Arizona is not the place to be, if you don’t want to get Hut! Hut! Hutted!
A man named Phillip Colbert experienced the former – and (luckily) not the latter. He was driving on AZ Route 95 to meet his father for lunch. He was not “speeding” – or doing anything else contrary to the motor vehicle code.
Despite this, he found himself with an armed government worker up his tailpipe. The AGW – who had no lawful reason to be up Colbert’s tailpipe – was up it for at least ten minutes before turning on his wig-wags and pulling Colbert over.
A BDU-clad figure named E. Max appears at his window and demands to know whether Colbert smokes marijuana and then heavily-handedly demands permission to search his car. Colbert – who is shaking a little – is then accused by the AGW, who is armed to the teeth and so threatening – of being “deceptive” because he is shaking with fear.
The AGW then tries to coerce Colbert into performing roadside gymnastics – i.e., a “field sobriety test” – which Colbert refuses based on the absence of any probable cause to suspect him of being anything other than sober. Remember: The AGW doesn’t even allege that Colbert was “speeding,” or driving erratically or doing anything at all to indicate a lack of sobriety.
For 40 minutes, the BDU’d AGW “detains” Colbert, subjecting him to everything shy of a Shavering.
The only pretext the AGW adduces for this is Colbert’s pine tree air freshener. For this, the AGW tailed Colbert for 10 minutes, then pulled him over, then demanded to search his vehicle and probably only just managed to restrain himself from shrieking “I feared for my safety” and emptying a magazine into Colbert for “resisting.”
There is no law in AZ illegalizing air fresheners, so this stop had no legal basis whatsoever. It is thus no different than any ordinary person using a gun and the implied threat of murderous violence to force someone off the road and then kidnap them.
Well, there is one important difference.
Armed government workers can do this sort of thing with legalized impunity.
. . .
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