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Thread: Car Searched by Pittsburgh Police

  1. #1
    Regular Member Sig229's Avatar
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    Car Searched by Pittsburgh Police

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    **UPDATE on bottom of page 2** (7/18/10)

    This happened a week ago and I didnt want to post it here until my attorney gave me the "OK" to do so. At this time however, I cannot divulge specific details about the officer's names and precise location of this incident.

    Let me preface this post by saying that I am a 31 year old professional who was once a TSA at Baltimore/Washington airport with US Customs and DEA clearances.
    I have always held LEO's in very high regard since working along side them.

    Now onto what happened.

    Approximately one week ago, a friend was in a minor car accident was taken to Allegheny general Hospital. After he was discharged, he called me and asked if I would pick him up since his car was towed after the accident.

    I was fishing at the time of his call, and packed up my gear and drove directly to the hospital to pick him up.
    Afterward, we stopped for gasoline on the way to his house.
    My friend is a 28 year old very clean cut , well mannered black male attending grad school at Pitt.

    After I pumped my fuel, I got in my vehicle and left the gas station using all my turn signals.

    I then noticed a PPD vehicle behind me with his light bar activated.

    I pulled over and the officer asked for my license and reg.

    I handed it to him and politely asked: "may I ask why I am being pulled over sir?"

    The officers reply was "Because thats what I do" and her immediately pulled me out of my vehicle with no explanation and asked me to lean on my bumper.

    Keep in mind I have NO warrants, my car is 100% legal and is fully insured.

    Other officers arrive on scene and take my friend out of the passenger seat and talk to him.

    After having my friend exit the vehicle, they (3 LEO's) immediately begin searching my vehicle.

    I make it clear to all LEO's that I NEVER consented to a search and the original officer yelled in my face "You can tell that to the judge! You must watch too much law and order. This isnt Hollywood you know". I then asked him for the second time, why was I pulled over and what was his probable cause or even reasonable suspicion to search my vehicle.
    The same officer tells a lain clothes officer to "take him over to the curb , have him sit down and shut his mouth"

    The plainclothes officer pats me down and asked me if I "had any contraband on my person or the vehicle" I said no.

    As they search my vehicle, they find a loose .40 bullet that was at the bottom of a book bag that I use at the range. He then asks me if I own a firearm, I say yes. He then asked me if it was in the vehicle, I said yes (knowing full well they were about to find it) He opened the truck and saw that I had a cased and UNLOADED Sig 229 with two loaded magazines in a separate case.

    He then yelled at me "I asked you if you had any contraband, what the hell do you think a gun is?" I replied, it is a firearm I legally bought, I didn't think that was considered contraband". The rude LEO said "yeah, you got all the answers dont you?"
    The polite plain clothes officer who was standing beside me was clearly embarrassed my the rude LEO's behavior.
    I told him "I have a Sportsman Firearms Permit and I was just carrying that firearm while fishing.
    The nice LEO then smiled and I gave him my SFP and he ran the info over his radio to verify it along with the SN# of my Sig.
    Both came back clean.


    After the officers talked a bit, they all shrugged and asked me one more time "Do you have any drugs or other weapons in this car" I said "NO".

    They told my friend and I that "we were free to leave".

    As I sat down in my vehicle, the rude LEO came up to me and said "I will be filing a street incident report that only police officers can see. If you are in this area again, all police will know about this incident here today" I told him "Thats fine with me, I have not broken any laws".
    He just turned his back and left.

    Folks, I honestly dont know what to make of what happened. I was given NO traffic violation and more importantly NO reason as to why they did this.
    One of the many reasons I left Maryland was because of the horrible abuse of power that most (not all) MD LEO's practice there.

    I had no idea that in Pittsburgh, a city that I really enjoy living in so far had the same problem.

    Now I know that this is probably rare, but irregardless, it was WRONG.

    The only reason that I can think of as to why he pulled me over, was because I am white, and my friend in the passenger seat was black.

    With my attorneys help, I plan to get some type of explanation. But in the mean time, I would like to hear your thoughts.



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    Last edited by Sig229; 07-18-2010 at 06:52 AM.
    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

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    Does your friend have a history or police record that might have been discovered during the accident investigation? I ask because it sounds to me like the cops might have been waiting for your friend to be picked up.As though, whoever picked him up wasgonnaget stopped and searched.

    Then again, it really may be that the reason itoccurred is because the cop was a jerk who wanted to put you in your place for asking questions and exercising your rights. Sometimes there is no hidden or mysterious explanation.
    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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    Regular Member Sig229's Avatar
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    Citizen wrote:
    Does your friend have a history or police record that might have been discovered during the accident investigation? I ask because it sounds to me like the cops might have been waiting for your friend to be picked up.As though, whoever picked him up wasgonnaget stopped and searched.

    Then again, it really may be that the reason itoccurred is because the cop was a jerk who wanted to put you in your place for asking questions and exercising your rights. Sometimes there is no hidden or mysterious explanation.
    My friend has no record as far as I can find through the PA court system. He is a grad student at Pitt and although black, he is not one of those "wanna-be" gangster types.

    I would think that the Police would have to give you a reason when searching a vehicle. We haven't turned into the old Soviet Union yet lol.
    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

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    Sig229 wrote:
    SNIP I would think that the Police would have to give you a reason when searching a vehicle. We haven't turned into the old Soviet Union yet lol.
    You would think wrong. As far as I know, they don't even have to show you a warrant anymore, much less explain why during a legal warrantless search based upon probable cause. I'm not saying the search was legal.

    Regarding the Soviet Union, you should take some time to read up on the state of the 4th Amendment (search and seizure protections) these days. We're not the Soviet Union, yet. But, you will be dumbfounded when you discover the point to which things have deteriorated.

    You can start here: http://www.constitution.org/lrev/roots/cops.htm Just scroll down to the section on 4th Amendment.

    Then daily have a look at this blog: http://www.fourthamendment.com/blog/
    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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    Regular Member Mr H's Avatar
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    It almost sounds like they were either looking for a car/person combo you just happened to match, or someone tipped them with some suspicion??

    In either case, it sounds like you were treated rudely at the very least, and that "rude LEO" needs to brush up a little on his terminology and people skills.

    Seems to me, you weren't the only one fishing that day.

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    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    A similar thing happened to Santonio Holmes; except they actually found a rather small amount of marijuana in his vehicle. The police reported to the press that his vehicle matched a description they received in an anonymous tip of a "drug delivery" in the area. The charges were dropped by the Commonwealth's attorneys as the search, if not the stop itself, was deemed unconstitutional. I don't know if the decision had anything to do with him being a Super Bowl Champion Wide Receiver for the home team. That fact certainly didn't sway the officers who conducted the stop and subsequent search.


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    The preceding posters hint at something that came to mind last evening.

    I wonder if you were profiled. Not in the general racial sense, but in a criminal sense. For example, I've read of one Florida or Georgia chief who instructshiscops tostop every northbound car with two Latino males driving exactly the speed limit--characteristics of drug runners. The chief defended his tactics although totally unconstitutional.

    Applied to the present case, I wonder if there were not some factors that made the cop think, "Aha. I might get a drug arrest if I stop these lads and abuse them a while." Characteristics: time of day, route traveled, age or condition of vehicle, two adult males, etc.
    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.

  8. #8
    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    Citizen wrote:
    The preceding posters hint at something that came to mind last evening.

    I wonder if you were profiled. Not in the general racial sense, but in a criminal sense. For example, I've read of one Florida or Georgia chief who instructshiscops tostop every northbound car with two Latino males driving exactly the speed limit--characteristics of drug runners. The chief defended his tactics although totally unconstitutional.

    Applied to the present case, I wonder if there were not some factors that made the cop think, "Aha. I might get a drug arrest if I stop these lads and abuse them a while." Characteristics: time of day, route traveled, age or condition of vehicle, two adult males, etc.
    Based on my knowledge, having grown up in and around Pittsburgh, I have little doubt that they were profiled and that race was a factor; more so that it was a case of multi-racial profiling. "clean cut , well mannered black" is an oxymoron to many people in western Pennsylvania. It is not common in Pittsburgh, or any of western Pennsylvania, for white people to be friends with black people. Those who are seen together are often presumed to be acquaintances based on drug dealings or other criminal activity. They also have special names for Sig229 and his friend.

    If this happened in Oakland, it's especially likely that the police thought they would find drugs in the vehicle. The other factors that Citizen stated, such as time, route, vehicle would also have played a role; but a white guy driving a black guy through Pittsburgh sticks out like a sore thumb. Couple that with being in an area known for drugs and the heat will be on you.

    Pittsburgh is rampant with racism. It was rated the number one of "America's Most Livable Cities" by Forbes, but they didn't mention that's only if you're white.

    Clinton won Allegheny County, and all but seven Counties of Pennsylvania in the primaries. The reason Obama won Allegheny County over McCain in the election is because there are many staunch Democrats that would, and I'm merely quoting here!, "rather vote for a [expletive] than a Republican." --anonymous



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    The search was illegal.

