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City of Bakersfield settles lawsuit with ACLU over allegedly unlawful traffic stop

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In this file photo, a BPD patrol car blocks a road during an investigation.

The city of Bakersfield has agreed to pay $60,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundations of Southern and Northern California on behalf of a man who was arrested in 2017 after he refused to answer questions from the Bakersfield Police Department during a traffic stop.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, Bakersfield resident Robert Mitchell, who is black, was the passenger in a vehicle occupied by three other black men when BPD pulled the vehicle over in March 2017. The lawsuit says the police used the pretext that air fresheners were hanging from the vehicle's rear-view mirror, the tires were bald and the car had come to a rest in the turn lane with its wheels touching the dividing line to initiate the traffic stop.

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.

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