Alamance County Racial Profiling Case Enters Second Week

Alamance County Racial Profiling Case Enters Second Week

4:56pm Aug 19, 2014
Alamance County Sheriff Terry S. Johnson
Photo courtesy of the N.C. Sheriff's Association Web site

An Alamance County Sheriff who is accused of racial profiling is on trial this week in Winston-Salem.

Federal authorities say Sheriff Terry Johnson and officers unlawfully targeted Hispanics for arrest. Tuesday is the opening of the defense testimony for Johnson.  

Michael Abernethy, a reporter with the Times-News of Burlington, has been covering the trial. He says the defense will try to show that Johnson is just doing what he needs to do to fight crime.

“I think they want to emphasize that Mexican drug cartels – specifically from Mexico – are moving product in and out of Alamance County and the sheriff’s job, with the DEA, was to target that,” Abernethy says.

Last week, several officers testified that Hispanics were treated differently than others who were stopped by officers.

“The statement typically was if you stop a Hispanic and they don’t have a driver’s license, you don’t cite them you take them to jail – that was the claim,” Abernethy says.

The Department of Justice also submitted traffic-stop data that they say show a pattern of racial disparities. Johnson’s attorneys say the data is faulty.

The trial is scheduled to end this week. Abernethy says if it doesn’t conclude as scheduled it will likely be continued to September.

Support your
public radio station