Police misbehavior thread

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Police misbehavior thread

Postby Роберт » Tue May 22, 2012 8:03 pm UTC

Apologies if there is one that already exists: I saw quite a few threads about specific instances, but none that seemed to be a good catch all thread. It seems to happen enough that it warrants its own thread.

Here's one to kick it off. http://www.newschannel5.com/story/18241 ... =printable
Spoiler:
By Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter

MONTEREY, Tenn. -- "If somebody told me this happened to them, I absolutely would not believe this could happen in America."

That was the reaction of a New Jersey man who found out just how risky it can be to carry cash through Tennessee.

For more than a year, NewsChannel 5 Investigates has been shining a light on a practice that some call "policing for profit."
See previous stories:
"NC5 Investigates: Policing For Profit"

In this latest case, a Monterey police officer took $22,000 off the driver -- even though he had committed no crime.

"You live in the United States, you think you have rights -- and apparently you don't," said George Reby.

As a professional insurance adjuster, Reby spends a lot of time traveling from state to state. But it was on a trip to a conference in Nashville last January that he got a real education in Tennessee justice.

"I never had any clue that they thought they could take my money legally," Reby added. "I didn't do anything wrong."

Reby was driving down Interstate 40, heading west through Putnam County, when he was stopped for speeding.

A Monterey police officer wanted to know if he was carrying any large amounts of cash.

"I said, 'Around $20,000,'" he recalled. "Then, at the point, he said, 'Do you mind if I search your vehicle?' I said, 'No, I don't mind.' I certainly didn't feel I was doing anything wrong. It was my money."

That's when Officer Larry Bates confiscated the cash based on his suspicion that it was drug money.

"Why didn't you arrest him?" we asked Bates.

"Because he hadn't committed a criminal law," the officer answered.

Bates said the amount of money and the way it was packed gave him reason to be suspicious.

"The safest place to put your money if it's legitimate is in a bank account," he explained. "He stated he had two. I would put it in a bank account. It draws interest and it's safer."

"But it's not illegal to carry cash," we noted.

"No, it's not illegal to carry cash," Bates said. "Again, it's what the cash is being used for to facilitate or what it is being utilized for."

NewsChannel 5 Investigates noted, "But you had no proof that money was being used for drug trafficking, correct? No proof?"

"And he couldn't prove it was legitimate," Bates insisted.

Bates is part of a system that, NewsChannel 5 Investigates has discovered, gives Tennessee police agencies the incentive to take cash off of out-of-state drivers. If they don't come back to fight for their money, the agency gets to keep it all.

"This is a taking without due process," said Union City attorney John Miles.

A former Texas prosecutor and chairman of the Obion County Tea Party, Miles has seen similar cases in his area.

He said that, while police are required to get a judge to sign off on a seizure within five days, state law says that hearing "shall be ex parte" -- meaning only the officer's side can be heard.

That's why George Reby was never told that there was a hearing on his case.

"It wouldn't have mattered because the judge would have said, 'This says it shall be ex parte. Sit down and shut up. I'm not to hear from you -- by statute," Miles added.

George Reby said that he told Monterey officers that "I had active bids on EBay, that I was trying to buy a vehicle. They just didn't want to hear it."

In fact, Reby had proof on his computer.

But the Monterey officer drew up a damning affidavit, citing his own training that "common people do not carry this much U.S. currency."

"On the street, a thousand-dollar bundle could approximately buy two ounces of cocaine," Bates told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

"Or the money could have been used to buy a car," we observed.

"It's possible," he admitted.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Bates if Reby had told him that he was trying to buy a car?

"He did," the officer acknowledged.

"But you did not include that in your report," we noted.

"If it's not in there, I didn't put it in there."

So why did he leave that out?

"I don't know," the officer said.

Bates also told the judge the money was hidden inside "a tool bag underneath trash to [deter] law enforcement from locating it."

"That's inaccurate," Reby said. "I pulled out the bag and gave it to him."

And even though there was no proof that Reby was involved in anything illegal, Bates' affidavit portrays him as a man with a criminal history that included an arrest for possession of cocaine.

That was 20-some years ago," the New Jersey man insisted.

"Were you convicted?" we wanted to know.

"No, I wasn't convicted," he answered.

But Officer Bates says that arrest -- which he acknowledged was old -- was still part of the calculation to take Reby's money.

"Am I going to use it? Yes, I'm going to use it because he's been charged with it in the past -- regardless of whether it's 10 or 15 years ago," he said.

Attorney John Miles said he's frustrated with attitudes toward Tennessee's civil forfeiture laws, which make such practices legal.

"We are entitled not to be deprived of our property without due process of law, both under the Tennessee Constitution and the federal Constitution -- and nobody cares," Miles said.

"Nobody cares."

This year, state lawmakers debated a bill to create a special committee to investigate these "policing for profit" issues. That bill died in the last days of the legislative session.

After Reby filed an appeal, and after NewsChannel 5 began investigating, the state agreed to return his money -- if he'd sign a statement waiving his constitutional rights and promising not to sue.

They also made him come all the way from New Jersey, back to Monterey to pick up a check.

He got the check, but no apology.

"If they lied about everything in the report, why would they apologize?" Reby said.

And, with that, he was ready to put Tennessee in his rearview mirror.

"I really don't want to come back here," he said.

As for the appeals process, Reby was able to provide us and the state with letters from his employers, showing that he had a legitimate source of income.

It took him four months to get his money back, but it usually takes a lot longer for most people.

And that, Miles said, works to the benefit of the police.

He had two clients where police agreed to drop the cases in exchange for a cut of the money -- $1,000 in one case, $2,000 in another. In both cases, that was less than what they might have paid in attorney fees.

Miles called that "extortion."

TL;DR: in Tennessee cops can ask you if you're carrying large amounts of cash and then if you are they can take it from you. No arrest necessary.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Enokh » Tue May 22, 2012 8:14 pm UTC

If this thread is going to be a thing, I imagine there should be some sort of limit on discussion. Otherwise there will be twenty pages of rage-arguing for every story posted.

I like the idea, though, as one of the only ways to stop corruption/injustice of this variety is to spread knowledge of it.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Ghostbear » Tue May 22, 2012 8:21 pm UTC

"But it's not illegal to carry cash," we noted.

"No, it's not illegal to carry cash," Bates [the officer] said. "Again, it's what the cash is being used for to facilitate or what it is being utilized for."

NewsChannel 5 Investigates noted, "But you had no proof that money was being used for drug trafficking, correct? No proof?"

"And he couldn't prove it was legitimate," Bates insisted.

What happened to "innocent until proven guilty"?

The war on drugs is the worst thing to happen to the police.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Iulus Cofield » Tue May 22, 2012 8:31 pm UTC

That article made me feel sick.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Metaphysician » Tue May 22, 2012 8:33 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:Apologies if there is one that already exists: I saw quite a few threads about specific instances, but none that seemed to be a good catch all thread. It seems to happen enough that it warrants its own thread.

Here's one to kick it off. http://www.newschannel5.com/story/18241 ... =printable
Spoiler:
By Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter

MONTEREY, Tenn. -- "If somebody told me this happened to them, I absolutely would not believe this could happen in America."

That was the reaction of a New Jersey man who found out just how risky it can be to carry cash through Tennessee.

For more than a year, NewsChannel 5 Investigates has been shining a light on a practice that some call "policing for profit."
See previous stories:
"NC5 Investigates: Policing For Profit"

In this latest case, a Monterey police officer took $22,000 off the driver -- even though he had committed no crime.

"You live in the United States, you think you have rights -- and apparently you don't," said George Reby.

As a professional insurance adjuster, Reby spends a lot of time traveling from state to state. But it was on a trip to a conference in Nashville last January that he got a real education in Tennessee justice.

"I never had any clue that they thought they could take my money legally," Reby added. "I didn't do anything wrong."

Reby was driving down Interstate 40, heading west through Putnam County, when he was stopped for speeding.

A Monterey police officer wanted to know if he was carrying any large amounts of cash.

"I said, 'Around $20,000,'" he recalled. "Then, at the point, he said, 'Do you mind if I search your vehicle?' I said, 'No, I don't mind.' I certainly didn't feel I was doing anything wrong. It was my money."

That's when Officer Larry Bates confiscated the cash based on his suspicion that it was drug money.

"Why didn't you arrest him?" we asked Bates.

"Because he hadn't committed a criminal law," the officer answered.

Bates said the amount of money and the way it was packed gave him reason to be suspicious.

"The safest place to put your money if it's legitimate is in a bank account," he explained. "He stated he had two. I would put it in a bank account. It draws interest and it's safer."

"But it's not illegal to carry cash," we noted.

"No, it's not illegal to carry cash," Bates said. "Again, it's what the cash is being used for to facilitate or what it is being utilized for."

NewsChannel 5 Investigates noted, "But you had no proof that money was being used for drug trafficking, correct? No proof?"

"And he couldn't prove it was legitimate," Bates insisted.

Bates is part of a system that, NewsChannel 5 Investigates has discovered, gives Tennessee police agencies the incentive to take cash off of out-of-state drivers. If they don't come back to fight for their money, the agency gets to keep it all.

"This is a taking without due process," said Union City attorney John Miles.

A former Texas prosecutor and chairman of the Obion County Tea Party, Miles has seen similar cases in his area.

He said that, while police are required to get a judge to sign off on a seizure within five days, state law says that hearing "shall be ex parte" -- meaning only the officer's side can be heard.

That's why George Reby was never told that there was a hearing on his case.

"It wouldn't have mattered because the judge would have said, 'This says it shall be ex parte. Sit down and shut up. I'm not to hear from you -- by statute," Miles added.

George Reby said that he told Monterey officers that "I had active bids on EBay, that I was trying to buy a vehicle. They just didn't want to hear it."

In fact, Reby had proof on his computer.

But the Monterey officer drew up a damning affidavit, citing his own training that "common people do not carry this much U.S. currency."

"On the street, a thousand-dollar bundle could approximately buy two ounces of cocaine," Bates told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

"Or the money could have been used to buy a car," we observed.

"It's possible," he admitted.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Bates if Reby had told him that he was trying to buy a car?

"He did," the officer acknowledged.

"But you did not include that in your report," we noted.

"If it's not in there, I didn't put it in there."

So why did he leave that out?

"I don't know," the officer said.

Bates also told the judge the money was hidden inside "a tool bag underneath trash to [deter] law enforcement from locating it."

"That's inaccurate," Reby said. "I pulled out the bag and gave it to him."

And even though there was no proof that Reby was involved in anything illegal, Bates' affidavit portrays him as a man with a criminal history that included an arrest for possession of cocaine.

That was 20-some years ago," the New Jersey man insisted.

"Were you convicted?" we wanted to know.

"No, I wasn't convicted," he answered.

But Officer Bates says that arrest -- which he acknowledged was old -- was still part of the calculation to take Reby's money.

"Am I going to use it? Yes, I'm going to use it because he's been charged with it in the past -- regardless of whether it's 10 or 15 years ago," he said.

Attorney John Miles said he's frustrated with attitudes toward Tennessee's civil forfeiture laws, which make such practices legal.

"We are entitled not to be deprived of our property without due process of law, both under the Tennessee Constitution and the federal Constitution -- and nobody cares," Miles said.

"Nobody cares."

This year, state lawmakers debated a bill to create a special committee to investigate these "policing for profit" issues. That bill died in the last days of the legislative session.

After Reby filed an appeal, and after NewsChannel 5 began investigating, the state agreed to return his money -- if he'd sign a statement waiving his constitutional rights and promising not to sue.

They also made him come all the way from New Jersey, back to Monterey to pick up a check.

He got the check, but no apology.

"If they lied about everything in the report, why would they apologize?" Reby said.

And, with that, he was ready to put Tennessee in his rearview mirror.

"I really don't want to come back here," he said.

As for the appeals process, Reby was able to provide us and the state with letters from his employers, showing that he had a legitimate source of income.

It took him four months to get his money back, but it usually takes a lot longer for most people.

And that, Miles said, works to the benefit of the police.

He had two clients where police agreed to drop the cases in exchange for a cut of the money -- $1,000 in one case, $2,000 in another. In both cases, that was less than what they might have paid in attorney fees.

Miles called that "extortion."

TL;DR: in Tennessee cops can ask you if you're carrying large amounts of cash and then if you are they can take it from you. No arrest necessary.


This is in direct violation of the United States Constitution and should be outlawed specifically by the federal government under its authority to regulate inter-state commerce. Or the practice should be brought before SCOTUS so they can tear it a new one... although they did recently rule that cops can strip search anybody taken into custody with no reason or charges filed so they may not be the most reliable people to be making such decisions.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Ghostbear » Tue May 22, 2012 8:44 pm UTC

Metaphysician wrote:This is in direct violation of the United States Constitution and should be outlawed specifically by the federal government under its authority to regulate inter-state commerce. Or the practice should be brought before SCOTUS so they can tear it a new one... although they did recently rule that cops can strip search anybody taken into custody with no reason or charges filed so they may not be the most reliable people to be making such decisions.

