Last Night's Suspicionless Checkpoint

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Last night, I observed a suspicionless checkpoint on Artesia going eastbound toward Van Ness.  All eastbound traffic was being stopped.  A lot of cars were being towed.

I contacted Torrance Police Department to inquire as to why these activities were not announced ahead of time.  The initial response from Lieutenant Stephen D’anjou (via Blackberry) was that the press release was sent out last week.

I believe Lieutenant D’anjou is mistaken.  I checked the Torrance PD web site and no such press release was listed on their press release page.  Maybe a press release was sent out but just not posted on the web page.  The local paper would have gotten a copy if that's the case.

But this is not the case from what I can tell.  Daily Breeze (the local newspaper in Torrance) has announcements for other such activity in the past, but not the one regarding last night.  Was it announced only in hard copies of the newspaper?  Is this an Internet blackout?

Yet indeed, here is a view of the actual suspicionless checkpoint from the corner of Artesia and Van Ness, looking back to the west:

Download now or watch on posterous

Zi6_0541.mp4 (6911 KB)

This is a shot of the parking lot next to the activity:

Download now or watch on posterous

Zi6_0542.mp4 (4559 KB)

Torrance Police Department believes the "DUI" checkpoint is a proven effective method for increased awareness of the dangers of impaired driving.

In the past, by publicizing these enforcement and education efforts, Torrance Police Department believes motorists can be deterred from drinking and driving.

Typically, funding for these kinds of operations is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But last night, they broke from their previous motivation and imposed the suspicionless checkpoint without even prior notice.

Whatever your belief of the effectiveness of these suspicionless checkpoint, know this.  It is a violation of the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution to demand evidence of a crime without probable cause.  The suspicionless checkpoint, by definition, lacks probable cause.

It is much easier to introduce an intrusive measure by watering down the most intrusive aspects.  It is harder to be against suspicionless checkpoints when they are announced ahead of time.  But is easy to just stop announcing them once they become commonplace.

We are no longer on our way to a police state.  We live in a police state now.  It's only going to get worse.

Posted via email from Anthony Martin's Weblog


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