Hopefully, The Phoenix Police Won't Find You Odd

Raymond Rodden was arrested and dragged to the police station for interrogation for a) taking pictures of the Sandra Day O'Connor Federal Court Building (not a crime) and b) walking down an alley (also not a crime).  The police followed him for an hour on foot (how creepy would that be), tore his car apart, have impounded and will not return his phone and computer, and contacted the man's boss to make sure Rodden would get fired from his job.  Eventually they released him, because he had done nothing illegal.  They kept repeating this to him in the interrogation:

“I told them I was not doing anything illegal by taking photos and they kept saying, ‘we’re not disputing that it’s illegal, we just find it odd,’” he said.

Sorry, but people cannot be arrested, detained, and have their property searched and seized for being odd.

This seems to be a typical police state reaction after a terrorist incident or public crime.  If we had just hassled that guy earlier for being odd, this may never have happened.  The problem is that for every one person who does odd things in the runup to a horrendous crime, another hundred thousand people do odd things because either they are odd or because we simply do not understand their motives.

  • http://twitter.com/tjic tjic

    > people cannot be arrested, detained, and have their property searched and seized for being odd.

    I think this tale demonstrates that they CAN be. You and I just agree that they SHOULDN'T be.

    Mencious Moldbug changed my thinking on these matters - it's pointless to state counterfactual things like "the government has limited enumerated powers". If it doesn't act like it does, and if the Supreme Court doesn't force it to, then it doesn't. You and I can say that it does until the cows come home, but it doesn't change anything.

    Either people succeed in changing popular opinion, or people start mowing down the imperialist forces, or people just accept the boot in the face.

    Pen, sword, or surrender.

  • jdgalt

    Hopefully, Mr. Rodden will be able to get a lawyer and get those cops arrested and fired for being Nazis.

  • http://profiles.google.com/kahrhoff Chris Kahrhoff

    Too bad stanton is too much of an idiot to do anything about this.

  • Steve Burrows

    I, and several companions, enjoyed a visit to Phoenix for the 2012 Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, and found the officers of the Phoenix police we interacted with gracious hosts and professional. We certainly felt that way compared with Sheriff Joseph Arpaio's thugs, dressed as officers of the law, whom we were there to protest their treatment of and actions against people who don't look like us. Letter to the mayor sent.

  • marque2

    A guy at my work had his brother detained by homeland security at the I-8 border patrol/Homeland security checkpoint just inside of California on a trip from AZ. No-one is sure why they tried to detain him, but the, slashed the tires on his car, then impounded his car and took him to a detention facility for 11 hours. During that time - they were in the next room - where the brother could hear them trying to figure how to trump charges up against him. At first they were trying to claim he ran the stop but the video showed he was waved on. One officer was trying to convince the others to claim that this guy swung at him - but the other cops wouldn't go along.

    In the end they let him go, after hearing that folks were looking for him (though the Highway patrol didn't help out by giving the towing information which they had access too) and made him pay for a taxi to San Diego - he couldn't get his car from the impound lot at the time. Next day they drove back but couldn't get the car because the Homeland security police "lost" the registration - and they couldn't release the car without proof of ownership. The taxi, tire damage, ride back probably cost the guy about $800 when it was over.

    The moral of this story - OMG - and be sure to have a hidden copy of your driver's license and registration hidden in the car - other than in the glove.

    It was the case of being odd - may have been the unusual last name.

  • Johnathan

    I used to do a weekly commute from San Francisco to Phoenix for work, and spent a lot of time driving in areas near the airport. At the time I was also a volunteer EMT (back in California).

    I would often stop to talk to homeless that were lying in the street or otherwise looked like they were unsafe, and occasionally there were medical issues that needed a local EMS response, so I'd call it in.

    Boy, were the cops ever pissed off! During one incident where it was obvious someone had been hit by a car, the responding policeman recognized me and thought it was "suspicious" that I was in that part of town and that maybe it was I who had hit the guy. There was a witness who verified it was someone else, but the whole time the cops were eyeing me and just couldn't understand how anyone could simply be a good samaritan and be helping others out, and the fact that I wasn't even a local resident almost got me arrested.

    It didn't stop me but I sure felt that someday I'd be locked up in a cage for showing basic human kindness.

  • NL7

    If the guy a week later blew up that building, then millions of people would say things like "it was obvious he was a terrorist, why didn't anybody arrest him for taking photos at 3 am?!" So the police err on the side of being jerks and the number of libertarians who get pissed that weirdos are subject to arrest is much smaller than the number of conservatives and authoritarians who think being weird is inherently suspicious. The other half of this equation is that most people don't go for 3 am photo shoots of public buildings, so they're willing to see those weirdos that do that get some flak for it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/kahrhoff Chris Kahrhoff

    travis didn't invent that saying.

  • jdgalt

    I doubt there are that many authoritarians around. Unfortunately, most police are that way.

  • hallja10

    "Sorry, but people cannot be arrested, detained, and have their property searched and seized for being odd."

    But his story proves that people *can* be arrested, detained, and have their property searched and seized for being odd.

  • Noumenon72

    As an odd person, I count myself very lucky that the police didn't do anything damaging to me when I decided to explore the basement of my bank because it was unlocked. I had no fear, cooperated, and admitted going in there, but they didn't take advantage of that, believed me that the CDs I had were my computer backup, interviewed me and let me go.

  • NL7

    To be clear, I don't mean people who endorse tyranny or fascism; by "authoritarian" I just mean people who believe in deference to authority and in societal control. People who think "you can't talk back to police" and "if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear" and so forth. Not like brownshirts, just people who persistently choose the side of those in power, whether that means parents, the wealthy, the government, the church, whatever.

  • jdgalt

    I'm not as worried about those people, because they tend to change their minds when it happens to them or their friends.