Last Updated: 2:19 PM, March 25, 2010
Posted: 11:54 AM, March 25, 2010Comments: 10
Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV was acquitted today of driving while intoxicated, but a Manhattan jury did find him guilty of the lesser charge of driving while impaired.
Jurors weighed the two charges -- misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, which carries a one-year maximum, and driving while impaired, a traffic violation which carries up to 15 days in jail.
The judge slapped the Harlem lawmaker on the spot with a $300 fine on top of a $700 surcharge.
Powell, 47, was also sentenced to attend a drunk driving program and suspended his driver's license to 90 days.
The judge, however, nixed the DA's request that Powell be required for one year to have a device installed in his car that would prevent it's operation with detection of any alcohol.
Powell has no criminal record as a result of the sentencing because the conviction amounts to a traffic violation.
Outside the courthouse, Powell said, "What happened to me is what's probably happened to most, if not, all young men of color in this country."
Powell called the cop who arrested him a liar.
"When cops lie, anybody can be guilty," he said.
Prosecutors had showed jurors a police video Wednesday of Powell from the night of March 6, 2008 -- the evening he had been pulled over by cops who said he was driving erratically along the West Side Highway.
"They were trying to nail me," said Powell.
Officer Donald Schneider testified that Powell admitted he had done some drinking and that his eyes were bloodshot.
The cop's s testimony was the only evidence presented by either side.
Jurors said Powell's performance on a police video got him off on the more serious charge.
"He aced the test. There's not doubt about that," one male juror said of the test.
The same juror added, "The whole thing is we didn't think he was drunk."
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