6/4/2010Missouri Cops Harass Video Vigilante A Third Time
St. Louis County, Missouri police detain and search innocent motorist for a third time.
It has been almost three years since a young Saint Louis, Missouri motorist drew national attention by videotaping an out-of-control police officer's profanity-laced tirade during a traffic stop (view video). St. George Police Sergeant James Kuehnlein was fired because of the bad publicity generated by the incident captured by the taping system that Brett Darrow, 23, installed in his 1997 Nissan Maxima. On Saturday, St. Louis County Police stopped Darrow once again.
Darrow was with his girlfriend that evening when he came upon a drunk driving (DUI) roadblock. Because he was not in his Maxima, Darrow's only recording tool was his cell phone which captured 50 seconds worth of the interaction with Officer Kevin Lane before the phone was seized and Darrow ordered out of his car. Darrow complied, locking the door while his girlfriend waited in the passenger seat. Officer Lane then took the keys out of Darrow's pocket, entered the car without permission, and proceeded to move it down the street.
With the phone turned off and no longer recording, Darrow says Officer Lane began yelling at him in a profanity-laced style "very similar to Sergeant Kuehnlein's rant from the St. George video." Sergeant David Stuckmeyer, supervisor for the highway safety unit, intervened. He recognized Darrow.
"I want to leave now," Darrow told the sergeant. "Do you think I'm drunk? You don't smell any alcohol do you? I'm not slurring my words. You know I'm not drunk. Why am I not on my way?"
Stuckmeyer did not answer. Darrow complained that his car had been searched and that he was being detained without warrant or probable cause. Stuckmeyer insisted that the roadblocks were set up to check for drunk drivers. In the last fiscal year, however, Stuckmeyer's unit was responsible for generating 2864 seat belt tickets which has helped to land at least $275,000 in state and federal grants. After finally being told he could leave, Darrow asked for his driver's license and cell phone.
"Still, as I sit here a few days later, I cannot believe the brazen attitude of all of them towards someone who hasn't done anything wrong," Darrow told TheNewspaper. "Apparently they just won't learn."
Darrow intends to ask for the dashcam videos from the police cruisers that had their lights flashing on the scene. Listen to the recording of the first fifty seconds of the incident in a 200k MP3 file at the source link below.
Transcript of audio recordingSource: MP3 Audio recording of DUI roadblock (Brett Darrow, 5/29/2010)
Officer Lane: You got your driver's license on you?
Brett: Yeah. [Hands license over]
Officer Lane: How much have you had to drink tonight?
Officer Lane: Nothing?
Officer Lane: Why are you in such a bad mood tonight Brett?
Brett: I don't like being stopped.
Officer Lane: You don't like being stopped?
Brett: I don't want to answer any more questions. Am I free to go?
Officer Lane: No. Not until I tell you you are free to go. What is your problem Brett?
Brett: I told you I don't want to answer any questions.
Officer Lane: Let me see your eyes.
Brett: Am I free to go?
Officer Lane: No, you are not free to go. Let me see your eyes.
Brett: Why do you need to see my eyes?
Officer Lane: Cause I'm asking to see your eyes. Turn your phone off
[Darrow moves phone from his lap to the center cup holder]
Officer Lane: Let me see your phone.
Officer Lane: Let me see your phone.
[Lane reaches in the car and grabs the phone]
Brett: Are you seizing my phone?
Officer Lane: Let me see your phone
Brett: Can I see a supervisor?
[Phone powered off]
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