RESPONSE TO MY INITIAL COMPLAINT & MY REBUTTAL

E-mail: perezfranklin@hotmail.com


Recipient of Letter: Franklin Perez

Author of Letter: Captain Bob Parish, Colorado State Patrol

Date of Letter: January 8, 1996

Contents of Letter:
Response by Colorado State Patrol to my initial complaint letter as well as my rebuttals to certain parts of the letter.

How can you view my rebuttals?
Just click on the hyperlinked parts of the letter to get my rebuttal to that part of the letter.


Dear Mr. Perez:

I again apologize for the delay in responding to your concerns of December 7, 1995. As Sergeant Johnson explained earlier, the number of issues raised and officers involved complicated matters to a degree.

At this time I feel comfortable addressing each issue raised in your letter, with the exception of the actions of the Denver Police officer. The Denver Police Department conducts its own investigations.

Your driving behavior on December 7, 1995 drew the attention of State Troopers Randy Rahne and Gerald Lincoln. These troopers were returning to the Fort Collins area after conducting and instructing a class on The Detection and Apprehension Of The Drinking And Drugged Driver at our State Patrol Academy.

Your driving was observed by these officers initially in the area of eastbound Colorado Interstate 70. The troopers witnessed your vehicle accelerate rapidly and brake rapidly in rush hour traffic. Coincidentally the vehicle you were rapidly braking to avoid running into was being operated by an off duty state trooper. This off duty trooper was also witness to your driving behavior and brought it to the attention of troopers [Randy] Rahne and [Gerald] Lincoln who were in a marked (overhead lights and door markings) State Patrol car. It was the opinion of these three (3) State Troopers that your driving behavior was at a minimum an act of careless driving and behavior frequently exhibited by intoxicated drivers. Therefore the purpose for executing the stop of your vehicle was: 1.) To inform you of your driving behavior and 2.) To investigate the sobriety of the vehicle's driver, namely you. The stop was justified and based on reasonable suspicion and probable cause and not harassment.

The initial investigation of your sobriety was conducted by Trooper [Randy] Rahne through the use of a standardized set of physical maneuvers (roadside tests). These physical maneuvers have been recognized and adopted by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). For these maneuvers to be effective in determining the sobriety of a suspected intoxicated driver, each must be performed to the best of the driver's ability. The instructions given are an important part of each maneuver, therefore the ability of the suspected driver to understand these instructions is critical. With this in mind, I can understand Trooper [Randy] Rahne's question regarding your ethnic background and your ability to comprehend the English language. Additionally, informing a driver these maneuvers are strictly voluntary is an elementary facet of training for law enforcement officers and it would be extremely unlikely that a certified instructor in this discipline would overlook the advisement. Possible explanations for your not hearing or recalling this initial portion of the instructions could have been the background noise of passing traffic or you[r] repeated interruptions of Trooper [Randy] Rahne's instructions.

During your performance of these physical maneuvers Trooper [Randy] Rahne was unable to detect an odor of intoxicating beverage upon your breath. With this absence he turned his attention to the possibility of intoxication by drugs, either prescription or illegal.

At this time Trooper [Gerald] Lincoln was asked to make some observations of your physical appearance and ask some additional questions to determine if this could possibly be the reason for your erratic driving witnessed earlier. Trooper [Gerald] Lincoln is also a certified instructor in the area of detection and apprehension of intoxicated drivers.

The investigation of a driver possibly under the influence of drugs is much like that for alcohol, with the first stage being the elimination of possible alcohol influence. Upon your satisfactory completion of a preliminary breath test, Trooper [Gearld] Lincoln asked if you had any medical problems. With the response of a fixed stare to a question a trained officer suspects something out of the ordinary. At this time Trooper [Gerald] Lincoln looked at your tongue and asked if you had been smoking marijuana and again he received a fixed stare and delayed response, so the question was asked 2 more times before an answer was provided. Again I offer the explanation as your inability to hear the officer or his inability to hear your response due to traffic, or your refusal to cooperate.

Your interpretation of Trooper [Timothy] McClinchy's attempt to calm the situation by providing an explicit explanation is incorrect. Trooper [Timothy] McClinchy admits telling you to "hang tight and relax" after explaining the troopers were investigating your sobriety and not harassing.

The final issue is that of your 15 minute wait for Trooper Timothy McClinchy and the State Patrol accept the fact the completion of the summons and complaint and a computer check of a driver takes approximately 10 minutes, under normal conditions. Unfortunately, until technology become[s] more affordable for law enforcement nothing can be done to speed this process and we apologize for the extended delay.

In closing, it is unfortunate that people find the sensitive aspects of law enforcement investigations of possible criminal activity intrusive, when the actual purpose is solely to expose the facts.

It is my opinion that these officers were acting on behalf of the motoring public and within the guidelines set forth by the Colorado State Patrol at all times and your allegation of harassment based on ethnic or racial background is unfounded.

If I do not hear from you within 10 days of receipt of this letter, I will consider this matter closed.

Sincerely,

Captain Bob Parish
Commander, Troop 3C
2412 East Mulberry
Fort Collins, CO 80524


Below are my numbered comments & rebuttals to the letter written to me by Captain Parish dated January 8, 1996:

  1. Officer X in my initial complaint letter has been identified as Officer Gerald Lincoln. What exactly could have drawn their attention that night still boggles my mind. Captain Parish elaborates further, and I will comment on that later. [Go back to letter.]

