Twenty minutes out of Boston the Mop Top was struggling with the GPS, which would tell him he needed to make a turn about half a second after he needed to hear that information. During one of those sharp right turns, he heard a siren, and pulled over.
The police officer told him he was just going to pull him over for a broken tail-light, but wanted to know why he’d made such a sudden turn the second the police car got behind him. Mop Top told him he hadn’t seen the police car behind him and explained his GPS struggles, but the police officer seemed skeptical. Oh, and the car was unmarked.
He looked in the car and wanted IDs from all the passengers. He wanted to know who they were, where they going, why they were going there, what they were doing to do when they got there, where were they coming from, and what was in the ice chest and trunk.
He wanted to know if they had any alcohol, drugs, guns, bombs, other weapons, bazookas, or anything like that. He really did ask if they had bazookas.
Mop Top had been driving, but Pip answered most of the questions from the front passenger seat because she knew the most about exactly where they were going (she mispronounced the street, and he corrected her), and most of the questions were about her family members. When the officer asked about the ice-chest, Jenny quickly opened it to show him it was only food inside. The FYG says she figures he wanted to know if they were transporting human organs in the ice chest. I told her she watches too many CSI type shows with her Grandmama. I told her no, he probably wanted to see if they had any alcohol, although what that would prove I don’t know, since two of the four of them are over 21. I mean, yes, they all look about 12 years old (except the minor child, who looks about 21), but he had their ID cards.
He asked similar questions about the trunk and clearly wanted them to open it without asking directly, but nobody wanted to open the trunk because it had been so hard to get it packed and shut. Jenny probably would have opened it for him if left to her own devices, but I think her sisters had already managed to communicate in special sister telepathy that they weren’t impressed that she’d showed him the ice-chest, so she sat tight.
They all also just wanted to be done- they’d been driving for two days, and had just 20 minutes left. They were afraid if they opened the trunk he’d want to go through their bags and that would only take more time, so though he asked several questions about the trunk and its contents and they felt like those questions were designed to get them to voluntarily open the trunk themselves, they only answered his questions as briefly as possible, (Our luggage. We packed it. Each of us has our own bag (???!)), and made no move to open the trunk for him.
He took their IDs back to his car, and another cop on a motorcycle showed up and asked similar questions. They waited a long time for the first cop to finish what he was doing with their ID cards. I told the FYG he was probably loading all their personal information on an international database and sending it directly to the NSA. I figure that probably the FYG was the main problem, as the only minor in the vehicle perhaps he was making sure she wasn’t a runaway, although the fact that all three of the girls’ ID cards show the same address and the same last name might have meant something. Still, older sibs do sometimes help younger sibs run away. See, I’m trying to be understanding here, but really, I’m very annoyed, to put it mildly.
When he finally returned, he asked the Mop Top to step out of the car and took him to the back where he asked him all the same questions Pip had already answered, plus a few more that make no sense to me (do you both go to the same school? Why is that even his business?). The FYG says she figures that since Pip had done most of the talking, he wanted to check their stories out for discrepancies. I wonder if he thought Pip did most of the talking to cover up something wrong with the Mop Top, like perhaps some recreational drug use, but we don’t know. The girls watched through the rear windshield, discussing just what their options would be if the cop laid a hand on the MT, but fortunately, they didn’t have to find out. The tried to get his badge number, but could only get his name from his uniform. They weren’t brave enough to ask flat out for the badge number.
It’s against the law to lie to a cop (Martha Stewart did not go to jail for breaking any laws to do with trading, she went to jail for lying to a police officer about something that had little to do with the actual investigation). So if the Mop Top’s version and Pip’s had been different, that alone could have gotten one of them charged with a crime. Maybe that’s what he was looking for, because it really does seem to me like he was trying rather hard to find something wrong with them.
At last he let them go, with just a warning rather than a ticket on the tail light, telling them to be sure to fix it before they went anywhere else in the state. The FYG wants to know if she really had to give him her ID just because he asked. She thinks as a minor, she shouldn’t have to. I want to know if the Mop Top could have refused to step out of the car, and what would have happened if he had.
The FYG is indignant about the fact that he didn’t even give them a ticket. I think she feels like he should have at least given them a ticket if he was going to put them through all that. She feels that way because she’s not the one who would have to pay that ticket.
Who knew the TSA did highway patrol, too?
P.S. This is as good a time as any to suggest that this might be something every citizen should read:
You & the Police!
And lookie, lookie at this in the description:
More than a legal handbook, You & The Police! explains precisely how to win police confrontations using: sample dialogue, & what-if scenarios, and practical tips. Armed with this book, you will know just how to avoid traffic tickets, bogus searches, roadside delays, and general harassment. Probably 90% of erroneous civil forfeitures from honest folks could have been avoided had they known about this book. There is no reason for us to be bluffed or intimidated by the police any longer.
If you were stopped for a broken tail-light, and then the officer asked to search your trunk, what could you do? What should you say or not? Where do your rights and his powers meet?