On June 21, 2012 Natalie Plummer was arrested, right off the sidewalk, when she held an impromptu sign, made from a paper grocery sack, warning drivers of an oncoming "speed trap". After being handled aggressively and illegally searched. She was told that she was being charged with a felony that carried a sentence of an automatic 3-5 year prison sentence.
After, carelessly letting all of her belongings tumble down the street into oncoming traffic, out of the back of the officer's patrol car, the officer discovered this sign was not actually illegal. So, they created another fictional charge- "walking on a street where a sidewalk was provided", a misdemeanor offense. She was not told at the time her official charge or that her sign was not illegal. She was told she was getting "let off easy".
However, they threatened if she ever committed such an act again, there would be much worse consequences compared to anything she had experienced that day. She was then dangerously transported to jail without a seat belt until finally the officers acknowledged her comments and stopped on an entrance ramp to a freeway in the middle of rush hour (police stops of this manner have recently caused death of motorists IN HOUSTON).
Hours later in jail, when being booked. Natalie finally found out what her official charge was. She was advised to plead guilty to the charge so she could get out of jail quicker, otherwise she would have to stay much longer to await trial unless she could get a hold of some one to bail her out. Also, if she plead guilty upon release there would be no further actions. She stood by her innocence and pleaded "Not Guilty" to any charges, before guaranteeing her bail be posted.
Luckily, she was able to contact family and post bail and be released within approximately 12 hours of her original arrest.
After being released, Natalie started studying what the laws actually were. She then found out, this was a blatant violation of her First Amendment rights and furthermore her Fourth Amendment rights when here back pack was illegally searched.
When the Houston Police Department arrested Natalie Plummer they not only violated her rights, but used police intimidation to threaten any future use of those same rights. In doing so, they have threatened every single citizen's rights.
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