People Share Their Most Memorable Encounters With Police.
I don't know about you, but when I see those flashing lights in the rear-view mirror... I freeze up. Even if I haven't done anything wrong. These Quorans know the feeling. To read more stories, follow the link on the last page.
A guy picked me up while I was hitching. A few miles down the road, we were pulled over by a Washington State trooper.
The trooper was taking his time getting out of his cruiser. My driver was getting upset - glancing nervously in the rear view mirror.
Look at this guy! What is he doing? Talking on the radio, looking out the window. Cops!
The trooper had finally emerged from his cruiser and was now adjusting his Smokey Bear hat while checking his look in the drivers door glass.
Jesus, whats next? My driver furiously rolled down his window and yelled back at the trooper. Hey pig! Did you forget your lint roller or something?
At pig, the trooper straightened up, gazed across the empty highway, and unsnapped the leather safety strap on his pistol. He began to walk up the drivers side of our car.
He had his right hand firmly on his weapon. I had my hand on the door handle, ready to jump out and run. The driver was halfway out the window, practically screaming.
So tell me, pig, just what do you want?!
The trooper crouched down so his face was even with the drivers. His face showed no emotion. I was jammed up tight to the passenger side door, eyes wide, hands up.
The trooper held the driver in a steady gaze. Finally, he spoke:
What time are we supposed to be at Moms house tonight? Ive got her birthday cake back at the office.
This story happened in the summer of 2014, several miles outside of Des Moines, Iowa. My best friend and I were on a cross country road trip and had left Ohio the day before. The first stop we had planned was Mt. Rushmore. We camped at a KOA the night before and woke up early in an attempt to get to South Dakota that same day.
We had been driving for about an hour when I see a police SUV approaching in the rearview mirror. He gets behind me, and turns his lights and siren on. I pull over.
The officer exits his vehicle, approaches on the passenger side, and asks me if I knew why he pulled me over. I honestly dont. (continued...)
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He chuckles and tells me that my windows are tinted and they look like they might be too dark.
He pulls out some device to measure tint and places it on the window. Heinforms me that my tint is illegal, says hes going to let me off with a warning, and asks me to come back to his vehicle to sign it. He tells my friend to stay put.
When we get there, he starts asking all sorts of questions. How was I able to afford my car? How can I afford this trip? This continues for about 30 minutes. Finally, he tells me that Im free to go. He just has one more question.
Do you have any drugs in your vehicle?
Of course I do; Im a 19-year-old on a cross country road trip with my best friend.
No, I dont have any drugs officer.
Do you mind if I search your vehicle really quickly? You can say no, its your legal right to say no.
Can I say no? My buddy and I are really hoping to get to Mt. Rushmore before dark, weve been here for about an hour and already are behind schedule.
Is that a no? You do not consent to a search?
I dont consent to a search.
Alright, Im detaining you both. Get in my car. I need to radio another unit to watch the search.
They let us go with a warning when they found the drugs. But when I got home, I asked an officer if my tint was illegal. He tested it and said that it wasnt. He had absolutely no reason to stop us in the first place.
At one of my call center jobs, I worked with a young guy named Justin. I could tell Justin had a bit of a checkered past; wed talk from time to time, and hed stress emphatically how much he wanted to just work and keep his life clean. I let him have his privacy and I didnt inquire further.
Justin was a tall, lanky guy, usually keeping his hair short and usually wore the best clothes he could afford without breaking the bank.
I remember him as a good kid and a hard worker, always honest and upfront with me about mistakes he made. Whatever there was in his past, he seemed to have left it far, far behind. He left work there for greener pastures after a while and I completely forgot about him.
About 3 months after he left, I received a call from a detective, asking to speak with me. I nervously agreed to meet at my house, worried sick that it was about something from my past coming back to haunt me.
When we met, I discovered that Justin was a suspect in an armed robbery. (continued...)
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I was so sick and disappointed about this, knowing that Justin had probably gone back to whatever deep, dark past he had. I answered all the detectives questions the best I could, but he seemed disappointed that I wasnt giving him any red flags to work with.
Well, can you at least look at the picture we have of Justin? And do me a solid - just tell me that yes, this is him.
It was a bit grainy, clearly an image from a security camera inside a convenience store. I could see one guy holding a gun, pointed at the cashier, but I couldnt see Justin anywhere.
Im sorry, wheres Justin?
The detective looked at the picture. Thats Justin. Right there.
I squinted at the picture again. The man in the picture was clearly average height, about 57-59, but easily weighed 300lbs.
I said, Unless youre telling me that Justin shrank by about 68 inches, gained over a hundred pounds, and completely changed his hair all in a matter of weeks…. You totally, completely have the wrong guy, and I dont even know how you can be saying that this person looks anything like Justin.
Things were a bit more civil after that. It seemed to suddenly dawn on the detective that, yeah, something was wrong…but I have no idea how somebody could have made such an obvious mistake and have actually pursued it.
The wife and I had moved in to our last house about 6 months earlier. We were in the backyard with the dogs, cooking burgers on the grill.
