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"Treated like a Criminal"

Discussion in 'Carry Issues' started by Sam Spade, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

    May 4, 2003
    On other threads, a common refrain has emerged. People--CCW holders--are offended when the police "treat them like criminals".

    Apparently my questions are getting lost in the noise, so let me post here: What does this mean to you? Is simply being disarmed enough to trigger this feeling? If so, does it apply in other places where one is forced to disarm, or only when the police do it?

    Looking to get perspective from other points of view, so I may have follow on questions. TIA.
  2. RedNine

    RedNine AutomatedSystem

    Mar 6, 2012
    I wouldn't care if they disarmed me. I know it's just for their safety. If they acted in a professional manner and didn't scratch my gun or anything, then I'd be glad to let them hold it for a few minutes.

  3. BLau


    Aug 9, 2000
    St. Louis, MO
    I got disarmed at a stop once. The lady gave me back my pistol that I kept in my bag with the magazine partially ejected and with the round still chambered. She told me to have a nice day after my insurance card flew out of her hands and disappeared. She was very apologetic about losing my stuff. I didn't feel like I was mistreated at all.

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  4. Angry Fist

    Angry Fist Dehumanizer® Lifetime Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    Hellbilly Hill
    You were driving 10 over, or had expired tags. That makes you a criminal.
  5. coqui33

    coqui33 NRA Instructor

    Jul 16, 2009
    Treated like a criminal? I would say:

    1. Being cuffed and detained for more than two hours.
    2. Being arrested, booked, and jailed.
    3. Being beaten, tased, or pepper-sprayed.
    4. Being shot.
  6. kensteele


    Aug 3, 2003
    Leawood, KS
    The first thing that comes to my mind is you are treated like a criminal when you are [unlawfully] profiled.
  7. Misty02


    Aug 25, 2008
    I cannot answer for other people and I know that “technically” my answer will not be correct. Nonetheless, it is what I believe I would feel if it were to happen to me. Oddly, I would completely understand (and actually expect) to be frisked, handcuffed and the whole nine yards should I ever be unfortunate enough to be involved in a self-defense shooting; at least until all got sorted out (which may not happen until I’m at the station, or much later). I wouldn’t feel as if I had been treated “like a criminal” in that circumstance. I understand (as of now) that things would be chaotic and there would likely be too many facts to sort out at the scene.

    Your question, I believe, comes from the traffic stop threads. I have no issues with being disarmed during a stop. I would very much appreciate if my firearm was returned to me fully loaded (as when it was taken) so I don’t have to stop at some empty lot and unnecessarily handle my weapon (increasing the potential of an unintended incident).

    Being asked to exit the vehicle to be frisked (hands on the hood kind of thing) would quite likely make me feel as if I was a criminal, and it’s pretty much the impression others passing by would get as well. Being handcuffed or asked to lie on the ground would fall in that category as well. Now, I have to balance this with the possibility that I was stopped for breaking a traffic law. Not exactly the kind of treatment people that have broken a traffic law would get, but I would feel I have less of a right to be treated in a dignified manner at that point. Needless to say, I would be praying that no one I know (and definitely no one I work with or one of my customers) drove by and witnessed it.

  8. stillbill


    Jan 14, 2005
    This is my boss's story, no supporting documentation.

    While showering after working out at local gym, police storm into locker room and point pistol at him. Ordered him to the floor.

    Same thing to the person in another stall.

    Turns out the person in the other stall had just robbed a bank.

    Duration of encounter about 30 second for boss. Other person, a bit longer.

    Would this count?
  9. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

    May 4, 2003

    Anything you think counts, counts. I'm looking for perceptions in general and to educate myself.
  10. donthelegend


    Feb 14, 2012
    To me being "treated like a criminal" would probably be a combination of actions and the manner in which they occurred. For example, merely being frisked, especially after informing an officer that I was carrying a weapon, would not be a problem (nor would being disarmed for the duration of the stop). Being physically pulled from the vehicle, thrown against it or to the ground, handcuffed, etc, would to me qualify as being treated like a criminal. Being asked to step out of the vehicle, or come back to the officers vehicle do not bother me either.

