This is long but I am so proud of it.
This happened Sunday morning driving from Las Vegas to central Nevada.
A little background, I live in central Nevada between Las Vegas and Reno. We have no larger stores for supplies like a Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Walmart… I have to drive to “The Big City” once a month. I drive a 15yo SUV. It is in good working condition considering it spends most of its life on dirt roads. I have a skin Melanoma condition and because of that I carry with me a Doctors letter signed by a judge allowing me an extra heave tint to my front side windows, and a medium tint to my windshield. It almost looks like a police detectives car type of tint.
Now Sunday morning about 10:00am I am driving north on 95 and a Nevada Highway patrol’s finest passes me going south bound and makes the U-turn and pulls me over. I know what this is about, It happens every so often because of the tint. But this time it was different from the start.
The officer approaches the vehicle and tells me to roll down ALL the windows. I ask why (Keeping my hands on the top of the steering wheel) He says he wants to look inside the vehicle. I refuse. He then orders me out of the vehicle, I do so. Upon exiting, I take my keys and lock the doors and step to the rear of the vehicle. He asks for my license and proof of insurance, I comply. He then asks me if I know why he pulled me over, I stated no. He said the tint on the vehicle was illegal (As I expected). I then hand him the letter from the doctor allowing the tint. He looks at it and crumples it up and throws it on the ground. The officer tells me the letter does not “Negate” the law. I calmly picked up the letter, un-wad it and politely comment it was also signed by a local judge as I hand it back to him. At that moment I ask, “If there is nothing else, am I free to leave?” He said not right now, he wants to check the vehicle for contraband. I said nothing waiting for him to explain. He walked over to the vehicle and tried to open the back door (It was locked) He asked me to unlock the door. I said “No” He looked at me confused. He tells me US95 is a corridor for traffickers and he just wants to be sure I’m not carrying anything.
I (As politely as I can) explain that as a US citizen who understands and respects the Constitution, and also the hard work the police does, I respectfully decline opening the door. He tells me “refusing to allow me to look inside the vehicle, gives me probable cause to search”. I said really? I pull my phone of my belt and begin dialing and he stops me and ask what I am doing. I told him I am contacting my attorney (My younger brother who works in the Public Defender’s office in another state. (For legal advice only). He told me I was not allowed to make calls while he was “Interviewing me”
With those words “Interviewing me”, I told the officer “This interview was over. “I would no longer make any statements until I have a lawyer present. Am I free to go?” He then tells me to put my hands on the vehicle; he was going to search me for his own protection. I comply, he finds nothing at all in my pockets (I left my wallet in the vehicle) I again ask if I am free to go. He starts to call me a troublemaker and believes I am carrying something illegal. I said “Thankfully, “believing” is not probable cause. Can I go now?” He said he believes I am carrying drugs and he was calling out a drug dog to search the vehicle.
I said “OK” and leaned against the vehicle and waited. He went to his car and got on his radio. About 20 minutes later another NHP supervisor arrived. (Remember we are in the middle of nowhere, 20 minutes is a quick response time). After speaking with the officer, the supervisor come over to me and asked what is going on, I tell him I have dark tint and the officer said he pulled me over for it. I presented the letter to the supervisor and again asked if I was free to go. He asked why I was giving the officer a hard time. I laughed hard and loud. I said I wasn’t, I have been defending myself from the officer all morning. The supervisor asked if I was hiding something in my vehicle. I said “I’m hot hiding something, I’m protecting something.” He asked what I was protecting. (I was waiting for this) MY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. I explained that for the last hour I was badgered by the officer to give up my rights. I stood my ground and refused to give up one of my rights. I then asked the supervisor (the other officer was beside him now) isn’t your jobs to help citizens protect their rights? Not violate them. Supervisor said they need to protect everyone else’s rights by getting drugs off the street. I explained that I have to fight for MY rights. And because I have broken no laws, was I free to go. Supervisor said he was interested why… I cut him off and asked for an answer. He looked at me blankly and said “What” I asked if I was free to go. I want and answer to that question because if the answer is yes, I was getting into my vehicle and leaving. If the answer is no, I would no longer make any statements till a lawyer was present. If my vehicle is searched, it was done without my permission and without warrant. “Am I free to go” The supervisor said yes. I left.
They never asked or noticed my wife in the passage seat.
To answer Questions: 1. Wife was comfortable and I never asked her to stay in the car, She just choose to. 2. Window tinted enough, officer could see inside to check for a second person. 3. If you choose not to believe this happen, That is up to you. There is always skeptics. I wish them well