WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Three men have decided to come forward about a traffic stop in which they say they were racially profiled.
“There’s no justifying this,” said Lamar Adams.
Adams, Darnell Boone and Albert Taylor are all from Youngstown. But, a traffic stop in Warren led to the men feeling like they had been profiled.
“The more we sweep things under the rug and we’re not talking about these everyday issues in society, it’s gonna continue to happen,” Taylor said.
The three men had just left a party. Adams volunteered to be the designated driver. Then, they were pulled over by a Warren police officer for turning into the far lane. The officer asked for all of their identifications.
After the officer ran back their information, the dispatcher asked the officer to call her on the phone. Then, this exchange took place.
Dispatcher: Hey Mike.
Officer: Hey, what’s up?
Dispatcher: I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, that car comes back from a 63-year-old white female from Brookfield. I mean, what are these three guys doing in her car?
Dispatcher: That’s my question.
The Dispatcher goes on to repeat her concerns.
Dispatcher: She’s from Brookfield. She’s a 63-year-old white female… and these are all Black men.
Dispatcher: I don’t know. Just so you know. She don’t look like somebody that would be giving her car out.
Dispatcher: OK hun, thanks.
The vehicle actually belonged to Taylor’s girlfriend, and it was registered in her mother’s name. But, the men say that shouldn’t even matter.
“It was a routine traffic stop, give us a ticket, let us go on about our way,” Boone said.
“Or was it three Black men in a car, and let me see what these guys possibly have on them,” Taylor said.
At the time of the stop, the men didn’t know the conversation that had taken place, but when the officer came back to the car, the routine traffic stop turned into something else when the officer asked to search the vehicle.
“You don’t have no reason to sir… We know our rights,” Adams said in response.
“Awesome… So I’m a K9 handler, what I’m gonna do is run my dog around the vehicle, if my dog alerts to the vehicle, I’m gonna search the vehicle,” the officer responded.
The officer said the dog hit on the car for marijuana, but the men said they don’t smoke. When the officer searched the car, there were no drugs found.
“If the dog hit the car for marijuana, y’all didn’t find any marijuana, so what does that say about the dog?” Adams said.
All three men feel the dispatcher’s comments are what kickstarted the rest of the stop.
“Whatever happened when she said to call the desk, and he left, when he came back, it was a total different demeanor,” Boone said.
Taylor’s father is a law enforcement officer, and Taylor says he has always admired his father and what he does, but this type of treatment defers him and others from trusting the police.
During the search, the officer did find a gun legally registered to Boone. The gun was found in the trunk, under the spare tire. Boone told officers that he thought that was an acceptable place to keep the gun, but the officer said it was within reach. Because Boone did not have a CCW at the time, he was arrested.
Those charges were later dismissed.
The traffic stop happened in 2019. When asked why the men waited so long to speak out about it, they said they tried to find someone to help them at the time but had no luck. Then when COVID-19 hit, they had to put it on hold.
But, they’re speaking out now because they feel something needs to be done so this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
“We got discouraged, but then one day, I was just listening to it and I was like, let me just put this on Facebook, and when I did that, it kinda shed some light on it,” Adams said.
Boone and Adams feel the dispatcher on the call should not be in that position and that disciplinary action needs to take place. Taylor feels a little different.
“I have empathy and I have sympathy, but I do want her told. I’m tired of these people in these positions, and they’re not told anything,” Taylor said.
First News made several attempts to speak with someone from Trumbull County Dispatch, as well as the Trumbull County Commissioners. We have not heard back from the dispatch center, and the two commissioners we spoke to said they do not know enough about the situation to make a comment.