National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Roadblocks and Checkpoints

It’s a common police trick–fudge a statement so the citizen thinks he just heard a police command, but, technically, it was only a request.  Here the police say “Do me a favor … and go over to secondary screening.”  Most of us think, “Oh well, something I have to do … don’t want to disobey the police.”  The driver doesn’t fall for it–he is quick to reply, “No thanks  – I want to be on my way.”   The police try to up the pressure–after all, it works all the time!–but here it fails.  Knowing they don’t have a valid legal basis for a detention, the police let this citizen go on his way.

The root of the problem in this situation is the policy, not the police officers caught on camera.  The police in the video were told to set up a checkpoint and screen drivers and passengers for citizenship.  They were professional and followed their training.  When their training  trick didn’t work, they gave up fairly quickly.  (Tho one officer, at the beginning, crossed the line and tried to coerce a response by saying, “if you don’t answer, we can detain you”).  It is good that this driver is asserting his rights and showing others how to do so. 

For additional background, go here.

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