However, in the “voluntary survey”, people were pressured and/or bribed into allowing law enforcement to take samples of their bodily fluids. From NBC in Fort Worth:
“It just doesn’t seem right that you can be forced off the road when you’re not doing anything wrong,” said Kim Cope, who said she was on her lunch break when she was forced to pull over at the roadblock on Beach Street in North Fort Worth…
“I gestured to the guy in front that I just wanted to go straight, but he wouldn’t let me and forced me into a parking spot,” she said.
Once parked, she couldn’t believe what she was asked next.
“They were asking for cheek swabs,” she said. “They would give $10 for that. Also, if you let them take your blood, they would pay you $50 for that.”
At the very least, she said, they wanted to test her breath for alcohol.
She said she felt trapped.
“I finally did the Breathalyzer test just because I thought that would be the easiest way to leave,” she said, adding she received no money.
According to the article, “the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration…is spending $7.9 million on the survey over three years.” It’s being conducted by PIRE, the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, a non-profit organization. Although they say they specialize in studying how drugs and alcohol affect communities, they also study “other behaviors important to health and safety. ”
Although the government claims that this abuse of our most basic rights to privacy and dignity is to “determine the number of drunken or drug-impaired drivers,” I believe they are studying us to determine how much abuse Americans will take. It’s interesting that they used law enforcement as part of the experiment.
From the Reading Eagle:
“I feel this incident is a gross abuse of power on many levels,” Reading resident Ricardo Nieves, one of those stopped, told City Council Monday.
He said federal and local tax dollars were being used to stop innocent people without probable cause, and allow a private company to hire uniformed police to force citizens to listen to their questions.
He said he wasn’t told what the swab was for, but added, “Clearly it was for DNA.”
The city police chief responded:
“In the grand scheme of things, I think it’s a pretty innocuous and minor issue.”
Heim said checkpoints are fairly common – for seat belt use, drunken driving, truck safety regulations – and all result in minor inconvenience.
“A car driver or passenger cannot be required or pressured into providing a DNA sample and, in fact, can’t be stopped at all except on suspicion of a crime or for a properly conducted sobriety checkpoint,” Mary Catherine Roper, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, told the Reading Eagle Monday.
We should have put our collective foot down when they started subjecting us to sobriety checkpoints.
By the way, the police chief in Fort Worth apologized for letting his officers participate.