The following account is true and accurate. Last night, July 2nd, at approximately 11:00 PM, I was walking on Highway 145 from Telluride to Placerville, Colorado.
An off duty Sheriff pulled up behind me and asked where I was going, and if I was alright. I explained that I had had a little tiff with my wife and that I preferred to walk, rather than argue. He said he understood, and asked if he could give me a ride. I said, “sure”. He made some room in his vehicle, asked my name, asked if I had any weapons, asked me if there were any warrants for me, and then said he just needed to run me through the system to see if I was wanted for anything. I told him I appreciated the offer, that I didn’t have any warrants, wasn’t wanted for anything, but I would rather walk if he was uncomfortable. I just didn’t feel that I had to prove my innocence to someone offering me a ride.
He said he was uncomfortable with me walking on the highway. I explained that I could see cars approaching from half a mile away, and could easily move off of the road. Then I said, if he would prefer, I could walk along the river. He said that made him more uncomfortable. I asked if I was breaking any laws. He said no. I asked if he thought I was a danger to anyone. He said “no”.
I said, “in that case, I will just continue walking”.
I walked about 30 feet, and he flipped on his blue lights. Then he got out and said he wanted me to wait.
A few minutes later, a second Sheriff drove up and approached. Within minutes of that, a third Sheriff arrived. They asked the same questions, got the same answers. Then the third officer demanded my drivers license. I replied that I had given them my name, where I lived, where I was going, and that I didn’t need to give them my drivers license for walking in Colorado.
At that point, the third officer became angry, and said, “you DO need to give it to me, you are on MY highway! …”
“Your, highway?”, I asked, “I thought this belonged to the people of Colorado?”
Officer 3: “This is MY highway, and I need to ID you!”
Me: “You have ID’d me. I have told you my name, address, where I am going, and I have offered to leave the highway.”
At this point, officer 3 pulled his taser and pointed it at me.
“You’re pulling a gun on me?” I said in shock.
“It’s a taser. Now turn around and put your hands behind your back. You are under arrest!” he said.
After doing as I was told, I asked, “what is the charge?”
“You’re drunk” he claimed.
“No I’m not.” I objected.
“Well, I smell alcohol… you are going to jail.”
I said, “this is Telluride. It is not against the law to smell of alcohol.”
At no time, was I loud, belligerent, disorderly, or obnoxious. I followed every order, and answered every question politely. Despite this… I had a taser pointed at me, was handcuffed, put into the car, and driven to jail.
At jail, they took my shoes and socks, emptied my pockets, frisked me again. They said I had to fill out a booking document, and take a breathalyzer. I said I did not consent to a breathalizer (BAC), and that I would not fill out the form (or anything that would violate my 5th amendment).
They then then put me into an 8′ x 12′ cell. I was given two blankets a plastic pillow, and a plastic cup for water from the stainless steel toilet/sink, which offered no privacy and had a soaking wet roll of toilet paper.
I observed the booking officer going over every inch of my property, taking every card, credit card, business card, scrap of paper, and cash out of my wallet and entering ALL of the information from them into their database. I was being violated! I knocked on the glass and said, “I do not consent to you going through my personal items or information”.
His reply was, “I’m not, I just doing an inventory.” Another bold faced lie. I was watching him!
Next they sent in a paramedic, who said he wanted to check my vitals and see if I was OK. I said, “I’m fine. I do not consent to any testing.” He seemed disappointed, but repeated what I said and left.
A few minutes later, Adam, another paramedic, arrived and explained that he would be observing me for a while. I asked Adam if he knew why I was being held.
He said, “as I understand it, they can’t release you because there is nobody to come for you…”
I corrected him, “that isn’t true. I could have someone here in 10 minutes. They will not allow me to make a phone call. Then NEVER asked me if there was anyone who could come and get me.”
He just shrugged and said, “I’m just telling you what they told me. I’m not here to judge this.”
This got me wondering… had they lied to Adam about why I was there??? He observed me for around 4 hours, making occasional notes. At 2:30 AM, I told him that I had a nasty cut on my hand, and that I would like a new dressing on it – a bandaid and some anti-bacterial ointment.
He said, “would you like me to look at that?”
I said, “yes please.”
He called one of the booking officers, and asked it he would let him in the cell. He never came. At 3:30 AM, I asked if he was gonna look at my hand. He mumbled something that I couldn’t hear, and shook his head no.
I asked if he could just slide a band-aid, some cream, and an antiseptic wipe under the door. He informed me that he was not allowed to do that.
