Pastor Stephen Anderson, the radical leader of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Ariz., had a video camera rolling during a routine traffic stop. His confrontational attitude suggests that he was looking to provoke the officers into more dramatic reactions. While some officers may have overreacted, these acted professionally.
Anderson appears well versed regarding his rights during a traffic stop. From Know Your Rights:
IF YOU ARE STOPPED IN YOUR CAR
Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible. Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open the window part way and place your hands on the wheel.
Upon request, show police your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.
If an officer or immigration agent asks to look inside your car, you can refuse to consent to the search. But if police believe your car contains evidence of a crime, your car can be searched without your consent.
Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent. If you are a passenger, you can ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, sit silently or calmly leave. Even if the officer says no, you have the right to remain silent.
In Maryland v Wilson, the Supreme Court ruled that asking a driver to exit the vehicle does not violate his Fourth Amendment rights.
Held: An officer making a traffic stop may order passengers to get out of the car pending completion of the stop.
The police wanted to search the car hoping to find weapons and/or drugs, turning a routine traffic stop into something bigger. They wanted the IDs of the passengers hoping maybe one of them had an outstanding warrant, turning a routine traffic stop into something bigger.
What a waste of time and resources! All that trouble over a license tag light. The police, after not getting permission to search the vehicle and not getting the IDs of the passengers, should have given him a ticket and proceed to find a more productive use of their time.
-David Drumm (Nal)