Monday, July 27, 2009

A Very Trying Weekend...And Monday Too!!

First, again, I apologize for having not posted again for quite some time. I am very sorry. What I have realized is that the logistics of posting every move or change in a move is very difficult. I am in the process of teaching my wife to post here as well though so it should get somewhat easier to keep up with us as time passes.

Now, for our weekend. We left Carson, CA at about 0900 on Saturday morning, headed for Kansas City, Mo, as indicated in my last post. Before we got out of Arizona we were asked to detour to Weatherford, OK to meet another team and switch loads/trailers with them. They live in Kansas City and needed to get home so it wasn't a problem. We would take their trailer/load on to Carson, CA, and they would take ours to Kansas City, MO. We hit some terrible weather around Winslow, AZ. As a matter of fact my wife was able to get a picture of a tornado that was touching down just north of the interstate just before we drove in to it. WOW, what a ride. Here is the picture she was able to get.

I ended up meeting up with my old friend at Holbrook, AZ, he had just bought a new truck and wanted me to see it, a very nice ride. We visited for about 30 minutes or so and took off. He and his wife and grandson was going the same direction so they decided to follow us and we visited on the C.B. Radio as we drove. We were just riding along, visiting, having a great time and a police officer passed me,(a New Mexico State Police Officer), like I was sitting still, with his lights on. He got about 4-6 car lengths ahead of me in the left lane and slammed on his brakes, shut of his red lights and as I went passed him he jumped in behind me. I drove on, about 1/2 mile or so, and he was tailing me very closely, with the left side of his car just to the outside of the left side of my truck. I think, though he says it isn't true, that he still had his headlights flashing, so I pulled over to the shoulder of the road. I immediately climbed from the cab, walked to the rear of my trailer, where he met me, and he asked if I was alright. I stated I was fine and he instructed me to stand at the rear of my trailer, and again asked was I sure that I was alright because he had a call that someone in a truck with a flag on it ran two cars off the road back at about the 75 mile post. We were at this point at the 98 mile post. Remember now, my friend, his wife and grandchild were following me, within about 200 yards or so, until I pulled over. He was on his radio talking to dispatch and then asked for my driver's license. I went to the truck, officer Hammond of the New Mexico State Police, in tow and got my driver's license for him. He then proceeded to ask for my log book as well and again, with officer Hammond, of the New Mexico State Police following my every footstep, I retrieved my log book. He asked if there was anyone else in the truck and I informed him my wife was in the bunk. He asked if that was the only person and if I was sure there was no-one else in there. I again, assured him, we were the only two folks in the truck. The officer continued questioning me in generalities, about where we picked the trailer up, where we were headed, what we were hauling, etc., he then asked if he could "pat me down" and told me to place my hands on the back of the trailer. About this time another officer, Seargent Troy(I later learned), of the New Mexico State Police had pulled up, lights flashing, and officer Hammond went to his car to speak with him. Officer, oops, Seargent Troy, they are very touchy about their titles, got out of his car and walked over to me and officer Hammond went to get my wife out of the truck. Seargent Troy asked me if Officer Hammond had told me what was going on, and I told him the yes, Officer Hammond had told me that he had a report of me running two cars off the road, but that I knew that that hadn't happened and he proceeded to tell me that we were pulling a "stolen trailer". He said that they were just waiting on their people to confirm with our company that it was no longer a stolen unit and we would be on our way.

Just a a side note, I'll explain something here. While I won't say who we are leased to, I will say this. The name of the company we are leased to is on both sides,of the trailer in 8' lettering, on the rear in 1' lettering and the nose of the trailer in 8" lettering. The name of the company is also on our truck, in 4" letters on both sides, along with the company D.O.T. number. In our truck, there is a permit book with the company name on every single piece of paper in the book, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 pieces of paper in the form of official, state issued permits, listing the D.O.T. number and the name of the company on each. Also in the permit book, is a lease, listing company name, D.O.T. Number, address, telephone number, our truck number, the vehicle ID number for the truck and the vehicle truck Number that the company issues at the time of lease to each truck, and it is a truck specific number meaning that each truck has a different number. The lease is signed and dated by both myself and my wife. The signatures on the lease match both mine and my wife's signatures on our driver's licenses. The license plates on the truck are the same that are listed on the registration, listing myself and my wife as owners and the company to which we are leased as lessee. That would be the same company who's name is on the side of the trailer. The trailer, in the New Mexico State Police's own computer system, comes back as being registered to the company we are leased to and who's name is on the side of the trailer. The plates on the trailer match the registration that is in the trailer which shows registration to the company to which we are leased. There is a trailer number, on the trailer, both front and rear in 6" letters, again a trailer specific number, which matches the trailer on the registration and the Vehicle ID number on the registration matches the Vehicle ID number stamped in a plate, attached with special rivets to the nose of the trailer. Upon calling the company, they told the officers that it was their trailer. Are you getting the point here? All the numbers match all the vehicles, that match all the registrations, that match all the leases and permits, that match the driver's whose names are on the driver's license along with matching pictures. I mean...I'm jsut sayin'. Can you add two and two? New Mexico State Police Seargent Troy and officer Hammond, obviously can't. Anyway, I digress, back to the story now.

At this point they told me to walk down the sandy hill about 50 feet or so and stand by the fence. Whatever, I complied, as directed, and they started questioning my wife. By now, 3 more police officers with the New Mexico State Police, have pulled up with lights flashing and they all convene near one of the squad cars. After a few minutes of conversation, two of the officers headed for the cab of the truck, two stood around talking and another was again questioning my wife, who by this time is in tears. The two who headed for the truck, proceeded to stop and read the side of the truck, as much as they know how to read, which I contend, that by their ability to add 2 + 2 and figure out the trailer isn't stolen, they can't read much. After a brief stop at the side of the truck and putting their hands all over it, one of the officers climbed in, uninvited and without asking I might add, went to the back into the sleeper and was there about 2-3 minutes. The other officer was rifling through the paperwork on the dash. I had on the dash, my bills of lading along with 10, 9-12 pamphlets and 912 taxpayer revolt flyers, a picture of the truck, and a copy of the "First They Came For..." poem that I have on the side of the truck. Those things are all 1 short now plus no poem. I still have the picture of the truck. They eventually exited the truck and went back to the other group of officers who were gathered around my wife interrogating her. Now one officer comes and gets me, and I joked to him, hey, why is it that I have to walk in the sand with my good boots and clean britches on and when you want to talk to me you hollar and ask me to come to you instead of walking to me in the sand? His remark was, that's why I carry a gun, so when I use my voice, people jump, and he smiled at me. He had me stand against his squad car where he also stood, making small talk about the weather, mosquitoes, the police academy, and whatever he could think of to talk about. The other officers were still aggressively interrogating my terrified, crying wife. After about 2 hours, Officer Troy came to me and told me that the company had verified it was a stolen trailer and that we were going to be placed in "investigative detention" until the matter could be resolved. They allowed us to get a few things out of the truck, so I grabbed my phone and a bottle of water. After about 3-4 minutes of explaining to them about all the numbers matching, all the names matching and all the registrations matching, I called my dispatch office and they wanted to talk to the Seargent, who refused to speak with them. They cuffed me, and frisked me again,(which I was told wasn't called frisking but "patting down"). I was approached by another of the officers. He called himself an "inspector", and he stated he had some questions for me and I told him if I was under arrest, I was done talking. That pissed this little bald headed, Hitleresque fella off. He said "so you aren't going to cooperate?" I stated I had been cooperative up to the point that I was placed under arrest and I was talking no more. Man, did he get mad. He made sure that I knew that I hadn't cooperated with him because I hadn't even met or talked to him yet and again, I advised the fellow that I had nothing else to say. They stuffed me in the rear of the squad car, shut the door, and all converged around my wife again. Now a tow truck pulls up, gets in front of my truck and the driver comes back to talk to the officers. One of the officers walked back up front with him, three of them are harassing, unrelentingly, my wife for some further information that they thought we were hiding, and the 5th officer was in the front seat of the squad car that I was in. They would talk to her for a minute or two, then come back and harass me, then back to her and so on. Now, someone had decided that they needed to see the inside of the trailer to check for...whatever. The trailer had a hardened bolt seal installed, in Carson at our terminal, before I picked the trailer up. Mind you too, the number on the bolt seal, matched the number on the bills of lading, that had the city of origin, city of delivery, and the company name and address on the bills. More proof, we weren't lying. Anyway, the tow truck driver, being quite the brain surgeon, though a rather lumpy, hairy, dirty one, went to his truck and obtained a hammer and a chisel to cut the bolt seal off. He beat the hell out of the back of the trailer, I told them that they needed bolt cutters to cut the seal. I later found out that my wife had told them the same thing, but he continued to beat the hell out of the trailer. I told them I had a pair of bolt cutters and they asked where they were but I decided to refuse to tell them. One of the other officers, the bald, Hitler like guy, went to his pickup truck and got a pair and they cut the seal off. Of course, they found nothing but a load of miscellaneous freight, but none the less, they showed us, and the bolt seal who was boss.

Another note of interest here is that the little Hitler like guy, for some reason, felt the need to assure me and my wife that he was "just trying to help us". I again went through all the numbers matching, and all and that i understood that they weren't allowed to think for them selves but rather had to do as told so let's just move on though the steps here. Again, that didn't make them happy. I was told I was a jerk, by the bald guy. I told him, "I know I'm a jerk, I don't want to be a jerk but that I was in the back of a police car, in hand cuffs for the first time in my life, for something I didn't do and that with a little thought could be proved that the trailer wasn't stolen. I proceeded to state that I didn't think the whole ordeal had anything to do with the trailer but rather a check of us, our demeanor, and or truck to make sure we weren't some of the ones the D.H.S. report from a few months back had told police departments to be on the lookout for. His reply was simply, "that's ridiculous", mine, "is it now". He then stated he liked what was on the truck and that he had read some of it. I looked puzzled, right square into his eyes and said inquisitively, "you can read?" He slammed the door, where I was sitting and walked off.

After another 15-20 minutes or so of deteriorating attitudes of both myself and my wife, who by now is crying, no balling her eyes out, the tow truck driver decided he wasn't smart enough to tow the truck without damage(which I decided when he got out of the truck the first time), so they made a group decision to let my wife drive the truck to the impound yard while they escorted us, front and rear. I wasn't allowed to drive, I guess I was going to use all that sleek, high speed power and uncanny ability to elude the police officers. So we headed for the impound yard, back west about 22 miles, where she parked the truck and we were taken inside to sit and wait out the paperwork clearance for the "stolen trailer".

There were a few other officers in the building and one of them seemed to keep going outside, coming back in, asking questions about the truck, he'd sit down and write a bit, go outside again, come back inside and call Officer Hammond to the back, come back write some more, and finally about 1 hour later we were released, with apology.

Lastly, I have left some facts out of this post, though few. All, and I mean all, pertinent facts are here, with no embellishment. This was truly the most horrible, demeaning, belittling, demoralizing experience of our lives. I guess I have never felt as helpless in my life as I did when I was sitting cuffed, in the back of that squad car, while watching them demoralize and verbally harass my wife. I realize that police officers have a job to do, I realize that it is one of the toughest jobs in the United States. I further understand that they must protect themselves and the public. My question though, is this, after seeing all the paperwork, hearing me explain, twice, all the numbers matching on everything right down to the seal on the trailer, after ransacking our truck, stealing a 912 project flyer, 912 taxpayer revolt flyer, and a copy of the poem on the side of m truck, after cuffing me, obviously for the intimidation factor, why is it that there was no report number given to me, no citations, no inspection report on log books or vehicle safety, or anything else that would prove that we sat on the side of the road, being harassed by the New Mexico State Police, for 31/2 hours, and released, according to the seargent, without cause. What the Hell is that? I can't even prove we were there.

I understand now, to some extent, how professor Gates felt that he was being harassed, and I also see the officers side of having to protect themselves. Somewhere though, there must be a middle ground.

In God I Trust
Have a Great Day and a Better Tomorrow


  1. What an experience! With respect to your comments regarding the Gates arrest: First, you didn't start off the whole thing with charges of "racism" & "profiling"; second, you did cooperate - based on your description - for a very, very long time - I beleive that as a citizen you have the right to stop talking & request counsel, so I'm not sure how that is not "cooperating" since you already made a statement; Third, the President of the United States hasn't taken the time to personally comment on your situation & render a decision about the wisdom or stupidity of the New Mexico Police department - nor do I belive he will. In closing, I am sorry your wife & you experienced this interaction which sounds stressful and upsetting. On principle, I am a strong supporter of the police and recognize the dangerous, difficult work they all do. If this situation occurred, as described by you, then it seems the officers in question should have sent you on your way once their questions were answered that you were not a danger to the public. It seems that this could have been resolved right there on the side of the road & in a faster time frame. It also seems that some report/paperwork should have been filed & provided to you, your employer & certainly to the person/company whose property was destroyed (i.e. the bolt). That is my opinion, based on the facts as I know them. I hope you have safe travels in the future....

  2. I recommend sending the NMSP a bill for lost time, damages to the truck/trailer, harassment, spychological abuse, unlawful detainment, and anything else a blind lawier can come up with. A simple 5 minute call into company dispatch would have clarified the numbers like ya said...

  3. You now have been told the cops do not want to lose their power and control they will beat you down any way they want.Now your view of helpfull cops has been changed.Glad they did not beat you up or worse shoot you.


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In God I Trust
Have a Dreat Day and a Better Tomorrow