Fish Or Man

Saturday, December 18, 2004

i am finished

At around 8:30 pm on Thursday, December 16th the wife and I left Pullman, WA on the way to Omak, WA. The quickest way to do this is by passing through the west end of Spokane and then out highway 2. I, as per usual, had my handgun holstered on my hip with the clip between my legs. The reason the clip was not in the gun is because without a CPL the gun must be unloaded when in a vehicle, RCW 9.41.050 -- minus a few exceptions, RCW 9.41.060. As we started up highway 195 and neared Spokane the highway turns into a divided highway with two lanes of traffic in both directions with left turns allowed across the middle.

At around 9:30 pm, while heading north bound in the right lane of the highway a Spokane sheriff’s deputy pulls out a little way in front of me, coming from my left. He moves directly into the right lane and gets up to speed. This left me probably 20 car lengths away from him, both of us in the right lane. I had cruise control on at the 60mph speed limit. The officer was pulling away until he started to come upon two slower moving vehicles, one was in the right lane and one in the left lane, (the one in the left lane was farther ahead). As the deputy caught up to the one in the right lane he moved into the left lane. I stayed in the right lane longer, because the officer had slowed down slightly and was only staying even with the slower moving vehicle in the right lane. It finally looked like the deputy was going to pass this vehicle and so I went to the left lane as well behind the officer. As soon as I did the officer started to slow down. He slowed to almost 40, during which I tried to slow down fast enough to allow for following distance. I was about to move back into the right lane when the deputy turned on his left turn signal. Seeing this I stayed in the left lane, waiting for it to clear. He then slowed to about 30 before moving into the left turn lane. As he moved to the left lane I accelerated into the now open left lane. I passed the slower moving vehicle in the right lane and then turned into the right lane in front of him.
As I looked in the rearview mirror while turning into the right lane, I noticed the deputy get back on the highway. He slowly caught up to me and moved into the right lane directly behind me. Knowing it was a deputy I slowed slightly and waited. We traveled like this for about 3 miles, (we went back earlier today and measured the distance). At about 3 miles the deputy turned on his overheads. I pulled to the shoulder and stopped.
I reached down and unlatched the lap belt and pulled out my wallet. I got my drivers license out and put both hands on the steering wheel. The officer approached from the driver’s side. I had the window rolled down and he immediately asked for license, registration and proof of insurance. I had my license in my hands and I reached up to my visor for the license and proof of insurance.
He was shining his flashlight down at my holstered handgun and said, “And since you have a handgun let’s not do any quick movements.” I said I wouldn’t and that I would leave my hands in the open. I reached out the window and handed the officer the three documents. He leaned in closer and shined his light between my legs at the guns clip. I left my hands on the steering wheel. He then asked for a permit for the gun. I said a permit was not needed. He asked again for a permit, I again stated I don't need a permit.
I then asked why he hadn’t told my why I was pulled over. He said, “Because you didn’t ask me.” I asked what the reason for the stop was for. He didn’t answer me. I asked again saying law requires you inform me of the reason for your stop. He plainly took offense to this question and stated, “I pulled you over for numerous reasons.” I said numerous reasons? With his unwillingness to state the reason for his stop, I stated, “Saying numerous reasons is not an answer.” He then finally stated, “I pulled you over because you have one of your rear license plate bulbs out.” I stated, “I don’t think that reason will last very long.” He became quite upset and said, “well I have you for ‘following to close’ too. Then stated, “do you have anything else to add?” I said no. He then asked again if I had anything to add. I said no again. He then walked back to his cruiser. My wife and I waited.
Other police cars pulled up and I noticed red beams shining inside my car, bouncing this way and that. They were moving so much the first thought was reflections from passing cars. No, I realized I was being targeted and stuck both hands up and out the driver’s side window. I held them there for about 1 minute before a deputy approached and opened my door yelling at me to get out. The door was pulled so hard it bounced back and shut in my face. Even though the door had closed the deputy continued to yell, “Get out of the car.” I refused saying I wasn’t moving my hands. The deputy reopened the door easier this time and then yelled at me to step out. I did. Faced away and then backed up towards them. Then stepped to the right and went to my knees. Two officers took my hands behind me and handcuffed me. One deputy pulled my gun from my hip holster. I looked to the right at a deputy that was looking towards my wife now. I yelled loud enough so that those that were targeting us could here, "Would you please stop pointing your guns at my wife and I."
The original deputy took me to his car putting me in the back saying I was arrested for being an asshole. From the back of the deputy’s car I watched as 3 deputies converged on my wife. They no longer had guns drawn and begin to question her. I watched as deputies started to look into small black books. From my wife I understand that they started questioning her about if the clip had been in the gun. She also has said they told her open carry was illegal in Washington and that the clip cannot be as close to the gun as I kept it, so I was breaking the law anyway. During this time the original deputy came back, opened the door, said I was also under arrest for reckless driving and then closed the door.
I watched as one deputy cycled my handgun through about 10 times. After about 10 minutes the original deputy was heard asking for another deputies phone. He said he wanted to make sure the jail was willing to accept. In about 15 or 20 minutes the deputy got back in and I was driven off to the jail. Along the way the officer said, so do you just hate cops or something? I said I don’t hate police, but the ones acting outside law are not police. He started with the name-calling, Rambo, Constitutionalist, and asshole. I said I may be a Constitutionalist but I am not the one that lied. He asked how he had lied. I stated the reckless driving charge. He said “Yes, but guess what, your wife told me that you only took the clip out when I went to pull you over.” I said again, you are a liar. He then bragged that with that he had probable cause that the gun had been loaded, saying, I just love getting guns away from guys like you. I said, maybe one day you will have everyone disarmed. He said that was the idea.
He took me to the Spokane County Jail. I was taken inside the building. The original deputy told the jailers I was Rambo. The jail officers continued on that line and asked if I was from Hayden, Idaho. An older jail officer was the only one that didn’t get in on the action. I followed him around the corner where I was asked to stand against the wall. I did. I was told to take off my shoes and socks. At this point the older man asked what was wrong with my feet. I have a fungal infection on the tops of my feet. He asked the nurse to look at it. The original deputy and the others jailers laughed, is that all over your body? For me, that was the end.
I had been pulled over and given bogus reasons, arrested by an officer that admitted to lying, and was now subject to 5 to 7 men's and one woman's verbal taunts. I stopped answering any questions. They then said, oh great we’ve got another one. Let’s see if he can last longer then the one that lasted 7 days. They then proceed to prepare me for going into the holding cell. While waiting a jailer started saying how he was watching cops last night and there was a scene where an officer walked up to a car and was just shot for no reason. I stated, “And you think that must be me, huh?” Shortly afterward I was taken to the holding cell. As I listened from the cell they started saying that I had said I wanted to shoot an officer. One lady, agreeing with the other men, “Yeah that sounds like what I heard.”
The kind older jailer stopped by and asked me again if I wanted to just be booked in so I could go upstairs to a bed, and then see a judge in the morning. I said I felt all the charges were illegal and just wanted to see a judge as quickly as possible and that I didn’t really care where I was being held.
Later I heard the sheriff’s deputy that brought me in talking with the jailers. He walked down to my holding cell, telling me, “I’ve got five guys out here that say you threatened my life. Now, I’ve got you for a felony.” He tapped the glass of the cell door I was locked behind and said, “you ain’t so tough without your gun now are you?” They left but continued ‘checking’ on me regularly, usually yelling at me and kicking the door.
I now realized I would be there for awhile so I asked for a nurse to get some medication for my now itching feet. The young jailer at the door refused, saying tell me why first. I yelled over the top of him. They laughed down the hallway. A nurse did eventually come, and I explained to her that it appeared I would be there awhile and would like something for my feet. They unlocked the door and she stepped in and looked at my feet. She said she would send me some cream and that I should apply only a thin coat. I thanked her and the jailers that had let her in. The cream for my feet was never given to me.
I laid down in an attempt to sleep some of the night away. But, they continued asking every 20 or 30 minutes if I wanted to book in, which made sleep nearly impossibly. The ones checking in on me did so by saying, “Hey, Constitutionalist. You ready to go yet?” And continued with references to Rambo and Hayden Lake. I continued telling them no, I only wanted to see a judge in the morning.
One of them brought a piece of paper, saying I should sign it to release my wife’s driver’s license into her possession. I was unsure what he was trying to say. I said I never had my wife’s license in my possession. They said the deputy that brought me in had taken it from her, so it had been booked in as my property. I said I am not the one that stole my wife’s license, nor would I sign the paperwork that also said that I was an inmate. They relocked the door and yelled he’s still refusing and walked away. They had taken my glasses away, so unless I was standing at the door I couldn’t be sure who it was.
I had been there for 3 or 4 hours and had tried the sink for a drink of water, but no water came out. I flushed the toilet numerous times and cupped water from it. Finally, one guy actually stopped and talked politely to me, remembering there was no water, I immediately asked him if I could get some water. He told me push the button on the sink. I did so, and nothing came on. He then said, “Oh, we haven’t turned the water on yet.” He then reached around the corner and turned it on, which I thanked him for doing. As he turned it on, a small amount of water shot out onto the floor.
I again tried lying down to get some sleep. I heard a drunken lady being booked. They decided instead to put her in the holding cell directly across from me, where she became very upset, yelling, screaming, kicking the door, and crying for help. After numerous hours she finally passed out. They then came back and started with the questions for me. I was eventually told that someone had posted my bond, so I might as well just sign the paperwork so I could leave. I didn’t believe the man that told me. He left and came back with a piece of paper and flashed it at the doors window. There was no way I could have been able to tell what it was even if I had my glasses, so I still didn’t believe him. He came back often, telling me my bond had now been posted and I should just sign the paperwork and leave. I didn’t believe him and still felt I was arrested and confined illegally and wanted to see a judge as quickly as possible.
When a young man came and offered breakfast I happily accepted. I asked him the time. He told me it was 6 am. I asked him if he knew when I might be able to see a judge. He asked down the hall and was told I wasn’t going until 2 in the afternoon, another 8 hours. I tried eating, but only managed the small apple and milk. At this point I think I actual fell asleep on the wooden bench for longer then 30 minutes.
When I was awaken next, a polite lady started to talk to me. I asked her who she was. She answered Sheriff’s Deputy “I can’t remember”. I then sat up. She unlocked the door and said my bond was posted and that a judge probably would think that if a bond was posted and I had stayed in holding, that I was just a jerk. I told her I felt the arrest and detainment was illegal. She said that might very well be, but it would be wiser of you to tell a judge that without being taken over to the courthouse by the jail. I asked her if she had just started her shift. She said yes. I asked her why she hadn’t come in earlier. She said she was here now and that I should just go finish being booked out. I agreed. Before I left she told me that I shouldn’t talk with anyone else about this and just go through the process.
With the morning shift coming on duty, the environment was much quieter. Although I could tell most of the same men were there, no one started yelling Constitutionalist, or Rambo, or anything. I had fingerprints taken and signed one piece of paper saying I would go over to the next building and apply for a court date. The time was 7:53 am, (I asked and wrote it down). My personal belongings were given back to me and I was sent on my way. I do not know where my handgun was taken. I found a phone and called family that had been in touch with my wife. She had got a motel room and drove over to get me. We walked across to the Courthouse and got a hearing for Dec. 23rd at 9 am Courtroom A, 2nd floor of the Courthouse Annex.

