Video shows traffic stop in license-plate profiling case
BOISE – Video of an Idaho State Police traffic stop obtained by The Spokesman-Review under the Idaho Public Records Law shows an ISP trooper pulling behind a pickup truck with Colorado plates as soon as he sees it, following the truck into the “Welcome to Idaho” rest stop, then badgering the 69-year-old driver to allow a search for drugs.
The hard-rock radio station that the trooper was listening to provides a soundtrack, interspersed with commercials; when the trooper first sees Darien Roseen’s truck, the radio is blaring the Scorpions’ “No One Like You.”
“Why’d you pull in here so rapidly?” trooper Justin Klitch asks Roseen in the January 25, 2013 dash-cam video. “Uh, I had to go to the bathroom,” Roseen responds.
“You didn’t have to go to the bathroom before you saw me,” the officer says, to which Roseen responds, “That’s true - No, I did have to.”
“I’m telling you, you pulled in here to avoid me, that’s exactly what you did,” the trooper says. “I mean, you almost hit the curb, you almost ran off the road. You definitely didn’t want me around you for some reason. … Why are your eyes glassy today?”
The traffic stop led to hours of detainment and a fruitless search of the truck that yielded nothing illegal; Roseen has filed a federal lawsuit over it, alleging he was profiled and illegally searched because of his license plate – which was from Colorado. He also has a Washington state driver’s license. Both Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana; Idaho hasn’t.
The ISP said in a statement last week that it is conducting an internal investigation into the allegations in the lawsuit. “We would like to assure the citizens of Idaho and the visitors to our state that the Idaho State Police holds all of its employees to a high standard which includes following the Constitution of the United States and the laws and constitution of the State of Idaho,” the agency said.
In the video, the trooper asks Roseen, “When is the last time you used any marijuana, sir?” Roseen responds, “I have not used marijuana in my entire life.” The trooper says, “No? OK. Do you mind if I search your vehicle?” Roseen says, “Well, yeah, if I have a choice, I can say no, I don’t want you to search it.”
The officer then asks him, “Why are you so worried about me if you’re not violating any laws of the state or this country - why are you so concerned about me?” Roseen responds, “Because I want to get on the road and just get home.”
The officer then tells him, “OK, well, I’m telling you with what I’m seeing today, that is not going to happen. Because I believe that you have something in this vehicle that you shouldn’t have. … You’re obviously nervous about whatever it is. … I am going to find whatever it is, I can assure you of that.”
The trooper then persuades Roseen to begin unloading the bed of his truck, which contains numerous art supplies for his painting projects as well as gifts from his daughter’s baby shower, from which he’s returning, and to open a compartment underneath the bed that he knows the Honda Ridgeline has. It’s raining lightly, a breeze is moving a flag at the rest area behind them, and there’s snow on the ground
Roseen complies, and Klitch asks him, “Why do I smell marijuana coming out of there, sir?”
“You don’t,” Roseen responds. “Well, take a smell,” the trooper says. The older man leans in toward the compartment, sniffs, and retorts, “Nothing of the sort.”
“I’m going to be looking through everything in here because of that odor,” Klitch says, to which Roseen responds, “I don’t even know what you’re smelling.”
The trooper says, “I’ve got to be real honest with you, sir, with that odor I smell, I got a right to search the whole vehicle. I’ve got probable cause.”