After separating Lisa from her husband, supposedly so he could write her a warning ticket for a traffic violation, dashcam video shows that the agent began repeatedly questioning her about what was inside the car.Then, he had a favor to ask.“You say there’s not anything illegal in it. Do you mind if I search it today to make sure?” the officer asked.Lisa responded, “I’d have to talk to my husband.”She told NewsChannel 5 Investigates, “I just feel like he was harassing me, you know, wanting me to say yes that he can search my car.”The agent continued, “I am asking you for permission to search your vehicle today — and you are well within your rights to say no and you can say yes. It’s totally up to you as to whether you want to show cooperation or not.”So why not say yes?“I mean there was no reason for him to search my car,” Lisa said.The interdiction agent told her that he was asking “because I do believe that you are not being honest with me.”The agent didn’t believe their story that they had been to a funeral for Ronnie’s grandfather, even though a quick search of the Internet would have proved they were telling the truth.“You have to either give me a yes or no,” he continued. “I do need an answer so I can figure out whether I need a dog to go around it or not.”Lisa recalled, “I was getting upset because he kept on asking me over and over. I said you have no reason to search my car.”
. . . when Ronnie insisted there were no drugs, the agent confided he wasn’t really expecting any.“Well, I’ll be honest with you, with you going this direction, I wouldn’t think you’d have drugs in the car — you would have a large amount of money,” he said.
The first thing that Myers noticed is that there’s no microphone on the handler, raising all sorts of questions.“Is the handler giving any audible cues to the dog or just simply saying sit?” he asked.We followed up, “So in this case we don’t hear what he’s saying to the dog?”“Not a clue,” he responded.Myers also noted that the officer keeps his hands to himself on the passenger side, but — as he rounds the car — that suddenly changes.“The officer pointed at the spot where the dog eventually sat before the dog sat,” Myers said. “That’s actually a cue.”“Intentional?” we asked.“I don’t think so.”Myers said it could be a training issue.“Dogs take their cues from people. ‘I must go investigate: what is he pointing at?’ Then having stopped and paused and the whole thing, the officer then releases tension on the leash. The dog goes, hmm, sit.”In fact, the search did not turn up drugs or anything illegal.Our investigation also uncovered another traffic stop where one interdiction agent from the 23rd led his dog around a vehicle three times without getting an alert.Instead of accepting the result, he blamed the dog’s arthritis.That’s when another officer brought out his dog. After two rounds, he got an alert — finally giving officers a reason to search.
As for why we don’t have audio from the dog handler in the Hankins case, his audio should have been recorded on a camera in his car.But NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked for video from that camera, and we were told that, for reasons no one could explain, it does not exist.