PLEASE HELP- I'm scared and Utah law is ruining our lives.
Hey everyone, I started a fundraising campaign for Utah Out-Of-State Entrapment Suit. Please tap to donate- gf.me/u/stkwu
Here’s the whole story if anyone is interested. we would owe you our lives if you can help us out anything works even 5 cents goes a long way. On top of the charges which can cost up to 3,000 we also have to pay for a lawyer which is another 3,000. I’m only 19 and have no family in Colorado to help me. If you are out there, please find it in your heart to share this post or donate. Thank you so much !
On June 6th, 2017, around 4:00AM (MDT), Jake (passenger) and Olivia (driver) passed a Sheriff’s vehicle at the Silver Reef RD and I-15 junction on our route along California to Colorado. The Sheriff’s vehicle head lights were already on, and, shortly there-after, began to follow our vehicle without pulling us over. We were followed on I-15 for around 8 full minutes before the officer decided to turn on his lights and pull us over.
After pulling off, the officer then came to the passenger side window, and abruptly started treating Jake as if he was conceling multiple weapons under the jacket by his legs. While yelling inaudibly, the officer demanded he lift various clothing items up for him, while he used one hand to hold a flashlight, and another to assist himself with this search.
After deciding Jake had nothing but clothes on, or near his person, the officer stated the reason he pulled us over was due to a failure to signal while changing lanes back at the previous junction (where we originally encountered his vehicle sitting in the median). Acknowledging what the officer had stated, we correctly reply that we’d not changed lanes since long before we passed him, orignally. The officer furthered himself by stating that, even though, we had not changed lanes, we were required to indicate, with our singals, to people merging from Silver Reef RD, that we were not changing lanes. The officer was unable to clarify any questions on how that is physically possible–to stay in the same lane, but use blinkers to indicate that we are staying in the same lane that we currently were already within. We did not pass over any dotted lines.
The officer then proceeded to ask us a couple of questions that somehow lead him to see the inside of Jake’s mouth, where he lost all sense of tact upon believing he had “a green tongue from recently smoking marijuana”. He proceeded to question where we were traveling from/to, in which we responded from Burbank, California to Colorado Springs, Colorado. He went silent for a moment, and quipped that the plates were registered in Ohio… looked at us for a moment, and then stated he could smell traces of marijuana coming from the vehicle.
Immediately upon this revelation, he shouted at us to exit the vehicle as he called for backup. Jake’s statement- I did not witness his first physical interactions with Olivia on the driver’s side of the vehicle. He then came over to me, and shouted for me to stand over 5 feet in front of the car at 4am in the desert. The officer then came over, frisked me, and had me stand in the freezing wind in little more than shorts and t-shirt… all the while, the officer shouted how he had sufficient probable cause to search the vehicle without permission. The officer had a K9, however, it stayed in the officer’s vehicle for the entire stop. The officer did not ask if he had permission to search the vehicle, at any point, and never was permission granted for him to enter our vehicle.
As backup arrived, the original officer proceeded to toss everything out of the vehicle on to the pavement, both behind and on the passenger side of the vehicle. It was easy to hear, from the other side of the vehicle, that the longboards from the car were launched straight into the ground, as was evident afterwards when damage was found on multiple items, including the car’s interior & exterior, the longboards, as well as some memorabilia picked up along our travels. While checking both the inside and outside of the vehicle, the officer tried to break off every compartment our vehicle had. While checking the front end of the vehicle, digging his hands around under the hood, pulling on anything in sight, the car has since made engine noise not previously heard throughout our cross-country trip. While checking the front bumper, he noticed it was cracked near the passenger tire, to which he pulled on, and dug his hands in to, til a distinct cracking sound from the bumper caused him to stop pulling. While on the inside of the vehicle, he yanked on everything trying to get the pieces of the car to come off where they should not. Multiple parts of the interior are now loose, some of which now wiggle freely. The officer also unwrapped a glass pipe that had been purchased in California, still in its original multi-layer wrapping from the glass store it was purchased from–it was a gift for a Colorado friend. Even though it was obvious the pipe had never been used before, I was told we would not be getting it back, along with less than 0.008 pounds of pot (yes, thousandths of a pound, a fraction of 1.0%), and another pipe that had been secured in the glove compartment during our travel back home.
After concluding the hour-long unauthorized search, the cop demanded I clean up the mess stating “so we can get out of here as soon as possible” as he puts Olivia into his cop car. Roughly 15 minutes later, Olivia got out of the cop’s vehicle, and I was called over. The officer asks me if I know my rights, to which I reply kind of, and the officer furthers by saying “like you see on tv. You can deny to answer my questions, and you can have a lawyer” and proceeds to bagger me on why I wasn’t forthcomming about having a green tongue, and why I would lie about smoking when the proof is, apparently, right on my tongue. When asked if I was under arrest, the officer stated “you are and are not under arrest, tonight”.
In summary of my perspective, Olivia and I were legally driving down the road, a cop started following us closely waiting for a mistake, never got a decent enough reason, so he made up a false reason to pull us over, used bad science, such as, “your tongue is green” as probable cause to search our vehicle without consent, ignored any approved drug testings, damaged our property from car interior to exterior, and our possessions, stole an item that, to the best of my knowledge and research, is legal for me to carry in any US State, let alone, every country in the known world, and then the officer got lucky finding a tiny bit of pot while concluding his illegal search from the illegal pull-over.
Worth noting- Olivia and I were pulled over in the same car, at the same time, for the same reason, and only once. She was ticketed first, myself second. Same fines, in both cases, of 1360$ each. Our citations, however, differ massively. According the cop, we were pulled over in largly differing junctions, mile markers, and times (mine states I was ticketed a while before she was, even though they printed Olivia’s ticket a good 15 minutes earlier). From the knowledge of a local cop in my area, this type of illegal cop activity is to create the appearance of 2 seperate pull-overs to inflate a cop’s ticketing quota; the cop was able to make 3.5 grams of marijuana look like it was in two different places at two different times with two different people.“