Belted

videostill

This was August 10, 2013.  Joe, driving their van, was pulled over because the officer thought that at least one of the children was not properly belted.

Here’s the transcript.

The video is shot from Nicole’s perspective, riding shotgun. We can see part of Joe, the steering wheel, the driver’s window and the police officer.

Joe: You pulled me over for what –

Officer: (very indistinct because Joe and Nicole are much closer to the mike) That child does not have a –

Joe: because you assumed that he didn’t have a. . . he fucking did.

Nicole: It’s a lap belt. It’s a lap belt.

Officer: The seat belt is supposed to go across his chest.

Nicole: It’s a lap belt. This is a 2002, a 15-passenger van. It has a. . .

Officer: It’s a seat belt that is supposed to go across his chest. And it’s not.

Nicole: It’s on the way it’s supposed to be. I’m not sure what else I can do.

Joe: (turns around, apparently to look in the back) Yeah, it’s across his chest, right now.

Officer: I just pulled you over, and it’s going across his chest.

Joe: It was going across his chest before.

Officer: No. . .

Joe: Yes, it was.

Nicole: It looks that way because of what it is. It looks that way because of the way it is.

[Officer steps away from the window, out of view.]

Joe: Yep. It’s no big deal.

Child’s voice from the back: (low and indistinct) . . . it’s supposed to be. . .

[At this point, it appears like Nicole got out of the van, setting down the phone, or at least opened the door and then closed it.

They sit there, Joe looking through what appears to be documents from his wallet, perhaps.]

Joe: (to children in back) I told you guys to buckle up. Buckle up right.

Nicole: They are. They are in their seat belts the way that they go.

Child’s voice: The other one was ripped off, so he’s going to have to use that one. I can’t find the other one.

Joe: Everybody’s got proper seat belts? Everybody’s got manufactured – factured, warranteed. . .

Nicole: That’s the way it goes.

Joe: . . . fucking assholes.

Nicole: (very quietly) watch your language, please

Joe: . . starts yelling at me and slamming his finger in my face. . .

[For the record, the officer never raised his voice, nor did he “slam a finger.” The voices being raised were coming from Joe and Nicole.]

Nicole: (turns camera and we can see the rear of the vehicle with seats occupied by children) There’s two of them. For a seat belt violation.

Joe: Oh, he’s called more. Oh, he’s called. He called it in.

Some children’s voices from the rear, mostly gibberish and “Mom”

Joe: All right, everybody quiet so I can hear what’s going. . . (indistinct) get out of the van (little laugh)

Nicole: . . he asked you if you wanted to fight, basically. . .

Joe: That’s what he did. That’s why I said, start recording right now. Wants to pick a fight with me because he thinks one of my kids isn’t buckled up right.

Nicole: He was going to climb in the vehicle, and I said, no way, um, I’m not comfortable with you getting in my car. And he said, “oh, you want to play that way” I should have started recording before he pulled me over but I was trying to get my phone out of my pocket

Joe: Have you got some time?

Nicole: Yeah, it should go for 25 minutes at least.

Joe: Yeah, as soon as you start to question them, they wanna pick a fight. What did he say? “Okay we’ll have it that way.” What a joke. Somebody actually. . . somebody actually. . .fuck.

Officer (reappears at window): How old’s the child in the back right?

Second officer appears in view in background.

Nicole: I don’t have to give you that information.

Officer: You don’t have to give information. . .

Nicole: I don’t have to give you that information, no. I don’t.

Officer: There is a booster law in Kentucky, okay, that requires a . . .

Nicole: He’s above that age. That’s my word for it.

Officer: Is he over 41 inches?

Nicole: I give you my word for it. He’s old enough to be out of a booster seat.

Second officer (who has now come closer to the window): Huh?

Nicole: I will say he’s old enough to be out of a booster seat. That’s. . .

Second officer: It’s not about the age. It’s the height.

Nicole: I understand that. My child is old enough to be out of a booster seat.

Second officer: We have to measure him in order to . . . find out . . . if they’re over. . .

Nicole: Um, I’m not going to allow you to do anything to my child without a warrant.

Second officer: Without a what?

Nicole: Without a warrant. You’re not touching or . . . (indistinct) my child. . .

Second officer: What do you think this is?

Joe: America.

Second officer: Right. I know. But there’s laws that you have to follow.

Nicole: Right.

Joe: We do, but (indistinct arguing). Just like this guy. We started. . .

Second officer: Listen, I don’t have any (dog in this fight – indistinct )

Joe: (indistinct): . . . fight. . .

Nicole: I understand that. I’m just telling you that you’re not gonna. . . But I’m gonna tell you right now, I’m not going to let you do anything to my child. I give you my word that he’s old enough to be in that seat. . .

Second officer: Okay. The only other way to do that is to cite you all for the violation. . .

Joe: and court.

Nicole . . .and we go to court. And we’ll talk it up with the judge.

Joe: And we’ve got it all recorded. We’ve got this young man – as soon as we start to say there’s nothing wrong, he said “oh yeah” and “we’ll have it this way then.” Picking a fight. We’ve got it all. And we’ll be glad to show the judge.

Nicole: Hey, he tried coming in my van and I told him. . .

Joe: I don’t have time to deal with this. I’m an American citizen. I have rights. You guys have your guns and that’s fine. You have your authority and you have to pass unconstitutional laws and you have to enforce them. . .

Second officer: What he saying is that the child wasn’t restrained.

Joe: The child was restrained.

Nicole: And I’m saying he was, so it’s his word against mine. And I don’t make money off of it and he does, so

Second officer: Well, that’s his statement.

Joe: Did you see it?

Second officer: No, I didn’t see it.

Joe: All you know is that he started acting aggravated because we became a little obstinate. . . Because he just started to plow through my car.

Nicole: He tried to come in my car and we told him that we weren’t allowing him in my car.

Second officer: The only thing I seen was your being elevated. . .

Joe: Well, he screamed at me first.

Second officer: Well, I didn’t see that.

Joe: This is your buddy, I got you.

Second officer: No. I’m saying I didn’t see that because I just pulled up.

Joe: Well, he yelled first, I mean

Second officer: I’ve been there the whole time. . .

Nicole: He got upset because we wouldn’t let him in the car.

Joe: I got you. I got you.

Second officer: It’s not cool of you to make accusations at me. I haven’t done anything to you.

Joe: What if I did, though?

Second officer: Huh?

Joe: What if I did make accusations?

Second officer: You didn’t make accusations?

Joe: No. What if I did?

Second officer: What do you mean?

Joe: I don’t know. .

Second officer: Where are you going with this? (Smiles broadly)

Nicole: (garbled) telling you what’s gonna happen.

Second officer: He’s writing you guys a ticket, okay. You guys will have a court date and you guys can work with a judge, so. . .

Joe: We’ll be glad to work with. .

Second officer: Alrighty, guys (walking away)

Joe: and the paper and everything else.

Nicole: It’s their word against mine. My son was buckled up. I don’t know what else they can do. But I don’t profit from the seat belt laws and they do, so I guess if that’s how they want to play it.

Joe: . . start recording right away.

Nicole: Seat belts buckled?

Joe: everybody was

Child: yes

Nicole: No, I’m asking was the cop properly buckled, cause I don’t think he was. I think we should give him a citation for not being properly buckled and he can’t prove that he was

Joe: He’s on his phone. They are gonna try to get away with something else.

Voice (maybe a child): (garbled)

Joe: I want everybody fixed because. . .

Nicole: If they come back and see (indistinct), they’re gonna start finding stuff.

[Low conversation between Nicole and children in the background ]

Nicole: Over [child’s name], yes.

[more conversation among the children]

Child: we’re going to court. We got a ticket and we’re going to court.

Joe: Guys. Make sure your seat belts are on right. Make sure your straps are on right.

Nicole: [child’s name], make sure you sit right. Sit right, [child’s name] Put it under his lap. Fix it for him, [child’s name]. Fix it for him.

Joe: I’m telling you, they hire the most ego-maniacs they can. And they love that government school crap, and then they follow orders. They don’t even care. I bet you ask these guys what the Constitution is – they ain’t gotta clue. They couldn’t cite you one thing. All’s they know is what their supervisor told them this morning. Oh, and they added 15-passenger vans. They have to have seat belts.

