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Illegal Search And Damage To Car Arrest, Search, Seizure, Warrant

Discussion in 'Criminal Procedure, Criminal Court' started by hrf9646, Nov 4, 2003.

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  1. hrf9646

    hrf9646 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    November 1, 2003
    To whom it may concern,
    I was riding east bound on the New York State Thruway tonight coming from Turning Stone Casino back to Union College where I reside. I was sitting in the passenger seat of my car, while my friend Michael Barbara drove my car. Michael was pulled over for doing 81 mph in a 65 mph zone. The officer came to the passenger side of the car and explained why we were pulled over. He then asked for the driver, Michael Barbara, to step our of the car. Michael was searched and then against my own will I was searched. The officer explained to us that he had smelt marijuana. He gave me an ultimatum, he told me I could either give him the marijuana and he would just write a ticket, or he would find it and put me in jail. I told him explicitly that there was no marijuana in the car nor had there been. While sitting in the car I asked him to smell again and then I asked his partner or other officer on the scene, to smell. The second officer said, “I don’t smell marijuana. But I also have a cold” I then told the officer “see there is no smell why are you doing this?” Nothing had been smoked in my car and it also should be noted that the ash tray was empty. The officer then had me step out of the car and proceeded to frisk me. He even put his hands between my legs and felt around. I seriously felt violated and kept on telling them how this was ridiculous. They replied to me by saying, “it doesn’t matter the dog will find it.” I replied and told the officer there is nothing. We waited for over 20 minutes for the dog to arrive. In the mean time the officer’s tarred through my car searching for anything. The glove box was opened, the trunk to my car was opened and turned upside down, and the police were checking my air ducts, side panels, and front panels. Serious damage was done to my car all while it was being searched for no reason. During the process I had to beg them not to break my car and the officers yelled at me and told me anything they take apart they will put back together. I explained to them that they were being rough and there was nothing in there.
    I was sitting in the back of the police car for about 45 minutes while my car was being turned inside out. The dog finally arrived and still after 45 minutes of searching nothing was found. The dog then went through the car four times and proved that there was no scent. The process took over 1hour and 45 minutes. The officer was explaining to me how I should not hang out with drug fiends, while referring to Mike. The police officer said, “Your drug fiend friend Mike told me he was smoking a cigar in the casino. That cigar was probably laced with dope.” I explained to the officer neither of us do drugs. He insisted the dogs will find it.
    After about an hour and forty five minutes and the police dog left, we were allowed to return to my car. I got in and my car was a mess. Everything from my side door compartments were on the dash board and the floor of my car. My backpack in the back of the car containing my lap top and notebooks was opened and spread on the back seat. My computer was placed or thrown in an awful spot in the back of my car. On top of the mess and lack of clean up of my car, there was considerable damage pointed out to the police officer. I asked for pictures to be taken and he told me he had no camera. I then asked for someone to bring one and he said that wasn’t possible. I then asked him to make note of it on paper form so I could have a copy. He refused that also. He attempted to fix one part of my car and then when he couldn’t explain that it was broken before it was searched. It obviously was not and the spot of damage is exactly where they were searching. My door was then slightly taken apart as the officers checked to see if I was hiding something in the doors. Both doors are now not on properly and make an awful noise when opened and closed. The officers also broke my wood paneling. It was separated from the car and lifted. A picture is included that shows the damage. When the officer was pointed in that direction, he was pushing on the wood paneling very hard and attempted to get it back down. Since the officer was inspecting my car for over an hour, he was able to write me, the passenger, for tinted windows. I got my windows tinted in New Jersey and my plates are Jersey plates. I did not know he had the jurisdiction to write me a ticket as a New York State Police Officer. On top of that ticket I was issued a ticket for having a blue light in my fog light. All of this because of a mistake by the officer.
    I have never felt so violated, especially on the day that I returned home from a funeral. I had to deal with being pulled over, grouped, and detained for no apparent reason. The dogs could have easily walked around my car before the officers decided to pull my car apart. When the dog smelled nothing, possibly the officers would not have had to break my car. On top of that, there was no reason for my car to be searched. There was also no reason for me to be detained for an hour and forty-five minutes. The one officer who wrote the tickets and repeatedly called my friend a drug fiend is the only officer who insisted there was an odor. The second police officer smelled nothing! There was also nothing smoked in my car at all, there was absolutely no scent.
    I would like to formally file a complaint for what I had experienced tonight. Hopefully this can be prevented in the future. Since I was detained for an hour and forty five minutes, I was an hour and a half late to a very important dinner appointment tonight. This could all have prevented if this officer did not insist that we were hiding drugs during a routine traffic stop. The officer made this statement in order to get us out of the car. Included with this letter is several photographs that I had taken of my car `immediately when I returned home. I ask that this letter be taken in a serious but fair manner. As a citizen I thought I was protected with certain rights and tonight I feel these rights were violated when I was frisked, groped, and detained all against my will. I have never been touched and grabbed the way I was when handled by Officer Morreno (badge # 4421). I felt helpless and belittled by the man in charge who was screaming at us and treating us like little children. I deserved to be treated better and more fairly especially when I did not commit any crime.

    Thank You for considering this complaint,

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