All too often police use victimless crimes, such as seat belt or window tint level violations to gain entry “lawfully” into your vehicle for a victimless charge that is more profitable. In this case, for approximately 5 1/2 minutes an officer searched the passenger side of the vehicle and never indicated he had found anything.
Meanwhile, the officer that was searching the other side of the vehicle finished his trunk search, returned to his vehicle, had a few words with the officer that searched the passenger’s side, grabbed an evidence bag and a drug testing testing kit, returned to the passenger’s side floorboard, and miraculously without effort instantly found marijuana.
Date of Incident: June 10, 2014
Officers Involved: Troopers Hobbs and McGinnis
Department Involved: Virginia State Police
Department Phone Number: (540) 672-1491
Corrupt VA Police – Illegal Search & Seizure/Planting of False Evidence
Tuesday 06-10-2014 at approximately 7pm, I and the driver/owner of the car were bird-dogging for rental property in Central VA, an area unfamiliar to us. On Tower Rd, we were passed by a silver Impala unmarked, but clearly identifiable as a cop car as the vehicle had large antennas on the roof. In the rear view mirror, we noticed him make a U-turn and accelerate behind us. We weren’t driving fast or even speeding as we were taking in the country road. We made a left on Sunnyside Rd. & the Impala continued on straight. As we pulled into a driveway to get our bearings, the home owner walked down his driveway and approached the car. We told him we were just getting our bearings, pulled out from his driveway, and began back up Sunnyside Rd. At that point, we noticed the same unmarked Impala behind us; almost as if he simply circled the area and targeted us. As we were only doing 15/20mph I instructed driver/owner to pullover and allow him to pass, at which point the cop also pulled behind us and turned on his police lights.
He approached the driver side door and told driver /owner that her window tint was too dark for VA. I told him we had never had any problems in our immediate area of Arlington and Alexandria. He went back to his car retrieving a Window tint detector of some sort and slid it over the glass. He then addressed me (passenger seat) noting that I didn’t have my seat belt on, to which I replied that we had just been stopped & intended to pull over. The officer, who was named Hobbs (uniform stated VA state police) then asked for my I.D. I initially refused, asking for what purpose. Officer Hobbs responded by saying that he could pull me out of the car and search me. I complied and he went back to his cruiser. After about 15min. of waiting and several other police cars showing up, including a Sheriff from the Orange County Police Force (Sgt. Dickerson, I believe) and a K-9 cop. At that time, the Sgt. Walked up to the car and informed the driver/owner that her info wasn’t popping up in their computer and requested her S.S. number. I objected stating, “that’s totally unheard of,” but the driver/owner, feeling pressured by the Sgt., relented. After another 10 or so minutes, the officers instructed me to step out of the car and that they were going to search me. I complied and Hobbs patted me down. The driver/owner was then told she would also be patted down, to which she responded that a female should be present. Her request was shot down as Hobbs stated that it’s NOT a state law & thus he was justified – so I told the driver/owner to make sure she was standing in front of the Impala. We asked if the cruiser dashboard camera was recording and we were told YES.
At that point, the K-9 cop ran around the car twice and then scoured the interior of the car, including both front & back seats, with NO signals being given or barking. The K-9 cop (Officer McGinnis) took the German Shepherd back into the squad car, passing Hobbs on the way and whispering something (the driver/owner heard, “It’s clean”) to one another in passing. McGinnis then proceeded to search the car with Officer Hobbs. At this point the driver/owner and I began recording the car search and the officer’s actions via her iPhone, because we couldn’t understand what gave them the thought that we were doing anything illegal or had contraband in the car. They NEVER mentioned to us that they smelled marijuana or anything that they were suspicious of from the start.
The cops knew that they were being recorded as I narrated the day’s events up until that point and panned the phone to the Sgt. standing to our left and toward their cruisers. Two other tactical looking offers in plain clothes 9 Tactical vests) went and sat in their SUV & waited. Hobbs concentrated on the driver’s (left) side while McGinnis focused his search on the passenger’s (right) side. They then both moved to the rear seats at which time McGinnis came back to the driver’s side squatted down going through the floorboard area, where my wallet and a ziplock bag filled with trash (cigarette box, grapefruit peel) were. He then left the car and stood next to the Sgt. who was still standing next to me about 10ft from the rear left of the car. Hobbs proceeded to the trunk area and after taking a cursory look walked back to his car. At that time McGinnis walked over to him (out of cruiser camera view) and exchanged brief small talk out of earshot. IMMEDIATELY, Hobbs darted for the passenger side floorboard with a police evidence bag, squatted down and then held up a small drug testing kit, which he shook repeatedly until it changed to green. As he walked over to us, he stated that it was indeed marijuana and that I’d be given the charge as the drug evidence was found on my side of the car. He then told us both our charges (driver/owner – window tint & myself – No seatbelt & possession of Marijuana). Hobbs escorted the driver/owner over to the hood of his cruiser and asked for her purse to search it – to which she refused. He then stated that he could simply take it, and the driver/owner looked back at me and I nodded sure give it to him, so as not to complicate things further. At this juncture I’m thinking I’m going to be handcuffed and would need to be bailed out someway. The driver/owner signed her paperwork and then it was my turn. We were told the dates to come back to court and that that they would be present. We took several minutes snapping pictures after our ID’s were returned and straightening up the car before we got back on the road to head home.
• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: Illegal Search & seizure
• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: Asking me for my I.D. as a passenger and not posing a risk
• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: Denial of a female cop for a pat down even when requested
• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: NOT letting us leave after the Dog found no traces of anything illegal
• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: NO real probable cause to follow or antagonize us as Hobbs could have pulled us over from from Tower Rd. when we 1st encountered him, for the tint infraction.
SMOKING GUN: If McGinnis had truly found evidence of narcotics he NEVER stopped his search to acknowledge it & thus his actions of stepping away from the car and then meeting Hobbs by his car were highly unusual as they were speaking in private. With Hobbs making a beeline for the passenger side floor board and locating something EVEN as he had been solely searching the left hand side of the car was highly ODD, to say the least.