The former crack cocaine dealer claims his arrest was the result of racial profiling.
Over the weekend, Ross took to Facebook to proclaim his innocence.
“To everyone despite what has been said about me in the media this past weekend, I’m okay & this is just another attempt to drag my name through the mud.”
Ross, 55, said he was driving south on Highway 101 in Northern California on Thursday in a group of 20 to 30 other cars when he spotted a Sonoma County sheriff’s vehicle on the side of the road.
“I looked at him, he looked at me, and then he just started following me for probably about 2 miles,” he said Monday.
When Ross went to exit the freeway, that’s when the officer made his move. After stopping Ross, the officer asked Ross to exit his car, Ross said no and handed over his license and registration. After a minute or two the officer then asked to search the vehicle, but again Ross said no, according to SFgate.com:
“He said, ‘You sound like a guilty person,’ and told me he was going to search it anyway,” Ross said. “He asked me if I had any drugs, and I said no. Then he asked me if I had any money, and I told him it was none of his business.”
The deputy, who told Ross he was pulled over for an erratic lane change, then led a drug-sniffing dog around the vehicle and told Ross that the dog smelled marijuana and he had probable cause to search the car.
“I’ve had drugs planted on me by cops before, but I’ve never had the smell of drugs planted on me,” Ross said.
In the course of the search, the deputy turned up no drugs, but did find roughly $100,000 in cash that Ross said he was using to negotiate the purchase of some property near Fortuna (Humboldt County). All the money was made legitimately, Ross said, through speaking engagements and book sales.
“I make pretty good money these days, and I’m a good saver,” he said.
It didn’t matter because it seems officials were suspicious and Ross was arrested “on suspicion of possessing money related to the sale of a controlled substance.” Hmm, that’s interesting because as Ross points out, though the supposed probable cause for the search was based on the scent of marijuana, for which he has a valid prescription.
The bottom line is the charges against him were continued in a Sonoma County courtroom Monday morning, a sheriff’s department spokeswoman said. However, Ross is due back in court for arraignment in December.
“I knew from the beginning that the charges against me were trumped up,” he said. “But it’s crazy to me that people are still getting pulled over in this day and age and in this political climate just for being black. I was one of a bunch of cars on that freeway. We were all going the same speed doing the same thing, but I’m the one that gets pulled over.”
But what about Ross’ contention that he was a victim of racial profiling. Sgt. Cecile Focha, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, said the vehicle stop was justified and that charges of racial profiling were baseless.
“I can state with certainty that their vehicle was pulled over because the deputy observed vehicle code violations,” she said in an e-mail. “The allegation of racial profiling is completely unsubstantiated.”