Why would it need to be regulated under interstate commerce? The 5th amendment nukes this shit from orbit:
Spoiler:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Emphasis mine. I don't see how the supreme court could possibly rule any other way on this.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby SlyReaper » Tue May 22, 2012 8:46 pm UTC

Police anti-corruption unit suspected of accepting bribes.

Very facepalm-worthy if it turns out to be true.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Роберт » Tue May 22, 2012 9:56 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:Police anti-corruption unit suspected of accepting bribes.

Very facepalm-worthy if it turns out to be true.

Nice one. Now I want to know what the outcome is to that.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Metaphysician » Wed May 23, 2012 4:22 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:This is in direct violation of the United States Constitution and should be outlawed specifically by the federal government under its authority to regulate inter-state commerce. Or the practice should be brought before SCOTUS so they can tear it a new one... although they did recently rule that cops can strip search anybody taken into custody with no reason or charges filed so they may not be the most reliable people to be making such decisions.

Why would it need to be regulated under interstate commerce? The 5th amendment nukes this shit from orbit:
Spoiler:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Emphasis mine. I don't see how the supreme court could possibly rule any other way on this.


People have felt that way before though. I honestly don't care which direction this gets tackled from, SCOTUS or Federal Legislation. I just want it to stop... but I have a feeling it won't. We don't seem to be heading down a path toward police powers getting weaker, or civil rights being upheld, even those guaranteed by the Constitution.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed May 23, 2012 4:40 am UTC

EDIT: Hmm, interesting, I don't know if we have a national reporting service for this sort of thing.

Its probably an issue of state rights, and not allowing the "big inefficient nasty feds" on local turf. The only complaint center I can see is the Police Complaint Center, which is a non-profit organization. (not an agency)
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed May 23, 2012 5:20 am UTC

Well, the relevant way to report things like in the OP is to go to a courthouse and file a lawsuit. It's very telling that they've so far only agreed to return the money on the condition of waiving the right to sue.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed May 23, 2012 5:53 am UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:Well, the relevant way to report things like in the OP is to go to a courthouse and file a lawsuit. It's very telling that they've so far only agreed to return the money on the condition of waiving the right to sue.


Yeah, but taking it to court and fixing things entails risking the plea deal. (in this case, waive the right to sue but get the money back).

So the problem remains because people don't want to risk their neck. But why should they? Someone should be able to investigate these cases of corruption...
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby folkhero » Wed May 23, 2012 8:28 am UTC

I wouldn't expect to the federal government in too big of a hurry to stop this sort of thing. Firstly, because federal law enforcement uses and abuses asset forfeiture themselves all the time Why do you think Hillary Clinton said that they couldn't end the drug war because there was "too much money in it"? Secondly it sets up a system where private citizens traveling with or making purchases with large amounts of legal tender becomes practically illegal. This means that nearly all major purchases and cash transfers have a paper trail to go with them (and a large percentage of mid-sized ones as well), and that is a very valuable thing for many federal agencies from the IRS to the NSA.

I would hope that if a case got to the Supreme Court, asset forfeiture would be largely overhauled since the current system is so plainly unconstitutional, but they would have to first get an appropriate case and then exercise some independence from the other branches.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Arrian » Wed May 23, 2012 3:48 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:What happened to "innocent until proven guilty"?

The war on drugs is the worst thing to happen to the police.


The way the law is structured, the action is against the property, not the person. And since property isn't a person, it doesn't get Constitutional protections, therefore, the burden of proof is on the owner, not the police, to prove that it was not somehow related to a crime. (The "corporations are not people" crowd might want to look at how that principle is currently applied to see where that path might go. Start with United States of America v. 434 Main Street Street, Tewksbury, Massachusetts) Civil asset forfeiture is indeed heinous and about as socially regressive as you can get, but apparently not unconstitutional, at least "under existing Supreme Court Doctrine."

And it's really easy to charge cash, especially, with being involved in the drug trade:

... for example, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals cited studies showing that 75 percent of U.S. currency in Los Angeles included traces of narcotics. In 2009, researchers at the University of Massachusetts analyzed 234 bills collected from 18 cities, and found that 90 percent contained traces of cocaine. A 2008 study published in the Trends in Analytical Chemistry came to similar conclusions, as have studies by the Federal Reserve and the Argonne National Laboratory.


Like Folkhero said, the Feds generally get involved to end run around state limitations on civil asset forfeiture, not the other way around. This is government not being your friend.

