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home : opinion : opinion April 28, 2016

4/23/2013 6:00:00 AM
Letter: Harassed by the police

I am a vet of the U.S. Navy. I'm sending out this letter to all the vets in the Kingman area. We took an oath to defend this country and its people against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Please allow me to share a disturbing story with you.

My son, a 30-year-old white male, was walking to work on a Saturday night in Kingman. He was in his work uniform and apron, doing nothing but walking to work to support his family the best he can. He was stopped and harassed by Kingman police for suspicious activity. Really? Walking to work?

Is this what we fought for? As I sat here writing this letter, I started to cry!

What did I fight for? And where are we going? God help us!

Paul Bissonette Jr.

Maverick's Neighborhood Watch Coordinator

Golden Valley

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Article comment by: pl .....

well, I could certainly understand if the Miner doesn't print this apparently-unrelated story, but a little indulgence.....on April 25th 2009 I visited the Cornerstone Mission after spending some time at home viewing online news coverage of ANZAC Day events in New Zealand and Australia. This morning, I viewed old newsreels of very young Aussies (14 to 16 years) who sneaked into military service "For God and King". At Cornerstone in 2009, for reasons I never learned, there was a man slightly older than myself (in his 60's), Australian and wearing a Bush hat. We had a very brief conversation, and I went my way. I'm curious what one of these old Diggers would say about being queried by police while out for a stroll some evening. Don't you think people need some space at times to remember the past and think deeply about the present? Everything seems designed now to rush us into.....yes, the New World Order, which does not have our best interests at heart. OMG, did I say "heart"?

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew


“The police do not have the right to just stop random people without cause.”

Yes, they do when dealing with a crime ridden area (which Kingman must be because so many people maintain they must carry weapons to protect themselves from the roaming hoards).

“They have the right to walk the public, ( citizen owned), streets with out being stopped by the police.”

Nope, the Constitution does not present any “right” to walk the streets.

It so odd to watch people show up here and complain about an officer doing his job.

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

@ What if

"What if this wasn't your son, just another random guy walking down the road, uniform or not. And he was stopped and a check run on him only to find out he was wanted for a crime. Would you be complaining then. Probably not."

Yes I would be complaining!! The police do not have the right to just stop random people without cause. We live in a free society not a police state.

When people are willing to give their freedom and rights up, those in power are happy to take them.

American citizens are presumed innocent. They have the right to walk the public, ( citizen owned), streets with out being stopped by the police.

The off chance that a person being randomly detained by the police might have a warrant is not worth the price we pay in allowing the police to usurp our freedom!!

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: Thank You

I just want to thank all Law Enforcement for putting their lives on the line everyday to keep my family and everyone else's safe!! Keep up the good work!

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: Proud Mexican/American

Such a Disappointment How poorly our veterans are being treated!

My neighbor is a retired Air Force Vet hes 78 years old. Our Courts Are Trying Too Give him 5 to 10 years in prison when all he was doing was using self defense? guy comes over too his house threating too "[****] His Old Ass Up" because he was supposedly trying too "Steal His Girlfriend" when all he was doing was being kind hearted and letting her take a shower and do her laundry! so this guy(tweaker) starts yelling at him saying hes gonna beat him uup and pushed the old man? so the old man pulled out his 45 6 shot revolver and tells this guy that if he doesnt leave his residence hes going too shoot him. the old man gave him 3 warnings, and after the third the guy still refused so the old man pulled the trigger and shot in between the legs of this guy, this guy scattered away like a coward. cops were called, the old man was arrested for assualt with a deadly weapon, tweaker guy didnt get any punishments. the old man did 30 days in county and posted bail. now there trying too say he is "Mentaly Unstable" and cannot live on his own. witch is BS. the point here is there trying too give this veteran 5 to 10 years in prison because he was using self defence? SMH

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: Thank You

I just want to thank ALL law enforcement for putting their Lives in danger everyday to help keep me and my family safe.

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: mo co rider

good thing he was walking, if he was riding a motorcycle he would have been pulled over quicker! or maby even fired from his job!

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: BOBO CLOWN

I have had my share of crap from these great hero cops here in az. They are rude when they first open there redneck mouths. Charm school is where thy should be sent & that includes the Sheriffs dept. This is the rudest state I have ever been in (and no I am not leaving to please a bunch of rednecks.)
BOBO another honest transplant treated badly by the justice system of kingman.......

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: mr. parker

Sorry this happened to your son. Police are held to the standard of what's called a Terry stop, referring to the Supreme Court case of "Terry vs. Ohio."

They have to prove what's called "reasonable, articulable suspicion" to stop someone. This could be because he resembled someone wanted or had a vehicle violation. It can't be based on just for the hell of it or as the illegal immigrant advocates said because you are walking down the street to get an ice cream cone with your family.

I suggest you get a copy of the police report and start from there

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: dog walker

I have been stopped while walking late in the evenings by KPD and they took my name and info. also , The reason for this is to see if you are in this area alot and that way if they have any problems in the area and they see you they can ask you if you saw anything. Being a " WATCH COORDINATOR" you should understand this and also remember you were not there when your son was talked to so you are getting only his side of the story.People do not always say the exact way things happen so don't jump to conclusions and start pointing fingers.....

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: desert dweller

Isn't it amazing how many people these days make a whole scenario and obsorb any story, only hearing one side of it!

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: night owl

How late was it when he was walking to work? I love to walk, even though I could drive, but have not been stopped by a police officer. I walk around 6 pm though. In my opinion, a lot more people in this town do need to start walking more. I am sorry this happened to your son but I hope he still enjoys walking.

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: origional kingman resident

@ Gun Owner and What Ifs

The exact some thing happened to my son about 2 years ago. He was around 20 years old, bicycling to work at 4:30 in the morning. He had to report before 5am to get on the truck to go to the job site. He was stopped by the police and kept while they ran his license. He had been doing nothing wrong. The police detained him just so they could check his ID and run his information.

He was almost late to work, which would have cost him a days work and also reduced hours for the next several days as a punishment. He was riding a bike because he couldn't afford a car, and the lost wages would have greatly impacted him had he missed work.

Here was a young man, who was working to support himself, getting to work before dawn and riding his bike miles to get there. I would think that we would want to commend a young person with this work ethic and ambition, not harass him.

I understand the desire to catch criminals and for people to feel safe, however, people have a right to not be unduly harassed by the police and that right supersedes the desire of the police to stop and detain people with out any cause.

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: gun owner 000

Haters gonna hate...I'm pretty sure everybody with half-a-brain knows how to conduct themselves when they encounter a police officer.. (if not, you can leave the room)
Show a little common courtesy. Keep your hands where they can see them, don't turn around and walk (or run) away. When told to do something, don't ask why? Do it. No matter what or who you think you are, the officer is in command of the situation. Getting disrespectful or mouthy with him is just going to get you pepper sprayed, or lit up like a Christmas tree. If you don't have anything to hide, and you co-operate, you'll be on your way in no time at all.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: biker randy

Since I've only heard 1 side of what happened and why, I'm not going to jump to any conclusions.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: I did the math, you do the math .....

this article discusses a man's son walking to work in his uniform who was illegally approached by police. Got it? And when you are older (as I am) and have been approached over the years based upon lies ("we got an anonymous tip that someone matching your description was breaking into cars", etc.) and see what else they do....it all adds up (doing the math), all right. Get off your sofa, go out and meet real people with real life accounts of law enforcement crime. That man's son should sue the police, and just make sure none of those who "help" him are police psychopath murderers themselves. Yes, your law enforcement criminals have an enemy out here. You should thank God they do.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Uncle Anson

No one has fought to protect our country since World War

Pathetic...an ignorant statement and totally uncalled for. From now on keep your opinions and insults to yourself. Pathetic.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Something More?

