Tricky cop gets caught trying to profile motorist into unlawful search

After pulling over a motorist who was driving with his headlights off, an Ankeny, Iowa, police officer attempted to trick the man into allowing him to search his car for marijuana.

The incident, which occurred earlier this month, was caught on video and shows how the officer tries to fool the motorist into incriminating himself.

“You play frisbee golf?” the officer asks.

“I do actually. I play out at Heritage (Park)” replies the motorist.

“OK. I need you to answer me a question. Why is it that everybody that plays Frisbee golf smokes weed?” the officer continues.

“No, it’s not everybody,” the motorist counters.

“It’s everybody, man. You can’t tell me you never smoked weed,” the officer says.

The motorist responds, “I’m not gonna tell you one way or another.”

“See, there you go,” says the officer. “How much weed do you have in the car today?”

The driver insists that he doesn’t have marijuana in his vehicle. Nevertheless, the officer tries once again to get permission to search the vehicle.

“You understand you’re free to go and everything but you wouldn’t have a problem with me looking through your car?”

Apparently frustrated, the driver takes a stand. “I actually would. Just because I have a disc golf bag doesn’t mean that every disc golfer does have weed.”

“So you have weed in the car then is what you’re saying?” says the cop.

“No I would say I have a problem with you searching my car because you’re profiling me based on being a disc golfer,” says the driver.

In an interview with a local NBC affiliate, Drake Law Professor Robert Rigg explains why the officer’s request for a search would have been unlawful under the state’s Constitution.

“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,” says Rigg.

“The Iowa Supreme Court has held that under the Iowa constitution you can’t convert an equipment violation stop into a general search,” he continued. “And any consent that would have been given would have been invalid in any event.”

Rigg, on the other hand, said that the motorist handled the situation well.

“I think the young man did exactly what he was supposed to do. He did not admit to smoking marijuana,” said Rigg. “He didn’t answer that question at all and he has the right not to answer that question. And he has the right to say, look, if you want to ask me questions, why don’t you call my lawyer.”

Since the video has gone viral, it prompted a response from the Ankeny Police Department, which admitted that the incident was “handled poorly by the officer.”

“In the video taken by an occupant in the vehicle, the officer engages the driver in a line of questioning that is foolish and not representative of the Ankeny Police Dept.’s training or interactions with the public,” reads the statement that was posted on Facebook.

“This verbal exchange did not meet the level of professionalism expected of Ankeny police officers. Ankeny Police Chief Gary Mikulec respectfully apologizes for the officer’s demeaning statement and assures that the video has been preserved for an internal investigation,” it continued.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • ExGob July 7, 2017, 11:26 am

    Right from the outset, the cop had no justification to question whether the driver played at any sport, smoked weed, rabbit tobacco, grapevines, vapors, or anything else not relative to the reason he was stopped, period.

    There are many fine law enforcement officers working in this great country we live in, but there is also a plethora of cops who attempt to push people around just because their uniform, shield, weapon and, sometimes, their superiors, allow them to do so without challenge. That, in itself, is one reason why many people develop a dislike for cops in general. Then the professionals have to foot the bill for the ones who, for the good of us all, ought to be earning their pay from a different type of employment.

  • mtman2 June 23, 2017, 12:35 pm

    That became harrassment after repeated questionings once NO was the answer and he was “free to go”.

  • Ted October 14, 2014, 2:57 am

    The cop has it ALL wrong. It is “disc golf,” not “Frisbee” golf. 😉

    Second, incredible profiling job. Yeah, there are disc golfers who smoke weed. I smell it and hate it. So do my friends who disc golf with me. Most do not, and only a very few do. Guess I’m grateful that I do not live in that state.

  • Ron October 13, 2014, 10:45 pm

    People should *always* be respectful to the police, they have a tough job. And people should *always* LISTEN TO THE POLICE. When they tell you – “You have the right to remain silent” DO IT! If you are breaking the law in some way, nothing you can say will change that. If you don’t believe you have done anything illegal, there is no reason to talk. The only thing talking to the police will get you is incriminated, period. Be polite, and end the encounter as soon as possible.

  • DaveGinOly October 13, 2014, 5:20 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

    Watch it. Send the link to your friends and have them watch it. This video is so good, I watch it two or three times a year. The message is that important, and, although stupid simple, is that difficult to drill into the head of any law-abiding citizen who believes he “has nothing to hide.”

    If the link doesn’t work, go to YouTube and search for “don’t talk to police.” View the long version, @48 minutes. Very entertaining, instructive, and worth every minute.

    • Fred Dietz October 14, 2017, 11:11 am

      Video is no longer available on the link you provided due to copyright claim.

  • Quin Allred October 13, 2014, 1:51 pm

    After watching the video several times, the cops were wrong and the passenger complied with ID requirements
    and refused to get out of the vehicle with just cause. IMHO. I hope he sues their collective asses and wins in court
    where this and the video belong. Any non biased judge will throw the book at three cops with attitudes that don’t belong in
    law enforcement. IMHO….

  • Juneko October 13, 2014, 10:03 am

    Stupid, foolish pig. He ought to be fired! It’s l.e. jerks like this that make me not have any sympathy for them when they get killed in their so-called “line of duty”. Until they act like civilized human beings instead of barbarians, they need to be treated like barbarians.

    • 45PocketPistol October 13, 2014, 6:43 pm

      Really? Because a few cops act like asses, they deserve to be killed? It’s people like you who give gun owners a bad name. I’m not saying the driver should have allowed the search (obviously, the cop was out of line), but most officers killed in the line of duty are just trying to do a very dangerous job. When they pull you over, they don’t know if you’re some deranged lunatic. So, if you’re a law abiding citizen, act like it.

    • Mike December 12, 2016, 8:40 am

      Wow… that is a very ignorant statement. It’s that kind of foolish adversarial attitude that only makes things harder. You need to grow up…..

  • skidmark October 13, 2014, 6:32 am

    ““You understand you’re free to go and everything but ….” Then go. Do not worry about the cop thinking you are being rude by ending the encounter at that point.
    Ask any criminal defense lawyer – most convictions come about because the defendant talked themself into it.

    stay safe.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend