Luis Sadly was doing nothing wrong, had committed no crime, and was only trying to enjoy a hamburger while he waited for his friend. However, his innocence was no protection against having his rights violated by the Austin police.
As Sadly minds his own business, he is approached by an Austin Police officer who tells him that he is being detained.
“Why am I being detained?” asks Sadly as he was clearly doing nothing illegal.
“Let’s see, it’s 2 o’clock in the morning. You’re parked here by yourself in a high crime, high drug area,” replies the officer.
Apparently sitting in your car by yourself is now reasonable articulable suspicion for a police officer to detain you.
Sadly was only waiting for a friend to come out of their apartment and all of the sudden is now subject to a police detainment, interrogation, and assault.
Knowing he has done nothing wrong, Sadly objects to the officer’s “investigation,” and that is when things get ugly.
As Sadly refuses to be subject to police harassment, the officer begins to escalate the situation. He then forces Sadly out of the car, places him in handcuffs, and removes and turns off his phone.
According to Sadly, the officer then searched him and his vehicle, both of which he conducted without consent.
The requirement for Sadly to get out of his vehicle when the officer demanded is a grey area in regards to the law. In 1977, SCOTUS held, in Pennsylvania v. Mimms, that police can order people out of their vehicle during a traffic stop, conduct a pat down, and this did not violate their Fourth Amendment right.
However, this was not a traffic stop. Sadly was in a parking lot of an apartment complex waiting for his friend and eating a hamburger.
Regardless of the officer demanding Sadly to exit the vehicle, he still searched him without consent, and this is still considered illegal.
Was Sadly hurting someone? Was there a victim involved? Was someone’s property or well-being endangered by his choice to eat a hamburger in his car and wait for a friend?
The answer to all those questions is, no. Therefore, the entire stop, from beginning to end, was an unjustifiable deprivation of rights carried out in the name of the state’s immoral war on drugs.
Not only was Sadly’s life placed in danger by this interaction, but the officer’s life was as well. Had this officer decided to harass another, less cordial person in a search for “illegal substances” he could have very well been hurt or killed — for what?
The video below illustrates what “protecting and serving” has become as the war on drugs wages on.
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