"My" Improperly Handled Traffic Stop.
So I finally had a "bad" traffic stop the other month, I alluded to this in another post, so here it is finally, I apologize for the delay in telling this, but I was waiting for some things to resolve prior to posting it, you'll get to that point later on in the post.
So Lima and I were on our way to Northern VA for a multi-state/multi-forum gathering for lunch, I've got the cruise control set just below the legal speed limit, I crest a hill, the vehicle accelerates, I come down and there's a squad car running radar, I'm now 10 over. I got that feeling that says "tag, you're it" and watch the rear view mirror, as soon as I see the lights, I hit the flashers, and am pulled over before the guy's rear wheels hit pavement.
I pull over, put it in park, turn off the radio, wrists on top of the wheel.
Officer comes up and asks for license/reg etc.
I tell him that my wallet is in my hip pocket and that is what I'm reaching for as that is my general practice, I also generally offer my CHL along with my DL. Before I can get my wallet out to retrieve my IDs, the officers asks if I am armed, I reply that I am and before I can mention the permit, I can tell that his danger switch just got thrown and he's now VERY tense, if not in a panic...
Now you know me, I love cops, I don't bash 'em, but this guy about freaked although he handled it well enough, but I could tell from his psychical demeanor that he was in oh crap mode and that kind of threw me for a loop. I saw his arm reach for his gun, and I figured I was about to be drawn on.
He did not draw, and I don't think I drew a breath until he asked where it was and if I had any other weapons, I did and told him of my pocket knife and that my gun was on my right hip.
My gun was on my right hip, strong side in an OWB with a cover garment over it, I still have my seat belt on, and my wallet is still in my left hip pocket, I've basically froze awaiting his commands that I knew would be coming.
Instead of asking me to shut of the engine he tells me he's going to open my door as he does so, then he starts reaching across me for my gun. Because he's now almost lying across my lap I have to lift my arms as he begins attempting to disarm me while I'm still seated in a running vehicle and belted in. At this time, I can see his taser, on his right side, and his gun is on his left.
Lima is in the passenger seat.
So help me, if I were a criminal I could have driven an elbow into the base of his skull, fish my left arm under his, Lima could of grabbed his right hand and I could have taken him for a ride.
He can't get my gun out while I'm belted in so he undoes my seat belt, tries tugging my gun out again and it's a no-go. Finally he gives up, backs out of the still running vehicle, asks me to exit the vehicle while grabbing my left arm to "escort" me from the vehicle. :22a:
He tells me to turn and put my hands on top of the car which I do and he finally succeeds in removing my 1911 from the holster, and asks me if I'm aware that it's cocked. I simply answer yes and tell him it is totally safe with the thumb safety engaged and that is how it is to be carried. He turns away from me facing the rear of the truck, my knife is still on me which he had to have seen while removing my gun (as it was in my right pocket), so he now has his hands full with a weapon he doesn't know how to use, and a still armed "suspect" at his back. He asks me how to decock it/where's the decocker and I about crapped my pants. I told him Please, DO NOT TRY TO DECOCK IT as there is no decocker. He is still pointing the gun at my vehicle (Lima still inside). He listens, removes the magazine and tries to cycle the slide. The thumb safety is still engaged and the slide will not move. I instruct him to lower thumb safety and he begins asking if the slide stop is the decocker. I inform him that it is not as there is no decocker and the safety is to the rear. He is still looking for it so I finally talk him through clearing the gun and he decocks it manually. :22a::22a:
He places my gun in his pocket, allows me to sit in the vehicle, asks for DL/reg/insurance, and THEN asks if I have my permit. I tell him I do and ask him if he would like to see it and he says no that he can look it up on my DL. That's fine. (my car is still running)
He goes back to his car, runs my info.
He returns to the car, with my IDs, and ticket. He thanks me for my courtesy, compliance, and keeping calm throughout the stop (my vehicle is still running).
He says that he'd actually sorry that he has to give me the ticket, and goes into some dialog about how it's not everyday he has a courteous stop. I go into the "Dad's a retired cop, I still work with PD" thing. He then goes into some thing about if I have my speedometer tested and go to court that the judge may lower or throw out my ticket.
I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE TICKET I'm seriously concerned about his lack of safety. He doesn't know the manual of arms, fine. But had I been a felon, I could have assaulted and injured him in a number of ways before he ever ran my DL and he was scaring the crap out of Lima who could see his fumbling with my gun out of the rear passenger window using poor muzzle control and sweeping the car several times with her still inside.
As I said in a thread where the same thing happened, if he didn't know how the gun worked he should have just taken it into his car. While we were there on the side of the road and he was trying to figure out the gun, I was still armed with a knife and his attention was all on the gun, his back to me, and I had to tell him how to clear the gun. He had both hands on it, I could have rushed him knowing he wouldn't get a shot off and hacked him to pieces with the knife he left on me.
Regarding the safety of others, I can totally see this guy ND'ing a round into the passenger compartment and maiming/killing an innocent passenger.
I am also concerned for the officer's safety as the next time he encounters an armed citizen the citizen might be one of these persons that gets loud and non-compliant OR a violent offender that really doesn't want to go back to jail, either situation could get ugly.
The reason I held of on posting this was that I got into contact with the the Sheriff, not to file a complaint but to simply show my concerns regarding the safety of his officers and the possibility of a bad stop resulting in a lawsuit of his Dept.
We discussed the stop, the Sheriff was not happy, he asked for the name of the deputy, as I did not offer it initially becuase I didn't want it to appear that I had it out for the guy, and it was only my intention to inform the Sheriff of the incident. I gave him the details from the ticket and we talked for about 30 to 45 minuted about what happened. I mainly focused on how the deputy put himself at risk and touched on how the stop was poorly handled overall regarding the presance of my firearm.
I also offered to teach any of his dept/ county first responders the NRA Basic Pistol and or Home Firearms Safety (The unloading class) for cost of books if he was interested and that if he didn't want me involved, I would offer the names of other NRA instructors that I know in the area.
I didn't get the impression of being blown off, but I haven't heard anything back from the Sheriff, not that I'm surprised, if I were him I wouldn't be happy about some guy calling me and telling me how jacked up my deputies are.
The big thing for me is that I did not over react, I did in fact de-escalate the situation by not getting loud and obnoxious and stayed courteous even while instructing the officer on how to clear my firearm, AND while I did address the issue with the Sheriff, I also gave advice on how to rectify at least some of the issues, if another inicident like that occurs with someone else and it goes bad, my hands are clean.
I also now have a better outlook on the retention abilities of the open top holster with tension screw only, as the deputy still had issues trying to remove my gun from the holster once I was out of the vehicle.:ziplip:
I plan on following up later with the Sheriff to see if he had any retraining done.
I've discussed this incident with several LEOs locally and all of them just shook their heads and couldn't believe that the deputy tried crawling around in the passenger compartment with the two of us still in the car.
Oh yeah, I paid the ticket.
So there you have it.
Thoughts, questions, comments?
And remember, no broad brush LEO bashing.