<edit>
Just ran across this, the (libertarian) Cato Institute has created the The National Police Misconduct Reporting Project.
</edit>

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Heisenberg » Wed May 23, 2012 6:50 pm UTC

This reminds me of the Planet Money podcast where they talk to Freeway Rick. He talked about police tactics after they got fed up with Rick, a dealer, bringing a lawyer to court to get seized money returned to his people.
Rick wrote:What they started doing, is they started, when they come into the house, they would bring
their own drugs, and they would plant drugs, and that makes it tougher for you to come to
court and say "You know Your Honor, I had $400,000 in there and it's missing." Because
now there's two kilos in there, too. So now you got to tell the judge "Your Honor, the ki's
ain't mine, but the money is!"

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Gears » Wed May 23, 2012 10:25 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:I notice a lack of counter-arguments and a lot of fisting.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Dauric » Thu May 24, 2012 12:06 am UTC



The thing about shit like this is I'm not sure whether to really blame the police officers involved or not. The thing is that if a police officer doesn't do things "by the book" and takes action based on individual circumstances (at least when they're acting legitimately as opposed to taking illegal actions that are ostensibly supported by higher-ups in the system) they open their departments up to being sued if something, anything goes wrong. So the higher up and the lawyers for the cities emphasize the rules and following the rules and they take cover behind the rules, and pass the buck by saying "if you don't like it make your congress change it..."

This emphasis on the rules though leads to what's called an "aloof bureaucracy" which Monty Python has made fun of on numerous occasions and Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" has a great parody of an aloof bureaucracy in government-run air-conditioning repair. This incident is textbook definition of an aloof bureaucracy, the individual circumstances don't matter, "...the book says right here on page 14,696, Section 587, subsection 92, paragraph 42, line 3.... And by gum we're going to do everything by the book!"

And of course as long as everything's done by the book the proponents of the bureaucracy say that resolving the situation in the courts is how the system is supposed to work. That the father in this incident can take his tickets and argue them in court and let the judge decide whether to uphold the ticket or not. So now this guy is stuck either blankly paying the fine, or wasting the time of a court arguing circumstances that an officer with a reasonable degree of autonomy could be understanding about in the first place and pay lip service to the 'book' by issuing a "warning" or somesuch non-penalty.

Of course the officers could really be officious dicks in uniform (so the blame lies entirely with them), and/or they could be walking assholes who are drawn to jobs in an aloof bureaucracy where they can swing authority around and still be protected by the rulebook (where the blame lies with the individual officers on scene -and- with the operational culture fostered by the department heads), which leads to my quandary about whether they directly deserve blame or not. I suppose someone with more interaction with the Syracuse, NY police department would probably have a better handle on the exact culture that prevails in that institution.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Diadem » Thu May 24, 2012 2:49 am UTC

The officers are not doing things by the book though. Traffic laws are clear on this. The need to avoiding an accident supersedes all other traffic laws.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Iulus Cofield » Thu May 24, 2012 3:34 am UTC

Except abandoning his vehicle without engaging the parking brake, putting it into park, or turning it off wasn't done to prevent a vehicular accident. It was to prevent his son from (possibly) hurting himself. I fully support the officer here. If another kid had gotten hit by his car (which is a feasible outcome to doing what he did), he would be getting zero sympathy here. The ticket for failing to produce an insurance card sounds pretty stupid, although, in Oregon and I hear tell in other states, that fine will be waived entirely if he can produce proof of insurance at the time of the ticketing in court.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby lutzj » Thu May 24, 2012 3:44 am UTC

Diadem wrote:The officers are not doing things by the book though. Traffic laws are clear on this. The need to avoiding an accident supersedes all other traffic laws.


He wasn't doing anything with his car to avoid an accident; he ran out of his car, forgetting to engage the parking brake, to chase after his son. I feel for the guy, but allowing his car to roll off the parking lot and into the river created huge potential for another accident (even the father said he was glad "grateful there weren’t any fishermen by the shore" and "grateful for his safety and for the decision he made that morning not to take his newborn baby Joel with him on the trip, because he could have been trapped inside the car;" either of those being true could put him on the hook for vehicular manslaughter). It's also not clear that his son was in immediate danger of drowning.

