DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Supreme Court will determine whether the police practice of using minor infractions as a pretext for stopping drivers they suspect of more serious crimes violates the Iowa Constitution in a case that civil liberty groups say has implications for police racial profiling.
The state’s high court heard arguments Tuesday in the case of Scottize Brown, of Waterloo.
Brown, who is black, was stopped in 2015 on suspicion of driving through a yellow light and having a burned-out license plate light.
The officer later acknowledged that he used those reasons to pull over the vehicle after learning the vehicle’s owner had gang connections.
Brown, who was driving, was arrested and later convicted of a second offense of driving while intoxicated.
In her appeal, Brown argues that the conviction be vacated and dismissed because the officer’s pretext for stopping her violates the state’s constitutional prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure.