Judge Hands Back $92,000 Taken From Musician By Cops For Failing To Buckle His Seatbelt

Another awful story of civil asset forfeiture abuse comes to us via German Lopez at Vox. But at least this one has a happy ending. The beginning, however, is anything but happy. Musician Phil Parhamovich made the mistake of driving in Wyoming without his seatbelt buckled. A click-it ticket in Wyoming usually runs about $25. In Parhamovich’s case, it cost him nearly $92,000.

Phil Parhamovich had been waiting for this moment for a long time. The 50-year-old had spent years restoring and selling houses, cars, and musical instruments, often clocking 12-hour workdays, to save up more than $91,000. And now it was all going to pay off: He would buy a music studio in Madison, Wisconsin, where Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins recorded songs — not just fulfilling a dream of owning a monument to grunge rock, but also giving him a space to work on his own career as a musician.

Then came the police stop this past March. By the time it was over, police in Wyoming would take all of Parhamovich’s money — the full $91,800. Parhamovich, who has no criminal record, was not accused of or charged with a serious crime; he only got a $25 ticket for improperly wearing his seat belt and a warning for “lane use.”
But Wyoming law enforcement officers found and eventually seized the $91,800 in cash, as it was hidden in a speaker cabinet — by getting Parhamovich, under what he claims was duress, to sign away his interest in the money through a waiver.

With all apologies to Parhamovich — who got screwed by the civil asset forfeiture system — Wyoming law enforcement couldn’t have asked for a better mark to come passing through their state. Parhamovich disavowed ownership of the money and signed a waiver stating the same thing. That’s a perfect storm of complicity.
But while we’re still being fair, most Americans aren’t aware law enforcement officers regularly engage in pretextual traffic stops for the sole purpose of warrantless searches and seizures. According to the musician, the cops made it sound like cash was just another form of illegal contraband.

At one point, the officer asked Parhamovich if he had a long list of items in his car — specific drugs, a weapon, a large amount of cash, and so on. With the way the question was phrased, Parhamovich said he was worried that answering “yes” would make things worse, since it could wrongfully imply he had illegal drugs in his car. He also became concerned, since he was questioned about cash and illegal drugs at the same time, that it was potentially against the law to carry so much cash at once. (It is not.)

Cops looking to directly profit from traffic stops rely on citizens being unfamiliar with local laws and their legal rights. (Perversely, they rely on not knowing the law when being sued for violating rights.) Hence the highway patrol tendency to pull over out-of-state drivers. The officer here went poaching. He even had a property waiver form written up and ready to go — something that doesn’t seem like it should be a part of day-to-day traffic law enforcement.

For full story visit: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20171202/15391338726/judge-hands-back-92000-taken-musician-cops-failing-to-buckle-his-seatbelt.shtml

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3399 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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  • Shaka

    It’s called “Operation Pipeline.” It was designed for black people and white people allowed it. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. White people, please help black people gain equal citizenship and equal treatment under the law OR ELSE, you will soon find yourselves oppressed.

    • Chris Tanner

      My god. This happens to a white guy and here in the comments (like every single comments section, everywhere) there’s a guy preaching race inequality. Getting so old. We all get treated like slaves to the government bud…. stop making everything about race.

      • Shaka

        You’re right. But there are house slaves and field slaves. White men allowed slavery and didn’t help the black people. Now those same white people are the new house slaves. If you allow things to happen to others, they will soon happen to you. Fortunately for us, we are used to being in the field. Better treat the master good because you won’t survive out here. PLUS, we won’t be to nice to you being that you never did anything to help us…

        • Chris Tanner

          Actually, africans sold their own people into slavery, and white people fought a war to end slavery… stow your rhetoric. House slaves? “Out here”? Sister i live in a tougher hood than you do i guarantee that.

          • Shaka

            You came across the wrong person to start that with. I study this subject. Your American history books present a fairytale version of history. Where do I start? OK. The war that created the POWs that were eventually sold to Europeans was the Ashanti versus Fante war. This was a proxy war between the British and the Dutch. England won otherwise America would be speaking Dutch right now. Before this Arabs had enslaved us for centuries. You have to make a choice. If you are going to blame precolonial African slavery on Africans, then you must say that Africans conquered Spain. If you want to say Arabs conquered Spain, then you must admit that Arabs created the slavery in Africa. You can’t have it both ways. There is no record of pre-Arab slavery in Africa and the slavery white males invented was the worst humanity has ever seen. Africans didn’t “enslave their own.”

            Next subject, the Civil war. You forget that well over 200,000 black men fought in that war and President Lincoln said he would have lost without them. 40,000 died. So EVERYBODY fought to free the slaves, EVEN THE SLAVES.

