By Jovonne Ledet
Jan 20, 2023
Black Information Network
One Black man in Massachusetts says Worcester police officers pulled him over more than 70 times in a new lawsuit against the department.
According to GBH News, T.J. Juty is suing the Worcester Police Department, alleging racial profiling played a role in him being stopped by officers over 70 times in the past eight years.
In multiple instances, Juty said he was suspected of stealing cars and selling drugs before being apprehended with a warrant. In 2021, Juty was allegedly pulled over for not updating his new car color on his registration, though by law he wasn't required to. After an intense exchange with officers, the Massachusetts man was charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with police.
“I feel like every single time, even if I’m not driving, and I make eye contact or an officer sees my dreads or he sees I’m Black, they’re going to come after me. I just know whenever they’re coming now, I just have my phone ready to record,” Juty told GBH, noting that he's still fighting charges from one of his previous police encounters.
The lawsuit against Worcester Police Department comes after the Department of Justice launched an investigation last year into allegations of excessive force and racially-biased policing.
Many of the claims that led to the DOJ's investigation were cited by Juty’s attorney, Joseph Hennessey. One video that Hennessey shared with WBZ shows Worcester police telling a Black man in the passenger seat of a vehicle, "you look like someone who has a warrant.”
Since 2006, the city of Worcester has paid up to $5 million to settle lawsuits involving excessive force and false arrests, per GBH.