Wisconsin Police Woman Endangers Familyby Stephen Littau
This is another one of those stories that I read and say “this could happen to me!”
More than a month after Sam Salter wound up in the Ramsey County jail for two nights, the 40-year-old adjunct college instructor from Hudson, Wis., is still fuming. “You feel totally helpless,” he said.
At the end of a New Year’s Eve traffic stop on Interstate 94 in St. Paul, State Patrol Sgt. Carrie Rindal rammed Salter’s 2001 Toyota Sienna van, causing $1,500 damage to his vehicle, and arrested him at gunpoint while his three children, ages 2, 3 and 6, sat in the van. His wife had to pick up the kids as he was taken to jail.
Rindal said Salter was attempting to flee. He said he was merely looking for a safe place to pull over.
The county attorney decided that the evidence from the dashboard camera suggests that Salter was not trying to flee but to find a safe place to pull over (just as Salter said). The video of the incident can be viewed here (If I can figure out a way to embed the video, I will post it here later). From what I see, Salter made three mistakes: speeding, changing lanes without signaling, and getting out of his van once the van came to a stop*. If it were me, I would have slowed down, turned on my hazard lights to indicate that I will pull over in a safe location, and wait to give the officer a piece of my mind when she approached the window with my hands in plain view on the steering wheel.
It shouldn’t be unreasonable for a motorist to look for a safer place to pull over than the shoulder of a highway. If I were in Salter’s position, I would have also taken the nearest exit to pull over.
Watch this video and then tell me how pulling over onto the shoulder is a good idea:
I would rather take my chances being pulled over by Sgt. Rindal but it’s very unsettling the thought that I might have to choose between doing the safe thing and going to jail.
Hat Tip: The Agitator
*While I completely understand his reaction, Salter is probably lucky this police officer didn’t blow his head off. I’m sure the Ramos and Compean boot lickers and badge worshippers would have had no problem with such a hasty reaction by a police officer.