Skip to comments.Amtrak Passenger Upset By Early Morning Questioning (5 a.m., sleeping cars, warrantless search)
Posted on 03/09/2011 12:05:35 PM PST by CedarDave
A Chicago-bound businessman traveling in an Amtrak sleeping car didn't expect to wake up in Omaha. That's where plain clothes Nebraska State Patrol Investigators boarded and knocked on the doors of four first-class passengers.
Greg Travis of Bloomington, Indiana said, "It was a loud knock followed by questions. 'Where are you going! Who did you visit!' They shined a flashlight and I was in my pajamas."
Travis said he saw two other groggy passengers in his sleeping car also talking to the investigators. "If I had my wits about me, I might have said, 'No I don't want you looking through my dirty underwear.'"
Travis consented to a baggage search.
Nebraska State Troopers have often entered Amtrak trains to check out certain passengers.
Lt Scott Kracl said, "It's very professional. They don't bang on doors. They identify themselves and they tell the passenger they're not under arrest they just want to talk to them."
The Patrol won't reveal what triggers a red flag to check out a passenger. Typically they are looking for drugs, weapons or a wanted person.
(Excerpt) Read more at wowt.com ...
Comments at the link compare the search to a warrantless search of registrants at a hotel. It certainly appears that it comes close if not exceeds constitutional protection.
“Your papers are not in order. Even if they are, I say they are not.”
“Your papers are NOT in order. You have to come with me!”
Date: 03/07/11 03:52 Today we were boarded (California Zephyr) Author: gregtravis -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I've just spent the last hour being interrogated by the Nebraska State Police who boarded our train, the California Zephyr, at 4AM. I am in a sleeper (Car 0632, room 14) and awoke to a non-uniformed individual banging on my door, again at 4AM.On the forum, which is by member subscription only except for the first page of a story which is free, there are 112 comments and 5,300 views.
I was interrogated as to where I had boarded, where I was going, what I was doing, and had my room and my luggage searched as was the experience of all the other sleeping car occupants in my car. When we asked for identification from the officers (who were not uniformed) we were told a) They had jurisdiction and b) they would HAND WRITE individual cards.
My card reads "Richard A. Lutter", Investigator, Investigative Services Division, Nebraska State Patrol. Badge # 253.
When my fellow sleeping car riders asked why they were on the train, they said "To Search For Contraband" and that was the excuse they used to rummage through our rooms and our luggage. The train's conductor was also present and for reasons I do not understand did not throw them off the train.
This is not America.
This is close to a violation of the 4th amendment in that he and other paying passengers had an expectation of privacy as if they were in a hotel room and the police knocked on the door and searched without a warrant. The passenger is contacting Amtrak management and a lawyer.
You don’t want to be searched? Don’t give consent. If they have a warrant, then you don’t really have a choice.
Ihre Papiere sind NICHT im Auftrag. Sie müssen mit mir kommen!
If we only had more trains, this wouldn’t have happened.
Every day, one more reason the founders made sure we RETAINED our 2nd Amendment rights.
Transcript Of the Conversation On The Train...
“What the hell did you say to him?”
“I just told him I’d put his name on the Montgomery Ward mailing list.”
“I’m sorry. He’s just a little tired from the trip.
Normally he wouldn’t say...”
“Your attitude is being noted, Mr Rivers.”
If you don't give consent, will they take you off the train and hold you while they check you out (database search, etc.)?
Train won't wait so when they decide you've been harassed enough they let you go, but you're stuck in Omaha on your own. I can see the smirk on their faces as they let you out the door to find your own way at your own expense to Chicago.
I’m waiting to see the apologists show up to defend the searches. “Hey, taking a train is a privilege. If you don’t like being searched, then fly...oh wait...”
I suppose AMTRAK is giving consent to search the train, but I don't think you would have to give consent to your bag. When you don't, don't be shocked if they call for a dog. Not showing credentials is odd. That is pretty non-standard.
Ich war schlafen!
“Not showing credentials is odd. “
If they don’t show credentials, you don’t really know they’re the police, even if they are in uniform, which these guys were not.
Every day brings us closer to how it feels to live in North Korea, Cuber, or other Leftist utopias like the Soviet Union or East Germany from the past.
At least in this story there was nothing about a warrant.
I have been on Amtrak where they will bring a drug-sniffing dog on board and have him sniff baggage on the bottom level luggage racks. But this was mid-day and not going room to room in the sleeping cars before dawn and rousting passengers out and searching WITHOUT dogs.
