Jason and I were going out to the Pilot truck stop on
Riverwatch at I-20 at about 1AM in the morning of Friday, April 26 to
get him a phone charger. Coming down Alexander Rd, we came across what
looked like a traffic accident down at the intersection of Riverwatch.
Within about a block of it, I made a legal u-turn and headed back from
whence we came in order to avoid a delay due to an accident backup.
a car pulled in behind us from out of nowhere and executed a blue light
special. I stopped, put my window down about 8 inches and handed the
state trooper my driver's license when he asked for it. Trooper Rhodes
then "insisted"that I put the window all the way down - or that I open
the door. I told him that I could hear him just fine and that if I
needed to, I could speak a little louder. He "insisted" several times
that I put the window down or that I open the door - once even grabbing
the window and trying to rip it out of the door!
said that it was a "safety"issue for him, even though I had my hands on
the steering wheel and Jason had his hands on the dashboard the whole
time. He said that I was "obstructing his investigation" - even though
he could not (or would not) tell me what he was investigating except to
repeat over and over that I had turned around to avoid a traffic stop.
(We could see 2 cop cars with blue lights, a car carrier and a couple of
other cars sitting in the darkness - looked at that point more like
atypical accident scene than a roadblock).
asked Trooper Rhodes if I was being detained or if I was free to go. He
eventually told me that I was being detained. I asked what crime did he
suspect me of having committed that warranted a routine traffic stop
being turned into a Terry stop. He never answered.
one of the 10 or so officers present went to Jason's door on the
passenger side (he had not bothered to lock it! Kids! What you gonna
do?) and jerked it open,threatening to taser Jason if he did not exit
the vehicle. At that point I felt it might be better to go ahead and
exit the truck. I got out of the truck and hit the lock button and
started to push the door closed when I remembered I had not taken my
keys out of the ignition.I reached back in to get my keys. (Note to
self: Don't ever do that again!) I felt at that point that they were
going to put me on the ground though cooler heads eventually prevailed
and I was allowed to get my keys, but was not allowed to close the door.
I was being pulled away from the truck by the arm before I had a chance
to lock and close the door, I shouted “I do not consent to any search
of my truck.” Apparently,the cop who removed Jason thought I said, “Do
anything you want.”because he took the opportunity to go through the
glove box and look under the seat. Even though we were unable to secure
the vehicle, to my knowledge, that was the only “search” that was made. I
do believe though that every one of the 10- 12 officers present shined
their flashlights into the truck and took a look. Some one of the cops
eventually closed both of the locked doors and secured the truck.
cop said that he was “only”going to charge me with "Obstructing a Law
Enforcement Officer." Uh, what were your other options Trooper Rhodes?
told me as he was later leading me to the paddy wagon (not your
father's paddy wagon, btw!) that he would have let me go had I rolled
down the window or opened the door;all he wanted to do was verify that I
had a valid driver's license and that I had not been drinking and
driving. He had my driver's license from the beginning of the encounter,
and this was the first time that he had even mentioned "drinking"; he
never asked"Sir, have you been drinking tonight?" or even mentioned the
term "sobriety checkpoint" or anything about alcohol until he was
leading me to the van to be processed.
Before I was
released they called out a bunch of us from the holding cells and told
us to line up single file and march though the door that read “Men's
Showers”. I must admit that for someone who is as distrustful of state
power as I am, the analogies to other such orders given a long time ago
flitted through my brain.
Once inside the “showers”
they had us exchange our clothes for the green scrubs-style inmate
costume and led us to another gang holding cell. We were taken out one
at a time and placed in a single cell to do a “disrobe, bend over and
spread your cheeks” check for contraband. Then we were loaded onto a bus
and headed off to Phinizy Rd Correctional Facility.
stopped at the courthouse and some of us assumed that we were going to
be arraigned and given a bail hearing and “Oh boy, we would be home by
supper time.” No such luck! We sat at the courthouse waiting for those
who actually had gone to court to join us for the ride to Phinizy. At
that point I thought that it was going to be a very long weekend!
few minutes after we arrived at Phinizy, another guy and I were called
out and told that we had been bailed out and would be returning to the
downtown LEC to be processed out. It turns out that my sister – bless
her little heart - had gotten a bondsman to bail me out BEFORE I had
boarded the bus to Phinizy. I actually saw the bondswoman come into the
jail and go in and do the paperwork before we were removed from our
holding cell –not knowing of course that she was my ticket to freedom.
interesting thing, a guy who was arrested for "disorderly" for telling
his arresting officer that he was "fucking up" and then calling him
a"motherfucker" had a $280 bond; the "DUI's" that I heard about had bond
of $1440 to $1600. My bond for not rolling my window down all the way
Long story short (I know, I know; too ate
for that!) I spent 12 hours or so in police custody for not rolling my
window all the way down. Court date is set for June 20. Hope to see you