Imagine a police officer pulls you over on a traffic stop, and you have your carry license in your wallet. It happens maybe a million times a year all across America. But this time, while looking for your insurance card in your wallet, the police officer catches a glimpse of your carry permit…and then points his gun at your face.
A minute later, your face is in the dirt. Why? Because you “might have a gun.”
That’s the scenario that has cost the Minneapolis Park Board a $100,000 settlement after a cop said he saw Jenice Hodge’s carry permit in her wallet as she looked for her insurance card.
According to a report from Revolt.tv, Officer Calvin Pham pulled Hodge over for driving without a seatbelt and while using her phone. He said things went sideways when . . .
I observed a card in her wallet that appeared to be an MN PERMIT TO CARRY, which made me believe that JENICE may have a gun
He then pulled his gun on her and then put her on the ground while arresting her on a litany of charges. Later, all but one were dropped by the State’s Attorney.
As it turns out, Officer Pham’s spidey senses were off. While Hodge did, in fact, have a valid carry permit in her wallet, she didn’t have her gun with her that day. Not that that should have made any difference. She didn’t ask “how high” when he told her to jump out of the car, but his treatment of the unarmed woman clearly failed any acceptable reasonableness standard.
To that end, the officer’s grossly excessive reaction to seeing a carry permit ended up in court and the park board president just signed off on a $100,000 settlement to make the case go away.
Ms Hodge is now talking about the ordeal. From the Revolt story . . .
“I didn’t even have my driver’s license out of the sleeve and I had a gun pointed at my head,” she told KSTP.
Less than 60 seconds after pulling her over, Pham had his gun drawn at the woman and commanded her to step out of the vehicle.
“I was confused and scared, and I didn’t know what was going on,” she said.
Hodge raised her arms through her car’s sunroof, but refused to leave her vehicle.
“Step out of the car, now. I will rip you out if you do not step out of the car now,” Pham could be heard telling her…
According to Pham’s police incident report, he noted a weapons permit in Hodge’s wallet, which prompted his decision to pull his gun on her.
“I observed a card in her wallet that appeared to be an MN PERMIT TO CARRY, which made me believe that JENICE may have a gun,” it read.
Hodge confirmed that she does have a permit to legally carry a firearm, but Pham never reported seeing a gun
The woman was arrested and charged with obstructing the legal process and marijuana possession, though the charges were dropped after she pleaded guilty to driving with a suspended license.
Frankly, the Minneapolis Park Board probably got off very easy. Especially in a city that endured the aftermath of the George Floyd fiasco and more recently, the killing of Amir Locke during a no-knock warrant fishing expedition by Minneapolis PD. A jury might well have ordered well over a million dollar judgement given the facts of Hodge’s arrest.
I’m not sure a lot of us would have accepted $100,000 to get dragged out of a car at gunpoint and put face-first on the pavement simply because a nervous cop caught a glimpse of our carry permit. Many of us might have gone with the British SAS’s motto: “Who dares wins.”
As for Ms. Hodge, it’s probably a good thing she didn’t have her gun with her at the time. There’s no telling how a jumpy Officer might have reacted to the sight of a firearm.
She handled a very stressful incident pretty well. Remember: Always let an officer have the last word in a dispute out in public. The side of the road is a terrible place to debate the rule of law. Do what the officer says, no matter how unreasonable it seems.
In the back of your mind, you know that if they are truly acting outside the law in an unreasonable manner, and you survive the encounter, you will likely have the last word in a court of law, possibly as part of a 1983 civil rights lawsuit.