    During encounters with LEOs, I treat them with respect and I hope they return that (by which I mean that they act professionally, no more, no less). I've had a fair number of LEO encounters (my driving habits used to attract their attention fairly quickly ) and after all of them, I've got tons of respect for what they do, and no complaints about their conduct.

    My two cents on the topic, but obviously everyone feels differently.
  11. Bruce M

    Bruce M

    Jan 3, 2010
    S FL
    Very good question; there may be something to learn here.
  12. janice6

    janice6 Silver Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    I flashed a cop during an accident on a divided highway. She asked if I had a permit for "that thing". I said sure, do you want to see it and she smiled and said no, I trust you.

    I have had nothing but good experiences with cops, no matter what I did. They are very professional
  13. HKLovingIT

    HKLovingIT Resident Evil

    Aug 20, 2010
    Out On The Tiles
    Depends...what's your position on me being in a Vegas penthouse snorting an 8-ball off of some of the local showgirls in various states of undress? Is that okay or should I not be doing that sort of thing? What if I have a doctor's note?


    In all seriousness Sam, or at least as much as I can muster at this scattered late night thoughts...

    I recognize that having a LTCF does not make me Police Jr. or the Deputy's "extra help." I don't expect the fact that I own a firearm to get me a high five, a pat on the bottom and an "on your way good sir" free pass, unless I'm in Arizona, because that's where Gunsite is.

    Conversely, I also don't expect my LTCF status to automatically result in shouted commands or drawn weapons under my nose during my normal day to day life and interaction with the world, to include any possible interaction with law enforcement over minor things such as traffic regulations or my dog was not on a leash. Unless I was in NY, NYC, NJ, DC, Philly or MD or other such strange places.

    In relation to the common traffic stop scenario/complaint thread:
    My thoughts below apply mainly to Joe Soccer Dad, Jane Soccer Mom who got pulled over and may or may not have a CCW - that's not really material to my line of thinking. I am not, nor have I ever been in law enforcement so this is just how I see things as Mr. Suburban member of the community.

    If a person is being pulled over for an infraction such as an expired sticker, tag, etc., they might feel like the officer is "going over the top" by pulling them from the vehicle, patting them down and disarming them if they are carrying, etc. The citizen in a minor traffic stop scenario does not feel like he deserves that level of treatment because he knows (in his mind) that he is a "good guy" but the officer of course does not personally know the citizen or his reputation. He can only judge based on the person's behavior at the time of the stop and the reason he stopped him. I think this connection escapes the citizen in the heat of the moment, or entirely, and leads to citizen butt-hurt.

    Maybe something that might not come to mind for the police, is that to the citizen, the stop is always going to be personal. To you, the officer, it's just the job, but the citizen is always going to take the stop personal to a degree. This might influence the level of butt-hurt expressed and the amount of patience the officer is going to need to possess.

    All the above said - you have to take control of the person and situation such that they don't pose a danger to you or themselves, and do it in a way that is reasonable. But there is the rub. This is the gray area where people are always going to disagree about what is and isn't reasonable. I guess the rule of thumb a lot of people apply is "It's reasonable when it's done to someone else..." :rofl: Or, more seriously, it's almost like how the court defines pornography "I know it when I see it..." Yes, the law may state what is considered reasonable, but the law and reasonable or rational are not always in synch to the perception of an observer. Anyway...

    Personally, I would be miffed about being pulled from the vehicle, patted down and disarmed for a routine traffic stop if I was being polite, was acting "normal" and being reasonable during the stop and it was for nothing more than a suspected traffic violation. I understand that during the stop it's the officer's discretion under the law to have me step out and to disarm me. I wouldn't consider that being treated like a criminal since I understand what is going on, but I would not like it all the same.

    If a guy got pulled over for an expired inspection sticker and the officer proned him out at gunpoint and cuffed him while writing up the ticket, yeah that would be a bit much, CCW present or not. But that's pretty silly and I don't expect that happens all that much in real life. On the Internet, apparently it's every stop though. :rofl:

    In general...

