My Rights Violated By Round Rock Police Department, Texas

Daily Paul – by Bane Maler, 7/12/2010

Early Thursday morning on July 8th, a friend and I were pulled over by police in Round Rock, TX on the way to an Iraq Veterans Against the Wars national convention. The officer Jeff Gogolewski accused my friend of driving 6 over the speed limit. After approaching my passenger window, the officer was quick to ask my friend to step out of the vehicle and come talk to him between it and his patrol car after stating that he didn’t want to talk across the car and over me. This raised my suspicion of the stop and at this point I was tempted to grab my video camera from my travel bag but decided that my opening of the bag would cause the officer to feel threatened.  

Instead, I attempted to listen in to the conversation which was difficult to decipher. I was soon approached by the officer to answer questions as to where I was going and where we were coming from. As a side note, according to my friend, I was told that the he gave all this information already to the officer including travel plans and was even asked questions about his Iraq Veterans Against the War bumper sticker and Kansas veterans tag. It was also revealed that the officer served in the military in Iraq. I articulated the state of departure and our city of destination in order to be cordial but refused to tell specifically where we were going and pointed out my right to do so and its irrelevance to the routine moving violation stop. Upset officer Gogolewski warned me, “if I was prepared to take this to the next level”. He explained that these questions were being asked to ascertain the transportation of illegal drugs into Texas, to which I refused to answer additional questions by stating my 5th Amendment right to do so.

I was soon told to step outside the vehicle. Another officer, Sergeant Eric Mount had already approached the scene and remained with the driver behind our vehicle. Upon exiting the vehicle I took the keys from the ignition, rolled up my window, and locked my door. Standing outside I began to put the keys into my pocket when I was yelled at not to. I was immediately told to stand in front of the passenger door, forced around, arms pulled behind my back, fringers spread, interlocked, and squeezed against the keys in my hand. Later my left arm would ache from being jerked back. Next I was frisked, in my opinion aggressively, with several instances of grabbing between my legs. The officer then demanded that I move out in front of the car to a road marker on the side of the road and to remain standing facing away from the vehicle. I turned around to see the officer eventually approach the car after asking numerous times if the driver would allow him to search the property. He was given permission upon his third request according to my friend. As he walked around the vehicle to find a door that would open I began stating that “I do not consent to a search”, which was ignored by Officer Gogolewski. He was able to get in the driver door that was left open and began to search the vehicle. As he made his way to the back seat he proceeded to grab for our bags and stopped at mine to which I told him that “I do not consent to a search of my bag.” He then opened my bag and only stopped when after my friend told him to do so. This had been prompted by the other officer, Eric Mount, who told him that he could ask Gogolewski to stop the search at any time. He then went to his car and pulled out a dog who was immediately sent inside the back seat of the vehicle. Upon finding nothing and not being signaled by his dog he walked away, hesitated, then continued around the outside of the vehicle with his dog. All I could think about was whether this guy was going to plant evidence in the vehicle as I’ve seen corrupt officers do in other such traffic stops. Unable to find any evidence of wrong doing he then told us that we were free to go. I then asked for their ID’s and information, and early this morning filed a written complaint with the Round Rock PD and Internal Affairs Sergeant Grant Golden and contacted officer Gogolewski’s Sergeant, to which both had concerns about my story and the improper procedures used during the search. I was told that it is incorrect to send a police dog into a vehicle before suspicion is established and before the dog prompts that contraband is present through a outside walk around. I have attempted to contact ACLU in Texas with no success, YAL, C4L, and representatives Lynn Jenkins, Dennis Moore, and TX rep. Lloyd Doggett. I also have had great assistance from a friend who worked hard to get some advice from Congressmen Moore’s office and as soon as the investigation is complete, I will resubmit my FOIA request of the dashcam footage from both officers vehicles as well as their reports.

My biggest concern in all of this has been the lack of collected resources to address these issues as they happen. In the future I hope we can establish, as a community and movement, easy ways for people to acquire knowledge about what you can do when faced with polices attempts to undermine civil liberties and what to do and who to contact when it happens. A tool that helped me with the stop and I attempted to implement was the film Busted: The Citizens Guide to Surviving Police Encounters by Flex Your Rights. This is a must watch. Had the driver and I followed the advice in this film, the stop could have had a better outcome.

Watch Busted Here

4 thoughts on “My Rights Violated By Round Rock Police Department, Texas

  1. If this happened in 2010, imagine how bad Round Rock cops are now in 2013. Now you guys know the kind of Bullshit I had to deal with. Round Rock cops don’t play by the rules. As a matter of fact, they don’t even know the U.S. Constitution. They supposedly only know the Texas State Law (and I don’t think they even know that, either).

  2. Not to lessen the situation or the corruption of the pigs in Round Rock, but this is typical conduct of the scum that passes for ‘law enforcement’ here.

    One of the top reasons I really hate this place.

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