Out of nowhere, my big dog starts barking very aggressively and has gone into full alert mode. Hes lunging at the gate and growling. He only ever does that when someone he doesnt know is approaching. So I go to investigate who is here.
As I come around the corner, I am greeted by the sight of 3 heavily armed and armored men with POLICE in big letters across their chests. Two of them are holding assault rifles at low ready; the leader has his pistol drawn but low. These guys are NOT messing around here.
Then I look around and I see more men. All covered in body armor, all holding rifles. I can see them not only in the front yard, but in my neighbors yards on all sides. We are literally surrounded by men with guns at the ready.
What on earth is going on? (continued…)
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Hello, sirs, I said. Im not sure why youre here, but can I please secure my dogs?
Please do, but can I have everyone who is present in the house come out into view first?
I motioned to my wife to come around the corner with her hands visible . We tell the officer that we are the only ones present. He gives me a skeptical look and indicates that I should put the dogs away now.
We have a warrant to search this property for Joe Blow, he told me.
Ive never heard of Joe, but if youve got a warrant, youre free to search.
We were asked to stay in the back yard with a group of officers guarding us. We tried asking them what was going on, but none of them would tell us.
After they had swept the house and cleared it, they came back out and handed us some mug shots. This is Joe. Hes a wanted violent felon and we got intel that he was living here.
We explained that we had moved in relatively recently and didnt know the previous tenants. After the search and our conversation, the atmosphere became noticeably more relaxed. They put away their weapons and most of the officers headed back to the vehicles.
I was in elementary school. I was in the back seat of my dads car when we noticed the flashing lights behind us. My dad was very confused since he was going exactly the speed limit and couldnt think of any other reason why he would be pulled over.
The police officer came up to the window and asked for my dads license and registration. He looked at it for a moment, then asked my dad if he knew Sean Peatman. My dad said, Yes, he is sitting in the back seat.
The officer leaned his head in the drivers window and said to me, Would you like to come to my sons birthday party?
It turns out he was the father of my best friend at the time.
He had pulled over my dad for a burned-out tail light, by the way.
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My cousin was getting married in Switzerland.
All the guests met at the wedding reception location, and a coach took us several kilometers to the Alpine church where the wedding took place. Afterwards, we all got back on the coach and headed off to the inn for the reception.
After a few kilometers on the side of the mountain, a police bike overtook us, with all blue lights flashing and sirens sounding, indicating that we should stop.
The single patrolman told the bus driver that he was going too fast and that he was required to question all the passengers. We were all required to show our identity papers.
When he inspected the newly married couple, he saw that the grooms's surname was Brandt but the bride's papers still said Emmeneger.
This is wrong! he shouted. You said your name is Denise Brandt, not Denise Emmeneger!
We've only been married for an hour!
The patrolman arrested them both and handcuffed them together. Youll be like that for the rest of your lives, He joked.
When I was still married to my first wife and living in Tampa, we built a house together. While it was being built, we lived in an apartment on the edge of a nature preserve. There was a large pond just outside our back door, filled with wildlife—including alligators.
One afternoon, we were in the living room minding our own business when we heard something scratching at the sliding glass door to the backyard. We looked out and there was an alligator, nearly five feet long, scratching to get in.
Apparently, our next door neighbor had gotten it into her head that she should feed scraps of chicken to the alligators, which is a big no-no (I believe its actually against the law), and so theyd come to associate the apartments with food.
So we called the police, and they sent an officer out. He looked at the alligator, which was still trying with the patient stupidity of large animals with small brains to get into the apartment, and he put in a call to get an animal control officer out.
They eventually arrived, caught the alligator by means of a thing that looks a bit like a pool-cleaning strainer with a steel cable in place of the net, and carted it off.
The neighbor who fed the alligator came out onto her balcony. I told the cop she was the one feeding the alligators; he went upstairs and dressed her down nicely.
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I was an inmate in the county jail. I had probably been there for 8 months when the cops decided to tear up our cells. It happens from time to time.
I knew I was going to prison, so I treated my cell like home. I kept things clean and followed all the jail & inmate rules.
After tearing up our cells, each inmate was individually walked across the corridor where they had to face the wall with their hands behind their back while an officer loudly berated them for being messy.
When it was my turn, I faced the wall with my hands clasped behind my back, the officer spoke quietly but in a stern voice, almost through clenched teeth. He said that I was an ideal inmate and that they appreciated how I maintained my living quarters and ran a tight ship. But he said it quietly so that the other inmates wouldnt hear him complimenting me.
It was flattering but awkward. Having a cop whisper to an inmate can open up a lot of speculation. And I didnt want to appear like a snitch.
This happened when we lived in a small town in Iowa. I am the white adoptive father of a bi-racial daughter.
My daughter got picked up for something silly — mostly existing while Black and was being detained. I talked to the officer on the phone ,and he was outright rude to me. Just a real jerk.
I said Id be right there.
I got to the station and went to the window. There was no one there, so I leaned in the office and said I was there about my daughter. The cop turned around while.
Then he saw me. You know, the white guy.
He became a changed person. He was polite and apologetic. He immediately released my daughter, with apologies for the confusion.
Sad, isnt it?
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.