Prince William County Police Department: Violating Constitutional Rights With Impunity

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

In our discussions about fisking your local Sheriff and his deputies for their views of your rights, especially in the context of working towards constitutional Sheriffs who will prevent agents of the state and federal government from infringing on gun rights, it’s been easy to overlook a very important aspect of your local AO.

In a lot of urban and suburban areas, it’s commonplace to have separated law enforcement duties and authority between the Sheriff and a city or county/city police department.  The Sheriff, under this framework, is responsible for serving warrants, security of the court, juries and the jail system.  The police department is responsible for law enforcement in all other areas.

The pretext for this separation, which likely happened either from a state referendum or a change to state laws, is that the Sheriff, who is an elected officer, can then use his status to show favoritism to those who donated to his campaign, who are his friends, and family.  Conversely, he can punish his enemies.

True enough, this has happened on too many occasions in American history, and where this has been done, the Sheriffs have themselves to blame for it, at least in part.  But this also removes the highest elected law enforcement official from public review and voter approval.  The other side of the sword cuts deep.

I assumed that this is the way Prince William County law enforcement works, since these are police officers, not deputies.

This is a remarkable video, made even more so by the fact that they knew they were being videoed and were still as abusive as they are.  To begin with, photography isn’t a crime, and these officers know it.

They repeatedly make the claim that “we need you … ” normally ending in something like identify yourself.  But the fact of the matter is that no one talks the law or rights.  They don’t really need anything of the sort, they just want to fill out the right paperwork and put another name on a watch list.

They also repeatedly ask his “intent and purpose” with said videography.  Again, that’s not important and isn’t any of their business.  They have no constitutional right to know this information.  They place this in the category of “suspicious activity,” but suspicious activity isn’t a crime.  His detention wasn’t a legal “Terry Stop,” and the police officers greatly add to their problem later in the video.

When he was asked to remove his face cover, the videographer smartly asked them what they would do if he was a Muslim wearing head/face cover and it was his religious beliefs.  They clearly state that they wouldn’t be able to force him to obey the order, and this is highly problematic because this means they won’t apply the law equally to everyone.  The law is either constitutional or it’s not – regardless of religious views.

They further demand his DOB, which again isn’t based on any real need to know that information outside of putting him on a watch list.  Then they ridiculously claim that he’s “disturbing the peace” since everyone is now watching him, that fact being based solely on the fact that the police stopped him.  The police were the ones disturbing the peace, not him.

The legal problems this police department presents for itself are overwhelming, and if this individual has the money to pursue it, they are in for a legal fight.  Finally, when the individual demands their identification, they claim they are under no obligation to supply that because “we’re law enforcement.”

The arrogance and haughtiness would be staggering if it weren’t for the fact that it is ubiquitous.  I almost know what to expect these days when I view these videos.

The contact information for the department is: policedept@pwcgov.org.

The contact information for the chief of police is: bbarnard@pwcgov.org.

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Comments

  1. On February 3, 2020 at 12:02 am, George 1 said:

    It has become obvious to me in my latter years that we live in a near Stazi police state now. It is equally obvious that there is no fixing the system at this point. The system needs to be entirely uprooted. Police should probably be community volunteers closely supervised by an elected and accountable Sheriff and PROPER civilian review boards. They should be heavily trained in Constitutional law and should be people of integrity and good moral character.

    All of the existing cops should be fired.

  2. On February 3, 2020 at 12:27 am, JFP said:

    They don’t really care because either way they get what they want. His info, possibly his camera footage and they put him on a watch list. Which they will use against him for the rest of his life, all while they get indignant when people call them out on their arrogance and shun them in all areas of life.

    Just more cops “earning the hate” as one ex cop youtuber puts it.

  3. On February 3, 2020 at 2:06 am, Longbow said:

    “The arrogance and haughtiness would be staggering if it weren’t for the fact that it is ubiquitous. I almost know what to expect these days when I view these videos.”

    Yep.

  4. On February 3, 2020 at 5:19 am, WiscoDave said:

    To me, this is a key phrase “…if this individual has the money to pursue it…” That’s a big IF. The officers, on the other hand, will pay nothing and suffer no penalty.

  5. On February 3, 2020 at 11:40 am, MTHead said:

    Hubris is a good thing! In your enemy that is.

