An attorney for Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe filed a motion Friday to suppress evidence related to Bowe’s arrest in November for allegedly speeding and possessing more than 10 grams of marijuana.
Bowe was pulled over during a traffic stop on Nov. 10 in Riverside. The motion contends the search of his vehicle and person was conducted without a valid warrant, without probable cause and in an unreasonable manner. It also contends Bowe’s statements were obtained illegally because police failed to read him his Miranda rights.
If a judge accepts the motion, the evidence in the case will be thrown out, though the speeding charge could still stand.
Bowe, who has an April 16 court date, said during a radio interview in January that he believed he was profiled during the traffic stop. But on Friday, Bowe issued a statement through his attorney, Kevin E.J. Regan, clarifying his belief about what happened that night.
“I just wanted to clear up a few things regarding the Riverside incident,” Bowe said in the statement. “I don’t believe I was racially profiled by the Riverside police department. I believe I was pulled over for speeding. I have seen the police reports and videos given to my attorney in this case, and I want people to know I was treated with courtesy and respect by the police. I regret speeding in Riverside and have driven through Riverside many times since Nov. 10 without a problem.”
According to the police, Bowe was pulled over for traveling 48 mph in a 35 mph zone. While speaking to Bowe, an officer detected what he suspected was a strong marijuana odor coming from inside his car, an Audi, police said.
The motion contests there was an indication of consumed marijuana in the vehicle — “no roaches … no paraphernalia, lighters, matches or other forms of combustion.” The motion also says the marijuana that was eventually found in the vehicle “was sealed in air-tight capsules” in a closed bag, “therefore it would be physically impossible for a human nose to detect any odor of smoked marijuana emanating from the vehicle.”
According to police, the officer then had Bowe and two passengers get out of the vehicle before a police dog checked for illegal substances. Bowe then stated that “they had smoked a little” marijuana while waiting at the airport, police said.
The motion also disputes this, saying the occupants of the vehicle repeatedly denied consuming marijuana. The police report states the officer’s audio system went down prior to the arrest, and the motion says most of the encounter between Bowe and the officer is inaudible.
“Mr. Bowe vigorously disputes certain statements attributed to him that are not on tape,” the motion states. “It should further be noted that his audio worked fine until the search of the vehicle.”
The officer eventually arrested Bowe after finding a black bag containing his wallet, driver’s license and two containers of what the officer suspected to be marijuana.
One of Bowe’s passengers, George A. Thompson, said the bag belonged to him, police said, and during a search of Thompson, police also found two-hand rolled cigarettes, containing 2.2 grams of suspected marijuana.
The motion states that Thompson “has indicated under oath” that all the marijuana found in the car is his and that Bowe had no knowledge of its presence.
The motion also contends Bowe never gave consent to a search of his vehicle, alleging that one of the officers tried to coerce him into consenting to a search by telling him that the police dog on the scene “was an aggressive ‘scratcher.’” The motion says Bowe still refused to give consent, however, and argues that what followed was a warrantless search that led to his arrest.
“Not only did the officer use coercive tactics in an attempt to pressure Mr. Bowe into consenting to a search of his vehicle by threatening to scratch up the interior of his car, the officer went ahead and searched the vehicle without any consent of Mr. Bowe, and without probable cause,” the motion states.
Finally, the motion contends the officers didn’t read Bowe his Miranda rights during his initial questioning at the scene. Because Bowe felt detained during the entire process, the motion says, all statements he made before he was eventually read his Miranda rights and taken to jail should be suppressed.
Bowe, who posted bond after his arrest and did not miss any playing time, stirred up a little controversy after the season when he told WHB (810 AM) that he felt he was stopped unfairly.
“I mean, the people close around me and my team and the organization know that I had nothing to do with that,” Bowe said. “I was being profiled … it will all come to light in February. It wasn’t a distraction because my teammates know and my family knows … it was like I said, I was just being watched and being followed. That’s how it goes sometimes when you’ve got the millions behind your name.”
Bowe was then asked if he thought the police were out to get him.
“I mean, it’s not just them … it’s everybody. Once you get those (bills) behind your name, you’ll feel exactly how I feel. When you’re in a town where there’s not a lot going on, bad media is good media so you’ve just gotta stay calm and stay collected like I (am) now and just move in silence.
“I still go places, go out to eat, drive around the city and find things to do with my family, but you’ve just got to move in silence now because that’s just how it goes.”
Bowe, 29, signed a five-year, $56 million extension before last season and has a cap number of $12 million this year. He caught 57 passes for 673 yards and five touchdowns in 2013, one of the worst statistical seasons of his career, but has also vowed to report to camp in better shape.
The Chiefs’ offseason workouts begin on April 21, and are limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation work only. Organized team activities, or OTAs, begin on May 27 and last through late June.