I call it deprivation of rights under color of law, and it’s a crime.
Police Chief And His ‘Drug-Sniffing’ Cat Pull Off Epic Traffic Stop Prank
Video posted to Facebook shows Pratt asking the driver for his license, before asking him and the four passengers what the odor coming from the car is.
They deny having controlled substances inside the vehicle, so Pratt says he’s going to fetch what he claims is his drug-sniffing kitty partner Froo Froo from his squad car.
The video is here (F******k warning).
Let’s take this a step at a time. The aptly-named Pratt was off duty, using department equipment for nonessential personal business.
Under color of law (marked vehicle, uniform, sidearm) he performed a traffic stop for the specifically planned purpose of executing a joke on strangers.
Quick: What’s your first reaction when you see those police lights flashing behind you? Did your gut clench?
He starts the traffic enforcement process, then lies about smelling something suspicious.
Quickly again: How would you react to a claim by a uniformed officer that you are committing a crime? Did your ass-clench wrinkle the seat cover?
He then unlawfully extends the “traffic stop” to conduct a bogus drug search. He then lies to the victims again and says the cat alerted. When you make a false accusation to the police in Utah, it’s a crime. I guess that doesn’t work both ways. Fortunately, they can still file a civil suit for defamation (the accusation — under color of law, no less — that the victims had some controlled substance).
Are you hypothetically sweating, your heart racing, now?
Prat(t) is lucky those folks had a sense of humor. He’ll be even luckier if they maintain it and don’t contact a lawyer. I would.
You know… Prat(t) transported that cat without any sort of restraint. A clever lawyer could argue that violates Utah law on transporting animals. A judge would probably dismiss that one, but it would cost the city in legal fees.
Now let’s consider an alternate-universe scenario: Chief Prat(t) sets out on his little prank. Off-duty. Alone. He picks a target; a vehicle with four occupants. He makes his joke about the cat detecting something. The drugrunners — who actually have a bale of cocaine in the back — see he’s alone and shoot him and drive off. The chief bleeds out on the side of the road. Maybe the criminals would steal his sidearm and other gear, too. Some months down the road, the druggies have sold the stolen gun to someone else, who robs and kills an old lady. Then he gets in a shootout with the cops, and kills one of them before they drop him.
Or it could be something as simple as a cop-hating nut who just takes advantage of the situation to kill one.
Funny joke, Prat(t). Good thing cops don’t really believe that traffic stops are dangerous.
Added: I’ve shared this commentary with Chief Pratt. Maybe you’d like to discuss it with him, too.
Added 2: Reader Bruce notes in comments below that “Official Misconduct” applies as well. Gee, Prat(t), it’s not as if the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council has ever disciplined a Utah cop or yanked their POST certification over that. You’d best be lawyering up, and hoping your victims aren’t.
Added 3: You know… Anybody who gets busted for drugs from a Salina vehicle search forever after this is going to point to this video as proof that the Salina PD lies about drug-sniffing critter alerts. I wonder if the mayor thought of all this when he spoke of commending Prat(t).
Added 4: Screw it. I sent this to the Salina mayor, too.