Court rejects racial profiling appeal

LIMA — An appeals court today unanimously ruled an Interstate 75 driver was not the victim of unlawful racial discrimination.

The 3rd District Court of Appeals, Lima, said a State Highway Patrol sergeant justifiably searched Marcus D. Coleman’s vehicle on Oct. 13, 2012.

Coleman, 40, of Cincinnati, quickly passed a vehicle in Findlay without signaling, appeared nervous when speaking to law enforcement and provided a false identification card, according to Sgt. Kurt Beidelschies’s testimony cited by the court.

Beidelschies discovered a grocery bag full of N-Benzylpiperazine, commonly referred to as BZP, according to the higher court.

The judges rejected Coleman’s argument of racial profiling. They ruled Coleman’s actions justified the stop and search.

Coleman further argued he would not commit a traffic violation near a trooper, according to the court.

“If this court were to catalogue the various foolish missteps of the convicted criminals appearing before it, much ink would be wasted,” according to the decision.

Judge Vernon Preston wrote the opinion and was joined by judges Stephen Shaw and John Willamowski.

Coleman previously pleaded no contest in Hancock County Common Pleas Court to a first-degree felony of aggravated drug possession. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

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