No Joke: Indianapolis Police Stop Minivan With “Unmarked Police Car” Bumper Sticker and Force Mother To Remove The Sticker As Impersonating a Police Officer

article-2678407-1F5783BE00000578-929_634x341Pamela Konchinsky, 56, was headed to work on June 17th in her silver 2004 Toyota minivan when she was pulled over by two police cars — one with its lights going. The officers spotted a joke bumper sticker on the minivan window reading “Unmarked police car” and were not amused. The officers made Konchinsky pull off the bumper sticker. The Indianapolis police department is now being sued for good reason for the abusive stop and treatment. The ACLU has filed the case.

The two cars pulled over Konchinsky and one officer ordered her to stay in her vehicle. An officer then asked if the minivan was her vehicle and demanded her license and registration.” He then reportedly stated “With that bumper sticker, someone could think you’re impersonating a police officer.'” He then allegedly added that she could even be shot by someone who didn’t like police officers. They ordered her to pile off the bumper sticker if she wanted to go. She was late for work and later contacted the ACLU. She is the mother of one adult and one school-age child.

The officers clearly violated Konchinsky’s first amendment right to free speech. The objection that someone might mistake her minivan for an uncovered police vehicle is truly moronic. It is akin to wearing a teeshirt saying that you are in witness protection program or that you are an undercover cop. It is a joke. The stop was not. I do not consider this a minor incident for these officers. It takes not just zero intellect and judgment to carry out such a stop but an abusive view of authority by these officers. I would be worried about any of these officers exercising such authority when they clearly cannot exercise the judgment of a toddler in such matters.

She is seeking unspecified damages, including lost wages, as well as legal costs and an injunction.

The lawsuit is Pamela Konchinsky v. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officers John Doe I and John Doe II, Cause No. 1:14-cv-1078, and was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, on June 27, 2014.

Source: Indy Star

Kudos: Michael Blott

30 thoughts on “No Joke: Indianapolis Police Stop Minivan With “Unmarked Police Car” Bumper Sticker and Force Mother To Remove The Sticker As Impersonating a Police Officer

  1. This reminds me of the story a couple years ago where the (Indiana, I think, though maybe Kentucky) cops made an elderly couple remove their Ohio state univ. Buckeye sticker because it could be confused for a pot leaf and that people could think that they are transporting marijuana.

  2. Bumper sticker police keeping highways safe from pleading self righteousness.

    Warning: Scrape that bumper sticker off if you don’t want to be cited for intellectual dishonesty.

  3. In response to the video above.. No cop would be smart enough to form those kind of arguments. The average cops IQ is around 85. Barely average by some standards. This is not to suggest that law enforcement civilians…( I refuse to call them officers. Not unless they want to admit that they are indeed an internal military force.) will not continue to harass non law enforcement citizens over what they put on their cars. It is only to comment that you can not expect any sort of intellectually based conversations, or arguments with a cop.

  4. “He then allegedly added that she could even be shot by someone who didn’t like police officers.” With officers like this, I can see how this might be true.

  5. The officers clearly violated Konchinsky’s first amendment right to free speech. The objection that someone might mistake her minivan for an uncovered police vehicle is truly moronic. It is akin to wearing a teeshirt saying that you are in witness protection program or that you are an undercover cop. It is a joke. The stop was not. I do not consider this a minor incident for these officers. It takes not just zero intellect and judgment to carry out such a stop but an abusive view of authority by these officers. – JT

    Very well said.

  6. Good for Ms. Konchinsky.

    Takes a lot of drive/perseverance to launch a lawsuit.

    Most people start, realized the obstacles and go away saying “i Coulda/I shoulda; next time”.

    We have to encourage those who have the guts/determination to fight our fights.

  7. Len – well if you’re too smart you wouldn’t be a cop. They don’t want you smart, they want you following orders.

    The only way this behavior will change is if the officers themselves are subject to the judgement in these lawsuits, not taxpayers.

  8. I reckon the Indy Police have all the other crimes solved! This is one of many examples of police idiocy. But, it always disturbs me how posts like this fan the fames of police haters. I’m tough on cops, but I don’t hate them. I know many.

  9. While I think that the cops were in the wrong, there might be a scintilla of reasoning on their side. Most crooks are not the smartest and brightest, so 99% of them would not catch the rather obvious irony of marking an unmarked police vehicle. Indeed they might well think that one of their own surreptitiously put that sticker on to foil the cops. Remember that the cops do not have to be Einstein’s to do their jobs, they only have to be smarter than the crooks, which is a pretty low bar.

    Then another question arises about jackets. If a person has a black jacket with yellow big letters of FBI on it, does that legally constitute impersonating an FBI agent? It may well stand for FUBAR Investigation Bureau as well. I wish some of our legal folks could tell us the facts on that situation.

  10. So, evidently, the Indianapolis police are kind enough to mark the unmarked vehicles so everyone will know. That is good to know. And the Indianapolis police seem to be the victims of a lot of drive by shootings while in unmarked vehicles.
    Back in the day, I had a sticker on my VW bug that read “Support Your Local Police” and then in smaller letters “State”. The only time I had problems was cross back over from Mexico. The Border Patrol tore my car apart. They did put back together, but it did take them awhile.

  11. Nick Spinelli: “Paul, With the cop haters here, I can also see how it could be true.”

    Most people don’t hate cops, Nick. I would dare say, though, that many people loathe stupidity, abuses of power, and police misconduct:

    http://www.policemisconduct.net/

  12. Hi Darren …. this could have escalated to the woman attempting to strangle the PM … leading to the woman being shot and charged posthumously with *attempted murder*

  13. I alway thought an UNMARKED POLICE CAR was one without any identifying association to the police? Ergo, unmarked…
    … Alas, some police don’t think so.

  14. (facepalm) The ACLU to the rescue again! The ACLU almost exclusively sides on the wrong side of everything. With the exception of one or two cases where they actually helped with something. Like I’ve heard before though, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    Common sense – you can’t impersonate a police car. Even labeling the car as a “joke”, it was still labeled as a unmarked police car. It was only a matter of time before a police officer called them on it.

  15. Hubert.. your argument does not hold weight. Labeling something does not change what it is. Putting a sticker of “Unmarked police car” on any vehicle, no more makes it a cop car, or even implies that it is used by cops, then changing the name of aspartame to amino sweet makes it suddenly healthy for you.

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