The cop was able to obtain a warrant by claiming he smelled marijuana. This was a lie. Cops lie. Fact of life.
Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. Something in the traffic violation prompted the officer to escalate the situation to a full on warrant-based search. Given the serious nature of the penalties, what happened in the follow-up court procedures concerning the event? Many of these accusations should and would be tossed out.
It most definitely was a lie. At no point was marijuana smoked in the vehicle for the duration of the trip. There's a lot of traffic on I-80 Saturday night and it's easy to tell who's going to the event. The traffic stop was legitimate and this cop may have just automatically assumed there were drugs present. He also may not have been assigned to the event, and saw this as an opportunity to get a feather in his cap. Believe it or not, there are people in the surrounding towns who disapprove of the event and consequently dislike participants.
Hedging your bets... might be a good decision if you're carrying significant amounts of harder substances
A better choice would have been to shut-the-fuck-up and give the cop no ammunition by which to escalate an issue
I completely disagree with your first point, and partially agree with the second. The greater the quantity and/or harder the substance, the more steadfast one needs to be in maintaining formal detainee protocol. However, this is not relevant to the immediate discussion at hand.
With respect to the second point, it all depends on the circumstances. If the NV marijuana decriminalization cutoff is 1 oz., and this is a matter that should be accurately clarified, an individual has less than 1 oz., a policeman asserts they are aware of its presence, and offers the $525 ticket, it might be worth considering. Alternatively, if an individual sticks to the civil rights script, the consequences can be extraordinarily harsh. What an individual is charged with is at the discretion of the arresting officer, and if he's he vindictive type he'll tack on everything that's remotely plausible. Even if it's less than an ounce, a person can still be charged with felony possession. The cop may decide that you were a pain in the ass to make him follow formal procedure, and a lot of cops see it this way, so he's going to show you that he's the man. Regardless of veracity, and unless they're disposed of effectively (which is very expensive), these charges will follow a person around for the rest of their life. A couple ways were mentioned in my original post.
cases like these often get thrown out and reduced, especially for the people who were not in direct possession and with flimsy evidence of intent to distribute.
This doesn't happen by itself. It requires an attorney, and attorneys aren't cheap. Budget at least $5,000 for the privilege of a reasonable chance at beating charges, regardless of how frivolous and unsubstantiated. For most people, this is a considerable sum of money. For many, it's an insurmountable obstacle. Hence my attempt to start a dedicated legal defense fund.
Contesting these arrests may even help keep that shitty Pershing County cop on suspended duty next time.
Yeah, and if a frog had wings, it wouldn't bump its ass when it hopped.
I get the impression that you're coming from a very ideological, albeit naive, perspective. In the perfect world, truth, justice & the American way would prevail, nobody would experience injustice, abuse of authority would not go unpunished, and there is equality for all under the law. All we have to do is follow the police stop civil rights script, and after a brief inconvenience we'll be on our happy way. However, the world is flawed, filled with and run by imperfect people. People lie, especially when it's in their interest to do so, and people are petty and vindictive. Just like any other organization, law enforcement agencies have their own performance incentives. Their job is to arrest people, and the more they do, the better their career prospects. However much leeway there is in the performance their duties, you can be sure they'll operate on the margin most favorable to them individually.
So, while you say everyone should always go by the book, regardless of circumstance, I say consider this additional information before deciding what's right for you. If past performance is any indication of future returns, it sounds like most cops who offered the ticket held up their end. And there is at least one cop out there who was extraordinarily overenthusiastic in the execution of his duties. Considering that he's done it before, there's no reason to assume he won't again, in a similar situation. And the lives of those on the receiving end will be seriously disrupted.
The encounter with undercover cops attempting to narc out the camp was included because the topic of this thread is "2012 Experiences with Police". Those were experiences with police that occurred in 2012.
Yeah, but you purposely didn't want to follow up with any details. A potential narc dressed up and going to your camp. Big deal. How did you react? Did anything go wrong? What proved your suspicions?
As previously stated, this is another story, for another time. I don't want to draw any more unwanted attention to myself, or my camp. If you're really curious to know more, send me a private message. But it was a pretty typical encounter.
black, female, limp-faking, cane-carrying, undercover cop from NYC
walks into a bar sound like the beginning of a joke?
Couldn't agree more, it was a pretty surreal experience. Incredible things happen out there.
Finally, to all the Law Enforcement officers and representatives reading & compiling Christmas lists, are you completely comfortable with the duplicitous tactics and occasionally heavy handed prosecution out there? Do you give a damn that the actions of you or your compatriots have the potential to wreck good peoples lives, over petty, victimless offenses? Or are they just handing out bonuses for every collar you bring in, and that's that? Finally, if a disabled person approached you on playa and requested assistance, which you could easily render, would you help them, or tell them to go to medical?
I'd like to directly bridge this gap between our communities.