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Has 'license plate profiling' spread from CO to Washington?

Has “license plate profiling” spread from Colorado to Washington drivers? A driver with Washington tags thinks so, and has sent us video of his pullover in Idaho.

Idaho became the center of the profiling question in March of this year when the news broke that Colorado resident Darian Roseen felt he had been pulled over by the Idaho State Police (ISP) simply because his license plates were from Colorado, and alleged ISP troopers were taking that as an indication he probably had pot.

But if Colorado drivers are being “license plate profiled,” then it would make sense that Washington state drivers would be as well, with Washington’s legalization of marijuana taking effect several months after Colorado. (It should be noted, however, the date of the pullover in this report was still about two months prior to full legalization in Washington.)

First, remember that Complete Colorado published a report in May of this year, showing videos of the same ISP Trooper, Justin Klitch, who pulled over Roseen. In those videos, Trooper Klitch appears to be using minor technicalities to initiate the stops of three more Colorado drivers.

Now watch the video below sent to us by Mike Rowley. Rowley was pulled over for driving over the fog line – a technical name for the line that creates the boundary on the far right hand portion of the lane. The video is inconclusive, but at the very least, it’s extremely difficult to see where Rowley ever crossed the fog line, if he did in fact do so.

Rowley feels convinced the only reason for being stopped was having Washington license plates.

“I was given a story how people walk on the side of the freeway and he had even seen goats on the side of the road before. That was the first clue something was out of the ordinary,” Rowley told Complete Colorado by email. “I thought to myself,why does this guy think he has to stop me to warn me of this?”

Indeed, according to the audio of the conversation, the purpose of the stop seems to be a friendly warning of how you might hit someone walking their goat on the side of the highway if you’re less than careful about staying in your lane (time 2:48 of the YouTube video, 11:38:54 of the dashcam clock).

Then the officer says he’s helping out with a drug interdiction task force that is operating in that area of Idaho, and because of that, he’s obliged to ask certain drug-oriented questions of every driver with whom he comes into contact.


“I knew for a fact I did not cross the fog line,” Rowley said. “I had seen him way back and I drove perfectly. After wasting time to warn me of goats and people on the side of the road, his focus was on him helping police on a drug and criminal program going on and he said he asks everyone he stops if they have any meth, or pot in the car. He said he worked on an honesty basis and if he had to bring his dog over and he did and his dog found something, I was going to jail. I was forced to tell him of 2 pot pipes in my car.”

In our previous report, we mentioned that the videos being presented offered “something for everyone,” precisely because the three stops all did result in some kind of confiscation of marijuana or paraphernalia. However, because of other email tips we’ve received from other readers, it is possible that the only videos that would possibly ever be obtained are ones in which some kind of citation is issued. In other words, if a trooper were to make a stop for driving over the fog line, yet found no evidence of alcohol, drugs, or drug paraphernalia, then no citation would be issued. We believe, and will be working with ISP to confirm, that in the instance of a stop where no citation is issued, no corresponding video is captured and logged and/or archived for retrieval purposes.


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