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Old 08-17-2011, 00:24   #1
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What happens if citizen's no longer trust the police?

"Yeah Dad, but they are also a couple of guys with guns."

A statement my son made after he and his friend were pulled over in a quiet neighborhood experiencing a black out at 2 in the morning for a faulty brake light.

Long story short is that the car was searched as were they (TSA style with a full groping of his junk). When he got home he told me about the whole ordeal and when I asked him why he didn't just politely object to the search because they know what his rights are this was his response.

Essentially he was intimidated by the officers and quiet frankly too scared to say anything when asked. This was his first experience with policemen aside from hearing them speak at his school.

He went on to tell me that non compliance could be construed as giving them attitude and he didn't want to escalate an already bad situation. I had to think about it for awhile and I'm not sure I can disagree with him. He's a good kid but the policemen who pulled him over don't know that.

So my question is really geared toward any officers, especially those who have kids. How can a 19 y/o exercise his rights in that situation without coming off as uncooperative or giving off the appearance of attitude?
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Old 08-17-2011, 00:34   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roering View Post
"Yeah Dad, but they are also a couple of guys with guns."

A statement my son made after he and his friend were pulled over in a quiet neighborhood experiencing a black out at 2 in the morning for a faulty brake light.

Long story short is that the car was searched as were they (TSA style with a full groping of his junk). When he got home he told me about the whole ordeal and when I asked him why he didn't just politely object to the search because they know what his rights are this was his response.

Essentially he was intimidated by the officers and quiet frankly too scared to say anything when asked. This was his first experience with policemen aside from hearing them speak at his school.

He went on to tell me that non compliance could be construed as giving them attitude and he didn't want to escalate an already bad situation. I had to think about it for awhile and I'm not sure I can disagree with him. He's a good kid but the policemen who pulled him over don't know that.

So my question is really geared toward any officers, especially those who have kids. How can a 19 y/o exercise his rights in that situation without coming off as uncooperative or giving off the appearance of attitude?
It totally depends on why the officers felt like they needed to pat him down. Something had to lead to the pat down from the brake light being out, do you have any idea what it is?

As far as declining to a consensual search, I doubt that would really escalate anything, it happens all the time.
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Old 08-17-2011, 00:39   #3
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It totally depends on why the officers felt like they needed to pat him down. Something had to lead to the pat down from the brake light being out, do you have any idea what it is?

As far as declining to a consensual search, I doubt that would really escalate anything, it happens all the time.
Well, it was 2 in the morning and there was a black out in the neighborhood. My guess is that they may have thought they had a couple of potential thieves?
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Old 08-17-2011, 00:48   #4
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Well, it was 2 in the morning and there was a black out in the neighborhood. My guess is that they may have thought they had a couple of potential thieves?
That's definitely plausible. Without actually being there, its hard to say.
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Old 08-17-2011, 00:54   #5
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That's definitely plausible. Without actually being there, its hard to say.
If you are suspected of stealing in the neighborhood and you answer "no" to the question of having your car searched, could an arrest be next?
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:25   #6
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If you are suspected of stealing in the neighborhood and you answer "no" to the question of having your car searched, could an arrest be next?
Only if warranted. An arrest requires facts which lead a reasonable person to believe a crime is happening. If those facts were present, then maybe.

Or,.the investigation could continue during the contact to see what develops. Hard to say sir.
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:15   #7
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so why were the cops "bad" the had pc for the stop, they asked your son to search the car and your son said yes. they probably asked him if they could pat him down and he said yes to that too! what was so wrong? not being a ****** I just don't understand.
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Old 08-17-2011, 04:56   #8
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Well, it was 2 in the morning and there was a black out in the neighborhood. My guess is that they may have thought they had a couple of potential thieves?
It's unfortunate your son had an experience with LE that may have soured him. But if you think about it, LE never stops someone/makes contact to give good news. And often, LE may give the reason why the person was stopped but the person refuses to believe it's the real reason, leading to feelings of confusion and frustration.

Hopefully your son will eventually understand that under the above circumstances (black out, 2AM), the cop was looking out for the best interest of the entire community. Nothing personal. Strictly business.
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:24   #9
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Sometimes when the question is asked if one agrees to the search, the officer has already developed his probable cause for the search and the request is more of a formality to see what type of response is given as opposed to an actual request.

