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Thread: Very strange traffic stop today (Seattle PD)

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    So this morning I was driving in the Pioneer square area to go retrieve my cell phone that I had left on the bus the night before. I inadvertantly entered a crosswalk while a pedestrian was in it. An officer saw this and stopped me.

    I, being the nice guy I am, decided to inform the officer that I had a weapon on my right hip and that I had a CPL. He had me put my hands on the dash and hecalled for backup. Boy did those guys show up quickly! Sirens and all on two motorcycles!

    He had me put my hands out the window, while the other officers stood and watched (no guns drawn, thankfully!). He had me get out of the car while keeping my hands out the window (very odd maneuver).

    He then removed my Glock from my hip. He began to frisk me. I informed him I had a BUG in my front pocket. He removed my Kel Tec. He unloaded both (removed mag and chambered round) onto the pavement.

    He then had me stand on the outside of my vehicle, between his car and my Jeep, while he wrote up the citation. (obviously he asked for my ID and CPL.)

    He then informed me that he was going to search my car for any other weapons and that I could not refuse the search for officer safety. I then informed him of my third pistol's location in my car. He was very condescending about the fact I had three guns in my vehicle--I explained that each had seperate purposes and that I usually carry one or two, but like to have the option of which one(s) at different times.

    He then told me to put my hands behind my back. I asked him why and, while cuffing me, explained that he can cuff me without arresting for officer safety while he searches my vehicle.

    He then removed my third gun, inventoried my backpack (including holding up some money for the dash cam to show he didn't take any).

    He then removed the handcuffs, handed me the citation, put the guns (unloaded) into the rear of the Jeep and placed all my ammo next to the guns (once again, showing each item to the dash cam.)

    He then told me that I had to drive away (how far didn't matter) before I could reload.

    All in all, he was very very polite and kind and I understand the need for officer safety. He told me to lookup a case, but I couldn't find it and can't remember the exact name he said. He told me his searches were justified based on it. He gave me his name and his seargent's name/number as well.

    What do you all make of this incident? I never consented to the search, and he basically told me that a warrantless search was justified for officer safety to ensure no gun was within reach when I got back into the car. I was polite and cooperative, kept my hands in plain sight the whole time. It was rather embarassing spending 20 minutes sitting handcuffed on a curb in pioneer square, but, of course I was not breaking any laws (other then the crosswalk infraction I was cited for), so he let me go.

    This happened this morning around 10:40.

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    Can't refuse a search, because of 'officer safety'?

    I suppose if he simply searched the immediate vicinity of the driver (a valid Terry Stop), that's undeniable... but if he searched your entire vehicle, that's a no-no.

    I hope you learned today that it isn't worth offering free information to the police, if it's not in your best interests... all they are looking for is a reason to arrest you.

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    joshmmm wrote:
    He then informed me that he was going to search my car for any other weapons and that I could not refuse the search for officer safety...

    He then told me to put my hands behind my back. I asked him why and, while cuffing me, explained that he can cuff me without arresting for officer safety while he searches my vehicle.

    He then removed my third gun, inventoried my backpack (including holding up some money for the dash cam to show he didn't take any)...

    He then told me that I had to drive away (how far didn't matter) before I could reload.

    All in all, he was very very polite and kind and I understand the need for officer safety. He told me to lookup a case, but I couldn't find it and can't remember the exact name he said. He told me his searches were justified based on it. He gave me his name and his seargent's name/number as well.

    What do you all make of this incident? I never consented to the search, and he basically told me that a warrantless search was justified for officer safety to ensure no gun was within reach when I got back into the car. I was polite and cooperative, kept my hands in plain sight the whole time...
    This is pretty ridiculous in my opinion. I'll let the experts on WA state law weigh in, but off the cuff, I'd suggest blatant 4th amendment violations. His justifications of "officer safety" are fiction unless this court case he cited is for real.

    You should not have been detained unless he could articulate facts suggesting that you were committing a crime. Perhaps the traffic infraction (a crime?) allows such a thing, but I doubt it. Certainly your person, car, and bag should not have been searched without a warrant.

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    You knowI have been pulled over a number of times while carrying. Like 20 plus. The only time I got a ticket was when I did not advise the officer I was carrying. Of those times I have never been disarmed. I don't think they had any reason to disarm you.



    "Officer Safety" seems like a catch all phrase that gives any officer illegal search and siezure rights...just my $.02.

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    Katz and Terry are cases that pertain to warrantless searches with 'Officer Safety' exception. All in all, you were under arrest and I would probably contact the supervisor about this situation... Being cuffed, surrounded by police officers, being searched and having your property seized with no reasonable suspicion that you were commiting a crime is horrendous.

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    Wow. You'd think that the police would understand that if this is how they treat everybody who volunteers information about their armed status, people will just stop informing them... I know I sure as hell won't, if this is the sort of treatment I can expect.

    If they really want to know this sort of thing when they're stopping somebody, they should have the sense to deal politely with the people who are courteous enough to let them know; after all, why should they be worried about somebody who volunteers the fact that he is armed? And that's not even getting into the legal objections...

    I would definitely point that out in my complaint.

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    There is no legal compulsion to inform until asked. I don't volunteer the information. Not saying you were wrong, but as others have said, and I agree with this, the police are NOT your friend, they are your enemy, and are in the game of collecting money for the state. To them you are a payday, and since you were carrying, you are also a threat to their power over the people. Not a good combination.

    Either way, it sounds like Lonnie needs to have another serious chat with Seattle PD about their treatment of those that carry. I thought we had already went through this and had the waters cleared for OC and, presumably otherwise. I seriously hope you got names and numbers. Did you ask for a supervisor to respond to the scene?

    I would talk with your lawyer if you have one, ASAP. I have a lawyer on retainer 24/7 just in case I'm detained/arrested illegally, through Pre-Paid legal. It's already paid for itself. They aren't gun-specific, but they are better than nothing.

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    I had prepaid legal for a while, but I found every time I called them with an issue they gave me the wrong answer. I had to show them caselaw every time. Every time, they eventually agreed they were wrong and that I was right. They also lost 2 traffic cases. In one case, they simply lost. In another, they told me I had 0% chance and recommended that I accept a $10 dollar reduction in the fine. I pointed out why I would get off, he went to court, used my info, and got me off. I cancelled prepaid when I realized it did me no good.

    Had I actually wound up in Jail I do have lawyers I can call. That said, talking to a lawyer seems pointless here. I have very little in damages. Maybe the ACLU or something, but hiring a lawyer on my own seems pointless.

    BTW, I am in law school and am going to research the hell out of this. I will show you all what I come up with. It's going to take a while though; I am leaving town for the weekend (Vegas) and will have to fit this research in with my studying...

    I told the officer he was very polite and I understand he needs to go home safely. I also pointed out that I didn't have to tell him, which he acknowledged, but warned that bad things would happen if he saw it and I had not told him...

    I will not ever again tell a Seattle PD officer I am carrying--he claims this is standard SPD procedure. I have been stopped before and never had something like this happen. (WSP)

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    joshmmm wrote:
    I had prepaid legal for a while, but I found every time I called them with an issue they gave me the wrong answer. I had to show them caselaw every time. Every time, they eventually agreed they were wrong and that I was right. They also lost 2 traffic cases. In one case, they simply lost. In another, they told me I had 0% chance and recommended that I accept a $10 dollar reduction in the fine. I pointed out why I would get off, he went to court, used my info, and got me off. I cancelled prepaid when I realized it did me no good.

    Had I actually wound up in Jail I do have lawyers I can call. That said, talking to a lawyer seems pointless here. I have very little in damages. Maybe the ACLU or something, but hiring a lawyer on my own seems pointless.

    BTW, I am in law school and am going to research the hell out of this. I will show you all what I come up with. It's going to take a while though; I am leaving town for the weekend (Vegas) and will have to fit this research in with my studying...

    I told the officer he was very polite and I understand he needs to go home safely. I also pointed out that I didn't have to tell him, which he acknowledged, but warned that bad things would happen if he saw it and I had not told him...

    I will not ever again tell a Seattle PD officer I am carrying--he claims this is standard SPD procedure. I have been stopped before and never had something like this happen. (WSP)

    Minimum a major complaint to the SPD as this dude was totally out of line from the word go and it is not standard proceedure, anywhere.Where the hell do they get this "officer safety" crap. I know of no law or Constitutional law that has anything about officer safety. He isn't allowed to violate you Constitutional rights in the name of "officer safety". If he wants to be safe he needs to find a different job.


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    Your story reminds me of this one US Customs guy we had at Charleston. I’d been flying for years and every time we returned from overseas the customs officer would come out to the plane, review our declarations, maybe ask to see something if he or she didn’t know what the description said, and then let us leave.

    One day we got a guy with a serious bug up his ass. He had us drag all our bags inside and searched every nook and cranny in them, the whole time telling us that he was doing his job and that if we didn’t like it we could call his supervisor. He got to me and said the same thing. As he dug through my dirty underwear he said, “I’m just doing my job, this is my job and I’m doing it”. I said, “Good, in the 15 years I’ve been flying, you guys have never done your job, so it’s about time.”

    :P

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    Just talked to a Lake forest park .sgt / Weapons instructor and he called absolute BS on the officer. stating that in no way does a claim of officer safety trump a refusal to consent to a search. He said the officer can do a non invasive search of your person to check for other weapons and even said that the officer handcuffing you was questionable in its legality given the circumstances he said a officer must show clear and articulableevidence showing his safety towasin danger before he can handcuff a person"For his safety"and a disarmed and searched citizen does not fall into the category of a threat to an officers safety.

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    Not to mention the fact that the OP had been removed from the vehicle, then the vehicle was searched. Exactly how was a weapon inside the vehicle supposed to endanger the officer when you are outside the vehicle? And if he was going to cuff you, why not cuff you right off the bat and completely eliminate any possibility of "officer safety" being in jeopardy?

    This officer needs reprimanded and retrained. I wonder how "safe" he would feel if a dozen of us showed up for a group lunch in Pioneer Square?

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    Cue-Ball wrote:
    SNIP Not to mention the fact that the OP had been removed from the vehicle, then the vehicle was searched. Exactly how was a weapon inside the vehicle supposed to endanger the officer when you are outside the vehicle? And if he was going to cuff you, why not cuff you right off the bat and completely eliminate any possibility of "officer safety" being in jeopardy?
    Anybody know the case(s) on this.

    One was shown on this forum back in (March?). I can't recall the name of the case.

    My understanding was that an officer was permitted to search the areas of the car accessible to the driver for a firearm. I guess the main idea being that the driver can access and use the weapon on the officer during amoment of inattention or as the encounter ends and the officer returns to or sits in his car.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    There are some federal constitution related cases giving police in terry stops of vehicles or people near their vehicles the power to do a cursory search of your passenger compartment and unlocked containers/govebox. But trunk is a no-go absent probable cause.

    But if it were me, I would always clearly state that I object to the search and decline to give permission. This provides you some options, especially if the state constitution on privacy is tougher than the federal one.

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    Mike wrote:
    SNIP But if it were me, I would always clearly state that I object to the search and decline to give permission. This provides you some options, especially if the state constitution on privacy is tougher than the federal one.
    Yes. I thought it a bit of a joke that theofficer said he couldn't refuse consent.

    Of course, we can refuse consent. The officermay or may not have legal justification to ignore the refusal, but we certainly can refuse, whether he tells us we can or not. What's the officer going to do? Gag me to prevent my refusal?

    The problem is then his (officer's) if he improperly ignores a refusal, aka searches or seizes without proper legal reason.

    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    It was never stated if the car door was left open when he exited the vehicle. I have heard that if you leave the door open, then you are consenting to a search. Off topic but I have heard the same for you house. Exit your vehicle/abode and close the door behind you. Also as previously posted, state " I do not consent to this search." I believe that I read this on flexyourights.org

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    Did the back-up officers remain throughout the stop?

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    I can sum this one up.

    Nightime Seattle PD > Daytime Shift

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    The backup officers left once I was standing by the rear of the vehicle.

    I was not permitted to close the door. They didn't explicitly state this, but seeing how they had hands on their guns and were watching my every move as I exited the vehicle I was not about to try to close the door. They did close the door to stop blocking traffic though.

    I have a Jeep, so the trunk is part of the passenger compartment, but certainly not within reach of the driver.

    He didn't say I couldn't object to the search. He just said he was going to do the search and that the law allows him to so he doesn't need my permission.

    I was very courteous the whole time, helped him with opening compartments (verbally-- as I was sitting handcuffed on the curb.)

    Honestly, he was one of the nicest officers I have ever dealt with. Very courteous, professional, etc. That said, he may have violated my rights, but, in reality, very little harm = not a very big deal. Of course, if I do determine that he was wrong with any part of the search and the law, I will be getting the Seattle PD to update its training, etc.

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    Wow. I would have declined his search and asked him for his supervisor. He had no reason to disarm you. I wouldn't have even told him I was packing.

    www.flexyourrights.org

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    The sad part about this is that an inquiry will probably only end with Kerlikowski absolving the officers from wrong doing. He is against citizen carry and has veto power and final say over any recommendations by the citizen advisory board.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    joeroket wrote:
    The sad part about this is that an inquiry will probably only end with Kerlikowski absolving the officers from wrong doing. He is against citizen carry and has veto power and final say over any recommendations by the citizen advisory board.
    Even the anti-gun Liberal press hates coverups and wrong doings.

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    joshmmm wrote:
    Honestly, he was one of the nicest officers I have ever dealt with. Very courteous, professional, etc. That said, he may have violated my rights, but, in reality, very little harm = not a very big deal.

    Sounds like "Stockholm Syndrome" to me.

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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    joeroket wrote:
    The sad part about this is that an inquiry will probably only end with Kerlikowski absolving the officers from wrong doing. He is against citizen carry and has veto power and final say over any recommendations by the citizen advisory board.
    Even the anti-gun Liberal press hates coverups and wrong doings.
    I agree but he has done it in the past and then refused comment to the press as to why he did it.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    joshmmm wrote:
    Honestly, he was one of the nicest officers I have ever dealt with. Very courteous, professional, etc. That said, he may have violated my rights, but, in reality, very little harm = not a very big deal. Of course, if I do determine that he was wrong with any part of the search and the law, I will be getting the Seattle PD to update its training, etc.
    Dude, this is major f-d up. OPD has plenty of nice coureous professional officers which is why I was nice and courteous while making a complaint.

    There was an awful lot of harm done here, your civil rights were trampled on, others here have done a good job of detailing just how badly SPD screwed up, but this should not have gone down like it did. You have every right to refuse a search of your vehicle. This officer safety BS has got to be dealt with because they are using it as a catch all phrase to do as they please. I will not deny the principle of officer safety, I strongly object to how they use it do do anything they want. I am really thinking about finding a good lawyer and paying him/her to give me their opinion on this matter. Any recomendations for lawyers?

    Steve

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