The charges against an Ellenwood,
GA-based man who police said was hauling more than 900 pounds of marijuana have
been dismissed by a county court because tapes showing probable cause for the
stop were inadvertently destroyed. The man was driving a “big rig truck,” police said.
The Associated Press reported that this is the third case dropped in Coconino County, GA, in recent months because of problems with stops made by the Department
of Public Safety.
The two other cases – one involving
a man police said was hauling 1,400 pounds of marijuana in a semi and the other
a woman charged with having 50 pounds of cocaine in her car – were dismissed
because the judge decided the initial traffic stops that led to the arrests
In the most recent case, Daniel
Palmer was stopped for speeding in his truck and was subsequently searched
after the officer noticed that the truck’s vents were closed and that Palmer
did not know the name of his passenger, The AP reported.
Palmer’s lawyer requested to see
the tapes from the officer’s car to determine whether or not the officer used
racial profiling in stopping Palmer, who is black. When the tapes were not
produced, the judge dismissed the case.
The AP reported that the Coconino County District Attorney’s
office said the tapes were destroyed because of a miscommunication and that new
safeguards have been put in place to make sure that doesn’t happen again.