Also two teenagers in a quiet neighborhood at 2am seems at least a bit suspicious until some reasonable reason is given for their presence; add a blackout and that perhaps raises the suspicion even a bit more.
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:32   #10
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With respect, even as I attempt to give it straight:

If someone is in such a state that he doesn't know or is afraid to exercise his rights, he has a problem, not me. This society is predicated on the idea that free men are knowledgable and willing participants in its governing. That includes their ability to judge facts and make decisions. That includes their willingness to act as a brake on government excess. If someone is old enough to drive, old enough to vote, serve on a jury and enlist in our Armed Forces, then he ought to be old enough to knowingly and intelligently exercise his rights.

I'm sorry that your son isn't there. I do not know if this is a failure of home or of schooling or something else. I'm pretty sure, *almost* certain that it wasn't a failure of the two guys that your community commissioned to patrol the streets while you're asleep, responding to emergencies and hunting criminals in between those responses.

How to exercise your rights is a subsidiary question here. The root issue is the lack of will to do so, not the best statment to use. If you dont work on that with your boy, the rest of the scenario doesnt matter.

Again, I'm not trying to cut on you, I don't know where you live or what crime and cops are like there. I really want an educated citizenry of thinkers and participants in society. I hope for guys who do the right thing and the best thing, not guys who roll over because I've got a gun.

Work on his knowing his place, and the rest follows.
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:03   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roering View Post
"Yeah Dad, but they are also a couple of guys with guns."

A statement my son made after he and his friend were pulled over in a quiet neighborhood experiencing a black out at 2 in the morning for a faulty brake light.

Long story short is that the car was searched as were they (TSA style with a full groping of his junk). When he got home he told me about the whole ordeal and when I asked him why he didn't just politely object to the search because they know what his rights are this was his response.

Essentially he was intimidated by the officers and quiet frankly too scared to say anything when asked. This was his first experience with policemen aside from hearing them speak at his school.

He went on to tell me that non compliance could be construed as giving them attitude and he didn't want to escalate an already bad situation. I had to think about it for awhile and I'm not sure I can disagree with him. He's a good kid but the policemen who pulled him over don't know that.

So my question is really geared toward any officers, especially those who have kids. How can a 19 y/o exercise his rights in that situation without coming off as uncooperative or giving off the appearance of attitude?


I'm not completely clear on why the situation was "bad". Stopping cars with defective equipment is SOP and good police work. Judging by the time of night and circumstances I suspect the officers thought that they might have been dealing with a couple of burglars. As far as the search of your son's person goes, it was just as uncomfortable for the officer as it was for your son. Nobody like touching another guy's junk, but you wouldn't believe how many people hide stuff in their crotch. If its a bag of dope, them someone might get away with something. If its a gun, you or a fellow officer could end up dead. You've got to "get up in there" as unpleasant as it may be.

To answer your question, the best you can do is politely tell the officer that no, he may not search your vehicle. The fact of the matter is, regardless of how he may act, you've got to have consent of PC to search a vehicle.
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:29   #12
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As usual, I'm with Sam.

I cannot tell you, especially working in a college town, the number of times that I have had a 18-19-20-etc year old deny consent to search. A good deal of the time, they do it politely and without "escalating" anything. Generally speaking, the manner in which consent is denied, whether polite or not, has no bearing on the next step: either I have a legal reason to search without consent or I don't.

An officer that becomes overbearing or coercive in the face of denied consent knows neither the law nor his options.
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:50   #13
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Not much to add that isn't already correct. Suffice it to say about myself as a nineteen year old man. I was already out of the home at that age, working and attempting to scratch together a living, a responsible member of a national guard unit. Basically a responsible citizen. By now, it is time they know what is right and wrong and learn to keep up with law that protects their rights, as well as what basic commonly known laws that they need to abide by.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:01   #14
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Haha. We just had this discussion at work. Nothing good happens after midnight. And if they were out after 2 during a blackout I'd stop them to find out what's going on. Did they just leave work or a bar or a restaurant (during a blackout?) During the big n.e. blackout back in, was it 2003? We all got called in and curfew was in effect. If you were out during the blackout after midnight and not an emergency worker, you got stopped and questioned

Honestly to answer your question, I'd probably take a No to consent to think something is up during a blackout and try a little harder to see what someone is hiding. If it's just a stop and nothing else is going on, I'd say ok, goodbye. You can judge when someone is being shifty.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:48   #15
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so why were the cops "bad" the had pc for the stop, they asked your son to search the car and your son said yes. they probably asked him if they could pat him down and he said yes to that too! what was so wrong? not being a ****** I just don't understand.
Nothing "bad" about the policemen at all. They stopped two kids at 2 in the morning. Had a reason to check them out. And had every right to search since he gave consent. Not the issue here.