  6. On February 3, 2020 at 12:25 pm, S18-1000 said:

    Do you have any advice on how to go about, as you wrote above:

    “fisking your local Sheriff and his deputies for their views of your rights, especially in the context of working towards constitutional Sheriffs who will prevent agents of the state and federal government from infringing on gun rights”?

    I’m thinking of writing a letter to ask my Sheriff’s opinion on this subject, any advice on what to say?

  7. On February 3, 2020 at 12:47 pm, William said:

    The .gov types who initiate these confrontations cite security and public safety as justification of their actions. Societal trust has been damaged by the .fedgov immigration policies, which allowed all sorts of third worlders/muslims in, who excel in crimes. We’ve transitioned from a high trust society to a low-trust society. Diversity is conflict and weakness, pushed upon us by those who hate societal cohesion and who hate us. They do the work of the devil.

  8. On February 3, 2020 at 1:06 pm, X said:

    You don’t have a constitution anymore, kids. Your “constitution” is whatever some (((lawyer)) who went to Harvard Law says it is.

    Cops can do whatever they want until some (((lawyer))) tells them otherwise. The problem with asserting the constitutional rights you don’t have is that they’ll arrest you, and even if the charges eventually get dropped, the arrest alone will cost you your job, all the money you’ve got in your 401(k) to hire a defense (((lawyer))), and in many states the immediate confiscation of your guns.

    The entire system needs to burn, root and branch.

  9. On February 3, 2020 at 1:10 pm, JoeFour said:

    Time to post this again…

    https://www.constitution.org/lrev/roots/cops.htm

    ABSTRACT

    “Police work is often lionized by jurists and scholars who claim to employ “textualist” and “originalist” methods of constitutional interpretation. Yet professional police were unknown to the United States in 1789, and first appeared in America almost a half-century after the Constitution’s ratification. The Framers contemplated law enforcement as the duty of mostly private citizens, along with a few constables and sheriffs who could be called upon when necessary. This article marshals extensive historical and legal evidence to show that modern policing is in many ways inconsistent with the original intent of America’s founding documents. The author argues that the growth of modern policing has substantially empowered the state in a way the Framers would regard as abhorrent to their foremost principles.”

  10. On February 3, 2020 at 10:11 pm, Hudson H Luce said:

    Cops are an example of a “select militia” – the founders regarded select militias as a threat to liberty. As for evaluating whether the local police/sheriff are going to uphold the Second Amendment rights of citizens, you don’t have to ask the question directly, it’s pretty easy to tell which way they’ll go. What’s their bearing? Do they look like occupiers and carry themselves like that? Are they roid ragers? Are they arrogant and unapproachable? Is there a history of criminal behavior in the department? If you see one, are you scared or uncomfortable? If you get a gut feeling about any of this, you know the answer to your question already, you don’t need to ask.

    If you live in a city, is it controlled by Democrats? Is there a police union which keeps bad cops on the streets or in the department? In both of these cases, you know the answer.

    Is there an entrenched machine which controls local politics? If so, you know the answer.

    OK, suppose you’re in a place where law enforcement works *with* the people there, they’re easily approachable (and there’s probably little in the way of crime), then you can ask the question – where do you stand on Red Flag laws?

  11. On February 4, 2020 at 2:43 am, Dan said:

    These criminals pinned to badges KNEW they were violating his rights, KNEW they were breaking laws AND almost certainly violating department policy and KNEW they were being recorded doing this. And they STILL DON’T CARE……because they NEVER suffer the consequences for engaging in such abusive criminality. Till that fact changes they have zero reason, zero incentive and zero intentions of EVER obeying law or policy.
    And since those in charge at a higher level WON’T punish this misbehavior the safe assumption is that said criminality is WANTED AND ENCOURAGED.

  12. On February 4, 2020 at 9:28 am, Dirk Williams said:

    I’m sympathetic, I get it, I see what you see, and I do not like it. I witnessed a fundamental shift in law enforcement from 1985 to 2010. The shift was subtle in the beginning, and seems to be accelerating on the verge of off the tracks.

    So my question to all of you is simply this. ” What steps have you personally taken to address this abuse”?. I hear and read often my fellow citizens use words like Should, Could, gonna, you know passive words of bravado.

