Nickelback may be America’s most hated band — so hated that even saying the band’s name can get you arrested, apparently. Or was it all just a big misunderstanding when Idaho sheriff’s deputies handcuffed and reportedly even pulled a gun on two young men at a gas station when they heard the men utter the name of the group, which actually hails from Canada?
Judging by the YouTube video of the June 20 incident, the deputies believe that the men said the phrase “nickel sack,” which the law enforcement officers believe to be slang for a small bag or marijuana.
Even if that were true, why merely uttering a slang term for a small amount of marijuana is grounds for arrest is not clear.
In the video, the two young men certainly seem as if they have nothing to hide. They — rather unwisely, under any circumstances — give the Kootenai County Deputies the green light to search their vehicle and are generally cooperative with the officers.
But when one of the men asks if he can call his boss who will verify their recent whereabouts, one of the deputies says, “Is your boss the one you’re buying weed for?”
The men ask why they are being “harassed,” and the deputies tell them that they heard the phrase “nickel sack.”
“No, Nickelback,” says one of the men.
“That guy over there was blasting Nickelback,” says the other.
“That’s exactly what he said. “That guy’s blaring Nickelback,'” the other emphasizes.
The police dismiss the Nickelback tale as “a bull**** story.” But the two men were not charged with anything as they would surely have been if deputies found any evidence of drugs. And as The Washington Post noted, “it isn’t captured on the video, but the audio seems to indicate that one of the deputies drew his gun just before pulling one of the men from the car and handcuffing him.”
Video of the incident was uploaded to YouTube on June 21 by The Free Thought Project, and has been viewed more than 87,000 times since then.
“The ‘Nickelback’ story was submitted to us via our Facebook page. It just epitomized the ridiculousness of what the war on drugs has become, so we ran with it,” Free Thought Project‘s Matt Savoy told The Coeur D’Alene Press newspaper. “If it wasn’t true, it would be hilarious, but sadly these officers feel that their job is justified for harassing these guys because they heard Nickelback or nickel sack or whatever.”
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department said it was investigating the incident.