Social Question

6rant6's avatar

Have you had a run in with the police in which a completely benign action on your part was seen as potentially law breaking?

Asked by 6rant6 (13700points) January 10th, 2011

Years ago, I was at a card club and got a call from my wife asking me to hurry home to meet some friends she’d brought over. So I ran to the grocery store to get milk then to my car… where I was questioned by two cops at some length.

Turned out that there was a thief operating in the neighborhood (West L.A.) and my running made me look suspicious. They let me go when they saw the milk on the front seat.

Anyway, what innocent activity has gotten you in trouble with John Law?

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25 Answers

Scooby's avatar

Not so much trouble with the law, I was driving home from work after the last night shift of the week, some years ago now…. It was around 03.30 am…. I had just joined the motorway when I noticed a police car position itself behind me, it followed me the rest of the way home, about ten miles.. And I mean followed me home, as I pulled onto my drive this copper pulled across the back of my car as to block me in, on my own drive!!
When I got out of my car, he was almost to my drivers door…… So I asked him what his problem was? He went on to ask me “do you live here”, “why are you driving so late at night” I honestly thought he was taking the piss but he was deadly serious! :-/
Once we established I did live at this address, he wanted to breathalyse me….thirty minutes I was stood in front of my own house, on my own drive, trying to explain to this moron that I’d just left work having finished a twelve hour shift, I hadn’t had a drink yet & the last time I did was the previous weekend! What a palaver!! In the end he went on his merry way after I asked him for his details as I was going to complain about his conduct, he must have been brand new or there was a slight glitch in his programming!?? :-/
A complete waste of time!

augustlan's avatar

Not the police, but store security. As teenagers, a friend and I walked to an all-night drugstore, just for something to do – at about 3 o’clock in the morning. It was a pretty big place, and we wandered around for quite a while. After perusing the cosmetics aisle we started to leave. We were apprehended by the uniformed security guard after one of the clerks insisted she’d seen us shoplifting. Since my friend actually had a history of shoplifting, I was sure we were in for a world of trouble! Side note: while all this was going on, one of my mother’s co-workers walked in. AWKWARD!

Anyway, he made us turn out our pockets, and the ‘shoplifted’ item turned out to be my friend’s own cigarette lighter. At the time, you could still smoke in stores. The lighter was red, and the clerk thought she’d seen my friend pocket a nail polish or lipstick or something. Obviously, they let us go, but it was really uncomfortable for a few moments there. The co-worker gave us a ride home, and told my mother all about it the next day. We were supposed to be asleep while this whole thing went down, so there was trouble after all.

meiosis's avatar

@augustlan Did you think of suing the store for defamation of character?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Not me, but, last year my husband was stopped by the police at the end of our block. Apparently they thought he had come from our neighbor’s house (which was busted later that week for dealing drugs.) They assumed he had just made a purchase, as they had that house under surveillance. The funny part was that the passenger in my husband’s car happened to be a young man who lives in the house next door. Not affiliated with the drugs, his parents were the ones selling the dope. Anyhow, way to blow their cover, eh?

mrentropy's avatar

Why, yes. I was 18 or 19 and had just bought my first new car, a 1987 Honda CRX Si. I had dropped off my girlfriend but I wasn’t tired so I ended up driving around the roads of my neighborhood in the early morning hours.

I figured I had enough and was on the way home when I was pulled over by the police. There had been reports of a “gang” of kids stealing street signs. The officer looked in my car, used the flashlight to look into my “back seat” and I thought I would be helpful and offered to open the hatchback. He said that wouldn’t be necessary and let me go on my way.

If you don’t know why that whole episode was a little odd you need to remember the words “gang” and “street signs” and then look up what the 1987 CRX looked like.

augustlan's avatar

@meiosis Nah. We weren’t harmed in any way. Just scared.

