Police Can Ransack Your Vehicle Without Your Presence?

police check car for drugsA Tampa man is upset after returning to his expensive, decked out business truck after a concert to find it had been broken into and trashed. When he read the 2×3 scratched out note attached to the truck, he was most surprised to see that it was from Tampa police.

WFLA News Channel 8

Sir, your car was checked by TPD K-9. The vehicle was searched for marijuana due to a strong odor coming from the passenger side of the vehicle. Any questions call Cpl Fanning.

That was the only notice left behind. Of course, no drugs were actually found.

Unfortunately, they ripped out the very materials he needs to run his business – like horns that no longer work and expensive electronics. And they are going to fight any legal attempts for compensation.

The department says it was legal, but an attorney said it’s an illegal search and only allowed under extreme, urgent circumstance.

Attorney Bryant Camareno said:

It’s an illegal search. Usually if it’s some kind of unoccupied vehicle there has to be some level of exigent circumstance to justify searching a vehicle without a search warrant. Exigent could mean if there is a dead body inside, if there is a screaming child locked in the car, a dog but if the car is unoccupied there is no exigency to justify the search.

Notice none of those circumstances involves the necessity of a preemptive search for a potential crime but rather instances of saving a life and handling a killer who has already committed a crime.

Raise your hand if you think the “exigent circumstance” was getting their paws inside that sweet ride?

Amanda Warren’s article appears courtesy of Activist Post.

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12 Responses to Police Can Ransack Your Vehicle Without Your Presence?

  1. Phil Rains says:

    I don’t think so at all.. BEWARE of the OWNERS and my NEIGHBORS…. We have eachothers BACK , FRONT , and BOTH SIDES…..

  2. John says:

    If you’re not a dirty cop, getting caught doing this is generally called “Grand Theft Auto” Must be sweet to be out of control, on the make and on the take . . .

  3. 5warveteran says:

    Absolute Immunity

    There are things that could be done to reign in questionable behavior by police and other public officials.
    1. Eliminate both “absolute and qualified immunity” for ALL public officials. If public officials (yes, this includes police officers and their administrators, firefighters, prosecutors, court officials and all other “public servants”). If they knew that they could be sued personally (and possibly lose everything they own), they would tend to behave themselves.
    2. Establish and enforce an “video audit trail” whenever there is interaction by any public official with the public. In the case of police and firefighters, no “video audit trail” would mean the inadmissability of “evidence” as well as censure and immediate dismissal with loss of pension if public officials’ fail to assure that this “video audit trail” is present. “Equipment malfunction” would not be a valid excuse. A “video audit trail” works both ways and would also do much to eliminate the possibility of frivolous lawsuits by the public against public officials as well as assure that public officials “behave themselves”. This is especially true in police interrogation rooms where police-coerced “false confessions” occur with alarming frequency.
    3. Prosecutors should be subordinate to the grand jury. Grand juries should be able to indict without needing the prosecutor’s “permission”. Of course, there would be NO absolute or qualified immunity for prosecutors or grand jurors.
    Police agencies should not be allowed to “investigate themselves”. Outside, disinterested agencies should do the investigating.
    4. Civilian police review boards should be mandatory–they should exclude anyone who has a police background or relatives of police from serving. Civilian police review boards should be able to bring up charges against corrupt police officials and officers as well.
    These three changes would put the public on an equal footing with our “leaders” (who are actually supposed to be subordinate to us citizens).
    There have been many cases where people who have been legally recording police (mis)behavior have been harassed by police, their equipment damaged or destroyed, and charges brought against them. This police misconduct must stop! Severe punishment should be meted out to those public officials who interfere with lawful recording by citizens.

    Authority does not replace morality and Florida is becoming one of the worst offenders.

  4. Bird says:

    Was this a lone cop with his dog who decided to do this?! Did he call for “back-up”… just in case a REALLY MAD owner might show up? Would he have shot the owner dead if the owner started yelling and approaching the cop “in a threatening (fast or running toward him)” manner when he saw someone trashing his vehicle? When Obama takes over the USA, will there be ANY local police who won’t follow lock-step behind? Our police forces are made up of thugs…. this policeman probably got a thrill out of ruining someone’s property because he drives a little second-hand Honda.

    • Dee says:

      Cops are overwhelming conservative. I’m with you except for the notion that the democrats are somehow responsible for this. This behavior stems from the increased power and lack of accountability given to officers in order to fight the ‘war on drugs’ which was Regan’s baby.

  5. Richard McFall says:

    When did public servants receive the authority to violate the public’s (whom they are paid to serve) constitutional rights???

  6. Possum says:

    It is not about Search or Seizure. It is all about the bastards in Washington passing down clear orders to invoke the HITLER HANDBOOK.
    Condition the United States Population to a POLICE FORCE and to bow and kiss their ass on every move they make.

    Time to start the old CIvil War if this shit keeps up.

  7. Why do we continue to allow politicians and police agencies to ignore all of our laws and trample over our constitution? Why do we keep judges on the bench who cannot uphold our constitution? Where is the tipping point? When will these thugs be brought to justice, street justice?

    • a5199375 says:

      Because “we” don’t care enough.
      “we” are just fine with this kind of behaviour, it’s normal.

  8. Kate says:

    It’s not about the “search”…it’s all about the “Seizure”. Another trending industry that our Founding Fathers wrote laws to protect us from.

    • Jim says:

      Kate: I do believe that you are mistaken on that. The Fourth Amendment is quite clear that a search of a private person or private property by the government cannot take place without a warrant absent exigent circumstances. The Constitution requires that a warrant may only issue upon a showing of reasonable cause to believe that evidence of criminal activity will be found. In the present case, while there is a reference to a police dog responding to a suspected odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle, which might have provided sufficient reasonable cause for the issuance of a search warrant, there was no showing that there was any marijuana in view, nor of any other exigent circumstances that would preclude obtaining a warrant to search. The officers clearly could have held the vehicle in place while they applied for a search warrant. For that reason alone the search was not lawful under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The destruction of personal property in conducting the unlawful search, while uncalled for, probably does not amount to a seizure, but is subject to redress through civil action against the government agency which should also be liable for punitive damages to punish the agency for their illegal activities.

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