Idaho State Police trooper's camera yields details in marijuana profiling case

A Colorado man's lawsuit claims the ISP pulled him over looking for marijuana.

THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEWApril 12, 2014 

The Jan. 25, 2013, incident involving Darien Roseen has attracted national attention because of a lawsuit he filed alleging that Idaho State Police targeted him for marijuana possession because of his Colorado license plates.

IDAHO STATE POLICE

  • ANOTHER CASE?

    A 58-year-old Spokane man said Thursday that he also was pulled over by the Idaho State Police and accused of carrying marijuana in his car, simply because he has Washington license plates and drives with his windows down.

    Paul Dungan claims he was detained on Interstate 84 at the same rest area as Darian Roseen. Dungan said the trooper asked to search his car, "and I said, 'No, you have no right to search my car.' "

    He told the trooper he typically drives with his windows down during the summer to help keep himself awake.

    Dungan said after nearly an hour of the officer "haranguing me … he finally backed off." Dungan wasn't cited; he hadn't been accused of any traffic offenses.

    "I was definitely profiled," he said. "I'm a 58-year-old white guy, and I haven't ever been profiled. … What a horrible feeling."

    The Idaho State Police could find no record of Dungan's stop. "I'm not saying that he's lying at all - we just can't find it," ISP spokeswoman Teresa Baker said.

    She said the agency conducts numerous traffic stops that in the past year have yielded big drug seizures - 720 pounds of marijuana, 59 pounds of methamphetamine and 30 pounds of cocaine in 2013 alone.

    "There are a lot of drugs coming into the state from other states," she said. "We are constantly patrolling the highways looking for criminal activity. … If someone breaks a traffic law, no matter how minor someone might think the traffic law is, they can be stopped."

Video of a traffic stop shows an Idaho State Police car pulling behind a pickup truck with Colorado license plates as soon as he sees it.

The trooper then follows the truck into the "Welcome to Idaho" rest stop, where he begins to press the 69-year-old driver to allow a search for drugs.

The hard-rock radio station that the trooper was listening to provides a soundtrack for the encounter that has spawned a federal lawsuit.

When the trooper first sees Darien Roseen's truck, the radio is blaring the Scorpions' "No One Like You."

"Why'd you pull in here so rapidly?" Trooper Justin Klitch asks Roseen in the Jan. 25 dash-cam video.

"Uh, I had to go to the bathroom," Roseen responds.

"You didn't have to go to the bathroom before you saw me," the officer says, to which Roseen responds, "That's true - no, I did have to."

"I'm telling you, you pulled in here to avoid me, that's exactly what you did," the trooper says. "I mean, you almost hit the curb, you almost ran off the road. You definitely didn't want me around you for some reason. … Why are your eyes glassy today?"

The video, obtained by The Spokesman-Review, provides detail into what Roseen alleges is license plate profiling of Colorado drivers now that their state has legalized recreational marijuana.

The traffic stop led to hours of detainment and a fruitless search of the truck that yielded nothing illegal. Roseen also has a Washington driver's license because the former Weyerhaeuser executive owns homes in both states.

Washington also has legalized marijuana production and use. Idaho has not.

The ISP said in a statement last week that it is conducting an internal investigation.

"We would like to assure the citizens of Idaho and the visitors to our state that the Idaho State Police holds all of its employees to a high standard which includes following the Constitution of the United States and the laws and constitution of the state of Idaho," the agency said.

In the video, the trooper asks Roseen, "When is the last time you used any marijuana, sir?" Roseen responds, "I have not used marijuana in my entire life." The trooper says, "No? OK. Do you mind if I search your vehicle?" Roseen says, "Well, yeah, if I have a choice, I can say no, I don't want you to search it."

The officer then asks him, "Why are you so worried about me if you're not violating any laws of the state or this country - why are you so concerned about me?" Roseen responds, "Because I want to get on the road and just get home."

The officer then tells him, "OK, well, I'm telling you with what I'm seeing today, that is not going to happen. Because I believe that you have something in this vehicle that you shouldn't have. … You're obviously nervous about whatever it is. … I am going to find whatever it is, I can assure you of that."

The trooper persuades Roseen to begin unloading the bed of his truck, which contains art supplies and gifts from his daughter's baby shower, from which he's returning, and to open a compartment underneath the bed that he knows is a feature of the Honda Ridgeline.

Roseen complies, and Klitch asks him, "Why do I smell marijuana coming out of there, sir?"

"You don't," Roseen responds. "Well, take a smell," the trooper says. The older man leans in toward the compartment, sniffs, and retorts, "Nothing of the sort."

"I'm going to be looking through everything in here because of that odor," Klitch says, to which Roseen responds, "I don't even know what you're smelling."

The trooper says, "I've got to be real honest with you, sir, with that odor I smell, I got a right to search the whole vehicle. I've got probable cause."

Hours later, after the truck has been driven by another officer to the Payette County Jail and searched without result, the video records Roseen, as he's released, thanking Klitch for not planting anything in his vehicle.

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