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Old 23rd December 2016, 23:02   #16
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Default Re: The rise of 'unconstitutional' checkpoints in America

I have a problem everytime people complain about a checkpost like this. It is not like they wanted a bribe or something but they were either looking for illegals or contraband. Is that not for your benefit?

Pre Sep 11 airport security was lax, and then sep 11 happened. Today we have to bear the brunt with extra layers of checking. Till the time we live in a non fair society which is peaceful we will have to face such a minor hassle for our own safety and security.

Can these checks be expedited? Yes
Are they needed? Yes absolutely!
Are we safer by these checks? Alot!

Sometimes these random checks happens to be a deterrent for folks who may be committing a crime.

Simple example - You are driving to a bar, and see a cop car outside. Will you go in, get hammered and drive home?

Its always a cat and mouse game between the authorities and the criminals, so we have to bear it! Its for your safety and security sweetheart.

What would you do if you are the cop and the lady in the video below comes by?


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Old 23rd December 2016, 23:18   #17
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Default Re: The rise of 'unconstitutional' checkpoints in America

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Originally Posted by deerhunter View Post
If a citizen was harassed this way in the US for no reasonable suspicion, the TSA would lose many thousands of dollars.
You think so? Reality may be different...

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Old 23rd December 2016, 23:23   #18
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Default Re: The rise of 'unconstitutional' checkpoints in America

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Originally Posted by maddy42 View Post
It is not like they wanted a bribe or something but they were either looking for illegals or contraband. Is that not for your benefit
Only if it was that simple. Some cops really harass for fun. They dont want bribe or anything, but it is just a culture. Please see this example:
http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index...larly_dra.html

The thing is, world has seen so many people who promised freedom and then gave tyranny. Initially they may look for contrabands, then they will look for political opponents and finally they will look for everyone who looks like an opponent. That is why arbitrary checks must stop.

Quote:
Sometimes these random checks happens to be a deterrent for folks who may be committing a crime.

Simple example - You are driving to a bar, and see a cop car outside. Will you go in, get hammered and drive home?
I agree that such checkpoints can deter criminals. But it can also deter dissent, a foundational stone of democracy.

Drunken driving is an altogether different matter. US supreme court has declared that a random field sobriety test is not unconstitutional. Even then several states have banned it.

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
You think so? Reality may be different...
I have seen this video. I believe that she will get monetary compensation if she goes to court (I know that money is not everything, but still).

Please see this, another widely reported incident:


Another very widely reported incident involving harassment of an Indian by a US cop for no reason. The cop was not in uniform and was in an unmarked car and was violating traffic law. This guy asked him to drive properly and the cop did not like it. The cop was later transferred from a prestigious position after this incident:

Last edited by deerhunter : 23rd December 2016 at 23:35.
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Old 23rd December 2016, 23:38   #19
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Default Re: The rise of 'unconstitutional' checkpoints in America

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Originally Posted by Cyborg View Post
I would like to always give the benefit of the doubt to those who protect and serve unless proven otherwise.
From what you mention the Officer in question has to be loco and I am sure they would be weeded out of the force, if they ever manage to get in that is. The scenario you are painting of an Officer putting up a checkpoint only to harass citizens can only be in the movies
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Originally Posted by StarrySky View Post
What the driver should do is co-operate and complain only if he is harassed even after he co-operates.
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Originally Posted by deerhunter View Post
But many a time in the US, there is no defence for the officer, because most of such stoppings are without any suspicion. This deter the officers from unreasonable checkings. This legal liability as well as mandatory body cams in many states have reduced such harassments in the US. US states have paid millions to such drivers in compensation.
Appreciate the nice back-and-forth on this topic, this is great! It also shows us that there might not be a one size fits all kind of solution to this.
That being said, as deerhunter pointed out, one has to be careful about how much power the law enforcement or armed forces can/should wield in a country.

All of us are biased to some degree or the other, but coupling it with authority/power can open up ordinary citizens to harassment. Take the example of the countless cases of African Americans being unfairly targeted by the police in the U.S. For the first time in generations we get to witness the atrocities thanks to mobile phone cameras, but this has been going on for decades. For reference take a quick look at this article: The Talk
Being treated like a criminal because of one's race (or caste/creed in our country) is a humiliating/denigrating experience that we can't really empathize with unless we have faced that discrimination ourselves.
Now consider the policeman who is honest and does his job by the letter of the law. But he/she deals with scumbags everyday, and perhaps due to socioeconomic conditions (poverty, illiteracy etc.), most of those criminals turn out to be people of colour. Any human being, even with the best of intentions, would become biased.

So what can one do?

