04:00 PM CDT on Tuesday, May 6, 2008
MELISSA, Tx — Mark Robinson was driving through downtown Melissa last week when he was pulled over for failing the use his turn signal.
But instead of getting a ticket, the officer took the 24-year-old to jail.
He was booked, strip searched, and sat for 3 hours with criminals. “People talking about using drugs and shooting heroin. They asked me what I was in there for and I said a turn signal violation,” said Robinson.
There aren’t any warrants out for Robinson. In fact he says he’s never been in jail. But he does admit to challenging the officer’s questions during the stop.
“It’s just unacceptable to me to have my son thrown in jail for such a minor offense,” said Mark Robinson, the father.
His father thinks the officer assumed he had drugs because of his age, which he didn’t.
“I think if they had stopped me in the same circumstances, I would have never gone to jail, or probably get a ticket,” said the father.
In fact News 8 contacted various cities in Collin County, many of which have not made a single arrest this year for not using a turning signal. Even the police chief in Melissa acknowledges he’s never seen this happen in his own city. “In the 6 years I’ve been the police chief, this is the first time,” said Chief Duane Smith, Melissa PD.
But he stands behind his officer, saying state law gives him the power to arrest someone for many crimes, no matter how minor.
“I can’t discuss the specifics of the case. The officer was in his right to arrest the person, which he did,” said Chief Smith.
Still, he tells News 8 this afternoon he will review department policy and may make changes.
For Mark Robinson, what he most wants is an apology, he says, for a trip he never should have been forced to make.