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View Full Version : My bizarre traffic stop


Ronald
01-22-2020, 08:23 AM
This may seem random, but I wanted to hear from some mindful, mature folks without spewing my personal experience on Facebook or what have you.

Tuesday at midnight, I was driving back from my parents' when I was pulled over by a cop. I knew right away it was because I hadn't installed my new license plates, so I immediately grabbed the envelop containing the new plates and pulled out my driver's license. The 20-something officer checked it over, but proceeded to ask if I'd been drinking and had me exit my car. He patted down my legs and had me sit in his passenger seat while he ran my license. It only got weirder from there.

He then began asking if I had drugs in my car, asked if I'd ever "smoked weed," then asked if I smoked weed in high school. I kept looking him in the eye and politely insisting "no," but he wasn't satisfied. One or twice, he followed up with "you can just be honest with me," which was infuriating. He asked if I smoke or vape, I said no and asked why he wanted to know, to which he became defensive and said "I'm just doing my job." It got just a little weirder from there.

He then asked if he could have a K-9 sniff my car for drugs. I now realize I could have said no, but at the time, I didn't feel a sense of leverage. He asked if I was familiar with highway drug trafficking, which I am vaguely. At the last minute, he had the approaching K-9 unit turn and leave, saying he thought I was being honest. He said to take the next highway exit and put the new sticker on my plate, which didn't make sense given I had a totally new plate to install. He finally printed out a warning and let me go.

I'm still processing the experience. I've been driving since 2004 and my only speeding ticket was about ten years ago. All I can guess is this was a young cop desperate to get a bust, and perhaps he profiled me due to my long hair and beard. But I remind myself how lucky I am to not be a racial minority in these circumstances. I'm probably going to call his police station, tell them his badge, my story, and how infuriating and degrading it was to be treated like that. Have any of you experienced anything like this? What would you do?

terrie
01-22-2020, 01:33 PM
That's one weird experience. I think you handled it quite properly by just being polite.


Rather than call, I think I might write it all down--basically what you've written above but with perhaps more details (street, time of day, etc.) stating that you recognize that the basic issue was not having your new plates in place on the car but then going on to ask if the steps taken by the officer were in line with (city/county name) police guidelines. I think I also might see if I could find the police chief (whatever title, basically, the head person) name and send the letter directly to that person. Basically, approach it in a nonadversarial way so that you present yourself as confused about the encounter and that are asking for guidance?


By writing rather than phoning, you give them space and time to react and to investigate--this of course presumes they care...'-}}




Does that make sense to you?



I'm glad you came out of this in one piece...




Terrie

Ronald
01-23-2020, 07:30 AM
Thanks, Terrie. You're probably right. I definitely don't want to just dismiss the ordeal with no action, but your more tempered approach makes sense.

Andrew B.
01-23-2020, 09:05 AM
I would write down a narrative as Terrie suggested. Then research this on the Internet. Then call a lawyer. I would not complain to police unless I knew the law. Otherwise they can call you back and tell you whatever they want and you won't know if it's the truth.

Ronald
01-23-2020, 02:30 PM
Thanks, Andrew. Although it was highly unnecessary and degrading, I doubt the officer technically did anything wrong. Technically I gave consent to search my car. Apparently I could have refused, but I've never been asked such a thing and didn't realize I could refuse. I've had difficulty finding free legal info/advice. I'll try a 24-hour hotline tonight, but I doubt I'll get much traction outside of that. We'll see. At the very least, I will write a letter as suggested.

terrie
01-23-2020, 02:35 PM
ronald: I'll try a 24-hour hotline tonightKeep us posted...



Terrie

Andrew B.
01-23-2020, 09:23 PM
There are resourced on the Internet, and I won't attempt to repeat them from memory. But it talks about what to say to an officer when you want to refuse, the fact that the officer might bluff by saying it could save them from having to impound your car and tear apart, etc. There is also a youtube thing about what police can ask you, etc.

One I saw was simpler. The layer said if they ask permission you don't have to give it. If they order you to do something, do it, especially if they are pointing a gun at you.

I also imagine the state you live in might make a difference.

Kayza
01-27-2020, 10:25 PM
That's one weird experience. I think you handled it quite properly by just being polite.


Rather than call, I think I might write it all down--

>snio<

By writing rather than phoning, you give them space and time to react and to investigate--this of course presumes they care...'-}}


You also create a paper trail, in case they don't care.

terrie
01-28-2020, 02:11 PM
kayza: You also create a paper trail, in case they don't care. YES!!!! Excellent point...



Terrie