Black law student sues Arkansas state trooper who unlawfully detained him
Marion Humphrey Jr. says he was pulled over by the trooper for “driving while Black.”
A Black law student is suing an Arkansas State Police trooper and alleging racial profiling after being pulled over in August. At the time, Marion Humphrey Jr. was driving a U-Haul home from the University of Arkansas when state trooper Steven Payton pulled him over and searched his truck for drugs.
In a memo submitted to his supervisor, Payton claimed he began tailing Humphrey after noticing he was driving with a tight grip on his steering wheel and staring straight ahead at the road, which made Payton “suspicious of some kind of criminal activity.” Payton also said Humphrey “appeared extremely nervous,” although lawyers claim Humphrey was sitting too far back in his seat for Payton to see his face.
The trooper said he finally pulled the U-Haul over because Humphrey abruptly exited the freeway, causing “the weight of the truck to shift.” Humphrey denies this happened.
Payton then detained Humphrey for over an hour and ransacked the U-Haul claiming he was searching for drugs. Dashcam footage from the trooper’s car showed Humphrey was afraid for his life during the encounter. At one point, he says to Payton, “I honestly just don’t want to get shot. It happens, and I know it happens.”
Additional officers and a drug-sniffing dog were brought to the scene to search Humphrey’s car. The K-9 allegedly detected narcotics and he was put in handcuffs. Humphrey had his father on speakerphone with him during the arrest and called out, “He’s arresting me! Daddy, he’s arresting me!”
Payton could be heard belittling Humphrey for being a student and for calling his father.
“I wouldn’t call my daddy at 32,” he said to Humphrey.
After over an hour of searching, the dog and the officers found no drugs in the vehicle and Humphrey was released with a warning for careless driving.
The federal lawsuit claims Payton had no legal justification for pulling Humphrey over in the first place. The trooper did not record Humphrey as doing anything suspicious in an incident report and overexaggerated details of the encounter to justify his actions. Rather, Humphrey and his legal team say he was profiled by the trooper and pulled over simply for “driving while Black.”
“We know police stop African Americans who are driving while Black all the time,” Former U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge, who is representing Humphrey, said in the suit. “This case is not one where someone was shot or killed, thankfully. But that’s what makes it newsworthy to me is that it’s representative of what happens to African Americans all the time. And often we don’t get to hear about those things.”
“Because he was driving a U-Haul on I-40, they have reasonable suspicion to think he’s carrying drugs? Well, give me a break,” he added to the Atlanta Black Star. “Once again, we’re back to racist conclusions because you have a Black man driving a U-Haul. What if it was a white woman? Would you make the same assumption? If he would not make the same assumption, that is racist policing. That must stop.”
Per the suit, Humphrey is seeking emotional and punitive damages and claims Payton violated his civil rights with an unlawful search and seizure.
Arkansas State Police have yet to file a response to the lawsuit in court.
“State police commanders have not seen a copy of the lawsuit and we will not be making public statements about the case while there is pending litigation,” Agency spokesman Bill Sadler said in a statement.
Eldridge expects Payton to file a response to the lawsuit within the next few months.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Below, our gift guide highlights some of our favorite Walmart finds for anyone in need of a home refresh.
“REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy Rue counts down the top five moments from the 2023 Billboard Music Awards, including surprising wins, historic firsts, and dope performances. Sponsored by Amazon.
In this new episode of ‘Bet on Black,’ food and beverage take center stage as aspiring Black entrepreneurs from It’s Seasoned, Black Farmer Box, and Moors Brewing Co. present their business ideas to judges with mentorship from Melissa Butler. Watch here!
On Oct. 10, Walmart unveiled a brand new, state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University.
The Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour made its final stop at Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) and left a lasting impact on students and alumni alike.
After unveiling their state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University, Walmart brought the HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour to Virginia State University (VSU) on Oct. 13.
Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour brings attention and wisdom to North Carolina Central University
On Oct. 17, Walmart brought the third stop of the HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour to North Carolina Central University (NCCU).
In October, Walmart unveiled a brand new, state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University. The HBCU located in Wilberforce, OH was the first stop on Walmart’s Black and Unlimited HBCU Tour.
REVOLT is continuing its impactful partnership with Walmart by teaming up to showcase Black creatives at HBCUs all-across America. The panel consisted of three experienced, accomplished Black HBCU alumni: Actor and media personality Terrence J, entertainment attorney John T. Rose, and actress and “REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy-Rue McCullough.
The health of a community can often be traced to the health of the environment that surrounds it. In Atlanta, a woman named Dr. Jaqueline Echols has dedicated her life to helping ensure that people in economically underserved communities have clean rivers – for better health and for the joy of outdoor recreational space.
On this all-new episode of “On In 5,” multitalented Nigerian artist Pheelz opens up about waiting for his opportunity to fully express himself through music, his inspirations and emotions, and the musical icons he grew up admiring. Watch!
Take a look inside the Makers Studio presented by Walmart at REVOLT WORLD, a space where Black creators could hone in on their brand and see it come to life.
Kareem Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke & networking | 'The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels'
On this all-new episode of “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels,” the host and REVOLT CEO sits down with Kareem Cook. Throughout the introspective episode, Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke and being nervous to be in the South at the time, network vs. education, taking advantage of your opportunities, and connecting with Debbie Allen. Watch!
Tiffany Haddish on therapy, wild fan interactions & the upcoming 'Haunted Mansion' movie | 'The Jason Lee Show'
On this all-new episode of “The Jason Lee Show,” the one and only Tiffany Haddish sits for a must-watch conversation about wild interactions with fans, her new movie ‘Haunted Mansion,’ bringing her therapist on dates, and being present. Watch the hilarious interview here.
For this all-new episode of “On In 5,” singer-songwriter BNXN discusses his journey from IT to music, finding his voice and originality, linking up with Wizkid for their hits “Mood” and “Many Ways,” and what fans can expect from him this year — including a new album. Watch the full episode here!
Fly Guy DC taps in with REVOLT WORLD attendees to learn what the Opportunity Center, presented by Walmart, means to them and their futures.
Groovey Lew on hip hop style, Johnell Young's industry secrets, BGS salon's wig mastery and more | 'Black Girl Stuff'
Fashion King Groovey Lew on masterminding hip-hop’s most iconic looks. Actor Johnell Young reveals the secret to breaking into the entertainment industry. Celebrity hairstylist Dontay Savoy and got2B ambassador Tokyo Stylez are in the BGS Salon with the perfect wig install. Plus, comedian Lauren Knight performs.