Orthodox Jew Used Car Dealer & Zurich Police
Orthodox Jew Used Car Dealer & Zurich Police
By Reza Ganjavi
Once upon a time I went to test drive a car. The seller advertised himself as a company. I showed up and it was a tiny parking slot behind an apartment complex which was full of cars.
But before getting there, I had a flat tire just near his place, and called him and he came to give me a ride to take the car for a test drive, while I called road-side assistance.
We went for a short test drive. I said I want to go on the freeway - he said he doesn't have the "vignette" which is a permit for driving on freeway. It was a quiet Sunday, and where my car had a flat tire was by a testing range for driving students - so it was empty on a Sunday.
He was a young Orthodox jew, dressed in the religious outfit, and his hair was similar to mine as my long curs hung to the side. A very nice guy - and quite young, who deals used cars on the side. As we stood there chatting, a police patrol pulled up.
It turned out that the car he was trying to sell did not have a dealer license which is required -- and did not have liability insurance which in Canton Zurich is tied to the license place. The police asked me did you go for a test drive? I said yes. Because I don't like to lie - and I had no idea that his car didn't have a license and wasn't insured. I didn't look and didn't ask -- as 99% of people who take cars for a test drive don't check if the car has a license and insurance because it's the responsibility of the car owner.
Zurich police had him tow his car back to the parking lot because he was not allowed to drive it even half a kilometer.
The whole reason we were parked at that location was because of my flat tire. But the police didn't even care -- I had to specifically ask them to take a picture of the car with flat tire for the record -- otherwise that important fact would have been ignored - to the disfavor of the non-native-Swiss. I know how incredibly racist, biased and narrow-minded the Swiss justice / police system is (with exception).
The leader was a tense police woman - and two younger tough guys as her assistants - nice guys. I was very nice and cooperative with them.
Long story short the police contacts me to go for an interview. What? Are you out of your mind? Interview for what? This was his car - it was his responsibility to have insurance. I have no time to go to the police station for an interview, it's totally unnecessary, and I hate to go in a tense ambiance of a police station and have to deal with stupid unnecessary questions in a case that has nothing to do with me -- and not to mention the heavy RF radiation which I don't want to expose myself to.
I conveyed that to them politely, and offered to write an affidavit and say everything I know about the case.
Another reason I didn't want to for for an in-person questioning was that I didn't want to testify against the Orthodox Jew young car dealer -- and since I don't want to lie -- I didn't want to be put under questioning pressure, although I had the right to remain silent. As I told him, I think he made a stupid mistake - he thought he can get away with it, that was a mistake, but he is young and should learn from his mistakes and become a better person. I have confidence that he's learned something.
I looked up the law and it became very clear that the absolutely had no case against me.
Yet, their summon had written a charge of driving without insurance which was not true because the pertinent law says it's the responsibility of the car owner to have insurance not the driver. 3rd party, liability insurance in Canton Zurich is tied to a car owner and in fact to a license place. In some Swiss Cantons the license plate and insurance are separate but in Zurich you can't get a license plate without insurance.
Two articles in the vehicle code refer to the topic. Both clearly state it's the owner's responsibility (the car dealer in this case). The only exception is if a person drives a car without a license plate, intentionally, but the burden of proof is on the State to show the intentionality - but in this case they could never prove that because I can easily argue I had no idea, which is the truth, just as 99% people who take a car for a test drive trust that the car dealer's car is legally compliant.
So I pushed back hard, refusing to adhere to the summons -- but I didn't just ignore it -- I escalated it - because on the back of the summons it was written non-compliance may result in use of force. So I wrote to the chief of the police unit and demonstrated that the summons was legally defective (because the law says a summons has to state a valid reason -- and the reason they brought was totally invalid and against the relevant law that says insurance and license is the responsibility of a car owner - and I wasn't the car owner!). And that even making a report about me as a member of public going on a test drive is inappropriate since the issue was wholly that of the car dealer's -- and that the police should have the ability to think and distinguish and determine that my involvement was 100% legal.
He agreed that I write the affidavit that I proposed -- but that they police always has to report everything to prosecutor or city judge -- in this case prosecutor because the car dealer allegedly violated a law by driving without a license plate, which can carry criminal penalties under Swiss laws.
I wrote a killer affidavit which clearly demonstrated that I had no responsibility or legal liability in the case. I was 100% confident that there's absolutely no way they could charge me - nevertheless it was very annoying and a waste of my time to have to demonstrate to the police who should have understood the law better, that they have no case - zero - zilch!
I spoke with a Swiss attorney friend who was surprised and said they police must have nothing better to do -- Zurich is so safe -- that the police gets bored and makes something out of nothing.
Incidentally, once I asked a Zurich Cantonal Police what is the most frequent crime they deal with. He said Microsoft crank calls !! Compare that to what Los Angeles police has to deal with!!
That's a whole chapter by itself as most Swiss police I've seen have been so timid, slow to response and slow to act, and weak, compared to American police who are incredibly competent. And that's not even mentioning the prevalence of racism and bias - with exception. Maybe some day I'll write about Swiss police.
