PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine lawmaker has filed a complaint about a top award the state police gave to a trooper accused of racially profiling a man in a traffic stop, while judges overseeing other cases involving the trooper are reconsidering motions to suppress evidence he collected.
Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos asked the public safety commissioner Wednesday why Trooper John Darcy was given the Trooper of the Year award and to investigate the allegations of racial profiling, the Portland Press Herald reported.
“Either the Maine State Police Commanders don’t watch the nightly news on television and are devoid of the knowledge of the tragedies sweeping the nation in reference to police misconduct and racial profiling, or this award was sent as a signal against the movement for racial equity and justice,” Evangelos wrote in the complaint.
In an August 2019 traffic stop, Darcy was recorded talking to another trooper on a cruiser microphone moments before stopping a motorist driving through York on Interstate 95. Darcy said the man looked like a thug, citing his dreadlocks and shirt, but also told the other trooper he was not racially profiling the driver, who is Black.
In September, a judge dismissed drug possession charges that were brought against the man in response to Darcy’s recorded comments, the newspaper reported.
Maine State Police named Darcy the top trooper in November, saying that he developed a training on gangs that is given to all new recruits and competes in a local powerlifting competition that raises money for Toys for Tots.
An attorney for the state police told the newspaper he would not immediately answer questions about why the award was given to Darcy or the status of the investigation into the traffic stop.
The state police did not respond to the newspaper’s request on Wednesday to interview Darcy.
Judges in two other cases involving traffic stops by Darcy with Black defendants are now reconsidering whether information about his comments and work history are relevant, the newspaper reported.