It's in Newport Beach CA. Very quiet area away from the coast. Very little crime here. It's a common joke that the police here are either very bored, very effective, or both. I would suspect both.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:20   #16
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No way to tell what really happened since nobody here was in the car. It's regrettable that your son has this opinion of the police, though. If you didn't teach him this view of the police, it's very possible that his choice of friends are. To that issue, it's possible his friend did/said something to prompt the officer to request consent to search as well.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:39   #17
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Nothing "bad" about the policemen at all. They stopped two kids at 2 in the morning. Had a reason to check them out. And had every right to search since he gave consent. Not the issue here.
The title of your thread ("What happens if citizen's no longer trust the police?") leads me to believe that the situation that you described is "bad" and that the officers involved would subsequently be "bad" as well.

If your thread title was "What happens if citizen's no longer trust left-handed rodeo clowns?" then I would assume that your first post would be less then flattering towards left-handed rodeo clowns.

Regarding the crotch-area-search: Nobody likes to be searched there, male, female, felon, or innocent tax-payer. The officer doesn't like it either. Bad guys know this and thus stash their contraband and weapons where they are least likely to be vigorously searched. Officer/ public safety aside, it's also a CYA issue. Early this year an officer in a medium sized PA department failed to search a prisoner's crotch. After he was booked the prisoner was able to removed the HANDGUN he'd hidden next to his balls and hide it inside the facility. The gun was later found by corrections staff and a multi-day lock-down ensued. That officer is no longer employed because of this event.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:44   #18
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No way to tell what really happened since nobody here was in the car. It's regrettable that your son has this opinion of the police, though. If you didn't teach him this view of the police, it's very possible that his choice of friends are. To that issue, it's possible his friend did/said something to prompt the officer to request consent to search as well.
A week before this happened we had discussed the homeless man in Fullerton who was beaten to death by the police. A couple of salient points we had taken from it was that policemen have to deal with society at it's worst, and sometimes police get caught up in the moment like any other human being could. I'm sure this was fresh in his mind. Not giving consent to a search (to him at the time) could be construed to the officers as being combative.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:47   #19
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The title of your thread ("What happens if citizen's no longer trust the police?") leads me to believe that the situation that you described is "bad" and that the officers involved would subsequently be "bad" as well.

If your thread title was "What happens if citizen's no longer trust left-handed rodeo clowns?" then I would assume that your first post would be less then flattering towards left-handed rodeo clowns.

Regarding the crotch-area-search: Nobody likes to be searched there, male, female, felon, or innocent tax-payer. The officer doesn't like it either. Bad guys know this and thus stash their contraband and weapons where they are least likely to be vigorously searched. Officer/ public safety aside, it's also a CYA issue. Early this year an officer in a medium sized PA department failed to search a prisoner's crotch. After he was booked the prisoner was able to removed the HANDGUN he'd hidden next to his balls and hide it inside the facility. The gun was later found by corrections staff and a multi-day lock-down ensued. That officer is no longer employed because of this event.
Just because you don't trust a total stranger, it doesn't make them bad.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:59   #20
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Nothing "bad" about the policemen at all. They stopped two kids at 2 in the morning.
To you, he's your kid. At 02:00 in a traffic stop he's an unknown adult male.
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Had a reason to check them out. And had every right to search since he gave consent. Not the issue here.

It's in Newport Beach CA. Very quiet area away from the coast. Very little crime here. It's a common joke that the police here are either very bored, very effective, or both. I would suspect both.
I'm curious, you haven't said why your son and his friend were in that area. Do you mind saying?
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:41   #21
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Just because you don't trust a total stranger, it doesn't make them bad.
True.

