Danger: Police Impunity Behind the Wheel

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The level of impunity granted to police employees by those within the injustice system pertains not only to physical brutality, tasing, or shooting, but to injuries or deaths caused by their actions, or inactions, behind the wheel.

Of course, that should come as no surprise to anyone who understands how the system is rigged.

At its core, every police outfit, district attorneys office, and courtroom, and everyone within those outfits who subsist via the political means, operate according to the bad idea that they have the legal right to do things wrong for you to do.

The perception of authority is everything – without it, the people who pretend to “protect and serve” (yet conversely say that they have no duty to protect) are seen for what they are – individuals, who, like yourself, are responsible for their actions. Clearly, the involvement of a coercive monopoly is not conducive to justice.



  • Darren Ilardi / New York Police Outfit: 646-610-5000 / Queens County DA: (718) 286-6000
  • John Swearingen / Kern County Sheriff’s Outfit (661) 391-7500 / Kern County DA: (661) 868-2340
  • Frederick Schimp / Pennsylvania State Police Outfit (717) 783-5599 / Erie County DA: (814) 451-6349
  • Joseph Quiles / Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Outfit: 414.226.7000 / Milwaukee County DA: (414) 278-4646
  • Andrew Francis Wood / Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Outfit: (323) 267-4800 / Los Angeles County DA: (213) 974-3512



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  • http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-vigil-milton-olin-20140903-story.html
  • http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Cyclists-to-Demand-Charges-Vs-Deputy-Who-Fatally-Struck-Prominent-Lawyer-273822971.html
  • http://www.eriealert.com/district-attorney
  • http://www.copblock.org/kern-county-employee-john-swearengin-kills-two-people-with-crusier-retains-job
  • http://fox6now.com/2014/05/01/sober-driver-arrested-for-owi-when-deputy-crashes-into-her
  • http://fox13now.com/2014/08/07/sober-driver-arrested-for-dui-when-deputy-blows-through-stop-sign-hits-her
  • http://www.vindy.com/news/2014/sep/09/da-no-criminal-charges-trooper-fatal-crash/#sthash.j2Vnrxf0.dpuf
  • http://www.erietvnews.com/story/25959571/state-police-promise-thorough-investigation-of-fatal-accident
  • http://www.copblock.org/darren-ilardi-nypd-employee-hits-kills-ryo-oyamada-and-colleagues-cover-up
  • http://www.scribd.com/doc/237940150/Official-document-Deputy-won-t-be-charged-in-death-of-Calabasas-bicyclist-Milton-Olin
  • http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/Settlements-totaling-88-million-in-deputy-wrongful-death-case-247940581.html?tab=video&c=y
  • http://gothamist.com/2014/08/20/ryo_oyamada_video.php
  • http://pix11.com/2014/08/22/did-nypd-cover-up-details-in-queens-patrol-car-death-of-japanese-student
  • http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/local/x1910327682/Settlement-of-4-8-million-for-victims-family-in-case-where-deputy-struck-and-killed-pedestrians
  • http://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/settlement-reached-on-behalf-of-family-of-oildale-man-struck-and-killed-by-sheriffs-deputy-022814

Click to visit CopBlock.org/Library

Danger: Police Impunity Behind the Wheel is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Darren Ilardi, NYPD Employee, Hits, Kills Ryo Oyamada, Colleagues Alter Video to Cover-Up

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The content below was shared by Peter Chin via CopBlock.org/Submit about the death of pedestrian Ryo Oyamada, who was hit and killed by a vehicle driven by Darren Ilardi, a NYPD employee. Thus far, Ilardi has not been held accountable. Might this situation be different were the driver a non-police employee and the person struck a police employee? That fact makes clear the application of double standards, and it should not be tolerated.

