iBus therefore iSearch

Some of us over here at the OC Metroblog are returning from a Vegas trip a little light in our wallets but at least we still have our laptops (wait, I think we lost them along with our shorts at the Craps tables). When I checked my e-mail this afternoon Sean Bonner (the “father” of the Metroblogs) forwarded us an e-mail from Wil Wheaton regarding a blog post from Posh of the Suicide Girls being cited on an OCTA bus.

Apparently Posh was cited for wearing both sets of headphones in her ears along with a fellow passenger by an Undercover and a uniformed deputy. I didn’t even know that was illegal? I know that a person cannot wear headphones/earplugs (California Code Section 27400) in both ears while operating a motor vehicle and I know that a person can be searched on public transit (United States v. Drayton). As for a search, Florida v. Bostick states that a reasonable person should feel like they can decline a search by a peace officer on a bus if they are asked under their fourth amendment rights.

From the sound of the situation on the bus, the Deputies were looking to make examples of people to show other offenders that there is an undercover presence on the OCTA buses. The actions of citing people who were wearing headphones sounds like they took the “Zero- Tolerance” approach way too far. Posh was able to get an explanation on why the Undercovers acted the way that they did, apparently they cited her to possibly show others that undercover deputies ride the bus. I thought the whole point of being undercover was so that people don’t know that your there, this just doesn’t make any sense from the Sheriff’s department (although, this is Orange County, sometimes political thinking doesn’t make sense as well.)

California Code Section 27400 only pertains to headphones while driving; this does not extend to public transportation. In a guide that the OCTA publishes concerning bike riders, they cite section 27400 but this is to those who are riding a bike. So those of you who are wearing Oakley Thumps while biking to work in the morning are breaking the law.

Posh contacted the OCTA Customer Service line after the incident took place. While the OCTA customer service operator apologized for the incident and took her number so the chief of security could contact her, she has still not received a formal apology. OCTA customer service also stated that the undercovers were given wrong information that morning.

As for the part where the Deputy quizzed her on why she is in the country when she showed her Canadian ID that may soon become another issue in itself as the OCSD may start working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enforce federal laws at the local level (don’t even get me started on how bad of an idea that is).

44 Comments so far

  1. Kyle (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 1:03 am

    Something smells about this story. I’m going to take it with a grain of salt, but in the event that it is indeed true — bad information my ass! It sounds more like plain and simple harassment and grounds for some sue-happy person’s next lawsuit.

  2. Mike Randall (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 1:13 am

    I’ll have to see what the comments are on this tomorrow (or later in the morning). One thing that may have caused the deputy to warn Posh may have been the noise level from her headphones. If it’s at a certian level, such as loud enough for other passengers to hear, then that might be a reason.

    But I was unable to find anything that mentions a “reasonable sound level” for headphones on public transit on both Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw.

  3. posh (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 7:28 am

    i assure you it wasn’t a noise level problem. the undercover called the sheriff over a girl listening to headphones a few seats behind. it was when he was passing by, and i looked up that he said ‘You too’ and demanded my ID. at no time did he say that my headphones were too loud. i mean, they are tiny earbuds, and i listen indie accoustic. it is not loud.

  4. posh (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 9:16 am

    addendum to my previous comment:
    from logical standpoint, the deputy had told me i could only have one earphone in whilst riding the bus, legally, now, had there actually been some kind of noise issue, having one earbud out would only allow the noise to freely travel out the earphone.

    i’m just saying …

  5. freeze (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 11:07 am

    *cough* police state *cough*

  6. Cowicide (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 11:21 am

    The USA is now a police state and militaristic society. I just thank God the republican approval ratings are going through the floor and hope we can get these nazi’s out of office before America gets to the point of no return.

    This documentary explains the current situation very well:
    “Why We Fight”

  7. Wim L (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 11:31 am

    So…. if you’re *cited*, don’t you get a *citation*? That is, a slip of paper telling you what law you supposedly broke, with a reference to the state or municipal code or whatever? If we knew what law was involved, we could do more than just speculate blindly here.

  8. posh (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 11:44 am

    wil, see that is the problem at hand. all there is to do is speculate blindly. i was given a warning, he said. he didn’t quote any laws. i was too dumbfounded by the entire situation to question him further after he demanded my id.

    here’s where things are a little uncertain regarding the citation. clearly, no actual paper citation was given. however, my question is, what is a warning then? is a warning not a warning to a citation?

