Police departments have been getting a bum rap in the media lately, and for good reason. Stories like this are what make people so skeevish around cops, considering that a routine traffic stop shouldn’t lead into “Can I search your car for weed” based solely on the presence of a Frisbee.
Ankeny’s police chief is apologizing after a video surfaced showing an officer trying to search a motorist’s car because, according to the officer, everyone who plays Frisbee golf smokes pot.
The video, which was taken by the motorist, starts with the officer giving that unknown motorist a warning about driving without headlights.
Then the officer begins his interrogation. “You play frisbee golf?” the officer asks.
“I do actually. I play out at Heritage (Park)” the motorist replies. So the officer says, “OK. I need you to answer me a question. Why is it that everybody that plays Frisbee golf smokes weed?” “No, it’s not everybody,” the motorist insists. “It’s everybody, man. You can’t tell me you never smoked weed,” the officer says. The motorist replies, “I’m not gonna tell you one way or another.”
So the officer says, “See, there you go. How much weed do you have in the car today?”
So if having a Frisbee means you smoke pot, does me having a Stephen King book sitting in my passenger seat mean that I shoot heroin? Because there’s some fucked up stuff in Stephen King books compared to the innocence of a frisbee, let me tell you. As for the legality of the attempted search, according to Drake Law professor Robert Rigg,
“What the officer did after that was try to extend that stop into a general search of the defendant’s car, or the individual’s car. That’s not permissible anymore,” Rigg says, adding that if the driver had allowed the officer to search the car, and the officer found something illegal, chances are that evidence would be thrown out of court.
In the end the officer let the unnamed driver go, but regardless it still doesn’t inspire the utmost trust in law enforcement.