Update 11pm Dec. 18th: Another thing I overheard while in the holding cell was the original deputy say that when he went to pull me over I stopped too quickly??? I will not be surprised to have something along those lines written into his report of reckless driving.

Also when my wife was being questioned during this police stop they asked her about an outstanding misdemeanor warrant from Ellensburg. It was the first she, (or now I), had ever heard about it. Apparently that is what happens when you file a complaint against the Ellensburg Police department over harassment for legally open carrying. I never received a summons to appear or knowledge of the warrant, (although, I know Ellensburg has my address because I did receive a denial of Freedom of Information Act request).

Any type of warrant for arrest leaves a person's ID with a red flag. This red flag was likely the reason the Spokane deputy pulled me over on Thursday evening. Since he followed me for so long he had the time to run my plate and find that I had a warrant. Since the warrant is a misdemeanor out of Ellensburg, Spokane wouldn't want me for an arrest. This may be why the deputy did not tell me about the warrant, claiming I was pulled over for a burned out license plate bulb, (which there are two), and then saying I was following too closely when he was the one slowing in the fast lane in front of me, (he had also been the one following me for almost 3 miles).

The wife is close to finishing writing what she recalls of the evening.

As the title of this post says, I am finished. From my viewpoint, the right to bear arms no longer exists. I tried to resist this encroachment and remain inside the color of law. I failed and am left fighting to simple stay out of jail.

Update 1 am Dec. 20th

What my wife wrote about the evening:

