Former Oklahoma State University football player says he was racially profiled during a traffic stop-turned vehicle search by a police officer in Oklahoma Panhandle

Local

A typo in the original version has been corrected.

GOODWELL, Okla. (KFOR) – A former Oklahoma State University football player said he felt racially profiled Saturday during a traffic stop that turned into a vehicle search by a local police officer in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

The traffic stop occurred in the town of Goodwell, Okla. Former Oklahoma State defensive lineman Trace Clark was in a U-Haul and on his way to Los Angeles from Wichita to start a new job. He said the officer pulled up next to him while driving before he hit the brakes, got behind him and hit his lights. This is when Clark decided to record.

“I am being detained?” Clark asked in one of two videos he recorded during the traffic stop.

“At this point you are,” the officer told him.

“What for?” Clark asked.

“Because I said you are, OK?” the officer told him.

Both videos recorded by Clark during the traffic stop can be viewed below. This traffic stop turned into a vehicle search for Clark soon after that part of the video above. The only problem is that Clark said he felt there was no reason for it, since he was handed a written warning for failure to maintain his lane. However, the officer began to ask several questions.

“Is there anything in the vehicle that would be of concern to me? Like guns, bombs, hand grenades, terrorists, dead bodies?” the officer asked.

“No.” Clark said.

“Marijuana?” the officer asked after he asked if there were any drugs in his U-Haul.

“No.” Clark said.

“Cocaine?” “No.”

“Heroin?” “No.”

“Methamphetamine?” “No.”

“Fentanyl?” “No.”

“Large amounts of U.S. money?” “No.”

Photo goes with story
Trace Clark as he speaks with KFOR.

The former ballplayer said the officer initially pulled up next to his U-Haul as they were driving before actually pulling him over. At this point, he felt he may have been profiled.

“The police car gets over to the left lane and pulls up behind the other car that had passed me and was eye-level or window-level with me,” Clark said in an interview with KFOR, talking about the situation. “And then dropped back behind me and hit the lights immediately.”

Clark added that he didn’t feel the interaction with the officer was too great from the start.

“And that’s when he started questioning me about where I was coming from, where I was going. What I did for work?” Clark said in an interview with KFOR.

At this point, he texted his family where he was and he started recording.

“I told them that there seemed like an officer who had a problem with me,” Clark said in an interview with KFOR.

“Would you have a problem if I searched this vehicle?” the officer asked.

“Yes,” Clark said.

“So, you’re telling me no I can’t?” the officer asked.

“Why would you have a reason to search this vehicle?” Clark asked.

“I’m just asking,” the officer said.

“I would not like for you to search this vehicle; I would like to get back on the road,” Clark said.

“We live in a country and in a time where if you don’t stay calm in situations like that then it can turn dangerous,” Clark said in an interview with KFOR.

Clark claimed the K-9 got a hit on the U-Haul.

“I don’t have to explain this to you right now,” the officer told Clark in the video. “What I’m telling you is, I’m going to search this vehicle, OK?”

The officer then had Clark exit the vehicle.

“I’m pulling my keys out,” Clark said in the video, documenting each of his moves. “I’m stepping out of the car.”

“You’re fine,” the officer told him.

Clark was eventually placed in the back of the police car.

“Where I did not have a good view into the back of my U-Haul or into anything that he was doing in the cab of my U-Haul,” Clark said in an interview with KFOR.

The officer eventually told him at one point he was being detained so he could deploy his K-9 unit. Clark said the officer called two Texas County Sheriff’s deputies to the scene as well. Clark said he tried asking one of them what was going on.

“He stood there for a second, closed the door,” Clark said in an interview with KFOR.

After the search, Clark said he asked the officer how the dog got a hit on his U-Haul truck. However, Clark claimed the officer told him he did not have to tell him how and then he left. Clark said he was left to check and close up the U-Haul, and then the sheriff’s deputies escorted him back onto the highway and he was on his way.

“It took me a while to calm down,” Clark said in an interview with KFOR.

KFOR reached out to the Goodwell Police Department for comment twice on Monday. Once in the morning at 10:21 a.m. and a second time at 2:33 p.m.

“This is Austin Breasette, I’m a reporter with Oklahoma’s News 4,” Austin said during a phone call to Goodwell police, asking to speak to the chief. “I had called earlier this morning.”

“He’s not in the office and they sent it to him,” the woman said, speaking about the chief and them sending him Austin’s contact information. “But I can go ahead and get your information again just to be on the safe side.”

We never received a call back from the chief or the department, although we were told he would give us a call. We called back again Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

“We obviously want to get Goodwell’s side, and I wanted to reach out one more time this afternoon,” Austin said in another phone call to the department.

“I will let him know that you called again, and I will have him call you,” the woman over the phone said.

We never received a call back.

“I just don’t want this to happen to the next person that gets pulled over,” Clark said in an interview with KFOR.

As of the posting of this story, we still have not heard back from the Goodwell Police Department. Clark said he was unable to get the officers name because he did not have it on his vest. He said he only had a vest that said “Police” on it.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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