Incident Date: 2/23/2013
Individual Involved: Darren Ilardi
Outfit: New York Police Department
Phone: (718) 558–5422

Last year, a Japanese foreign exchange student was run over by a police cruiser in Queens. The NYPD said that the cruiser had its lights and sirens on, but eyewitnesses strenuously denied that, saying that it was silently running over 70 mph down the street. None of those eyewitnesses were interviewed for the police report. The NYPD then refused to release security footage of the accident, and then released a version that corroborated their version of events…until someone found another video that contradicts theirs, and indicates that they had actually doctored the video to release themselves from blame.

Please, help us expose this terrible miscarriage of justice. If the NYPD is allowed to get away with this, then no one can be safe.

This video was uploaded by Vaccaro and White and included on the thorough overview of this incident at Gothamist.com by John Del Signore [you're encouraged to check out that post for analysis on the video and other details about the incident]:

The text below is from the Change.org petition, Investigate Ryo Oyamada’s Death, which has almost 100,000 signers already:

On February 21st, 2013, Ryo Oyamada was struck and killed by an NYPD cruiser while crossing the street. He was only 24 years old. While NYPD claimed that the cruiser’s lights and sirens were on before the collision, multiple eyewitness accounts along with video footage indicate that the officer was driving over 70 mph down a residential street without emergency lights on, and that NYPD may have covered this up.

Initially, NYPD refused to release video footage of the accident. Then they released a heavily edited video that seemed to corroborate their version of events. But new video secured from the NY Housing Authority directly contradicts these claims, and indicates that someone went to great lengths to cover up the truth.

The entire investigation of the scene was botched. None of the eyewitnesses were interviewed for the police report, officers did not measure skid marks left by the car, did not investigate the driver’s phone records from the time of the crash, nor did they retrieve information from the car’s data recorder before it was erased.

Ryo’s death deserves to be independently investigated.

The officer who killed Ryo, Darren Ilardi, said he was responding to a 911 report of a knife assault. However, that 911 call was later determined to be unfounded. Furthermore, radio transcripts and other evidence provided by the City suggest that Officer Ilardi was not assigned to the knife disturbance, nor did he tell anyone he was responding to an emergency. In fact, two other NYPD units had already been assigned to that call.

It’s clear that there needs to be an independent investigation into Ryo Oyamada’s death – and that the NYPD isn’t capable of doing so alone. 

Sign my petition calling on the Department of Justice and the NYPD to conduct a full and fair investigation into Ryo Oyamada’s death. The tragic death of Ryo demands nothing less.

Darren Ilardi, NYPD Employee, Hits, Kills Ryo Oyamada, Colleagues Alter Video to Cover-Up is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Brian McClarin – Dirty Cop in Sherman, TX

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The submission below was shared by Anita Ersch via CopBlock.org/Submit about Brian McClarin, a Sherman, TX police employee who has a reputation. Not for upholding the stated mission of his outfit – “to prevent, reduce and disrupt crime and disorder by aggressive, professional and compassionate enforcement of the law” – but for doing the inverse. As Ersch puts-forth, colleagues of McClarin have thus far backed him, or remained silent. That’s where you come in.

Individual Named: Brian McClarin, brianm@ci.sherman.tx.us
Sherman TX Police Department
Website: http://www.ci.sherman.tx.us/index.aspx?nid=204
Phone: 903-892-7297

The Sherman Texas Law Enforcement system knowingly supports a crooked cop/s. The district attorney’s office has been told he has done many things but they don’t care as long as he can get them convictions. If you say anything it only gets worse for the person in trouble. This cop – Brian McClarin – goes to the person and promises them if they will do something for him all their problems will go away. If they help him he double-crosses/blackmails them and wants them to become involved in more illegal activity…when they refuse he burns them bad. Gets his informant to set them up.

The good old boy system here in Sherman is so bad the Adult Supervision Department lied about my son’s urine test, after he refused to work for this crooked cop. They reported it was ‘dirty’ By this time we were aware how crooked the law enforcement system was in this area and had an independent test done. They were forced to admit they lied….but interestingly enough, when they lie it’s called a mistake.

