Firearms And Liberty - Shade's Landing Inc. Carry Permit MN

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A night at the Apple Valley Citizen Academy

Stop and I.D.

An interesting night tonight at the Apple Valley PD Citizen Academy. In a discussion with an Officer Engle about how he would handle a PASSENGER in a vehicle who refuses to identify or answer questions (as is their right) he responded in a troubling way.

At first, instead of answering my question, he turns to the class and asks if they would identify themselves as passengers. They all said "of course" or something similar. In fact one lady said that "I would think he was trying to hide something if he didn't identify himself".

I couldn't believe the responses! Not one of them would stand up for their rights. If I had said to the ladies empty your purses, what do you think they would have said? Of course... they'd say no. "Well why not - if you have nothing to hide dump them out" They just might tell me at this point that what they had in their purses was none of my business. And they would be right. And that's my point!

We have an absolute right to remain silent and NOT answer an officer's questions. We don't even have to identify ourselves absent any evidence or ARTICULABLE suspicion of criminal activity.

So why is it that most Americans are asleep when it comes to their civil rights? Is it that they don't care? Or that they just don't understand the implications of jumping up and down and shouting "SEARCH ME! I HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE?"

I'm greatly disappointed in my fellow citizens. And I am even more dissapointed in Officer David Engle's final answer to me which was "I'd arrest them" and when prompted for what? He answered "Obstruction of the legal process". When I pointed out that his response directly contravenes his own department's policy on field interviews, he told me "If a citizen disagrees with a decision an officer makes he can complain about in court."

"Complain about it in court." ?? Really? So according to Officer Engle it goes something like this: 'I will arrest you for failure to ID and answer my questions and force you to obtain a lawyer so you at least have a fighting chance against the trumped up charge. And then I'll do the same to the next citizen who stands up for their civil rights.'

In essence, with this officer, you are being COERCED under the threat of force to not only ID yourself as a passenger or perhaps even walking down the street (though we did not get a chance to explore that aspect of Engle's policing philosophy), but to do so under the threat of force being used against you in your own arrest. Unbelievable that an officer sworn to uphold the Constitution would behave in this manner and be so arrogant as to admit it.

Interestingly enough, on an earlier night in the Citzen's Academy I had asked another officer (Drogseth) what he would do. He said nothing. He acknowledged it is the citizen's right not to provide ID if there is no articulable suspicion of their involvement in a crime and he further acknowledged that "they don't have to answer my questions."

At least he has it right. So there is hope for our department in Apple Valley.

Here is the AVPD's own policy:

6.1.3 Initiating a Field Interview

“Suspects are not required, nor can they be compelled, to answer any questions posed during field interviews. Failure to respond to an officer’s inquiries is not, in and of itself, sufficient grounds to make an arrest although it may provide sufficient justification for additional observation and investigation.”

Here are a few of the many U.S. Supreme Court cases and Minnesota court cases that back up a citizen's right to remain silent and not I.D. and be free from arrest because of it.

In Salinas v. Texas, (June 2013), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a person’s silence can be held against them in court and in obtaining warrants UNLESS the individual states the he HAS A RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT as provided under the 5th Amendment. This case specifically applies to pre-arrest contacts where Miranda is not read to the individual.

In one of the most important cases governing what police can and can't do on a stop is Terry v. Ohio. In this case, the U.S. supreme court said the officer must have articulable suspicion that an individual is committing or is about to commit a crime in order to detain someone or make an arrest. Further the court stated that the officer can perform a PAT DOWN of an indivudal's outer clothing (not a search) for weapons IF the officer can articulate a suspicion that the individual is armed, The officer must have actual articulable facts, not hunches.

Terry does allow for a stop and frisk for officer safety IF the officer can articulate a reason to suspect the individual is armed. It does not allow for detention or arrest of the subject if they are uncooperative and refuse to answer questions.

Additionally, Minnesota Supreme Court cases further require there to be an INDIVIDUALIZED suspicion of a crime, independent of the stop. If there is none, passengers are under no obligation to ID themselves, or answer any questions (Askerooth 681 N.W.2d at 365). Other relevant cases are State v. Fort, 660 N.W.2d 414 419 (Minn 2003), Sate V. Johnson 645 N.W.2d 505, 508, 510 (Minn App. 2002).

Here is how one Minnesota court discussed three signigicant 5th amendment cases:

"See Askerooth, 681 N.W.2d at 364 (stating that  “the basis for justifying an intrusion during a minor
traffic stop [must be] individualized to the [person] to whom the intrusion is directed"
); State v. Fort,
·660 N.W.2d 415, 419 (Minn.2003) (suppressing evidence gathered after questioning of car's passenger
during traffic stop if officer lacked reasonable, articulable suspicion of additional criminal activity
); State v. Johnson, 645 N.W.2d 50S, 508, 510 (Minn.App.2002) (stating that police may investigate whether a
vehicle's passengers have valid driver's licenses if the driver cannot legally operate the vehicle). Thus,
because the passengers would not reasonably feel free to decline the deputy's request or terminate the
encounter and the request was not within the scope of the traffic stop, the additional intrusion of
requesting identification from the passengers required at least reasonable, articulable suspicion of
criminal activity beyond the traffic violations
. See Askerooth, 681 N.W.2d at 365 (holding that each
incremental intrusion must be justified by the original legitimate purpose of the stop, independent
probable cause, or reasonableness); Fort, 660 N.W.2d at 418 (concluding that passengers in a car were
seized during traffic stop); Johnson, 645 N.W.2d at 510 (concluding same)."

{UPDATE 08/2015}
A friend of ours was actually charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction of the legal process because he refused to talk to Officer Engle when he was a passenger in the back seat of a vehicle. I am happy to report that Apple Valley dropped those charges the day of the trail "IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE". No shit. Do you think?

Of course it was in the interest of justice. Officer Engle had no business using his badge and bullying a citizen like he did. Now all that is left is for our friend to file a complaint and possible false arrest lawsuit against the officer and the city. Good luck to him.


Written by Shade

Wednesday 13 May 2015 at 07:08 am

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