Commit this to memory:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."Bottom line --unless the officer wanting to harass you, search your car, pester you or argue with you can PRODUCE a WARRANT issued by a judge that describes 'particularly' the article that you are suspected of possessing, you need not submit to any search whatsoever. You know that! The judge knows that! But 'hot dogs' cops either don't know it or don't care or both!
--Fourth Amendment, U.S. Constitution
Most of the time, police must present their probable cause to a judge or majistrate, whom they ask for a search or arrest warrant. Information is reliable if it shows that it's more likely than not that a crime has occurred and the evidence sought exists at the place named in the search warrant, or that the suspect named in the arrest warrant has committed a crime.
The prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures effectively restricts actions that cops may wish to take but cannot unless they get a warrant. Producing the probable cause is the responsibility of the police and it follows from the 'presumption of innocence'. That's not your problem! The fact is "unreasonable searches and seizures" are illegal if not authorized by a warrant and NO warrant shall be issued but upon 'probable cause'! Therefore, you are not required or expected to do the cop's job for them. An example of what cops are capable of occurred in Houston some 20 years ago. Cops, responding to a disturbance, arrested an hispanic Viet Nam war hero who was accused of creating a row in a bar.
He was beaten so badly by the cops that the jailer refused to admit him; he ordered the cops to take him to a hospital. Instead, they took him to a dimly lit area on Buffalo Bayou between downtown and the city's River Oaks/Memorial area. There they beat the holy hell out of him while shackled. Then they leveraged him out over the bridge and DUMPED him into the inky dark waters of Buffalo Bayou some 20 ft (or more) below.
He drowned and the cops --to Houston's credit --were made to stand trial for murder! They were convicted! I covered the trial.
What can one do to protect him/herself from rogue cops? There is no panacea, no magic wand. I do have some suggestions:
- If you should get stopped by a cop who persists and despite not having a warrant FORCES a search upon you, get his badge number!
- SUE him!
- Demand that he be dismissed without pension!
- FILE charges against him!
- Sue either the city, the state, the district!
- Sue the bastards!