Texas man illegally detained and truck ransacked by cops: video exposes rights violations

Last year, Alek Schott, a resident of Houston, Texas, was pulled over by a police officer in San Antonio during his drive back home from a work trip and illegally detained for an hour while cops ransacked his truck. This Institute for Justice (IJ) video plays the bodycam and dashcam footage of the incident, which reveals multiple violations of Schott's Fourth Amendment rights.

The officer who pulled Schott over lacked reasonable suspicion for the initial stop, and the officer's stated reason for the stop — that Schott was veering outside of his lane — is revealed to be bogus when compared to Schott's own dashcam footage. The officer made Schott get out of his truck and sit in his patrol car while he interrogated Schott extensively about his trip. Despite Schott's cooperation and denial of any wrongdoing, the officer persists with the interrogation for 10 minutes. Here are some of the questions the officer asked Schott:

  • When was the last time you came down this way?
  • What hotel do you stay at?
  • What's been your address?
  • What is your date of birth?
  • Is this your truck from the beginning?
  • What's your phone number?
  • Do you live in a house or an apartment?
  • What were you working on with your customer?
  • Did you go over there with anybody else?
  • Have you ever been in trouble with anything?
  • Does your wife or your mom have anything in your vehicle that you're not supposed to have?
  • Do you have any marijuana, cocaine, heroin, THC oil, methamphetamine, prescribed pills, hallucinogens, or any other illegal substances in the vehicle?
  • Do you have any large sums of money over $10,000?
  • Has anybody asked you to carry anything in your vehicle?
  • Are you the only person driving this vehicle for the last 48 hours?

After the interrogation, the cop asks Schott if he can search the car because "I have reasons to believe that there might be something in your vehicle." Schott refuses, and the officer tells Schott he is calling in a dog to sniff the car for drugs. When the dog arrives, the K-9 officer's bodycam footage shows the officer making hand signals to the dog, The dog then does a "hard sit," which supposedly means it smelled illegal drugs. The search of Alec's vehicle lasts approximately 25 minutes, during which his personal belongings are thoroughly examined. Ultimately, no drugs or evidence of criminal activity are found.

Schott is now pursuing a lawsuit with the assistance of IJ, aiming to hold the officer accountable for the alleged violation of his rights.