An internal investigation by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office into a traffic stop involving Navy veteran Braxton Smith has concluded after the man claimed he was racially profiled during the encounter. The investigation found that JSO officer Justin Peppers displayed “conduct unbecoming of a police officer” during a November 2022 and determined that the allegations of bias-based policing, amounting to racial profiling, was unfounded.
Smith’s complaint arose after he was aggressively stopped by Peppers alongside the JSO task force where body camera footage displayed the officer using profane language before detaining, handcuffing and searching the veteran.
Internal affairs investigated the incident and concluded that the officers had established probable cause for searching Smith’s vehicle due to the observations of “shake” and odor of marijuana. The report exonerated Peppers and the task force for their actions during the stop due to probable cause.
Though the claim of racial bias was dismissed, the internal investigation charged Peppers with repeated infractions of unbecoming conduct due to his use of coarse language and multiple citizen complaints dating back to 2017.
As of now, Smith is contemplating legal action against JSO.