Maryland Search Based on Skin Color

In May 1992, a Maryland state trooper pulled over Robert Wilkins, who was returning home with his family from his grandfather's funeral. The trooper used speeding as an excuse for stopping Wilkins, but actually had targeted him for a drug search based on a race-based "profile."

The trooper pressured Wilkins to submit to a search. When Wilkins refused, citing his Constitutional rights against unreasonable search, the trooper called in a Sheriff's deputy with a drug-sniffing dog. The police made the Wilkins family stand in the rain as the dog searched the car for drugs, finding none.

Wilkins, along with civil liberties organizations, filed suit in federal court in February 1993, challenging the racist profiles as unconstitutional. On January 4, 1995, the Maryland State Police settled the case, agreeing to sweeping changes in their policies and awarding over $95,000 to the plaintiffs.

Source: January 4, 1995, ACLU news release.