Even if the ticket for not engaging the parking brake is justifiable, of course (and he could always explain the extenuating circumstances to a judge and get the ticket cleared), the additional ticket for not being able to produce his insurance card, which was trapped inside the swamped car, borders on frivolous.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 24, 2012 3:54 am UTC

I just saw the cash confiscation in Tennessee on reddit, and posted this same comment; the man did not 'lose the money to the cops', the money was seized and returned. I am not suggesting that makes it ok, but the man entered Tennessee with 22,000$, left Tennessee without 22,000$, and approximately four months later was given 22,000$ by the state of Tennessee.

To be perfectly clear, that does not make it acceptable, but it does change what we're griping about; the man likely only got the money back because he was willing to be diligent towards it's recovery. I've been extorted by cops in some states for 100 bucks for 'keep your license fee' on 'routine pullovers' or speed traps that I wasn't going to show up to a court date 3 months from now on a work day to get back.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby natraj » Thu May 24, 2012 4:08 am UTC

if you rob me, and then i take you to court and sue you and i get my money back months down the road, that doesn't change that you robbed me to begin with.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lucrece » Thu May 24, 2012 5:37 am UTC

Or the additional expenses and inconveniences. A government shouldn't be able to seize your money and sit on it for months. My brother was arrested for skipping school and hanging with some friends at an abandoned house. he had a $160 calculator of mine in his bookpack. They release him after we pay $700 in bail, and the calculator is missing when the items are returned.

The guy told us to file a petition, only to tell us that the petition would likely go nowhere as it's evaluated in-house. The police in general need some serious overhaul in terms of oversight agencies and resources for the citizens to defend themselves from the unilateral nature of exchange with law enforcement.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 24, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

natraj wrote:if you rob me, and then i take you to court and sue you and i get my money back months down the road, that doesn't change that you robbed me to begin with.

Yes, I believe I suggested just as much in my post.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu May 24, 2012 1:33 pm UTC

You do realize that if you invested that $22,000 into the Stock Market four months ago, it'd be $22,101 today, and could have been $23,500?

(Assuming a simple SPY ETF fund. The $22,101 figure is because of dividends and the recent dip in prices. The $23,500 price is from the market peak)

He essentially was forced into giving the Tennessee Police Department a 4-month loan with no interest. That is definitely robbing a man of a fair amount of coin.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 24, 2012 1:36 pm UTC

Sigh.
Izawwlgood wrote:To be perfectly clear, that does not make it acceptable, but it does change what we're griping about; the man likely only got the money back because he was willing to be diligent towards it's recovery.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Arrian » Thu May 24, 2012 2:07 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I just saw the cash confiscation in Tennessee on reddit, and posted this same comment; the man did not 'lose the money to the cops', the money was seized and returned. I am not suggesting that makes it ok, but the man entered Tennessee with 22,000$, left Tennessee without 22,000$, and approximately four months later was given 22,000$ by the state of Tennessee.

To be perfectly clear, that does not make it acceptable, but it does change what we're griping about; the man likely only got the money back because he was willing to be diligent towards it's recovery. I've been extorted by cops in some states for 100 bucks for 'keep your license fee' on 'routine pullovers' or speed traps that I wasn't going to show up to a court date 3 months from now on a work day to get back.


In THIS case the guy got his money back. Is that normal?

The problem is that he only got his $22,000 back because he was able to afford a lawyer. The same for the story of Wisconsin cops confiscating bail money after they forced the family to bring it in cash, they only got it back because they got a lawyer and could produce ATM receipts from the same day. This is a very regressive policy since people who are least able to afford losing the money or property are also least able to afford legal help to get it back. Remember, this is property not people, and property doesn't get a public defender. Not to mention the costs of the extra time spent in jail after bail money gets "forfeited."

<edit>
Taking something and then giving it back after being confronted is still stealing. If you don't think so, take something out of a store without paying and see what the cop says after you offer to give it back when he shows up.
</edit>

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Princess Marzipan » Thu May 24, 2012 2:12 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Sigh.
Izawwlgood wrote:To be perfectly clear, that does not make it acceptable, but it does change what we're griping about; the man likely only got the money back because he was willing to be diligent towards it's recovery.
Are you familiar with the connotations of the word "griping"? It's typically used to describe arguments the speaker finds petty. By using it, and by making such a big deal of the fact that well, he didn't LOSE the money, because he got it back (which quite efficiently dodges the real issue entirely), you seem to be taking a stance that the behavior IS acceptable.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Роберт » Thu May 24, 2012 2:23 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:I fully support the officer here.