    Your lucky you didn't get charged with a violation of UFA. You Sportman's Permit allows you to carry a firearm in your vehicle while going to and from places you desire to hunt, fish , etc. It does NOT allow you to drive around town with it in your vehicle, even if it was unloaded.

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    Regular Member Sig229's Avatar
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    Steve in PA wrote:
    The search was illegal.

    Your lucky you didn't get charged with a violation of UFA. You Sportman's Permit allows you to carry a firearm in your vehicle while going to and from places you desire to hunt, fish , etc. It does NOT allow you to drive around town with it in your vehicle, even if it was unloaded.
    Yes you are correct about the SFP. But when a friend calls you from an emergency room after a car accident, the ridiculous rules of a Pennsylvania Fish and Game are out the window.

    At least, thats how I see friendship.
    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

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    Regular Member Sig229's Avatar
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    virginiatuck wrote:
    Citizen wrote:
    The preceding posters hint at something that came to mind last evening.

    I wonder if you were profiled. Not in the general racial sense, but in a criminal sense. For example, I've read of one Florida or Georgia chief who instructshiscops tostop every northbound car with two Latino males driving exactly the speed limit--characteristics of drug runners. The chief defended his tactics although totally unconstitutional.

    Applied to the present case, I wonder if there were not some factors that made the cop think, "Aha. I might get a drug arrest if I stop these lads and abuse them a while." Characteristics: time of day, route traveled, age or condition of vehicle, two adult males, etc.
    Based on my knowledge, having grown up in and around Pittsburgh, I have little doubt that they were profiled and that race was a factor; more so that it was a case of multi-racial profiling. "clean cut , well mannered black" is an oxymoron to many people in western Pennsylvania. It is not common in Pittsburgh, or any of western Pennsylvania, for white people to be friends with black people. Those who are seen together are often presumed to be acquaintances based on drug dealings or other criminal activity. They also have special names for Sig229 and his friend.

    If this happened in Oakland, it's especially likely that the police thought they would find drugs in the vehicle. The other factors that Citizen stated, such as time, route, vehicle would also have played a role; but a white guy driving a black guy through Pittsburgh sticks out like a sore thumb. Couple that with being in an area known for drugs and the heat will be on you.

    Pittsburgh is rampant with racism. It was rated the number one of "America's Most Livable Cities" by Forbes, but they didn't mention that's only if you're white.

    Clinton won Allegheny County, and all but seven Counties of Pennsylvania in the primaries. The reason Obama won Allegheny County over McCain in the election is because there are many staunch Democrats that would, and I'm merely quoting here!, "rather vote for a [expletive] than a Republican." --anonymous

    I think you hit the nail on the head.
    Dont get me wrong, I am a realist. I realize that the black community has major issues nationwide.

    But you would think in 2010, especially in a northern state (I grew up in the south) two men of opposite colors could drive together.

    Also, what "name" does the Pittsburgh Police have for people like me?

    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

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    I hope you filed a FOIA. I wish you lots of money in your endeavor.

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    Sig229 wrote:
    Also, what "name" does the Pittsburgh Police have for people like me?
    YIKES! Any one gonna go there? I don't think you wanta know, atleast I wouldn't.

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    Slidell Jim wrote:
    Sig229 wrote:
    Also, what "name" does the Pittsburgh Police have for people like me?
    YIKES! Any one gonna go there? I don't think you wanta know, atleast I wouldn't.
    Yes I do want to know. It boggles my mind really. I mean, does the PPD have certaind category's for white people with minority friends?

    Like is there a name for a white person who is driving with an asian? Because when I am with my asian girlfriend, I need to know how I will be profiled.

    lol
    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

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    to serve and protect...................poor treatment provided, rights trampled for free.

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    Sig229 wrote:
    Slidell Jim wrote:
    Sig229 wrote:
    Also, what "name" does the Pittsburgh Police have for people like me?
    YIKES! Any one gonna go there? I don't think you wanta know, atleast I wouldn't.
    Yes I do want to know. It boggles my mind really. I mean, does the PPD have certaind category's for white people with minority friends?

    Like is there a name for a white person who is driving with an asian? Because when I am with my asian girlfriend, I need to know how I will be profiled.

    lol
    I meant "they," as in the people of Pittsburgh, would have a name for you.

    As for the PPD, I don't know their internal workings. I just figure the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

    Any 1st person BMWAG OC experiences in Pittsburgh that anyone would like to share?

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    Since the 2009 G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, and the MASSIVE militarized LE presence that came with it, it looks like the Pittsburgh PD has adopted similar tactics (entrapment, bullying, unlawful detention, brutality used to provoke responses, etc) against their own citizens.

