The officer came back to John. “You’re a liar. You’re lying to me. Your family says you have it. Where is the gun? Tell me where it is and we can resolve this right now.”
Of course, John couldn’t show him what didn’t exist, but Kally’s failure to corroborate John’s account, the officer would tell them later, was the probable cause that allowed him to summon backup — three marked cars joined the lineup along the I-95 shoulder — and empty the Expedition of riders, luggage, Christmas gifts, laundry bags; to pat down Kally and Yianni; to explore the engine compartment and probe inside door panels; and to separate and isolate the Filippidises in the back seats of the patrol cars.
Ninety minutes later, or maybe it was two hours — “It felt like forever,” Kally says — no weapon found and their possessions repacked, the episode ended … with the officer writing out a warning.
Every now and then, you hear of a traffic stop gone wrong that makes your blood boil. The story of John Filippidis is just such a case. I really want to side with the cops but, from the way this story is told, this started out as profiling (a late model SUV with Florida plates on I95 with five occupants driving the speed limit through Maryland…Must be a car full of drug mules, let’s follow them until they do something to justify pulling them over) and then it turned into full on hoplophobia by an overzealous cop. At least that’s the narrative here. I’d really be interested in seeing dash or body cam footage if it exists. It would go a long way toward settling the question of what happened. The officer may indeed have had PC for the search but, soft skills go a long way in maintain public trust with police officers versus perpetuation of the “us versus them” mentality on both sides. I know cops that I’d glady step in to help if I saw them in need. But there are some I’d also gleefully watch burn on the side of the road. I’ll reserve judgement in this case until all the facts are in.