Local Police Implement Fake Drug Checkpoints on Major Interstate

fake drug checkpointsPolice in the northeast Ohio town of Mayfield Heights have recently begun putting up “fake” drug checkpoints as a tactic in the city’s war on drugs. Motorists see the signs and police wait for drivers to act suspiciously before taking further action.

via Cleveland.com

Police are not allowed to use checkpoints to search motorists and their vehicles for drugs. So, in Mayfield Heights, officers are trying the next-best thing — fake drug checkpoints.

Police gathered in the express lanes of Interstate 271 on Monday after placing signs along the freeway warning motorists that a drug checkpoint lay ahead.

There was no checkpoint, only police waiting for motorists to react suspiciously after seeing the signs. A Mayfield Heights assistant prosecutor says it’s a lawful and legitimate tactic in his city’s war on drugs.

“We should be applauded for doing this,” Dominic Vitantonio said. “It’s a good thing.”

Civil libertarians and one of the people who was stopped and searched are skeptical. They wonder if officers were profiling motorists and whether anyone’s Fourth Amendment right against unlawful searches and seizures was violated.

Nick Worner, a spokesman for the Cleveland office of the American Civil Liberties Union, said his office will examine the circumstances surrounding the fake checkpoint.

“We’re going to be gathering information,” Worner said. “That information will determine what we think is going on.”

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  • Adamas Macalz

    I want to be opposed to this, I really do… but I’m having trouble grasping a reason to.. any of you guys want to help me out? this sounds more like a dick move than a violation of rights

    • Juan

      The sign may merely act as a pretext to pull over anyone they want for acting “suspicious.” Since the cops get to decide what is “suspicious,” they are essentially free to fuck with whomever they please. Not that they weren’t already, but this little trick might give them more cover.
      Cops: “Profiling?” “Never, he was acting suspicious.”
      If by “suspicious” you mean poor and non-white, sure, highly suspicious indeed.

      • echar

        Or a group of high school to college age, white, with lots of deadhead/and or peacenik stickers on the vehicle.

        • Juan

          Right, anyone viewed as “undesirable”or “unamerkin” would be deemed “suspicious.”
          This is why I deliberately drive the most non-descript, generic, lemming-like, transportation appliance I could find.
          “These are not the droids you’re looking for, [piggie].”

          • echar

            I stopped trying to stick out as well. The whole mohawk and shitty clothes look attracts the wrong kind of attention. I got pulled over while walking because I was wearing a leather bikers jacket once.

          • Juan

            Yeah . . . live and learn, me too; same, same but different, multiple times.

          • echar

            live and learn!

          • InfvoCuernos

            Most of the “criminals” I know are slick enough to keep their cool and act like everything is normal. Cops are like dogs hunting: they look for the runner, not the rabbit sitting still.

          • echar

            That’s the gospel truth, they feed on fear.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            Me too and all the time! It’s amazing how different life is now that I’m over 30 and have a “normal” haircut. Cops in the South were weird to me at first during my stay, but as soon as I got local plates and started saying “Yall” I became an honorary good ol boy.

          • echar

            I shudder to think how easy it would be for theoretical aliens to blend in. *walks away whistling*

          • Ittabena

            BTW, white is usually the best color for that. White cars, trucks and vans are pulled over less than any other color. Which is one of the reasons rental vans are usually white.

            I used to do Air Freight and was close friends with the boss.

          • Juan

            White, four-door, Japanese sedan:)

          • Ittabena

            You have done your research, I see.

          • Juan

            I didn’t really research it. I just new that I wanted something that would draw the least amount of attention as possible, and when I saw the thing, I knew that was it, simply because it looks like so many other cars on the road.

          • echar

            Takes notes*

          • Ittabena

            Yeah, if they’re gonna use Psych on us, we might as well use it too.

          • echar

            Elvis Costello – Watching the Detectives

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj-CPouUAWo

          • Ittabena

            Nice. Lol

      • Adamas Macalz

        Thank you, I now have a logical reason to oppose this that doesn’t boil down to my vehement distrust of authority figures

        • Juan

          Your vehement distrust of authority figures is totally valid.
          You’re welcome;)

  • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

    Everything public servants do while on the clock should be on streaming CCTV and digitized in the public record. Surely if they have nothing to hide, it shouldn’t be a problem. We have the technology.

    I wonder what honest statistical research would reveal about “reasonable suspicion”. Is a “legalize freedom” bumper-sticker probable cause for a search? At what point do we as a society permit authorities to function in this way, without proof of our common benefit? The proof would come from evidence based reporting. Of course, that level of accountability of those in power goes against everything they work toward. It won’t happen until it is asserted as a right by the people.

    • InfvoCuernos

      They would never be able to store all that info: they’re using all that memory for storing our data. I would like to see this as well. I think if cops had watchers 24/7 a lot of crooked cops would go away.

      • echar

        I think the dumb crooked cops would “go away” or get busted, but the smart ones would find ways to be way more sneaky.

        • InfvoCuernos

          I’ve actually heard of cops disabling their dashboard cameras and microphones so much that they now have to sign a release form saying the cameras are working at the beginning of their shifts. Imagine that-cops poaching on the camera vandalism game.

          • echar

            I know a person who was released from his DUI ticket because the police where messing with the documenting equipment. The piggies would harass this person, then turn on the recording. They tried to use that as evidence, thankfully the judge was not corrupt. Sadly the bacon walked away scott free as well.

      • Juan

        Panopticon for the pigs; fucking brilliant!!!

