UA law student files federal discrimination case against Arkansas State Police trooper

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A University of Arkansas law student has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit alleging that a trooper with the Arkansas State Police pulled him over for “driving while Black.”

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Little Rock, claims that Trooper Steven Payton violated a driver’s constitutional rights during a traffic stop on Interstate 40 near Russellville in August of 2020.

The driver, Marion Humphrey Jr., says the trooper violated his 4th and 14th Amendment rights during a vehicle search and arrest.

According to the suit, Humphrey, who is Black, was driving a rental truck from Fayetteville to Little Rock when he was pulled over by Payton.

The suit claims that the trooper’s stated reasons for the stop do not stand up to scrutiny. It also contends that the reasons Payton claimed for searching the vehicle and detaining Humphrey were not legally valid.

Officials with the Arkansas State Police said state commanders had not seen a copy of the lawsuit as of 4:45 p.m. Thursday and that the agency would not make any other statements regarding the case while litigation was pending.

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