Police end racial profiling case with Haitian pair

CHARLES TOWN – The Charles Town Police Department has agreed to settle in a racial profiling case filed by two Haitian men last August.

The terms of the settlement, which was reached during court-mandated mediation, were not disclosed in the order dismissing the case. The report filed by mediator Oscar Bean is sealed. Harry Waddell, the lawyer for Indony and Drix Jean Baptiste, said he cannot comment on the settlement.

The Baptistes alleged they were placed under false arrest, illegally searched and racially profiled by police in March 2011, after another man, who is also black, committed check fraud at the Bank of Charles Town and a manager indicated that he thought they were with him.

The men said they were arrested by Officer James Knott, spent around two hours in police custody where they were questioned by Officer Ronald Kearns.

Drix Jean Baptiste was confined in a small room while Indony Jean Baptiste, a former Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputy, was handcuffed to a chair, and neither men were allowed by Kearns to leave until they were photographed and fingerprinted, the complaint states.

In its response, the police department said both men had been informed that they were not under arrest, and therefore had accompanied the officers voluntarily. The department also argued that the officers had probable cause to arrest the Baptistes, and that officers had acted at all times lawfully and faithfully.

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