Frederick, MD — Jason Childs used his cell phone’s video camera to demonstrate the level of harassment he says he and fellow citizens are experiencing on an all too often basis. In the latest of 10 traffic stops, Childs was pulled over by Frederick police for allegedly crossing the white line at a stop sign.
That type of stop isn’t unusual in the small town where some of Childs’ fellow residents claim police have nothing better to do. Approaching the vehicle, an officer whose identity cannot be confirmed, told Childs:
Okay sir, do me a favor. Roll your windows up, put your keys on the dash and place both hands on the steering wheel.
Childs objected. He did not believe Frederick police had probable cause to search his vehicle, according to the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.
Maybe Childs knew just how hot his vehicle could get with the windows rolled up on the warm summer day which saw temperatures in Frederick reach almost 90 degrees. Maybe he was simply tired of the ongoing harassment by Frederick police. At any rate, he simply refused. He chose not to comply with officer’s commands as he felt as though he had done nothing wrong enough to warrant the search of his vehicle.
Childs insisted he was not “resisting arrest” but would not roll up his windows and that he did not consent to a K9 search of his vehicle.
As TFTP has reported, dogs can bark on command, signaling the presence of drugs in a vehicle, but in all actuality they’re just responding to a K9 handler’s cue. After the dog signals the officer needs no more justification by law to enter the vehicle for a search and possible seizure of assets.
The surrender of assets is called a “civil asset forfeiture (CAF)” and is simply a legal way for police to steal property that belongs to someone else. The CAF programs are highly controversial and rife with scandal, causing police departments to cross ethical lines, blurring conflicts of interest.
Childs was yanked from the car, all the while officers were screaming at him. The young man kept asking “why?” He was being pulled out of the vehicle.
“Because I said so, that’s why,” the officer said repeatedly.
“What about my rights?” Childs asked. The officer did not know how to respond to that question.
It seems the man’s rights took a back seat to the officers’ desire to peer into his vehicle. The decision to jerk the man out of his vehicle without first having a man to man conversation about the reasons for the investigation, is part of the reasons why Childs believes his rights were violated.
After he posted the recording of the traffic stop to his Facebook page, Childs was approached by many members of the community who expressed similar stories of police harrassment in Frederick.
In a blog, Child’s story was told. While it’s unclear who wrote it, the author very well could have been Childs himself as it was written in 3rd person plural. Here’s the graceful and thankful message posted on the blog with a call to action for anyone who wishes to hold Frederick police accountable for their apparent violation of Childs’ civil rights.
No we weren’t shot, we were just reminded that we could be. It’s a blessing to say we made it, isn’t it? In the comment section of the video, many Frederick residents, former and current, had similar stories of their own about FPD stops. We’ve seen situations escalate quickly warped into seconds of violence and confusion resulting in severe injury and death. We expect those who are obligated to make split second decisions be effectively trained and emotionally intelligent. We expect law enforcement to de-escalate civilians, not the other way around. In previous encounters, Jason had been stopped a minimum of ten times — and nothing was found. So we ask, to what end? Are we to assume that some of us are not being targeted?
There are so many stories in the shadows like these within the community. It’s time we tell them.
Childs was reportedly let go with a warning, along with the warning that if he didn’t comply they would unleash their attack dog on him. These types of traffic stops must stop, especially within minority communities who are increasingly suspicious that police are racially profiling them, targeting them for harassment.
We had a chance to interview Childs and ask him a few important questions. He said the traffic stop took place on June 23rd, and since that date he’s been stopped an additional five times he believes. Prior to the recording, he had been stopped about nine other times, all within the last few months he says.
He says he’s never been arrested for any crime, is not a suspect in any crime, and doesn’t know why Frederick Police continue to pull him over. He drives a 1990 Buick Regal and cannot for the life of him understand why police seem to have targeted him.
Childs says he’s consulted lawyers but they tell him he doesn’t have a case because Frederick police will not release the body camera or dash camera footage of the incident.
Since police let him go and did not arrest him, he cannot sue for unlawful arrest. We at Police the Police have referred him to several high profile attorneys, and if the perceived harassment does not cease, Childs will likely sue.