United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
CARLTON W. REEVES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the
remaining defendant in this action, Officer Nick McLendon.
Plaintiff Clarence Jamison, Jr. filed suit against McLendon
and the Town of Pelahatchie alleging that McLendon conducted
an unlawful traffic stop, unreasonably extended the stop, and
unlawfully searched his vehicle, all in violation of the
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Having reviewed the briefs,
evidence, and applicable law, McLendon's motion shall be
granted in part and deferred in part.
facts are drawn from the parties' depositions.
29, 2013, Jamison, an African-American male, was traveling
home to Neeses, South Carolina. Jamison traveled on
Interstate 20 East from a vacation in Phoenix, Arizona,
driving a 2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Convertible he had
recently purchased from a car dealer in Pennsylvania. While
driving through the Town of Pelahatchie, Mississippi, Jamison
passed the patrol car of McLendon, a white male, who was
parked on the right shoulder of the Interstate. Shortly
thereafter, McLendon stopped Jamison's vehicle.
asked to see Jamison's license and registration. Jamison
complied and presented each document along with the
vehicle's bill of sale. After receiving the documents,
McLendon ran a background check on Jamison through the El
Paso Intelligence Center (“EPIC”). The background
check returned clear. McLendon then contacted the National
Criminal Information Center (“NCIC”) and asked
the dispatcher to run a criminal history on Jamison as well
as the VIN number on his vehicle.
Jamison asked why he had been pulled over, McLendon responded
that he could not read Jamison's license plate
information on his automated License Plate Recognition
(“LPR”) system because Jamison's tag was
folded over. Jamison later testified that his tag was fully
readable because there were bolts attached to each of the
four corners of the temporary license plate. When deposed for
this case, McLendon examined the tag and admitted that there
was no crease in it consistent with being folded. He claimed
“it could have been ironed out.”
McLendon waited on the results from NCIC, McLendon asked
Jamison a series of questions, including questions about
Jamison's occupation as a welder and the course of his
travels. McLendon says he grew suspicious of Jamison's
activity because Jamison was traveling from Phoenix, Arizona
(and later stopped in Las Vegas, Nevada), a place McLendon
considered “a known source area for narcotics.”
this exchange, McLendon told Jamison he had received an
anonymous tip that Jamison had 10 kilograms of cocaine in his
trunk. McLendon denied ever making that statement, but did
admit in his deposition that when he had a hunch about the
presence of drugs, he was right about 90 percent of the time.
testified that McLendon asked to search the car four or five
times. McLendon was so determined to obtain consent, Jamison
says, that McLendon promised Jamison, if there was a
“roach” of marijuana in the car, he would throw
it on the side of the road, “pull the case[, ] . . .
and destroy it.” Jamison did not believe he was free to
leave because McLendon placed his arm in the window as he
conducted the stop.
in fact, admitted in his deposition that the goal of the stop
was to obtain consent to search Jamison's car.
Q: Your purpose when you left his vehicle was to try to get
him to consent to let you search the vehicle?
A: Depending on what he told me and any other indicators I
might have received from him.
Q: That was your goal?
A: Goal? What?
Q: To get a search of his vehicle.
A: Yes, sir.
Q: When you got out of your vehicle to engage him, your goal
was I want to search his vehicle?
A: Yes, sir.
repeated requests, Jamison eventually consented to the
search. Concerned that McLendon might plant drugs in his
vehicle, however, Jamison stated that he would only consent
if he could see McLendon in “plain sight.”
Jamison stood in front of McLendon's patrol car as
McLendon conducted the search. Jamison testified that there
were two other officers at the scene of the stop, but the
other two officers did not participate in the search.
McLendon allowed Jamison to “use the bathroom” on
the side of the road three times.
did not find any drugs in Jamison's vehicle. Unsatisfied,
though, McLendon then brought out his K-9-which had been
waiting in McLendon's vehicle for over an hour at this
point-to sniff around the car. The K-9 did not alert to the
presence of drugs.
McLendon completed the search, he provided a flashlight to
Jamison and asked him to inspect the car for damage. McLendon
offered to pay for any property damage that may have resulted
from the search. Jamison testified that he was tired from
being stopped for so long, so he did not immediately notice
the property damage he now claims resulted from the search.
McLendon did not issue an official citation; instead he
issued Jamison a “Courtesy Warning.”
clock on McLendon's dashboard camera indicated that the
stop lasted one hour and 50 minutes. Jamison felt like it had
been several hours.
27, 2016, Jamison filed the instant lawsuit under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Jamison sued McLendon in his individual capacity
and the Town of Pelahatchie. The Town of Pelahatchie was
dismissed from this suit on December 20, 2017. Jamison seeks