A good rule for of etiquette for everyone, especially cops pulling people over: don't insult someone's teeth.
Stephanie Foltz of Otterbein, Indiana was pulled over by Indiana State Police Trooper Thomas Manning for a routine traffic stop when Manning asked her "When did you start smoking meth?"
Foltz told WLFI that the stop is recorded because while Manning went to his car to check her information she texted her husband, Matt, who said she should record her conversation with the officer.
NBC affiliate WTHR says Foltz explained to them what she thinks happened: "Once the trooper saw her teeth she thinks he anticipated a possible drug arrest" and told them, "I guess my teeth are bad, but that was no reason for him to continuously sit there and tell me that I was doing meth and I just need to be honest with him."
As WTHR astutely observes, "Meth use causes serious dental problems."
The audio was posted on YouTube by the Foltzs late last month and has now been viewed over 45,000 times:
The tape starts with Manning asking Foltz if she had a good day, and why Foltz seems anxious. Then he asks when she started smoking meth. She reponds "I've never smoked meth in my life," and Manning immediately asks "What happened to your teeth?"
Foltz explains repeatedly on the tape that she hasn't smoked meth, and that her teeth are the result of calcium loss during her recent pregnancy. Manning says he doesn't believe her. After Manning gives her information about the speeding ticket and contesting it, he asks an audibly upset Foltz "Are you upset because I told you you're lying?" She says she is, and that she's never done drugs, and the trooper says he asked her the question "because of [his] training and experience."
Manning won't be disciplined, Lieutenant Tom McKee explained to the Lafayette Journal & Courier, because while "the trooper could have been more tactful…this did not rise to the level of a rule or regulation violation, or a violation of law."
McKee, via email, goes on to tell the Journal and Courier that "[g]ood police work involves making observations and asking questions based on those observations…We encourage our officers to look beyond the traffic ticket for signs of criminal activity."
So, Indianans who might be dealing with cops: get thee to a dentist, unless you want to be accused of meth use.
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org