It's 3 a.m. You're driving around Pleasant Grove, hot-boxing your car, when the cops pull you over for a minor traffic violation. Smoke billows from the window as the officer approaches. The smell of marijuana is unmistakable. What do you do?
NORML, the national pot-advocacy group, has a handy primer on its website, also printable as a wallet-sized "Freedom Card", that gives some tips. Hide the weed, as well as any paraphernalia; refuse any warrantless search of your person; be polite, and don't physically resist.
Laketta Ransom, 38, carries no such card in her purse. According to police, she was the passenger in a 2007 Mercury Grand Marquis that rolled by a pair of Dallas police officers working an unrelated traffic stop in the 2000 block of Masters Drive. The two men stopped, sniffed the air, and looked at each other.
"The odor was so strong that both officers commented to one another about the odor of burnt marijuana and pointed out the passing vehicle as the source of the odor," they wrote in their police report later.
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The cops pulled the car over and asked Ransom and the male driver to exit the vehicle. The man complied, but Ransom refused and began arguing with the officers. When she began rummaging through her purse, her hands out of sight, officer Aaron Tolerton feared she might be reaching for a weapon and tried to pull her out of the vehicle.
In response, Ransom flexed her right leg and kicked Tolerton in the testicles, "causing extreme pain." Then, she did it again. In a final act of defiance, she took her bag of weed and threw it at him.
Ransom, who listed her occupation as babysitter, was arrested for assaulting a public servant and marijuana possession. Her companion, who adhered to the NORML guidelines much more closely, was allowed to leave.