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Illegal vehicle searches due to K9's "signaling" to officer

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posted on Apr, 8 2019 @ 06:02 PM
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I've had a big problem for a long time with using K9's to get probable cause to search vehicles. It was very clear from the beginning that this was a tool ripe for abuse as it is up to the officer to determine whether the K9 signals the officer and it is all too clear that the dog's are looking to the handler for signals on how they should behave.

I decided to look for video's of K9's doing exterior searches of vehicles and found there are a huge number of these video's on police TV shows that show the entire search, including the officer while the search is being done - so we get to see the behavior of the officer and the dog as the search is done. There are many cases where it is 100% clear that the officer is signaling the dog to sit and this varies from dog to dog as to what the signal is for that animal - it is almost 100% of the time a hand or arm signal (movement/placement) used by the officer that the dog sees, and they respond by dropping their hind quarters.


Many times we see the handler get the dog out and when they do they will get some toy out to get the dog all wound up and excited. The dog is trained to associate the toy with a reward of some kind and I don't know the exact process if the dog thinks it is looking for the toy or what it is doing, but after the dog inevitably signals the officer, it is rewarded with being given the squeaky toy, pull rope, etc.

I've noticed that in most cases the handler will "hide" the toy behind his back, and this, almost 100% of the time, results in the dog starting to sit down or at least dropping his hind quarters to the ground. If the officer see's this movement that is the "signal" they are looking for. The officer will place their hands behind their backs, watch for the dog to drop hind quarters, and when they start to react, they will bring their hands back in front, which makes the dog stand back up. This is 100% a trained reaction and it is actually very easy to train a dog to do b/c it is very largely a natural response, as my dog would do this when he wanted me to give him "his" toy
It is like they get all excited and the toy is with-held, and they think settling down (sitting in most cases) will result in the toy being given to them. I've seen this with the majority of dogs I've played with, so it is natural and easy to train them to act this way - so they can claim it is a "trained" police dog, which is basically a lie, they are trained to react to signals given by the officer.

I also have a very strong suspicion that many of the dogs are not as well trained to find drugs, guns, money, contraband, etc as they are said to be, b/c they don't need to be. They can just say "it signaled" and then the officer's can do a manual search. I've seen SO many dog's that have signaled where it turns out there was nothing there, and the excuse is "well there was probably something there not long ago" - what a great cover/excuse to always explain away the intrusion into your constitutional rights.

On one popular Cop TV show, they very often will get the dog out, show the lead up to the search, then cut to a commercial while the dog is searching, then come back after it is over and show the officer telling the driver "the dog signaled and we are searching your vehicle". They used to show the searches in entirety but it became clear the officers were signaling and many times, the behavior was the same the entire way around the vehicle but it resulted in a search.

For all you apologists, I don't want' to hear that the signals are so subtle that anyone but the handler can't pick them up. That is total BS and you know it.

This practice is 100% criminal and unconstitutional and if activists (especially BLM) wanted to protest something worth while, this would be an excellent issue to protest because it results in A LOT of people going to prison of fines being imposed (often leading to prison for failure to appear or pay illegal fines - which hurts their communities across the country).

I would think that organizations like the ACLU would be all over this but for some reason they remain silent. What can be done about this and how can the police be held to a higher standard after decades of this atrocious abuse of power?




posted on Apr, 8 2019 @ 06:08 PM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof

I agree 100%. I recently had my car searched by a K-9 unit (after being illegally detained) and the original cop told the K-9 cop to make sure their cameras were off. Then they waved a dog toy all around my car and said the dog alerted. They then arrested me for having my own prescription because it was in a pill container.

The charged we're ultimately dropped, but not before great expense to me.

K-9 units are just a work-around for illegal searches. The majority of "alerts" are false. I don't know how it's still in use...
edit on 8-4-2019 by sine.nomine because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 8 2019 @ 06:28 PM
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originally posted by: sine.nomine
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

I agree 100%. I recently had my car searched by a K-9 unit (after being illegally detained) and the original cop told the K-9 cop to make sure their cameras were off. Then they waved a dog toy all around my car and said the dog alerted. They then arrested me for having my own prescription because it was in a pill container.

The charged we're ultimately dropped, but not before great expense to me.

K-9 units are just a work-around for illegal searches. The majority of "alerts" are false. I don't know how it's still in use...


