Video uploaded to YouTube recently shows a man in Newington, Connecticut, refusing to fall for Police State tactics of intimidation at a police checkpoint — widely known as a sobriety or DUI checkpoint, but in reality what amounts to an excuse for cops to surveil and keep tabs on citizens.
Though The Free Thought Project has covered numerous checkpoint refusals over the years, this particular assertion of rights stands out for several reasons. This time, the driver said he had not one, but multiple firearms in his vehicle — and he still refused to give up his rights with stunning success.
“Ok, I need to see your license, your registration, and your insurance,” the officer says, approaching the man’s vehicle.
“Why?” the driver immediately and rightly asks. The officer flatly repeats himself, to which the driver respectfully retorts, “What is your probable cause for pulling me over, sir?”
Appearing somewhat bristled by the man’s refusal to give in, the officer says, “Ok, here’s the deal — you are required, when asked, to produce license, registration …”
“I am not required to produce anything without … probable cause,” the driver interjects. “What is your probable cause of asking me anything? Give me your supervisor,” he demands, adding, “You’re clearly not equipped to handle this conversation. Give me your supervisor.”
Though the officer ignores the man’s request and obvious understanding of his rights under the Constitution, repeating his demand for, essentially, ‘Papers, please’ — but the driver stands firm and asks for the supervisor each time.
Then the situation takes a serious turn when a second officer appears at the passenger window — pointing a gun at the driver who has done nothing but speak knowledge to police power.
“Don’t fucking move, you understand?” the second cop threatens; then addressing the first officer, “He’s got a fucking gun on his right.”
“Why are you pointing your gun at me?”
“Don’t move, Ok?”
“Ok, I’m not moving,” the driver responds. “Why are you pointing your gun at me? Clearly [the gun] is in the holster, so clearly it’s supposed to be there,” he notes of the gun on his hip.
At this point, the driver wisely asks for both officers’ names and badge numbers — not only to make filing a complaint simpler but because a gun was unjustifiably pointed at him moments before.
Even with the officers’ refusing to back down, numerous demands for the man’s license, pointing a gun at him, and general harassment — the driver persists in his request for the supervisor.
“Are you not listening to me?” he finally asks.
“It doesn’t go like this. You don’t get to ask the questions. I do. And if you don’t want to get arrested for interfering, and if you don’t want to have any more problems … All you had to do was answer a couple basic questions and you would’ve been on your way like every other vehicle,” the frustrated cop says. “So, you chose to not answer any questions, so now you’ve prolonged this stop.”
“Supervisor,” says the driver, unmoved by the cop’s spiel. “I don’t answer questions. Su-per-vis-or.”
Finally, the officer explains his supervisor is en route, so the driver turns the camera on himself, saying, “Now what’s going on, this illegal stop — a DUI checkpoint — and they’re asking to see my license and registration. No probable cause, so I’m not showing them anything. But we’ll just sit here.”
As The Free Thought Project has noted before, sobriety checkpoints have been deemed legal by the Supreme Court — no matter how invasive and contradictory to the Constitution they may seem. But unless police find probable cause to suspect you are under the influence, or unless you consent, they are not allowed to conduct a search of your vehicle. As such, you do not have to answer questions, admit to breaking the law, or do anything that might be considered self-incriminating. As police seem less and less knowledgeable of the law, knowing your rights — and having a thorough understanding of federal, state, and local laws — are the best ‘weapons’ you can use in your defense.
This driver brilliantly shows how those skills can extricate you from confrontation — even when police point a loaded weapon at you without justification.
Explaining that DUI checkpoints have been ruled legal ‘multiple times,’ the officer tells the man he is “required by statute to produce a license, registration, and insurance when asked. You are failing to do that.”
Driver responds, “Dude … you are required to show something if only there’s probable cause.”
“Where did you get your police training?” the cop asks facetiously.
“Where did you get your law degree?” the man quips, adding, “When your supervisor comes here, he’s going to educate you, and then tomorrow I’ll be at the precinct to fill out a complaint about this.”
As a beautiful and appropriate end to the ridiculous standoff happens when the supervisor finally arrives on scene. The officer summarizes the lengthy stop for his superior, and the driver interrupts to do the same:
“I told him, one, he illegally detained me; two, I told him without probable cause I’m not showing him anything — because a DUI checkpoint, yet it might be legal, it does not give you the power to pull someone over and order their paperwork.”
At this, the supervisor approaches the driver’s window, sniffs the air near the man, and turns to the officer, telling him simply, “I can’t smell any alcohol.” Then immediately tells the patient driver,
“You can be on your way.”
“So, like I just told you,” the victorious man tells the cops, “have a good friggin’ day.”
And just like that, an armed black man, at whom police pointed a loaded weapon, singlehandedly thwarted Police State tactics and statistics — teaching all of us, and the officers involved, how powerful knowledge can be.
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