This particular cop, Brian McClarin, gives drugs to young ladies and then forces them to have sex with him and his buddies if they don’t want to be busted for the drugs…..he has been allowed to ruin lives at will.

When I was at a hearing for my son a young lady at the court house approached me and told me McClarin had tried to plant drugs on her brother but was caught. The man McClarin used to set my son up was found dead and I am afraid for my son. I know at this point there are many people who have more knowledge of McClarin’s crimes then I do…….can we help each other stop this insane person? The legal system will go to no lengths to support him.

Is there anyone out there that has similar stories…..can we together put an end to this corruption that involves every part of the legal system here in Sherman?

Editors Note: A quick Startpage search of “Brian McClarin Sherman Police” returned a post authored by Chuck Ross at DailyCaller.com entitled Suit: Officer Instructed ‘Tase The Bitch’ During Deadly Beating that recounted a August 20, 2013 incident:

Brian McClarin, a narcotics officer, had directed the traffic stop.

The complaint acknowledges that Surratt removed a small amount of cocaine she was concealing and began swallowing it.

One of the officers realized what was going on “and climbed in the back seat, across the body of Garza, and began striking Surratt with open fist and then his flashlight to get her to spit up the cocaine,” the suit alleges.

When the effort failed, the officer “placed the flashlight diagonally against the right side of Surratt’s neck and pushed down, chocking Surratt with the flashlight until she lost consciousness.” While on the ground, McClarin gave the order to “tase the bitch,” the suit alleges.

Transparency can only help those who don’t fear the truth. This post helps to make McClarin’s reputation known to more people. Perhaps those in Sherman can connect and start a group, hold know-your-rights trainings, encourage everyone interacting with McClarin and his colleagues to film or stream, assemble information and share it with McClarin’s neighbors, or take whatever actions, save for the initiation of force, thought necessary.

Brian McClarin – Dirty Cop in Sherman, TX is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Waldo, Florida Road Piracy Generated Half of Town Income

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

The information below was shared anonymously via CopBlock.org/Submit by someone concerned about the ramped-up road pirate activities in Waldo, FL.

Date of Incident: 8/26/14
Individuals Involved: The entire department!
Outfit: Waldo Police Department
Phone: 352-468-1515

-A Waldo police officer was fired by the city manager for insubordination towards the chief for undisclosed reasons (Likely refusing to obey the illegal ticket quota)
-His fellow bottom level officers felt their jobs were in jeopardy and requested a City Council hearing
-The officers laid out a list of grievances towards the department command, including confirming what citizens and motorists (Waldo is the 3rd worst speedtrap in the country) have known: they have ticket quotas. Which violates the Florida law they are supposed to be enforcing
-The officer that was terminated has been reinstated by the city council and the police chief is under review
-Half of Waldo’s entire revenue comes from traffic tickets.


From the September 8th episode of Police State Monday, posted by Angel Clark in collaboration with PoliceStateUSA:

Four officers in the Waldo Police Department revealed to the city council last Tuesday that the department’s chief was assigning required quotas for writing tickets. The information was brought forth while discussing other complaints about activities in the department.


Waldo, Florida Road Piracy Generated Half of Town Income is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Argentinian Officer (Poorly) Simulates An Accident, Levies False Charges

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

The content below was shared via CopBlock.org/Submit by Santiago Leiras, who wrote, “Here at the other side of the world we also suffer from state repression.” It is true, whathever geographical distance or arbitrary political boundaries, the same issues afflict people everyone based on the bad idea that says some people have a “legal” right to extort and rule others. Fortunately, that bad idea is being shed for better ideas, and people are uniting, not to find new “leaders” but in mutual respect, and governing themselves.

Date of Incident: 31/07/2014
Outfit: Argentine Gendarmerie Security Force
Individual Responsible: Major Juan Alberto López Toral, Roberto Angel Galeano
Phone: (+54)1146660383

Here we can see Major Juan Lopez Toral, an officer of the Argentine Gendarmerie Security Force, during a protest held on 31st of July in Buenos Aires.