  9. Jim D (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 12:06 pm

    What a bunch of reactionary morons you all are. It was obviously a mistake by ill-informed officers. You never have made a mistake?

    OCSD may start working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enforce federal laws at the local level (don’t even get me started on how bad of an idea that is).

    Thank God they are! CA police officers SWEAR to uphold the laws of the United States as well as CA. Illegal immigrants are violating those laws. It is scandalous that local police are not currently inquiring into immigration status. Local police would be suspended for ignoring any other federal crime, why not immigration? If a police officer can ask for my drivers license, why not proof that your ass belongs here?

    You libs mind your own business. OC has been decimated by illegal immigration.

  10. Lysander Spooner (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 12:16 pm

    What a bunch of reactionary morons you all are. It was obviously a mistake by ill-informed officers. You never have made a mistake?

    You libs mind your own business. OC has been decimated by illegal immigration.

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Good thing that the legal fiction known as “America” will be eternally unchanging and exist until the end of time. Otherwise you might look like a reactionary moron. Stupid monkey. No banana for you.

  11. cd (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 12:35 pm

    Hey Jim D – I hope next time you fail to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, you get pulled over. I hope next time you toss a AA battery in the trash can, someone finds it in your bin and calls you out on breaking the law there too. Ever driven in the rain with your wipers going but your ligts off? Can’t do that anymore either.

    In addition to being an alarmist, you clearly have no appreciation for what it takes to police a city and enforce all laws. What do you think will happen if a large portion of the population is no longer able to go for help without being harassed? They won’t get help, they won’t offer help, and you will be in worse shape for it.

    If the plan to involve cops with federal immigration laws goes through, do you honestly believe the only people to get stopped will be, in fact, illegal? They’ll just be brown because hey, one Mexican, one El Salvadorian, pretty much looks like all the others, right? If they are here legally, what do they have to fear?

    And I bet you’d have NO PROBLEM showing proof of citizenship at any time, anywhere you are asked, right?

    Try to think outside your tiny box of ignorance, okay?

  12. pinkmagic2 (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 12:52 pm

    If most United States citizens are in uproar about imigration and people being here illegaly then they should be clammoring to the government about the illegal population. Bear in mind they do pay taxes, buy groceries, pay rent or are buying a home …essentually supporting the economy.They are without voting priveledges,are subject to deportation. Who of you are going to do the meanial jobs that they occupy?Police state? YES!!!

  13. matt (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 12:57 pm

    This has nothing to do with the current political climate. OC cops have been harassing “undesirables” for ever. As a non-conformist youth (I’m 39 now) I had many a run in with Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach police personnel that were simply harassments.

    A couple of years ago a co-worker was pulled over in Newport Beach for questionable reasons (not cited for anything) but it was obvious from her description of the encounter that her car did not meet the minimum value for driving in Newport Beach. When he saw her driver’s license showing she lived in Corona the questioning really began.

    Reminds me of once when I was visiting my brother in college. Someone had a bike that they didn’t want any more and so we decided to impact test it by dropping it off the 3rd floor dorm balcony. When the UC rent-a-cop showed up and started harassing us and threatening to arrest us we asked him what he would arrest us for. His response “felony stupidity.” Unfortunately stupidity is not illegal by-itself (talk about your over crowded jails if it was).

    It’s a shame just cause someone has a mustache, a badge, a gun, and a small dick that they can hassle people outside of the mall (it’s even a shame that they can hassle people in a mall but let’s give them somewhere to go) just based on their own prejudice. Shouldn’t these “professionals” know the law that they are enforcing?

  14. clunky (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 12:58 pm

    “While the OCTA apologized for the incident and took her number so the chief of security could contact her, she has still not received an apology.”

    Huh? This sentance doesn’t even make sense.

    This post is getting wide coverage, you may want to re-write it so you don’t look foolish.

