Carpe Diem

DUI checkpoint video goes viral; Meaning of ‘Independence Day’ has become lost on law enforcement community

In only five days, the video above of police possibly violating the constitutional rights of a 21-year old man at a July 4th DUI checkpoint in Rutherford County, Tennessee, has gone viral on YouTube and has been viewed almost 3.2 million times as of tonight.

Here’s the background on the video from a press release from the Libertarian Party of Tennessee:

On July 4th, members of the Rutherford County (TN) Libertarian Party became concerned about DUI checkpoints occurring in Rutherford County. Members were advised to record their interactions, should they find themselves going through a checkpoint during their routine travels. It was made clear that this would be done so in a way that was nonconfrontational and unobtrusive, but still in clear view of law enforcement.

Rutherford County Libertarian Party member Chris Kalbaugh, who is the driver in the video, uploaded the video above to Youtube and expressed his concern that his constitutional rights were violated. Literally overnight, the video became viral, largely due to the internet aggregate site reddit.com.

“I broke no laws and I made sure to be respectful the entire time while still exercising my Constitutional freedom. The officers would not let me leave but they would not answer if I was being detained,” said Kalbaugh, 21, of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Kalbaugh continues, “I wanted to show that I was not impaired and to get the confrontation over with. When I got out, he demanded my ID even though I didn’t break any laws or traffic violations. They also said they were going to search my vehicle because the drug dog ‘hit’ on the vehicle. I don’t do any drugs and I have never had any illegal substances in my car. When the officers said that the drug dog hit on my car, I became furious because I knew that was impossible. All of this happened because I did not want to lower my window all the way which was completely legal. Later on when the officer tried to open my door and pull me out of my vehicle, I was glad that my window was only partially open. This video was not made to be disrespectful to law enforcement at all; there are plenty of great cops in Tennessee who do not believe in going outside of the law to take away Constitutional freedom. Having rights is not disrespectful.”

“It’s sad that on a day that is celebrated for freedom and liberty, such a grotesque violation of both has occurred,” said Matthew Novak, Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Tennessee. “The Rutherford County Sheriff’s deputy trashing a lawabiding citizen’s constitutional rights on July 4th makes it clear that the very meaning of Independence Day has become lost on the law enforcement community in Rutherford County,” said Jim Tomasik, Chairman of The Libertarian Party of Tennessee.

At the end of the video, Chris Kalbaugh summarizes his experience:

I was yelled at, bossed around, my car ransacked without my consent, and had my rights taken away from me. All while not being detained. I broke no laws. Officer Ross told me that my Constitutional rights did not matter at checkpoints. He said it is OK to take away Constitutional rights and civil liberties for reasons of safety. He didn’t even ask me if I had been drinking. This was a DUI checkpoint. Happy 4th of July, America.

MP: Another example of the “rise of the warrior cop” and the loss of civil liberties we are experiencing partly because of the insane “War on Drugs/Plants/Weeds.”

30 thoughts on “DUI checkpoint video goes viral; Meaning of ‘Independence Day’ has become lost on law enforcement community

  1. It is more than the drug war gone wild. The US has become a police state because few in either of the main parties are willing to stand up for liberty. Opportunists on both the right and the left wrap themselves in the flag and argue for a bigger and bigger government while idiot voters cheer them on. This means that you will see less individual liberty and more militarism.

    • Vangel,

      They are cheerleaded on by rationalizations like the below argument, which is to be found on an earlier post:

      “I doubt that you would be OK with being stopped and frisked periodically for no reason.”

      No doubt you’re correct. However, if I was a law abiding citizen that had to live with the violent criminals terrorizing Chicago’s south side, I wouldn’t shed any tears if I saw some gang banger thug being patted down for murder weapons. Would you?

      “Sure, stopping and frisking lots of people for no particular reason will no doubt detect more criminal activity, but at what cost to our freedom?”

      You are correct. But is there a bodycount high enough where you might look the other way? It’s undeniable these policies have reduced the murder rate.

      As you can see, the fourth amendment means nothing to some people because the person who might get searched is a gang banger thug. Don’t worry about the fact that almost no one is. Even in the crime ridden areas, less than 5% of the population is criminal.

      And note the argument that law abiding citizens have nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s gratifying to see the police being so diligent. Again, ignore the fact that murders and violent crime are not driven by rampant liberty. This argument is buttressed by the erroneous argument that the police have lowered the crime rate. The murder rate in Chicago is higher today that it was during Al Capone’s gangland era. True, the murder rate is lower than it was two decades ago, but this decline comes after a startling increase in the murder rate starting in the 1960′s.

      Lastly, note the argument that since some people are getting murdered, no one should expect to have their rights respected by the cops. Anyone who is concerned with their rights are clearly not concerned about body count. Again, ignore the fact that the most dangerous and deadly human institution in history is government, in particular the martial institutions of government.

      • No doubt you’re correct. However, if I was a law abiding citizen that had to live with the violent criminals terrorizing Chicago’s south side, I wouldn’t shed any tears if I saw some gang banger thug being patted down for murder weapons. Would you?

        It is a slippery slope. What if the government began to target people that spoke out about freedom, unpopular wars, mercantilist policies, high taxes, etc.,? How can you defend those people from police harassment if you turn a blind eye to unsavoury characters who have been abused by police actions that violated their rights?

        I have never supported the policies advocated by Eugene Debs but that does not mean that I applaud the fact that Wilson threw him in jail for speaking out against the American actions that ensured that Hitler and Stalin would eventually come to power. Note that he was jailed under the Espionage Act of 1917, the same piece of unconstitutional legislation that is being used by Obama to prosecute Snowden. The fact that such a terrible law is still on the books shows just how low the US has fallen over the past century.

      • You are correct. But is there a bodycount high enough where you might look the other way? It’s undeniable these policies have reduced the murder rate.

        But it may be deniable. There is no objective evidence that areas where you have such policies are any safer than areas where the police follow the Constitution.

      • And note the argument that law abiding citizens have nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s gratifying to see the police being so diligent. Again, ignore the fact that murders and violent crime are not driven by rampant liberty. This argument is buttressed by the erroneous argument that the police have lowered the crime rate. The murder rate in Chicago is higher today that it was during Al Capone’s gangland era. True, the murder rate is lower than it was two decades ago, but this decline comes after a startling increase in the murder rate starting in the 1960′s.

        The police have killed many innocent people, destroyed their property, shot their dogs, etc., so please spare us the cheerleading. As for the murder rates look no further than drug prohibition laws.

  2. A few years ago, my wife and I received horrible treatment by the corrupted system of justice in South Carolina. As patriots of this great country, we were shocked and dismayed that false charges were made against us as the means to taking our property. The assault required the collusion of police, lawyers and judges. I believe the statistics Mark posted in previous articles included the fact that 1 of 18 adult men in the USA are currently in jail, on parole or on probation. Many if not most to protect the “income of the system”.

    • Joseph Goebbels would’ve been proud of you.

      How do you know it wasn’t worse in the 1950s before drugs caused the explosion of crime? Yes, drug addicts cause lots of problems.

      U.S. Illegal Drug Use Down Substantially from 1970s
      17 April 2012

      “Drug use in the United States “has dropped substantially over the past thirty years,” thanks to local, state and federal government efforts, as well as international cooperation.

      “The rate of Americans using illicit drugs today is roughly one-third the rate it was in the late ’70s.

      More recently, there has been a 40 percent drop in current cocaine use and meth use has dropped by half.””

      ******

      US crime rate at lowest point in decades.
      January 9, 2012

      “The last time the crime rate for serious crime – murder, rape, robbery, assault – fell to these levels…was 1963.”

      • and joseph stalin would be proud of you peak.

        rights schmights, and policy we claim has some “benefit to society” is fine. the constitution and natural rights are just speedbumps to be ignored on the route to creating a totalitarian utopia.

        • Morganovich, people like you is why there are drug tests.

          You believe, you’re giving people rights by legalizing drugs. However, you’d actually take rights away from them.

          If you take away guns, crime goes up, and if you legalize drugs, crime goes up. You want to give people less protection by legalizing drugs, like making guns illegal.

          You should forget about drugs and focus on the TSA, if you really care about rights rather than drugs.

          • You believe, you’re giving people rights by legalizing drugs. However, you’d actually take rights away from them.

            And therein lies your problem. Morganovich can’t give anyone rights, nor can he take them away. Neither can anyone else. People HAVE rights and can be denied the exercise of those rights, but they can’t be taken away.

          • more peak nonsense and doublespeak.

            taking away rights gives people rights?

            do you even listen to yourself?

            remember all that crime that ending prohibition caused? yeah, me either.

  3. There are some “issues” here.

    first, this incident did not appear to take place in an urban area with gang bangers, etc..

    second, this kind of police behavior is not new … not the DUI stops nor the way they act if you challenge them.

    third, the in-car camera has changed everything.

    I’m thinking the ONLY reason those cops did not grab that camera was they were afraid there might be a second camera…or the camera itself was recording to a remote media device.

    so perhaps that’s the way the “fight” for “liberty”.

    Become a DUI police stop “warrior” and have your car equipped with more than one camera – all running while you maintain your “rights”.

    I do not think cops are doing anything more or different than they always have – recall the Boss Hawg radar traps, etc.

    But COPs will take advantage of every opportunity they can and especially so if you are perceived to be challenging them. That’s their training.

    The cops in this video are “lucky” that another civilian car was not stopped and also had a camera to record their behavior…

    and perhaps that’s how to push them back a bit – more people with more dash cams… to the point where the police cannot ever completely rule out that their actions won’t be caught on some camera and get “you-tubed”.

    Of course, such ubiquitous use of dash-cams will also “capture” behaviors of other drivers which would be fine with me since we seem to have a bunch of smart-asses on the highways these days anyhow.

    Keeping BOTH the police AND the civilian smart-asses in line for the rest of us would be a “good” thing.

  4. Perhaps it’s time this budding civil rights activist pulled out a federal rule or two.

    18 USC 242 describes violations of civil rights “under color of law” and adds that kidnapping (i.e., illegal detention) aggravates the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony.

    18 USC 241 makes it a felony to conspire against civil rights. Here, we have more than one officer, acting in concert. Mere intimidation in the exercise of rights is sufficient for a conviction. Again, illegal detention aggravates the felony.

    18 USC 242 Deprivation of Rights under Color of Law
    Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person … to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States …, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if … such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap … shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

    18 USC 241 Conspiracy against Rights
    If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person … in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; … they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if [...] such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, [...] they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

    • Thomas: “ [...] they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

      Heh! It might be hard to find a government prosecutor willing to seek the death penalty for the officers pictured in the above video, but it WOULD send a strong message and perhaps dampen the enthusiasm of others for using such bullying tactics in the future.

      • The death penalty would hardly be appropriate. A felony conviction with suspended sentence would be plenty to ensure respect for civil rights (try getting a police job as a felon).

        While it’s usually difficult to get a prosecutor to go up against the local police, this is a Federal law, so a wide-awake Federal prosecutor could easily act without concern for local fallout against family/career.

        And, someone needs to show the Supremes a string of videos of dogs “alerting” on command. Their ruling is beyond out-of-touch – does any of them own, or even know any well-trained dogs?

        • Thomas: “The death penalty would hardly be appropriate. A felony conviction with suspended sentence would be plenty to ensure respect for civil rights (try getting a police job as a felon).

          I was being facetious about the death penalty, and you are correct about the appropriate penalty for the unlawful activities seen in the video. Even a misdemeanor conviction might be sufficient.

          And, someone needs to show the Supremes a string of videos of dogs “alerting” on command. Their ruling is beyond out-of-touch – does any of them own, or even know any well-trained dogs?

          I can only presume that the Supremes aren’t interested in understanding this problem or they would have asked for clarification and demonstrations long ago.

  5. a congressman, (i cannot recall who) recently proposed a law making it explicitly legal to record any interaction with a federal employee icluding without their consent or knowledge.

    i think this is a wonderful idea.

    let’s spread that to ALL government employees be they federal, state, or local.

    the best way to take back these encroachments of liberty is by outing them over and over and taking action against the officers that do it.

    • M: “i think this is a wonderful idea.

      Amen. It’s too bad positive law is required to enforce protections of our rights.

      • Courts have ruled, pretty consistently, that law enforcement officials and government employees generally have no expectation of privacy in the conduct of their duties, so laws against recording private conversations do not apply (I’m not sure if there are states that require consent to record conversations that are not private). In addition, courts have ruled that if you are filming with the intention of distributing to the public, interference by officials becomes a separate First Amendment violation.

        • Thomas, I the problem is that officers who don’t like being recorded will harass and bully people, and when that doesn’t work will detain them on suspicion of obstruction and then release them later without charges. I believe this is mostly a problem for those who are young, poor, or minorities – who have no political clout.

  6. This is the US that has supported the former Sovjet Union to occupy and enslave half of Europe in World War II. Now the Stalin-type society you have supported comes right into your door. Enjoy, have fun. You will get much more of this in the near future and you fully deserve it, because Americans never cared about anyone else then themself. If you support tyranny then tyranny will knock on your own door sooner or later. This is what we call Karma.
    Also you gave the feminazis (feminists) the power to discriminate men, and a society ruled by power-addicted female control-freaks will brake apart and end up in chaos and tyranny.

  7. The events of today remind me of two powerful quotes from our Founding Fathers, that show how insightful they were to the potential dangers inherent in our system.

    Ben Franklin: Those who would give up their liberty for a little security deserve neither.
    Sam Johnson: Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

    God help this country. It is in such terrible trouble, trouble that many of the young don’t even see, as some of the most important rights granted us by the Constitution have been trampled on since the time I was a young boy. I, for one, intend to move to Texas and keep my powder dry.

    I believe that many citizens today are so ignorant of what caused this country’s revolutionary upheavals that they cannot see how similar conditions have taken root in our time. I hope I am wrong, but I fear for my sons.

  8. I would like to see a kicstarter to fund a lawsuit each time something like this happens. Let’s bankrupt every P.D. that allows this kind of behavior. Hit them where it counts, in the payroll. Let’s make bad cops so expensive to departments, that they can only afford to keep the good cops. And there are good cops. They are just less memorable than the few bad ones.

    • I would like to see a kicstarter to fund a lawsuit each time something like this happens. Let’s bankrupt every P.D. that allows this kind of behavior. Hit them where it counts, in the payroll

      That sounds good until you remember that financial settlements in these cases come out of our own (taxpayer) pockets. Criminal prosecution would more directly target the offenders.

      • We are paying staff hours and overtime on this malarkey as is. I’d rather be paying to fix the situation than to make it worse. Further, over 80% of LE budgets go to traffic control. That is insanity. I want them to quit wasting staff hours on this garbage and actually allocate staff hours to violent and property crimes.

        The offenders aren’t the ones setting the policies. While I would love to have them held to the same standards or higher than the populace, I know the difficulties associated with making that happen. (I used to work in a felony division of a prosecutor’s office and a jail.) It is much more practical to make the practice stop by hitting them in the budget. Speak the language the decision makers understand. $$$. And the line officers will get the message too. If they get layoffs or lousy negotiated terms the next union negotiated contract session, they will blame the jerks who ate the budget. Plus a fair amount of cops are on our side. Let’s give them ammo to advocate good policing.

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