Durham, NC — The Durham Sheriff took to Twitter recently to brag about the department’s new “ghost” cars and how they are intentionally hard to see because of the low profile graphics and hidden lights. The reason this car will be hard to see, according to the sheriff, is so they can better catch citizens who dare to break traffic laws. Because many of these laws involve extorting citizens for crimes which have no victim, the sheriff has been put on blast by the Twitter community.
Check out the newest edition to our fleet. This "ghost" car will be used by our #CommunityPolicing & traffic unit. W/ its low profile graphics you'll never see it coming, especially at night. Make sure you're not speeding, wear your seatbelt, and stay sober behind the wheel. pic.twitter.com/t1Mp8AGK3C
— Durham Sheriff (@DurhamSheriff) January 13, 2021
The department bragged about literally hiding from the citizens they claim to protect and serve. What does it say about a public servants who don’t want to be seen in order to catch people breaking the law. If they truly cared about keeping the citizens safe, wouldn’t they make the most visible cars possible.
When someone sees a police cruiser, they tend to drive safe, not speed, buckle up and obey the law. Hiding from the public so they break these laws shows that it is not about getting people to stop breaking the laws, it’s about letting them break the law so police can then extort them.
In the land of the free, millions of traffic tickets are issued each year in which people are issued a threat of extortion for any number of arbitrary and victimless infractions. In fact an average of 125,000 people in the U.S. receives a traffic citation every day — more than one every single second. The average extortion fee will cost you around $150, but in some states a driver can be fined up to $2000 or more depending on the offense and the state laws. Given that many of these fines are for infractions which have no victim, it is literal highway robbery.
A traffic ticket can ruin anyone’s day, and in some instances end their life. Given the sheer number of traffic citations issued every day, one would think that this may have some effect on safety but it does not. Traffic violations remain constant, regardless of police issuing fines. The fact is that cops need you to break traffic laws as it is a means of supporting themselves.
The total number of speeding tickets paid each year is $6,232,000,000 which breaks down to around $300,000 generated per police officer for speeding alone. Tack on seat belt violations, license plate lights, window tint, rolling stop signs, and expired state-mandated documents and that number sky rockets.
It is literally highway robbery conducted on behalf of the ones who claim to keep us “safe” and it has no effect on safety at all, as shown by the number of traffic fatalities every year.
In the meantime, a study published in the Public School Forum of North Carolina shows that schools — which help to educate children, not extort them — are inveterately underfunded in the Raleigh/Durham area.
“Year after year, our poorest counties fall further behind our wealthier ones in terms of resources available to their local schools,” Keith Poston, president and executive director of the Public School Forum of NC said in a statement. “These funding disparities have a real impact on educational opportunity for students, particularly in in terms of the ability of lower wealth counties to fund local supplemental pay to attract and retain the teachers they need to serve students.”
While students attend crumbling schools, cops are getting shiny new vehicles that are hard to spot so they can entrap struggling citizens and extort them for failing to renew their license, failing to update their registration, or any number of various predatory bureaucratic violations.
So, when the cops took to bragging about this act, citizens responded in anger — some of them elegantly.
“School lunches: $5 Road maintenance: $10 Public housing: $15 Blinky lights on shiny cop car: $40,000 Someone who is good at economy please help me budget, my community is dying.”
“The irony of calling this #communitypolicing is truly unfathomably painful. Nothing says “out of touch with community” quite like a suped up Dodge Charger with hidden police graphics in a town with a per capita income of 34k.”
“This goes to show the first thought of american police is “how can I catch my prey” and not “how can I help my community. In what world does this help ANYONE but yourselves????”
“hello 911? yeah i’ve got a problem, the fascists in the sheriff’s department took my tax money to buy themselves toys and are now making veiled threats online”
One Twitter user took to pointing out the police cars other countries use, which are highly visible to alert citizens to their presence in case they need help.
Here’s what a UK police vehicle looks like. Intentionally visible and recognizable. Almost as if police are PUBLIC SERVANTS and should be immediately recognizable to said public. American police exists solely to prey and profit not protect nor serve. pic.twitter.com/ZOaItxPuj6
— T GLIZZY (@alsharptondurag) January 16, 2021
Instead of realizing the tone deaf nature of their post and responding in kind, the sheriff’s department went on the defensive and said that bragging about a police car that is hard to spot so they can catch you in a traffic violation, was taken out of context.
We never expected such a large response to this video. Its intent was to be a lighthearted look at a tool our traffic unit uses to keep roads safe but it was taken out of context for some. DCSO values your thoughtful feedback &will continue to be engaged w/the community it serves
— Durham Sheriff (@DurhamSheriff) January 18, 2021
Naturally there were the apologists in the comments as well, saying, “If you don’t break the law, you have nothing to worry about.”
However, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.
Former NSA official William Binney sums this myth up quite accurately, “The problem is, if they think they’re not doing anything that’s wrong, they don’t get to define that. The central government does.”
Attorney Harvey Silverglate argues that the average American commits three felonies a day without even knowing it.
While most everyone in America commits the same infractions designed for revenue collection, most of the people targeted by police for these crimes are the poor, minorities, and the mentally ill.
As the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson exposed, African-Americans accounted for 86 percent of traffic stops while making up only 63 percent of Ferguson’s population.
For those too poor to pay their tickets, routine traffic stops end up in repeated imprisonment due to mounting fines. People get trapped in the system and unless they can come up with the thousands of dollars to get out from under these fines, they will likely end up back in that system — over and over again.
It’s a debtor’s prison and it’s horrendous.
Revenue collection, persecution of the poor, and these debtor’s prisons take place in every county, in every city, across every state. However, this institutionalized cruelty is little more than a day’s work for the millions of bureaucrats involved in the racket.