Terrorism

Can You Please Pull Over, Before I Have to Break Your Window?

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Interesting account from the blog of J.D. Tuccille of a Senegalese-born citizen terrorized on a dark Arizona road–by a police officer.

Following advice on the website of at least one Arizona police department, she was trying to get to a more populated area before pulling over at the implied order of the flashing lights behind her.

Not good enough.

…..well before the populated area, Sheriff's Sergeant Jeff Neunum apparently tired of waiting for Roberts to reach a settled area. While he was, in fact, a police officer, he now proceeded to justify every fear an American may have about rogue cops. He raced his cruiser in front of Roberts's car, forcing her off the road. He then smashed her driver's-side window with his baton and grabbed a cellphone she was using to check his identity. Accounts vary at this point. While police deny it, the press has reported that Neunum dragged Roberts from her vehicle, threw her to the ground, and handcuffed her while driving his knee into her back.

All of this because she was going 15 miles over the speed limit on a deserted rural road.

Roberts's treatment has been, unsurprisingly, controversial in Arizona's Verde Valley. In a sparsely settled area not known for protests of any kind, 30 supporters showed up at her December 31, 2007 scheduling conference in Judge Janis Sterling's courtroom in Prescott, the county seat.

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  1. We’re discussing a very similar case over at PoliceLink (this one involving a 16 year old girl) – but coming to very different conclusions:

    What a joke. The officer acted proper in what he did. I have had to correct officers who didn’t pull their guns after a chase, but never because they did. Mom should have been charged with obstructing police and aiding and abeting. This officer has one hell of a law suit if he gets suspended without pay or terminated…

    POLITICS VERSUS THE POLICE,WILL IT EVER END?

  2. Doesn’t Radley get cross when Brian muscles in on his territory?

  3. “Respect my authoritah” is supposed to be a joke, but it absolutely is not.

    You know, you’d think maybe the police could come up with a hand gesture that expresses “I recognize that you want to pull me over but I would like to drive to a more populated area”, and then tell people who are scared to use it. The cop gets recognition of his authoritah, which is what he wants anyway, and the driver can now drive somewhere safe without freaking out.

    But that’s a little too much for the pigs, I guess.

  4. In some states the cops advise slowing down and putting on the flashers as you drive to a safe location. But then what location is really safe today from out of control cops?

  5. Raise your hand if you believe we live in a police state.

  6. Now raise your other hand; you’re under arrest!

  7. I’ve lived in police states and countries controlled by the military (Turkey and Pakistan respectively) and trust me, America is far from a police state.

    This cops attitude only reinforces the stereotype that most police officers were the bullied and ostracized kids in high school though.

  8. Very clever riposte, Al … that produced a belly-jiggling chuckle! But then, after some reflection, I realized that it closely resembles Soviet humor, the kind of dark comedy that is developed in a tyranny. Sad.

  9. a very similar case over at PoliceLink

    The CoPTalk thread about this is hilarious.

    http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=816637

    They don’t like the special treatment the mayor’s relative is getting. O sweet irony!

  10. Doesn’t Radley get cross when Brian muscles in on his territory?

    Police misbehavior in America is a smorgasbord; there’s plenty for everyone to dig in.

  11. He then smashed her driver’s-side window with his baton and grabbed a cellphone she was using to check his identity. Accounts vary at this point.

    So, the police do agree that he smashed her window and grabbed her phone…but presumably THAT’s OK?

  12. I was wondering about that line too Chris ..

  13. And people wonder why I don’t roll my own cigarettes… even after I explain that as a long haired individual, having rolling papers and a rolling machine can cause issues.

    Never mind the fact that the only drugs I use now are nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol…

    Hells, I’ve had cops ask to search my car, ask what was in my Lipton iced tea bottle, and ask what was in my giant tin of Altoids… he wasn’t amused that I offered him a sip of the tea, and an altoid.

    Nephilium

  14. Roberts’s treatment has been, unsurprisingly, controversial in Arizona’s Verde Valley.

    Actually, I’m a little surprised that it is controversial.