  15. E.S. (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

    Apologies for being far off topic, but ‘reactionary’ is a purjorative term typically applied (by “libs”) to describe extreme ideological conservativism. I love to mince words, so: the ‘reaction’ in ‘reactionary’ refers not to one’s reaction to something but rather to one’s desire to re-act history (or at the very least adhere strongly to a tradition). Therefore, Jim D is subject to being called a reactionary given his preference for time before illegal immigration decimated the OC and his strict adherence to the rule of law despite the circumstances. At any rate, I’m a radical, damn it, and I prefer to be called one.

  16. Adam (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 1:07 pm

    Police officers “give warnings” not because they are interested in upholding the law, but because they want to remind you that they are in control and you are not. A warning is a police officer’s way of saying, “You and I both know that you haven’t actually done anything wrong, but I’m going to embarrass you and force you to apologize because I can.” The police are not your friends, kids.

    That said, I’m happy to hear that local officials are going to start enforcing immigration law. Our country will change, of course, and I’m all for change generally speaking. But I also believe that as a sovereign state we have the right to control who can legally gain residency here. If you don’t agree with our laws, as a non-citizen it is not your right to simply ignore them and come anyway. Illegal immigrants are not “undocumented workers,” they are law-breakers. As a liberal I don’t understand why this is a “liberal” cause in California. Liberals believe in socialized healthcare, in responsible foreign policy and upstanding levels of international aid. What does the intent of foreign nationals to ignore our laws have to do with being a liberal?

    Oh, and Lysander, +1 for passion but -6 for dishonest argumentation.

  17. Don (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 1:08 pm

    “As for a search, Florida v. Bostick states that a reasonable person should feel like they can decline a search by a peace officer on a bus if they are asked under their fourth amendment rights.”

    This is true, but they can still get a pat-down and if it’s a non-government carrier they may have a policy like Greyhound’s that says if you’re not gonna consent, you get to get off. Which depending on where you are might be a pretty unpleasant prospect.

    http://www.flexyourright.org is a very good resource for these issues.

  18. Victory (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 1:16 pm
  19. drauh (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 1:31 pm

    if it weren’t so sad/disgusting, it would be funny. don’t expect an apology. bureaucracies all have policies, explicit or otherwise, against admitting any error.

  20. Chris (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

    Has anybody done any research to see if other major cities have similar laws on-the-books? Anyone know of other cases of this happening elsewhere around the country?

  21. YoYo (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 1:40 pm

    Papers please…

  22. Rob (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 2:09 pm

    Jim D,
    Decimated? What part of Orange County are you living in? It is the one of the most affluent and thriving areas in California. Get a grip.

  23. Map (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 2:23 pm

    You’ve had a little brush with the Man. Minorities experience this all the time.

    Maybe CA needs a law requiring cops to stand in court and listen to the distress and harm their incompetence and/or belligerence has caused to innocent citizens.

    Docking their pay would help, too.

  24. doggo (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 2:58 pm

    This happened to me on the CTA in Chicago back in the 80s, except it was the conductor (back when they had conductors on the “L”), not a cop. And it was specifically about the noise.

    Course this was when in-ear earphones were not as prevalent, so it’s likely that the other passengers would have heard an annoying tinny version of the song I was listening to.

    I was miffed. But years later found myself annoyed by the same thing from someone else.

    These guys in OC sound like they didn’t have a reason. Which is harassment, basically.

    Just be glad you don’t live in South Florida:


  25. David Andreasen (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 3:58 pm

    My initial take on this is that the cops told them to take off their headphones so that they could question them about something. I do think people should be required to remove their headphones when police officers are asking them a question.

    Cop: “Excuse me, Miss, did you see the man that just ran by clutching a purse?”

    Person: … bobs head to music …

    Cop: “Hello? Can you hear me?”

    Person: …

    Cop [to other cop]: “Oh well, I guess we can’t use her as a witness. She has her headphones on and can’t hear us. There’s nothing we can do.”

  26. pinkmagic2 (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 4:12 pm

    NOT!!! OF COURSE SHE DIDN’T S E E anything!!!!

  27. Debaser626 (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 4:52 pm

    Reminds me of a run in with the police I had back in college. I was walking home with a beer in a brown paper bag when I was stopped by a cop. Now, I must admit that I had intended to drink the beer in the street, but the cop had stopped me before I opened the bottle. The ensuing conversation went like this:

    Cop: Hey, come here! What’s in the bag?

    Me: Beer

    Cop: You 21? Show me your ID…

    Me: Ok

    Cop: You know you can’t walk in the street with a beer, you know that right?

    Me: … But it’s not open…

    Cop: That doesn’t mean anything… you’re not allowed to walk in the street with a beer. Closed or open.

    Me:… (staring blankly at the cop)

    Cop: You hear me? I should give you a ticket…

    Me: Wait a minute… if you’re not allowed to walk in the street with a beer, even if it’s closed… how the heck are you supposed to get it home from the store… Even if you had a car, you would technically have to bring the beers into the street in order to put it in your trunk, right? It so happens I don’t have a car… so I’m walking home.. with a unopened beer… is that illegal?

    Cop:… Just get outta here, go…

    Me: (muttered) dumbass…

  28. posh (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 5:18 pm

    David Andreasen:
    if you’d read my journal posting, you’d see that wasn’t the case. the bus was pulled over to “warn” another girl about headphones. he didn’t approach me to ask if i’d seen her wearing headphones.

  29. One foot at-a-time (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 5:19 pm

    I will start by saying that almost every comment I’ve read so far has a little bit of the truth in it and I think it is very important to be alert to abuses of power. My favourite quote is from Justice William O. Douglas: “As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”

    Now that I made everyone feel all good, relaxed and comfortable: To those of you who are convinced the cops are out to get us and control our every move. Are you kidding me!? You’re ignorant fools who live in a little bitty, teeny weeny box. If you want change then do something about it! Stop being the victim!

    To those of you who suggest people should “mind their own business” when trying to change the system, you’re just as big of an idiot. This IS our business. What do you think this country was founded on (other than the backs of the aboriginal people)?

    To all who can’t see past their own nose, the world is NOT black and white.

    This “cop” obviously went way beyond their parameter of duties regardless of what their superiors told them and should be reprimanded as should their superiors. They should not only be the ones to apologize to you but also their entire agency. Though it does not excuse their stupidity, I will say in their defence they ARE human beings and subject to stupidity. Something we all are guilty of and something we all forget of others sometimes.

    We often are are not fare to cops; one one hand we expect them to act humanly and compassionately but one the other hand we expect these humans to act and think like robots. Thank God cops are not robots.

    If they have such a program where you are at I suggest to any of you who are interested to participate in a “ride along” with your local law enforcement. It will open up your eyes in every way.

    Now to really confuse you: “The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.”
    ~H.L. Mencken

    If you don’t get it, forget it.

  30. TJ (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 5:32 pm

    > What a bunch of reactionary morons you all are. It was obviously a mistake by ill-informed officers. You never have made a mistake?

    Two cops in Minneapolis once made the “mistake” of stuffing two indians in the trunk of their squad to take them downtown. That cost the city $500,000.

    > You libs mind your own business.

    You, sir, are *definitely* part of the problem. It IS our business. You go screw yourself again, just like you’ve been doing your whole life.

  31. VJ (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 5:33 pm

    One question on the fourth amendment .. Is that applicable to a Citizen or for a legal alien as well?

  32. Zardoz (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 5:44 pm

    Several things:

    1. To the mercenary right-wing troll(s):

    a. This law is without a point and should not

    b. An officer, or anyone, even you for that
    matter, and even if they only have 1/10 of a
    brain, should realize that such a pointless
    law should not be enforced, and that other
    law should be enforced. That the officers
    did not realize this or are making cop-out
    claims that they were only following
    orders, should be grounds for reprimand,
    reevaluation, and perhaps dismissal.

    c. How can we curb REAL crime if we are
    arresting people for trifling things? We
    can’t. Why do we do it? Because law
    enforcement, like everything else, has been
    degraded by the profit motive. See, it’s
    too hard and expensive to enforce important
    laws and prosecute real crimes, therefore
    we nickel and dime people with the
    unimportant ones for profit and for
    nefarious political purposes.

    d. According, get off your soap-box.

    e. If you bothered to look up reactionary in
    the dictionary, you would see that it does
    not mean what you think it does. Do so.

    2. Nobody should tolerate things like this. They
    must be vigorously prosecuted to set an
    example for law enforcement. Otherwise, how
    will it learn?

  33. Mike Randall (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 6:21 pm

    I just got home from work and my inbox was flodded with comments from this post.

