Recipient of Letter:
Colonel Lonnie J. Westphal
Chief of the Colorado State Patrol

Date of Letter: December, 1995.

Contents of Letter: Description of Police Harassment Incident

Dear Colonel Lonnie J. Westphal:

The following incident is a description of a potentially racial/ethnic incident of which I was a victim.

On December 7, 1995 at around 5:50 PM, I was stopped by the Colorado State Patrol and the Denver Police on suspicion of drunk driving according to the Colorado State Patrol officers.

There were three officers from the Colorado State Patrol that were involved in my stoppage: Officer Randy Rahne, Officer [ Timothy ] McClinchy, and another officer whose name I do not know and was not given to me whom shall henceforth be referred to as Officer X. [ Note: I later found out in the response letter sent to me that Officer X was Colorado State Trooper Gerald Lincoln. ] According to Officers Randy Rahne and [ Timothy ] McClinchy, they determined that I was drunk because they saw me accelerating and decelerating. This, quite honestly, is a very weak argument in determining that I was driving under the influence of alcohol and is utterly ridiculous. I normally... [ move up ] when I see there is enough space in front of me and... [ back off ] when I notice that there is not. That is the way I have always driven since 1981 in Florida and New Jersey, and I have never been stopped for driving that way in all my driving years of experience. I have an excellent driving record....

I was told to perform various roadside tests, which I was never informed by any of the officers that they were voluntary. It got to the point where the tests were so numerous that I told Officer Randy Rahne that "I must respectfully state that this is now turning into harassment." I stated this on more than one occasion and was told by Officer [ Timothy ] McClinchy to just "shut up and cooperate", which is not a very nice thing to say to someone and borders on disrespect and abusiveness. I felt throughout the entire ordeal that I really could not say anything to the officers but cooperate fully and always let them have the last word. It is almost as if they felt the need to always have the last word and not let me have any say in this matter.

Throughout this utterly ridiculous ordeal, I encountered the following:

  1. Officer Randy Rahne mentioned that I looked as if I've never lived in this country before. This is an entirely inappropriate, unprofessional, and irrational statement to make considering that I do not speak English with any foreign accent since I was born and raised in this country. Perhaps he was trying to
    • let me know that I am an outsider in this country due to my physical appearance, which I have been told by many friends and acquaintances looks Hispanic and/or
    • give me some type of hint that since I look as if I've never lived in this country, I really do not know how police work is done in this country and should therefore blindly do whatever a police officer tells me to do just because he/she says to do it.

  2. After going through the battery of roadside tests and finally getting a 0.000 on the breathalizer test I was asked not once, but three times, by Officer... [ Gerald Lincoln ] whether I had smoked marijuana. I suspect that he asked me the question three times, of which I responded "no" on every occasion, to somehow irritate me to the point where I would either say something extremely disrespectful to the officers or perhaps take a swing at him. This obviously I did not do since it would be utterly suicidal of me to do such a thing.

  3. After performing all these roadside tests and determining that I was not drunk, the officers were not satisfied with just letting me go without giving me a citation. They had to somehow justify there stoppage of me in the highway and so they issued me a citation of "careless driving" on the flimsy grounds that I was accelerating and decelerating. This "careless driving" charge I intend to fight in court with my attorney... [ Donald Wasko ]. This will undoubtedly cause me the added inconvenience of time and money - time and money from my work and the money to pay an attorney to effectively defend me in court.

  4. In the final stages of the ordeal, I was finally told to sit in my car. I must have waited in my car for what amounted to almost an eternity, about 15 minutes, while Officer [ Timothy ] McClinchy did some type of background check of me from his squad car. He finally came to my car and told me that "you understand that this was voluntary". I NEVER got the impression that all these roadside tests were voluntary and do not EVER recall being explicitly told by ANY of the officers that they were voluntary.

  5. At least one of the officers (this also might include the Denver police officer) must have gone into my car without my permission because Officer [ Timothy ] McClinchy in the final moments of my ordeal gave me back my license, car ownership, and insurance identification papers. The only thing of the above mentioned items that I gave was my drivers license to the Denver police officer who was the first officer that I met in this ordeal. That means that at least one of the officers must have gone into my car to get my car ownership and insurance identification papers WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.

In conclusion, the stoppage of my car in the highway was totally inappropriate and the arguments expounded by the officers for stopping me are totally bogus. I honestly believe that the stopping of my car and the words and actions of the officers mentioned above border on harassment.

I therefore am righting this letter as a complaint against the Colorado State police officers mentioned above and intend to pursue this matter to the fullest extent of the law up to and including suing the Colorado State Police.

I demand a written apology from the officers mentioned above! I also demand that someone tell me if there are more formal procedures (such as forms) that I should follow to pursue this matter further!


Franklin Perez

P.S. A copy of the citation given to me is included for your perusal.

You might be asking what type of response did I get from the Colorado State Patrol on the written letter I sent to Colonel Lonnie J. Westphal.

What I got from them was instead a letter from a Captain Bob Parish of the Colorado State Patrol basically absolving the officers of any wrongdoing and stating that they behaved entirely appropriate. If you like, you could click here for the response given to me by the Colorado State Patrol as well as my rebuttal to some of there comments.

You could also get a good picture of what happened to me on the night of December 5, 1995 involving the three Colorado State Troopers - Randy Rahne, Gerald Lincoln, and Timothy McClinchy by going to the below mentioned links:

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