A North Carolina cop came across a man recording airplanes outside Charlotte Douglas International Airport and told him he was doing nothing wrong.
Nevertheless, the cop still insisted on seeing his identification, just in case the man was recording “the numbers” off the planes – which are visible to anybody within close proximity of the plane, including passengers climbing aboard as well as passengers waiting for their flights at the terminal.
The cop then began asking where the man was parked, but the man told him he had arrived on a bus.
“Do you have any ID on you real quick just to see who I am talking to,” the cop asked, undeterred in his efforts to find something that would allow him to make an arrest.
“Yeah, I don’t believe I am required to show it though unless you suspect me of a crime,” the man responded.
“Well, I mean you’re here, you’re filming planes, FAA property, I mean, Like I say, you’ve done nothing wrong, I just want to know who I am talking to,” the cop tried to rationalize.
“I don’t have to show it you, sorry,” the man said, maintaining civility while standing up for his rights.
The cop then sauntered off, accepting the fact that he had failed to intimidate a man into providing his identification, which would have allowed him to run his name for warrant checks as well as possibly include his name in a Homeland Security database of “suspicious” people.
The old, “I just want to know who I am talking to,” is a line commonly used by cops to persuade citizens to hand over their identifications when they are under no legal requirement to do so.
But its always done after the cops went out of their way to talk to the citizen, so why should the citizen be required to prove his identity, especially when he was minding his own business as he was in this case?
It should be the other way around.