Court: Public should know when police create illegal task forces


For six plus years, the LaSalle County State’s Attorney Brian Towne, formed an illegal police task force called the State’s Attorney Felony Enforcement, or SAFE, unit.(Click here to see Brian Towne’s State Attorney video.)

Calling an illegal group of law enforcement officers SAFE, is the most disturbing disregard for our civil rights I have ever seen.

During those years, SAFE officers illegally stopped and arrested 77 motorists and stole more than $1.7 million from them.  

Last year, Alyssa Larson and Jeffery Straker filed a class action against LaSalle County claiming Towne’s “vigilante police force” violated their civil rights. The lawsuit claimed SAFE officers targeted out-of-state drivers; pulled them over for minor traffic offenses and conducted drug dog searchers without probable cause.

“Police officers are not allowed to stop vehicles based solely on the fact that they have out-of-state license plates,” the lawsuit repeatedly says.

The lawsuit also sought damages for unreasonable search and seizure, false arrest, emotional distress, and unjust enrichment.

According to numerous newspaper articles, the Illinois Supreme Court declared SAFE illegal.

Justice Charles Freeman said, “(Nowhere) does (the statute) prescribe that a state’s attorney patrol the highways, engage in law enforcement and conduct drug interdiction. Our dissenting colleagues contend that the state’s attorney’s duty to investigate suspected illegal activity is boundless and unrestricted. We disagree.”

In 2017, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the SAFE unit was illegal and police could not search vehicles without a warrant.

Do you feel SAFER knowing law enforcement illegally arrested 77 people and stole millions from the public?

So now that the courts have declared SAFE illegal, one would think a class action lawsuit would be a slam dunk, right?


Public should know when police create illegal task forces


image credit: Long Island News

Three days ago, an Illinois District Court claimed that motorists should have known that the police task force was ILLEGAL.

“Larson’s Section 1983 claims are time-barred,” St. Eve wrote in a 12-page ruling. “SAFE’s stop, seizure, and search of Larson and the car occurred sometime in October or November 2012. Larson knew (or should have known) then that the officers lacked probable cause or justification—as she claims, she had violated no ‘traffic, city, state, or federal law[s],’ yet the officers had put her in an unmarked vehicle, leaving her grandmother in her car, and without consent took a drug-sniffing dog around and into it.”

But wait, it does not end there.

Judge Amy St. Eve claimed the public should also have known that SAFE police were illegally stopping motorists.

St. Eve claimed “that Larson knew SAFE targeted out-of-staters and that her stop and search lacked suspicion or cause at the time the officers pulled her over,” St. Eve said. “Even if Ringland was Larson’s first indication that SAFE was not authorized to conduct traffic stops, the complaint does not allege that such illegitimate authorization gives rise to a constitutional injury.”

So if the public should have known that some police task forces are illegal what are we supposed to do?

Should motorists speed up and ignore them? Should motorists refuse to hand over their drivers licenses and registration?

The courts ruling is absurd and proves once again that they no longer care about our civil liberties.

If the courts won’t protect the public who will?

Fyi, I included the above picture of a police task force entering homes in Long Island, New York, searching for illegal tenants as one more example of illegal police task forces in the U.S. (Click here & here to learn more.)

3 thoughts on “Court: Public should know when police create illegal task forces

  1. “If the courts won’t protect the public who will?”

    Winchester, Colt, Kalashnikov, Ruger, Glock, Benelli, Smith & Wesson, and a whole slew of others… too many to mention here.

  2. How long can police question drivers on I-70?

    Law enforcement officers’ authority to prolong traffic stops for the purpose of investigating drug crimes came into question Wednesday with three cases from Geary County in front of the Kansas Supreme Court.

    The cases in question — each involving either a Junction City police officer or a sheriff’s deputy stopping a car on Interstate 70 — escalated from a simple traffic violation to drug dog searches and arrests for drug trafficking. At question is whether officers became suspicious through reasonable questioning or if they illegally extended the traffic stop in order to investigate drug crimes.

    The U.S. Supreme Court in its 2015 Rodriguez v. United States opinion held that extending a traffic stop without suspicion violated the U.S. Constitution’s protection against unreasonable seizures.

    The same Junction City police officer made two of the stops, and the cases all involved cars owned by third parties — either a rental or a borrowed car — with out-of-state plates. In two cases, officers told the driver they were free to leave though he intended to continue questioning them. The drivers were either returning from or traveling to Colorado.

    In the two most similar cases, the officer told the driver they were free to leave after extensive questioning, but then requested to search the vehicle.

    In August 2015, Junction City police officer Nicholas Blake stopped Derrick Lowery and a companion en route to Colorado from Tennessee for following too closely. The car belonged to a friend, Lowery told Blake.

    At some point, Blake directed Lowery to sit in his patrol car, where he wrote a warning citation and then told Lowery to drive safely, according to court records. As Lowery tried to exit the patrol car, Blake told him to stay and asked to search the car.

    After a dog searched around the car, Lowery was charged with criminal transportation of drug proceeds, criminal transfer of drug proceeds and possession of marijuana.

    Lowery’s attorney, Dakota Loomis, argued the search was illegal because before detaining Lowery, Blake hadn’t established probable cause.

    On Feb. 20, 2016, Geary County sheriff’s deputy Lt. Justin Stopper stopped Shaun Lee Schooler on eastbound I-70 because snow covered the license plate of his rental car.

    During a line of questioning about the rental car’s origins and Schooler’s travel plans, Stopper invited Schooler to sit in the patrol car. After several minutes, Stopper told Schooler he was “good to go,” but then asked a series of questions about drugs and requested to search Schooler’s car. When Schooler declined, he was detained and ultimately charged with felony drug crimes.

    Stopper clarified during the district court trial that when he said Schooler was “good to go,” he wasn’t actually free to leave.

    Several justices took issue with the officers “misrepresenting” a driver’s freedom to leave and wondered how a person would know for sure whether an officer was being honest.

    Justice Carol Beier called the tactic a “trick” and questioned whether “law enforcement gets to lie.”

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