Jones County Sheriff’s Department Falsely Arrests MHD Crew

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Jones County Sheriff’s Department Falsely Arrests MHD Crew

Post by KnightOfTheOldeCode » Sat May 16, 2009 3:36 am

Jones County Sheriff’s Department Falsely Arrests MHD Crew
May 15, 2009

As many of y’all heard the MHD crew was arrested yesterday morning while traveling through Jones County, MS. Currently on our Southern Style route, we met some good folks in New Orleans the night before and were heading to Meridian, MS for breakfast with other fans of freedom then to Nashville, TN, where we were to pick up Allison Gibbs from the airport then head to a meetup there held in conjunction with Liberty on the Rocks and the TN Center for Policy Research. But that didn’t exactly pan out…

This morning we sat down at a Subway in Laurel, MS and jotted down what went down while it was fresh in our mind (note that all times are approximate):


9:10am Pete was driving our motorhome (MARV) north on I-59. He spots a law enforcement vehicle parked in the emergency turn-around between the north and south-bound traffic. Pete drove past and it appears as though the vehicle stayed put. But then a minute later when Pete checked his rearview mirror he saw that the vehicle had caught up and was shadowing MARV.
9:15am The law enforcement vehicle (now identified as one from the Jones Country Sheriff’s Department) turned on its lights. Pete pulled MARV to a stop on the shoulder and turned on the flashers. The sheriff’s deputy (later identified as Officer Atkins) got out of his vehicle and, while standing off to the rear-left of MARV, stated “Driver, please exit the vehicle.” Pete did so, license in hand, and walked back to Officer Atkins. Officer Atkins noted that he had pulled over MARV because he could not read the tags (temp tags from NH).
Officer Atkins asked Pete how many other occupants were in the RV. Pete informed Officer Atkins that there were two other occupants. Officer Atkins asked if there were any weapons or drugs on-board. Pete told him that there were two firearms. Officer Atkins asked what kind of firearms and where they were kept. Pete stated that there were two handguns, that they were both disassembled and in a locked container and that the ammo was kept in a separate locked container.
Officer Atkins called his dispatcher, updated them on the status of the stop and asked for backup. Officer Atkins then advised Pete to stand at the front-right of his cruisers’ bumper. Pete complied.
Officer Atkins then yelled toward MARV, asking the passengers to exit the vehicle. Adam did so, video camera in hand. By this time Atkins had walked toward the door of the MARV (the right side, near the front). Officer Atkins saw the video camera and asked Adam if he was recording. Adam responded that he wants to make sure everyone is held accountable. Officer Atkins then advised Adam to stand at the right rear of his vehicle, which Adam did.
Officer Atkins then advised the third occupant (Jason) to emerge from the RV. Jason emerged and was told to stand at the right front of MARV, which he did. This is when he sent out
Adam just got arrested by police in LA for filming at a traffic stop. #MHD 10:10 AM May 14th

Correction: We are in Jones County MS and @adammueller has been arrested for filming cops after they pulled us over. #MHD 10:14 AM May 14th

Adam just got arrested by police in LA for filming at a traffic stop. #MHD 10:10 AM May 14th

9:20am A second officer arrived on the scene. He immediately approached Adam and said “Get that camera out of my face!” Adam started to lower the camera and explain that “I like to hold people accountable” when the second officer ripped the video camera from Adam’s hand and roughly handcuffed him. (The Sheriff later acknowledged that the “video taping had nothing to do with these gentlemen being arrested and no its not illegal in Mississippi”). While this was happening Adam asked “Why are you doing this?” and the second officer replied “You’re disobeying an officer.” Pete, who was still at the front-right of Officer Atkin’s vehicle, asked “What’s going on!?” and was ordered to “Stay there!” Adam was placed in the second officer’s vehicle.
Officer Adkins and another officer approached Jason and demanded that he produced his identification. After politely declining several times he was asked to place his hands on MARV. He also politely declined to do this. This led to him being pepper sprayed and being placed in a choke hold before being handcuffed. He was then led to the back of the police car to sit next to Adam where he began to sing a song by Tracy Chapman.
A third officer arrived on the scene and Adam was transferred to his car. The third officer then approached Pete and placed him in handcuffs. He explained to Pete that he was being detained “for our safety.” Pete noted that “I haven’t been threatening to anyone.”
During this time the second officer had departed the scene. He soon returned, going south on I-59, and walked toward the handcuffed Pete, trying to stare him down. The officers present conversed. Pete saw another sheriff’s car pull up and told the third officer, standing nearby, that “Some more of your buddies are here.” Pete was told that that was the captain.
Also around this time a state patrol K-9 officer arrived on the scene to join the Jones County Sheriff Deputies. having previously been beckoned by Officer Atkins (who himself was a K-9 officer but without his dog that day). The K-9 officer asked Pete if there were any drugs on-board MARV. Pete noted that he had already answered this question and asked if he and his friends were free to go. The K-9 officer proceeded to ask Pete (in the presence of the other officers) one-by-one if there were marijuana, heroin, meth, prescription drugs etc. on-board. Pete again reiterated that he’d already answered such questions. The K-9 officer then took a more personable tone and asked Pete directly if he’d like to talk one-on-one, noting that perhaps there were drugs on-board that may be someone else’s. Pete refused. The K-9 officer then took a more aggressive stance and stated that “I’ll get ATF involved if that’s how you want to do this.” Pete noted that he’d been upfront about the firearms, reiterating how they were safe and secure, and that the was not in violation of the law.
Pete was asked if the officers could search the RV. Pete responded that he did not give consent for such a search and asked if he and his friends were free to go. The K-9 officer said he was going to lead his dog around the RV and if triggered, that give them consent. Pete said he understood, but that he still would not grant consent. The K-9 officer led the dog around the RV twice. The K-9 officer then put the dog back in his vehicle and returned to Pete and stated “Tell me where the drugs are? You have marijuana in there. Where is it?” Pete replied that this was not the case and that he knows that K-9 dogs can be taught to falsely trigger. This caused the K-9 officer, who had been standing a couple of feet from Pete, to aggressively walk toward Pete and in his face threateningly ask “YOU CALLING ME A LIAR! YOU CALLING MY DOG A LIAR?!” to which Pete responded, “not necessarily, I just know that that happens.”
The K-9 officer then asked where the keys for the RV were. Pete noted that they were in his (handcuffed) hand. The keys were taken from Pete and the K-9 officer proceeded to open each external storage compartment, search the contents and place them on the ground. When the K-9 officer saw a box of papers (citations, print-outs, etc.) related to medical marijuana he asked Pete “So, you’re into medical marijuana?” to which Pete responded “I did my thesis on it.”
After going around the external storage compartments the K-9 officer attempted to open MARV’s door (which had been locked). When he was unable to do so after trying keys on the keyring he told Pete “If I have to rip this door off I’m going to get into this RV one way or the other.” Pete then told him the correct keys to use. The K-9 officer, leading the Jones County deputies inside, stopped after taking a couple of steps and stated “Be mean to government” which he read from a bumper sticker affixed to the wall inside MARV (one of the 200 that had been donated by, then added “Ok, I know what you guys are about.”
While Adam and Jason were still locked in the back of a hot squad car Pete stood outside with an officer watching him and the rest of those present ripping apart the inside of MARV. Pete was asked where the keys to access the firearms were and he advised them on the location of the keys. The locked container was opened and the firearms were examined and left on the couch.
The third officer to arrive then asked another officer to keep an eye on Pete because he was “Going to take a piss in the woods” which he did.
10:30am All the officers emerged from MARV, having found nothing. The captain and his partner returned to their car, told Jason and Adam to “Have a nice day” then drove past the rest of the officers and Pete with country music loudly blaring.
The Statie K-9 officer then asked Pete where the drugs were held. Pete again stated that he’d already answered that question. The K-9 officer then got a Phillips screwdriver and started to take apart some of the external storage compartments. He later left the scene.
Officer Atkins then placed Pete in his vehicle. Pete asked what was going to happen to their property laying outside MARV. Officer Atkins told Pete he’d put it away and did so.
By this time Adam and Jason were being driven to the Jones County lockup.
Two men in plainclothes (later learned to be from Advanced towing) arrived, one of whom entered MARV and proceeded to drive away. Officer Atkins followed suit for a bit then passed MARV. Officer Atkins drove north on I-59 to the next emergency turnaround and headed south, toward the Jones County lockup. The whole time Officer Atkins was going in clear excess of the speed limit (posted at 70mph, Atkins was traveling 90+mph) and Officer Atkins had belted neither himself nor Pete. Adam and Jason reported a similar experience during their drive to jail.
Pete saw in the rearview mirror that the person driving MARV had also taken the emergency turnaround and was heading south.
Note that none of us were ever read our rights.

11:10am Adam and Jason were led to the booking area
11:30am Pete arrived and was led into a small room attached to the booking area. From his chair he was able to see Jason and Adam on the bench. Pete asked Jason how his eyes were doing and Jason responded that he had not yet been able to open them. Jason then asked the correctional officer at the booking desk if he could wash out his eyes and was told that he could after he was booked.
Officer Atkins took Pete’s information and proceeded to explain why he acted the way he had. He accused Jason of getting into an aggressive stance, which he claimed to know how to identifying due to training and time on the job. Pete responded that “Jason is not violent so I find it difficult to believe that he would initiate force.” When covering what happened with Adam, Officer Atkins explained that “I didn’t know if he had a gun disguised as a camera.”
We then had our mug shots taken and we all agreed to smile:

We asked if we could use the phone. We were told after we were booked we could do so. Yet after we were booked we were placed in a cell (size 9 x 10 cinder blocks, painted gray with a cold maroon concrete floor with no furnishings save for a metal toilet in the corner). We repeatedly asked different correctional officers if we could use the phone and were told “We’ll get to that soon” yet it wasn’t until the night shift came on that our request was finally granted — at around 7pm.
When one correctional officer passed Adam asked if we could use the phone. The officer said we soon could. Adam started to explain what had happened and noted that he “didn’t quite understand MS law” to which the correctional officer replied “You’ve said a mouthful” and continued “When I was at the academy and saw MS laws I asked ‘I have to enforce that even if I disagree with it?’ and was told ‘That’s the law.’”
We also kept asking the status of our charges — when we’d be free to go and what exactly we were being charged with. No one gave us an information — whether out of choice or ignorance — so we were left to lay on the floor wrapped in thin gray blankets.
10pm We were told that were soon to be on our way. We were let out of the cell and allowed to change back into our clothes. When we were brought back to the booking area we saw Allison Gibbs waiting in an adjacent room. We soon learned that she and Jil Wright had helped rally support for us and had raised enough money to pay our bond.
We signed our paperwork that listed our charges and fines: $215 for Adam’s “disorderly conduct,” $200 for Pete’s “possession of beer in a dry county” and $365 for Jason’s “resisting arrest.” Plus there was a $25 charge added to each person’s fee for a “key charge.”
At the Super 8 motel where they spent the night, Jason checked the e-mail on his iPhone and saw the flood of support.

As discussed on Free Talk Live tonight (2009.05.15) we are now looking at options on how to proceed. We’re going to work to ensure that the people of Jones County, MS don’t have to put up with an out of control sheriff’s department. We’ve been contacted by a number of lawyers who may help us out and we plan to file a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain all documents, recordings and communication made related to the event. And we’re going to reach out to media. Stay tuned for developments.
We will also soon post about the very real and very appreciated support that we received, the status of Adam’s camera and the footage he recorded and getting the fourth crew member of MHD (MARV) out of the impound yard. ... -mhd-crew/
If People do their best what else is there?

Then said he unto them, But now, He that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garmet, and buy one
Luke 22:36

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Post by shotar » Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:01 pm

Buchanan Thomas Tucker Attorney
531 North 5th Avenue | Laurel, Mississippi (MS) 39440
Tel: (601)649-8000 | Fax: N/A

This is the attorney they want. He helped us on an interstate custody issue 9 years ago and is fantastic.

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