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Driver videotaped traffic stop, awarded $25,000 in settlement

DES MOINES – The city of Des Moines is paying $25,000 for a traffic stop lawsuit settlement, but they aren’t admitting any wrongdoing.
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DES MOINES – The city of Des Moines is paying $25,000 for a traffic stop lawsuit settlement, but they aren’t admitting any wrongdoing. 

An African-American male was pulled over and he recorded the incident because he didn’t think there was any reason he should be stopped. 

41-year-old Lonnie Porter was leaving a gas station in December of 2016 when he predicted he would be pulled over by an officer he saw nearby. 

So that’s when he took out his phone and started filming the encounter with Officer Sean O’Neill because he thought he was being racially profiled. 

Officer O’Neill says in the video that the temporary license plate on the car wasn’t fully visible. But he lets Porter off without a citation. Afterwards Porter gets out of the car to film how the license was displayed in his back window. 

Porter’s attorneys say this was a critical piece of evidence.

“We found it unbelievable that you would not see the temporary tag with the numbers on which is positioned right where the DOT recommends that it be,” attorney Brandon Brown said. 

Brown also adds that the video clearly shows there was no good reason for traffic stop. And that Porter was smart to record what happened afterwards. 

“Lonnie has had this experience in the past. He knew it was going to happen, he recorded it and he was correct. So certainly racial profiling and pretextual was the theory to prove our claims.”

Des Moines Police said in a statement Wednesday that the best way to resolve this was settling. They say many factors led to this decision, but the city and police believe it was the right call for all parties involved.