The union workers of LEAR Co. carried out the protest in cars on the main highway of the city driving at low speed when it was claimed that an unidentified protester “ran over” Major Lopez, which caused his gang to make threats and violently arrest the driver.


Roberto Angel Galeano

Later it was found that this operative was led by Roberto Angel Galeano (the blue coat gray-haired man), a former intelligence chief of the Argentine army during the last dictatorship regime and now hired by the city security department.

The protester now faces charges for minor injuries and offense against authority.

– Santiago Leiras

Related Content (in Spanish):

Argentinian Officer (Poorly) Simulates An Accident, Levies False Charges is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

False Reporting and Interfering with an Arvada, CO Police Officer

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

The content below was shared by Charlie via CopBlock.org/Submit. After giving a text recount of his experiences with Mr. Valdez, employed at Valdez Police Department, Charlie seeks your input on how he could best proceed.

Date of Incident: August 27th
Individual Response: Officer Valdez
Outfit: Arvada (CO) Police Department
Phone: (720) 898-6900

After being given a ticket for a Noise Violation on May 4th, I took my case to trial because I was absolutely not guilty. I represented myself in a court of law, and proved to the judge that I was not the host of the party in question, nor was I responsible for the volume of noise. I won my case and was acquitted of the initial charge.

Lets back up. On the night of May 4th I was at a small party when the police arrived for a noise complaint. The party was the size of a large BarBQue, but the noise was understandably loud. Being confident with the law I chose to answer the door for the homeowner and speak with the police.

Editors Note: Those active with Copwatch of East Atlanta recommend that you never answer the front door of another person’s property if/when police employees arrive.

Upon opening the door Officer Valdez demanded entrance into the property. Calmly, I asked the officer if he had a warrant or any probable cause for me to allow him entrance into the property. He explained that he was there for a noise complaint, and I asked him if that was a sufficient reason to demand entrance into a private residence? At this point he said that everyone who was in the back yard needs to come back into the home. To which I said “We have already brought the guests back into the property” Then he demanded that I turn down the music, to which I replied “The music has been turned down.”

My short responses, which yielded nothing for the Officer, provoked and challenged the Officers authority. To which he explained to his partner, “Look at this Youtube sensation, thinking he knows more than the police. Give me your ID.”

I immediately gave the officer my ID and he issued me a citation. The problem for the Officer was that this was not my home, nor was I responsible for the noise violation. Given no other option than court, I represented myself successfully and was acquitted. I must also add, throughout the entire trial Officer Valdez lied under oath on numerous occasions in an attempt to find me guilty of my charges.

Unfortunately, because I won my case against the officer, this created even greater animosity. Officer Valdez then held me after court to issue me two new citations for False Reporting and Interfering with a Police officer.

It is my opinion that this is an absolute display of police harassment and intimidation. I am interested in opinions on how to proceed? The officer will certainly make the claim that I presented myself as the homeowner and because it has been proven that I am not the homeowner, that I misled the police aka. False Reported. He will also make the claim that because I demanded a warrant/probable cause to enter into the property, while it wasn’t my home, also demonstrates that I interfered with a police officer.

For these reasons the officer may have a case. Does anyone know of any precedent where someone was allowed to represent the rights of others? Does anyone have any opinions for what I should do? I am particularly interested in legal precedent.

I have not filed a complaint against the officer yet because I believe that the complaint will impact my ability to plea for a deferred judgment on the charges, but I absolutely plan on doing so if I have to go to trial/after I have been sentenced. Additionally, I am entertaining the idea of contacting the ASPCA for the harassment factor from this police officer.

It appears completely unreasonable to have two additional charges given to me out of spite for winning my first charge.

Any help or opinions would be greatly appreciated.


Known Colorado-Based Police Accountability Groups



False Reporting and Interfering with an Arvada, CO Police Officer is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Kern County Employee John Swearengin Kills Two People w/ Cruiser, Retains Job

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

The information below was shared by Jimmy Allen using the form at CopBlock.org/Submit. It documents a person who killed two others who was not held accountable because he donned a badge.

