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 Ebner worked for a bar but her license to serve alcohol was revoked because of the impairment arrest.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.

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


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  1. 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.

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