Nicole: I’m gonna ask him that when he comes back.

Joe: No, you’re not going to ask him anything. Now remember, he said he wasn’t going to write this ticket until we gave him a hard time.

Nicole: Yeah, meaning I wouldn’t let him in my van.

Joe: That’s right. You’re not coming in my van. You’re not just gonna blatantly walk up like you think you own the place. Did you get the whole squabble thing?

Nicole: I don’t know when it started. I can check it afterwards.

Joe: No, I told you to start recording at that point.

Nicole: I was trying to fumble for my phone.

Joe: started acting like a tough guy. When I said record, that’s when he calmed down a little bit. And the other officer is “no I saw you elevated.” Yeah. I’m sure he did, cause he’s your buddy. Ah, you can’t make accusations like that. Okay, well, what if I do make accusations like that? You gonna be a tough guy now? He’s like, “What?”

Nicole: (makes garbled comment)

Joe: Fill in the blanks. Let’s go. They just want to know how many tickets to write us. He’s gonna make me sign something. Should I sign it?

Nicole: No.

Joe: I refuse to sign it. What if he threatens to arrest me? For not signing. What do I say, that I refuse to sign it. What do I say? I just say I don’t know.

And the recording ends there.

But the story doesn’t, of course.  Joe was given a ticket, as the officer said.

citationrecord

His hearing was scheduled, rescheduled, rescheduled yet again and then dismissed.

It was dismissed because the officer in question didn’t show up.  He didn’t show up because of this.

mattisentence

This incident had just occurred, and Matti was on suspension (ultimately fired).

But let’s read Nicole’s account of all this.

fromnicolesblog1

fromnicolesblog2

It’s amazing.  Of course, we’re dealing here with the portion of the recording that she chose to make public.  We have no idea what came before, but it’s odd to me that she insists that everyone was buckled up fine, yet during the recording, it’s quite clear that both she and Joe were pretty frantically adjusting seat belts and fixing everything, and one of the kids quite clearly says that at least one belt is not functioning.

Joe: (to children in back) I told you guys to buckle up. Buckle up right.

Nicole: They are. They are in their seat belts the way that they go.

Child’s voice: The other one was ripped off, so he’s going to have to use that one. I can’t find the other one.

Joe: Everybody’s got proper seat belts? Everybody’s got manufactured – factured, warranteed. . .

They don’t have spare seat belts in vehicles.  If one was “ripped off,” then it’s not working.  I am not making up what this child said. It is quite clear on the recording. I didn’t release that recording publicly.  Nicole did.

Furthermore, Joe tells the second officer that he has it all recorded. But then, it’s clear that they don’t.  This was Joe blustering of course, trying to intimidate the officer.

But then, in her account, she says that the officer “was crooked.”  And “no surprises.”

Her insinuation is that Joe was not guilty because the officer was subsequently fired (and faced criminal charges) for some very bad behavior.

This is, of course, faulty reasoning.  The officer’s guilt or innocence in those separate charges has nothing whatever to do with whether or not the Naugler kid was properly belted. Yes, the charges were dismissed because officer had royally fucked up and couldn’t be present to testify. But that doesn’t mean Joe was innocent. That means he was lucky.

But the larger issue here to me is the recording itself. This was almost two years before the children were taken, but Joe and Nicole already had an adversarial attitude when it came to the police.  They went into defense mode from the second the cop pulled them over.  All the bullshit like this.

Joe: I don’t have time to deal with this. I’m an American citizen. I have rights. You guys have your guns and that’s fine. You have your authority and you have to pass unconstitutional laws and you have to enforce them. . .

They create their own problems.

It would be nice, though, if Joe actually knew fuck-all about what he’s talking about.  As the recording makes clear, he doesn’t. He has to ask Nicole what to do about stuff.

Joe: Fill in the blanks. Let’s go. They just want to know how many tickets to write us. He’s gonna make me sign something. Should I sign it?

Nicole: No.

Joe: I refuse to sign it. What if he threatens to arrest me? For not signing. What do I say, that I refuse to sign it. What do I say? I just say I don’t know.