Lawsuits claim Albemarle County officer targeted black people

Source: WRIC Newsroom

An Albemarle County police officer is facing lawsuits from six different people who claim he broke the law.

The people say they were targeted by the officer because they are black.

The lawsuits claim that officer Andrew Holmes illegally stopped people, detained them and searched their property. In one complaint, two men say officer Holmes forced them out of their car at gunpoint and held them for three hours, all because they didn’t have a front license plate and had too much tint on their windows.

The other complaints say Holmes illegally searched cars and homes, even though he had no reason to suspect anything illegal was happening.

The attorney who brought the lawsuit says something suspicious is going on here.

“This was based, I believe, on the police officer’s belief that any black males driving a nice car must be a drug dealer,” Attorney Jeff Fogel said. “And that’s what we’re dealing with here.”

You may recognize Fogel’s name, he’s the same man who sued Charlottesville police last year in attempt to get information about what type of people are stopped and frisked, and whether those are racially balanced. That suit was dismissed.

Fogel is also issuing a subpoena to the county, asking for the personnel file of Andrew Holmes and copies of any search warrants Holmes has signed in the past five years to see if there’s a pattern.