I've been following a developing story closely for the past 48 hours about what happens when three Americans (they are libertarians) who are just out being Americans in a free society, traveling the country and interacting with and enjoying the company of other Americans, meet up with the police.
I am going to briefly introduce you to the three freedom loving libertarians, because their background is kind of important to the story.
Pete attended school studying law enforcement.
Jason was in the military. Particularly, military law enforcement/security.
The other libertarian was just a regular "joe citizen" along for the ride.
The ride was a cross country trip in an RV to meet up with, talk to, and report on liberty and freedom in the United States. They have been documenting their trip on Twitter and their own blog, The Motorhome Diaries.
They've traveled from New Hampshire across the country to California, and were on the journey back eastward through the south.
Unfortunately, the south includes Mississippi.
The boys got arrested in Jones County Mississippi.
I'll bet those "Barney Fifes" are going to regret ever deciding to fuck with these three guys.
The major points of the stop and arrest are this:
1. The RV had NH temporary tags on it. This is the initial reason the officer gives for stopping them.
2. The officer escalates and calls in backup after he asks the driver whether there are weapons in the RV. The driver responded that there were two disassembled handguns in lock boxes with ammunition locked in another box on the RV.
3. The first arrest is because one of the occupants of the RV comes out with a video camera in hand. He is charged with "disorderly conduct".
4. The second arrest is because Jason refuses to show ID to the officer. Because Jason would not show his ID, he was pepper sprayed, placed in choke hold, and then cuffed. The charge... "resisting arrest".
5. The driver was the last person arrested. He was charged with... wait for it... "possession of beer in dry county".
Here are a few things to ponder.
The police asked for permission to search the RV for drugs. The driver said no. The police brought in a "drug sniffing canine" and then claimed the dog "signaled" a hit for marijuana. Four police officers scoured every inch of the RV, inside and the outside compartments... and found... NOTHING, other than two hand guns locked in a case and ammo in a separate locked case. They actually called the feds (the ATF) to see if they would like to file any charges for the weapons. The feds quickly (and smartly) declined.
Unless you are driving a vehicle, a police officer has no legal right to ask you to produce a government issued ID card. This is true for EVERY state. Simply identifying yourself with name and address is all you are legally required to do. Of course you have to be truthful, or you can be charged with obstruction. Jason had identified himself by name and address. The cop wanted an ID and Jason asserted his right. Turns out the cop doesn't believe you have rights once he pulls out his pepper spray canister.
There are some other interesting things in the story. Read it. Let me know what you think. Oh, and I'm returning to allowing anonymous comments.
[edited to add]