San Diego, CA — A man is saying San Diego Police robbed him of nearly $800 after they stopped, handcuffed and frisked him outside of a local bar early Saturday morning. However, police claim that they have no idea what happened to his money.
Bret Checketts detailed the incident in a Facebook post:
"They put their hands on me and grappled me, took my wallet and went through it, of which $780 of cash was taken from my wallet. I'm unable to pay my rent and have no idea when it will be returned to me if it will be. I was put in hand cuffs for over 20 minutes with no reason given, once they went through my whole wallet , felt me up one side and down the other, went through my pockets and wrote down my drivers license info on a police report, they released me and would not tell me what the Fuck just happened."
Checketts had the wherewithal to record the incident, at least until his phone's memory maxed out and stopped recording. But the interaction was long enough to reveal the officers were less than forthcoming with their reasoning for detaining Checketts.
One by one, Checketts took photos of all of the officers involved. They said they could not comment on their reasons for stopping him but told his friends he"matched the description" of a suspect they were looking for at the time.
Checketts identified the officers and described what he was doing in the moments leading up to what many of his friends are now calling legalized theft:
"San Diego Police Officer Daniel Riis, badge #6474, and Officer Robert Stinson felt it acceptable to detain me for no reason this morning. I had 2 Officers ask to talk to me while I was talking to 2 girls, friends of mine in town from sacramento, while minding my own business and doing nothing wrong."
The young man told The Free Thought Project that he is innocent of any wrongdoing and added that he was never charged. He claimed he was simply stopped, detained, handcuffed, and had the cash taken from his wallet.
"No law broken. No reason for handcuffing me. No explanation whatsoever. This is asanine. Unacceptable. Untolerable. I want answers! I want an apology. The officers involved need to be suspended. Other parties took video of the whole incident. I will be launching an investigation and lawsuit. This will be made right!"
Checketts also questioned how what happened to him was legal if he had not been guilty of any wrongdoing.
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"If I have done absolutely nothing wrong, how can police handcuff me, go through my person, take my money and give me no explanation. I called PD and was told by a supervisor sitting at his desk with his computer that he had no information to offer me and he hung up on me."
He said his friends explained that what happened to him is called "civil asset forfeiture," and is essentially legal theft by police of citizens' property. As TFTP has reported, civil asset forfeiture is now responsible for stealing more possessions belonging to citizens than all US robberies combined.
Still, Checketts said he does not understand how a police force can get away with it. We spoke to Checketts by phone, and he said he did not receive any paperwork from the officers following his encounter with them. Even after being released from handcuffs, he said "they still wouldn't give me any information."
He said he did speak with one of the plainclothes officers who detained him. "I should have received a call from the Lieutenant or someone who was over him not one of the detaining officers," he said, noting that he found it completely inappropriate.
Checketts said he is going to file an official complaint soon. He told TFTP he doubts he fits any description of a "suspect" police were looking for that night. "If you look at me, you can know I wasn't that person," he insisted. "I have no criminal record whatsoever so they have no reason to put me in detainment."
"I only have one eye. You probably don't come in contact with someone who only has one eye. So, I'm sure if you had an accurate description, you'd know if it were me or not."
Checketts says he doesn't have enough money to even pay his rent now. His roommate had given him the money to pay the rent and said he forgot to deposit the money after work. That is why he says he had so much money with him when police contacted him. He does not know how he could possibly sue them, even though he would like to.
"I didn't have an eye on what they were doing. I tried turning around a couple of times to find out what was going on and no one would give me any information," Checketts said.
He also said the police department called him and asked, "Which officer took your money?" to which he responded, "I'd really like to know that but I was detained and could not tell you which one did it."
"I hope these officers get training or possibly suspension because they simply had no reason to put me in handcuffs," Checketts concluded.