Police officers are supposed to have training and experience identifying impaired drivers. There are specific signs they look for, including slurred speech, watery eyes, and the smell of alcohol. However, everyday police officers wrongly arrest people for driving under the influence even when they are totally sober.
David Shearon of Christiana, Tennessee was driving his pickup truck around Nashville when he was suddenly struck from behind. The driver of the Cadillac immediately admitted to causing the accident. Shearon was prepared for the inconvenience of filing an insurance claim, but no real harm was done. However, when a police officer showed up, Shearon found himself behind bars for drunk driving.
Shearon, 58, has a limp from a pre-existing foot injury. When Metro Nashville police officer Coleman Womack responded to the accident, he apparently thought the foot injury was instead a sign that Shearon had been drinking. Womack was arrested for a DUI, and carrying a firearm under the influence. After fighting the arrest and getting the charges dropped, Shearon is now filing a lawsuit against the officer and the city.
According to Shearon, Womack took $1,700 in cash that Shearon was carrying, only returning the money after Shearon's lawyer got involved. Womack later denied he took the money. Womack also argued with a hospital nurse about letting Shearon get a second blood test sample at his own expense, as allowed by law. That blood sample later cleared Shearon of the DUI after it was shown that he was not driving under the influence.
Shearon's lawsuit brings up the issue of false DUI arrests, lack of officer accountability, and rights violations by Womack and other Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) officers. Between 2011 and 2015, citizens filed almost 250 complaints against MNPD officers for rights violations. Of those complaints, 98% resulted in “no finding” or no sanctions against the officers involved.
Officer Womack had his own history of citizen complaints. In all but one out of 26 complaints against Womack, no finding was made against the officer, leading to zero sanctions. Supervisors with MNPD made their own complaints against Womack, as well. One supervisor made a complaint against Womack after he shut off his video and audio recording equipment during a traffic stop, which was the source of one of Womack's 26 citizen complaints. His only suspension came after he was arrested for assaulting his wife in a parking lot, for which he was given a 3 days suspension.
If you are facing a DUI and other related charges contact an experienced DUI attorney. At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people in the East Bay charged with a DUI. For over 30 years, she has personally handled hundreds of cases involving people arrested for drunk driving. If you have been arrested for a DUI here in the East Bay, there is still time to keep a conviction off your record and keep your license. Contact a local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you don't have to plead guilty just because you were arrested