What the heck are you to do when they wake you up, get you up undressed, shine a flashlight in your eyes, ask you questions and then request to search your compartment and bags?? The two seem completely different.
I wonder what would have happened if any or all of them had told them to get a warrant?
Wow—reminds me of a train ride from Vienna to Prague. The Czech border guards were quite similar.
Train won't wait so when they decide you've been harassed enough they let you go, but you're stuck in Omaha on your own. I can see the smirk on their faces as they let you out the door to find your own way at your own expense to Chicago."
So how do you fight them? They didn't even provide proper ID. They could be anybody.
Ah, Val Kilmer’s first movie, “Top Secret” Hilarious.
After all, you are in a public place with no expectation of privacy.
Unless you wanted an abortion, of course.
That amount of time is a grey area in the courts, but making you have to wait a day/days for another train would definitely exceed that.
I don't think the courts would dig that for a random sweep of a train. I don't know how the courts will look at a random sweep of a train.
Aaahhhhhh Skeet Surfin...
I like this as long as they are respectful. Why not see if anybody has a bomb or explosives on board. 5 am is a perfect time due to the surprise element.
I’m in Florida where I’m still trying to find out what happen to the woman thrown of the AmTrak train outside Jesup, Ga., a few months back. Maybe that’s what they are investigating.
This is a common tactic among law enforcement in the local crack motel. My stepson and his live-in were part of a drug sting. The entire motel was rousted, all contraband and of course valuables, including cars and motorcycles were hauled away. Everyone was arrested, booked then released. The courts ruled the raid was illegal, charges were dropped, but guess what happened next? All of the valuables remained in the hands of the system. The prices were too high to redeem cars that had high fees placed on them for impound and storage. The money was called drug money, and if anyone showed an interest in getting it back, they would be subject to arrest for something. Just enough to scare these low lifes out of asserting their rights. The DRUG WAR, is a lot more about making money, than it is about saving people from criminals or themselves.
Yes, there were no warrants and no dogs; they were on a fishing expedition, hoping to catch someone off guard by waking them up before dawn.
And no badges? Something stinks in this story.
An example of too many government employees, or incorrect priorities for government employees.
It would be reasonable to have more armed border parols, for the drugs are at that location.
But for the pay, benefits and retirements, these departments will justify what they do in congressional hearings, if asked.
I don’t believe that a warrant is required on a train. I know it is not required on a boat. Not required on a car if probable cause exists to believe a crime has been committed.
That is the situation -- no probable cause. No dogs, cart before the horse. If the dogs sniffed something, that's probable cause. Here they stated they were looking for "contraband" and commenced searching "with consent" after waking you up.
“In a police state, the police are always busy.”
-George Orwell, “1984”
I'll bet it was worth it though. Prague is a beautiful city.
"Badges? We don't need no steenking badges!"
On the subscription forum, they show a picture of several shady looking characters, uniformed police and a search dog at the Reno trench Amtrak station in December 2009. The caption says they recovered 20 lbs of MJ and a ward of cash after the dog sniffed it out. That’s the way to do it, not 4 a.m., a knock on the door, no dogs, no uniforms.
I hope I’m missing the sarcasm here.
How is rousting someone out of bed at 5 AM for questioning. - without producing ID or a warrant - “respectful?”
Of course it was sarcasm.
Questions: Where are you going? Who did you visit?
Answer: Step off asshole............
I think that a dog hitting on a bag after sniffing baggage has already been determined to be legal probable cause. Heck, I've had my truck sniffed at a border patrol stop (they sniffed all vehicles passing through) and no doubt have had my bag sniffed while in the luggage rack on Amtrak.
People, we have met the enemy, and he is us.
"I think I smell marijuana. Step out of the car please."
Driving is a priviledge, flying is a priviledge, train riding is a priviledge, boat riding is a priviledge. Pretty soon walking in public will also be a priviledge.
You prolly want them to extend that to private homes. Just pick a morning, 5am, and go house to house, door to door, and tear the houses apart, looking for contraband. No search warrant needed, because if they’re not hiding anything, why should they object?!
You’d love, huh?
Warrants are not required on a a boat? So if I’m on a boat to Catalina or the Bahamas they can search me, my luggage, pat me down, whenever they want?
“There is sauerkraut in my lederhosen.”
Explaining how you fight them will get you kicked off this site. Use your imagination, and see if you can come up with a way for a free man to respond.