Everybody's life is filled with choices to be made, where one wrong decision may be the difference between leading the great life and living an infamous existence. I did not know a thing about Kyle Carbiener until this weekend, I'm sure this is probably your first time of hearing about him (unless you happened to be Google-searching him and came across this). But his adult life in the spotlight appears to be an interesting case-study when we attempt to interpret and interpolate the effects of environmental factors in today's world. After our analysis, I would appreciate your comments.
Kyle Carbiener was born in 1991, and his first brush with the law appears to be over underage drinking sometime around 2010 in Florida. He was later arrested in Florida on August 13, 2010 with a $100 bond for an out-of-county warrant for a minor in possession offense by the Lake Alfred Police in Crawford County. His problems with the legal system in Florida didn't prevent him from moving in with his mother to Indiana and joining the National Guard by late 2011, early 2012.
He relates a story on the police accountability website Copblock about a February 7, 2012 incident involving the Putnam (Indiana) County Sheriff's Office. If we take his account of events at face value, he admits coming from a broken family, staying some time with his mother on her boyfriend's mother's farm doing chores for his upkeep. While having a civil argument with his mother, Kyle arouses the ire of her boyfriend, Mike, who drinks quite a lot, according to Kyle.
Without any other provocation, Mike calls the sheriff, who he says is a very close friend, and asks them to remove the 'punk' Kyle from his household. When they get there, Mike takes 5 minutes to explain the situation out of Kyle's earshot, he then relates: "So, I came outside. I walked over to where Mike and the two Deputies had gathered, directly in front of the Deputy’s shiny new Dodge Charger. In an effort to introduce myself and break the ice, I was cut off with an interjecting, “Shut up!” from the larger and older of the two Deputies."
Kyle then goes through a police encounter where he is roughed up quite a bit before being told he is under arrest for resisting and being disorderly. Kyle is further disheartened when he notes the dashcam being on when he is loaded into the back of the police car, but finds it is not available when he goes through a nightmarish prosecution where the facts of the matter are either ignored or diminished, according to his version of events. He ends his story related two years after the encounter with:
"I need help, please. I refuse to lie down and be taken advantage of by a flawed system. Are there people out there that care enough to help a responsible, good-hearted daddy of two make his voice heard enough to the tyrannical local government of Putnam County that they realize this as well? I just want this to go away. I want to be able to get a job with a clean background check, as it should be. Instead, I have open violent and drug-related misdemeanor charges that I had no logical intention of committing."
Those charges probably stuck and have stayed with him in the intervening years between then and now. Kyle moved to Bay County in Michigan in the interim and apparently was getting by, until his encounter with their county's deputies on June 30, 2017.
The Bay Justice Archives relates Kyle's own story and a caveat against dangling objects from your rear view mirror, here is the salient narrative of what happened, as Kyle saw it:
"At approximately 15:00, I observed Deputy Schabel make a right hand turn from Eastbound McGraw onto Northbound Broadway into the traffic overflow lane, despite a red light on his end and heavy traffic. I passed Deputy Schabel doing under 35mph in a 40mph speed zone. Deputy Schabel then followed me through traffic up Northbound Broadway while I was en route to 7-11. I signaled my intention to turn 100+ yards prior and then proceeded to turn into the 7-11 parking lot on the corner of Broadway and Cass. I had removed my seatbelt, key from the ignition, and had one foot out of the door and on the ground before Deputy Schabel turned into the parking lot, only then activating his lights and positioning his vehicle directly behind me.
Fearing a negative impression, I then seated myself fully and erect in my seat, yet left my door slightly open, and prepared to speak with Deputy Schabel.
Deputy Schabel then asked for my license, registration and proof of insurance.
Knowing full well I had not committed a moving violation I asked Deputy Schabel for the reason of our interaction.
Deputy Schabel then stated that the air fresheners hanging less than 4″ below my rear-view mirror were an obstruction, and that was the cause of the stop. Baffled, I pointed out several other vehicles in the parking lot with multitudes of adornments draping their rear-view and GPS devices suction cupped to windshields. Deputy Schabel then replied, “Look, I’m not even going to you a ticket, but I need your I.D.”
I replied with, “You just admitted you’re not citing me, and have no cause to suspect me of a crime, so I am not going to give you my identification.”
Deputy Schabel replied with, “I just need to know who you are, so give me your I.D.,” starting to exhibit aggression.
Again, I stated, “You admitted you’re not citing me, so there’s no ticket here, no need to know me, there’s no probable cause, you pulled me over for air fresheners (and at this time I removed them from my mirror), you don’t have any probably cause, and I haven’t committed a crime. So why don’t you go your way and I’ll go mine.”
Deputy Schabel then increased his tone and said, “If you don’t give me your I.D. you’re going to jail.”
Deputy Schabel then ordered me out of my vehicle. Fearing for my safety due to his increasingly aggressive nature, I denied his request.
Deputy Schabel then forcefully opened my driver’s side door, damaging it in the process and began attempting to forcefully remove me from my vehicle, clawing grabbing and hitting at me.
Knowing that if I tried to protect myself against Deputy Schabel, he may kill me, I began the only defense reasonable – screaming to the onlookers gathered outside the storefront at this time, ” Help me! This cop is attacking me over air fresheners. This is wrong! I haven’t committed a crime! He is assaulting me!”
After several failed attempts and ragged of breath Deputy Schabel looked me dead in the eyes and reached for his Taser.
I yelled, “Seriously? What kind of cop are you? You’re going to keep escalating this!?”
Thankfully, at this time Deputy Schabel seemed to notice Deputy Darrow arrive on scene and began backing away from my vehicle.
I then removed my Driver’s License and handed it to Deputy Schabel, stating I was doing so under extreme duress.
Deputy Schabel then returned to his vehicle.
The C/O and another Deputy arrive shortly thereafter.
Deputy Schabel then attempted to nonchalantly explain and hand me citations like the encounter we just had never existed. Where is the accountability?"
The Bay City News on July 28 seems to corroborate the facts of Kyle's account even though their source is from the deputy's report and other court records. It notes that authorities issued a warrant for Carbiener on July 20. On Wednesday, July 26, he appeared in Bay County District Court for arraignment on single counts of assaulting, resisting, or obstructing police and obstructing police by a disguise. The former is a two-year felony, while the latter is a misdemeanor.
The latter is also being oddly used here MCL 750.217 depends on somebody disguising themselves to be somebody they are not, refusing to present an ID when an officer has refused to suggest a crime may have been committed, is not a crime in Michigan. Nor does either account suggest the deputy had a 'good' cause for a traffic stop. Liberal interpretation of MCL 257.709(1)(c) suggests a dangling ornament may be against the law, but it wasn't determined to be a cause for conducting a traffic stop until the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals changed their minds in 2009-- perhaps after getting plenty of grief from police. Imagine all of the people you know with fuzzy dice, air fresheners and GPS devices over their console and you would likely have quite a list.
Kyle Carbiener, like many people, did not know hanging anything from their rear view mirror can be illegal if an officer decides to enforce this admittedly vaguely-worded law. The problem arises when somebody like Kyle, who has some red flags in his past, may get singled out for enforcement when numerous other folks aren't. This makes it far from a "routine traffic stop" (as the article says) when somebody who has wrote an article critical of a sheriff's office gets targeted for this civil infraction and others do not.
Kyle immediately removed the air freshener and solved the victimless problem; had the deputy let it stop there, the point would have been made, but it is believable that the deputy ran the plates, found that the vehicle may have been uninsured, and that the likely driver had some red flags including the Indiana charges for an incident that wound up a lot like this one. The deputy pushed forward and the situation escalated. For peacefully asserting rights he thought he had, Kyle Carbiener now faces a felony for being violently roughed up by another deputy. Will the dashcam work this time?
Is Kyle a troublemaker who deserves the short straw he has been given, or is he a man who has tried to fit in with society by starting a family, joining the National Guard, and otherwise following a lawful path-- but finding his rebellious notion of what his rights as an American citizen entail fall in opposition of what some county deputies and their county's justice system allows?
If you learn anything from this article, you need to know that having anything obscuring your vision out the windshield other than your wipers or rearview mirror, can lead to a legitimate traffic stop, which always has the chance to work out badly for you, even if you're a saint on a pilgrimage with rosary beads swaying on your rearview.
You dangle a bauble, you tango with trouble.
LE refuses to follow the Constitution. They are all in Violation. They should all be stripped of their badges and hand in their weapons.They can be and, some are very dangerous people. Any one of them could kill you and get away with it. Some even get awards for murder... Knowing and demanding your Rights is something every person should be protected to do. LE doesn't like people who understand their Rights and express them or, say nothing' LE is trained to make a simple stop into a felony stop, Period! They will do this in any fashion their MOOD deems necessary and, will carry it out to any measure to warrant their actions. They will be protected in every sense of the word. They achieve higher Rank and Commendations for the number of felony stops they accumulate. Your only protection is streaming live video or video to a cloud. In Kyles case, this cop who pulls someone over for something hanging on their mirror is just a cop stalking the Public. Using his badge to make Rank off the systematic injustice to the People he serves. Many people will say do what the cop says' Many will demand their Rights. But, demanding your Rights is a gamble and could cost you your life. Our Right to demand our Rights is Under Siege.
Unfortunately John, your statement is more true today than ever before, and it's not going to get better imho.
Without dedication to their oath of office, their duties to the people they serve, accountability and the truth, a police force is just a tool of the state to enforce tyranny and beat down everybody's civil rights. Whenever an incident like the McAdam traffic stop in 2009 and the Bill Marble massacre in 2014 occurs, the local police and other allied officials have shown their complete lack of dedication to either of those facets.
I fear the local and state police more than any other individual or group, yet I am forced to help through my taxes and fees to equip and support them. If they were fully dedicated to their job, this would be a bargain.
It's difficult to form an opinion because we don't know exactly what took place. It's a He said, He said, situation and unless it was recorded we have no way to determine who was right and who was in the wrong. Like Verdad and X stated, drive by the law and keep a low profile in order to eliminate the possibility of getting stopped.
This article was intended to be a test of the reader's perceptions, more than anything else, that's why I encouraged comments, and appreciate the four who have answered giving their honest opinions.
I am inclined to give Kyle some benefit of the doubt. His record appears to be nothing more than an early underage drinking offense in Florida, and then the two incidents where police gave him the business in Indiana and Michigan.
I know of few people other than fierce teetotalers that waited until they were 21 to take their first drink, and few get tagged with it and penalized with arrest for it later on an out-of-county bench warrant. Kyle probably wasn't advised of what might happen if he missed a court hearing. This probably went a long way in causing him to lose faith in the justice system, as he admits at the end of his 2012 Copblock account.
In both police encounters, his account does not appear unbelievable, it even gets verified by the media in the second encounter. It is undetermined whether he was driving without valid registration or insurance, but apparently his plate had shown proper registration, or else the officer and media would have mentioned that. His only offense I noted was asserting rights that he thought he had, and not being apprised by the deputy that he had no such right by law.
Our views of fairness, however, has most of us concluding in such situations that the officer's account is worth more than the arrestee's because after all, he's on the side of the law, and the other one is an apprehended lawbreaker. In both situations, a body cam or even a dash cam could have shown the truth, so the extremists on both side of the debate could find out the truth and other fair people could form an opinion.
The absence of video when there should be police video of both encounters puts me solidly on Kyle's side. However, I can sense that those who have faith in almost everything related by police could come to the opposite conclusion and find that Kyle is just a non-conforming punk.