    Jim D. You have a right to comment, but keep the comments civil.

    I forgot about the Deborah Davis Case, that is an interesting precedent especially after 9/11.

    Clunky, thanks for pointing out the error with the OCTA sentence, I’ll correct it as soon as I post this comment.

  34. Scott (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 7:44 pm

    This is the way America is going now, especially with that Patriot Act bull…just wait for the day Bush appears on TV with a funny little moustache, then the truth will be known.

    I saw an article where a guy was charged for complaining about the FBI having broken into his house and searched through his computer, and his personal belongings…they screwed him and he got burned for it, because it is illegal to try and protect yourself in your brave country. So in this case, it is now illegal to wear both headphones of your portable music device? Why are they sold with two earpieces then?

    I’m not from America, but I have had similar run ins with cops from my own little country, just cos they can basically. I’ve been detained and questioned just for walking at night, I’ve had floodlights blind my eyes as I walked home from work in my uniform which was dress pants and a bright red shirt…not exactly a burglars first choice. I’ve had cop cars speed towards me and mount the pavement, almost hitting me because someone was supposedly ‘causing trouble’ in the area.

    The list goes on, but I guess the point I would like to make is to know your rights, and never back down if you know you are right and have broken no laws. Don’t let the brown shirts win.

  35. julie (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 8:03 pm

    Comment removed as it was not
    appropriate and not pertinent to the discussion taking place – OC Metblog

  36. bill (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 8:51 pm

    did anyone other than me think this was just an officer trying to flirt?

  37. posh (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 9:21 pm

    you are clearly beyond intellectual. well done on bringing absolutely nothing to the table.

  38. Chris M (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2006 @ 8:10 am

    Posh, sorry you got harrassed. But to everyone else, I don’t understand the big deal…

    Someone was wrongfully harrassed by the police. Big deal. It’s not the first time, won’t be the last. As others have posted, the police do it a lot, probably sometimes because they have a reason, probably sometimes because they dont. Sometimes they misunderstand the law, sometimes they are suspicious of something, sometimes they just have nothing better to do.

  39. NW (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2006 @ 10:30 am

    The law in question only applies to people driving a car. It is obviously a security precaution to forbid headphones while driving a car since the driver will not be able to hear the horns of other cars.

    HOWEVER, for a bus passenger this for sure does not apply.

  40. Dmitriy (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2006 @ 1:37 pm

    if this is true then for a lawsuit

  41. Bud (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2006 @ 3:02 pm

    Bill, I initially thought it could have been the officer trying to ‘flirt’. When I had long wavy hair (I’m a guy), I used to get pulled over for moving violations a lot more often, and it was somewhat amusing to see the officers expression change (from that seen in the rear view mirror), when he realized the honey he had snagged, was a guy.

    Of course, it could have just been the misinterpretations of an eager rookie, of a vaguely stupid mostly unnecessary law. The law supposedly applies to drivers, apparently, so they can HEAR traffic warnings, oncoming ambulances, horns, screeches and trains. A passive passenger on public transportation? Well I suppose they could have thought that all passengers give up their privacy, and must be able to jump when Junior Brownshirt says jump, and therefore must be prepared full attention to the ‘undercover’ officers once they reveal themselves for the strip search.

  42. Steve Gardiner (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2006 @ 3:09 pm

    This smells fishy, although entirely possible. What I’m really interested in is having Posh post EXACTLY the section of law that is written on her citation. Without that, we have no idea what law was alledgedly violated. She too needs to know this in order to research the law if she chooses to fight it. I’ve been researching and can find no such law that applies.

  43. Mike Randall (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2006 @ 4:09 pm

    According to Posh the Deputy just took her information and did not issue her a citation/warning for whatever civic code she may have violated.

    I spent hours trying to find a code section, case law, or other type of law that may have been violated for the mere act of having your headphones in both ears while on the Bus and I couldn’t find it. The only one I could find was 27400 but that pertains to operating a motor vehicle, not passengers.

  44. Joe Demishe (unregistered) on March 14th, 2006 @ 10:07 pm

    Apologies for being far off topic, but ‘reactionary’ is a purjorative term typically applied (by “libs”)

    Whats a Lib? Is that like a Con?

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