A Williamsport defense attorney claimed city police officers searched his client without probable cause and questioned him without reading him his Miranda rights.
In a recent motion to suppress evidence against accused drug dealer Keith Vashon Harris, attorney Michael Morrone claimed his client was stopped because of his looks.
Mr. Harris, a 150 pound 5'10'' African American male riding a bicycle, reportedly matched the description of a person of interest, court records indicated.
"On July 16, 2019, Mr. Harris was riding his bike on Campbell Street. The police officers believed his appearance was similar to a male who had run from them on a bike the day before," Attorney Morrone wrote in an October 14, 2019, motion.
According to Williamsport Bureau of Police Officer Clinton Gardner, Harris' physical features - including "ruddy cheeks," age, height, weight, and frame - were all consistent with the man who had fled on a bike the day before.
Harris also reportedly smelled like alcohol when police stopped him.
"I looked over at the black male and informed PO Bell his appearance was that of a male who ran from me on a bicycle that day prior when I attempted to stop him," Officer Gardner wrote in the July 16, 2019, affidavit.
When police stopped Harris, he denied any previous contact with police the day prior but was still detained and searched, attorney Morrone wrote.
Officer Gardner claimed they "performed a pat down" because Harris, "reached in the area of a pocket knife clipped to his right pocket."
The frisk of Harris revealed a small amount of marijuana in his front left pocket, according to the affidavit.
Police attempted to continue the frisk but Harris, "grabbed PO Bell's hand and indicated PO Bell would not be searching his person," Officer Gardner wrote.
"I then grabbed Harris' left arm, and PO Bell grabbed his right arm to handcuff him," Officer Gardner wrote in the affidavit.
Back at the station, officers reportedly searched Harris and found a black distribution container, five individually packaged bags of crack cocaine, two individually packaged bags of powdered cocaine, a cell phone and $51 cash.
Harris' attorney said the search was "illegal" and "done without probable cause."
"The Commonwealth intends to use oral statements made by defendant at the time of the stop and after being questioned without being read Miranda rights," Attorney Morrone wrote.
President Judge Nancy L. Butts will hear arguments from both sides during a motion to suppress evidence hearing scheduled for December 17, 2019.