Likewise: At 2am, during a blackout, the officers didn't trust your son. This doesn't make your son bad, but the officers did what they felt they had to do under the circumstances presented to them at the time.

The fact of the matter is that we only have your son's account of what happened. Kids lie to the police and they lie to their parents about encounters they have with the police. It's fun to have an angry parent attempt to explain to you (the arresting officer) an event that took place during an incident that they were not present for.

No kid is going to tell Mommy and Daddy "Hey! This awesome cop who teaches Sunday school with his wife at church, has 4 kids with another on the way, mows his elderly neighbor's lawn, and anonymously donates money to various charities pulled-me over on a legitimate traffic stop, patted me down for his safety so he can home to his kids and then let me go with a warning! Yay for cops!"

I mean absolutely no offense to you or your son at all: My first instinct is to not to be 100% believing of your son's account of what happened. I'd prefer to hear the other side's story before talking about whether or not the law enforcement community as a whole needs to be dis-trusted.
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:56   #22
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To you, he's your kid. At 02:00 in a traffic stop he's an unknown adult male. I'm curious, you haven't said why your son and his friend were in that area. Do you mind saying?
He and his buddy were at a friends house playing an online game (yeah I know, total waste of time). Since the neighborhood blacked out, gaming was obviously stopped so instead of staying the night they decided to head for home.
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Old 08-17-2011, 13:00   #23
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True.

Likewise: At 2am, during a blackout, the officers didn't trust your son. This doesn't make your son bad, but the officers did what they felt they had to do under the circumstances presented to them at the time.

The fact of the matter is that we only have your son's account of what happened. Kids lie to the police and they lie to their parents about encounters they have with the police. It's fun to have an angry parent attempt to explain to you (the arresting officer) an event that took place during an incident that they were not present for.

No kid is going to tell Mommy and Daddy "Hey! This awesome cop who teaches Sunday school with his wife at church, has 4 kids with another on the way, mows his elderly neighbor's lawn, and anonymously donates money to various charities pulled-me over on a legitimate traffic stop, patted me down for his safety so he can home to his kids and then let me go with a warning! Yay for cops!"

I mean absolutely no offense to you or your son at all: My first instinct is to not to be 100% believing of your son's account of what happened. I'd prefer to hear the other side's story before talking about whether or not the law enforcement community as a whole needs to be dis-trusted.
Think about it for a moment. If you were 19 and out causing trouble or doing something you darn well know you aught not to be doing, get pulled over and searched, etc. etc. but let go with a warning, would you really tell your parents about it???

I wouldn't because I wouldn't want to explain why I got pulled over in the first place.

And I'm not saying that they "need to be dis-trusted".

Nor am I an angry parent. I think that it certainly posed for an uncomfortable situation for him to be in and I honestly could not tell him that next time he should deny the officers request for reasons mentioned above.

I was (and am) a little perplexed on how one could handle that situation without getting arrested or groped.
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Old 08-17-2011, 13:19   #24
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Not giving consent to a search (to him at the time) could be construed to the officers as being combative.
I completely and totally DISAGREE with this assessment. Refusing consent to search is NOT "combative" by any definition of the term that is applicable to law enforcement officers on patrol. May it be construed as "uncooperative" or "suspicious", perhaps...but let's not get so far ahead of ourselves as to suggest that your kid is going to catch a beating or something for refusing to consent to a search. Give the officers more credit than that.
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Old 08-17-2011, 13:22   #25
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He and his buddy were at a friends house playing an online game (yeah I know, total waste of time). Since the neighborhood blacked out, gaming was obviously stopped so instead of staying the night they decided to head for home.
Thank you.
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Think about it for a moment. If you were 19 and out causing trouble or doing something you darn well know you aught not to be doing, get pulled over and searched, etc. etc. but let go with a warning, would you really tell your parents about it???

I wouldn't because I wouldn't want to explain why I got pulled over in the first place.

And I'm not saying that they "need to be dis-trusted".

Nor am I an angry parent. I think that it certainly posed for an uncomfortable situation for him to be in and I honestly could not tell him that next time he should deny the officers request for reasons mentioned above.

I was (and am) a little perplexed on how one could handle that situation without getting arrested or groped.
There's still a little information we don't know. Did the officers ask why they were in the neighborhood? What was the answer? To whom is the car they were in registered?
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