Individual Responsible: John Swearengin
Outfit: Kern County Sheriff’s Office
Website: http://www.kernsheriff.com/Pages/default.aspx
Phone: (661) 861-3110

In late 2011 John Swearengin, traveling at almost twice the posted speed limit, hit and killed two pedestrians when in Kern County, California. The California Highway Patrol did an investigation, and concluded:

Based on the investigation, it is the determination of the California Highway Patrol, Party 1 (Swearengin) violated California Penal Code Section 192(c) (1), vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

Swearengin was determined to be the primary cause of this collision. He showed “gross negligence” at the time of the collision, based on the following:

  • —Party 1 (Swearengin) drove Vehicle 1 (Ford) 84.9 mph on a roadway posted with a 45-mph speed limit.
  • The collision occurred during hours of darkness.
  • The placement of signs in the area clearly indicated the posted 45 mph speed limit.
  • The placement of signs in the area clearly warning of possible pedestrian traffic.
  • Party 1 (Swearengin) has worked as a Kern County deputy sheriff for five years and had patrolled Oildale (the area of the collision) for four years. He stated he was familiar with the area, and familiar with seeing pedestrians in the area.
  • As a sworn Kern County Deputy Sheriff, Party 1 (Swearengin) understood the provisions of California Vehicle Code Section 21055 (Exemption of Authorized Emergency Vehicles) which states in essence the driver of an emergency vehicle is exempt from the rules of the road if he sounds a siren as reasonable necessary and the vehicle displays a lighted red lamp visible to the front as a warning to other drivers and pedestrians.
  • Party 1 (Swearengin), while en route to an emergency call, chose not to activate his forward red lamp or his siren to warn other drivers and pedestrians as he drove well above the posted speed limit through a populated residential/business area.

Yet did those facts even make a difference?

Not in legaland. You see, Swearingen wears a badge with “Kern County Sheriff’s Department” insignia.

His trial – which started in July of 2014 – over two and a half years after the incident, ended recently with him pleading down to community service. He still retains his job at the Kern County Sheriff’s Department.

Our condolences go out to the families of Daniel Hiler and Crystal Jolley.

left: John Swearingen, Kern County Sheriff employee,

left: John Swearingen, Kern County Sheriff employee

Editors Note:

The same situation – a person not held responsible for killing other motorists because he wore a badge – unfolded recently in Erie, PA. That’s not surprising, since the legaland system, like police employees, subsist on theft and seek to protect their own. That double standard will continue so long as the perception of legitimacy is granted to those actors and institutions. Have you pulled the curtain back?

Think For Yourself




Kern County Employee John Swearengin Kills Two People w/ Cruiser, Retains Job is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

What to do When the Cops Come For You [Audio]

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

The content below was shared by General Gonzo S Patton via CopBlock.org/Submit – it presents some pretty solid info on how to protect yourself and your rights during unwanted police interactions.

Date Show Aired: 9.8.14

Detailed steps on what to do when the police or alphabet agency enforcers come for you.








What to do When the Cops Come For You [Audio] is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Speed Trap Busted, Benwood West Virginia

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Larry Kiddey, who’s active with Belmont County (OH) Cop Block shared the information below via CopBlock.org/Submit. Kudos to him for being present with a camera when those in his community were being stopped by police employees for the non-crime of traveling faster than is dictated. As Kiddey notes at the end, the camera likely incentivized everyone present to treat each other well.

Date of Interaction: 09/08/2014
Individual Involved: Luke Thomas, lukethomas201pd@comcast.net
Outfit: Benwood (WV) Police Department
Website: http://benwoodwv.com/policedept.htm
Phone: (304) 232-2121

I was driving along RT 2 in WV and noticed a speed trap in Benwood. I decided to pull off and Cop Block the speed trap to slow down some drivers and save those drivers a little money in speeding tickets. RT 2 is famous for speed traps between Wheeling and Moundsville.

