Oregon State Police released this statement to NBC5 News on Thursday evening,
Medford, Ore. — A class-action lawsuit claims OSP and Trooper Travis Peterson discriminates against minorities in Jackson County. It alleges Peterson destroys and manipulates evidence, makes unlawful arrests, and is dishonest about K9 deployments. The suit, filed by Medford attorney Justin Rosas, claims Peterson consistently stops cars with out-of-state license plates, as well as drivers “who look like they might not be from the area.”
In a press release, Rosas says his firm represents eight clients, six of whom are people of color. He wrote, “Contrary to legal standards, he [Peterson] uses things like a lack of luggage in the coupe of a vehicle, or perceived nervousness, to justify the search of a car.”
Rosas also claims Peterson pulled over one of his clients while he was a passenger in a vehicle because he believed his seat was “too far reclined.” The suit further claims Peterson submitted cases for felony prosecution when someone had in the trooper’s opinion, “more cash on hand than they should have.” Rosas said all this was done while the trooper clearly targeted minorities.
Rosas’ press release said Trooper Peterson is now on paid leave, for undisclosed reasons.
NBC5 News reached out to Oregon State Police for comment. An email was not immediately returned.