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Clarett files federal suit over March traffic stop



Published: Sat, May 21, 2011 @ 12:09 a.m.

ex-osu star says task force violated the 14th amendment

By Peter H. Milliken

milliken@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Maurice Clarett has sued the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force and its agents in federal court, alleging the task force violated his due-process rights while making a traffic stop.

In the suit, filed Thursday by Atty. Percy Squire of Columbus, Clarett, 27, a member of the United Football League’s Omaha Nighthawks and former standout at Warren G. Harding High School and Ohio State University, alleges the agents stopped the vehicle he was driving without a warrant for him and without probable cause, unlawfully detained him, unlawfully searched him and the vehicle, and unlawfully confiscated about $30,000 from him.

Such actions, the suit says, is a violation of the 14th Amendment. Squire is a Youngstown native.

Clarett, now living in Dublin, a Columbus suburb, said he wasn’t charged with any crime in the March 3 traffic stop.

The lawsuit, assigned to U.S. District Judge Benita Y. Pearson in Youngstown, seeks an injunction ordering the task force to return the cash to him, plus unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and attorney fees.

“Defendants’ acts were motivated by bad faith, inasmuch as defendants have abrogated unto themselves the unfettered authority to confiscate property from young black males without cause or justification,” the suit says.

Detective Sgt. Jeff Solic, task-force commander, declined to comment on the lawsuit Friday.

Clarett spent more than three years in prison for having a hidden gun and holding up two people outside a Columbus bar in 2006 and a separate highway chase earlier that year that ended with police finding loaded guns in his SUV. He signed a one-year deal with the Nighthawks last August.

On the same day in Canfield, the agents arrested Clarett’s brother, Michael, 30, of Ravenwood Avenue, Youngstown, on a warrant.

Michael Clarett had been secretly indicted by a Mahoning County grand jury that day on charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and four counts of heroin trafficking.

The task force alleged Michael Clarett engaged in drug trafficking in Canfield between Jan. 19 and Feb. 22 this year and seeks forfeiture of two cars allegedly used for heroin sales.

That case is before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, who is to conduct a pretrial hearing at 8:30 a.m. June 2. A jury trial is set to begin June 6.

Michael Clarett’s lawyer, J. Gerald Ingram, posted a $15,085 cash bond to free him from jail.

Michael Clarett also was arrested in Alliance around the same time on marijuana-trafficking charges.


Comments

1fcb(318 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

This guy just won't stop! He's a idiot!! Let's see his attorney says he's just a young black male walking around with $30,000 dollars in his pocket and there's nothing wrong.Give me a break! It was drug money and we all know it. His attorney is just as bad as he is. Both of them are so low they could sit on a dime and swing their legs.

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2Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Maurice Clarett has been working with young kids in the hood dealing with economic opportunity and teaching them marketing skills . This $30,000 dollars was a badly needed funding source .

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3Lifes2Short(3875 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

"“Defendants’ acts were motivated by bad faith, inasmuch as defendants have abrogated unto themselves the unfettered authority to confiscate property from young black males without cause or justification,” the suit says."

Here we go....playing the race card. Is that the only defense, race? Being a young black male you get a free pass? It can't be that maybe he was doing something illegal? Not to many people drive around with $30,000 in cash on them. There is no reason to have that much cash on you unless you were dealing.

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4DOLE2(594 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Just some pocket change for a McDonald's stop.....

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5fedupwithcrap(317 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Which one of you knows exactly where the money came from? Do they have proof that he came from canfield, or his brothers house?

Does the MVLETF know where the money came from? Did they use a dog to sniff the money or use a drug test kit or wipe to swab the money?

On the other hand, hey I wasn't there, I don't know where the money came from and honestly don't care!!

It seems to me that everyone that makes a comment about someone that is reported in the Vindy, is guilty until proven innocent, whether they were charged with a crime or not!!

Remember "youngstown man caught tailing officers?", of course you do, the comment section is closed because too much truth was put out there!!

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6redvert(2046 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

I guess with $30K you can afford to hire some goofball lawyer that will make a attempt to intimidate the judicial system.

Now that being said, our Mahoning County "let's make a deal" Prosecutors office will probably knuckle under and pay him off. After all, he is a local and OSU hero. That has to mean something. Tressel will testify on his excellent character. On second thought, that may not be a good idea!!!

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7Lifes2Short(3875 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

crap

"On the other hand, hey I wasn't there, I don't know where the money came from and honestly don't care!!"

Then why are your commenting?

"It seems to me that everyone that makes a comment about someone that is reported in the Vindy, is guilty until proven innocent, whether they were charged with a crime or not!!"

Where did anyone say he was "guilty?"

"Remember "youngstown man caught tailing officers?", of course you do, the comment section is closed because too much truth was put out there!! "

It was removed because of the parnoid whatever it was commenting on it. And what truth was put out there? Nothing that no one already knows. smh.

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8dreamcatcher52(140 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

I guess my question is why did they pull him over? Did they have valid reason to do so? No matter his past, there is still a 4th amendment. Isn't there? Sometimes I wonder. Maurice, I wish you the best.

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9fedupwithcrap(317 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Dreamcatcher, the fourth amendment has been eroding away slowly for years. I assume you read clearly what was in the Clarett article, so read " youngstown man caught tailing officers", and maybe you will find stuff out.

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