Something seems to be missing in this story you know, I am a 66 year old citizen of Kingman- born and raised here- and never have I been harassed by the police for any reason. As a matter of fact, they have come to my aid a few times when called. Something doesn't seem quite like the "truth , the whole truth and nothing but the truth" in this letter. KPD has much more to do with its time than harass innocent citizens- let's hear the rest of this "story".

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens


I am so sorry this happened to your son and thank you for serving.

Benjamin Franklin said “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

It seems if the police had a report of a burglary in the area or something similar, they might stop anyone but otherwise, I have no clue why they stopped him, especially since he had his work uniform on. All they had to do was call his place of work and verify your son was working that night.

I recently had a similar incident with a Grandson, not in Kingman however. He ended up in a coma for five days, nearly died after they "stopped" him. Of course, he had no recourse. His Mother witnessed it and she was threatened and told to leave the area. There are always good cops and some not so good. Sorry, it has ever been that way.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

What is wrong is we have become such an uncompassionate, disrespectful, lawbreaking society people hardly ever go out walking at night anymore. It's the same ole addage that it takes only one rotten apple to ruin things for everyone. I think the officer was trying to be diligent in his duty to protect the public at large.
If that's the case I don't think you can fault him/her. It's inconvient for an inncent party and time consuming especially when you are walking to work and that is an example of the type of society we have today. I'm so sorry.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Not surprised

The officer was obviously trying to hook a fish with a warrant out. Check out the arrests that the Miner runs under Mohave 911. A large percentage of arrests stem from Sheriff's deputies stopping someone while on foot or bicycle, particularly in the Butler area. I'm sure they give them the old "let's just have a look in your pockets/backpack" or "just let me run your name and you'll be on your way." If the person refuses, the cops just use that as probable cause to search them anyway. How many times do you see in the arrest reports a search prompted by someone acting "nervous?"

Know your rights. Be polite, but refuse to answer their questions. Don't consent to a search no matter how much they tell you that it will be easier if you are just honest and NEVER admit to anything. EVER. They can and WILL use it against you. Keep your mouth shut if arrested and wait for your day in court.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Thai Mai Shu

I have to wonder what being a Navy Vet has to do with the police doing their job?

I can't judge their actions since I don't know if in recent days there hasn't been something going on by an individual that matched the description of the guy that was stopped.

People are way too fast to condem authority these days without knowing the whole story.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Act Nicer

Not being in favor of a police state either I would suggest to all of the complainers to act more polite and courteous on an every day level and see what happens. Dress in clean clothes be polite and act like an intelligent human being and see how your local Police may treat you then. It's the overall attitude that sets the tone. Our society has become dirty, low classed, foul mouthed, disrespectful and violent and then wants to be treated like first class citizens by law enforcement. Do the math.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: gun owner 000

I don't think the title correctly describes the situation. With world tensions going through the roof, pressure cooker bombs, home invasions, and strong arm robberies at an all time high, the police have their hands full of suspicious people. I'm sure Mr. Bissonette was stopped for other reasons besides harassment. Maybe the police had numerous reports of suspicious people in the area.
He might have been in his work uniform, walking to work, innocently enough. Or he could have been a wanted felon with warrants, stolen uniform, up to no good. The police can't read minds or predict the future (if they could, there would be no need for them anyway) Stuff happens. A few years ago, my brother and his family were subjected to a full felony traffic stop on a California freeway. That's with guns drawn, face-down on the ground, etc. My brother has NEVER been in trouble, not even a traffic ticket. BUT, the SUV they were riding in matched the vehicle the police were looking for from an earlier armed robbery, murder, and chase. After the dust cleared, the police sergeant apologized and thanked them for their co-operation. It was a situation that could have gone horribly wrong, in an instant.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: The What If's

What if this wasn't your son, just another random guy walking down the road, uniform or not. And he was stopped and a check run on him only to find out he was wanted for a crime. Would you be complaining then. Probably not.

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