About 20 minutes into my Block, an officer pulls up to my right and begins videotaping me. Soon after, another officer comes up the ramp and it the the one that was speed trapping. With the speed trap busted, it was time to head back to the car and call is a day. While walking to my car, I was stopped by SGT. Luke Thomas of the Benwood Police Department. He gave me a verbal warning for being on a controlled access to a highway.

He was quite polite and acknowledged that I was well within my rights with what I was doing. It’s refreshing to find an officer that was actually present the day they went over civil rights at the academy. He requested ID because he believed I was committing an offense.

According to Terry V Ohio, I was only required to provide my name, address, and birth date. In the heat of the moment I forgot that and presented my drivers license. Shortly after leaving, I heard over the scanner the dispatcher telling SGT Thomas he ran and pulled up my info.

I am not anti-police by any means, but I am anti-double standards and anti-abuse of authority. None of that was displayed to me during this encounter. I have to tip my hat to SGT Thomas for his courtesy and professionalism.

Belmont County Cop Block – Facebook / Youtube / BelmontCopBlock@gmail.com


Speed Trap Busted, Benwood West Virginia is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Rick Rynearson Takes Illegal Checkpoint Detention to Fifth Circuit

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Veteran’s Against Police Abuse founder Rick Rynearson is appealing a recently dismissed lawsuit against Border Patrol agents who detained him for thirty-four minutes, despite his offering of a military ID, driver’s license, two passports and despite answering their questions. The incident was captured by five video cameras and you can view it here.

Earlier this month, Rynearson presented his situation in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Related video and documents are below, as is background text originally shared by Rynearson via VeteransAgainstPoliceAbuse.com.

Rynearson has funded this lawsuit, and another similar ongoing civil suit, entirely himself. He is now appealing this civil suit to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

If you are in a position to help Rynearson continue his quest for justice, consider:

  1. donating via Paypal to “lilryno@aol.com” (or visit Rynearson’s site and click the Paypal button in the upper-left)
  2. mailing a check to: Rick Rynearson, 9450 SW Genini Dr ECM, #8182, Beaverton, OR 97008
  3. sharing the content below with those in your sphere

Rynearson notes, any money not used for this litigation will be donated evenly between The Peaceful Streets Project, Photography is Not a Crime (PINAC), CopBlock, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Thank you for any help you can provide!


Argument concerning unconstitutional activity at an interior suspicionless checkpoint in Uvalde, TX delivered before the Honorable Judges Elrod, Reavely, and Southwick on 2 September 2014.

The 28J letter requested by the court, and Rynearson’s response to the letter.

28J Letter in Rynearson v United States of America, et al by VAPA-AgainstCopAbuse



Recently, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Del Rio dismissed a civil lawsuit, prior to discovery, against two Border Patrol agents on the ground that the plaintiff did not demonstrate a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and therefore the agents had qualified immunity against discovery or civil suit.  The suit has been appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the court heard oral argument, and we wait for their ruling.  The pleadings before the Fifth Circuit can be viewed here.

The plaintiff, Richard Rynearson, argued that a thirty-four minute detention for a suspicionless immigration inspection sixty-seven miles from the Mexican border violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable seizures.  Rynearson provided video of the encounter that shows he offered a driver’s license, a military ID, an official passport, and a personal passport  and answered all eighteen question the agents asked him, with the exception of a single question concerning the identity of his supervisor at his place of employment (a question the agent told Rynearson he did not have to answer).

Still, the district court ruled that a thirty-four minute immigration detention was reasonable, and gave two separate arguments for its decision.

