I have never been in trouble with the law. Both my parents are retired police officers and they always taught me to respect the "Family of Blue." So, when police officers stopped my college classmates and me for allegedly speeding along an Eastern Shore highway on our way back to college, I did not protest. But the officers insisted that I was driving above the limit and claimed that they smelled a strong odor of marijuana. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by four officers yelling, shining lights in our faces, putting their hands on us to pat us down, and searching the car. They kept asking us where we hid the drugs. 

The officers ripped apart my new car, breaking the ashtray and the console in the backseat in their feverish attempt to find something incriminating. They even managed to dent and scratch the outside of the car. My classmates and I were forced to sit on the wet grass by the side of the road for nearly an hour while they ransacked the car. They made us look like criminals to anyone who passed by.

The officers found nothing, because there was nothing to find. They had no reason to put us through this humiliating - and expensive - ordeal. Maybe worst of all, even after finding nothing, the officers insisted that we had "gotten away with it this time" and kept threatening that they would "get us next time."   

I will never forget how they treated us that night.

Chaz Slaughter

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