Traffic Stop

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:

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)

14 thoughts on “Traffic Stop”

  1. These officers didn’t act “professionally.” The officers should have accepted Anderson’s driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. Then they should have either written a ticket, give a warning, and/or let Anderson go on his way.

    The trouble with getting out of the car is that it makes it a lot easier for cops to plant contraband and conveniently “see” it in “plain view.” It also makes it easier for cops to claim that you attacked them once outside the vehicle.

    Pastor Anderson might be a radical and I don’t agree with most of his politics, but radicals have the right to remain silent and to have their rights protected and respected too.

  2. I could not watch more than a few minutes of this, during which my thoughts were: “He must not be black.”

    I have been trained since childhood that in order to preserve MY VERY LIFE, I must never do what this man thinks he is entitled to pull with the police.

    And you know what? He is entitled, while I am not, because I must “know my place” and the policeman is there to enforce that status. Think that’s just injecting race where it doesn’t belong? Then you must not live in America.

  3. It’s a funny thing about thoughtcrime, Winston and Julia.

    Thoughts are not crimes.

    Actions are crimes.

    Unless, of course, you’re acting like INGSOC.

    Or their non-fictional counterpart, the Gestapo.

  4. Somewhat off-topic, but an important story as we inch ever closer to a police state, IMO:

    FBI using preemptive prosecution in War on Terror

    Published 02 November, 2010,
    Edited 03 November, 2010

    “Imagine being targeting as a criminal before a crime has even been committed. Analysts say the US is now prosecuting suspected terrorist on the basis of their intentions, not actions.”

    And, unfortunately, with the trickle-down effect, and our bloated terrorist watchlist, law-abiding Americans are being targeted.

  5. sad as this video is.. more people need become aware that this is common in many areas other than just Arizona so advice to move well keep in mind Oregon especially Springfield,Or enforcement is trained exactly as this officer in Az has been.

    I suggest if you have received same conduct from an officer contact your local ACLU and report it. This is the United States and veterans and historical figures and events fought for our rights offered to us by our U.S. Constitution.

    Standing up for those rights should not bring conflict to an individual for doing so.

    Pastor thumbs up for invoking and refusing to waive your rights.
    thumbs up for taking a stand that you are an AMERICAN.

    what happened to term “innocent till proven guilty” seems this generation twisted this concept nowadays it is “guilty till YOU prove your own innocence”

  6. rcampbell,

    Probably the move would be a wise idea as I don’t see things getting any better there no matter how the vote turns out. The history of Arizona is not all that different from its present.

  7. Blouise

    You have it right. Avoid Arizona. Do not vacation in, come to, buy from or in any way spend any money in Arizona. I am ashamed of AZ, its government, most of its residence and of being an AZ resident since having moved here 34 years ago. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed by the video because that’s what I expect from AZ cops. No one should expect any different when they’re given broad and poorly defined authority to question people’s immigration status if they have “reasonable suspicion” (a term not defined by the statute). It will cost me some additional state income tax, but I have a home in Calif. and I am giving serious consideration to a permanent move.

  8. Agree with Blouise. Having said this, it’s a creeping problem.

    (Nal, Thanks for posting the video and info about “traffic stops”… )

  9. It seemed to me that the driver became indignant when the officer asked to see his passengers’ ID, although he did refuse to tell the officer where they were going which seems reasonable. The officer holsters his gun after informed of the camera.

    Had the camera not been running, in my opinion, the cops would have been a lot less “professional” and I doubt the drawn weapon would have been holstered.

  10. Good advice but …

    … how about just staying out of Arizona? Their cops appear to be more human-hunters than crime-stoppers …

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