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Man accuses Maine State Trooper of ‘severe case of racial profiling,’ dash cam proves otherwise

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Maine State Trooper Sarah Ferland was driving on Main Street in Liberty on Jan. 7, when she “swerved to avoid a person walking on the side of the road.” She stopped to tell the man, Orson Titus, that he needed to walk against traffic, “when you’re on a roadway with no sidewalk.”

According to the police dash cam video, the trooper asked Titus if he had any ID , or any weapons on him. She also asked where he lived and where he was coming from.

Orson Titus, speaking at the Jan. 19 Belfast City Council meeting.
Orson Titus, speaking at the Jan. 19 Belfast City Council meeting.

On Jan 21, 2015, he went before the Belfast City Council and spoke at a podium during their public discussion segment. Before Titus told the Council about the incident– he introduced himself as “the poet laureate of Belfast.” He stated that he’d been coming from the library, which was two blocks from his home in Waldo County, when he experienced a “severe case of racial profiling.”

The version of the encounter he gave to the city council members, however, was entirely different from the one the video shows from the trooper’s dash cam.

State police say the interaction lasted “less than five minutes.” After hearing the exchange on the dash cam video, police said the trooper handled the incident “well within standard police operating procedure,” and that the stop was made for the man’s own safety “in light of the 19 pedestrian fatalities that took place in Maine in 2015.”

However, Mr. Titus told the Belfast City Council that for a half-hour the trooper repeatedly asked him the same two questions. He says “over and over again she asked, ‘What are you doing here’ and ‘Do you have any guns or weapons on you.'”

Mr. Titus said that his case garnered the attention of the NAACP after a friend of his, who’s a Liberty town clerk, filed a complaint on his behalf. He told the city leaders that he’s a nonviolent man who never owned a gun in his life. That something like this could happen in a community he loved so much, was disheartening. He also claimed that his life was being threatened.

Titus went on to compliment the town of Belfast for being so welcoming and accepting of all people– but that he was sad to see it wasn’t the case for the rest of Waldo County.

A statement released by the State Police said in part: “We are disheartened that Mr. Titus would use a public forum to impugn the reputation of a hardworking and dedicated trooper and the Maine State Police by telling a story that is not supported by facts.”

In the dash cam video, the trooper is heard ending the conversation like this: “Have a good night and be safe.We are disheartened that Mr. Titus would use a public forum to impugn the reputation of a hardworking and dedicated Trooper and the Maine State Police by telling a story that is not supported by facts.he went to a friend, who made a complaint on his behalf accusing Trooper Ferland of racial profiling. A sergeant spoke to the friend and listened to her version of the event. The sergeant immediately contacted the Trooper, and then viewed her dash cam video of the incident. The video of the conversation was drastically different than the version given by the complainant. The sergeant called the complainant back and explained that the video showed an entirely different scenario.

On January 21, 2016 we were made aware of strong accusations of the State Police conducting racial profiling regarding this incident. The public accusation was made on January 19th at the Belfast City Council meeting during their public discussion segment. Among his accusations was that “his life was threatened”, “he was held for over a half hour” and “repeatedly asked the same two questions over and over and over again.”

The State Police have reviewed both the Belfast City Council video where the accusations were made and the dash cam video from the Trooper. The State Police investigate all complaints made by the public against troopers. This case was handled no differently.

Trooper Ferland stopped and spoke to Orson Titus, also known as Toussaint St. Negritude, because she almost struck him while he was walking along the side of the road. The reason for this conversation was to tell him, as she did, that he needed to walk against traffic for his safety. The brief interaction between Trooper Ferland and Mr. Titus lasted less than 5 minutes and during that time she was polite and cordial and treated him with respect. Trooper Ferland’s handling of the incident was well within standard police operating procedure and was made for his own personal safety in light of the 19 pedestrian fatals that took place in Maine during 2015, the highest number since 1994.

While the State Police can appreciate that some people may feel scared or intimidated by the police; it is unfortunate how one person’s version of the events are completely different from what the Trooper’s dash cam shows.

We are disheartened that Mr. Titus would use a public forum to impugn the reputation of a hardworking and dedicated Trooper and the Maine State Police by telling a story that is not supported by facts.

Both Orson Titus’ address to the Belfast City Council and the Trooper’s dash cam video are linked below. We encourage the public to look at both and come to their own conclusion.o the man, he went to a friend, who made a complaint on his behalf accusing Trooper Ferland of racial profiling. A sergeant spoke to the friend and listened to her version of the event. The sergeant immediately contacted the Trooper, and then viewed her dash cam video of the incident. The video of the conversation was drastically different than the version given by the complainant. The sergeant called the complainant back and explained that the video showed an entirely different scenario.

On January 21, 2016 we were made aware of strong accusations of the State Police conducting racial profiling regarding this incident. The public accusation was made on January 19th at the Belfast City Council meeting during their public discussion segment. Among his accusations was that “his life was threatened”, “he was held for over a half hour” and “repeatedly asked the same two questions over and over and over again.”

The State Police have reviewed both the Belfast City Council video where the accusations were made and the dash cam video from the Trooper. The State Police investigate all complaints made by the public against troopers. This case was handled no differently.

Trooper Ferland stopped and spoke to Orson Titus, also known as Toussaint St. Negritude, because she almost struck him while he was walking along the side of the road. The reason for this conversation was to tell him, as she did, that he needed to walk against traffic for his safety. The brief interaction between Trooper Ferland and Mr. Titus lasted less than 5 minutes and during that time she was polite and cordial and treated him with respect. Trooper Ferland’s handling of the incident was well within standard police operating procedure and was made for his own personal safety in light of the 19 pedestrian fatals that took place in Maine during 2015, the highest number since 1994.

While the State Police can appreciate that some people may feel scared or intimidated by the police; it is unfortunate how one person’s version of the events are completely different from what the Trooper’s dash cam shows.

We are disheartened that Mr. Titus would use a public forum to impugn the reputation of a hardworking and dedicated Trooper and the Maine State Police by telling a story that is not supported by facts.

Both Orson Titus’ address to the Belfast City Council and the Trooper’s dash cam video are linked below. We encourage the public to look at both and come to their own conclusion.” People took to social media to comment about the case saying: “…very sad that these allegations are made against a trooper who was doing her job and looking out for the very safety of the complainant.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. Dear Trooper,
    Don’t feel too bad. I’ve been called a B!t&h @$S Cra&ker so many times I have lost count. Convicts live in Lalawless land.

    In the real world, I am a member of the Choctaw nation.

    And yes, it’s obvious….. to everyone but a convict.

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