    Many of you actually calling the Chief of Police, or the Sheriff, or the DA. How about county council, or the board of directors. Citizen letters in the news paper. Ever physically go to the agency in question and seek audience with these people.

    I’m retired now, since 2010, after I retired I became involved in ” managing my officials with weekly contact. You see, I didn’t see the abuse at every level until I did retire. I realized my mistake of allowing politico’s and public agencies to do,as they want.

    Sounds foolish but I write the president,,and my elected officials weekly, with ” expectations”. I’m not shy about my observations, my praise and my anger in their policy’s.

    May seem foolish to many of you, but I vowed to provide my direction weekly. Has my weekly emails changed anything, no idea. All I know is this. Whining and pissimg and moaning on sites like this solves nothing. The mis information Hershel has put out is as damaging as the actions of the subject matter.

    Half truths innuendo, are counter productive for us all. Yet, we are provided by Hershel with a place to vent our frustrations, and read other like minded folks positions.

    I’m retired, my time is now all mine, if I want to,do,something, I do it. If I don’t, I,don’t. When we are younger we have duties to our families, our jobs, we’re basically really busy. No,time to pen a formal letter, or make that phone call to the agencies we have concerns with. It’s difficult, and managing our limited time, must be prioritized, Family first.

    I live on a mountain, in a county the size of many states back east. I can’t tell,you,the last time I saw a cop, admittedly I’ve been layed up recently with spine surgery recovery. But I make my wife drive me around when I beco,e home bound.

    I wish I had better solutions to share. But I don’t. I’m in a different world them the majority here. I simply don’t see what you,guys are reporting. I believe you, I just wish you,would each take the time to address your concerns with the people who can effect change in your community.

    Dirk

  13. On February 4, 2020 at 9:49 am, Fred said:

    Dirk and all,
    There is no overt militarization of attitude in my AO, yet. There have been a few internal struggles in PD with bad cops being outed but it’s hard to know the truth of the details. The city mayor is a commie. The county guy is a libertarian leaning (R). I’ve met with, in forum with the sheriff, and the county mayor (called commissioner in most states). The sheriff supports the constitution and (but) the law also. The county mayor has no police power, it’s an administrative position, budgets and whatnot.

    The “Christians” are in charge of po po attitudes. They don’t like bad ones toward them and cops still get fired around here for running sideways with the wrong whitey Christians. All of this will change over time. I’ve said before that I don’t know where the free fed .mil equipment is, but the city po po must have it since the city mayors have been commies for a while.

    I’ve met with mayors, councilmen, police and sheriffs, DA’s, sitting and former (then sitting) state and fed reps and senators. They are all Republican Communists…REPUBLICAN COMMUNISTS…REPUBLICAN COMMUNISTS…and so are the ones in all of your AOs.

    Consequences and the lack thereof have consequences.

  14. On February 4, 2020 at 11:30 am, Montana Guy said:

    Welcome to the Republicans’ post 9/11 Police State.

  15. On February 4, 2020 at 3:04 pm, X said:

    Look at the fat gut on that unshaven slob who is the “supervisor.” Police standards have gone WAY downhill… if you’re gonna have your “rights” violated, it’s more degrading to have them violated by unfit slobs and common goons than by disciplined, fit people with standards.

  16. On February 4, 2020 at 7:21 pm, redfearn teal said:

    I attended a concealed carry class on Saturday. it was held by the ex-sheriff of a huge metropolitan county in North Carolina. He was speaking in terms of “concealed carry” but he made a point to tell everyone to not talk to law enforcement and have a “criminal defense” attorney in your phone. I already knew this because of the way things have changed over the past 20 years, yet it made a huge impression on my 33 yr old son.

    You still have the right to remain silent. and you still have the 5th amendment where you do not have to incriminate yourself.

  17. On February 5, 2020 at 6:09 pm, Paraclete said:

    I encourage everyone to consider getting an insurance
    policy with USCCA. I have, and am glad I did.
    They teach you how to deal with “encounters”…
    of all kinds. Especially after you’ve defended yourself.
    Your USCCA policy will also help with related expenses.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Police and was published February 2nd, 2020 by Herschel Smith.

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