The Ankeny, Iowa Police Department is red-faced after an overzealous cop tried to convince a driver to consent to a search of his car after seeing a bag of Frisbee golf equipment, because “everybody that plays Frisbee golf smokes weed.”
In the video, which was posted to YouTube by the motorist (identified by KCCI as Scott Beckwith), the stop begins innocently enough, with the officer (also identified by KCCI as Aaron King) giving the driver a warning for driving without headlights, according to WHO. Then, King tries to engage the Beckwith in some small talk, and the conversation turns toward the driver’s bag of Frisbee golf equipment in the car.
“OK. I need you to answer me a question. Why is it that everybody that plays Frisbee golf smokes weed?”
King then tries to keep the conversation on the apparent connection between marijuana and Frisbee golf, in an attempt to get Beckwith to admit to smoking, or possessing, weed. The driver is having none of it.
“I’m not gonna tell you one way or another.”
The officer then tries to take that as an admission that he (Beckwith) had marijuana, and tries to get the driver to consent to a search. Beckwith refuses to give in.
“No I would say I have a problem with you searching my car because you’re profiling me based on being a disc golfer.”
Eventually King gives up and lets the driver go.
According to Drake University Law Professor Robert Rigg, just about every part of the Frisbee golf conversation was illegal.
“The Iowa Supreme Court has held that under the Iowa constitution you can’t convert an equipment violation stop into a general search. and any consent that would have been given would have been invalid in any event.”
Ankeny Police Chief Gary Mikulec has called the event “extremely disappointing,” according to KCCI. Further, the Ankeny Police Department issued a statement on its Facebook page, apologizing for equating a Frisbee golfer with a weed smoker.
“The officer engages the driver in a line of questioning that is foolish and not representative of the Ankeny Police Dept.’s training or interactions with the public. This verbal exchange did not meet the level of professionalism expected of Ankeny police officers.”
As of this post, it is unclear if Officer King will be facing any disciplinary action for equating Frisbee golf players with weed smokers.
[Image courtesy of: Scott County Iowa]