Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Anatomy of a traffic stop

What follows is the Twitter feed from Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett after he was stopped by police.
I don't know why the police always messing w/me I'm never gonna let them search my car with out a search warrant! No matter what!
Police sitting here waiting on back up cuz I told them YOU NOT SEARCHING MY CAR! PERIOD! & now I'm sitting here! Owell I aint got shit 2 do!
There R 3police cars and they are talking! I don't see A search warrant they won't see inside this escalade! I got all day hope they don't!
Police said "do you mind if we look around in your Vehicle?" I said I sure DO! He said "I'm gonna call back up" I said u wanna use my phone?
I think they (POLICE) going to get a search warrant cuz they sitting here looking like fools waiting on something!
These COPS really think I'm stupid they playing good cop bad cop! BOY STOOOOP! I'm not falling for that! NO SIR YOU WILL NOT LOOK IN MY CAR!
This cop just ask me how tall R u & where R U from! I'm bout to ask him can I go across the street to POPEYS while we sitting here waiting!
I been sitting here for a HOUR 1cop by the driver window, 2talking at the car! And the 1by the window being friendly! Like wtf?
I asked the cop why he pulled me over he said I was speeding I said BULLSHIT! But give me the ticket that's when he asked to search my car!
So you gonna lie and say I'm speeding then you wanna search my car! Get the F*ck ouutta here! Better go get a warrant *turns up radio*
OK so now I think they letting me Go cop just brought my DL's and registration! Yeah I'm bout to be out this MOFO!
No ticket and I didn't get punk by PO-PO today now I'm off to my 2nd work out! Police aint searchig my sh*t with no warrant "holla at me"!

I don't know the circumstances surrounding the stop and I don't care about the circumstances surrounding the stop. The police had a hunch. Maybe there was some justification behind and maybe it was because Mr. Dockett is a black man driving a nice car late at night.

Whatever it was it goes to show that when the police ask for consent to search a car it's because they know they don't have probable cause to search it. The police count on motorists being intimidated into consenting to the search - and that's what usually happens.

Mr. Dockett knew better. He knew he was under no obligation to allow the police to search the car absent a warrant (or his arrest). He stood his ground and nothing came of it. And since the police didn't even bother to issue him a citation for speeding - you have to wonder about the basis for the stop in the first place.

You know if the police hate it when someone videotapes them going about their business that it must be driving them crazy that Mr. Dockett live-tweeted the stop. Now the Twitter world knows that it's okay to say no to the police.

The more of a light we cast on this behavior the less likely we are to encounter it. But it takes someone willing to stand up and say no. Thank you, Mr. Dockett, for having the courage to do just that.

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