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Published: Friday, 1/10/2014 - Updated: 2 years ago

Detroit councilman claims police mistreated him

Says traffic stop led to 'bogus' ticket, claims race was an issue


DETROIT — A newly elected Detroit city councilman said he wasn’t drunk and was a victim of racial profiling when police ticketed him for a “bogus charge” of failing to use a turn signal.

George Cushingberry Jr. admits there was a strong odor of marijuana in the car, but he said the smell was from a passenger who was legally carrying medical marijuana.

Two officers followed policy and summoned a supervisor after Cushingberry identified himself as a public official during a traffic stop Tuesday night. He had been at a bar.

Cushingberry told the Detroit Free Press that he had an empty rum bottle in the car from a party several days ago.

“It was obvious that I wasn’t drunk because he didn’t give me any field sobriety,” he said.

Cushingberry was released but ticketed for failing to use a signal.

“That is a bogus charge. I intend to fight it,” he said.

Police Chief James Craig Jr. said there will be an internal investigation of how a supervisor handled the stop. Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody said it seems Cushingberry should have been arrested.

Cushingberry said he had a shot of rum during a meal at the Penthouse Lounge, six glasses of water and two diet Cokes.

Cushingberry, who is black, claims he was targeted by two white officers. Detroit is 82 percent black.

“I think they’ve got to do far more sensitivity training with some of these people who came on the force later who are not as sensitive to the racial issues and to following the law,” he said.

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