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Was this retired firefighter arrested for DUI or...something else?

The town of Surprise, Arizona, has unfortunately been all-too-apt for a retired firefighter from Ohio who moved to a retirement community there. According to the 64-year-old, his wife works 12-hour shifts as a nurse, so he adjusted his schedule to conform to hers -- which means he's out at night fairly regularly. And, he's African-American.

Area police have noticed his late-night schedule, apparently. He has been pulled over 10 times and given four tickets since he arrived in the town. The last time he was unfairly stopped, however, caused him some real trouble. He was arrested for DUI even though he was not under the influence of alcohol or any drug.

"I can tell you're driving DUI by looking in your eyes," a Surprise officer allegedly told him after stopping him at around 11 p.m. one Friday night for allegedly crossing a lane marker. "You've got bloodshot eyes."

"'I've been swimming at LA Fitness," the man pointed out. "I think you're DUI," the officer responded. The officer called in reinforcements and subjected the man to field sobriety tests despite his having told them he had bad knees and a bad hip. He was scheduled for hip replacement surgery the next day.

The officers apparently fumbled around with those tests, then handcuffed the man and told him to sit on the curb, which he couldn't comfortably do because of his hip. When he complained, he says, the officers told him to quit whining.

He was arrested for DUI, which meant his car was impounded and notice was sent to the state motor vehicles division to suspend his driver's license. Finally, he was taken to the station and given a Breathalyzer test.

He blew a 0.00.

The astonished officers called in a drug recognition expert to examine him, and he showed no signs of impairment whatsoever. A blood test was ordered and he came back completely clean.

The retired firefighter has now filed a lawsuit against the Surprise Police Department for violating his civil rights. He doesn't believe he was arrested for DUI at all -- "It was driving while black," he contends.

The DUI charges were dropped, but he had to wait two days to bail his car out of the impound lot. He still has to resolve the driver's license suspension and DUI class he was ordered to take, and his wife had to leave work at the hospital to come bail him out. All in all, he's out at least $5,000 in money he can't afford to lose.

"Listen, I was a firefighter and firefighters work hand in hand with police officers, I have nothing against police officers," he said, "this just wasn't right."

Source: ABC15.com, "Surprise man charged with DUI; documents show drug recognition experts said no impairment present," Christopher Sign, June 4, 2013

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