Charlottean Anthony Morrow says he was racially profiled and mistreated in Commerce, Ga., during a police stop along Interstate 85 Thursday evening.
Morrow, who has played NBA basketball each of the past nine seasons, told the Observer Sunday night he planned to file a complaint Monday against the two Georgia State Patrolmen who searched him and his car. He says there was no probable cause for multiple searches around 6 p.m. Thursday.
“I was humiliated on the side of the road,” Morrow told the Observer. “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)?”
An email from the Georgia State Patrol’s public information office says Morrow was initially pulled over for a window-tint violation, and he received a warning. In the same email, the Georgia State Patrol said it had not received a complaint from Morrow as of about 3 p.m. Monday.
Morrow said in a text message to the Observer Monday that he still intends to file a complaint. He said any question about his window tinting came after he was asked if there were drugs, money or guns in his car.
“They didn’t give me a warning, they didn’t give me a ticket,” Morrow said. “They are lying.”
Morrow, who starred at Charlotte Latin before attending Georgia Tech, said he was driving from Charlotte to Atlanta to pick up his 8-year-old daughter. He was pulled over while driving a 2016 Dodge Challenger, wearing a tank top and basketball shorts.
Morrow said he provided his driver’s license, registration and insurance card, then was immediately asked, “Are there any drugs, large sums of money or guns in this car?”
Morrow said no, and then he was asked about a sweet smell in his car, which Morrow replied was an air freshener.
At that point, according to Morrow, the police asked to search the car. Morrow declined them permission. He was then frisked and a police dog was brought to Morrow’s car to twice search for the scent of drugs.
Morrow, who most recently played for the Chicago Bulls, identified himself as an NBA player. Morrow said one of the officers Googled his name, then started asking him how much money he makes as a professional athlete.
At one point, Morrow said, one of the policemen commented on Morrow’s bloodshot eyes. Morrow replied he has twin babies that have kept him up late at night, and he had been driving for hours.
Finally, Morrow said, the officers let Morrow leave, with one saying, “I’m sorry about your inconvenience,” and another saying they were “just doing our job.”
“I know you’re doing your job,” Morrow recalled replying, “But this is not the way to do it.”
Commerce is about 70 miles northeast of Atlanta. After picking up his daughter in Atlanta, Morrow consulted with his agent about what he sees as an unjustified search.
“I felt degraded,” Morrow said. “I know what I stand for; humanity and peace.”
Morrow said he has no negative impression of police in general. He noted that two of his uncles are sheriff’s deputies in Charlotte.
“They forced me out of my car with no probable cause,” Morrow said.
Morrow, 31, has played nine NBA seasons for seven different teams.
A 6-5 shooting guard, Morrow made the Golden State Warriors as an undrafted rookie in 2008. He played portions of last season for the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Bulls. Morrow has yet to sign with a team to play next season.