Berkeley County deputies referred to two college students of Middle Eastern descent as "graduates of suicide-bomber school" and members of the Taliban during an August traffic stop that resulted in federal charges, defense attorneys say.
A motion filed Friday in federal court alleges that Cpl. Lamar Blakely also joked about Youssef Megahed and Ahmed Mohamed having copies of the Koran.
"Shockingly, on the video, Deputy Blakely even expresses concern over the fact that his (ethnically) inappropriate remarks were being
recorded by his in-vehicle recorder," a footnote in the defense motion states.
Megahed, 21, and Mohamed, 26, were arrested Aug. 4 after Blakely pulled them over for going 60 mph in a 45 mph zone on U.S. Highway 176 in Goose Creek. Authorities later discovered explosives, fuse, .22-caliber ammunition, PVC piping and other materials in the trunk of the men's Toyota Camry. The men told police they were vacationing and that the items in question were homemade fireworks.
The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office is aware of the motion but does not have any comment, public information officer Blair Jennings said.
"I don't think it's appropriate to address those kinds of factual allegations until a hearing is scheduled in the case," Jennings said. "All of those things will be addressed at the appropriate time in court."
Originally detained on state charges, Megahed and Mohamed were later moved to Florida and charged in federal court with illegally transporting bomb materials.
A federal prosecutor later said a laptop computer found in the car contained video of Mohamed demonstrating how to turn a radio-controlled car into a remote-control detonator.
The claims about derogatory remarks and racial profiling appear in a defense motion filed on Megahed's behalf that seeks to suppress the evidence from the car. The motion bases its argument on the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
In an interview shortly after the stop, Blakely said that something didn't seem right to him because the men's stories about where they were coming from and going kept changing. In the weeks afterward, Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson commended the deputy, saying he made a proper stop and clean search of the car.