The two-year-old drug case against former Hawks player Mike Scott has all but ended after a Banks County judge suppressed critical evidence against him, writing that county deputies “did not enforce the law in a racially neutral manner.”
In a ruling signed Friday, Banks County Superior Court Judge Currie M. Mingledorff found that county sheriffs had no grounds to stop Scott’s car, which precipitated the incident, showed no probable cause to arrest Scott and his brother Antonn, who was driving the car, and that the subsequent search of the car was not proper.
“In my 35 years of practicing law, this could be the worst case of racial profiling I have ever seen, and hopefully this will lead to Banks County, Georgia, re-evaluating their policies,” Steve Weiner, Scott’s attorney, said in a Tuesday email.
The Scott brothers were stopped on I-85 near Homer on July 30, 2015, by Banks County sheriffs, who found 35.2 grams of marijuana and 10.9 grams of powered MDMA (Molly) in the player’s car. Scott was charged with two felony possession counts and faced up to 25 years in prison.
But in his eight-page ruling, Mingledorff gutted the sheriff office’s handling of the case, singling out Deputy Brent Register, a key witness, of providing “testimony that was in contradiction to admitted documentary evidence.” Mingledorff also found it “surprising and concerning” there was no video evidence provided of the stop “in an era in which police conduct is so carefully scrutinized.”
The ruling noted that between 2015-16, Register stopped over 1,400 vehicles, resulting in eight citations issued and 47 arrests. Forty-four of those arrested were minorities, Mingledorff noting, “These numbers are truly shocking.”
Scott was the Hawks’ longest tenured player with almost five seasons when he was traded in February to Phoenix. He appeared in only 18 games with the Hawks last season because of a knee injury.