Lawmakers have tried to balance the rights of the lawful citizen, without handicapping law enforcement officials over a very long period of time. And it is still a work-in-progress. 9/11 threw a spanner in the works that the U.S. is still coming to grips with. But in my opinion, if the U.S. wants to strive towards continuing with its "land of the free" narrative, the onus is on the law makers and law enforcement to get this right. And if history matters, they should lean towards liberty/freedom of the citizen more than giving the law enforcement agencies/personnels' more power.
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Old 24th December 2016, 01:00   #20
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Default Re: The rise of 'unconstitutional' checkpoints in America

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Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
I don't watch much television these days, but I do watch a bit of YouTube now and then and these days videos of American citizens video-recording unconstitutional checkpoints when driving their vehicles are all the rage, literally.

The check-points started out in certain states bordering Mexico and have spread to other cities for completely no reasons as well. The original intent was to have an unpredictable check-point laid out randomly to filter out narcotics-carrying motor vehicles that have escaped the real border checkpoints. However the police seem to have cast their net so wide that they're ticking off the citizens of their own country, and they're even beginning to call it the birth of "police state". America being a country where long drives in a car exceeding 1000 miles is no surprise, is suddenly putting a lot of pressure on some of its drivers to stop and surrender for basic interrogation which can take up to 45-60 minutes in total depending on the number of cars in queue.

The dilemma here is again, uncertain legal rights which protect the citizens yer give power to the police and the army. Fourth Amendment of 1971 states that police cannot search, seize and harass a motorist without strong cause/reason to warrant such activity, however sobriety (not in a state of drunkennes) random checks aren't covered in this so the authority can always state that it was a sobriety check done to prevent accidents.

Here is one of the videos taken by a citizen, one of the few videos where there aren't expletives flying around (yes!) so posting here :

Here it appears that the level of interrogation or even assault depends on the preparedness/foolishness of the motorist. This is why those who aren't in a mood to cooperate always film the interaction so that they have legal protection in case things go wrong. Resistance without filming the incident have drivers claiming that their driver and passenger side windows were broken with them inside the cabin and then forced out of the vehicle to surrender to a full-body check and vehicle search as well.

I'm just posting this to encourage a debate as to what might really happen if the trust between the public and the government is lost, the authorities can pull up any vehicle on the basis of "guilty until proven otherwise" and the public can resist since they have the right to do so given by the constitution, yet the thin line of controversy, otherwise called the grey area will have them debate endlessly on who is right and who is wrong. Is this a sign of things to come globally? Also many more videos (by the hundreds) can be found of various interactions/clashes
I watched the video and Im not sure I can agree with either you or the creator of the video

Several Questions


1. What kind of checkpoint is it and what is the exact location? The guy in the video conveniently avoids those details while telling a one sided story. He appears to be an outsider to the area and passing by....so what does he know about the crime rate and type in that highway

2. If its an international border crossing, then of course there will be checks

3. From the outset, he appears to have a confrontational attitude and the authorities naturally are going to take on a tough stance and go through the whole checklist

4. I have personally crossed the border several times to Canada and once in Mexico....most of the time it was a quick and pleasant experience and twice I was made to wait for a long time and they acted that they sniffed out a fugitive and after 25 mins they said I was free to go without explanation

5. I think we've all heard the saying, with great power comes great responsibility...the police and Border Patrol have the power to give you grief and they have to use it with responsibility and in good faith

6. You say the checkpoints have popped up and have no reason as well....and I'm neither agreeing or disagreeing with you but what evidence so you have to support this? At the end of the day, a checkpoint is funded by taxpayer and it is there to ensure our safety

7. Is every cop honest? Hell do? There have been several cases of racist acts by policemen and border partol. Google up Rodney King episode...the one that started the awareness movement

8. If the cops have to catch one terrorist or drug smuggler, they may need to stop 100/5000 cars and those 100 cars will be inconvenienced. Fact of life !!! I'v experienced it. Sometimes its random and sometimes it based on a suspicious look and sometime its a tipoff. Do you have any suggestions for improving the system?

Last edited by Mpower : 24th December 2016 at 01:07.
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Old 24th December 2016, 08:53   #21
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Default Re: The rise of 'unconstitutional' checkpoints in America

There have been a lot of valid questions seeking clarification and I cannot quote each and every one since the post will expand too long, I'll try my best to answer from my end as well as from those who created such videos to make the public aware.

