Lynx star stopped by cops for air freshener

The air-freshener-off-the-rear-view-mirror crime has apparently nabbed Minnesota Lynx star Seimone Augustus.

Augustus, who is black, is tweeting today that she was stopped in Roseville for having the air freshener — which is technically a violation of the law — but was then quizzed because of alleged crime in the area.

In many cases, police aren’t all that concerned about air fresheners; they’re looking for a legal reason to stop a motorist.

The air freshener justification for being stopped by police has been widely cited by those who are convinced they were stopped for “driving while black.” The illegal air freshener gives police the probable cause to stop a car beyond the possibility they were actually stopped for their race, according to the ACLU. Frequently, police search the vehicles.

It’s all perfectly legal. The Supreme Court said so in 1996.

In 2008, a federal appeals court ruled that a driver can be stopped for up to 30 minutes when pulled over for air fresheners. And last year, an immigration case in Illinois hinged on the air freshener debate. It, too, was upheld.

Here’s how the law reads in the state:


Subdivision 1.Prohibitions generally; exceptions.

(a) A person shall not drive or operate any motor vehicle with:

(1) a windshield cracked or discolored to an extent to limit or obstruct proper vision;

(2) any objects suspended between the driver and the windshield, other than:

(i) sun visors;

(ii) rearview mirrors;

(iii) driver feedback and safety-monitoring equipment when mounted immediately behind, slightly above, or slightly below the rearview mirror;

(iv) global positioning systems or navigation systems when mounted or located near the bottommost portion of the windshield; and

(v) electronic toll collection devices; or

(3) any sign, poster, or other nontransparent material upon the front windshield, sidewings, or side or rear windows of the vehicle, other than a certificate or other paper required to be so displayed by law or authorized by the state director of the Division of Emergency Management or the commissioner of public safety.