Police Officer claims that, if you play Frisbee golf, you must be guilty of Marijuana use. Tries to get driver to let him search car.
What this cop got caught doing on video is wrong on so many levels I hardly know where to begin.
NBC 13 News reports about this event in Ankeny, Iowa: “Ankeny Cop Tries To Search Car Because ‘Everybody that Plays Frisbee Golf Smokes Weed’”
The video, which was taken by the motorist, starts with the officer giving that unknown motorist a warning about driving without headlights. Then the officer begins his interrogation. “You play Frisbee golf?” the officer asks. “I do actually. I play out at Heritage (Park)” the motorist replies. So the officer says, “OK. I need you to answer me a question. Why is it that everybody that plays Frisbee golf smokes weed?” “No, it’s not everybody,” the motorist insists. “It’s everybody, man. You can’t tell me you never smoked weed,” the officer says. The motorist replies, “I’m not gonna tell you one way or another.” So the officer says, “See, there you go. How much weed do you have in the car today?”
The driver tells the officer he doesn’t have any marijuana. So the officer says, “You understand you’re free to go and everything but you wouldn’t have a problem with me looking through your car?” The motorist denies the request saying, “I actually would. Just because I have a disc golf bag doesn’t mean that every disc golfer does have weed.” The officer says, “So you have weed in the car then is what you’re saying?” The motorist answers, “No I would say I have a problem with you searching my car because you’re profiling me based on being a disc golfer.”
The stereotype the cop uses for this idiocy is so stupid I won’t say much about it. But notice how the cop’s reasoning is exactly the same as that of the defenders of the NSA spying: “If you don’t have anything to hide you shouldn’t care if I violate your privacy.” On this theory, no one deserves the protections of the Bill of Rights because the innocent have nothing to fear and the guilty are not worthy of them.
The cop also explicitly says that a refusal to answer his questions about marijuana use is proof that the motorist has used the drug.
Unless something changes, the response of the Police Department is completely unacceptable. The print version of the story does not mention any reprisals but the video tells us that the police chief plans to treat it “as a personnel matter.” That means, unless the cop is fired, none of us are permitted to know what penalty, if anything, is being imposed on him. Union rules will prevent us from ever finding out.
Note that experts confirm that the police officer broke the law. If a cop caught one of us breaking the law, would we be dealt with “as a personnel matter”? No. We would be dealing with a prosecutor in court. So why does this outrageous abuse of authority not get the same treatment?
Also, what are we to make of the Police Department’s denials? The official statement says in part:
The officer engages the driver in a line of questioning that is foolish and not representative of the Ankeny Police Dept.`s training or interactions with the public. This verbal exchange did not meet the level of professionalism expected of Ankeny police officers.
How do they or we know that cop’s line of questioning is “not representative of the Ankeny Police Department’s … interactions with the public”? How often has this or any cop been secretly recorded while making such a stop? The fact is, if the victims had no proof video and audio recording, we all know that the police would have absolutely denied their story and defended their “brother.”
I’m not saying that is wrong, though an attempt to investigate such allegations would be nice. Everyone, including any police officer, is innocent until proven guilty. And people do lie about cops. But when a police department relies on their alleged record, I need to point out that most of it is shrouded in mystery. We don’t have any footage to prove what happens in most of those cases when a police officer stops a motorist.