Police in Tennessee are reviewing a viral video revealing how a driver was bullied, intimidated and shouted at by an officer at a checkpoint looking for drunk drivers.
The officer refuses to answer questions from the driver, and interestingly, the driver notes that at no time during his detention was he asked by those running the DUI checkpoint whether he had been drinking.
The video was set up by the driver, who ultimately faced no charges from the checkpoint.
“We’ve gotten worldwide response for this,” said Axl David, the communications director for the state’s Libertarian Party.
He explained a Chris Kalbaugh, a 21-year-old junior from Middle Tennessee State University, let him know about his plans.
David told the Journal that Kalbaugh said he was going to “exercise his rights” and record the results on video.
The online video reveals Ross asking Kalbaugh at the checkout to roll his window down more, but Kalbaugh refused because he said he could hear the officer clearly.
Ross quickly orders him to pull his car over and get out, repeatedly refusing to answer the student’s question on whether he was being detained. Kalbaugh also alleges that the officers there got a drug-sniffing dog and instructed the animal to “check” his car, whereupon the dog jumped up against the vehicle and scratched it repeatedly.
No drugs were found, even though the officers said the dog an indicated they were present.
“I looked at the video later on when I got home, and I noticed that every time the officer said, ‘check here,’ the dog scratched my car,” Kalbaugh told the paper.
He 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.
“Happy 4th of July,” he said.
Gabriel Fancher, secretary for the Rutherford County Republican Party, said the situation highlighted by 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 another 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: