Failures

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
blood tests, drugs, police, tt carroll



Magical Cop Detects Drugs Better Than Blood Tests; Continues To Lock Innocent People Up

from the let's-just-shut-down-the-crime-lab-and-save-taxpayers-some-$$$ dept

In court filings, testimony, and warrant affidavits, law enforcement officers refer constantly to their "training and expertise." Given enough time on the job and enough laser-printed certificates, any law enforcement officer can be an "expert" in anything… even detecting nonexistent drug impairment.

Atlanta's 11 Alive News has been digging into Officer T.T. Carroll's impressive run of Driving Under the Influence arrests and finding some that aren't all that impressive. [h/t PitchforksAtTheGate] T.T. Carroll is a certified "Drug Recognition Expert," having attended 160 hours of classes put on by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Carroll is referred to by his coworkers as the "go-to guy" for impairment arrests and was given an award by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving for racking up 90 DUI arrests in one year.

Whatever the IACP is teaching in its classes must be powerful stuff. Officer Carroll's observational powers allow him to detect people impaired by drugs they've never had in their system.

Officer Carroll: "I'm going to ask you a question, okay? When was the last time you smoked marijuana?"

Katelyn Ebner: "Oh, I don't do that. I can give you a drug test right now."

Officer Carroll: "You don't smoke marijuana?"

Katelyn Ebner: "I do not, no."

Officer Carroll: "Okay. Well, you're showing me indicators that you have been smoking marijuana, okay?"

Katelyn Ebner: "I'm going to jail for marijuana?"

Officer Carroll: "No, ma'am -- not possession, unless I find any in your car. I believe you're impaired by the marijuana you've smoked."

Katelyn Ebner: "Okay, so when I do a drug test, I'll be free to go, correct?"

Officer Carroll: "You're going to jail, ma'am. Okay? I don't have a magical drug test that I can give you right now."

Ah, but Officer Carroll does have a "magical drug test." It's one he performs during stops that provides him with the probable cause for arrest, even when roadside impairment tests disagree with his PC assessment. And if his amazing drug recognition skills fail him, it's the arrestees that pay the price. In the case of Ebner, whose blood test came back clean, it cost her her job. Ebner worked for a bar but her license to serve alcohol was revoked because of the impairment arrest. Four months after her bogus arrest, she was cleared of all charges. All well and good, but being cleared of charges doesn't undo the damage done during the four months when charges were still pending.

The 11 Alive report examines two more arrests involving Officer Carroll's superhuman ability to detect drugs blood tests can't even find. In all three cases, lab tests for substances came up clean. Rather than offer to take a look at the super-productive officer's body of work, the police department has doubled down on its assertion that Officer Carroll detects drugs better than a blood test.

Complaints filed by arrestees have gone nowhere. The Cobb County PD's internal investigators responded with one highly-dubious claim…

Cobb County Investigators exonerated the officer and doubted Ebner's innocence, insisting, 'the marijuana could have already metabolized out of the blood.'

And one highly-infuriating one:

"When you brought up that you had a clean blood test when complaining to Internal Affairs, their answer was what?" Keefe asked.

"They said, 'Yeah, we see this happen all the time. Um, the test results come back wrong all the time,'" she said.

These would be the same drug tests prosecution experts would claim to be infallible if needed to secure a conviction. This lab apparently only hands out false negatives.

The consequences of Officer Carroll's "drug whispering" will never be felt by Officer Carroll. His department is already shielding him from the press and if these complaints become civil rights lawsuits, it's highly likely Carroll's "expertise" will result in a granting of qualified immunity. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, but no more so than in the hands of someone with a great deal of power and very little accountability.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2017 @ 1:38pm

    The most ironic (and wrong) part about this is that Marijuana drug tests are often wrong in the direction of reporting someone as under the influence who isn't.

    If you last used Marijuana weeks or even months ago, it can still be detected in your system in some drug tests, even if you're no longer under it's influence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Farside, 17 May 2017 @ 1:55pm

    Is there any recourse?

    Is there anything at all that can be done in these kinds of situations?

    Let's pretend the arrestee had unlimited money and resources and wanted to put an end to this bullshit. What could be done?

    Sometimes I have to stop visiting this site because ignorance is bliss and this shit scares the hell outta me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      William Braunfeld (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 2:15pm

      Re: Is there any recourse?

      Well, if they had unlimited money, it'd be easy to just buy laws, like the corporations do...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2017 @ 2:33pm

      Re: Is there any recourse?

      t's pretend the arrestee had unlimited money and resources

      In which case the police department would become very rich, as it would be seized as being the proceeds of drug crimes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      dani, 18 May 2017 @ 8:47am

      Re: Is there any recourse?

      actually, with enough time and money, you hire a decent attorney and begin civil trials. you hopefully find a few other people it happened to with the same officer. the police do things wrong all the time and aren't held accountable because no one has the time or money to take the department to task for training its officers right--i.e. a civil suit. civil suits are how great battles against power are won.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 1:56pm

    Don't worry Sessions will fix this

    Don't worry Sessions will fix this.

    Civil rights groups alarmed at Justice Department's review of local police settlements

    Sessions tells DOJ to revisit Obama-era agreements with local police departments

    Don’t Let Jeff Sessions Undermine Police Reform

    AG Sessions Orders Review of DOJ Police Conduct Investigations — Restore, Respect Local Control

    Jeff Sessions ties increase in violent crime to ‘undermined’ respect for police

    This one I'll comment on by asking: who exactly has undermined the respect for police? Perhaps an investigation should be started into that.

    AG Sessions’ Strong Support of Local Police Misses Key Point

    I could post more, but why.

    We need more law and order! (especially by the people who are supposed to give us law and order!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 2:02pm

    Consequences

    Officer T.T. Carroll is a known serial liar.

    The Cobb County police department supports and encourages serial liars.

    Cobb County police department arrest records are not credible.

    These points should be raised in ANY trial where Cobb County police testimony is presented, or any background check using police records.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2017 @ 2:46pm

      Re: Consequences

      They also have no problem depriving people of their rights, based on hunches.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Daydream, 17 May 2017 @ 5:13pm

      Re: Consequences

      Yup. Whenever accused of drug use, bring in an 'expert' witness who can testify that marijuana triggers the release of pigments that turn your nose bright green, in your body only.

      When the court questions the reliability of your witness, challenge the reliability of their police testimony. When they bring evidence of good character, bring out Carroll and every single other officer who's lied about drug tests in Cobb Country, noting any contradictions between their statements and that of prosecutors.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 2:02pm

    Obviously...

    Officer T. T. Carroll is a witch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 2:21pm

    'The evidence disagrees with the official claims, therefore the evidence is wrong.'

    The consequences of Officer Carroll's "drug whispering" will never be felt by Officer Carroll. His department is already shielding him from the press and if these complaints become civil rights lawsuits, it's highly likely Carroll's "expertise" will result in a granting of qualified immunity.

    Of course, because when all you care about is convictions the fact that a few/many/majority of those charged are innocent is irrelevant, as whether or not someone is guilty or not doesn't change the number of convictions. Challenging the miraculous ability to spot drugs might be wrong would lead to a decrease in convictions, and we can't have that now can we?

    Add to that it's a cop making the accusations and ruining lives, and as any police union(and many departments, and judges, and DAs...) will tell you a cop is never wrong. If the tests came out negative after he's declared that the accused has used drugs then the test must be wrong(this time, any positives are of course completely and 100% accurate).

    The level of denial on display would almost be impressive if it weren't so incredibly damaging to those impacted by it, as it is it's simply yet another perfect example of why people are increasingly losing any respect they might have had for the police.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 2:25pm

    Keeping the cash flowing

    How many corporate prisons are there in Cobb County GA.?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 17 May 2017 @ 2:32pm

    Get them on perjury.

    Get testimony from one court where they are stating the drug tests aren't wrong, and enter it as evidence in a false accusation as this.

    Forget the prosecution and judge - we really need JURIES to stand up and be counted here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 2:43pm

      Re: Get them on perjury.

      The problem with this is that, at least in his own mind, he didn't lie. He was 'certified' as a 'Drug Recognition Expert'. Now, that certificate might be the lie, but it didn't testify in court.

      Another thing is, is a 'Drug Recognition Expert' certified as someone who can tell the difference between crumbs from donut frosting vs cocaine, or someone who can not only tell that someone is on drugs, but what kind, (and maybe which regional pharma plant they came from as well as the year of production), just by looking at someone?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TruthHurts (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 2:33pm

    Undercover Fed is what's needed.

    Have an Undercover fed drive around "suspiciously", until the "drug detection god" falls for the bait.

    Then, when he's about to make his "arrest", boom, feds swarm in, slam him into the ground, slap the cuffs on him and take him away for a one way trip to Gitmo for life.

    I figure if the "police officer" can't bother to follow the law, and makes false arrests as well as falsifying police reports, then he can just get sent somewhere to sit and rot for the rest of his life.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2017 @ 3:08pm

      Re: Undercover Fed is what's needed.

      Take the same training he did and then a little bit more. Follow him around (driving) until he does something slightly incorrect (shouldn't take long, he's a cop). Pull him over and make a citizen's arrest for marijuana indicators. After all, you'll be a more "expert" expert than he is at that point.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2017 @ 3:25pm

    Reminds me of something....

    "Drug Recognition Expert" - is that like being able to tell if someone is a virgin by the way they walk?

    /snark

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    My_Name_Here, 17 May 2017 @ 6:02pm

    This is why Shiva wants your site shut down, Masnick. Because you let empty mouthpieces brag about your misguided hatred for authority.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mellow, 17 May 2017 @ 6:26pm

      Re: What authority?

      See Subject

      So, I visit Mom in Colorado, inhale some legal smoke and travel back home to a non-legal-inhale-smoke state and...

      Oh yoo-hoo! Yo, prison-for-profit yahoos, your karma is coming to getcha. Somehow methinks you'all will be booted off the boat in due time.

      What a country. What a bad-dream dizzy (Disney) loony bin this is.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2017 @ 7:26pm

      Re:

      Also known as the internet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2017 @ 8:23pm

      Re:

      Cry harder.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2017 @ 6:19am

      Re:

      and yet seemingly your hatred of all things not under your control drives you to post silly illogical non sense on a website - and you want to be my latex salesman!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2017 @ 7:36am

      Re:

      you mean, "abuse of authority"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Daydream, 17 May 2017 @ 6:08pm

    So, what is this Katelyn Ebner doing now that's she's lost her job?

    Has she found a new job? Has she moved in with family? Is she suing for lost income and fees? Is she homeless now? Has she turned to crime to make ends meet?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 19 May 2017 @ 2:33am

      Re: So, what is this Katelyn Ebner doing now that's she's lost her job?

      I don't know but given that all of the above are possibilities it's reasonable to complain about police abuse of the authority granted them by We the People.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 8:20pm

    Anyone want to crowdfund the cash to put someone through the same programs?
    I think someone similarly trained showing up in the police station saying they are all on drugs would lead to fun. They have to arrest themselves, or admit the system is bullshit.

    I suppose the only upside is they can claim it isn't the often wrong $2 field tests screwing people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2017 @ 5:47am

    The smartest guy in the room

    For a moment there I thought this guy was from Enron County.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2017 @ 6:14am

    class action suit against the department?
    or just flood them with a bunch of little lawsuits?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Oblate (profile), 18 May 2017 @ 6:20am

    Officer Carroll: "Okay. Well, you're showing me indicators that you have been smoking marijuana, okay?"

    Can the officer explain the indicators displayed and provide details about how she failed each of them, either in his report or under oath in a court of law? If not, how does this proceed any further? Or has the legal system become so degraded that evidence is no longer needed in a case of this magnitude?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    D.C. Pathogen (profile), 18 May 2017 @ 7:03am

    Cobb county Sheriff

    Which family member of the Cobb county sheriff Neil Warren's is running the certification class?

    Deputy: Didn't you just refuse to go out with my brother? You must be on drugs I'm certified.

    Deputy: Aren't you the one that sold my nephew that broken Zune? You must be on drugs I'm certified.

    Deputy: You didn't make a sizable donation to my kids collage fund? You must be on drugs, I'm certified.

    Deputy: Did you just look me in the eye sinner? You must be on drugs, I'm certified.

    Deputy: If I make 2 more bogus arrests the week, I will get a promotion and more money. You must be on drugs, I'm certified.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    me, 18 May 2017 @ 7:54am

    The proper response to any of his bullshit is

    Talk to my lawyer

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2017 @ 8:27am

    Officer titty, as well as any officers who claim some kind of magical ability, should be able to demonstrate it for the court, validated by a scientific panel or, failing that, the Randi foundation. Failing to demonstrate this superhuman talent, they should inmediately be captured and charged with fraud.

    In a fair world I mean

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 18 May 2017 @ 6:56pm

      Re:

      validated by a scientific panel or, failing that, the Randi foundation.

      Good catch, if he's really a magic drug detector then a few hours, maybe a day max and he could easily score a million bucks and validation for his miraculous ability. Of course I imagine he'd pull a Geller and 'just not feel it' that day, or any other day of testing...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 18 May 2017 @ 10:07am

    I hope karma comes around in spades for these asshole cops.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2017 @ 1:00pm

    When?

    I've been seeing this more and more, and it's just disgusting. When the hell did "arrest" start equaling "conviction"?

    Think about it. In all but the most technical senses, it really does. And even being exonerated does not change things. It's even worse in cases like CP or rape, where the stigma *never* goes away, no matter innocence or mistaken identity or what have you. Once arrested, always tainted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Gence Nointeli, 18 May 2017 @ 5:32pm

    Magic drug test

    Instead of charging someone with a criminal offense based on this training, suspend driver's license for 12 - 24 hours plus this training can only be used when the traffic stop was for a moving violation, not a broken tail light.

    BTW Does anybody remembers the tv show "lie To Me" This training appears to be closely related to the subject of the tv show, becoming a human lie detector by watching the subject rather than listening. Questions are asked, answers are given & heard, but it's the subject's body language that they are using to determine truthfulness.

    Problems arise when the environment around the officer and subject is ignored. Time of day, Lighting, traffic, weather, all can influence the behavior of both officer and subject.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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