Why Was This Man Harassed For An Air Freshener


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Categories: Police ViolenceTags:

15 comments

  1. I get the impression the cop was looking to score some free weed. Nonetheless, I’ve made a mental note to remove the air freshener from my mirror while travelling in the state of Arizona.

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    • I think he was looking to harass. When no law has been broken but a citizen is detained, that’s harassment. When a citizen clearly states he wants to leave and is impeded by law enforcement, that’s also harassment.

      Looks like a clear case of abuse of power. Intimidating and harassing an innocent civilian.

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      • I don’t disagree with your analysis, except to point out that harassing freedom-loving individuals is his job. And the “citizen”* in question did indeed violate the law. In this case it was the Arizona traffic code that states:

        “B. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not operate a motor vehicle with an object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed or applied on the windshield or side or rear windows or with an object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed or applied in or on the motor vehicle in a manner that obstructs or reduces a driver’s clear view through the windshield or side or rear windows.” [emphasis added]

        https://azleg.gov/ars/28/00959-01.htm

        This perfectly illustrates the reason why I argue in favor of following moral principles rather than legal codes. The former enjoins you to do what is right, whereas the latter commands you to do what you are told.

        * I put citizen in quotes to highlight the fact that the legal definition of that word connotes an individual person assumes a legal obligation to show allegiance to the state in which s/he resides in exchange for the legal entitlements and privileges offered to individuals residing within that state.

        Liked by 1 person

        • An Air Freshener is not “an object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed or applied on the windshield”. It hangs away from the windshield.

          An Air Freshener does not “obstruct or reduces a driver’s clear view through the windshield”. That is why people do not get tickets for having air fresheners and is why this individual did not have to pay any fines or serve jail time.

          Not only did you not convince me, you also proved my point.

          You Stated — “This perfectly illustrates the reason why I argue in favor of following moral principles rather than legal codes. ”

          My Response — What if my moral code states that it is morally correct to follow legal codes?

          We have laws because morality is relative. Anything can be morally correct.

          https://realitydecoded.blog/2019/07/29/babies-are-contracting-herpes-when-adults-suck-blood-from-the-recently-circumcised-penis-for-religion/

          Perspective — That thing that changes from person to person:

          Citizen:
          1 : an inhabitant of a city or town especially : one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman.

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          • Look, just because I cite the law doesn’t automatically mean that I agree with it, or that police officers will routinely enforce it. But the intent of the Arizona law is crystal clear: you may not operate a motor vehicle with an object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed or applied in or on the motor vehicle in a manner that obstructs or reduces a driver’s clear view through the windshield or side or rear windows.

            So based on that wording, an air freshener is an object and it was affixed to the mirror within the motor vehicle, which means it dangled down in front of the windshield and obstructed the total view, no matter how small that obstruction might have been — which gave the officer the perfect excuse to pull over the vehicle and begin a drug interrogation.

            As to moral principles, you left out the important part where I wrote: The former [moral principles] enjoins you to do what is right, whereas the latter [legal codes] commands you to do what you are told.

            To illustrate the point, Germans who followed their moral conscience by hiding Jews during WWII were guilty of breaking the law. Are You prepared to argue that they should have obeyed the law and turned them in?

            Ditto for the word citizen: I clearly stipulated that I put the word in quotes to demarcate between the legal and common definitions of that word.

            Liked by 1 person

            • You Stated — “Look, just because I cite the law doesn’t automatically mean that I agree with it”

              My Response — I understand your position and I would add that we all agree with the laws and if not we elect to have them changed. Just saying

              My point was that, “Per The Law Stated”, he had not violated it because an air freshener does not block clear view.

              You Stated — “which gave the officer the perfect excuse to pull over the vehicle and begin a drug interrogation.”

              My Response — The officer did not have a valid reason and I’m sure that will catch up with him over time.

              You Stated — “To illustrate the point, Germans who followed their moral conscience by hiding Jews during WWII were guilty of breaking the law.”

              My Response — Not true. There was no such law. Remember that the Nazi’s were not the valid government. Hitler lost the election.

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              • In theory, we elect to have them changed. In practice, we’re not even aware these laws exist until we’re cited for violating them, at which point most people opt to pay the fine because it’s easier than fighting it in court or petitioning the legislators to repeal the law. For instance, the city I live in will fine you hundreds of dollars for a by-law infraction, but then offer an “early payment option” that reduces the ticket to a hundred or less, to induce people into taking the path of least resistance.

                In regards to the law cited, I encourage you to follow the link I posted and read it in its entirety in the same manner that the courts would interpret it. Paragraph A lists all the permitted exceptions to the general rule set out in paragraph B. IOW, everything not explicitly permitted in part A is automatically prohibited by default under part B. So that would include not only things that hang from your mirror (like air fresheners, fuzzy dice, crucifixes, rosary beads, etc.), but also things placed on your dash (like bobblehead dolls, baseball caps, gloves, newspapers, sunglasses, takeout containers, road maps, etc.). The spirit of the law is to drive with an unobstructed view, but the letter of the law places a ham-fisted restriction upon anything and everything that could potentially obstruct your view of the road; which leaves enforcement entirely up to the individual police officer: fair-minded cops would simply overlook such minor infractions, whereas the authoritarian jerks will enforce them with vigor. That’s why I believe this particular cop used it as a pretext to pull him over in search for drugs. He didn’t care about the air freshener; he just needed a valid reason to gain grounds for probable cause.

                You’re right. Hitler didn’t gain a majority in the election. But he did gain a plurality granting him the opportunity to form a coalition government which then voted to grant him absolute powers — all of which was completely legal under the federal constitution of the Weimar Republic. However, it’s a moot point, because the lawfully-elected U.S. government not only permitted slavery, but enacted fugitive slave laws that made it a crime to assist runaway slaves. Moreover, the majority of the voters at the time wanted slavery to continue (just as the majority of Germans favored the disenfranchisement and removal of the Jewish population). So if we follow your legal trumps moral argument to its logical conclusion, you’d have to concede that those followed the laws (in both countries) acted justly, while those who broke the laws acted unjustly.

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                • You Stated — “In practice, we’re not even aware these laws exist until we’re cited for violating them”

                  My Response — That’s a personal choice. You can review all laws anytime you want since they are available to the public.

                  You Stated — “most people opt to pay the fine because it’s easier than fighting it in court”

                  My Response — Where did you get data on what most people do? For the record, I myself went to court and got things dismissed.

                  You Stated — “the letter of the law places a ham-fisted restriction upon anything and everything that could potentially obstruct your view of the road”

                  My Response — Correct and an air freshener does not obstruct your view. This is why drivers aren’t fined for it in court. The rearview mirror also block your view. Neither do city, handicapped and parking stickers.

                  You Stated — “which leaves enforcement entirely up to the individual police officer”

                  My Response — Incorrect. The law for windshields has no impact on the police officer, he is free to make any choices he wants and attempt to enforce anything he wants (truthful or not). The courts decide what is right or wrong with his actions.

                  You Stated — “You’re right. Hitler didn’t gain a majority in the election. But he did gain a plurality granting him the opportunity to form a coalition government which then voted to grant him absolute powers”

                  My Response — Incorrect.

                  In February 1933, Hitler blamed a devastating Reichstag fire (most likely caused by his group) on the communists and convinced President Hindenburg to sign a decree suspending individual and civil liberties (done by force), a decree Hitler used to silence his political enemies with false arrests (done by force). Upon the death of Hindenburg in 1934 (most likely murdered), Hitler proceeded to purge the Brown Shirts (by force), the head of which, Ernst Roem, had begun voicing opposition to the Nazi Party’s terror tactics. Hitler had Roem executed without trial (murdered), which encouraged the army and other reactionary forces within the country to urge Hitler to further consolidate his power by merging the presidency and the chancellorship (Removed governmental authority). This would make Hitler the commander of the army as well (by force). A plebiscite vote was held on August 19. Intimidation (fear of death) made him a full powered dictator. After this, he continued the use of force and murder. All of which was illegal.

                  You Stated — “it’s a moot point, because the lawfully-elected U.S. government not only permitted slavery…”

                  My Response — Incorrect. The US government was illegal in relation to the Brits (but with that put aside)

                  The new local laws were illegal since they violated the new constitution of the new government.

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                  • Sure. You can review the laws anytime. Trouble is there it would take you a lifetime to pour over the thousands of ever-changing federal, state and municipal codes, even for the people who are tasked with keeping track of them. The last federal official who tried to itemize just the criminal code in 1980 gave up at around 3000 laws scattered over 51 titles covering 20,000 pages. The State of Arizona has 49 titles, of which the traffic code (Title 28 – Transportation) alone is divided into 30 Chapters containing 151 Articles and several hundred sections. The City of Phoenix, surprisingly, only has 43 codes (my city has over 230), but contains laws concerning activities you’d never consider fineable offences, like feeding the pigeons or setting up a tent on your property without a permit. And I remember reading about a law in a Florida city that makes it a fineable offence to have mismatched drape coverings in your windows.

                    The data for the number of people who paid the fines came from a local newspaper article published in the late ’90s. I don’t remember the exact breakdown, but recall that less than 10% challenged the fines.

                    In your opinion (and mine) an air freshener may not constitute an object that obstructs your view of the road, but according to the following two links several state laws do:

                    https://www.andrewflusche.com/blog/can-the-police-pull-you-over-for-a-pine-tree-air-freshener/

                    https://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-muckrakers/2009/11/how-your-cars-air-freshener-can-get-you-a-ticket/

                    In regards to Hitler, Hindenburg legally transferred his powers to Hitler, and the coalition government legally voted to grant Hitler dictatorial powers. And in regards to the U.S. Government, it’s all relative to which side of the Atlantic you’re standing on. From the revolutionaries’ perspective, taxation without representation was illegal, whereas from the King George’s perspective, insubordination to the British Crown was illegal. As to slavery, the laws permitted it both prior to and immediately following the American Revolution. Which is precisely why I argue that abiding by moral principles respecting each individual’s inalienable rights to life, liberty and property is superior to obeying legal codes, which can be changed on a whim by a simple vote.

                    “The more laws, the less justice” ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • You Stated — “Sure. You can review the laws anytime. Trouble is there it would take you a lifetime”

                      My Response — Not true. It would take up about as much time as is applied to Netflix or Hulu. You can choose which is more important to you. I myself spend hours weekly poring over data.

                      You Stated — “The data… came from a local newspaper article”

                      My Response — It seems like people in that area had less concern or conviction (sad). I like taking people to court and pulling the money from their wallet to mine. Doesn’t matter to me if they are citizens or government representatives. I see everything as an attack on my liberties until proven to me that they are not.

                      You Stated — “In your opinion (and mine) an air freshener may not constitute an object that obstructs your view of the road, but according to the following two links several state laws do”

                      My Response — It doesn’t matter what the states say it only matters what Superior and Supreme courts dictate. We know that the air freshener is legal because the sun visor is legal. To outlaw one would leave car manufactures open to lawsuits. This is why you have to fight each case until it rises to the higher levels. Then it becomes case law.

                      The Chittenden Superior Court granted a motion to suppress the fruits of a traffic stop based on a small air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror that neither obstructed the windshield nor affected the operation of the vehicle. State v. Soucy, No. 309-1-13 Cncr, slip op. at 3-6 (Vt. Super. Ct. Mar. 14, 2013). The court reasoned that the statute in question is expressly directed at objects that obstruct the windshield, and that the State’s interpretation suggested an absolute prohibition against hanging any items behind the windshield, including sun visors, swing-down compartments for sunglasses, and rosary beads or other objects dangling from car mirrors. Id. at 5. The court concluded the Legislature did not intend for the statute to proscribe such a broad range of common practices without regard to whether a driver’s vision is actually obstructed. Id.; see also State v. Williams, No. 4631-11-12 Cncr, slip op. at 3 (Vt. Super. Ct. June 13, 2013) (following Soucy in concluding that object hanging from mirror did not justify traffic stop). On the other hand, the Rutland Superior Court has concluded that the statute applied to the hanging of any object, even if non-obstructive. State v. McPhee, No. 519-3-10 Rdcr, slip op. at 2-3 (Vt. Super. Ct. June 21, 2010) (rejecting argument that statute on its face addresses only hanging of objects from the windshield itself, rather than from rearview mirror).[2]

                      You Stated — “In regards to Hitler, Hindenburg legally transferred his powers to Hitler, and the coalition government legally voted to grant Hitler dictatorial powers.”

                      My Response — You are still incorrect. Hilter did in fact have anyone who resisted him killed and/or replaced. There was no legitimate government to grant anything.

                      If they had killed Pence and others during the capital attack and then replaced them with klan members it would not be a legitimate government.

                      You Stated — “And in regards to the U.S. Government, it’s all relative to which side of the Atlantic you’re standing on”

                      My Response — Incorrect. The rulers were the Brits and anything done against was illegal. After they lost the war the US became it’s own entity.

                      You Stated — “As to slavery, the laws permitted it both prior to and immediately following the American Revolution”

                      My Response — The constitution did not permit it. If I am wrong about that prove it by showing where the constitution permitted it.

                      Tyrants have always some slight shade of virtue; they support the laws before destroying them. — Voltaire

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                    • If poring over legal codes is your idea of a good time, then knock yourself out — though I sincerely doubt you’re fully cognizant of each and every federal, state, and local statute enacted into law within the USA, just as I sincerely doubt the members of congress fully read and understood all 5600 pages of the Covid Relief Bill they voted into law mere hours after having received it for final review. I’d rather spend the remaining moments of my life pursuing more pleasant tasks. And if that’s truly your position, wouldn’t our Arizona motorist also have to assume responsibility for his failure to keep abreast of the traffic laws enforced within his state?