  2. As I explained in my initial complaint letter, "I normally move up when I see that there is enough space in front of me and back off when I notice that there is not." I also stop my car when I notice that the flow of traffic is sufficiently slow to the point where the traffic stops. As far as the "rapidly" goes, I was going as rapidly as I could go under the law and in no way was I driving carelessly. I don't call this careless driving. I call this careful driving! Again, the arguments expounded by the officers are flimsy in their determination that I was either driving carelessly or under the influence of drugs. [Go back to letter.]

  3. Again, the arguments expounded by the officers are flimsy and the stoppage was not justified. The treatment during the stoppage was less than professional by the officers, despite their so-called certifications in detection of drunk driving.

    In fact, after I had gone through all there tests the three officers - Randy Rahne, Gerald Lincoln, and Timothy McClinchy - got together about 10 feet away from me, and I heard Officer Gerald Lincoln mention to the other officers, "Well, what are we going to do with him." To me, this appears that the idea of putting at least a careless driving citation came after they had determined that I was not under the influence of drugs. This also smacks to me that the officers needed some reason to justify my stoppage, since there really was no justification for stopping me in the first place, and so they issued a careless driving citation because (a) they needed to cover themselves somehow and/or (b) the officers did not take kindly to my "I must respectfully state that this is now turning into harassment" statements.
    [
    Go back to letter.]

  4. I believe this is a response to Point #1 I made in my initial complaint letter to the Colorado State Patrol.

    Officer Randy Rahne did not ask me whether I spoke English or not! He stated that I looked as if I've never lived in this country before. Making any statement implying ethnic origin is still entirely inappropriate. If the problem happens to relate to my ability to speak English, then he should have asked ne that, but he never asked me whether I was able to speak English; instead, he made the ridiculous remark of stating that I looked as if I've never lived in the country before.

    To ask me whether I could speak English in my case is also ridiculous. I was born, raised, and educated in this country. I have a Masters of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (with Highest Honors) from the University of Florida - universities in this country in which the need to speak, write, and comprehend English are not a luxury, but a necessity in order to attend classes, comprehend lectures and study material, and take exams. I have also written an article entitle "The Case for a Deregulated Free Market Telecommunications Industry" in the December 1994 issue of the prestigious technical magazine IEEE Communications Magazine. The fact that I was able to obtain degrees from those universities coupled with the other fact that I have published an article in a prestigious magazine should be sufficient proof that my ability to comprehend English should not be in question. Anyone who has just a simple five-minute conversation with me would be able to tell that I not only am able to speak, write, and comprehend English, but will also notice that I do not speak it with a foreign accent.

    Of all the explanations offered as a defense and excuse for the officers' actions in my case, these have got to the most flimsy, ridiculous, and asinine comments. Not only that, but the fact that a Colorado State Patrol Captain would offer as a defense for an officer's actions the fact that he could "understand Trooper [Randy] Rahne's questions regarding your ethnic origin" smacks to me like I have a strong case for an ethnic discrimination lawsuit against the Colorado State Patrol and the officer involved. Questions of ethnic origin are extremely inappropriate and unprofessional to ask of an individual during a police stoppage, and in my case the question of asking whether I could speak English, which the officers never asked anyway, would have still been inappropriate considering the fact that I do not speak English with a foreign accent.
    [Go back to letter.]

  5. I must again re-iterate my position as stated in my initial complaint letter. I was never told before or during these roadside tests that these tests were voluntary! This was explained in Point #4 of my initial complaint letter. [Go back to letter.]

  6. This should be obvious. I was driving home from work. I did not drink any alcoholic beverages and was obviously not drunk. [Go back to letter.]

  7. I never recalled being asked by Officer Gerald Lincoln whether I had any medical problems! [Go back to letter.]

  8. The fixed stares given to Officer Gerald Lincoln was not in response to the question of whether I had medical problems, it was in response to the question of whether I had taken marijuana. For someone who has no criminal record and who has always made it a point in his life to stay out of trouble, this question was both demeaning and insulting to me; I felt irritated inside that someone would seriously ask me that question. A simple computer background check of me should reveal that I have never been arrested or convicted of possessing or consuming marijuana or any other drugs.

    As far as looking at my tongue, this was done prior to the marijuana question, not after it. They told me to open my mouth; they looked inside my mouth with a flashlight and told me to open it in various positions to determine if I had any drugs in my mouth!!!
    [
    Go back to letter.]

  9. Although there was background traffic noise, I was able to hear the officers. As for my "refusal to cooperate," I must state the following:
    • The fact that I went through all the roadside tests is proof enough that I did cooperate. I did cooperate with the officers.
    • If they interpret my "I must now state that this is now turning into harassment" statements as non-cooperation, then I must state that the officers have a warped sense of what non-cooperation means. I do not interpret questioning an officer as non-cooperation nor should it be interpreted that way, especially in a free society such as ours; such attitudes among government enforcement officials is more in line with monarchies, totalitarian states, and dictatorships.
    • Although I did cooperate with the officers in my stoppage, I must state that non-cooperation to an officer's orders, within certain limits, is entirely appropriate in a free society such as ours when an officer tells you to do something that he/she is not authorized to do. I believe that in my case, the only thing I was required to do was to take a (a) breathalyzer test and/or (b) blood test administered by a doctor.
    [
    Go back to letter.]

  10. Trooper Timothy McClinchy did not tell me to "hang tight and relax"; he told me to "shut up and cooperate," which is what I did throughout this ridiculous ordeal. I was always calm throughout this ridiculous ordeal. [Go back to letter.]

  11. This appears to be one of the few plausible explanations as to what happened to me with respect to the long wait to receive the summons. [Go back to letter.]


There are some other comments worth noting:


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