About being secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects
A local man, returning with cash given to him by his dying father, was pulled over. He had $19K in the trunk that he told them about. The police told the man he’d donate that money to the drug task force. He sued to get his money back and won. Read the account of it here. He was carrying a gun without a permit and had a switch blade [I didn’t realize those were illegal to carry – Ed.] Said the victim of extortion:
“I don’t want to see them in jail, but they don’t deserve to be left in positions of service and trust,” he said. “Police are supposed to protect and serve. Well, if you can’t trust the police on the road, who can you trust?”
Actually, I think they should go to jail. The officers’ lawyer:
“They’ve done nothing wrong, so there should be no effect on their careers,” said Garrett, who in other cases has represented clients whose property has been seized by police. “And they should not get a criminal conviction out of this.”
They did too. They allegedly lied and tried to extort a man and a jury agreed. They should go to jail. Witt’s account of the incident:
“He had $10,000 laid out on the table,” Witt said. “He told me that I was going to ‘donate’ the rest of the money to their drug fund, and he would give me a receipt for that. He said that a drug dog had hit on the car, and he told me that they could take all of the money and the car, if they was so minded, on grounds of suspicion of drugs.”
Witt said Aikens also told him, falsely, that in Tennessee, it is illegal to carry more than $10,000 in cash.
The officers’ lawyer:
“You need to consider the source of those statements,” said Aikens’ attorney, Scott Jones. “I don’t think your ordinary citizen is going to have a .25 caliber pistol in his back waistband, a switchblade knife in his pocket and $19,000 for which he can offer no plausible explanation as to where it came from. With multiple charges still pending against him, he is likely to say whatever is in his best interest to get a favorable resolution to those charges.”
Carrying a gun while carrying a large amount of cash is perfectly rational (though the man should get a permit) and he had an explanation for the cash (even though he is not required to justify why he’s carrying cash). I would take Mr. Witt’s word over the word of two extortionists, whether they wear a uniform or not. But maybe I’m a little weird.