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Columbia civil rights case could move to U.S. Supreme Court

A Columbia civil rights case could be heading to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Josh Williams and Philip Porter both claimed they were held at gunpoint by police in a local park in October 2012 just because they were black.

The case was in conference with the justices Friday, which means four of the nine would need to want to hear the case.

If that happens, Stephen Wyse could be headed to Washington in October or November.

ABC 17 News spoke to Wyse Friday after he addressed Boone County democrats, and asked him why he believes Williams’ and Porter’s rights were violated.

Both Williams and Porter had previous incidents where they had been stopped by CPD and forced to lie on the ground and searched after a period of time, including one incident with one of the officers involved in this incident where they had been stopped without probable cause for what they believe was racial profiling.

ABC 17 News first reported about this case two years ago when Williams and Porter filed suit against the city.

The two said in an interview they were simply sitting in the park having a beer in their car when the police came up with guns drawn.

“Roughed up, guns to my head telling me it’s not worth it, and then you’re free to go,” they said.

Police asked Williams if he had a gun, and mistook him for having a felony record and proceeded to arrest him.

As their case could be heading to the highest court in the nation, their attorney told ABC 17 News this is a case that should have never happened.

“They were seized illegally. There was no probable cause for a crime. A seizure at gunpoint when there has not been a violent crime in the area is unreasonable. If there was an armed robbery or a bank robbery, a seizure could be reasonable if they matched the description of the suspects,” said Wyse.

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