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Video: Search of Star Trek Fans Sparks Complaints

Cops are accused of manufacturing probable cause to search a car containing two trekkies.

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If only the pair could have beamed
themselves home.

By Bryan Le

04/03/12

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A pair of trekkies set their faces to stun when they were stopped and searched by Illinois cops on their warp drive home from a Star Trek convention last December. Officer Reichert pulled over Terrance Huff and John Seaton for an "inappropriate lane change,” but soon let Huff off with a warning, returned his ID and shook his hand. It seemed like end of the episode. But Reichert wasn't done: “Let me ask you a question real quick: When I went up to talk to your partner he seemed really apprehensive and really nervous,” he says in newly-released dash-cam footage. “Is there any reason for that at all?” The trekkies, keen to avoid trouble, let him take a narcotics dog around for a sniff, leading to a search after the dog "smelled drugs"—which Reichert didn't find. Some civil rights attorneys say this search violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. They add that—far from Reichert boldly going where no officer has gone before—such coerced searches happen often. "When we saw the Huff video in our office, we just laughed," says Madison Country public defender John Rekowski. "Not because it wasn't outrageous. But because it's the kind of thing we see all the time. The stop for a so-called 'inappropriate lane change,' the games they play in the questioning, the claims about nervousness or inappropriate behavior that can't really be contradicted. It's all routine."

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