The officer that pulled us over was first encountered when he entered traffic in front of us and sped up to the speed limit. There were 2 other cars in the same vicinity. Both driving close together. They were traveling below the speed limit. The officer was in front of us and was catching up to a car in the right lane. There was a minivan in the left lane. We were in the right lane behind a car and the mini van was in the left.
The cop car had moved into the left lane in front of us. The cop car moved up ahead of us more and we moved over behind him to get past the car in the right lane. The cop car then slowed down either to stay behind the minivan or some other reason. This made us a little closer to the cop car. We slowed down and the cop car slowed down more and then very quickly pulled off onto the left side of the road where there was a lane to exit. We got back up to speed and I commented on the cops interesting driving. And that the minivan wasn’t moving over and creating an obstruction.
The cop apparently reentered traffic and passed the slower car that was behind us. He followed behind us for a good enough distance to us to wonder if we did something that would warrant being pulled over and then it seemed like it was way too long of a time for the cop to legitimately pull us over. The cop turned on his lights and we pulled over immediately.
Jason got out his wallet and drivers license and rolled down the window. He kept his hands visible. The officer approached the car from the driver’s side and asked to see license, registration and proof of insurance. Jason handed the officer his license and reached for the registration and insurance, which was in the passenger visor. The officer notices Jason’s pistol, which is holstered on the right side of his lap attached to his belt. The officer says to not make any sudden moves or words to that affect. Jason says that he won’t and keeps his hands visible. The officer asks if Jason has a permit for his gun. Jason responds that he doesn’t need one. The officer asks if he has a permit again and Jason says no. Jason’s voice is raised at this point. Jason then asks why he hasn’t been told the reason for the stop. Some words were exchanged and Jason’s voice is calmer. The officer finally says that he has many reasons for the stop. Jason asks the reason for the stop again. The officer says that it is because of a burned out license plate light. Jason says that will not stand up in court.
The officer says something about tailgating or following too close. The officer is annoyed and is getting excited. Jason doesn’t want to talk to the officer anymore and tries to roll up the window, but it is stuck. The officer asked Jason twice if he was through. Jason says yes. Jason asks why the officer is still standing there. The officer finally walks back to his car. We sit there.
After a few moments I notice what looks like a laser pointer pointing near Jason’s right ear. It is moving all over the place. I realize that it is from a laser sight. I mention it to Jason. He had noticed it too. He then puts his hands and arms out his window. I get really scared at this point.
The officer comes up to Jason’s door and I am pretty sure he had his gun drawn from the position of his arms. He yells at Jason to get out of the car and opens the door so hard that it swings back and closes. The officer yells to get out of the car. Jason says he is not moving his hands. The officer opens he car door again and Jason steps out of the car. There are some words spoken and then I hear the clicking of metal. I assume it is from handcuffs. I do not know what happened to Jason after this.
There are multiple cop cars and officers present by now. My door is opened and they ask me to keep my hands on the dash. They had been in my lap. I do so and wait. I am really scared. My door is now open. I can hear the officers discussing what to charge Jason with. I watch them looking through a book. They discuss the weapon being loaded as to where he broke the law. They joke about how hard it will be for him to get his gun back. One of the officers says that it will be harder than it was for him to get his gun back. They also discuss the convenience of one of the officer being so close by for the call. They also cuss and joke around with each other.
Two officers approach the driver’s side and discuss where the clip to the gun was. One officer says that it was here on the seat. It is no longer there. The other officer says that he now has it. At some point I am asked for my drivers license. I give it to the officer. He asks me about where we were heading. I say Omak, Washington. I mention that the address on my license is not current. I just moved to Pullman and had not changed it yet. He asks for my new address. I give it to him.
I am not sure of the order of the questions at this point. I am asked what my relationship is to Jason. I say he is my husband. I am asked about what my husband’s problem is. I explain the initial manner of the stop and the evasiveness of the officer and his second amendment rights to open carry. I say that Jason probably feels like his rights are being abused. The officer disagrees with me. I am asked if he has ever been arrested before. I say no. The officer asks how long we have been married. I say a little over 5 years. I say again that he has never been arrested. The officer doesn’t believe me about Jason not being arrested before. I am asked why Jason carries a gun. I say for protection. I am asked when the gun was unloaded. I say that I do not remember. I get some lectures on carrying and how it would be better for Jason to have a permit. I say that he is legal with out one in the manner that he carries. They say he is not. They say the ammunition has to be in a separate part of the car. I am skeptical of this. The officer says that Jason did not read the law well enough.
An officer tells me that Jason is being arrested and is going off to jail. I am also alerted to the fact that there was a warrant out for his arrest out of Ellensburg related to some sort of gun charge. I am startled by this news. I asked how and if we should have been notified of this. The officer asks if we have moved recently. I say yes but I always forward our mail. I ask some more questions about getting notified about a warrant or the charge. One officer says that we are all big boys. They say they don’t know the details. One officer says that Jason probably tore up the ticket and threw it out of the window. I deny this. I again denied knowledge of this warrant or any other information related to this Ellensburg charge.
At one point the cop car that was parked in front of our car leaves. I wonder if Jason has left. I start to cry because I am scared and left alone with officers that are not professional and I don’t feel safe with them. An officer asks me if he could see my driver’s license again. I say yes and try to find it. I cannot. I even ask to get out of the car and look. The officer says to not bother looking any more. I sit back down.
An officer asks to see registration and insurance again. I give it to him. I am told that Jason will be going off to jail and asked if I have a valid drivers license. I say yes. I ask where he is being taken. They say the Spokane County Jail. I am told that the car may be searched and that I should assist. The officers leave and I am left alone on the side of the road to look for my license. I can’t find it. I even check the roadside by backing up the car and shining my headlights on the place were we were parked. I am now wondering if one of the officers still has it.
I drive to a gas station and make phone calls to family and the local police stations to find out about my license and get direction to the county jail where an officer has left my license. I drive into Spokane to the jail to get my drivers license. The lady at the cashier’s desk looks into getting it for me. She tells me that the officer will not release it and that the officer is bringing trouble upon himself. I am speechless, frustrated and feeling abused.
I ask when I will be able to know what Jason’s bail will be. The lady says to call in an hour when the paperwork is finished. I leave and get a motel room and work on getting Jason out of jail. I do not get my license back until several hours later when I posted bail at 3 in the morning. I do not believe that any of the charges that the officers have cited are founded. Jason did not drive recklessly and as to the gun being loaded in the car I am sure this is false. Jason has been open carrying for about six months. I often see him unload his gun when he gets into the car. When we go into Idaho, where it is legal to have a loaded gun in a car he loads his gun. I am so use to Jason having his pistol with him that I don’t always notice the state of his gun.

UPDATE: Comment thread Haloscan original assigned to this post is here: