PA State Police accused of racial profiling in Federal Lawsuit
HARRISBURG, PA — A federal lawsuit alleges that a Pennsylvania State Police trooper racially profiled the occupants of an SUV he stopped on I-81 near Carlisle in April of 2017 to check their immigration status. The suit further alleges that the stop is part of a larger pattern and practice of unlawful conduct by the State Police and violations of the Fourth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Maria Marquez, Eduin Arturo Cambar Matute, and Milton Francisco Lovos Marquez, along with two children, were pulled over by Trooper Luke Macke on April 9, 2017. The suit contends Macke followed the New Yorkers, who were travelling to Virginia to visit family, for several minutes before initiating a stop. Once stopped, Macke told Marquez he stopped her because she was speeding. After Maria Marquez provided her driver’s license, Macke asked for her”green card,” rather than her insurance and registration information, according to the lawsuit. She provided her U.S. government-issued work permit that
authorized her to be employed. At this point, Macke allegedly turned his attention to the passengers.
When they didn’t immediately comply, asking Macke if he was an immigration officer, Macke threatened to contact ICE if they didn’t provide “papers.”Macke then asked Marquez to step out of the car and asked her about the immigration status of the two men. Another trooper arrived about an hour into the stop and eventually took Matute and Milton Marquez away in handcuffs.After the two men were detained, Macke got back to the purported speeding violation, issuing a citation.
The men were eventually taken to the ICE field office in York, Pennsylvania, where they were processed. Matute spent 10 days in detention, until an Immigration Judge ordered him released on a $1,500 bond. Mr. Lovos Marquez was detained at York County Prison until May 16,
2017, when an Immigration Judge ordered him released on a $6,000 bond.
The suit alleges Macke had no legitimate reason to believe that there was legal cause to detain the plaintiffs and did so on their perceived race, color, ethnicity, or national origin.
The suit, filed in Middle District Court, names Macke and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as defendants and seeks unnamed compensatory and punitive damages.
Through a spokesman, the Pennsylvania State Police declined to comment on pending litigation.