Motorist Says State Trooper Taunted Him

BOISE (CN) – An Idaho state trooper taunted a man about his obsessive compulsive disorder during an unwarranted stop, saying he had “more germs than anyone he had ever seen before,” the man claims in court.
     Jose Castillo, 52, sued the Idaho State Police and Troopers Justin Klitch and Christopher Cottrell on May 21.
     Castillo claims Klitch followed him for 10 minutes on I-84, then stopped him on a pretext: “a supposed failure to change lanes when he passed a stopped police car.”
     Castillo acknowledges that there had been a police car on the shoulder, but he couldn’t change lanes because another car was passing him, and because Klitch stepped on it, so he couldn’t change lanes when the car had passed.
     “Trooper Klitch accelerated rapidly toward the rear of Mr. Castillo’s Blazer before moving his patrol car into the passing lane,” the complaint states. “He was not far from Mr. Castillo’s left-rear bumper as both he and Mr. Castillo passed the stopped emergency vehicle.”
     Klitch him over and instead of asking for his license and registration, began asking unusual questions, says Castillo, a retired park ranger.
     “Trooper Klitch asked Mr. Castillo where he was from, where he was going and why he was going there,” according to the complaint. “Mr. Castillo calmly said that he was from Arizona and that he was going to meet a female acquaintance in Oregon. Trooper Klitch then wanted to know how he had met her.”
     He asked about Castillo’s shorts, which had snaps that allowed him to take them off without touching the ground, and if the “soap residue on his legs was lice.”
     “Mr. Castillo explained it was soap residue on his dry skin,” according to the complaint.
     Klitch ordered him out of the car, told him to stick out his hands for inspection, and asked if he would “‘melt in the air’ by exiting his car,” Castillo claims.
     Officer Cottrell, who had arrived, took his police dog around the car, claiming that it indicated an “alert,” providing a pretext to open the car door and allow the dog to enter the vehicle, according to the complaint.
     Castillo says Klitch continued to taunt him about his germ phobia while Cottrell conducted the search.
     “Trooper Klitch asked Mr. Castillo ‘how he was going to be romantic with [the woman that he was going to meet in Oregon]’ if he was not able to touch her due to his disability,” the complaint states. “Mr. Castillo remained calm and patiently further explained his disability.” (Brackets in complaint.)
     Castillo claims that though the troopers found no drugs or incriminating items, Klitch “opened the rear cargo door and proceeded to rummage through Mr. Castillo’s personal property, putting it on the highway pavement.”
     Klitch then claimed that his own doctor had told him he had “‘more germs than anyone he had ever met before,’ apparently to increase Mr. Castillo’s anxiety about trooper Klitch handling his property,” according to the lawsuit.
     When the search was over, Castillo says, Klitch told him that “he had urinated in the Blazer during the search, stating that he had ‘only peed in there a couple of times.'”
     Klitch let him go after about 25 minutes.
     Castillo says he felt “degraded” and “humiliated,” that he had to use hand sanitizer several times to “decontaminate” himself and that he was able to get back into his car only after “several attempts” to overcome his fear.
     It’s the third time Klitch has been sued in two years.
     He was sued March 26, 2014, in Roseen v. Idaho State Police, et al., and again the following November in Bush v. Idaho State Police, et al.
     The Bush complaint accuses Klitch of luring Jarrod Bush to a gas station under a pretense after stopping Gabriel Owen on I-84 and discovering a text sent to Bush.
     Bush claimed that Klitch texted him, pretending to be Owen, and set up a meeting at a Chevron station, where Klitch searched Bush’s car, finding more than $4,000 in a green plastic bag.
     Although he did not find any drug-related items, Klitch and another trooper took him to a State Police office, where he was interrogated by detectives and eventually released with no charges. The detectives kept the money and his cell phone as evidence, Bush said.
     The case was voluntarily dismissed on April 10 this year. U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge’s order was not available on the federal court website.
     In Roseen, Klitch allegedly stopped a man traveling from Washington to his daughter’s baby shower in Colorado. A Fruitland police officer drove Darien Roseen’s SUV to police headquarters where Roseen, 70, was interrogated for several hours, according to that complaint.
     Meanwhile, a team of officers continued to search his car, “ripping open” and “cutting” his personal property, according to the complaint.
     Roseen was released with no charges.
     A Denver TV station obtained a dashcam video of Roseen’s January 2013 traffic stop. In it, Metro State Criminal Justice Professor Joseph Sandoval said Klitch’s behavior was “unbelievable” and that he had “no basis” to search Roseen’s vehicle “other than the Colorado plate.”
     Klitch filed a motion to dismiss, and U.S. District Judge Ronald Bush granted the motion for one of the five claims on March 30. He gave Roseen leave to amend.
     Castillo’s attorneys Craig Durham and Deborah Ferguson said they cannot say whether Idaho State Police profile out-of-state license plates, to try to stop marijuana from being carried from the neighboring states of Colorado and Oregon.
     But they say Klitch went beyond professional boundaries by taunting their client about his OCD and humiliating him.
     “This case is particularly appalling,” Ferguson told Courthouse News. “It was without a doubt outside the scope of his duties.”
     Durham called Klitch’s behavior “egregious.”
     Courthouse News spoke briefly with Klitch, who said he cannot comment on Castillo’s case.
     “I wish I could tell you my side of the story, but obviously I can’t because we are going through the lawsuit right now. I can’t because I would get fired,” Klitch said. “When this is all over and it’s gone through, I would definitely love to sit down with you and tell you my side.”
     An Idaho State Police spokeswoman did not immediately return a phone call.

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