“Am I being detained?”
Powerful words. I was on a Greyhound the morning of September 12, 2012 after a 12 hour trip and was really looking forward to getting off the bus. As we pulled up to the terminal in Memphis, TN, my final destination, I saw a couple of uniformed figures headed toward the bus. The driver announced we should all keep our seats. One guy in some kind of security service uniform and a city cop climbed on and said that in an effort to curb drugs and money smuggling they wanted us to get off one by one, set down our carry-ons and step away while they let a dog sniff it.
Then, they asked if there were any questions. I was seated 6 or so rows back and I asked, “Are we were being detained?” No response at all. They started their little operation, and it was slow. When I finally reached the bottom of the steps I saw the guy in front of me had just put down his bags and was stepping well away as ordered. I stopped and held up my bags shoulder high and again asked, “Am I being detained?” I looked directly at the officers as I said it. Again no response, so I said, “Well I guess I’m free to go.” I stepped off the bus and noticed all the people who had already been sniffed were all standing there instead of going into the terminal.
I stopped and said, “You know we don’t have to put up with this, right?” At that point, I went ahead and headed for the door. A moment later I heard the local cop yell for me to come back. I saw him coming so I just stopped and let him approach. He then tried a little escalation technique telling me to shut up or I’d be charged with disorderly conduct. He called me a “fucker” or something similar and stalked off. I yelled after him, “Who’s being disorderly now?” – Then I went on about my business. I hope everyone who witnessed the event learned something. If you don’t exercise your freedoms, you don’t have any freedom.
This story was written by David Connolly.