Lawsuit charges ISP with ‘license plate profiling’ for drug search


BOISE — A federal lawsuit against the Idaho State Police charges that officers profiled, pulled over, harassed, detained and searched a Washington man simply for driving across the Oregon line into Idaho on the freeway — because he had Colorado plates. Officers insisted the man must be carrying marijuana, but extensive searches of his vehicle found nothing illegal.

Darien Roseen, a retired executive who was on the way home from his daughter’s baby shower in Washington to his second residence in Colorado, was targeted within the first mile he drove into Idaho by ISP Trooper Justin Klitch, according to the lawsuit.

Kitch pursued him as Roseen pulled into the “Welcome to Idaho” rest area, refused to allow him to use the bathroom, and began badgering him to consent to a search of his vehicle — which Roseen refused. This happened just before noon on Jan. 25.

By the time the incident was over, Klitch had called in additional officers, detained Roseen, 69, in a patrol car, had an officer drive Roseen’s truck — without his permission — to the Payette County Sheriff’s Department, where it was further searched, and held Roseen up for hours.

The lawsuit, which names the ISP, the Fruitland Police Department, the Payette County Sheriff’s Department, and the numerous officers involved, alleges violations of the Fourth, Fifth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution regarding illegal search and seizure, along with discriminatory and selective treatment by profiling, violating the equal protection guarantees of the 14th Amendment and Roseen’s right to interstate travel.

“Trooper Klitch profiled, followed, and pulled over the vehicle driven by Mr. Roseen because it had Colorado license plates,” the lawsuit states. “Upon learning that Mr. Roseen came from Washington, Trooper Klitch further profiled Mr. Roseen. Trooper Klitch assumed and alleged that Mr. Roseen was a person who was transporting marijuana based on his states of residence.”

Both Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana; Idaho has not. And the ISP has been reporting numerous big marijuana busts in recent months along I-84, a main route of travel between the states.

ISP spokeswoman Teresa Baker said, “Our command staff is reviewing this incident.” She said the ISP has not yet been officially served with the lawsuit.

The Denver Post reported the incident in an article over the weekend; the newspaper reported that Roseen’s attorney, Mark Coonts, said Roseen was the victim of “license-plate profiling.”

“Assuming guilt based on a license plate — that’s just a violation of our civil rights,” Coonts told the newspaper.

Roseen is a retired vice president of Weyerhaeuser Real Estate.

 

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