Nebraska, as of late, is known for two things: its corn, and the overwhelmingly large number of Colorado marijuana busts. This is due, in most part, to the November passage of Amendment 64, which allows Colorado adults (over the age of 21) to use and possess small amounts of marijuana. Colorado’s marijuana boom has been great for their industry and tourism, but has also been a headache for neighboring states dealing with drug trafficking and numerous marijuana busts. Many times, the methods used to make these arrests are legitimate, but other times they are in direct violation of civil rights due to profiling.
You have heard the rumors of people getting stopped and searched in one trip, due to their Colorado license plate. These stories usually come from college kids crossing state lines. But now, apparently families and children are being targeted. A local man, who choose to remain anonymous, has recently revealed that he and his three children were detained for nearly two hours in what he considers to be a clear example of profiling.
The father was in Nebraska for Easter, and had packed his car with suitcases, Easter baskets, including his three children—aged two, twelve and fourteen years old. He claims “I was pulled over, with my three children in Douglas County, Nebraska, by K-9 units.” Apparently, his ‘offense’ was driving 67 mph in a 65 mph zone, which is not uncommon. Minor offenses like a busted taillight or minor swerving is a common tactic used by Nebraskan police to justify a stop.
At first the dad wasn’t panicked, saying “It seemed like it would be a normal ‘slow-down’ type stop, but instead, I was detained with my children on the side of I-80 for nearly two hours while my vehicle was searched. Not only did they pull every single thing out of the car, they went through my children’s suitcases, mine, etc.”
At one point, he asked one of the officers why they were spending so much time on his family, to which the officer replied “When we see a nice vehicle with Colorado tags, it instantly makes us start watching you. And then we noticed how young you looked, which immediately threw up a red flag.” The officer went on to say that the man was speeding, which is why he was stopped, and that allowed them to obtain permission to do a search. After a relentlessly thorough search, which included police canines, the officers did not find any drugs. According to the man, the only thing they found were milk bones, which they gave to their drug dog.
When the ordeal was over, the father rushed to talk to “several Omaha city cops” about the incident. They indicated that it was probably a slow night with no marijuana busts, or they were training new officers, and Colorado tags were almost always an instant drug-related ticket.
The father isn’t convinced. In his own words, “I have no doubt if they couldn’t be subjected to lawsuits for profiling, they would openly tell people in Colorado to stay out.”