Officer accused of racial profiling
Cranberry Eagle
Written by:
December 12, 2012

ADAMS TWP — A Butler Township man who in 2009 told Adams Township supervisors he felt he was being racially profiled by township police has filed a formal complaint against an Adams officer who cited him last week.

Walter Dunlap, who is black, filed a private criminal complaint at District Judge Wayne Seibel’s office Dec. 4 against officer Amanda Schmidt.

Dunlap claims Schmidt racially profiled him at 2 a.m. Dec. 4 as he drove on Route 228 when she shined her high beams into his car across from Mars Alliance Church. He feels officers are trying to see who is driving so they can determine whether to pull them over.

Dunlap said having been hit with high beams by Adams police three or four times before at the same location, he pulled over and took a picture of the patrol car. He said he neither used a flash nor left his car in taking the photo.

He said the patrol car pulled in behind him and Schmidt cited him for harassment and creating a hazardous condition for taking the photo.

Dunlap said Schmidt called her sergeant to the scene, and Dunlap asked him why officers turn on their high beams when cars traveling west on Route 228 approach the intersection with Myoma Road. “The sergeant said their alternators run hot and sometimes it seems like our high beams are on,” Dunlap said. “I just started laughing.”

Dunlap, who works the night shift at a post office in Pittsburgh, said he stopped at the federal court building there to ask officials what action he could take regarding the problem. He was told to file a complaint with the district judge in the police department’s jurisdiction.

In 2009, Dunlap claimed Adams police followed him by less than a car length 15 times in 48 days as he drove to work. At that time, Dunlap attended an Adams Township meeting to tell the supervisors about his experiences.

The supervisors suggested a meeting between Dunlap, police chief Bill Westerman and Linda Lees, supervisor in charge of police, be arranged, but that meeting never occurred.

Westerman said that while he could not comment because he had not seen the complaint, police do not shine their headlights into cars on Route 228 at night.

Dunlap’s complaint against Schmidt will be sent to the Butler County district attorney, who will decide whether to investigate the alleged incident.