The Georgia Department of Public Safety is investigating a traffic stop last week involving Charlottean Anthony Morrow, a nine-season NBA veteran.
Morrow, 31, who starred at Charlotte Latin before playing for Georgia Tech, told the Observer on Sunday he believes he was racially profiled when he was pulled over along Interstate 85 near Commerce, Ga. In a phone interview with the Observer, Morrow said he felt “humiliated” by the two troopers who searched his car, a Dodge Challenger.
In a press release issued Tuesday, the Georgia agency said, “a formal investigation has been initiated to determine the facts surrounding the traffic stop, and the results of the investigation will be made public at its conclusion.”
Morrow was driving from Charlotte to Atlanta early Thursday evening, to pick up his 8-year-old daughter and drive her back to Charlotte. At 5:41 p.m., according to the press release, he was pulled over by a state trooper. Morrow said he provided his license, registration and insurance card, and was immediately asked if there were any “drugs, large sums of money or guns” in his car.
Morrow said no, and then the trooper asked about a sweet smell within the car. Morrow said that was air freshener. The patrolman asked to search his car, and Morrow declined permission.
Then a second patrolman arrived with a dog trained to detect the scent of drugs. Morrow said the dog was led on two separate circles around his car.
According to the Georgia press release, “the dog indicated to the odor of narcotic in the vehicle. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed no contraband or illegal items.”
The press release said Morrow was initially pulled over because the trooper viewed illegal window tint. The release said Morrow received a warning for window tint of 4 percent, and was released.
In a text message to the Observer Monday, Morrow disputed the description that window tinting was the reason he was pulled over.
“They didn’t give me a warning, they didn’t give me a ticket,” Morrow said. “They are lying.”
Morrow said he was frisked and his car was searched extensively along the highway.
“I was humiliated on the side of the road,” Morrow told the Observer on Sunday. “I had my (car’s) hood up and the trunk up. How much more did they need (to establish he wasn’t in possession of anything illegal)?
The press release said Georgia Department of Public Safety had not received a formal complaint from Morrow as of midday Tuesday, but that based on his comments via Twitter and Instagram “we do take those statements very seriously,” which prompted the investigation.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell