Woman sues Utah Highway Patrol claiming racial profiling


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  • Sylvia Delgado
    Jan. 5, 2009 6:25 p.m.

    To Mrs. Felder, I believe every word you say. My family and I are victims also of racial profiling that occurs in Utah. We have filed complaint after complaint and nothing happens or no one helps my family. You were blessed that someone is standing up for you, yours rights and defending you. May God Bless you for I know what the suffering feels like when we endure these bad behaviors of these unethical cops. Check your paperwork thoroughly´üî. My family is Hispanic and we were labeled as Negroids on the police paperwork, thats just a small part of the story. The sad part is is that they may get away with it. My family heartbreaking and suffering situation has been on going for 5 years.


  • Appologize to Mrs Felder
    Dec. 31, 2008 6:00 p.m.

    UHP, get rid of this bad apple ASAP.

    Mrs Felder, Enjoy the the compensation due to you.

    Who approved the warrant and on what grounds? I would like to hear the facts as they become available.

  • Deseret Dawg
    Dec. 31, 2008 10:00 a.m.

    Ms. Felders undermines the integrity of her complaint by playing the race card. Most people have learned to tune out racial complaints as background clutter.

    There are legitimate Fourth Amendment issues here. Why did they rip her car apart after a dog search, when the dog didn't alert? Why did it take 2 1/2 hours? This seems unreasonable.

  • Poor Judgment
    Dec. 31, 2008 9:30 a.m.

    The officer obviously exercised poor judgment and has a lack of respect for personal property.

    When one is suppose to have the publics trust... error on the side of caution.

    Both parties should simply chaulk it up to experience and move on.

  • fedup
    Dec. 31, 2008 9:24 a.m.

    I'm sure that living in th U.S., we still have the right to say no. If the k-9 unit found nothing what other reason would he have for going through her luggage piece by piece, did he not trust his k-9's abilities to sniff something out.
    I think most all police with any brass on their uniforms, are on a power trip!

  • Once Again
    Dec. 31, 2008 7:12 a.m.

    Police overreaching again and trampling the fourth amendment.
    If we citizens dont stand up to this we will all have our rights trampled by the police.
    I hope she wins a huge settlement however she will not. Law enforcement and the courts protect each other. To think otherwise is delusional.

    Amendment 4
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    Comment: The Fourth Amendment prohibits the police and other government officials from searching peoples homes or offices or seizing their property without reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has been committed. In most cases, police can conduct a search of a persons home or office only after they get a written search warrant from a judge, detailing where they will search and what they expect to find.

  • Thank You!
    Dec. 30, 2008 11:42 p.m.

    Thank you Ms. Felders for standing up for our constitutional rights.

    I am sorry that you had to endure this behavior from a public servant that is supposed to uphold the laws.

    The truth will come out.

  • Free to refuse a search
    Dec. 30, 2008 9:05 p.m.

    Where's the proof,

    "Hint to driver...If you want to be on your way ASAP don't say "no" if they get suspicious and asked if they can search. That just means you get to wait for the K-9 unit to arrive and of course by then you will have a more grumpy officer on your hands, one that really wants to find the REASON you didn't want him searching your car."

    Why should anyone consent to a search of their private property if they haven't done anything wrong? Why should they agree to wait while their private property is searched? The driver was well within her rights to refuse a search and the officer had no probable cause to search her vehicle.

    "I don't know what made him suspicious. Only he knows. But I think your going to have a hard time PROVING it was racial-profiling (especially when there are hundreds of cars with racially diverse families passing through the state every day without profiling problems). If racial-profiling were UHP-protocol it would happen more often."

    They don't have to prove that it is "protocol" to prove that they were victims of racial profiling. Individual acts of profiling are still wrong.

  • bilbo
    Dec. 30, 2008 7:54 p.m.

    I have been asked TWICE for permission to search my vehicle as a result of a traffic stop. Neither time was I speeding or otherwise accusedc of braking the law. No tickets were issued.. Auto was a 1999 Ford F350 DRW with a fifth wheel hitch in bed. Both times I said: "NO".
    One time the AZ HP argued with me, saying he CAN search my vehicle.
    I replied: "I am sure you can, but you still don't have my permission to do so".
    Neither time resulted in a search. Why does my refusal make me appear guilty?
    Come on, I HAVE the right.
    Are we willing to give up our rights and ptrotections against illegal search and seizure just so we can appear cooperative? Not Me!
    Does cooperating when you have no obligation (as in this situation of requested permission to search) make you a better citizen? If so, then why the Constitutional Caveats?

    I sure hope you don't feel that way. If you do, then let us do away with the Constitutional requirements of REASONABLE CAUSE!
    It just makes us poor citizens...right?

  • Anonymous
    Dec. 30, 2008 5:40 p.m.

    Maybe if I wasn't caucasian I would also have an excuse to cry that everything & everyone is against me. Take responsibility for what you do you whiners!

  • Where's the proof???
    Dec. 30, 2008 5:38 p.m.

    Saying no to the police just makes them more suspicious. BIG DEAL they can just get over it for that matter. All that you are required to provide is your DL registeration and proof of insurance. You are not required to disclose any other such as where are you going? What are you doing? that is a fishing tactic that the cops will use to try and trap people.

  • Seems simple to me
    Dec. 30, 2008 5:29 p.m.

    Is there probable cause that the person may be committing a crime? Yep, she's already committing a crime, and being stopped for it.

    Now, is she speeding because she can't read the speed limit? Or is she speeding because she's in possession of something she shouldn't have (drugs, stolen property) and is nervous? I live in California, I'm white. In every, without exception, time I've ever been pulled over, I've been asked if they can search my vehicle. I'm not surprised by it, I don't take it as an insult. I realize I'm breaking one law, and they have reason to suspect I may break others. I completely understand that.

  • Correctness
    Dec. 30, 2008 4:49 p.m.

    Let all the speeders of color go. Stopping them would not be politically correct. As a middle aged white guy I've been searched at the airport many times to even out the color-white ratio. Life's not that tough, get over it.

  • Flex your rights
    Dec. 30, 2008 4:23 p.m.

    Denying a law enforcement officer permission to search your vehicle does not create probable cause that you have committed a crime.

    Ms. Felders, you're one of my heroes for standing up for your right against unreasonable searches and seizures, and bringing this civil rights lawsuit.

    Good luck in your quest for justice (you'll need it in Utah).

  • Hello?
    Dec. 30, 2008 3:52 p.m.

    Two hours on the roadside?
    That's enough to make me boil.

  • ak
    Dec. 30, 2008 3:40 p.m.

    UHP officers are racist. Consider the state of Utah, where Republicans are in control, and local businesses, sometimes, hire illegels. The end result is that this officer will be cleared. Internal investigation & Utah courts will let him off the hook. Just cooperate next time; then you won't have so much trouble.

  • uncannygunman
    Dec. 30, 2008 3:18 p.m.

    Relax everybody! I'm putting down the sarcasm and stepping away with my hands up!

  • Anonymous
    Dec. 30, 2008 2:45 p.m.

    until you have been pulled over for D.W.B. (driving while black, brown) you have no reason to post your childish comments here. i have been pulled over for no other reason just bc i drive a nice car with RIMs and dress nice i must be dealing drugs!

  • Sadly
    Dec. 30, 2008 2:29 p.m.

    . . . the case will be resolved in court and not here . . . ?

    Doesn't seem sad to me. Not one of the dolts commenting here has even heard the officer's side of the story.

    I'm glad the DesNews comments page is not the ultimate arbiter of whether he was right or wrong.

  • 2 uncannygunman | 1:31 p.m.
    Dec. 30, 2008 2:29 p.m.

    uncannygunman | 1:31 p.m.

    Don't assume you know all the details of what happened just from reading an article in the Des News. They tend to just give you enough salacious details to get the juices flowing. There's usually more to the story than what gets reported in the news (especially when all the details reported were comming from one side). There's usually 2 sides to any story. Did you hear any quotes from the officer? Nope, just stuff from the lady sueing. Of course she's going to tell a good story (and that doesn't neccessarily mean she's lieing, it just means you're only getting one side of the story in this article).

  • Without Rims
    Dec. 30, 2008 2:22 p.m.

    Do they make suv's without rims? Where would you put the tires?

  • Rude Officer
    Dec. 30, 2008 2:08 p.m.

    Pointing to his medals saying "This gives me permission?" Arrogant thing to say. 2 hour search. Thanks officer hillbilly for putting Utah back another 10 years. Use a dog, be fast courteous and efficient. Obviously this officer was not a boy scout.

  • For the record
    Dec. 30, 2008 1:50 p.m.

    Racial profiling is not illegal.

    The lawsuit seeks damages for violation of the 4th amendment, which relates to search and seizure. And it alleges a physical injury by being required to stand for long periods.

    Ms. Felders and her lawyer may indeed be claiming she is a victim of racial profiling. But that's only to add notoriety to the case and increase their settlement posture.

  • From here
    Dec. 30, 2008 1:51 p.m.

    I think this is ridiculas. I believe that it was just when they came to utah. I think that everywhere else has different races/ethnicities, but here. Out here people just aren't used to it unless they're from salt lake and even thats a stretch. I'm sorry they had to go through this. Hopefully everything works out.

  • imasuperDOTcom
    Dec. 30, 2008 1:40 p.m.

    The US constitution says the officer has to have probable cause. A black lady, two black guys, Rims, and an out of state license plate is not probable cause. The fact that she verbally stated the officer had no permission to search her vehicle says to me the officer had to have enormous amounts of probable cause.

    A failed sobriety test, visual evidence of a felony in progress, or similiar sign. Without any such evidence, you bet that search is unlawful.

    If we don't take an infraction seriously, our rights will be trampled. Give an inch, they'll take a mile. very important we remember that. If we don't we'll end up with a lot more than searched cars.

  • uncannygunman
    Dec. 30, 2008 1:31 p.m.

    I would say this case has two components: "lack of probable cause" and "racial profiling." Even if a cop is a complete racist, he can still search a vehicle on probable cause. If he doesn't have probable cause, he shouldn't search regardless of his motives. But if he searches without probable cause because of racial motives, then that's doubly bad.

    Sadly, the case will be resolved in court and not here in these comments.

  • our rights
    Dec. 30, 2008 1:20 p.m.

    Have you all forgot we have rights? Doesn't matter if we have nothing to hide or not. The BIG point here is we have the right to say no. When you have nothing to hide you have every right to say NO!!!

  • AL
    Dec. 30, 2008 1:08 p.m.

    Sounds like another power-hungry cop. If I was ever asked if I could be searched, I think I'd certainly say no. A police office has no right to search you, unless he can articulate probable cause or facts justifying a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot. The Supreme Court said that. Any simply denying permission to search does not give an officer reasonable suspicion. Citizens in this country are NOT subject to arbitrary search and detention at the whim of a government official.

    And when a K9 officer takes two hours to search a vehicle on the side of the road, it's clear that he has nothing and at that point he's just on a power trip. This is legitimate harassment, regardless of race, and should not be tolerated.

  • Where's the proof?
    Dec. 30, 2008 1:06 p.m.

    Where's the 'Proof' racial profiling was involved?

    Are you saying the police can't pull over or search a black driver in Utah without it being "Racial Profiling"? How ludicrus!

    My suspicions would be activated too if I pulled over a mom who said she was driving her kids all the way from San Diego to see a Wyoming-CSU game. That just sounds crazy!

    Hint to driver...
    -If you want to be on your way ASAP don't say "no" if they get suspicious and asked if they can search. That just means you get to wait for the K-9 unit to arrive and of course by then you will have a more grumpy officer on your hands, one that really wants to find the REASON you didn't want him searching your car.

    This MAY have been racially motivated, I don't know, I can't read the officer's mind. I don't know what made him suspicious. Only he knows. But I think your going to have a hard time PROVING it was racial-profiling (especially when there are hundreds of cars with racially diverse families passing through the state every day without profiling problems). If racial-profiling were UHP-protocol it would happen more often.

  • Sk8boy
    Dec. 30, 2008 12:50 p.m.

    Every few years, I'll get pulled over for a speed violation. On the last one, I was asked if the vehicle could be searched and I consented. I had nothing to hide and nothing was found.

    I'm an older guy driving a small truck. Of course I was PO'd. I couldn't figure out why they chose to search the truck. I couldn't fall back on racial profiling because I'm at the bottom of the racial food chain. I'm an upper middle aged white guy.

    Sometimes things happen that you just wish you could get even for. Then sometimes you just have to take it and walk away.

    If she had given consent for the search, it's possible the trooper would have dropped it right there.

    Life stinks sometimes.

  • amazed
    Dec. 30, 2008 12:33 p.m.

    Hey funny, are you a victim of the Utah Education System? Too bad spell check doesn't check grammar as well. Sheesh. What exactly is the point you are trying to make? Your comment is so broken up that it's hard to make heads or tails of it...

  • funny
    Dec. 30, 2008 12:04 p.m.

    Black, SUV w/22 on it, Out of State, there his red flag. Oh ya speeding. and she told him no u can't go search the car' another red flag. but what did he see in plan sight for his PC.And he had K9 there and the dog didn't find any thing but he still searched. hum sure get the word out don't come thru Utah with drugs we will catch you. Because we check everyone speeding in the state. Sorry for are guess. But UHP keep checking. sooner or later they will get you.