Family Harassed By Park Rangers and Police While Camping

van_buren_state_park_sign-img_0484-400pxWhile Patrick Hawkins and his family were enjoying their last night of camping at Van Buren State Park in Michigan, he was asked by a park ranger to turn his music down. He turned his music down, but explained to the Park Ranger that he would not turn his music off. About 10 minutes later when the rest of his family had fallen asleep, he had turned his music off and continued to talk with his daughter at the campfire. His daughter alerted him to the presence of two men lurking behind him in the dark (about 100 ft. away). Patrick Hawkins then turned his phone flashlight towards the men and asked, “What are you doing?” The park rangers told him they could still hear them, of course this just further antagonized the situation even more and Patrick told them to, “Piss off”.

The following morning Patrick Hawkins was asked to leave the campgrounds, because one of the park officers felt threatened by his behavior the previous night. The park ranger asked to see Patrick’s identification to which he refused, as is his right unless the officer had enough reasonable suspicion of illegal activity to detain him. And continued to tell Patrick Hawkins he was being evicted from the campgrounds for 24 hours. When the park officer asked again to see Patrick’s identification, and once again was refused. The officer said, “If you’ll comply than they (Patrick’s family) can stay.” To which Patrick replied, “Why is their staying, contingent to my compliance?”

The Park official tried to placate Patrick by saying no citations were being issued which again begs the question…why was he being asked to leave? Because he wouldn’t show his ID? Implying he was doing something wrong by exercising his rights. The presumption of guilt on Patrick and his entire family seems to me why he chose not to comply, he stuck to his principles that his actions did not warrant the treatment he was receiving.

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