Sober Man Charged with DUI Says Reason is, “Driving While Black.”

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SURPRISE, AZ - Jessie Thornton is 64, married, a retired firefighter, lives in Surprise, and booked for a DUI. It's not the first time Jessie and Surprise officers met.

"I've been stopped 10 times in Surprise alone. I've been given four tickets." said Jessie Thornton.

On this night Jessie spent a couple of hours in the pool at his gym, and while heading home, is pulled over.

"I took my glasses off. He says, 'you've got bloodshot eyes.' I said, 'I've been swimming at LA Fitness.' He said, 'I think you're DUI.'" "He goes, 'Well we're going to do sobriety test.'"  said Jessie Thornton.

Jessie was swimming to loosen up his hip which was being replaced two days later. An ailment he says the- now- three officers didn't buy.

"She looks at me and she says, 'Why don't you stop whining?'" said Jessie Thornton.

In the reports he gave me, it appeared he passed everything. Jessie is cuffed and taken to headquarters.

"I did a breathalyzer. It comes back zero, zero, zero." said Jessie Thornton.

Which is confirmed in these police documents. Then a DRE or Drug Recognition Expert officer is called in. blood is drawn and more tests.

"After he did all the tests, he says, 'I would never have arrested you. You show no signs of impairment.'" said Jessie Thornton.

And there in the departments own papers an officer further notes Jessie is not under the influence, and the blood results; all negative and charged with DUI, car impounded and MVD notified to suspend his license. Thornton and his attorney, Marc Victor don't call it DUI.

"Driving while black." said  Marc Victor.

The charge was recently dropped and Victor and his team are now eyeing a federal lawsuit and filed a notice of claim for $500,000.

"He's being harassed for no reason other than the color of his skin. It's frustrating that somebody has to go through this type of experience."said  Marc Victor.

Thornton's daughter, who is in law enforcement, has filed a complaint as well.

"I don't want anybody else to go through this." said Jessie Thornton.

Jessie did have that scheduled hip replacement surgery a few days after the arrest.

Source - CNN