Man who claimed race was factor during DWI trial goes to jail

NORWICH – An Oxford man who brought up the issue of race at his DWI felony trial in February appeared in court last week as his lawyer said his client was pulled over 38 times in 12 months and only issued two tickets.

Deliberating for a little over an hour on Feb. 18, a jury found 29-year-old Thomas Toomer II not guilty of felony driving while intoxicated, but guilty of driving while ability impaired, a misdemeanor. It was a ruling his attorney, Jeffrey G. Leibo of Syracuse, described as a victory for the defense following the verdict.

“The jury got to see that I was definitely not intoxicated. They saw me angry, but they didn’t believe I was intoxicated and that’s what matters,” said Toomer, who is an African American.

The anger the jury saw was shown in a one hour and 27-minute surveillance video of the Norwich Police Station’s booking room, where Toomer directed pleas, obscenities and accusations of racial bias toward the arresting officers.

Toomer was arrested May 7 along Park Street in Norwich and was traveling with a passenger so intoxicated police were unable to communicate with him and get his name. Toomer was arrested for DWI and taken to the Norwich Police Station for processing.

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