That is disgusting. I really don't know how this has stood up in court for so long. I'm all behind giving officers the tools to do their jobs, but this has gone from a specialty tool with highly trained dogs, to an entire industry focused on supplying "trained" dogs (at GREAT expense) to LE.

With body cam's it should be 100% illegal to have any search that isn't 100% captured on video by the officer, or more than one officer. These video's need to be accessible to the defendant at trial as well. The problem with this is with the video from the K9 officer's point of view, we can't see the officer signal. That is why I like the Cop TV shows, b/c it's external video that captures everything.

I'm going to do some work and collect the searches I've seen that show the officers signaling or the dog's behavior the same throughout the search. There have to be thousands available online by now and I would think that should be enough to get something done about this.

There also needs to be a very hefty penalty for the intrusion into people's personal property, a very stiff fine against the department. IDK what the best way is to fight this, but I would think there would be plenty of activist groups willing to fight against something that effects ALL colors and people, not just one race - but that might not grab the same headlines.



posted on Apr, 8 2019 @ 07:29 PM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof

I have seen this trickery as well. They can make the dog hit on anything. I think many are trained to hit on cash too so that makes everyone guilty almost, especially if it is true that the majority of money has drug residue on it from circulation.



posted on Apr, 8 2019 @ 07:39 PM
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Absolutely, most of the time the dog is just there to create a pretense for searching. Double-blind studies have proven the false positive rate is extremely high, but of course the law enforcement community won't talk about the issue.



posted on Apr, 8 2019 @ 08:04 PM
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originally posted by: AndyFromMichigan
Absolutely, most of the time the dog is just there to create a pretense for searching. Double-blind studies have proven the false positive rate is extremely high, but of course the law enforcement community won't talk about the issue.


Yes, it is 100% used as pretense to search. They use a witness (who is ridiculously considered an "officer") who can never testify or explain their actions. Seems MIGHTY convenient if you ask me!

So what can be done about this? One would think this would be a VERY easy court case to dismiss or bar the use of dogs in perimeter vehicle searches.

What really ticks me off is when an officer says they smell something and ask for permission to search - which is refused BY RIGHT, by the driver/owner. The officer calls in the K9 and they do a perimeter search and many times they hit but find nothing inside. I wonder how an officer could smell something and then the dog also smells something, but nothing is found. That is a clear case of abuse of power and lying.

The police should be held liable for illegal detainment and possibly kidnapping if they put the person in cuffs or even in their vehicle. I think keeping a person in their vehicle should be kidnapping 100% of the time (ESPECIALLY if cuffed) if they are not already under arrest.

What organization should be contacted to fight this? Is this a bipartisan issue - do they both support the use of K9's or does one party dislike the practice? I would suspect that the Dem's would be against this on the grounds of minorities being searched at a much higher rate (either factually or with a BS leftist narrative - either should support this) and Republicans and libertarians should be outraged about this because it is 100% unconstitutional. I suspect that they don't fight this because they think it will never effect them and it is a tool that can be used to harass those they don't like when they are in power - or basically all the time, b/c it doesn't seem to change when administrations/parties in power change.

So, should the ACLU be the org that would fight this, or is there some other group that might support this issue? Anyone have any suggestions here?



posted on Apr, 8 2019 @ 08:26 PM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof

When I was arrested, I was pulled over for "swerving within my lane" (not illegal). They gave me my warning then wouldn't let me go. I asked if I was being detained again and the officer said yes. I asked why. He said because I looked nervous. I asked if it was illegal to be nervous and he said no. I then was detained for an hour until the next K-9 unit was available.

I was arrested for a prescription drug for anxiety that was prescribed to me. $5000 later, a lawyer got me off Scott free. Thanks, "justice" system.

The police should have to reimburse me for that crap. I damn near got fired for it.

ETA: I know better than to trust public pretenders.
edit on 8-4-2019 by sine.nomine because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 8 2019 @ 09:08 PM
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originally posted by: sine.nomine
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

When I was arrested, I was pulled over for "swerving within my lane" (not illegal). They gave me my warning then wouldn't let me go. I asked if I was being detained again and the officer said yes. I asked why. He said because I looked nervous. I asked if it was illegal to be nervous and he said no. I then was detained for an hour until the next K-9 unit was available.

I was arrested for a prescription drug for anxiety that was prescribed to me. $5000 later, a lawyer got me off Scott free. Thanks, "justice" system.

The police should have to reimburse me for that crap. I damn near got fired for it.

ETA: I know better than to trust public pretenders.


Wow, that is insane! I don't know how the police aren't held to the same standard that civil plaintif's are, if they loose the court case, they very often have to pay court & attorney fees.

There are other things I have problems with the police, like them being able to pull people over on someone else's report and then not tell you why you are being pulled over - then they use force if you ask why and don't cowtow to their unreasonable demands (ending up in arrest and trip to hospital). This also happens much more than people think and there is no punishment for the person calling in the false report. It's similar to SWAT'ing but in someone's car. This happened once that I know of because someone was uncomfortable with how their roommate stored their gun (unsecured, out open in house w/ lots of people) and the gun owner reported the person was very nervous and had access to a gun.... SMDH... Ended up getting
car-swatted in their car on the way to work.



posted on Apr, 8 2019 @ 09:39 PM
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Seems to me a drug/bomb-sniffing dog provides reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

I'm rusty on the vagaries as I'm about 40 years older than my training now.

Either way, I'd be looking. Considering what LE has to put up with these days, I'd back them either way, even as a member of a jury.



posted on Apr, 9 2019 @ 12:38 AM
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a reply to: Creep Thumper
yup, it is reasonable suspicion. That is the minimum for getting a search warrant. It is lesser than probable cause but is the standard for issuing a warrant, however if something is found that was specifically said to be beforehand as the thing of suspicion, then that is probable cause and an arrest can be made.

Unfortunately this is a massive oversight with K-9 units, as a dog may or may not be properly trained or handled. Then the expense of having a good lawyer to point this out and prove it in court is expensive to say the least. Furthermore the only way to get back that expense is a further expense of a civil case. Most likely for improper purpose or abuse of purpose resulting in malicious prosecution. However that would be a risk in and of itself.

edit on 9-4-2019 by dubiousatworst because: fixed


To elaborate further. Could the evidence of the police willfully turning off the cameras before the search by the dog be seen as abuse of purpose? Can you or your lawyer prove that? That would require a request for the data from the camera as evidence, and could possibly be used as proof of malicious prosecution. However a lawyer is expensive, and the whole rigamarole of going through this process would be time consuming and may only end up meaning you have to pay more if/when that case is lost.
edit on 9-4-2019 by dubiousatworst because: elaboration rather than new post.



posted on Apr, 9 2019 @ 01:12 AM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof

Ha, no kidding.
The real life thing that happened to me would be a hoot. But that's more, uhm, RATS material.
Which I cannot access anyhow.
Oh well. Still agree.
Watch your butts in Utah btw.





posted on Apr, 9 2019 @ 04:55 AM
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Well, considering they do the same thing without the dog, it isn't surprising.

'Do you smell that?' -- 'Yep' (confirmation)
'Do you see his eyes?'' -- 'Yep' (confirmation)

etc.

They are legitimate reasons for looking deeper, but there is only qualitative or easily 'gamed' initial evidence with no way to counter. There's a whole forum out there where dirty cops talk about their setups. I wouldn't blame K-9 use any more than any other though.



posted on Apr, 9 2019 @ 08:39 AM
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originally posted by: Creep Thumper
Seems to me a drug/bomb-sniffing dog provides reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

I'm rusty on the vagaries as I'm about 40 years older than my training now.

Either way, I'd be looking. Considering what LE has to put up with these days, I'd back them either way, even as a member of a jury.


Lol that statements reeks of pure ignorance. "I don't care what they do I back them!" Did you "thump" the creeps in your day with your baton?
edit on 9-4-2019 by TheGreatWork because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2019 @ 11:00 AM
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originally posted by: TheGreatWork

originally posted by: Creep Thumper
Seems to me a drug/bomb-sniffing dog provides reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

I'm rusty on the vagaries as I'm about 40 years older than my training now.

Either way, I'd be looking. Considering what LE has to put up with these days, I'd back them either way, even as a member of a jury.


Lol that statements reeks of pure ignorance. "I don't care what they do I back them!" Did you "thump" the creeps in your day with your baton?


The people who have negative experiences with the police make their own beds.

Being a dick when an officer asks for identification is only the beginning of a problem. You cooperate, or you don't.

The choice is always yours. We respond accordingly.

ETA, I want to clarify that I was not a police officer. I worked in an obscure area of LE enforcing different statutes. However, my work meant I dealt with similar attitude problems.
edit on 4/9/2019 by Creep Thumper because: CLARIFICATION.







 
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