Car inspection refusal at Truckee bug station leads to convictions
Click here to watch the original video on YouTube, as published by the “Restore Freedom Project.” A follow-up video featuring Bradley Feinman is located within.
The Truckee bug station is part of a network of 16 along California’s eastern and northern borders. An average of 35 million vehicles enter the state each year through these stations; about two-thirds are private vehicles and the remainder are commercial.
Vehicle traffic through the Truckee station is roughly 4.8 million per year.
TRUCKEE, Calif. — The video shows Bradley Feinman asking authorities at the Truckee agricultural station if they have a warrant to search his vehicle. Officials say they don’t want to search his vehicle. They only want to inspect it.
“Don’t answer questions,” Feinman says as he pulls into what authorities call the “bug station” on Interstate 80 near the Nevada-California state line.
Feinman refuses to allow an inspection of his vehicle, asking if officials have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution. He tells them they can’t inspect his vehicle without a warrant, the video shows.
Several minutes later, he repeatedly declines to hand over his license and registration. Officers warn him several times: Hand over the license and get a citation, or they’ll break his windows and arrest him.
Moments later, an officer breaks a window. Feinman, 46, and his 20-year-old son, Vincent Bradley Feinman, are arrested.
‘THEY MISAPPLY THE LAW’
Officers took both into custody on Aug. 16, 2015 — the night of the agricultural station stop. They went to trial last week in Truckee and were convicted. A juvenile in Feinman’s vehicle faced no charges, said Cliff Newell, Nevada County district attorney.
The elder Feinman now must report by 8 p.m. Friday to the Nevada County Jail to serve eight days, the remainder of his 12-day sentence. He also must serve 30 hours of community service, Newell added.
His son, sentenced to four days, received credit for time served. He must perform 20 hours of community service, Newell said.
“We do this with some frequency,” Newell said of the defendants, whom he called constitutionalists.
“I think they’re misinformed,” he added. “They misapply the law.”
“Constitutionalist” is a broad term used to describe someone who believes in strict adherence to the Constitution.
The elder Feinman, of Lakeport, was convicted of obstructing or resisting an officer by using threats or force, failing to obey the lawful order of an officer and refusing to comply with an inspection. He represented himself, Newell said.
His son was convicted of obstructing or resisting an officer by using threats or force. He had a public defender, the district attorney added.
Initially facing felony accusations, the Feinmans were convicted of misdemeanors.
STANDING HIS GROUND
According to Newell, portions of a video recorded by someone in Feinman’s vehicle were used at trial. Feinman went through the agricultural stop two or three times before he was stopped.
“Most cars get through,” Newell added. “These guys kept on going around until they get stopped.”
The video, posted on YouTube, shows the older Feinman telling officers they couldn’t inspect his vehicle and that he intended to continue driving. He’s told that he can continue into California and forego the search, though he must leave his vehicle behind. Alternatively, he can return to Nevada.
“Are you detaining us?” the elder Feinman asks at one point.
Several minutes pass and Bradley Feinman drives his vehicle a short distance from the agricultural station as he waits for authorities. Officers are summoned and approach the vehicle, though Feinman refuses to completely roll down his window or give his ID, the video shows.
One officer tells Bradley Feinman that he’ll get a ticket and be allowed to leave, if he hands over his license and registration. Feinman declines.
At one point an off- duty officer approaches. He explains several times that authorities will break a window of Feinman’s vehicle and arrest him if he fails to provide his license and registration.
“This is totally unnecessary,” the off-duty officer says in the video.
FOURTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS?
Bradley Feinman asks about his Fourth Amendment rights, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and questions if officers took an oath to defend the Constitution.
Officers again give Feinman two choices: Present his license and registration and get a ticket, or they’ll break his window and arrest him.
“I want you to sign a ticket right now and that’s it and you’re on your way,” an officer says in the video.
“Then give me the ticket,” Bradley Feinman responds.
“I need your license, registration and insurance,” the officer says.
Feinman declines to provide his information.
Officers continue to tell Feinman they will break his window until one of them produces what appears to be a baton. He then breaks a rear window. The recording of that incident ends shortly afterward.
“This was a relatively minor case, but look at how many cops this took off the streets,” Newell said. “I find his behavior pretty reprehensible.”
Alan Riquelmy is a staff writer with The Union newspaper, a sister paper of the Sierra Sun that serves Nevada City, Grass Valley and other communities in the Sierra Foothills.