“Do you have any dead bodies in your vehicle, sir?”
I chuckled, assuming the bizarre question to be some sort of morbid cop-humor.
“You find something funny about murder investigations?”
I didn’t know how to respond to that. I wasn’t trying to make light of the situation, I just didn’t realize what the situation was. If they were investigating a murder, then why were they bothering me? Was I a suspect? Did the cop even know who I was?
“Sorry, officer. I uh…” Confused, I hesitated a little and searched for the right thing to say. The officer I was speaking to mistook this for some sort of confession of guilt.
“You sure there aren’t any bodies in your vehicle? Maybe you should pop the trunk.”
“What? This is a pickup truck. It doesn’t have a trunk.” I was telling the truth. My Dodge Dakota came with a lot of options. A trunk wasn’t one of them, though.
The cop leered at me as his hand caressed the butt of his pistol. “I see. Don’t want to cooperate? Well, I guess we’ll have to get the dogs over here.”
I started to get very irate. “Dogs? Hold on a God damn minute, now! Am I being detained? Am I under arrest or something?”
“Oh, you must be a lawyer. You sure don’t look like a lawyer,” he said with obvious disgust.
“I’m not an attorney. I’m a truck driver.” I left the fact that I’m also an author out of the conversation. For some reason, I don’t think he would have asked for my autograph. “Look, why don’t you just tell me what happened? Am I a suspect in something? Was someone murdered?”
“Why don’t you tell me, Mr. Truck Driver? Who’d you kill? Why’d you do it?”
I opened my mouth and shook my head. I was beyond flabbergasted. I’m not a detective, but I do know that every second is crucial in the beginning of a murder investigation. The more time goes by, the less likely it is that a killer will be brought to justice.
“I don’t understand. If someone has been killed, why are you guys wasting time like this?”
“Well, we don’t know that someone has been killed. We’re fairly certain that someone is going to kill somebody tonight, though. We don’t have any evidence to back that up, or any leads, or even the faintest idea of who will be killed or who will kill them. We’re just pulling people over and interrogating them.”
I was shocked. This sounded more like something that was done in China or Saudi Arabia or the most evil of all evil countries, Cuba. Well, I’m guessing Cuba to be the most evil of all evil countries. I’m just going off of our trade policies.
“That sounds like a complete and utter violation of everyone’s rights. What about probable cause? What about the fourth amendment?” I asked incredulously.
The cop’s hand hovered between his stun gun and can of mace as if he couldn’t decide which would be the right one to use. “You’re sure you ain’t a lawyer? You kind of sound like a lawyer, even if you don’t look like one.”
I sighed and shook my head. “No, I am not an attorney. I have one, though, and I think I’ll be calling him Monday morning.”
The conversation went on pointlessly for a few more minutes before I was “allowed” to leave. It really made me think, though. Is this what our country has become? Can we really just be pulled over en masse because someone, somewhere might be committing a crime? Doesn’t an American have the right to just drive down the road without being harassed by police who are too lazy to do actual police work? Sure, crimes are being committed. I’m not the one committing them, though, so why am I being bothered. Get out on the street and look for clues. Don’t detain innocent people who are just going about their business. That’s what they do in Cuba. I think.