            Secondly, the Civil War was about money. The South supplied 2/3 of the WORLDS cotton and the North wanted a bigger cut. The South didn’t want to pay and decided to be their own country. If the South would have paid up, those white men would have continued enslaving and we’d still have slaves today. White men in America weren’t good people then and they still aren’t today. There are very few that have ever existed.

            BTW, I’m from Compton and I was there in the 80s and 90s. It doesn’t get any tougher unless you live on the South Side of Chicago right now.

          • Chris Tanner

            So, youre just a person that spends their life studying race and bringing race into any subject regardless of relevancy and calling everyone racist while you say all white men are evil…. honey im a white man and i live in a bad neighborhood and dont have any better life than anyone… and youre a racist.

          • Shaka

            It’s funny how mentioning race throws white men off and they immediately go into defense mode. My point was not to call anyone a racist. I’m saying that allowing something to happen to others has resulted in it happening to you. Is this not true? Look up Operation Pipeline instead of getting your panties in a bunch and maybe you’ll learn something. It was the technique used on this poor white man to violate his 4th amendment. Suddenly you went off into slavery when you could have just said, “maybe he’s right.”

          • Chris Tanner

            No, actually, you clearly said there are no good white men. Thats.racist. and i take offense. And i didnt “allow” anything. I grew up in the same system as you, and had no choice in it. I also had nothing to do with slavery, nor did i “allow” or condone it. Again, we are all treated.as.slaves by “our” government, and to make everything into a race issue is ignorant and racist. I have it just as hard as anyone, so i really dont want to hear about poor black people and how hard they have it on every single comment on the internet. People like you make everything about black and white people instead of all of us being human beings all abused by the same system, and want to cry how we’re all racists.

          • Shaka

            my version: “White men in America weren’t good people then and they still aren’t today. There are very few that have ever existed.” Your version: “There are NO good white men.” SMH. White man alternate reality is interesting, especially when you can simply read the words right above you to get a better understanding. Again, when white men hear “race,” they close their ears, go into defense mode and start calling everyone racist. To be racist you have to be able to affect someone’s destiny. You can call me a bigot but racist is a term ONLY for white men. Black people can’t do that. Black people are 50 years into their freedom and I’ve managed to get out of the hood. Your family has never been enslaved. What’s your excuse?

          • Chris Tanner

            You are clearly not only a racist, but also a complete idiot.

          • Shaka

            At least I know what racist means and have a working definition. You have no idea what the word means yet you throw it around in defense. Try picking up a dictionary one day instead of using the term like the masses do.

          • Chris Tanner

            Actually, you have clearly made up your own definition of what racism is. Perhaps it is you who should pick up a dictionary.

          • Shaka

            Nope. Black people have decided that to be racist you have to be able to affect someone’s destiny. The Dictionary says that it means you think your race is better than someone else’s. BTW, who invented “race” to begin with? OH!!! White men. Please look up Fredrich Johann Blumenbach and Christoff Meiners. Your white brothers created the capacity for racism to exist. You have to admit those white men were bad people who made humanity bad with their pseudo science, right? BTW, no black men were involved in the invention of race. ONLY white men. Bad white men with statues and monuments in Europe today.

          • Chris Tanner

            Bro wtf are you even talking about my entire point is, you are the only one here making anything about race. You personally. This has nothing to do with race its a story about civil assett forfiture and government overreach and corruption and you are like black people this white men are evil black people have decided so and so you invented racism bla bla. Homie i am white and i dont care about anyone’s skin color i have black family members and family friends and no, this has nothing to do with white human beings as individuals being racist, if you want to say the institution itself is racially biased, thats your opinion, but i certainly havent ever had any “privelage” either. But to sit and say white people as individuals are evil because of what our ancestors did is ingenuous and bringing it into every conversation you have about anything when it has nothing to do with the subject makes YOU racist.

          • Shaka

            You’re not smart enough to understand the point. I mentioned race and YOU went off into the racial argument. Here’s my original point: Civil Asset Forfeiture began under Reagan during the War on Drugs, which was really a war on black people. White people, if they were good, would have stopped it because, just like in this poor man’s story, IT’S WRONG. White people didn’t. They allowed it to happen to black people. Now it’s happening to white people.

            Your capacity to understand this explanation probably stopped after you saw the word “black.” America programs people to be this way and that’s why you missed the original point.

