Cop Demands To Search Car Because ‘Everybody That Plays Frisbee Golf Smokes Weed’ (VIDEO)

An Iowa cop told a driver that he had a right to search his car for drugs because “everyone who plays Frisbee golf smokes pot.” When the driver refused to answer whether he had “never smoked weed,” the cop said that counted as admitting he had.

After getting pulled over for a minor traffic violation, an Ankeny, Iowa police officer appears to at first want to make small talk with the driver. He casually asks the man, who had at this point begun filming the encounter, whether he played Frisbee golf. The man replied “I do a lot actually. I play out at Heritage park.” The conversation then takes a bizarre turn as the cop awkwardly asks the man about his drug use based on that hobby.

Here’s the video:

“Okay, I need you to answer me a question. Why is it that everybody that plays Frisbee golf smokes weed?”

“No, it’s not everybody,” the driver responds with a laugh.

“It’s everybody, man. You can’t tell me you never smoked weed.”

Given the ludicrous line of questioning, the driver again laughs and replies that he isn’t “going to tell [the officer] one way or another.”

Apparently, exercising his right to not respond is suspicious, because the officer then concludes he not only uses marijuana but also has some in his car.

“See, there you go. How much weed do you have in the car today?”

The driver tells him he doesn’t have any. The officer then asks him if he has permission to search the vehicle.

To recap: An officer pulled someone over for a headlight infraction, sees a Frisbee in his car, accuses the man of smoking marijuana based on said Frisbee and, taking a logical leap further than you could throw a Frisbee, demands to tear apart his car looking for drugs.

Luckily, the man knows his rights and tells the officer that he does not have permission to search his car. When the officer asks him if he has a problem with his car being searched, the man responds “I actually would, because just because I have a disc golf bag with me does not mean that every disc golfer does have weed.”

To which the officer responds: “So you do have weed in the car. Is that what you are saying?”

Huh?

The officer then says the driver had “admitted to smoking weed in the past” (he hadn’t) and again says that when he had refused to answer whether he had ever smoked marijuana before that the officer considered that a yes.

It’s incredible that an officer could be so profoundly ignorant of how the law works, but for the record, almost everything he said during the recording is incorrect.

First, not answering an officer’s question does not make you guilty of any crime. In fact, citizens have a right to not answer questions that they believe may implicate them in any crime. Nor is it up to the citizen to prove their innocence to unrelated crimes during an unrelated traffic stop. A cop giving a warning because a headlight was out does not entitle him to dig up the driver’s past drug use. The driver did the right thing by simply telling the officer “no” and avoiding getting pulled into the officer’s nonsense.

Second, the officer was clearly profiling the man based on- – for unknown reasons — the assumption that all Frisbee golfers smoke pot. It’s unclear why the officer was absolutely convinced that Frisbee golf was a hobby exclusively for marijuana smokers, but that isn’t a very persuasive argument for probable cause. Officers are not allowed to make assumptions like that in order to justify a search. Belonging to a group, especially one as general as “disc golf player,” does not immediately make one guilty of a crime. Cops cannot assume that it does.

Finally, the officer had absolutely no right to search the driver’s car. It was obvious even to him that his justification for requesting a search was thin, which is why he kept trying to bully the driver into consenting. As Flex Your Rights points out, officers often try to trick people into allowing them to search their vehicles out of ignorance of the law or fear of the officer, because that consent can then be used retroactively to justify the baseless search.

In this case, the officer’s behavior was so out-of-line that even his own department didn’t mind throwing him under the bus. Since the video was posted online, Ankeny’s police chief has publicly apologized to the driver and passengers.

According to WHOtv:

The officer engages the driver in a line of questioning that is foolish and not representative of the Ankeny Police Dept.’s training or interactions with the public. This verbal exchange did not meet the level of professionalism expected of Ankeny police officers. Ankeny Police Chief Gary Mikulec respectfully apologizes for the officer`s demeaning statement.

Now if only the officer would be made to formally apologize to drug-free Frisbee players everywhere, perhaps the city of Ankeny could put this whole thing behind them.