Not-so-nice LEO encouter

Not-so-nice LEO encouter

This is a discussion on Not-so-nice LEO encouter within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Just thought I'd share an experience that happened to me Tuesday night. I was over at a friend's house in Bellevue, WA (We'll call him ...

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Thread: Not-so-nice LEO encouter

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    Not-so-nice LEO encouter

    Just thought I'd share an experience that happened to me Tuesday night.

    I was over at a friend's house in Bellevue, WA (We'll call him E. E lives in an up-scale neighborhood, extremely low crime rate). It was about 11:30 PM. An old friend of E's called and asked if he could join us; we said sure, but he didn't know where E lives (his place is kind of hard to find...), so we offered to walk one block (just across one street) to a nearby park and meet him there so he could follow us back to E's house.

    So we walk over to the park, about a 3 minute walk, and we're waiting around in the parking lot for E's friend to get there. Once his friend pulls up, we get into his car (which was a late 90s blue VW Passat. I sat in the back passenger seat, behind E) and began to leave the parking lot. Just as we were about to leave, a Bellevue police cruiser rolled up and pointed his spotlight at us. We stopped, the officer got out of his car and came up to the passenger window. I saw him say something into his radio (I assume asking for backup...) as he walked up to the car. He pointed his flashlight inside and asked us all what we're doing in this park after dark.

    Now before I go any farther, I should explain: we're reasonably young guys, all of us in our mid-to-late twenties, and it's cold out so we're wearing puffy winter jackets. Probably looked, to the casual observer, very much like a drug deal. Of course none of us had anything illegal on us. We were all unarmed except for (legal) pocket knives and I had my mag-lite.

    So we explain, honestly, to the officer that we were meeting a friend here because the friend didn't know how to get to E's house, just a block away. The officer informs us that the park is closed after dark. I pointed out there's no sign to that effect, and the officer told me there's a sign at the other side of the park. No big deal. We all begin to apologize ("Sorry, sir, it won't happen again, etc..."). He asks us for our ID's (which we happily hand over) and he walks back to his car to "run them". While that officer is in his car "running" our ID's, not one but TWO more Belleuve Police cruisers roll up in the parking lot (for a total of 3 cop cars and 5 officers). They kindly surround our car with maglights in one hand and the other hand on their gun (but not drawn) and begin questioning us.
    One of the officers asked if any of us had ever been arrested; neither I or E's friend had, but E was arrested once for attempting to break up a bar fight (the officer didn't see it his way....). So E spent a few minutes explaining that, and farther explaining why we were in this park after dark.
    About this time, one of the officers on the far (drivers) side of the car shines his flashlight in towards me and sees my mag-lite in it's holster on my left hip. He mentions it to the LEO on my side of the car, who then asks me to step out of the vehicle. I do, and he pats me down and removes my mag-lite (but surprisingly didn't find the 3.5" pocket knife...). He asks me why I have a mag-lite, to which I respond that I live in the woods (which is true) and go walking in the evening sometimes, and like to carry a reliable flashlight. I politely asked him "is it OK to carry it here?", which got an immediate "Are you challenging me?!". I respectfully said "no, sir, I was simply asking you if it's OK to carry a mag-lite at night in this area". He said "there's nothing illegal about a flashlight, it just looks suspicious" and gave my flashlight back to me (after turning it on once to make sure it worked).
    He warned us, "I could arrest you all for trespassing, but I don't want to go that route tonight". His tone was very threatening. After he and one of the other LEO's gave us a brief chat about what we did wrong (basically being in a park after dark...) and gave us our ID's back, we were free to go. The whole encounter probably took at least 20 minutes, maybe a bit more.

    About 45 minutes later, we walked down to the 7-11 on the corner to get some sodas, and all three police cruisers were still sitting in the same parking lot, the LEO's in front of their cars chatting with each other. We couldn't believe that these three officers had nothing better to do than sit there and chat in such a large city. Surely there's *something* going on somewhere....

    Our mistake, obviously, was choosing that particular meeting place at that particular time - the 7-11 on the corner would have been a better bet.

    I understand where the LEO's were at - three young dudes meeting in a public park after dark, they probably thought we were doing a pot deal or something similar. I just think they took it way too far - after we calmly explained why we were there, he could have let us go - asking for our ID's was one thing, but calling in two more cars for backup, searching me because I had a mag-lite, threatening to arrest us, etc... seemed like overkill, especially considering all three of us were being very respectful and cooperative with them. The fact that they all sat there for at least 45 min afterwards was adding insult to injury; they apparently had nothing better to do than throw people out of a park.

    I have a lot of respect for (most) LEO's, they have a very hard job to do and most of the time they do it well. But Tuesday night taught me to never put myself in a situation to have an encounter with them, rather innocent or otherwise. They may mean well, but I'd just assume avoid them. Except for the ones on this forum, that is. :)

    Furthermore, I think they need to post "Closed after dusk" signs at ALL entrances to the park, not just the main one.

    </end rant>

    Peace,
    Pete Zaria.
    Last edited by Pete Zaria; December 13th, 2007 at 04:15 PM. Reason: Added details, clarified.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    what be interested to know what would have happened have you had a gun.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by friesepferd View Post
    what be interested to know what would have happened have you had a gun.
    I was thinking about this. Since I don't have my CCL yet, I don't carry on-my-person. Sometimes an unloaded weapon (with ammo separate but nearby) in my car, until I get the permit. I'm working on that, BTW.

    I don't think there would have been anything illegal about having a weapon on me in that situation - the question is, would it change the way the officers handled the situation? Even more reason why I say, I'll respectfully avoid any situations which could cause an encounter.

    Peace,
    Pete Zaria.

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    Member Array stickybeatz's Avatar
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    Being a young male in a public park after dark with a mag-lite does not equal probable cause. Sounds like you were just bullied around by a bored jerk on a power trip

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    VIP Member Array havegunjoe's Avatar
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    I am with the officers up to the point where they started the threat of arrest. I would politely inform someone in command of this. Don’t be threatening, you don’t want to sue them, just suggest they need a refresher course on how to properly deal with citizens that have done nothing wrong. I know they deal with the scum of the earth but you and your friends should not have been treated as if you are that scum. Imagine what they would do if you had been legally carrying.
    DEMOCRACY IS TWO WOLVES AND A LAMB VOTING ON WHAT TO HAVE FOR LUNCH. LIBERTY IS A WELL ARMED LAMB CONtestING THE VOTE.

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    Member Array CelticWolf's Avatar
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    WAIITT....WAIT ONE SECOND....!!!

    You SOMETIMES carry an UNLOADED firearm and keep your ammo nearby... am I reading this right!?!?

    Carry'n an unloaded gun is the same as carry'n a loaded gun. If you do not have your permit.. its still a felony CCW charge.
    Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8


    http://groups.myspace.com/Concealedcarry

  7. #7
    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Zaria View Post
    I was thinking about this. Since I don't have my CCL yet, I don't carry on-my-person. Sometimes an unloaded weapon (with ammo separate but nearby) in my car, until I get the permit. I'm working on that, BTW.Peace,Pete Zaria.
    Until you do...I'd double check your state laws on this. I do believe it is a felony to have a weapon in the car whether loaded or unloaded if not licensed. If you must transport a weapon...it is done in the trunk with the ammo very much separated from the weapon.

    As for the LEOs...I think they were jacking you up to see if you would ping...kudos for acting as cool as you did. Sounds like they had cause for being in the park after dark...but their demeanor was less than to be desired.

    Rick

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    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    @ CelticWolf & bandit383,

    First, I've only had the need to do this rarely, less than a half dozen times. When I did so, it was an unloaded, registered revolver, in a case, under the back seat, with a speedloader in the car's center console. Looking back, it was probably useless in the first place since retrieving the case, opening it, and loading the revolver could have taken 10+ seconds....
    Second, as I read the WA codes, anyone over 18 can legally transport unloaded firearms in their vehicle (correct me if I'm wrong, it may only apply to long guns...).
    Third, I've applied for my permit via the local Sheriff and am waiting to receive it.
    Either way, it wouldn't be an issue in the previously-mentioned scenario, and will doubtfully ever be an issue since I should have my permit within about 40 days.
    Thanks for the heads-up though, I'll look over the law more carefully. It probably isn't a good idea for the reasons I just listed above. However, I doubt any harm would come of it; I've never done anything (and never intend to do anything) on the roads to warrant being pulled over and searched, and even if that did happen, I doubt an officer would see the need to arrest me for an unloaded, registered .38 in a hard case under the back seat. Not to say "its only illegal if you get caught", don't get me wrong. You have valid points.

    Peace,
    Pete Zaria.

  9. #9
    Member Array CelticWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bandit383 View Post
    Until you do...I'd double check your state laws on this. I do believe it is a felony to have a weapon in the car whether loaded or unloaded if not licensed. If you must transport a weapon...it is done in the trunk with the ammo very much separated from the weapon.

    As for the LEOs...I think they were jacking you up to see if you would ping...kudos for acting as cool as you did. Sounds like they had cause for being in the park after dark...but their demeanor was less than to be desired.

    Rick
    Same way it is here. Drugs are an extremely bad problem in my neighborhood. I would rather have hyper-aggressive cops than being over run with crackheads and pimps and drug dealers. Heck... if it was my way.. just kill em all. Their just wasting away, making my property value go down.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Zaria View Post
    First, I've only had the need to do this rarely, less than a half dozen times. When I did so, it was an unloaded, registered revolver, in a case, under the back seat, with a speedloader in the car's center console. Looking back, it was probably useless in the first place since retrieving the case, opening it, and loading the revolver could have taken 10+ seconds....
    Second, as I read the WA codes, anyone over 18 can legally transport unloaded firearms in their vehicle (correct me if I'm wrong, it may only apply to long guns...).
    Third, I've applied for my permit and am waiting to receive it.
    Either way, it wouldn't be an issue in the previously-mentioned scenario, and will doubtfully ever be an issue since I should have my permit within about 40 days.
    Thanks for the heads-up though, I'll look over the law more carefully.

    Peace,
    Pete Zaria.
    If its all within reach of the driver ... its a FELONY!
    Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8


    http://groups.myspace.com/Concealedcarry

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    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    Wow, dang, guys, I get the point already. No harm, no foul, won't do it again. Sorry I brought it up. I'm glad to see you're all so intent on educating the populace about the finer points of firearm laws. Can we get back on-topic, maybe? :-p In fact, if a mod wants to delete that lower chunk of this thread, feel free... I got the point loud and clear.

    Peace,
    Pete Zaria.

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    Member Array rathos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CelticWolf View Post
    If its all within reach of the driver ... its a FELONY!
    Maybe you should brush up on your washington state law. Having an unloaded gun in the car is not a felony. If he had the ammo in the same case they might consider it loaded, depending on the officer, but a speed loader in the center console and a gun in a CASE under the back seat is not illegal.
    ‘‘To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.’’

    — George Mason

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    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    Washington State issues resident licenses within 30 days, and most times, nonresidents as well, instead of the 60 days allowed for them. Excellent state.
    Les Baer 45
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    Member Array rathos's Avatar
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    Or you can just open carry, although you can't have it loaded in the car.
    ‘‘To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.’’

    — George Mason

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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    Pete

    I know how you feel. When I was young I had long hair and a beard. Seems like I was pulled over everytime I came across a new officer that hadn't had the pleasure of stopping me before.
    It makes you mad and theres not really much you can do about it.
    Before y'all start thinking im cop bashing I got to say I was raised in a cop family. I have alot of respect for good cops.
    Its the cops with authority issues that give them all a bad name. I have never minded being stopped for a legitimate reason. Its being hassled for no reason that makes ALL cops look bad to the person being hassled.
    That said I have nothing but fond memories of the good cops that I have encountered. It was my fathers fellow officers that used to take me shooting. They are the ones that tought me how to reload when I was still in 6th grade.
    It only takes one bad cop to wipe that out though.

    Michael

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    Ex Member Array ibez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stickybeatz View Post
    Being a young male in a public park after dark with a mag-lite does not equal probable cause. Sounds like you were just bullied around by a bored jerk on a power trip
    true

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