  • echar

    I know there’s a joke about a fake doughnut sale somewhere.

    • Ittabena

      I don’t know that one. But had co-worker get all cocky one day when his truck had been burgled. We were in Omaha and the cops didn’t come fast enough to suit him. We tried to explain to him that it was no big deal, just wait for cops and then come to work. Instead he got on the phone and told the operator to tell the cops to put down the donuts and get over here. They did, and they took him with them. He got to spend a few hours in the jailhouse though no charges were ever filed.

      The rest of us were amazed at how stupid he had been. And though the cops reaction wasn’t quite mature or right, none of us were real sorry to see him go. He never completed the training portion of his job, but was instead eventually “released” by his contract company.

      • echar

        They hate the doughnut reference, or bear claw lol. Good thing he left, that guy sounds a bit soft in the head. There’s a time a place for stupidity. work is not one of them. I can’t tell you how many times the stupidity of others limited what I could do, or put me at risk.

        • Ittabena

          He was encouraged to leave, actually. We had a little party for him, but waited until after he was gone to actually throw it.

          • echar

            That bad?

          • Ittabena

            Oh yeah. When he came on he was on my little group, though I was a trainee at that time as well. If the guy that ran my group didn’t like you, you were pretty bad news.

  • Trevor Smith

    This is fucking insane. But not surprising.

  • BuzzCoastin

    if anything
    it shows cops have to make up shit in order to find crimes to bust
    to justify paying them money
    for eating donuts & downloading kiddie porn
    which what they do when nothing’s happening
    which is 95% of the time

    • echar

      They’re too busy not arresting banksters and politicians.

  • BuzzCoastin

    aMerka has more cops & more cops per person
    than any kuntery in the whirled
    Der Homeland imprisons more of its citizens
    than any kuntery in the whirled
    Der Homeland cops kill more of its citizens
    than any kuntery in the whirled

    which is why they call the place
    The Land of the Free

  • Len

    What devious prick thinks up all this crap?

    • Ittabena

      Civil servants with too much time on their hands from not doing their jobs right. That’s my guess anyway.

  • Chris Sky

    RIDICULOUS! It’s not a “real checkpoint” that would be illegal… but pull over, right there and empty your pockets. oh and if you don’t comply, you will automatically be acting “suspicious” so now I am REALLY gonna search you up.

    pathetic.

  • lilbear68

    refuse to cooperate and refuse to do anything other than show license and insurance info. refuse to answer and keep saying ‘am i free to go’, ‘am i being detained’ ask for supervisor and make them tell you what their probable cause is. make these S O B’s DO their job dont do it for them

  • mole_face

    Awesome!

    The first thing I’m gonna do when I see one of these signs is make a waypoint on my GPS, then come back later when the pig brigade isn’t around and rifle through the bushes on the side of the road to find heaps of free drugs. I’ve always wanted to try meth just to say I’ve done it once, and this sounds like a great opportunity to give the drug a shot without having to deal with seedy tweaker speed dealers.

    • Ittabena

      Don’t bother, that is one of the things they are watching for the most. And they will rifle before you and for as long as it takes.

      BTW, give meth a pass, it dissolves your bones and teeth and gives you grey hairs, and if you have an addictive personality, once could lead to more very easily.

      Besides, it is just nasty shit.

      • mole_face

        No shit. I was just being goofy.

        • echar

          Meth is no joke, Sunny Jim.

          • mole_face

            Really? Then I’m confused – exactly how does Jesse Pinkman manage to regularly smoke meth while still maintaining a clear sore-free complexion and a full set of teeth, not to mention also co-running a multi million dollar drug empire? You’re really telling me that The Greatest Show on Television would misrepresent this drug to its viewers?

          • echar

            Magic

          • mole_face

            Pfft… “magic”? Everyone knows that’s bullshit. Magick, on the other hand…

          • echar

            Movie magic… “bitch”!

    • InfvoCuernos

      Check your local dealer, most offer a “First time is free” trial to get you started. I think it includes a shopping cart for collecting cans.

      • mole_face

        Already tried that. This cheap son of a bitch didn’t even offer a shopping cart as part of the introductory meth package, so I told him to go fuck himself. Then I woke up twelve hours later in the desert with my wallet missing and a concussion. In retrospect, I probably should’ve taken my friends’ warnings about Tuco a little more seriously before I went to see him.

  • zolaris

    This isn’t new. Clark County, NV pulled the same scam in early 1995 just north of Vegas. It’s probably been done in dozens of places since. By the time you see the sign, they’re already watching you with binoculars, and they *are* profiling.

    • Ittabena

      Used to drive a truck, all sorts of sizes. I have been trough this before. I had one friend with me once who started to get nervous. I told him to relax, think of something pleasant that would make him smile and leave it to me. We rolled right on through.

      Dad was a State Trooper, and you are very correct sir.

  • Reuben_the_Red

    So there was no checkpoint but people were stopped for responding/reacting to a POSTED CHECKPOINT WARNING. So it’s still a checkpoint. A child could understand this. It takes an adult to make some sort of slim-to-nonexistent distinction between a real checkpoint, where people are stopped and searched arbitrarily, and a fake checkpoint, where people are stopped and searched arbitrarily.

    When can we start stopping cops and searching them and their phones and computers based on “reasonable suspicion” of illegal activities on their parts? I’m sure they would be eager to comply: after all, if they’re not doing anything illegal or inappropriate with their legal authority and taxpayer-funded vehicles/weapons/surveillance equipment, then they don’t have anything to hide, right?

    Aha ha ha ha ha ha!

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