When Kenyatta Hillman and his friend were stopped by an Orange County deputy sheriff for speeding, he thought it was a simple matter of a ticket. Then the officer spied a new Xbox in the backseat. The officer insisted on checking if the Xbox serial number showed that it was stolen. It wasn’t, but the officer said he wanted to keep it anyway and took off with the Xbox and various games. When Hillman went to retrieve it, the station initially said it had no such item.
The officer allegedly told the men: “When you got your receipt and box and we’ll meet someplace, you show me your receipt and I’ll give you your game.”
After media coverage, Sgt. Hosey of the Sheriff’s office said that he had the system and would give it back. What I do not understand is the grounds for removing any item that lacks a receipt and original box from a car. There is an obvious concern that this is a case of “driving while black.” Do they do this with affluent drivers? If I have an Ipod on my lap, will it be confiscated until proven purchased?
The fact is that the officer lacked probable cause for an arrest and also lacked even reasonable suspicion that the game was stolen. This is a curious course of law enforcement — you seize all available property and force citizens to “prove the negative” that they are not crooks.
I am not sure which would be worse: if the officer simply wanted a Xbox or that this is a standard means of law enforcement in Orange County.