SURPRISE, Ariz. (CBS Cleveland) — Arizona authorities charge a man for driving under the influence despite him blowing a .000 on a breathalyzer test.
KNXV-TV reports that 64-year-old Jessie Thornton – a native of Ohio – was recently pulled over by Surprise police after he recently left an LA Fitness gym. Thornton then says the officer accused him of driving drunk.
“He walked up and he said ‘I can tell you’re driving DUI by looking in your eyes,’” Thornton told KNXV.
Thornton was then given a sobriety test.
“I take my glasses off and he says, ‘You’ve got bloodshot eyes.’ I said, ‘I’ve been swimming at LA Fitness,’ and he says, ‘I think you’re DUI,’” said Thornton. “He goes, ‘Well we’re going to do a sobriety test.’ I said, ‘OK, but I got bad knees and a bad hip with surgery in two days.’”
Documents obtained by KNXV shows that Thornton did have hip replacement surgery shortly after his arrest.
After the sobriety test, Thornton was handcuffed and placed on the curb.
“I couldn’t even sit on the ground like that and they knew it and I was like laying on the ground, then they put me in the back of an SUV and when I asked the officer to move her seat up because my hip hurt she told me to stop whining,” Thornton explained to KNXV.
At the station, Thornton took a breathalyzer test and was examined by a drug recognition expert. The breathalyzer test came back .000 and the tests done by the drug recognition expert showed no signs of drug abuse.
“After he did all the tests, he says, ‘I would never have arrested you, you show no signs of impairment,’” Thornton told KNXV.
Despite the DUI charge being dropped, his car was impounded. He is now suing the City of Surprise for half a million dollars.
“This is a case of D-W-B, driving while black,” Marc Victor, Thornton’s attorney, told KNXV.
The Surprise Police Department did not comment on the case.