Smashley's avatar

I was 13 and had just moved to a new neighborhood. On Veterans Day that year, school was let out early and I came home to find myself locked out. I really had to pee, and I was too nervous and unfamiliar with my neighbors to start knocking on doors, so I did what I thought I had to do. I grabbed a handy crowbar and started prying my way through an old basement window, trying to get it. It was a slow process, since I really didn’t want to break anything, and by the time I finally got it open, my eyes were practically turning yellow. As I slowly slithered through the opening in search of relief, I suddenly felt myself being pulled backwards and thrown onto the ground where an officer restrained me. In a rage I lost myself and started screaming at them (did I mention how bad I had to pee?) and in a couple seconds they let me up, checked my bag, are questioned me. Luckily one of the contractors working on my house came home at the time came back and vouched for me, and they finally let me go. Apparently a neighbor had spotted me and called the cops. To make things worse, he used that encounter to apologize to my family later, and ended up spending the better part of the next ten years hitting on my mom.

john65pennington's avatar

This answer is from an officers point of view.

Right color, wrong car.

I was operating lasar radar in a construction zone. speed limit was 45 mph. most of the drivers were obeying the speed limit. a few were not and a citation was issued.

A silver Toyota was clocked at 86 mph in a 45 mph zone. i took out after the violator. as i was catching up to him, i was given a police call on my radio. as i was looking down at my computer for more information, i took my eyes off the speeding car i was about to stop. unknowingly to me, another silver Toyota had entered the road and was beside the traffic violator’s car. both were now going the posted speed limit. both cars were identical in color, make and style. naturally, i stopped the wrong car. a man, woman and their two children swore to me that they had just entered the parkway and going the speed limit. their two children convinced me that this was true. i explained the situation to this driver and apologized for stopping them. they understood and went on their way.

That day, i learned a valuable lesson. the speeder was never located.

You can’t judge a book, by looking at its cover.

marinelife's avatar

I drove to the grocery store with my youngest sister who was in high school and my brother, brother-in-law and my other sister.

We all sat in the car while my brother-in-law ran in to get something. We were just sitting there talking idly. My youngest sister was practicing for an oral report she had to give for school.

I pulled out of the parking lot to take them home when an unmarked police car pulled up to our car coming the wrong way on the street. Then our car was surrounded by a whole bunch of cop cars. Snipers armed with shotguns were kneeling down and pointing the weapons at us.

A man with a megaphone told us to get out of the car and throw down the gun. My brother and brother-in-law were yanked out of the back seat by cops and spreadeagled on the car and patted down.

I got out of the car and said, “What’s going on? What are you doing?”

The cop said, “Throw out the gun.” I said, “We don’t have a gun.”

He pointed to the seat. I, very stupidly, reached into the car and picked up the toy gun my sister had been using as a prop for her speech class, and held it out saying, “This, it’s just a toy.” I am so lucky that they were not trigger happy or I could have gotten shot.

My only defense was that the entire situation just seemed unreal to me.

It turns out that there had been a string of robberies at local Photomat kiosks in grocery store parking lots.

We had just totally accidentally happened to park near the Photomat.

Someone called us in as suspicious.

It was the scariest moment of my life, and it permanently changed my view of the police as helpful.

crisw's avatar

In college, some friends of mine were nearly hauled off in the paddywagon for playing flashlight tag in a public park- people running around in dark clothes with flashlights looked mighty suspicious!

My only such encounter with Mr. Law arose from a late-night amorous encounter in a van in Balboa Park that was suddenly interrupted by flashlights and orders to come out. I had to get out and prove I was of a consenting age. Talk about killing the moment…

6rant6's avatar

@marinelife Just think how you’d feel if you’d been shot and killed!

marinelife's avatar

@6rant6 I wouldn’t feel a thing. I’d be dead.

6rant6's avatar

@marinelife Sorry, forgot to include the ”{THIS IS A JOKE}” Icon for you. Mea culpa.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I once got a ticket for stopping at a stop sign and looking both ways before proceeding.

True story.

6rant6's avatar

@SavoirFaire You are the outlaw, aren’t you!

tranquilsea's avatar

Never by a cop but I had a situation happen when I was sixteen that was bad.

I had been involved in a minor flirtation with a guy. We were pulled together because we had our birthdays in common. That got us talking and scheming about what to buy one another for our respective birthdays. He bought me florescent underwear. I went on the hunt for florescent condoms.

I went to our local drug store to see if I could purchase said condoms. I had been standing in front of the condoms for a while as I was reading all the packages. Next thing I know I have the pharmacist shouting, “Hey you!” I looked down the aisle as I was sure he was yelling at someone else. No…it was me. I looked up at him with a puzzled look and said, “Me?” He directed to me to march over to the counter and asked me to empty my pockets. I put a $20 bill on the counter but he wouldn’t believe that I didn’t have any thing else in my pockets. He made me call my mother.

She arrived minutes later and after hearing his story and then mine she blew her top. Not at me: at the pharmacist. She shouted that store down. “HOW DARE YOU!” “IF KIDS ARE GOING TO STEAL ANYTHING OUT OF A PHARMACY WOULDN’T YOU WANT IT TO BE CONDOMS?!?” “SHE DIDN’T STEAL ANYTHING!”

I cannot tell you how embarrassing that situation was!

6rant6's avatar

@tranquilsea f’ing drug store cowboy…

Sounds like your mother was making the best of a bad situation. I think that points out that as a parent it’s not a choice of whether we embarrass our kids. Only how.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@6rant6 I am bad to the bone. My following of traffic laws makes me an indescribable danger to myself, others, and society at large. ~

6rant6's avatar

@SavoirFaire I’ll be expecting a segment on Dateline any time now…

tranquilsea's avatar

@6rant6 I wasn’t embarrassed at my mother. The pharmacist had already drawn a ton of attention to me through his ranting and raving about how he was sick of teenagers stealing from him.

meiosis's avatar

I was once (wrongly) arrested for a burglary at an off-licence (liquor store) and the detective, who fancied himself the hard-man, opened the interview with the line “The name’s McGregor, spell B A S T A R D”. I had a cast-iron alibi, so found the whole interview amusing, much to his spittle-flecked rage.

meiosis's avatar

@tranquilsea Here in England you could sue, and would definitely win, the pharmacist for defamation and slander. It’s outrageous that someone can besmirch your reputation in such a way without the facts to back them up.

tranquilsea's avatar

@meiosis Well that was why I was quite happy with the way my mother handled it. She made it well known that the pharmacist had jumped to a wrong conclusion.

Can you imagine, though? I had never purchased condoms in my life! To have that be my first attempt and be shouted down in such an embarrassing way…

flutherother's avatar

I was cycling home one afternoon when I came across a metal barrier across the road. Naturally I lifted my bicycle over and was clambering over myself when an unseen policeman in a nearby squad car began bellowing at me through an kind of electronic bullhorn. I had no idea what he was on about but as he was armed I thought it best to comply. He said he wouldn’t arrest me this time and I cycled home the long way. I still don’t know what those barriers were for but the next time I went that way they were gone.

KatawaGrey's avatar

When I was in seventh grade, I had a group of friends who weren’t exactly the most law-abiding crew. I was at the mall with three of them. Two of them were in my grade and one of them was the older sister of one of the girls. She was fifteen and the rest of us were twelve or thirteen. We all went into one of those little girly stores that sells cheap jewelry and make-up. We were all doing our own thing and then they left the store. I followed them out. I was a little bit behind them and they were huddled over something but I couldn’t see what it was. We all went outside and they all started to smoke. It was cold and I went inside while they smoked. As soon as I sat down on a bench just inside the mall, a sales girl from the store passed by me and went outside. Immediately, she came back in holding the lighters, cigarettes and a little blue ring that one of my friends had stolen. Interestingly enough, I didn’t get in any trouble and my mother who was the one in the mall with us, though she had been in a different store at the time believed me when I told her I wasn’t involved.

Like @augustlan, this had nothing to do with the cops but mall security did get involved and, damn, was I scared of going into that store for years.

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