Ticketing him for failure to provide proof of insurance was batty. He had proof of insurance in the vehicle.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Enokh » Thu May 24, 2012 2:56 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:I fully support the officer here.

Ticketing him for failure to provide proof of insurance was batty. He had proof of insurance in the vehicle.


It turned out he had proof of insurance in the vehicle. "I've got proof of insurance, it's just not accessible right now!" isn't really. . .okay.

It's a bit silly in this particular situation, though, just because important shit's going on. But hell if I know, maybe he had to file a comprehensive report on what happened and had to include the driver's insurance as the area is likely public property, and if it turned out that the vehicle caused damage to something the state/county would need to contact the driver's insurance. This seems pretty reasonable to me. And no, this guy isn't a hero! The guy could have maimed or killed someone because he couldn't control his kid. At best, he prevented his child from getting hurt due to a situation that he created.


And no matter how much you want to rage, or nitpick over the connotations of words, Izzawlgood is 100% correct: The guy got his money back, and this does change what one should be upset about for this situation, as it's no longer "We took your stuff and you'll never get it back ever, and there's nothing you can do about it!" to "We took your stuff, and you've got to do a bunch of work to get it back!". They are different. They're both bullshit. Funny how those two things can be true simultaneously.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 24, 2012 3:16 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:Are you familiar with the connotations of the word "griping"? It's typically used to describe arguments the speaker finds petty. By using it, and by making such a big deal of the fact that well, he didn't LOSE the money, because he got it back (which quite efficiently dodges the real issue entirely), you seem to be taking a stance that the behavior IS acceptable.

Then my usage of the word 'griping' is not appropriate, because I'm not by any stretch trying to indicate that the issue is insignificant, and thought I undertook sufficient effort to demonstrate that the issue is anything but insignificant. I thought my repeated use of the phrase "To be perfectly clear, that does not make it acceptable" was underlining how unacceptable seizure of said funds was.

In fact, I was pretty deliberate in avoiding the phrase "it's not theft". I'm simply trying to be more precise with what we're talking about. The man did not permanently lose 22,000 dollars for no other reason than driving through the state, he actually temporarily (and I wager illegally) had his money confiscated. It, again, to be really clear here, does not make the event 'ok', but it isn't the same sort of issue that the original link indicates.

Arrian wrote:The problem is that he only got his $22,000 back because he was able to afford a lawyer.

I don't know if that is true or not, but it's possible I missed it in the article; I don't recall him requiring a lawyer to get his funds back.
But granted, that's sort of moot; I doubt it is common to get your money back if the cops seize it, especially if they've taken smaller amounts.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Dauric » Thu May 24, 2012 4:24 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Arrian wrote:The problem is that he only got his $22,000 back because he was able to afford a lawyer.

I don't know if that is true or not, but it's possible I missed it in the article; I don't recall him requiring a lawyer to get his funds back.
But granted, that's sort of moot; I doubt it is common to get your money back if the cops seize it, especially if they've taken smaller amounts.


the article wrote:After Reby filed an appeal, and after NewsChannel 5 began investigating, the state agreed to return his money -- if he'd sign a statement waiving his constitutional rights and promising not to sue.


Not only did he have to get a lawyer and file an appeal, he had to go to the press as well, -AND- getting his money back was conditional on him -waiving his constitutional rights- to file a lawsuit against the police district.

The fact that he got his money back is irrelevant to the fact that the police stole it from him in the first place. If anything the conditions on him getting his money back are at least as egregious as having had the police-officer take the money in the first place. "Well give you your money back and we (including -you-) will forget this ever happened so we don't have to correct anything or face a penalty for our collective wrongdoing..."
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 24, 2012 4:33 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:The fact that he got his money back is irrelevant to the fact that the police stole it from him in the first place.

Given the effort he had to undertake and the waiver he had to sign, I agree that the fact that he got the money back is, as you said, entirely moot.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Роберт » Thu May 24, 2012 6:38 pm UTC

Enokh wrote:
Роберт wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:I fully support the officer here.

Ticketing him for failure to provide proof of insurance was batty. He had proof of insurance in the vehicle.


It turned out he had proof of insurance in the vehicle. "I've got proof of insurance, it's just not accessible right now!" isn't really. . .okay.
So if you carry proof of insurance in your vehicle, and your vehicle catches on fire and burns when someone else hits it when it's parked on the shoulder.... you should get ticketed for failure to provide proof of insurance?

