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Probe continues into whether Trooper of the Year engaged in racial profiling



The Maine State Police continue to investigate allegations that the 2019 Trooper of the Year engaged in racial profiling in response to a complaint filed by a Knox County lawmaker, the agency’s spokesperson said Friday. But unless the trooper is disciplined, the outcome of the investigation won’t be made public.

“The Maine State Police have received a complaint alleging racial profiling by Trooper John Darcy but personnel confidentiality statutes keep us from discussing any ongoing investigations,” Shannon Moss said. “The Maine State Police take all allegations of misconduct very seriously and we’re committed to a thorough investigative process.”

In February, state Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, an independent from Friendship, asked Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck to investigate whether Darcy had engaged in racial profiling during traffic stops that led to drug charges. Evangelos also alleged that Darcy was given the award as a rebuke to the Black Lives Matter movement.

On Wednesday, Sauschuck told Evangelos that the state’s Office of Employee Relations reviewed the allegations against Darcy in connection with the Trooper of the Year award and said that “they were not substantiated.” Moss said late Thursday that Sauschuck’s comments to Evangelos did not address the racial profiling allegations themselves.

Allegations of Darcy’s racial profiling became public last fall after the U.S. attorney’s office dropped criminal charges against a Black man the trooper pulled over in August 2019.

The defense attorney in that case pointed to Maine State Police video of the traffic stop as evidence of racial profiling, the Portland Press Herald reported last October.

Darcy can be heard in the video saying the driver looked “like a thug” because “he’s wearing a wifebeater” and “he’s got dreads.” He is then heard telling the other trooper in the cruiser that he is not racially profiling the driver, the Press Herald reported.

In at least three other cases, federal judges are considering motions to suppress evidence based on Darcy’s traffic stops in which drugs were confiscated from Black defendants. In a fourth, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine will support a federal defender’s efforts to suppress evidence Darcy collected at a traffic stop.

Evangelos has requested cruiser recordings from 12 of Darcy’s traffic stops that led to charges going back to 2016.

Christopher Parr, staff attorney for the agency, told the lawmaker that it was unlikely the state police would release recordings in the cases pending in court until the cases are resolved.

The remaining recordings, related to cases that have been resolved or dismissed, would be reviewed “to determine whether there is a reasonable possibility that their disclosure would constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of any individual who is involved in the matters to which the videos relate” before they’d be released to Evangelos, Parr wrote in an email to the lawmaker.

Evangelos said Friday that he is working with criminal defense attorneys to gather information on more of Darcy’s traffic stops.

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