Buckeye Leaf Prompts Traffic Stop
February 19, 2013 by Bob Livingston
An unidentified, and apparently unaccountable, group of taxpayer-supported LEOs (legally entitled to oppress) were at work recently, rounding up “dissidents” and enemies of the state just outside of Memphis, Tenn., when they targeted another victim for harassment.
Bonnie Jonas-Boggioni, 65, and her husband Guido, 66, were traveling from Columbus, Ohio, back to their home in Plano, Texas. Her car sported a bumper sticker with a line drawing of a plant. LEOs find plant stickers offensive and decided the sticker constituted evidence that that the subversives were transporting banned substances.
Next thing she knew, Jonas-Boggioni, who said she was obeying traffic laws, had a black SUV with flashing blue lights behind her. She pulled over and noticed the black SUV was quickly joined by another. Both were occupied by LEOs wearing body armor and carrying guns. Two officers approached the Boggioni’s car, one on each side.
“What are you doing with a marijuana sticker on your bumper,” one of the LEOs asked. He told her an officer in another jurisdiction had alerted him that a car sporting a plant sticker was headed his way and that the sticker might indicate the car was carrying marijuana.
Never mind that a sticker bearing the image of a plant does not constitute probable cause for a traffic stop. The sticker in question wasn’t even a marijuana leaf. It was a buckeye leaf, which has only five leaflets, not the typical seven of a marijuana leaf. The Boggionis are Ohio State fans, and they sport the sticker to advertise that fact. Guido showed the LEOs that the buckeye leaf was also on the Ohio State 2002 national championship sweatshirt he was wearing.
Jonas-Boggioni said that before telling her she could leave, the officers advised her to remove the decal from her car. “I said, ‘You mean in Tennessee?’ and he said, ‘No, permanently.’”
Thankfully, she didn’t.
Neither the Tennessee Highway Patrol nor the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office in Memphis had information on the traffic stop. A spokeswoman for the West Tennessee Drug Task Force said a marijuana sticker is not sufficient reason to stop a car.
Apparently, Tennessee LEOs riding the roads ignore that reality.
“It’s just amazing they would be that dumb,” Jonas-Boggioni said. The trouble is, dumb isn’t the proper adjective.