No. That's ridiculous.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Enokh » Thu May 24, 2012 6:46 pm UTC

I carry proof of insurance in my wallet, so I wouldn't get a ticket. I'm not sure why you would carry it anywhere else. I'm pretty confused as to how this is an issue: there is a law that states you must be able to provide proof of insurance under X conditions. He was unable to provide proof that he had insurance while under X conditions. I can accept saying that the law itself is unreasonable and that it should be changed/removed, but the idea that the police officer is a giant asshole and/or part of the Evil Conglomeration of Maniacal Policepersons for enforcing this is a little outrageous.

(edited)

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Elvish Pillager » Thu May 24, 2012 7:04 pm UTC

Enokh wrote:I carry proof of insurance in my wallet, so I wouldn't get a ticket. I'm not sure why you would carry it anywhere else.

That doesn't work very well if it's a car driven by multiple people (at least the way it works here in Massachusetts - can you have more than one object that counts as proof of insurance where you live?). And also, you can't possibly forget to bring it if it's stored in the car.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby natraj » Thu May 24, 2012 7:10 pm UTC

yeah, the glove compartment is a pretty typical place around here to store insurance proof, along with car registration.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Роберт » Thu May 24, 2012 7:17 pm UTC

Enokh wrote:I carry proof of insurance in my wallet, so I wouldn't get a ticket. I'm not sure why you would carry it anywhere else. I'm pretty confused as to how this is an issue: there is a law that states you must be able to provide proof of insurance under X conditions. He was unable to provide proof that he had insurance while under X conditions. I can accept saying that the law itself is unreasonable and that it should be changed/removed, but the idea that the police officer is a giant asshole and/or part of the Evil Conglomeration of Maniacal Policepersons for enforcing this is a little outrageous.

(edited)

He had proof of insurance in the car. Ticketing him for not having proof of insurance is straight up ridiculous.

FTR, I usually carry a copy in my wallet and a copy in the glove box.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby JBJ » Thu May 24, 2012 7:24 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:He had proof of insurance in the car. Ticketing him for not having proof of insurance is straight up ridiculous.

Why is that ridiculous? If he couldn't actually provide it to the police, are they just supposed to take him at his word?

The citation is for failing to provide proof of insurance. It's different than driving without insurance. The penalty for driving without insurance is steep. Usually several hundred dollars, upwards of $1000 I believe in some places, and can even carry jail time for repeat offenses. When a driver fails to provide proof of insurance, but swears that he is really insured, how is the cop supposed to know? They can't so they issue a citation that probably is for the full amount of an uninsured driver and as long as they bring in proof within XX days, it's $10 or some small amount.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Dauric » Thu May 24, 2012 7:26 pm UTC

Enokh wrote:I carry proof of insurance in my wallet, so I wouldn't get a ticket. I'm not sure why you would carry it anywhere else. I'm pretty confused as to how this is an issue: there is a law that states you must be able to provide proof of insurance under X conditions. He was unable to provide proof that he had insurance while under X conditions. I can accept saying that the law itself is unreasonable and that it should be changed/removed, but the idea that the police officer is a giant asshole and/or part of the Evil Conglomeration of Maniacal Policepersons for enforcing this is a little outrageous.

(edited)


There's a difference between the "Evil Conglomeration of Maniacal Policepersons" and the "Aloof Bureaucracy too wrapped up in it's own mechanics to allow it's employees to use common sense."

The guy had just taught his child some some degree of independence (getting in and out of the car by himself) and the child, as some children are want to do, promptly demonstrated that he shouldn't be trusted with that knowledge by getting out of the car before his dad could park and rushed towards a steep embankment above running water. The dad panicked, probably images of having to identify his kid's swollen and waterlogged corpse flashing in his mind.

Now, if he'd pulled in to a parking space, got out with his kid and they were side by side walking towards the river all "Andy Griffith Show", and while they're doing that it turns out the jeep is still in drive and heading for the water that's one thing, but in this case if the dad had been taking longer to secure his car, his son may have been seriously injured or worse.

No harm was done, except to the guy's own property (that jeep would be considered totaled) so even if the officers had let him off with a warning it's not like he got off without any consequences. Instead, in addition to a totaled jeep and the cost of a wrecker to pull it out of the river, he's got fines from the city just to add to such a wonderful day he had, and possibly an additional day of joy and wonder if he decides to go to court to fight the ticket.

Police officers should have the ability to act on some degree of common sense, and not just follow things by the book, because no law no matter how well crafted or well intentioned will cover every possible situation.
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