her eyes. He then arrested her for public intoxication. He failed to do a breathalizer test or read her her rights.
    My questions are: Is this a legal arrest? If not what can I do about it? If this whole thing is a racial issue how can we protect ourselves legally?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    3,835

    Default Re: Wrongful Arrest And/or Racial Discrimation

    If she was drunk, the officer has to prove it in a court of law. If she was stopped soley because she is black, this is very very hard to prove. Police officer's subjective intentions play no role in 4th AM analysis, however there is an equal protection clause problem if it indeed is true.

    Can you prove she was singled out because she is black? The intial detainment may have been consensual or a Terry Stop, a detention based on less than probable cause. These questions have to be addressed by Counsel.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    California
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    Default Re: Wrongful Arrest And/or Racial Discrimation

    Miranda is not generally necessary until interrogation is made AFTER an arrest. And the failure to take any kind of a breath test just makes the state's case weaker, it does not make the arrest unlawful.

    Was she arrested pursuant to a local code section? Or, pursuant to state law? What section was she arrested for?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: Wrongful Arrest And/or Racial Discrimation

    Title 37. Intoxicating Liquors
    Chapter 1 - Intoxicating Liquors
    Section 8 - Consumption or Inhaling of Intoxicants in Public Places

    Any person who shall, in any public place, or in or upon any passenger coach, streetcar, or in or upon any other vehicle commonly used for the transportation of passengers, or in or about any depot, platform, waiting station or room, drink or otherwise consume any intoxicating liquor unless authorized by the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, intoxicating substance, or intoxicating compound of any kind, or inhale glue, paint or other intoxicating substance, or if any person shall be drunk or intoxicated in any public or private road, or in any passenger coach, streetcar, or any public place or building, or at any public gathering, from drinking or consuming such intoxicating liquor, intoxicating substance or intoxicating compound or from inhalation of glue, paint or other intoxicating substance, or if any person shall be drunk or intoxicated from any cause and shall disturb the peace of any person, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than Ten Dollars ($10.00), nor more than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), or by imprisonment for not less than five (5) days nor more than thirty (30) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
    So, how did the officer initiate contact? Why did he initiate contact?

    I have not found the definitions of drunk or intoxicated for the purpose of this statute. That would be quite important in determining if the charge is valid or not and if the lack of a breathalyzer would make any difference.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2005
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    California
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    Default Re: Wrongful Arrest With Possible Racial Discrimation

    I found a number of local jurisdictions in OK that have their own definition, hence the question as to what section was applied.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    4

    Default Re: Wrongful Arrest With Possible Racial Discrimation

    She wasnt drunk. Her speech wasnt slurred nor was she stumbling, etc.. The town we live in is kinda racist, but on a more subtle way. I cant prove exactly that it was bacause of her skin color, but why else would she be treated in such a mannor? She did her mugshots and fingerprints, then placed into a cell seperate from the ones where other drunk people were. She was also forced to wear the jumpsuit for the jail, but the other drunk people were left in their clothing and they were all white.

  7. #7
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Wrongful Arrest With Possible Racial Discrimation

    What does the booking report, from when she was processed into jail, say about her demeanor? If she showed signs of intoxication I would expect that to be noted on the booking report. There may also be video footage from inside the jail.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    4

    Default Re: Wrongful Arrest With Possible Racial Discrimation

    She drank the beer at home and didnt consume anything after she left, nor did she take any with her. The officer drove right up and started questioning her without reason other than a person walking down the street at night. He then searched her, and did the flashlight test and promptly arrested her.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    California
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    Default Re: Wrongful Arrest With Possible Racial Discrimation

    I imagine the arresting officer is going to try and articulate some element of the offense for which she was charged. Generally, one need not be drunk, only having consumed alcohol and causing a scene or acting in a manner that can cause themselves harm.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    4

    Default Re: Wrongful Arrest With Possible Racial Discrimation

    She was calm and as non-threatening as possable. She was totally compliant and not causing any sort of trouble. All she did was walk down a dark road alone at night

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