In my correspondence with the police unit's boss, I copied a bunch of people but not the Commander of the Zurich City Police, Beat Oppliger whom I know as he was the Attorney General of the Canton of Zurich and I raised hell with them when their prosecutor allegedly helped a racist native-Swiss guy who almost killed me in the middle of a Zurich street, in an unprovoked hate crime, and I had solid evidence, but the prosecutor who was biased and I believe Swiss Supremacist, which is a common conditioning in Switzerland -- went out of her way to help the attacker avert prosecution; for example, she falsified the attack weapon that had almost landed on my head (and I have it on video) -- and she flat out lied in legal documents (contrary to the attacker's own statements) to help the native Swiss guy get off the hook, just because I was foreign born. That's a sad big chapter by itself, and unfortunately that was not an isolated event -- I was a victim of a racist attack before that too and another prosecutor did the same thing: he helped the native-Swiss attacker get off the hook -- and in both cases, if a native-Swiss was attacked you could be sure the attacker would be in jail.
I didn't copy Mr. Oppliger because I didn't feel it was necessary - YET. He would have been my next point of escalation. But I did copy his secretary whom I know, and the chief of staff and legal counsel of Zurich City Police. I copied a few others too but reserved the upper tops if ballistic escalation was necessary -- people like Corine Mauch who is the mayor to whom the City Police reports to, and Karin Rykart, the head of City of Zurich Security Department, and the Cantonal side of the executive branch. It didn't go too far as they cooperated, and the case eventually closed to my favor. My main point was: Doesn't Zurich Police have anything better to do than to try to make something out of nothing (and at the end it turned out to be nothing just as I had predicted)?
I sent them my escalation path if they don't handle the case properly -- it was a list of 10 entities I would escalate the case to 😂. I meant it!
The result of the escalation was good: the unit's chief agreed I send an affidavit instead of appearing. So I won the fight against a legally defective summons. And they turned out that they never ask me any questions. Which is further proof that their summons was completely irrelevant aside from being legally defective.
My affidavit was solid! Solid arguments that showed I was 100% innocent.
Weeks went by and I tracked the progress because I wanted this stupid case to be closed ASAP.
I found out from the police that the case had gone to the prosecutor -- so I contacted the chief of the Zurich Limmat Prosecutor's Office - a nice man, new at the role, and I referred to his wonderful predecessor Ms. Susanna Leu who is now a senior prosecutor at the Zurich Attorney General's Office and who was Julia Mattle's boss's boss. In the process I realized Julia Mattle is no longer there. Good news for the community!
I sent the affidavit to him and also included a summary of how his organization, before his time, had totally violated my rights in the way they handled the case against the racist guy who almost killed me who got off the hook because he was native-Swiss, I asked if the case has been assigned to a prosecutor yet. He wrote a nice response saying once it's assigned he'll send my affidavit to the assigned prosecutor.
Some weeks later I got a message from a prosecutor who said she's in receipt of the case and my affidavit and she has dismissed the case. Finished. Reza Ganjavi is NOT guilty. Just as I had thought.
But such a waste of time because Zurich police didn't have the wisdom to see clearly that I had absolutely nothing to do with the car dealer not having a legally compliant car -- it was his responsibility not mine -- but Zurich police acted robotically and myopically, in my opinion, and perhaps with bias -- perhaps if I were a native-Swiss they would suddenly just go after the car dealer which is what they should have done in this case too - but - oh - no - there's a foreign-born person standing around, and although we know he's not guilty, let's give him hell! That's exactly what I believe happened based on my experience with how incredibly narrow-minded, arrogant, and biased most Swiss police, prosecutors and judges are -- with exception. Also remember, 24 prosecutors in Switzerland never studied law - have no degree in law! Can you imagine?! Combine that with the conditioning that "we are the best".
The positive in all this was that I made a new friend: the Orthodox Jewish young man -- and we had very good talks about many topics including religion, beliefs, and weight loss. It was so interesting that he said he had no idea that he was overweight. He was visibly obese but he didn't even know he was overweight - he thought it was just normal. He believed me when I calculated his BMI which was in obese range. So I gave him some tips and why it's so important to reduce his weight. Being obese can lead to 50 other diseases.
I advised my friend to surrender when he's questioned by the prosecutor, and not try to cover it up, because if the prosecutor understands that he is regretful, that he has learned some thing, then she will be more lenient towards him, otherwise she will try to teach him a tough lesson and give him a fat penalty which could even include imprisonment although if he didn't have a record they would not do that to him. But you never know with the strange Swiss legal system.
A German woman I know was find 600 bucks because she was eating a something while she was driving -- while all kinds of unlawful and immoral actions take place by the Swiss authorities in favor of native Swiss sometimes when there is a dispute against a foreign born plaintiff/victim. So justice in Switzerland has a very strange meaning. With exception of course. Bias and racism are the norm, and fairness is an exception, based on my experience and experience of many other foreign born people whose Rights were violated by native-Swiss.