Rhode Island — In perhaps the most unprecedented attack on the Constitution on which the Free Thought Project has ever has ever reported, the governor of Rhode Island has announced that the National Guard will begin conducting house-to-house searches to hunt down New Yorkers seeking refuge in their state.
Not only will cops be violating the 4th Amendment rights of citizens in their homes, the governor also announced that Rhode Island cops have already begun puling over every vehicle they see with a New York license plate.
In a move that is reminiscent to that of Nazi Germany, the governor labeled an entire state a threat. Checkpoints have been set up along the interstate and vehicles with New York plates were being stopped without probable cause on Friday.
“Right now we have a pinpointed risk,” Governor Gina Raimondo said. “That risk is called New York City.”
It is no question that New York is the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak and their citizens should remain self-quarantined to prevent the spread of the virus. The state has over 46,000 reported cases and 450 deaths reported as of Saturday morning.
However, police officers and the National Guard have no idea if the person they are stopping or searching has been in the state for weeks or days.
As Bloomberg reports:
Rhode Island has just over 200, and it has begun an aggressive campaign to keep the virus out and New Yorkers contained, over objections from civil liberties advocates.
Raimondo, a Democrat, said she had consulted lawyers and said while she couldn’t close the border, she felt confident she could enforce a quarantine.
This draconian police state action comes in spite of the fact that many New Yorkers own summer houses in Rhode Island and have every right to be there. But the governor could not care less. According to Bloomberg, “many New Yorkers have summer houses in Rhode Island, especially in tony Newport, and the governor said the authorities would be checking there.”
“Yesterday I announced and today I reiterated: Anyone coming to Rhode Island in any way from New York must be quarantined,” the governor said. “By order. Will be enforced. Enforceable by law.”
Those caught seeking refuge, even in property that they own, will be subject to hefty fines and even jail time.
National Guard members will be stationed at the T.F. Green airport, Amtrak train stations and at bus stops. The citizen-soldiers will be following up with people at local residences. The maximum penalty for not complying: a fine of $500 and 90 days in prison.
Naturally, this has advocates of civil rights up in arms, and rightfully so. On Friday, the ACLU lambasted the governor’s unconstitutional measure, accurately pointing out that she has no right to “suspend the constitution.”
“While the Governor may have the power to suspend some state laws and regulations to address this medical emergency, she cannot suspend the Constitution,” Rhode Island ACLU executive director Steven Brown said in a statement. “Under the Fourth Amendment, having a New York state license plate simply does not, and cannot, constitute ‘probable cause’ to allow police to stop a car and interrogate the driver, no matter how laudable the goal of the stop may be.”
This move comes after other Orwellian steps by officials across the country. Earlier this week, TFTP reported that cops were raiding sleeping truckers trying to get some shut eye as they delivered essential supplies to those in need.
Because many rest stops are closed across the country, Truckers have been forced to stop on the side of the road to sleep while hauling these supplies. Instead of realizing this, NYPD cops raided the sleeping truckers, issued them fines and impounded their vehicles — for sleeping on the side of the road.
Completely oblivious to the heinous nature of preying on people trying to keep the nation from falling into chaos, the officers who conducted the raid took to Twitter to brag about it.
What’s more, New York and California are deploying drones to spy on their citizens and ensure they are complying with shelter in place orders. Other states have implemented hotlines for citizens to snitch on their neighbor if they think they are violating a shelter in place order.
Make no mistake, the threat of COVID-19 is real and people should take proper measures to protect themselves. However, as states across the country continue to roll out such tyrannical measures, we are inching closer to the idea of creating a cure far worse than the disease itself.
This is not okay.