Georgia currently has over 250 police officers who have received “drug recognition expert” training to identify drivers who are under the influence of drugs. Drug-related DUI arrests have been increasing in the state, as alcohol-related DUIs have been decreasing. But local journalists have discovered a troubling trend of people who are completely sober getting arrested for driving while stoned.
Katelyn Ebner was pulled over by police for crossing the centerline as she drove home from her job as a server at a bar. Ebner passed a breathalyzer test, but DRE-trained Officer T.T. Carroll arrested her anyway, claiming that he could tell that she had been using marijuana. Ebner spent the night in jail, and lost her alcohol-serving permit due to the arrest. After four months and thousands of dollars in legal fees, Ebner's case was dismissed because her blood test came back negative for all drugs.
The waitress filed a complaint against Carroll to Internal Affairs, but the investigators exonerated him, claiming that “the marijuana could have already metabolized out of the blood.” Ebner said that Internal Affairs told her that “the test results were wrong, and also, if I had a urine test, it would have come back positive for drugs." Ebner did in fact take a urine test on her own after the arrest, and the results also came back negative for all drugs.
Journalists found that Officer Carroll, who the Cobb County Police Department calls their “go-to officer when it comes to DUI-drugs,” had arrested at least two other individuals for driving while stoned who turned out to be completely sober.
Last week, he was given a Silver Medal for making 90 DUI arrests last year. “I'm one of these arrests," said Princess Mbamara, who Carroll also arrested for driving stoned when she was in fact sober. “He's getting an award for just arrests. Not even convictions. Arrests.”
"He's getting praised for arresting innocent people," Ebner said. "I'm not saying all those people he arrested were innocent, but at least three of them were, and no one is doing anything about it."