NC couple who accused trooper of racial profiling awarded $1.3 million

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WBTW)- A North Carolina couple who say they were arrested because a South Carolina highway patrolman racially profiled them during a traffic stop in Florence have been awarded more than $1.3 million.

According to court documents, the incident happened on Oct. 14, 2012, when Catherine and Jerome Newkirk, who are both African American, were travelling on Interstate 95 near Florence and were pulled over by a white officer.

The complaint says the two were driving through a construction zone as part of a line of cars all traveling the same speed when the couple noticed they were being followed by a South Carolina Highway Patrol car with its blue lights on.

The documents say Catherine Newkirk was ticketed for speeding. When she was handed the ticket, she told trooper James Enzor that she felt like he was discriminating against her, according to documents.

The trooper took the ticket from Newkirk and ordered her to get out of the vehicle, according to documents.

When she exited the vehicle, the trooper pinned her against the car and placed her under arrest for resisting arrest, the documents state.

Her husband got out of the car to see what was going on and was also placed under arrest for hindering a police officer, according to documents.

Catherine Newkirk was awarded $1 million in damages and her husband was awarded $325,000 in damages.

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