Federal judge rules police officer lied about traffic stop

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2020 | Firm News

Dashcam video from a Cincinnati, Ohio, police officer’s cruiser was used to exonerate a man who the officer accused of making an illegal lane change, which eventually led to drug charges against the motorist.

Timothy Britton was pulled over on a Cincinnati street in October of 2018 by an officer claiming he failed to use his turn signal at an intersection until he was already in the intersection.

The officers search led to more serious charges

After stopping Britton, Officer Caleb Sarchet detected marijuana, and a search found 20 grams of the substance as well as a 9mm handgun. Britton was also ticketed for having illegal window tinting on his vehicle.

The man’s defense attorney moved to suppress all the evidence saying the stop was invalid in the first place. He pointed to video evidence showing the officer’s claim of an illegal lane change was bogus.

Judge confirms defense assertions after viewing video

Upon seeing the visual evidence, U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett found the officer’s claims to be false. Barrett said the dashcam video clearly showed Britton using his turn signal prior to arriving at the intersection.

The judge said the video demonstrated that Britton made a proper turn and proceeded in a legal manner until he saw the officer’s flashing lights and immediately pulled over.

Prosecutors tried to reframe the justification over the stop

After the judge said the officer had no reason to pull Britton over for an illegal lane change, prosecuting attorneys then tried to claim that dark window tinting on Britton’s vehicle was reason enough for the stop.

However, Barrett said, given the video, he would not allow the justification for stopping Britton in the first place, saying the officer’s actions were not objectively reasonable. Britton still faces another court hearing over how or whether the case against him will proceed.

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