A retired former Secret Service agent has filed a federal lawsuit accusing two Park Police officers in the D.C. metro area of stopping him and detaining him because he is black.
The Washington Post reports that according to testimony he gave in a deposition, Nathaniel Hicks was on duty and pulled over on the side of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway on July 11, 2015, waiting to take the lead in a motorcade for then-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Hicks said he heard a tap on his passenger’s side window, and when he looked up, Park Police Officer Gerald L. Ferreyra was standing there with his gun pointed at Hicks.
“I said, ‘Whoa, whoa. I’m a Secret Service special agent,’” Hicks said in the deposition. His badge was in his pocket, and his gun was on the passenger seat.
From the Post:
Hicks says the ordeal should have ended there. Instead, Park Police officers Gerald L. Ferreyra and Brian Phillips detained him for an hour, causing him to miss Johnson’s motorcade. They eventually released Hicks — only to pull him over again for using his cellphone while driving, which is not against the law for police.
Hicks believes he was targeted not only because he is black but also because in 2009, he was involved in detaining Ferreyra after a 2009 fight in a Washington, D.C., bar. Hicks claimed that wanting to get revenge for that arrest as well as being motivated by “ongoing tensions between the Park Police and the Secret Service” caused Ferreyra and his fellow Park Police officer Brian Phillips to detain him unnecessarily and cause him to miss his motorcade assignment.
Ferreyra was able to confirm that Hicks was in fact who he said he was, but instead of letting him go, he called for backup.
From the Post:
And as the second officer, Brian Phillips, questioned Hicks on the side of the road, allegedly quibbling over “their territory,” the motorcade finally came.
It slowed down, waiting for Hicks to join. But instead, Phillips allegedly “mockingly waved his hand goodbye at the motorcade as it passed,” as he stood outside Hicks’s cruiser, according to Hicks’s complaint.
Ultimately, Hicks was not allowed to leave until after Ferreyra’s supervisor came and spoke with Hicks’ supervisor.
While U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm of Maryland agreed Monday that Ferreyra and Phillips may have violated Hicks’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable seizures, he threw out the claims that it was a result of the 2009 incident or any ongoing beef between the two law enforcement agencies.
A jury will now decide Hicks’ case.