On Monday, January 4, at around 2 p.m., my brothers Alex and Joseph and I were pulled over by a sheriff in Lemon Grove. We were taken out of the car, handcuffed, and searched in front of my nephew’s school, Sweetwater Springs Elementary, on Austin Drive.

The officers wouldn't give us a reason for the stop and kept wanting us to tell them what gang we were from. They kept saying, "If it walks, talks, and looks like a duck, then it must be a duck,” referring to the fact that we have shaved heads, wear baggy clothes, are Hispanic, and tattooed.

Nobody in my family has ever been in a gang, and the only tattoos I have are my kids’ names on my back.

After a fruitless search of our vehicle and finding out that we all have clean records, they uncuffed and released us...but not before taking pictures of all our tattoos. I was made to take off my shirt in front of my nephew’s school, with school staff looking on.


CuddleFish Jan. 9, 2010 @ 6:53 p.m.

If you don't want to be treated like gang, then don't dress like gang.


ressaw Oct. 1, 2013 @ 1:28 p.m.

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


SDaniels Jan. 9, 2010 @ 9:07 p.m.

From the details we are given, and granted, we are given only one side of the story, what happened here is NOT ok at all. There was no probable cause to pull these gentlemen over, and last I checked, baggy clothing was not a crime.

I could understand if they were sporting gang colors in a way that is typical that the police might want to check up on them, but being stopped and having your tattoos photographed?! Where are our legal eagles on this one?...


CuddleFish Jan. 9, 2010 @ 9:35 p.m.

Pay attention. He didn't say baggy clothing, he said "we have shaved heads, wear baggy clothes, are Hispanic, and tattooed."

I have a problem with racial profiling. I got no problem with gang profiling. Let me tell you what, I seriously doubt those were innocent tats on all of them. Let's have him post a picture of what he looked like when he was stopped that day.

If you don't want to be treated like gang, don't look like gang.


David Dodd Jan. 10, 2010 @ 3:17 a.m.

Obviously, people must dress a certain way, wear a certain hairstyle, and refrain from tatoos. It's in the constitution. People have rights so long as they dress nice, have no ink, and maintain stylish hair. Right?

This is obvious profiling.

After all, if it "walks, talks, and looks like a duck, then it must be a duck" under the color of authority.


Ponzi Jan. 10, 2010 @ 5:28 a.m.

Sweetwater Springs Elementary is in Spring Valley, not in the city of Lemon Grove.


Ponzi Jan. 10, 2010 @ 5:38 a.m.

Using sobriety checkpoints to check for drivers license, registration and insurance is not “legal” either. As the DUI checkpoints were challenged in court and the court concluded that DUI checkpoints were permissible in the interest of public safety, however there were many stipulations deemed by the court.

Police agencies in California mostly ignore those stipulations and extend the searches to other paperwork that has nothing to do with the immediate public safety. Insurance and registration, for example, have nothing to do with public safety.

If people are concerned with constitutional rights, you need not go very far on any weekend evening to see them violated all over the county and state.


CuddleFish Jan. 10, 2010 @ 8:45 a.m.

Exactly. People got to wake up to the real state of affairs.


a2zresource Jan. 10, 2010 @ 11:19 a.m.

On another note, we now know that people can get paid for writing stories about themselves. It is interesting to see journalists who are the story that is being paid for.


Mcfaddenz July 28, 2013 @ 1:09 p.m.

Did you consider what your consequences would be when you followed me and my two children through the mall parking lot and shopping center? You are concerned about how it looked to have you take your shirt off in front of your nephew's school but have no problem following a single mom with two kids that you don't know to serve me papers. Do you have any idea how creepy that is? I would say you fit the stereotype to a tee!! Think about that before you decide to follow someone!


Dynamic Oct. 1, 2013 @ 11:25 a.m.

YES, GANG-PROFILING IS A-OK, as is CRIMINAL-PROFILING!!! As is stopping someone holding a weapon, or stopping someone who is naked, or stopping someone who is driving haphazardly... If you look and act similarly to people who regularly commit crimes, then you should expect to become a suspect. Lose the tattoos. Give your scalp a break and let your hair grow out a little. Pull up your pants. Stop playing that HORRIBLE "music" so loud. Stop trying to look like thugs and criminals. We really couldn't care less about what race you are. Every ethnicity has gone through what Hispanics are currently going through in terms of cultural identity - we have all acted out in the exact same ways - weird hair, clothes and things we did to our bodies...and each ethnic group has come through for the most part (there are the occasional throwbacks, but they are all located in actual, large cities, NOT near San Diego). Get with the modern age. Start by pulling up your pants, for the love of Creation. Or you could move to Los Angeles, where they profile for EVERYTHING!


ressaw Oct. 1, 2013 @ 1:33 p.m.

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


ressaw Oct. 1, 2013 @ 1:30 p.m.

stopping and photographing without probable cause is illegal under the fourth amendment. you can refuse to be photographed and searched. file a complaint with internal affairs.


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