    Since the last time I was pulled over was some 24 years ago for a busted turn signal in mom's station wagon, I'm not real concerned. Thus far, that has been the extent of my criminal career.[​IMG]

    I have watched COPS enough to know that many times those who do things like traffic in drugs or rob convenience stores aren't exactly mindful of keeping their registration up to date. I have seen the dash cam footage where they pull a guy over for something minor and discover the 10 kilos of cocaine, so there is always that. I also really like it on "World's Wildest Whatever" when suspects try to run from the K-9 units with their pants drooping about their knees. You guys need to do more of that stuff and post it up on YTube, it's funny.

    Answering this question is simple yet difficult. It's simple because I would feel like I was being treated like a criminal if I had done something criminal, and the police were arresting me. No duh. It's difficult to answer because my ability to put those two items together and come to that logical conclusion means that I will have difficulty truly understanding what people who freakout when they get a traffic ticket or who act like the rules don't apply to them, for whatever reason, are thinking. :dunno:

    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  14. MinnesnowtaWild


    Dec 26, 2011
    In Minnesota, those are not considered "crimes". But I get what you're saying.
  15. RenegadeGlocker


    Jul 8, 2001
    I think it is self-explanatory and independent of guns.
  16. HarleyGuy


    Mar 29, 2008
    I have an Italian friend who has a funny way of saying "treat me like I was your brother"!

    If an LEO pulls a speeder over, the chances of the speeder getting a ticket drops to "0" and we all know and understand that. However, if the speeder informs the LEO that he is also an off-duty LEO I'm sure the conversation if far different from what it would be if the speeder was a civilian with a concealed carry permit and a loaded firearm present.

    I don't think any civilian in this situation can truly be expected to, or will be "treated like a brother" however, we are far from being an armed criminal.

    The treatment should be the same as if no weapon was present.
  17. I would say I wouldn't feel like I was being treated like a criminal until I was taken to the station and booked. There is a world of difference between Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause.

    All the questions, searching, gun-removal and unloading, and handcuffs out on the street doesn't mean jack to me if I can get in my car and leave at the end of the traffic stop.

    While I might consider it over board, I'm not going to second guess what the officer feels is appropriate for his/her saftey. Especially since a nervous officer isn't good for MY saftey.

    That said, I've never had an officer disarm me in any situation where they been interacting with me in an official way. Two traffic stops (my fault), two accidents (not my fault), and one encounter while I was working church security and a creepo started a fight with me.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  18. F_G


    Jan 11, 2010
    Crown King, AZ
    I was a reserve deputy for 6 years a while back, I KNOW how I treated criminals. But, on the other end, I have never been treated like a criminal during a traffic stop, I always carry a weapon in my vehicle, and I always inform the officer initiating the stop I'm armed. In every instance I was asked where the weapon was, but was never disarmed. Only once was I removed from the vehicle and that was by an AZ DPS officer who asked me to sit in the cruiser with him while he did the paperwork. Now mind you, I've only been pulled over 3 times since my 18th birthday. We won't discuss my driving habits prior to that. :whistling:

    It's obviously a matter of perception and a lot of ignorance. I've been on both sides of the badge and understand the feelings, reasons and perceptions of both sides. Officers need to do what they need to do to go home safely at night, if that offends some people then tough dooty.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  19. eracer

    eracer Where's my EBT?

    Apr 5, 2011
    Tampa, FL
    For me, it's all about attitude. I have always been (and will continue to be) completely respectful and follow all instructions during any encounter with a LEO, insofar as those instructions are required by law.

    All I expect is that I be treated with respect. I know that criminals sometimes play the respect card, hoping to catch an officer off guard, and that may make LEO's even more cautious. I have no problem with cautious. It's when you talk at me like I am a criminal after I've complied with everything you've asked of me that I get upset.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  20. coqui33

    coqui33 NRA Instructor

    Jul 16, 2009
    In a documented case in the 1930s, a couple subjected to a traffic stop were detained and questioned for about 6 hours. They were never taken to the station. They were never booked. They were eventually released with a warning to not return to the county, Would such treatment have meant jack to you?