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Teens protest treatment by sheriff’s department

Amanda Hammon, Appeal Staff Writer

With signs boasting slogans like “Do all Carson cops hate teens?” about 15 Carson City teens Wednesday protested alleged mistreatment by Carson City sheriff’s deputies.

“We have no respect,” said T.K. McCallister, 16.

Eager to talk, the teens — all boys standing in front of the Paul Laxalt State Building with bright green signs — told stories ranging from raids of their homes resulting in no arrests to them being pulled over while driving for no reason.

Scott Hoffer, 17, said sheriff’s deputies pulled him over once, told him to throw his keys out the window and get out of his car. They searched him and the car and found nothing, he said.

“They pull us over for really stupid stuff,” he said.

Holding signs that said “Teens have rights, too,” “CCSO Big Badge Mentality” and “Too Many Crookie Rookies,” the youths received a few honks from cars passing down Carson Street.

“They abuse their laws. We don’t have a badge. We can’t do to them what they do to us,” Chad Hoffer said. “They constantly harass us. They treat us like because we’re not 65 and retired, we’re not part of the community.”

Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Burau said while he supported the teens’ right to protest, he resented the idea that sheriff’s deputies target teens.

“It’s absurd to think we would have a harassment policy in relation to kids,” Burau said. “Our stops are based upon probable cause or reasonable suspicion. That could include location, time of day or night and whether or not the people fit the location.”

Burau said good police work involves questioning people who don’t look like they fit a certain locale. However, if anyone — teens included — feel they’ve been improperly treated, the sheriff’s department has a complaint process that will lead to a review of the incident, Burau said.

“If a complaint is valid, an officer faces disciplinary action, and if he’s not at fault, he’s cleared,” Burau said.

Scottie Brown, a parent of two teen-agers, supported the group Wednesday, saying her kids and kids she knows repeatedly have been harassed by sheriff’s deputies.

“I know a lot of these kids,” she said. “They might not do everything right, but they’re good kids. I’m all for cops doing their jobs, but to be perfectly honest, it’s like the good ol’ boys club. If you’re a football player or on the cheerleading squad, then you’re a good kid.”

The teens are planning another protest at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

“Hopefully, they’ll respect us and stop treating us like they’re better than us because they’re older and have badges,” McCallister said.


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