          • Chris Tanner

            Youre not smart enough to understand that this is why we are divided as a country and nothing changes. Left vs right, black vs white, instead of banding together and saying the government is corrupt and they need to change we the people dont want this anymore, we arge with each other and blame each other and they just keep profiting on our lives and our misery. You say everything is white peoples fault and white people should habe fixed it and boo hoo poor black people youre an idiot. That isnt going to solve a single thing its just ignorance and hatred.try doing something yourself and being part of the solution instead of just bitching about how everything is white people’s fault and doing nothing.

          • Shaka

            Your words: “Left vs right, black vs white, instead of banding together and saying the government is corrupt and they need to change we the people dont want this anymore, we arge with each other and blame each other and they just keep profiting on our lives and our misery.”

            My words: ” White people, please help black people gain equal citizenship and equal treatment under the law OR ELSE, you will soon find yourselves oppressed.”

            How exactly do you not see that we are saying the same thing? Asking white men for help is the same as banding together. Stop being a coward and face the fact that this country WAS and IS racist and black people have it the worst. We know there are white people that have it bad too. Western society sucks.

          • Chris Tanner

            Also, you arent going to get any “help” from white people by spewing how white men are evil.and everything is white peoples fault. Only enemies. Besides, your whole racism argument is fantasy. You said yourself, you are successful. How is it that you are so oppressed? We all have different privelages and advantages based on our families previous successes. There are laws that prevent racial descrimination, and affirmative action policies actually give black people advantages over others in many situations. You talk about this mysterious, hypothetical “racism”, but can you give an actual, factual, provable example of it? Not just rhetoric, but show someone discriminating against a black person, and yes, we can go after that specific example and correct it. But to just make a blanket statement that blacks are oppressed and its white peoples job to do something about it is just ridiculous talking points that solves nothing. Especially when the specific instance we are debating has nothing to do with race. Or is your argument that everything that ever happens is race related. Because again, you are the one bringing race into everything. You are the one making everything about the color of peoples skin homie.

          • Shaka

            Let me tell you, the effort it took to get out of the hood would have made me President by now. Middle-class whites get to put their energy towards achieving a bigger piece of the pie. Look at our President. He’s dumb as a doornail and I can out-think, out wit, and out strategize him in my sleep. Me, I’m successful, he’s President.

            I’d totally be willing to tone down my rhetoric if white men were actually interested in doing something for others. In the mean time, I will continue to use provocative language to get their attention.

            We had to be discriminated against to get laws against racial profiling, AND THEY STILL DIDN’T WORK.

            Affirmative action never got me a job and there are tons still jobless. The problem is that white men have not shown themselves to be capable of building a healthy society. EVER. Yet they force, through barbarism, their leadership on the rest of the world.

            BTW, it’s not about skin, rather it’s about culture. European culture has never been healthy.

          • Chris Tanner

            How is any of that the fault of “white people”. I have no say in the governments activities, nor do i get to decide how society works. I dont agree with any of it. But to put the blame on “white people” is disengenuous. How about directing your hostility towards rich people, or the government, or lobbyists, or the system itself. Oh, because all you have to say is fuck white people. But we are the racists. You, sir, are a race baiter, and that tact isnt going to affect any type of change.

          • Chris Tanner

            You worked so hard you would be president if you were white? Gtfoh. Baloney. Maybe its the fact that black people go around and act all thuggish and gangster and choose not to speak proper english. Maybe thats why you get looked at differently. White people who act like that generally have less opportunities also im quite sure. Ignorant. And maybe because you act like its everybody elses fault instead of taking responsibility for yourselves and stop asking for a hand out because somebody “owes you” and go get it for yourself. You know what creates success? Spending most of your life working your fingers to the bone not partying and blasting music so loud the entire neighborhood is forced to endure it and crying about how the white man is holding you down while you sell drugs and shoot each other and rob people and call each other nigga all day.foh.

          • Shaka

            I see why you’re poor. This is a democracy and the citizens rule, however, you don’t exercise your power. White people are the majority in America. When Reagan introduced the “War on Drugs” but only enforced in black neighborhoods, white people should have stopped it. And YES you can. White people stopped prohibition, The national speed limit and laws against sodomy so if they really wanted to, they should have stopped the persecution of blacks in the 80s, 90s and 2000s. We DO direct our hostility towards the government and the police come out and tear-gas us. If more white men stood by our sides, the police woudn’t do this because it means political suicide. But what do you do? NOTHING. Now police are robbing white men for money. The chickens have come home to roost. More coming soon.

          • Chris Tanner

            Yea this democracy brought us donald trump. And the other choice was hillary clinton. Excuse me for having no faith in that system. They are all two sides of the same coin. Bought and paid for by corporations, probably the real culprit here, not “white people”. Corrupt. Crooked. None of those politicians represent the people. They represent themselves and their kind. There are droves of idiots that elected donald trump and praise his existence to the heavens, and think hes gonna “drain the swamp” or whatever nonsense they believe. But not that hillary would have been one ounce better. Your “democracy” doesnt work. I cant stop idiits from being idiots, sheep from being sheep. They were born that way and will die that way. I dont know what to do to change all of this. But to put the responsibility on me because im a “white man” is bullshit. You divide people amongst themselves by saying white people this and black people that. We are all the citizens of this country and are slaves to the corporations and government.

          • Shaka

            I totally get your point but I’m sorry to tell you that YOU are the problem. Donald Trump voters are one step ahead of you because they participate. You’re just sitting there powerless because you do nothing. Sure Hillary was a corporate puppet but at least she was competent. Continue not voting and everything will get worse for everyone. If you’re not going to do anything, AT LEAST redeem the deeds of your ancestors by voting for black interests. It’s better than doing nothing.

          • Chris Tanner

            You’re literally an insane person. I have nothing else to say.

          • Chris Tanner

            You hate white people because of the color of their skin……

          • Shaka

            I just got out of bed with a white woman. I spent yesterday in the company of white people. From what I wrote, where did you see that I hate white people? You made that part up. White man Alternative reality.

          • Chris Tanner

            You sir are a professional victim. Nobody could ever be as oppressed as you, right? Meanwhile there are plenty of wealthy, successful, powerful black people out there. Please forget your rgetoric for a moment and show some actual examples of black people being held back because of racism. No, not broad generalizations, but plese cite some specific examples that clearly show what you presume.

          • Shaka

            Dummy. I AM a successful black person. What am I a victim of? Your capacity to comprehend is pitiful. Try reading this whole conversation again and open your mind first. You took it in a completely different direction than it was intended.

          • Chris Tanner

            1 If you are a successful black person, your argument is null and void 2 you say you brought up race and i went into the race argument…. you brought it up… idiot 3 white people dont “let” the government do anything…i as a white man have just as much control over what the government does as you as a black man does…. they violate everyone’s rights, they kill more white people than black people… and 4 how do you hate white people? I mean, its obvious to everyone reading this, you are the one that made this about race, you come here spewing how white people are evil and everything is white peoples fault blablabla…. my arguing with you will never stop you from being a racist idiot im done talking to you have a nice life. Let that hate go.

          • Chris Tanner

            The only thing you are doing is spewing racial hate and rhetoric. You offer no solutions only claim white.people are to blame for all of society’s problems and make everything about race. Isnt the goal to not see race but to only see human beings? But you are making it about race. There’s one in every comments section. Again, do you have a solution or you here just to say how awful white people are?

          • Shaka

            Can you hear the solution OR are you only seeing the parts about the bad white people have done? The whole point is we need white men to fight against racism because they still hold vastly more power than all minorities. You can’t eradicate a problem you don’t know you have. White men must first realize that racism exist and it won’t go away by ignoring it.

            BTW, here was the solution in the original post: “White people, please help black people gain equal citizenship and equal treatment under the law OR ELSE, you will soon find yourselves oppressed.”

            Ignoring race doesn’t fix America’s racism problem, it just makes it worse.

          • Chris Tanner

            You are a moron i have absolutely nothing else to say. The government illegally seizes a white man’s property. “Its because racism!” No idiot, its because the government is corrupt and are there to represent corporate interests and get rich, not to represent the citizens of this country. Has nothing to do with racism you just want to make everything into a race argument.

          • Shaka

            Dummy, you keep missing the point. When you allow one portion of a society to be victimized, the government gets used to it and then begins going after everyone else. THAT’S MY POINT BUT YOU CAN’T GET PAST THE FACT THAT I MENTIONED RACE. SMH!!!

          • Chris Tanner

            Also you insult me again stating i couldnt survive “out here”, which is funny i do just fine in the area i live in, which is poor, crime riddled, and predominately black. Again, youre a racist.

          • Shaka

            Black people can’t be racist. I’m immune from the title. Until I can affect your destiny, I can at best be a bigot. Congrats on living in a high crime black neighborhood. Unless it is the South Side of Chicago, it doesn’t compare to Compton in the 80s and 90s. Regardless, I’m long gone from there and live in a good neighborhood now. Why are you still stuck there?

          • Chris Tanner

            Snowflake

    • Nathan Angerson

      Stfu!

  • chris VN

    Seriously though, who carries that sort of cash around, didn’t he have a bank account??? The cops had every right to be suspicious.