A two-time NBA Champion yelled he couldn’t breathe and made racial discrimination allegations while being arrested in Emerson on Saturday.
An Emerson Police Officer noticed a silver Nissan Titan driving in the area of Lakepoint Parkway and Stars Way at around 9:40 p.m. with an obstructed North Carolina license plate and expired decal.
Upon making contact with driver 54-year-old Vernon Leon Maxwell of Charlotte North Carolina, his wife, and a juvenile in the truck, the officer immediately smelled raw marijuana and noticed Maxwell’s eyes were extraordinarily watery and bloodshot. Maxwell did not have his license with him.
Maxwell admitted he smoked marijuana about an hour before the stop, and there was some inside the truck. His wife confirmed Maxwell’s name and date of birth. During a search of the vehicle, the officer found the marijuana and an open beer can.
The officer could smell the strong odor of alcohol coming from Maxwell. Upon refusal of doing any sobriety evaluations, the officer arrested Maxwell.
The officer stated that when Maxwell noticed a crowd of about 10 to 15 people witnessing the arrest, Maxwell began yelling he could not breathe several times. To remove and defuse any escalation between the police and crowd, the officer released the truck to his wife and transported Maxwell to the Bartow County Jail. While en-route, Maxwell made allegations that the officer arrested him because he was black, and his wife was white.
At the jail, the officer realized that Maxwell had a court order stating he could not be within 1,500 feet of his wife. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina confirmed this.
Emerson Police charged Maxwell with aggravated stalking, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, operating a vehicle without a current license plate, operating a truck with an obstructed license plate, not having his driver’s license in his immediate possession when operating a motor vehicle, possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage in the passenger area, and driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.
As of Monday afternoon, Maxwell remained in the Bartow County Jail.
Vernon Maxwell played in the NBA from 1988 to 2001 and won back-to-back championships with the Houston Rockets in 1994 and ’95.
He has also had a long history of trouble. He has punched a fan in the stands, pulled out a gun in a fit of road rage, been arrested in Cobb County on kidnapping and aggravated assault charges, and had multiple drug arrests.
According to Emerson Police, he was a part of a basketball team playing at the LakePoint Champions Center.