Firstly I myself have little to no opinion on this issue due to lack of personal experience, I was only mirroring what the general mentality of the people there are, when it comes to unconstitutional check-points. The thing I like about America is that the people there, well some of them are highly paranoid. Their anthem the Star-Spangled Banner itself speaks of victory in war for freedom, and many of the citizens are living example of that. It's also the same reason that many Americans living countryside make bomb/cyclone shelters under their homes and carry dozens of guns since some of them have a perpetual fear of police state enforcement, they feel the guns will help them prevent this and are ready to wage a new civil war if need be. Personally I find this attitude interesting, it'll take the government much more time & effort to manipulate/control the public there than say a country like ours where our only choice is to readily surrender.

As for the video I posted, its one of the few where strong language isn't used, and the person in the video has prior experience with such check-points hence he starts hitting strong from the get go. I've seen several other videos and I can explain how the police behave if they aren't resisted :

1) Are you a citizen of United States? (hundreds of miles away from border checkpoint). They just want a yes or no, they don't even check ID, its almost like a compulsory question which they expect you to answer with a yes.

2) Are you carrying any fruit from outside with you? Very popular question from those coming across or seeming to come across the border. Whether you answer yes or no, they'd still want to enter the camper van/car to check. They'd do this of course if the citizen is fully co-operating. Again these "immigration" checks are held upto a hundred miles away from border, well into American land.

3) Sniffer dogs - They request for total evacuation of the vehicle so that they can check for drugs, they are almost never permitted, though.

4) Some police officers resort to unnecessary questions when faced with resistance, i.e who is with you there, friend or spouse? Which side are you headed? Where do you live?

5) There is little to no co-ordination between these random checkpoints, some days people have met with 3/4 checkpoints in a span of 3-4 hours! One does need to filter antisocial activities but filtering the same pre-checked traffic on the same route in a gap of 10-20 miles isn't going to produce much results.

6) Some officers grapple at straws to try and evoke a response from the citizen eg in a video: "your exhaust is too loud, get it checked out.. I'm writing a citation for that" and he doesn't write a citation in the end, just various means to get into the vehicle, I don't agree with such cheap tactics.

The police are there to serve and protect, there is no doubt in that. Here though, they themselves are backing off when faced with citizens who know their rights, because they aren't supposed to pull up a whole fleet of traffic (100-200 cars) well inside American land, just as an immigration/fruit/narcotics check. They can only work within the constructs of law, and the law says that one would need to have a solid reason of suspect towards the motorist before pulling them over. Also they need to give the same reason before detaining, even if its some politically incorrect thing which they almost never mention.



As I said before, I have little to no opinion on this.. I'm only showing what seems to be a divide between the citizens and the state, both have their valid reasons and both back down depending on situation or knowledge. Either the books of law have to now be updated that the police have full vested powers to search/seize without giving reason (dangerous precedent) or the citizens have to accept that their lands/roads will be a little less safe, but far more free if the police aren't given too much power.

In the end I appreciate the non-conformist attitude towards the government, when it comes to trampling on basic rights. Let this be interpreted any way one wants it to be.
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Old 26th December 2016, 16:08   #22
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Default Re: The rise of 'unconstitutional' checkpoints in America

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Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post

Firstly I myself have little to no opinion on this issue due to lack of personal experience, I was only mirroring what the general mentality of the people there are, when it comes to unconstitutional check-points.
What is exactly unconstitutional about this checkpoint? And where is the detention? Stopping a car and checking the whereabouts is detention? Nice victim hood being played here. How this guy is roaming around the USA if the fundamental rights so trampled upon. Also, i think its easier to remain neutral. Iam sure everyone has a side to take. If i would have been that guy, i would stopped my car and cooperated. Iam sure that would be for my good almost all the time. In other cases where an emergency is being mentioned here, well doesn't matter. We are doomed and stop anyway.
This thread will gradually become political . Watch out
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Old 26th December 2016, 16:25   #23
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Default Re: The rise of 'unconstitutional' checkpoints in America

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What is exactly unconstitutional about this checkpoint? And where is the detention? Stopping a car and checking the whereabouts is detention?
It is a Department of Homeland Security checkpoint. DHS checkpoints are only authorised to check for the entry of illegal immigrants at the border. Since the checkpoint in OP's video is more than 100 kms away from the border, that maybe the reason why the guy in the video is calling it unconstitutional.

Anyway, US supreme court has ruled that DHS checkpoints are not unconstitutional if they are only checking the citizenship/residency status (upto a 100 miles inside the border). But they are not authorised to check the vehicles or the driver's person. Also checkpoints inside the US for crime control purposes are unconstitutional.

https://www.aclusandiego.org/wp-cont...point-FAQs.pdf

Quote:
Supreme Court held that immigration checkpoints were permissible only insofar as they involve a “brief detention of travelers” during which all that is required of the vehicle’s occupants is “a response to a brief question or two and possibly the production of a document evidencing a right to be in the United States.” “Neither the vehicle nor its occupants are searched, and visual inspection of the vehicle is limited to what can be seen without a search.”
The fifth amendment rights are applicable at DHS checkpoints. So the drivers are not obliged to answer the questions.

Quote:
In City of Indianapolis v. Edmond, the Supreme Court held that checkpoints established for general crime control purposes are unconstitutional.
But if you check youtube, there are several videos that show that the checking is not just about immigration status.

In India, we have been used to being herded by the authorities and thus will never question them and will swallow everything blindly for the "good of the people". US is not like that.

Last edited by deerhunter : 26th December 2016 at 16:32.
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Old 26th December 2016, 21:10   #24
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Default Re: The rise of 'unconstitutional' checkpoints in America

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Originally Posted by Amartya View Post
That being said, as deerhunter pointed out, one has to be careful about how much power the law enforcement or armed forces can/should wield in a country...

Lawmakers have tried to balance the rights of the lawful citizen, without handicapping law enforcement officials over a very long period of time. And it is still a work-in-progress. 9/11 threw a spanner in the works that the U.S. is still coming to grips with. But in my opinion, if the U.S. wants to strive towards continuing with its "land of the free" narrative, the onus is on the law makers and law enforcement to get this right. And if history matters, they should lean towards liberty/freedom of the citizen more than giving the law enforcement agencies/personnels' more power.
Wonderfully put together!

The concept of "constitutional right"is very foreign to us Indians. We are the "adjust" type. No offense meant but the context in which this topic will be discussed here, an Indian forum, is bound to be very different. Because in my opinion we just lack the perspective.
We all know that law enforcement is biased to a certain degree. Cops are known to use their discretion, in certain situations, favoring certain people. This is almost universal, and more pronounced here in India.
#blacklifematters, stop-and-frisk in New Work (the abuse if it) is all well know.

Like what Amartya said, we should be careful with what gets written into law and what we are ready to put up with. The cops are always pushing at the boundary to gain more ground.
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Old 28th December 2016, 10:20   #25
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Angry Re: The rise of 'unconstitutional' checkpoints in America

Nice discussion.

I think those who tend to support the government have not experienced the law being misused. All I can say is the "government" is made of people who are fallible and have even more incentive to "fall" when they have power and there is no one to question them.

The following is probably OT here, but I was wondering if the same 'unconstitutional' thing applied here.
Add to this "selective" stoppages or profiling.
I was stopped one night, for... "someone stole Rs. 80 lakhs in new currency and so we've been asked to check all vehicles". OK, I understand. While the junior cop noted down my registration number, mobile number, name and address (no proof required), the senior cop waved a whole bunch of taxis, and other questionable vehicles through. Explanation: "We cannot check every vehicle, we just do our best".

Right! I know better. On seeing a cooperative motorist, the cops will stop him/her and get some data for their records - unmindful that I'm in a hurry.

Same with collecting fines. Why do they ignore all those rash drivers right in front of me while fining me for jumping the signal which was not even visible ( a fact known to the cops, who will do nothing about it - which is in itself dereliction of duty)?

Last edited by mvadg : 28th December 2016 at 10:21.
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Old 28th March 2017, 10:00   #26
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Default Re: The rise of 'unconstitutional' checkpoints in America

Not an entirely related topic but close enough, didn't want to open a new thread. Got this video in suggested section, apparently its illegal to wash cars/rugs/furniture in public display and it'll be enforced if the neighbors have a problem with you doing it, even if its within the 4 fences of your home/property.

The cop in the video seems cool about it, but he's just following the ridiculous enforcement of the law because he's told to do so by the lieutenant and has received a complaint on the same. Not sure if its a good thing or not, but the law was originally framed so that people do no flood the streets with water/suds in the process of washing the car. The rule itself seems half-baked and just by the way the cop talks, all he's telling them to do is to exercise restraint and keep their washing activities as subdued as possible.



The rise of police state, or is it a conflict of public interests?
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Old 28th March 2017, 21:50   #27
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Default Re: The rise of 'unconstitutional' checkpoints in America

Talking about civil liberties and all that - did anyone ever watch John Oliver's show on 'Civil Forfeitures' around a year or so ago? Boy that was a real eye opener!

'Civil forfeiture in the United States, sometimes called civil judicial forfeiture or occasionally civil seizure, is a controversial legal process in which law enforcement officers take assets from persons suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging the owners with wrongdoing.'

And the best part is - the police are pretty much free to use any civil assets seized through this process as they see fit.

The above 'checkpoint' issue sees pretty mild in comparison.
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