Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sticker shock

Bonnie Jonas-Boggioni and her husband, Guido Boggioni, were on their way home to Plano, Texas after attending the funeral of Mr. Boggioni's mother in Columbus, Ohio. For those of y'all not attuned to college sports, Columbus is the home of Ohio State University. Ms. Jonas-Boggioni was a former president of the Dallas-Fort Worth area Ohio State Alumni Association.

The nickname for Ohio State's athletic teams is the Buckeyes. Now I suppose that that means something to those folks who live in Ohio, but I have yet to figure out what the hell a buckeye is. It must be some kind of a plant or flower because members of the football team affix little stickers of a leaf of some sort on their plain silver helmets.

Apparently they've never heard of buckeyes down in Tennessee, either, because just outside of Memphis, Bonnie and her husband were stopped by a two black SUVs being driven by local law enforcement officers. When they approached the Boggioni's car, the officers were wearing body armor and carrying guns.

They asked the couple to get out of their car. Then one officer asked Ms. Jonas-Boggioni why she had a marijuana leaf sticker on the back of her car. She was stunned.
“It’s just amazing they would be that dumb.”  -- Bonnie Jonas-Boggioni 
It would appear that another police officer from somewhere else in Tennessee saw the buckeye sticker on the car and just assumed that the couple were transporting marijuana. After all, most folks who carry illegal drugs in their cars put stickers on their bumpers indicating what illicit items they have on board.

Now, left alone maybe this story is amusing. Maybe it made you smile (unless you're a law enforcement officer in Tennessee). But there isn't really anything funny about the story once you stop and think about what happened.

The Boggionis weren't violating any traffic laws. They were minding their own business driving home after attending a funeral in Ohio. Yet at least two officers thought they needed to pull over the vehicle because of a sticker on the rear bumper. Making matters worse, they felt the need to dress in full body armor and to draw their weapons when approaching the car.

The Boggionis had every right to be left alone. Instead, some unknown police officer lost all common sense when he saw a sticker and just assumed that something criminal had to be afoot. Even more inexcusable were the actions of the officers outside Memphis who initiated a traffic stop on a car simply because some yahoo further east had lost the use of his mental faculties.

And then, to top things off, the officer told the Boggionis they might consider removing the sticker from their car.

The war on everything drugs has long since gone overboard and when the police are happy to pull over a car with out-of-state license plates for no reason other than a bumper sticker, it's time to rethink our policies.

H/T Paul Lukas (Uniwatch)

1 comment:

Lyle Jones said...

Paul, they didn't get pulled over because of a sticker on their car. Anyone that believes that is naïve.

They were pulled over because they were travelling west bound with Texas tags. The police didn't assume they were transporting Marijuana--they were hoping they were transporting cash.

I don't have any idea what Mr. Boggioni looks like. But I do know that the chances of getting across Tennessee in a car with Texas tags, without getting pulled over, is extremely slim. Especially headed West.