Dennis E. Bottoms
421 Angier Court
Winterville, North Carolina 28590
January 24, 2010
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
Around 10:30 the evening of January 23, 2010, a Winterville Police Officer rang the door bell. There were two police cars with all lights flashing surrounding the rear of my drive way. Upon answering the door, I was asked if the black Mercedes (my son’s car) parked in my drive way belong to me. He stated he received a complaint from a neighbor about a suspicious vehicle in a yard. There was no loud music or criminal activities taking place in my son’s car. Also, a concealed weapon was founded on my son (while he sat in his car) and was confiscated. An unoccupied house (three to four months), sit two doors down, had a vehicle in it yard (front end facing the street) with no one in the car, no lights from the house, and no movement. Not once did the officer(s) approach that house or investigate the vehicle parked in its drive way.
Upon coming into the house, my son explained that the police officer sat near his vehicle for a long period of time (twenty minutes), before he put on the blue lights. I explained to him that the officer was waiting for back up before approaching the (alleged crime) scene. He went on to say the officer asked him did he live here and his response was yes. The policeman asked him to step out of the vehicle and he was frisked (searched) and a weapon was founded and confiscated. He was never asked why he was sitting in the car (with his friends) but was told of a suspicious vehicle in the neighborhood was called in.
I have a degree in criminal justice, and one thing that was taught is the first thing an officer does, upon arriving at a scene (involving vehicles), is to verify the license tags. Having a weapon in your possession on private property does not constitute concealed weapon. To frisk or search an individual requires a probable cause. We have lived in this neighborhood for nine months with the same vehicles. My son often sits in his car and listens to his music. Never had anyone complained or call the local law enforcement about a suspicious vehicle.
Where in the constitution does it state that a teenager cannot sit in his car (while it’s parked in his yard)? I do think racial profiling is unconstitutional. Many of nights there have been young teenagers parked in the parking lot of Food Lion (Winterville) and no blue lights or police officers on the scene. Is it because they are young, innocent, and not suspicious vehicles?
My son and his friends were asked for their names, addresses and telephone numbers. Again, this is all for sitting in the drive way of our home. They deserve an apology and their names, addresses, and telephone numbers should be discarded. Not that I trust or many other trust the police officer to be trustworthy due to racial profiling. Is this the reason why young teenagers do not respect men in blue?
As a member of a local city board I’m embarrass to say I live in Winterville.
Dennis E. Bottoms