    The problem isn't so much racism, or rudeness. The problem is that after the jackbooted display of oppressive force that was perpetrated during the 2009 G20 meeting, the local LEA's have adopted that attitude as SOP.

    The problem is something MUCH deeper than rudeness or ignorance of the law. It is an INTENTIONAL militarization of the civilian police force, and that attitude seems to be catching on in EVERY American city as SOP after big globalist events like the G20.

    Good thing you weren't carrying. We might have been reading an obituary rather than an "event report"...

    Good luck. I hope you have a good lawyer, and had a voice recorder rolling for this incident. Hopefully you will be rightfully (and substantially) compensated for these egregious violations of your 2A and 4A rights.
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
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    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    There's a rather old episode of COPS in Pittsburgh that you might find interesting. I've only seen a couple of the ones in Pittsburgh and they were all aired around '91-92. I just remember thinking several times, "I can't believe they get away with that stuff..." with regards to what appeared to me to be illegal searches. Without the episodes in front of me, though, I can't quote specific scenes.

    Whatever their policy is these days, I don't think it's anything new. My father has a story from the 80's when he was pulled over by the PPD just outside of Oakland one night after leaving Pitt. They stopped him for no reason, checked his ID, looked in the windows with a flashlight, questioned him about where he was going, where he just was, etc., then he was let go. His question of why he was stopped was met with indignation; he was never told why. There might be a long-standing department policy of stopping vehicles without cause in order to carry out fishing expeditions.

    Perhaps I put too much emphasis on race earlier. Nothing I said is untrue, but after thinking about it some more, it could very well have simply been a case like my father experienced back then.

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    Sig229 wrote:
    Steve in PA wrote:
    The search was illegal.

    Your lucky you didn't get charged with a violation of UFA. You Sportman's Permit allows you to carry a firearm in your vehicle while going to and from places you desire to hunt, fish , etc. It does NOT allow you to drive around town with it in your vehicle, even if it was unloaded.
    Yes you are correct about the SFP. But when a friend calls you from an emergency room after a car accident, the ridiculous rules of a Pennsylvania Fish and Game are out the window.

    At least, thats how I see friendship.



    i think i have said this before, i think its in the best interest if you are going to have a gun in the car get you LTFC permit so you are covered. because things can come up like this and if it does you will know you are covered.

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    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    spencer280 wrote:
    i think i have said this before, i think its in the best interest if you are going to have a gun in the car get you LTFC permit so you are covered. because things can come up like this and if it does you will know you are covered.
    It's LTCF, not LTFC!


    Just kidding, you know... making fun of the initialism pedantry of OCDO.

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    ooppps does close count lol

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    virginiatuck wrote:
    It's LTCF, not LTFC!


    Just kidding, you know... making fun of the initialism pedantry of OCDO.
    It IS a "License to Fire Cannon", isn't it?
    --- Gun control: The theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists.

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    I would love to know more about this "street incident report that only police officers can see".

    I wonder if this would show up under a FOIA request?

    You mentioned the word "attorney". I would assume this means a FOIA is underway, but one never knows, so I'm just asking. The reason for the initial stop should pop up as a result.

    I'm also curious as to what it is.

  24. #24
    Regular Member Sig229's Avatar
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    Superlite27 wrote:
    I would love to know more about this "street incident report that only police officers can see".

    I wonder if this would show up under a FOIA request?

    You mentioned the word "attorney". I would assume this means a FOIA is underway, but one never knows, so I'm just asking. The reason for the initial stop should pop up as a result.

    I'm also curious as to what it is.
    Yes, he is going to try and get any dashboard camera footage from any of the officers who responded and other records that may have been filed for the incident.

    Im not looking to sue (dont think I would win anyway), but I do want the officers who violated my rights to be reprimanded for those actions.

    As for the "street incident report that only police officers can see", he agrees and thinks thats ******** and the LEO was just trying to intimidate us.
    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

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    times are changing

    Sorry for your "misfortune". Let's face it, the LEO'S today are looking for "anything" to make an arrest. I've lived in Pgh. all my life, (sad), and it's getting worse. Last month I was exiting my car at the Penn Hills Shop center, and the dude in the passenger side of a van noticed my sidearm before I had the chance to put my shirt on. I left GE and headed down Rodi Road only to be nailed by two screaming Penn Hills LEO'S. The black dude reported my tag #.
    After showing my LTCF, the one LEO made it plain he was totally against open carry. That mentality is very widespread amongst most LEO'S and it ani't going to change. I guess now, I can presume, the Pittsburgh Police are now becoming members of "The Largest Street Gang In America". God forbid.

    Sig, I wish you well in your action. I wonder what your comments would have been had you been carrying that day?

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