This story highlights a couple of things:
- The war on drugs leads to horrific violations of individual rights.
- Allowing the government to confiscate property from people suspected of drug law violations is a crime
- A dog ‘alert’ is not probable cause.
When Pompton Lakes police seized Darren Richardson’s car on a rainy September afternoon, they told him it was headed for an impound lot. When they returned it three weeks later, he says, the 2004 BMW belonged in a junk yard.
The instrument cluster and leather dashboard were gone. The caramel-colored seats were torn up. The gear shift was ripped out and stray wires hung limp everywhere. Geico, Richardson’s insurance company estimated the damage at $12,636.42 — more than he paid for the car — and declared the vehicle a “total loss.”
According to police reports, the damage to the black BMW 325i came in the aftermath of a traffic stop during which officers detected a “strong odor of raw marijuana” inside the vehicle. Searching for a cache of drugs, members of three different police agencies and a detective from a federal drug task force spent two days tearing the car apart, the reports said.
So what did police find after their $12,000 search?
Now to me, it doesn’t matter what they found, but it’s important to lots of other people, who think it’s just fine to ignore individual rights if we get bad guys. (See also: TSA). Those people are ignorant sheep.
Before you get indignant, mouthing off to a cop isn’t a crime, and in some cases is our duty.
If anyone thinks any officer will be held responsible or that the state will reimburse the insurance company after the investigation, I’ve got some nice waterfront property for you. They will find the officers acted appropriately, maybe even congratulate them.