Ten minutes passed, and I asked again if I could make a phone call. I was told I could not make a phone call until I complied with their process. So I sat down.
Every two hours, I asked if I could make a phone call to let my wife know I was OK. Each time, I was given a different lie – “I’ll ask the supervisor”… “it is against our policy”… “not until you fill out the booking form”… they never did get back to me.
At one point, I said, “let me see the booking form, maybe I can fill that out.”
To which they replied – “are you gonna blow into the BAC?”
End of conversation. No form was presented.
This went on all night. For 10 hours, I asked for a phone call to call my wife or an attorney, and was denied.
Finally, an hour or so after the morning shift came in, one of the officers said, “…if you don’t like it, you should have called an attorney”.
I said, “sir, I asked if I could call an attorney and was told “NO”. I have been asking for 10 hours and not been allowed to make a call yet.”
He looked very surprised, but didn’t say anything. Fifteen minutes later, he asked me if I would like to make a phone call.
I said, “yes please”, and called my wife. While I spoke to her, explaining my situation, I observed his body language. I explained where I was, and that there was no point in coming since they told me they would not release me to her, unless I complied with their policies. I confirmed this by saying, “is that correct officer?” and he nodded.
She asked to speak to the officer. I handed over the phone. During the call, he said, “yes, if someone will come and pick him up, we can release him.” Just like that, the truth came out and they began the procedure to release me.
I had been disappeared, falsely arrested, been forced to sit in a cold cell for 10 hours, all based on a lie! This entire illegal detention could have been avoided if they had allowed me to call my wife 10 hours earlier.
This was an absolute abuse of power. An illegal detention, bordering on kidnapping. An illegal search and seizure.
Clearly this had NOTHING to do with my safety, and everything to do with the ego of an angry civil servant in a costume who was infuriated that I wouldn’t follow his every demand. How dare I exercise my right to walk freely. How dare I not give him my state issued driver’s license when the servant demanded my “papers”. And just like Nazi Germany, this costumed thug decided he would disappear me to teach me who the boss was. After all who was I to dare to walk on his highway?!
As I left the jail – on my own – I asked for a copy of the police report. I was told that there was none. (can they really be this ignorant?) I pressed them and said I needed a copy of all the paperwork on my arrest and detention. I want the names and the complete account. They told me that I had to go to the administration office next door, and walked outside with me and pointed at the door. The office was closed. I called them and was told that they might be there Thursday or Friday, and I could try back then… but they might not have it.
I suppose I should be thankful that there were two eye-witnesses there with the hot-headed officer number 3, who refused to give me his name, or I might have ended up in the ditch or with a bullet in my head like so many Germans who dared to challenge the authority of the Stasi. After all, if he killed me, who would question his account of the story on his highway? If he claimed that I attacked him and he had no choice but to “put me down”, or some other absurd excuse that the blue line would stand behind, who would doubt him?
So let this be a reminder and a warning to everyone out there this Independence Day. You are not free. The law enforcement forces of America don’t “follow” the law, they “invent” it. The law is whatever they say it is. They don’t protect your rights, they violate them at will. They are not there to protect you, they are there to tax and harass you and remind you that you are among the great unwashed who needs to be kept in your place, and lick their boots when the SAY to! They are not heroes or defenders of the legal process, but an elite gang of thugs who operates outside the law, and will gladly press their jackboots into the neck of any pedestrian who fails to worship their costume.
How did this happen? Could this happen to you? I did absolutely nothing to provoke this. If it could happen to me, why couldn’t it happen to you? I was simply walking home on a quiet country road – Minding my own business. Yet, the sheriffs violated my rights, without provocation:
Illegally Detained - Arbitrary arrest and arbitrary detention are the arrest or detention of an individual in a case in which there is no likelihood or evidence that they committed a crime against legal statute, or in which there has been no proper due process of law.
(Every officer told me that I was not under arrest, and that I had not broken any law, yet I was locked in a cold, brightly lit cell for over 10 hours and not permitted to make a phone call or seek legal council.)
This Independence Day, please thank the costumed thugs at San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office for their service.
Administration (970) 728-4442
Also, let Mayor Stu Fraser know what a great job the Sheriff’s are doing. 970-728-2157
Let them know how grateful you are to them for allowing you to drive on their road, and for getting home each day without a 16 hour detention for whatever BS excuse they choose to invent. Make sure they know how happy you are with how they are spending your tax dollars.