                      As for legality, you are correct: under U.S. law, any legislation passed by duly-elected officials is deemed legal until it gets challenged and struck down in a court of law or repealed by another group of elected officials. But you can’t challenge the law in court until you’ve actually been ticketed and summoned to appear in a court of law. So it does matter what the state says until the law gets struck down or repealed. Moreover, the court decisions in one state have no force upon similar statutes found in other states. And if you read the link I posted, you’ll find that the Arizona statute specifically exempts sun visors and rearview mirrors (along with safety equipment mounted directly behind or above the rearview mirror) in items 3, 4 and 12 of part A but makes no similar mention of things hanging from the mirror — which then automatically places those non-mentioned items in the prohibited list under part B.

                      Yes, Hitler played dirty; but then again, the communist factions he ran against were not averse to silencing and/or taking out their political opponents, either. That’s just the way they rolled in the post-WWI Weimar republic. It’s similar to the way that Antifa/BLM members now loot, burn, murder and terrorize the residents of Democrat-controlled cities, and SJW-controlled tech and media companies censor anyone who disagrees with their political narrative.

                      Which brings to my final point: all governments are established to operate via threats of force. As such, the U.S. government is no more morally legitimate than the British Monarchy, or any other dictatorship, because no man or group of men has the moral authority to impose his/its will upon others, or to deny a man the right to ownership of himself and the the fruits of his labor. Thus slavery and taxation are both morally wrong — even when governments declare them legal.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • You Stated — “I sincerely doubt you’re fully cognizant of each and every federal, state, and local statute enacted into law within the USA”

                      My Response — I can be aware as much as I want to be. Just imagine what my limit of knowing is, in relation to my access to published material on any subject I want.

                      As a human being my focus is only on what relates to me, so my knowledge only needs to extend to that which benefits me legally. Why you think that would be a challenge is mystifying.

                      You Stated — “I sincerely doubt the members of congress fully read and understood all 5600 pages of the Covid Relief Bill they voted into law mere hours after having received it for final review.”

                      My Response — We don’t know what they did so there is no need to speculate. My only curiosity would be why bring up what you think they would not have read as it pertains to this bill and not all the other bills they passed. From my perspective worry about all of them or none.

                      You Stated — “And if that’s truly your position, wouldn’t our Arizona motorist also have to assume responsibility for his failure to keep abreast of the traffic laws enforced within his state?”

                      My Response — No, there is no law saying that he has a responsibility to know all of the laws, but his ignorance of the law is not an excuse that can be used in court.

                      You Stated — “But you can’t challenge the law in court until you’ve actually been ticketed and summoned to appear in a court of law.”

                      My Response — Also incorrect. You can challenge a law anytime you want, you do not have to be ticketed.

                      You Stated — “And if you read the link I posted, you’ll find that the Arizona statute specifically exempts sun visors and rearview mirrors (along with safety equipment mounted directly behind or above the rearview mirror) in items 3, 4 and 12 of part A but makes no similar mention of things hanging from the mirror — which then automatically places those non-mentioned items in the prohibited list under part B.”

                      My Response — Wrong again. The police officer we are talking about was fired for pulling him over. The plaintiff sued the sheriff’s office for $15000 and they settled.

                      You Stated — “Yes, Hitler played dirty; but then again, the communist factions he ran against were not averse to silencing and/or taking out their political opponents, either.”

                      My Response — Incorrect again, Hitler broke the law and was also not elected to office by the citizens. There is nothing else, those are just the facts.

                      You Stated — “SJW-controlled tech and media companies censor anyone who disagrees with their political narrative.”

                      My Response — But how have they failed to censor you? How have they failed to censor Talk Radio? How have they failed to censure Fox News? How have they failed to censor TikTok?

                      The list goes on…

                      From a conservatives perspective it’s a companies right to deny business as they see fit for gay couple’s buying cakes but at the same time it’s censorship for a private company to deny service to a racist. If all you can offer is cherry picking then your position is going to look weak.

                      You Stated — “all governments are established to operate via threats of force.”

                      My Response — What was Trumps threat of force while he was in office? I’m curious.

                      You Stated — “the U.S. government is no more morally legitimate than the British Monarchy”

                      My Response — The US government is not founded on moral standards and has never stated that it is moral nation. The US is a republic, nothing more or less.

                      As a conservative your main goal is to prevent change and change is the one constant in the universe. How can you hope to know any real truth from that position?

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            • Time has now spoken and Arizona agreed with me. The driver was not in violation of the law and the police officer was fired for violating the driver’s constitutional rights.

              This is where our debate concludes with you being incorrect.

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      • Note: the above comment was left by me. Not sure it shows up posted as anonymous.

        Liked by 1 person

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