The first argument the court made in its ruling, was that Rynearson’s “own actions” caused the delay, and therefore this was a reasonable length for an immigration inspection.  Specifically the court ruled that Rynearson caused the well above average detention by 1) refusing to roll his window down during part of the detention, 2) refusing to physically hand his identification to an agent, despite the agent not asking for the identification to be physically handed over and despite the agent’s claim that the identification was irrelevant to immigration status, and 3) Rynearson’s “arguing” with the agent concerning the standard of suspicion required for further detetention, and Rynearson’s challenging the agent’s claim that he could not hear him.  The court did not hold the agents responsible for their failure to ask a single immigration question until eleven minutes into the detention.  The court did not explain why a citizen suspected of no crime must legally roll a window down beyond what is necessary to verbally communicate (if at all), or why he must physically hand over identification without a clear request (if at all), or why protected speech to disagree with an agent removes the need for government agents to act diligently during a detention that is legally required to be brief (couple of minutes).

The second argument the court made in its ruling, was that the agents had reasonable suspicion for “some criminal activity,” and the court mentioned possible drug smuggling or “another possibility” that Rynearson was acting as a decoy for unidentified vehicle(s) behind him that might have been smuggling contraband.  The court lists the following to support its lonesome claim of reasonable suspicion for “some criminal activity:” 1) Rynearson not rolling the window down for part of the detention, 2) disagreeing with the agents about the applicability of mere suspicion when not on the border, and disagreeing with the claim agents could not hear him, 3) making a phone call to his lawyer, his wife, the FBI, and the Border Patrol headquarters in Washington DC, 4) declining the request to exit the vehicle (a request and not an order according to the agent’s affadavit), and 5) not handing over his identification physically to the agent, despite the agent not requesting it be handed over and despite the agent claiming the identification was irrelevant to immigration status.  The court’s ruling makes no mention of the fact that the government itself did not claim the defendants had reasonable suspicion in its motion to dismiss, nor does the court mention that the primary agent declared in a signed affadavit that “Mr. Rynearson’s detention was solely for the purpose of conducting an immigration inspection.”  The court does not relate that the primary agent said multiple times during the incident that he did not need reasonable suspicion, or that the agent only told Rynearson that he had “mere suspicion;” a standard less than reasonable suspicion, that is only applicable for checkpoints on the actual border.  The court makes no mention of the fact that Rynearson’s window was partially rolled down in the primary inspection area and yet the drug dog did not alert for drugs.  The court also did not explain how a motorist who had installed five video cameras to record his actions in and around his vehicle, could be reasonably suspected of engaging in “some criminal activity.”

If the district court’s ruling is allowed to stand, the legal reality in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi will be that American motorists who are simply driving from one American town to another American town, who have committed no crimes and who are suspected of no wrongdoing at all, may be detained by the federal government for thirty-four minutes regardless of the abundance of (legally unrequired) immigration status proof they provide or their (legally unrequired) cooperation with questioning.  In short, if this ruling is allowed to stand, it will remove the protections of previous Fifth Circuit and Supreme Court case law, which requires that these suspicionless checkpoint stops be brief, be limited to the purpose of inquring into immigration status, and that they present only a “minimal intrusion” to motorists who are not suspected of any crime.  Put another way, if this ruling is allowed to stand, not even cooperation with the programmatic purpose of a checkpoint will be enough to shield innocent Americans from unreasonable seizures that are far from minimally intrusive.  In addition, this ruling if unchecked, will encourage federal activist judges to invent “reasonable suspicion” out of thin air, using only guesses and hunches to list various possibilities of “some criminal activity,” even when federal government law enforcement makes no such claim itself.

Rynearson has appealed this ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the hope of reminding the Border Patrol and the district court that its ruling in Machuca-Barerra still stands, and that suspicionless checkpoint stops are an exception to the standing rule of the Fourth Amendment, must be brief, must present a minimal intrusion, and must not be operated in a fashion that treats motorists as though they are all suspected of “some criminal activity.”

Rynearson Appeal to Fifth Circuit by VAPA-AgainstCopAbuse



Rick Rynearson

Media Related to Rynearson’s Case


Rick Rynearson Takes Illegal Checkpoint Detention to Fifth Circuit is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights