I can’t think of a better example, coming out of Ohio, as to why we need to get notification laws repealed,Â than this:
All I have to say is I’m glad they are sticking cameras in patrol cars these days, so the people can see what their employees are doing. I don’t think what we’re witnessing is professional behavior, and that’s being charitable. Given multiple threats of violence, and threats of retaliation, this officer needs to lose his badge. He does not deserve the trust the public has placed in him, and every day he continues to patrol the streets is an outrage.
That said, I do wonder this guy was doing in a seedy section of town with an apparent prostitute, and what would appear to be her pimp, in the back seat. But either way, that’s not really my concern, and it’s likely not illegal to do so.
I ran into a duty to inform law in Texas, when I was stopped, under questionably legal circumstances… apparently for parking suspiciously in a small town. The officer approached, and began to ask a series of questions, which I answered, and before I could get out that I had a gun on me, he asked if I had any weapons, and then I truthfully answered. We went through all the motions, and everything checked out. He only warned me that I was supposed to inform, and was otherwise pleasant and professional. But the fact is, I didn’t really have a chance to inform, at least without going against instinct in that kind of confrontation. I can completely understand why someone would believe following instructions answering questions is the more prudent path. Ohio desperately needs to change its law, and if not to eliminate duty to inform entirely, at least make it only a ticketable offense.
Final lesson in all of this is that when a cop puts you into a situation where it’s becoming apparent there’s suspicion of a crime, exercise your fifth amendment rights. You are under no obligation to talk to the police, and don’t really do yourself any favors by doing so. Let them arrest you, call your attorney, and speak to the police under the advice of counsel. If the police beat or threaten you for not cooperating, fine. You now have the basis for a civil rights lawsuit, and whatever they got out of you is inadmissible. Once it’s apparent you’re not in a typical traffic stop, that’s when you’re in lawyer country. It sucks, but remember that we have a legal system, not a justice system.
UPDATE: Canton police chief has apparently relieved the officer in question pending an investigation. They deserve credit for acting on this.