Most of you are aware of the issue’s some of our members, hunters and the public in general have had with illegal searches and detainment’s in Stanlislaus National Forest by 3 LEO’s (Law Enforcement Officers) recently. AMRA is representing these individuals. We have been conducting an investigation (some of us are former white-collar crime investigators and interrogators) for the past month and have obtained statements of even more incidents involving these three.
We sent a certified letter to Capt. Rieck to establish a communication line with her and her agents several weeks ago. Ms. Rieck is the female LEO, and Captain over all the LEO’s who pulled a Taser on our member for not producing an ID when she illegally demanded one Ms. Rieck has opted to ignore this serious matter so we have moved to the next stage and will share our newest letter to her with you.
We would also like to explain the laws here. Probable cause is clearly written into the USFS LEO code of conduct manual and is required before they can demand any ID. The cases and statements we have obtained were of people minding their own business simply driving on a public road, or sitting in a creek running a tiny sluice box. This is also clearly defined in the 4th Amendment and decided by the US Supreme Court in Terry v Ohio. You have a fundamental right to be free from illegal searches and detainments. Just because you are driving down a public gravel road with a buddy doesn’t constitute a violation of any law or justify a vehicle blocking the road in front of you, having a USFS LEO get out, not identify themselves, ask if you have any guns or drugs and when you state NO, demand you get out while they search your vehicle without warrant or probable cause.
We will keep you all posted on this important and dangerous issue.
February 20, 2015
Stanislaus National Forest
19777 Greenley Road
Sonora, CA 95370
RE: Blatant Violations of Public Person(s) Civil Rights.
Dear Patrol Captain Rieck:
We sent you a certified letter which we have confirmed your receipt of several weeks ago and have received no communication from you as requested. We had hoped you would take this matter as serious as AMRA, its members, the public, the local Sheriff’s, the numerous State Representatives, Senators and multitude of media outlets we have contacted. Be advised that over the past month, we have secured numerous signed statements from the public confirming multiple unlawful actions by you, Agent Brooks and Agent Rosas. We thought this might be an isolated incident, but our investigation has produced some alarming patterns of stopping people at random and performing illegal searches and detentions. Ms. Rieck, as a public employee, you are bound by certain laws and as an LEO, you take an oath of office, something we are very familiar with. In that oath, you swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. You are bound to uphold and honor the laws. Along with those laws are the Amendments of the Constitution and to be even more specific, the 4th Amendment which protects its citizens from unlawful and unwarranted search and seizures. Your open disregard for the public’s civil rights is simply alarming and dangerous.
Your actions of intentionally ignoring these blatant civil rights violations will not make this go away Ms. Rieck. We are giving you 10 days from the receipt of this letter (also certified) to contact us or we will/may proceed with the following. We will provide all of the facts, statements, video and evidence we have discovered conclusively proving these severe and dangerous violations of these people’s civil rights in our on-going investigation to the newspapers we have been in communication with, the TV outlets, including some national entities, radio broadcasts and social media. We will/may file a civil action against you individually, your agents Brooks and Rosas and also litigation with the USFS.
To refresh your memory on the letter we sent previously, here is the incident which prompted our investigation:
On January 24, 2015 at approximately 1:00 p.m. at one of our claims located on Dogtown Road on Bean Creek three of our members were contacted by two National Forest law enforcement officers subsequently identified as Charlie Brooks and whom we had originally been provided information on identifying Blanca Rosas. Now we know conclusively that the female LEO was you, Capt. Heidi Rieck.
At the time of the encounter our members were engaged in the legal activity of using a sluice box to mine on a valid mining claim. The members were legally parked and their vehicles were tagged with current registration.
The encounter commenced when Brooks demanded our members produce identification. When this demand was challenged, Brooks responded that “we need to know who is in our forest and to check to see if you have any warrants”. It must be noted that neither you or your officer identified themselves.
Two of our members, husband and wife, produced their driver’s licenses and an expired AMRA membership card. Brooks took exception to the expired card. Brooks escorted the wife, a woman of small stature and over 60 years of age to her car to retrieve her current membership card. She was advised by Brooks to keep her hands in plain sight at all times and to make no sudden moves.
In the meantime you demanded our third member, who was mining about 100 feet from the husband and wife, to produce identification. When asked why identification was necessary since he was doing nothing wrong, you said you needed to check for warrants and made a statement implying that you were “keeping people from claim jumping”. Our member replied that he was not required to produce identification.
At this point both you and Brooks approached our third member and again demanded identification. When our member again refused Brooks said he would call the Sheriff, to which our member replied “go ahead”. You then drew your Tazer from its holster and directly threatened our member while demanding identification.
The conduct of Brooks and yourself is outrageous and dangerous. Both you and Brooks obviously have no regard for the civil rights of the public engaged in a legal activity.
As noted above neither of the National Forest officers identified themselves during the encounter on Dogtown Road. As news of the encounter circulated, a number of members and other entities have come forth and provided AMRA with statements concerning similar encounters with the National Forest officers, who subsequently were identified as Brooks and Rosas. The encounters typically involve unlawful detentions and searches, unlawful citations which resulted in dismissals and behavior which can only be described as harassment, threats, intimidation and unlawful activity.
Another incident occurred recently near Bull Creek when Brooks blocked the road with his vehicle, detained several vehicles, demanded identification and conducted searches of the vehicle.
This behavior by you and your law enforcement officers is disturbing and dangerous. AMRA is advising its members of their rights in such cases and are encouraging them to report any contact with these officers and you. Since the incident on Dogtown Road, the Mariposa and Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department have also been advised regarding your, Brooks’ and Rosas’ conduct. We are continuing our lengthy and detailed investigation into the SNF LEO’s.
You have 10 days from the receipt of this letter to contact us concerning this matter.
American Mining Rights Association
PMB 607, 6386 Greeley Hill Rd.
Coulterville CA 95311