I’m in a bit of a pickle here and I want to know what you fellow Dopers would do.
My husband has been harassed by the police officers three times in the past month for absolutely no reason. The first time he was walking to 7-11, a block away from my house, and was stopped and asked to submit to a search of his person - he was told that if he did not voluntarily submit to said search they would get a warrant. He did, they found nothing, and let him go. We later found out that a robbery had been committed in the area and they were searching every white male over 5 and a half feet tall. No biggie, reasonable request, yes?
Well, the other night I was pulled over, because my taillights were out. They asked me to turn around the corner, which I did willingly, and then asked my husband to exit the vehicle and empty his pockets. There were two cars, three officers, at this point. The female came up to me and asked me if I had anything in the car, because she smelled methamphetamines. At this point my bullshit meter went off - my dad is a recovering meth addict, I know what it smells like, and the smell was nowhere in the car. The officer found my husband’s nail pick - he’s one of those people who always has to be doing something, and is like that naturally, so when he’s watching TV or something he’s picking the dirt out from under his nails or making something or fixing something. It’s just the way he is; he’s a recovering meth addict as well and when he does meth, he gets very calm and relaxed, not jittery like most people.
They tested the nail pick for drugs and found nothing, and then asked me if they could search my car. I told them that if they felt there was reasonable cause I welcomed them to pursue a warrant, in which time I would willingly submit to a search. Until then, they were free to peer into my very clean, wide-open car with their flashlights, but they were not going to set a finger in my car. The officer told me that me demanding a warrant made him think that perhaps I had something to hide, and I told him that that statement made me think that I shouldn’t trust police officers, because his first instinct at pulling me over (someone with no record) should have been that I’m someone who is well-versed in my rights as a U.S. citizen. They stalled as long as they could, hoping to rattle me. I was becoming mad, not nervous, because I had nothing to hide and I refused to be bullied into submitting to a search. In all of this time they didn’t give me a reasonable excuse as to why they were holding us, and even attempted to convince me that my husband had track marks and was tweaking (“No, officer, there are spiders in our apartment and he’s a high-steel rigger; I can guarantee that if you examine those marks, they look nothing like track marks, which I have seen; and yes, he’s nervous, he’s being held by police officers. Yes, he’s jittery. He’s like that all the time, he’s hyperactive.”) Finally they asked me where I worked and when I told them I work in the newsroom at the area newspaper, they let me go really fast. Suspicious, yes, but maybe they just figured they shouldn’t piss the paper off. I didn’t bother to ask for badge numbers because, while annoyed, I figured they were just doing their job.
Today, not three days after that incident, my husband was walking home from the cigarette shop and he was stopped by an officer, who demanded that he empty his pockets and refused to tell him why he was being stopped.
My husband is tall and lanky, and has very curly, messy hair, even when it’s slicked back and combed. Neither of these things is something he can help; he was born with it. He has very weathered hands because he works heavy labor. He, unless he’s working, looks very scruffy because he hates shaving. No matter what he does he gets ingrown hairs. I could see if maybe there was a call out for someone matching his description, but it seems to me that they’re just stopping people who fit a particular description because they may be drug users or dealers.
What would you do in this situation? I don’t want him to continually be stopped for no reason. If he’s late to work because of police action, he’s still going to get fired from that gig. What should I do? Should I just file a complaint with the Carson City Sheriff’s Department? Should I consult a lawyer and file a suit? Should I do the first and if it results in nothing do the second? Should I ignore it and just hope he doesn’t get stopped when time is of the essence?