When 21-year-old Honor Roll student Marcus Green was pulled over for speeding in Fayetteville, North Carolina, he thought that he would be given a ticket and be allowed to continue on his journey. Instead he ended up being arrested.
In a bizarre case of mistaken identity, a clerical error led Green to being detained. Green has no police record but was detained for several hours until his father, Mark Green, paid the $1,100 cash bond to let him out.
Green said he received a notice about an expired tag citation in Macon, Georgia six months ago, even though he hadn’t been there in three years. After calling and explaining the situation, he thought the mistake had been cleared up, but apparently it hadn’t been.
When he was stopped by the officer for speeding, he was asked, “did you know your license was suspended?” A surprised Green replied, “No.”
He then went on to say, “I haven’t been to Macon in three years,” the officer insisted that records show that he had a suspended license.
After getting out of jail, Green and his father headed out to Macon to sort the whole thing out. What they found was that Green’s information had been placed underneath a citation number for an individual who failed to appear in court, by the name of Gerien Marcus.
Although a subsequent letter from the Department of Driver Services sent to Green’s family admitted there had been a mistake, the Honor Roll student said, “I still have to appear in court on September 1 just to make sure this is completely gone from my record.”
“With the heightened awareness of the transactions with the police and youth, particularly black males, you need to talk to your kids,” said Mark Green, adding that he is grateful the situation didn’t escalate. His son said, “It was a traumatic experience,” but his father had always taught him how to handle himself around law enforcement officials.
“You don’t think it’s gonna happen to you that you’re gonna end up in a jail cell because of a speeding ticket,” Marcus continued. However, “The court clerk said this actually happens a lot.”
“This could have went south very easily,” said Mark Green, who is a former law enforcement official. He adds that he is thankful his son remained polite and respectful, even if he was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit.
A spokeswoman for the DDS said that the department received two records from the court containing identical driver’s license numbers but the information was not returned to the court for correction as per standard protocol. “In this case it was not and incorrect information was applied to Mr. Green’s record,” she added.