  15. Actually, I’m a little surprised that it is controversial.

    Lots of old hippies live in Verde Valley. Well, maybe not lots, since there’s not lots of anybody out there. But a sizable number in terms of the population. Or at least there used to be, since my knowledge of the area is now 15 years out of date.

  16. Nephilium:

    No shit: I was sitting in a WalMart parking lot, inside my car, rolling up a cigarette. A woman walks by and gives me a nasty look, and walks on. Didn’t think much about it, until about 5 minutes later, a sheriff deputy walks up to the car, and says: “I got a report you are smoking marijuana out here, get out of the car.”

    I get out, and proceed to tell him, that no, i wasn’t smoking marijuana, but I like to roll my own cigs. He proceeds to search the car, grabs my tobacco pouch, rolling papers, and lighter, and dumps the tobacco out on the hood of the car!

    “Well, it looks ok to me. But I’m gonna have to take these rolling papers!”

    Asshole pig. Now what the hell am I going to roll with? He seriously took the tobacco, put as much as he could grab back in the pouch, gave it back to me, then took the papers!

    He then told me to have a nice day, and that I should “be more careful”.

    Fucking pig.

  17. Who wants some action that he gets, not fired, but promoted or at least an accomodation as “Officer of the Year”

    Taking bets right here folks.

    Oh crap, I bet that’s illegal too. Maybe if I do this on eBay….Damn, that’s out too.

    Don’t beat me to a bloody pulp, bro!

  18. albertwasaman:

    One key is to never consent to a search of your car…

    Check out:

    http://flexyourrights.com/

    Nephilium…

  19. Nephilium:

    Yeah, I know that, now. This happened a few years ago, and I was still ignorant about such things. I have had the opportunity to use the “I don’t consent” routine twice now, and both times I was very polite, and enjoyed getting the cop all worked up about it.

    Both times it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had…Maybe I need to get out more..

  20. Just the other day I was walking down the street when I was stopped by a half-dozen policemen and roughly frisked for a gun I, of course, didn’t possess. My crime: there was a report of man brandishing a gun who was wearing a leather jacket and jeans. And I was wearing a leather jacket and jeans.

    So I can easily believe this story and easily believe much worse happens every day.

  21. Why do you Yanks take the crap from police that you do? You got guns don’t ya?

  22. albertwasaman, the cop was an asshole, but don’t forget to direct some anger at the cunt who ratted you out to the pig.

  23. You know, you’d think maybe the police could come up with a hand gesture that expresses “I recognize that you want to pull me over but I would like to drive to a more populated area”

    Like the middle finger?

  24. penvx, thank you. I set that up and I am surprised it took this long.

  25. Why do you Yanks take the crap from police that you do? You got guns don’t ya?

    That approach doesn’t tend to work out well, either

  26. Few people understand the psychology of dealing with a highway traffic cop. A normal speeder will panic and immediately pull over to the side. This is wrong. It arouses contempt in the cop heart. Make the bastard chase you. He will follow. But he won’t know what to make of your blinker signal that says you are about to turn right. This is to let him know you’re pulling off for a proper place to talk. It will take him a moment to realize that he’s about to make a 180 degree turn at speed, but you will be ready for it. Brace for the g’s, and fast heel-toe work.

  27. Any cop with sense wants you to pull over in an occupied area. A cop never knows when the person they pull over might be waiting in the car to ambush them. The driver who takes the time to find a well lit, occupied area is the driver who isn’t going to pull a gun and shoot them.

    This cop could actually be endangering other cops by discouraging behavior that safeguards his fellows.

  28. Something similar is reported today in DMN:

    Mesquite police were searching Thursday for a man who posed as a police officer, pulled a woman over and shocked her with a stun device.

    Shelby Lee Knight-Lacey told police she was pulled over at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday on Interstate 635 at Town East Boulevard by a man driving a white vehicle that looked like a police cruiser with red and blue flashing lights on the dashboard.

    The man was wearing a blue uniform with no patches or badge and wore a hoop earring in his left ear, Lt. Steve Callerman said.

    “He walked up to her and said, ‘Get out of your car’ and she asked him what she did wrong,” Lt. Callerman said.

    Ms. Knight-Lacey became suspicious when she saw the earring and a spider tattoo on the back of his right hand, so started to roll up her window.

    The man then stunned Ms. Knight-Lacey with what she described as a “cattle prod” but police said was likely a “stun baton” or two electric probes on a long stick. She managed to drive away.

  29. At one point, there were three police cars chasing this girl. That makes the “I didn’t know if it was really the police” claim less plausible.

  30. At one point, there were three police cars chasing this girl. That makes the “I didn’t know if it was really the police” claim less plausible.

    I don’t care how clearly marked the cars are, I don’t pull over on dark highways. I try to give indication that I’ve seen the request (lights) and then pull over at the first populated exit.

  31. Am I wrong in detecting a Dylan reference in your headline, Brian?

  32. While police deny it, the press has reported that Neunum dragged Roberts from her vehicle, threw her to the ground, and handcuffed her while driving his knee into her back.

    “Police deny it”. Hmmm. There was a time I would have sided with the police. Where’s the video on this one?

  33. Never mind the fact that the only drugs I use now are nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol…

    That sound you hear is wood splintering as the cops kick in your door for consuming these illegal drugs!!!

  34. A good friend of mine was raped and murdered by California CHP officer Craig Peyer who pulled her over in an unlit area. She was not his first victim. Police rapes and abuse of single women when in remote areas is extremely common. All women who have been through basic safety training know that they should do exactly what she did. The police who defend the behavior of the cops in these circumstances are no more than thugs and do not deserve to wear a badge.

  35. I lived in Cottonwood (in the Verde Valley) for a couple years and my mom is still there, so this one literallly hits close to home.

    It’s mainly a retirement community (thus the “not known for protests” comment – there are some “hippies” living in an old mining town called Jerome, but they’re a small and reclusive community). The cops there have always seemed overzealous, probably out of boredom. Try doing 30 in a 25 mph zone, and you’ll discover that pretty quick (so 15 miles over – that’s a major caper).

    I haven’t heard about this 3-car chase thing, Disgruntled. Where are you getting this? In any case, there seems to be no other explanation for the woman’s actions – she had nothing illegal on her, wasn’t intoxicated, and had no outstanding warrants (or surely we would’ve heard about that by now), and wasn’t driving at a high speed or otherwise indicating an escape attempt (and, again, apparently had no reason to).

    I’m also suspicious of this witness that popped up to testify that the cop didn’t brutalize her (he just happened to be parked on this back road at the exact time a place of the incident? I’d wager he’s got a relative in the sheriff’s dept.).

    By the way, Raoul, I loved the Thompson reference..

  36. Don’t run from the cops, asshole. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

  37. Controversial, yes. On one side of the valley you have Cottonwood, home of John “kill-the-gooks” McCain. On the other side you have Sedona, New Age capital of the world.

  38. He then told me to have a nice day, and that I should “be more careful”.””””

    Shouldn’t the be more careful apply to the lady that misrepresented the situation to the cop?

    This is my problem with LEOs, it’s always your fault. I think you had a right to ask for your rolling papers back, I am 100% sure the cop would have disagreed.

    “””Don’t run from the cops, asshole. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”””

    McGeity, try reading the article, she wasn’t running from the cops but looking for a safe area to pull over. You are NOT smarter than a 5th grader!!!

    Why would someone seeking safety be an asshole?

  39. “Don’t run from the cops, asshole. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”

    Spoken like a true sheep.

  40. Episiarch:

    Oh, there is definitely some bile still left in me for that kind of tattle-tale mentality. Even if I were smoking the jane, that shouldn’t be something someone goes and does. Damn people should mind their own business..Why I oughta’…

  41. Early/mid 90s rappers were right-FUCK THE POLICE. This needs to be said over and over again. Sure, it’s a little immature and simplistic. But it’s the truth and good foundation. I’m beginning to (re-)appreciate all that old rap that I was only minimally aware of growing up, same with the Rage Against the Machine stuff from the early 90s. I think the Dre/Snoop song “Deep Cover” could do well to just change the word “undercover” to “motherfuckin'” in the refrain.

  42. Honestly, reading this in among all the other horrible stuff about the police posted on H&R, I found myself thinking: ‘At least she’s still alive.’

    Which is really, really depressing.

  43. Sorry but if theres a cop on your tail you don’t pick up a cell-phone and start calling your girl-friend to have a talk. Completely disrespectful of the duties of a police officer.

  44. Not if you want a witness on the other end of the phone.

  45. People need to do as cops say to avoid problems, they have a very dangerous job. When a cop turns on the lights and sirens, I pull the heck over ASAP. I don’t expect that I have a lot of choices, I don;t expect to pull over when I feel like it, I don’t expect to get make a phone call on my cell phone to verify the identity of the officer. If you are too scared to pull over, don’t exceed the speed limit, or just don’t drive. Don’t blame the cops for your own ignorance.

  46. Wow, there are a scary number of potential voters coming here to say how they always do what cops tell them ASAP regardless of the situation. Now I know why this country will be a police state. YOU ALLOW IT YOU FUCKING SHEEP! Why not understand that many cops will completely understand that you are trying to be safe because there have been cases where women have been raped for getting pulled over. In fact, many police departments encourage the populated area pull over. Sometimes, the women didn’t speed or drive recklessly or any of that, but we are all (obviously according to this friggin room) trained to pull over, and be a potential victim.

    But, thanks for making it safe for women to drive. Assholes.

  47. “Sorry but if theres a cop on your tail you don’t pick up a cell-phone and start calling your girl-friend to have a talk. Completely disrespectful of the duties of a police officer.”

    There is no law requiring you to “respect the duties of a police officer”.

    Additionally, she was calling to *verify the identity of the police officer*. Do you think that’s unreasonable?

  48. Aaron,

    I’m beginning to think that a large portion of the (exagerrated) danger of the police officer’s job is due to the conduct of those within it’s employ, similar to how street gang member is a dangerous job-they’ve earned that danger through their conduct and those who’ve previously worn the uniform.

    It’s worth noting that “average law abiding citizen” is fast becoming a dangerous job, what with police assaulting, shooting, and generally terrorizing people in the name of “officer safety”.

    If the police can’t conduct a traffic stop without resorting to excessive force in the name of safety, then they should simply stop making traffic stops.

    Pizza delivery is a surprisingly dangerous job, far more than police officer and pizza delivery personnel don’t deliberately chase danger. Does this mean the pizza guy can preemptively tase or shoot someone if he think they’re going to rob him? Can he kick down doors if he thinks the occupant my be lying in wait to harm him?

    Nope, and if pizza transportation specialists ever pushed for that kind of power, they would be told something along the lines of “If pizza delivery is so dangerous as to require no-knock delivery or taser use on unruly customers, then the time has come to stop delivery service.”

    The police have a job-protecting, serving, and upholding the law. Protecting and serving are two actions with the people on the receiving end. Upholding the law includes upholding the constitution including that inconvenient-to-the-police bill of rights portion.

    Nowhere in the job description of cop does it say that they get to do a damned thing about someone who “has an attitude” or doesn’t comply fast enough.

    You have to appreciate the modern chickenshit attitude of the police. They will tase 6 year olds, body slam grandmothers in the name of safety and will justify any level of force as necessary to prevent harm.
    BUT, the moment we “little people” try to mitigate the possibility of much larger harms, we get stomped on.

    The police can tase anyone over 4 years old, slam, punch, kick, shoot anyone they can remotely attenuate as a threat, yet a person driving alone on a desolate highway cannot proceed to a well-lit area if they want to ascertain whether or not the person behind them is a police officer?

    Going further, no knock raids have told us that the police can and will shoot you or I immediately in order to “protect” themselves, but expect you and I not to do the same to them if we’re unsure of their identity.
    We’re expected to stop and identify the armed, agreessive, late night “guest” in our home, even if there’s no possibility that a cop or criminal (are they that different?)would ever give us even 5 seconds to do so. Of course, by the time you identify them they will have shot you, so it’s all futile anyway.

  49. “People need to do as cops say to avoid problems, they have a very dangerous job.”

    Police do NOT have a dangerous job. They aren’t even in the top 10 dangerous jobs. You’re almost *10* times as likely to die on the job as a fisherman than a cop, and almost twice as likely to die if you’re a construction worker.

    Regardless, the amount of risk of someone’s job does not give them some right to tell you what to do. The police have certain specific legal rights to compel you to do things under certain circumstances, and that’s it.

    We have a name for countries where the police have unlimited ability to compel your compliance: they’re called “police states”.

  50. Legally – in California, at least, I don’t know about Arizona – you have the right to stop in a well-lit, public area where you feel safe, so long as you do not try to “lose” the police officer.

    Why is this? Because women have been raped and murdered by police officers or people pretending to be police officers. Regardless of breaking a traffic law, you have the right to be free from physical intimidation so long as you do not resist arrest.

    The amount of harm the officer caused to this woman is disproportionate to her crime, and certainly not part of standard procedure. That’s what makes it unacceptable. 15 miles above the speed limit? It’s not ridiculous for a cop to simply pursue at that point – pursue, but not crash into. It’s called a low-speed car chase.

  51. Seriously its a blast to drive on that road. The trip from Flagstaff down to Phoenix at night is sheer terror, especially if you ignore the 45-mph-turn signs.

  52. Aaron – You’re a moron.

    Being a cop is not particularly dangerous. In fact, the only reason it’s a borderline treacherous job is because it frequently involves lots of driving (which is almost definitely the most dangerous thing any of us will do all day. Unless you’re a lumberjack or a fisherman, that is).

    Also, legally you don’t have to pull over for a cop at night unless you know it’s a cop or you find a well lit, public area. She was well within her rights to keep driving while she called the dispatcher.

  53. I live in these parts and drive the Cornville road often. She should count herself lucky. Most of the time people pulled over in these parts are reported to have left “a glass pipe and baggie of white powder on the dashboard” Thus inviting the search of the vehicle. It’s just amazing how many people around here seem to keep their dope right on the dash while being pulled over.

  54. “”””People need to do as cops say to avoid problems, they have a very dangerous job.””””

    When cop and citizen meets, The citizen is the one with a greater risk of death.

  55. There’s a similar story over at PoliceOne, and it’s almost the same conclusion as the dude from PoliceLink says. The officer doesn’t know that you’re pulling to a safer spot, they just know that you’re evading and going fast. they think you’re trying to get away.

  56. if the job of policeman is so dangerous, and these guys are so scared, maybe they should find a different line of work

  57. Any one who has seen the film No Country for Old Men will think twice before pulling over for a cop on a deserted road. Always drive to a morde populated area, even if that means getting arrested. It could save your life.

  58. No Country for Old Men was fabulous. The villian was the epitome of evil and the sheriff was the good kind of good ole boy type of days gone by. In other words, he was more a keep the peace and solve crime guy than go hunt down crime guy.

    Gawd, I wish TX cops were still that way.

  59. Hey PoliceLink… are you kidding? You assholes wonder why now and then one of you get a face full of lead. Stop treating people like animals and MAYBE and that is a big maybe isn’t it? … Maybe people would have more respect for you. You want authority? EARN IT. You’re not God. Hell in my opinion you’re not much of anything other than the grown up kid that got his ass beat all through school. I know two right now that are cops and boy did we have fun with their pathetic coward asses in school. Wait, I forgot, I know one. The other got gatted in the face last year. Poor him. lol

  60. That was totally uncalled for, a woman at that? Their should be stricter regulations to become a police officer, and more vehement chastising to those who abuse their power, such as in this case…

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