WATCH: Lawsuit Claims Video is Evidence of a “Quota System” for DUI Arrests

The video taken by a dashboard camera shows two Pennsylvania State Police troopers discussing which one of them should get credit for arresting a man on suspicion of driving under the influence because they both need their “20 for the month,” is evidence of a “quota system” for DUI arrests, a federal civil rights lawsuit claims.

Without performing roadside sobriety tests to establish probable cause in a May 2015 arrest in the parking lot of a bar near Lehighton, troopers speculated whether the suspect sitting in the back of a cruiser was “DUI,” the suit alleges.

One trooper asked another, “You mind if I take this?” adding, “I need my 20 for the month,” the video shows.

“I need mine too, but I’ll let you have him,” the other trooper replied, according to the video.

The lawsuit filed this month also alleges that the arresting trooper and other officers falsely reported drunken-driving violations in the past and that state police supervisors were deliberately indifferent to the practice and condoned and encouraged it by setting quotas for filing such cases.

The trooper who made the 2015 arrest later falsified court documents, stating he performed field sobriety tests that the motorist failed, when no tests were given, the lawsuit alleges. The video shows the driver, Noah Reed of Jacksonville, Fla., being placed in one police car in handcuffs and later transferred to another without being given the tests described in the court documents.

“The law doesn’t allow quota systems for a very good reason,” said attorney Joshua Karoly of Allentown, who is representing Reed. “It puts a personal motive into law enforcement and that’s not good for anyone.”

Ticket quotas for Pennsylvania law enforcement officers have been banned by state law since 1981.

State police spokesmen did not respond to several requests for comment on the lawsuit, or questions on whether state police use a quota system, whether the incident has been investigated and about state police policies on field sobriety tests.

When Matthew J. Rapa, Reed’s criminal defense attorney in the DUI case, learned of the video, he filed a motion to suppress the blood-test results that revealed methamphetamine in Reed’s system. In June, a Carbon County judge dismissed the charges of driving under the influence of controlled substances brought against Reed.

Carbon County District Attorney Jean Engler said the May 17, 2015, impaired-driving charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement involving three impaired-driving cases and a terroristic threats charge. The prosecutor who handled the cases chose the strongest two to pursue, Engler said.

In his federal lawsuit, Reed claims his arrest amounted to a false arrest and illegal search and accuses Trooper Ronald Mercatili of false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and violating his constitutional rights.

The facts that Reed, 34, had some amount of an illegal drug in his system, and has since pleaded guilty to two unrelated offenses of driving under the influence of a controlled substance are irrelevant, Karoly said.

The allegations in the lawsuit center on the video recorded by a dash cam in a state police cruiser driven by Trooper Gary Fedor and how the images and words it captured contradict the court documents Mercatili filed against Reed.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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