A Virginia man has been warned by police he may be issued a warrant after he refused to give officers his paperwork at a police “license checkpoint.”
According to a conservative blog called Bearingdrift.com, Joe Draego asked the officers if he was accused of a crime, and when they said no, he insisted he was free to go home.
The blog said such checkpoints may or may not be legal, citing the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court said: “We decline to suspend the usual requirement of individualized suspicion where the police seek to employ a checkpoint primarily for the ordinary enterprise of investigating crimes. We cannot sanction stops justified only by the generalized ever present possibility that interrogation and inspection may reveal that any given motorist has committed some crime.”
The incident adds to the concern expressed in recent days over militarized police checkpoints.
WND already has reported on a number of checkpoint confrontations, including one in Tennessee that turned into an Internet sensation.
In the Virginia case, Draego told WCAV-TV in Charlottesville, Va. he did nothing wrong and didn’t need to hand over papers.
“I asked if I was being charged with a crime. He said no. I said I was free to go,” he told the station, which reported officers then allegedly threatened to break his car window.
When he was allowed to go, he went home and made a sign, stating: ” This is how it began in Nazi Germany. Police state checkpoint.”
“My grandchild is this darling little girl and if we don’t stand up for our mates and our grandchildren, I think the future is going to be bleak,” Draego said.
While some lawyers say the man has a point, others say police are allowed to set up checkpoints for the “public safety interest.”
According to the television station, Draego reported a “pretty heated debate” with the officer, and he then was ordered to pull over to the side of the road.
“We had another argument then they took my tag numbers, checked my license; they said it was good and they said I could go,” Draego told the station.
In the July 4 Tennessee confrontation previously repored by WND, student Chris Kalbaugh refused to roll down his window and, instead, talked to the officer through a gap of several inches.
The video shows him being berated and badgered by the officer, who declined to answer questions from the driver about whether he was being detained.
According to the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal, the video was set up by the driver, who ultimately faced no charges at the checkpoint.
Kalbaugh, a 21-year-old junior from Middle Tennessee State University, had revealed his plan ahead of time. A Libertarian Party official said Kalbaugh said he was going to “exercise his rights” and record the results on video.
Kalbaugh said he was careful to be certain he broke no laws and tried to be respectful.
“The officers would not let me leave, but they would not answer if I was being detained.”
“He’s perfectly innocent, and he knows his rights. He knows what the Constitution says,” the officer admitted while out of Kalbaugh’s presence. “He’s got air fresheners under the seat.”
Then a flashlight from another officer zeroes in on the camera.
“It’s running,” is heard.
Then the camera is turned away from the officers into the darkness, followed by sounds of fumbling around in the car, something being torn or something being shifted.
Kalbaugh said: “I was yelled at, bossed around, my car ransacked without my consent, had my rights taken away from me, all because of my window. All while not being detained. I broke no laws. Officer Ross told me that my constitutional rights did not matter at checkpoints.”
Gabriel Fancher, secretary for the Rutherford County Republican Party, said the incident in the video is “a tough one.”
“I realize that these road blocks help keep drunk drivers off the roads, and illegal searches like the one witnessed in the video are bound to turn up illegal drugs every now and then, but this is an example of soft tyranny,” Fancher told DNJ. “Our founders put in place rules and laws to limit these offenses, but over time we have slowly given up these rights – sometimes without even realizing it, because most people are good people and will mind a police officer when they tell us to do something.”
“Our trust in the government is being damaged at all levels,” Fancher added.
Such incidents are not restricted to Tennessee. There also was a recent incident at a DUI checkpoint at Lake Tahoe:
There also was a conversation by officers who were refused permission to search a vehicle they wanted to look into: