SC jury awards $1.3M to couple suing trooper in racial profiling - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

SC jury awards $1.3M to couple suing trooper in racial profiling suit

Dashcam video of Dr. Catherine Newkirk's arrest. (Source: WIS) Dashcam video of Dr. Catherine Newkirk's arrest. (Source: WIS)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

A federal jury has awarded $1.3 million to a North Carolina couple suing the state Department of Public Safety and a South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper on the basis of a discrimination and racial profiling suit filed in 2013.

Attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Joe McCulloch represented Catherine and Jerome Newkirk. The couple was stopped for speeding in Florence County back in October 2012 by Trooper James Enzor. 

Enzor, according to court documents, stopped the Newkirks for traveling 77 MPH in a 55 MPH construction zone on Interstate 95. When Catherine received the ticket, the documents say, she told Enzor that she believed she was the subject of discrimination. 

Court filings say at that point, Enzor snatched the ticket from Catherine and commanded her to get out of the car. The entire exchange was captured on Enzor's dashcam video.

"Defendant Enzor began pointing his finger and shouting at the Plaintiff in a loud, abusive, and discourteous manner," the filing said. "He grabbed the Plaintiff, then advised her that she was under arrest and proceeded to manhandle her, placing her in handcuffs."

Catherine fought her arrest for several minutes, disputing the officer's grounds for taking her to jail.

"We did nothing wrong," Catherine said in a 2013 interview with WIS. 

The trooper charged Catherine with resisting arrest and assaulting him and charged her husband with interfering with the arrest.

The video shows Jerome Newkirk walk to within yards of his wife and the trooper, then get back in his SUV once the trooper told him to return to the car.

McCulloch said the dashcam footage had "incalculable value" in the case.

"The video shows exactly what happened," McCulloch said. "It takes a lot of the credibility contest out of the case."

As a result of the suit, Catherine was awarded $1,000,000 for her portion of the suit and Jerome was awarded $325,000. The Newkirks are also hoping to receive $500,000 in attorneys fees.

McCulloch said Catherine was awarded her amount largely due to her testimony about the psychological factors in this case.

"She was shell-shocked," McCulloch said. "Post-traumatic stress was her diagnosis and there was significant evidence about that and the jury believed that."

McCulloch said he and Harpootlian were both pleased with the verdict, saying the goal for the Newkirks at the end of the day was to hold Enzor accountable.

"The verdict is very defensible if the Defendant tries to appeal it," McCulloch said. "In light of the evidence, it was a clean trial."  

Copyright 2017 WIS. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

    Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

    Thursday, April 26 2018 2:39 AM EDT2018-04-26 06:39:08 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 5:30 AM EDT2018-04-26 09:30:29 GMT
    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

    More >>

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

    More >>
  • Netflix: What's coming and going in May

    Netflix: What's coming and going in May

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 2:59 PM EDT2018-04-25 18:59:20 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 6:33 PM EDT2018-04-25 22:33:26 GMT

    Among the items leaving for the month are hit movies like "Disney's The Jungle Book," "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby."

    More >>

    Among the items leaving for the month are hit movies like "Disney's The Jungle Book," "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby."

    More >>
  • Caught on video: Pit bull attacks woman on Subway

    Caught on video: Pit bull attacks woman on Subway

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 11:18 PM EDT2018-04-26 03:18:25 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 11:20 PM EDT2018-04-26 03:20:24 GMT

    Authorities in New York City are searching for the owner of a dog after a woman was attacked by the animal on the subway. The incident was caught on camera.

    More >>

    Authorities in New York City are searching for the owner of a dog after a woman was attacked by the animal on the subway. The incident was caught on camera.

    More >>
  • South Carolina news on WIStv.comNEWSMore>>

  • Baby born outside TN Waffle House soon after deadly shooting

    Baby born outside TN Waffle House soon after deadly shooting

    Thursday, April 26 2018 5:36 AM EDT2018-04-26 09:36:48 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 5:44 AM EDT2018-04-26 09:44:58 GMT
    A baby was born in a car outside a Waffle House hours after a gunman killed four people at the same location. (Source: WZTV/CNN)A baby was born in a car outside a Waffle House hours after a gunman killed four people at the same location. (Source: WZTV/CNN)

    A baby was born in a car outside a Waffle House hours after a gunman killed four people at the same location.

    More >>

    A baby was born in a car outside a Waffle House hours after a gunman killed four people at the same location.

    More >>
  • Collision on I-20 shuts down all Westbound lanes near Monticello Rd.

    Collision on I-20 shuts down all Westbound lanes near Monticello Rd.

    Thursday, April 26 2018 5:41 AM EDT2018-04-26 09:41:47 GMT

    A collision on I-20 Westbound has shut down all lanes to traffic at Exit 68 near Monticello Road. 

    More >>

    A collision on I-20 Westbound has shut down all lanes to traffic at Exit 68 near Monticello Road. 

    More >>
  • Senate committee poised for vote on bill to protect Mueller

    Senate committee poised for vote on bill to protect Mueller

    Thursday, April 26 2018 12:28 AM EDT2018-04-26 04:28:40 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 5:30 AM EDT2018-04-26 09:30:38 GMT
    (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File). FILE - In this June 21, 2017, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed door meeting in Washington. Rep...(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File). FILE - In this June 21, 2017, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed door meeting in Washington. Rep...

    Senate panel expected to vote on legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's job, a bill that has split Republicans.

    More >>

    Senate panel expected to vote on legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's job, a bill that has split Republicans.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly