A 4th of July DUI checkpoint video has gone viral. On a day when the America was celebrating its birthday, this man was presumed guilty and forced to prove his innocence. I do not support impaired driving in any way, shape, or form, but as a Libertarian, I also cannot condone this affront to the Constitution either.
Chris Kalbaugh, 21, was entirely sober when driving through Rutherford County, Tennessee, but he was still subjected to a stop and ultimately a search. Liberals who have shouted in opposition to laws which would give police officers the ability to check identification of suspected illegal immigrants have remained silent on unconstitutional sobriety checkpoints for decades. The viral video of the 4th of July DUI checkpoint garnered about three million views in just a single day.
The July 4th sobriety checkpoint video shows Kalbaugh cracking his window to speak with Tennessee Deputy A.J. Ross. During the video the law enforcement officer can be heard saying Kalbaugh is “perfectly innocent and he knows his rights.” Knowing your rights and being able to freely exercise them are apparently two entirely different things when it comes to DUI checkpoints. If Kalbaugh had exhibited even the smallest sign that he was driving drunk, the deputy would have been entirely justified in detaining and searching the vehicle, but that was just not the case – according to the on-scene video.
The 21-year-old Tennessee resident felt he had rolled his car window down enough to easily converse with Deputy A.J. Ross, but the law enforcement officer apparently did not agree. When told to roll the window down further, Kalbaugh responds that his cracked window is fine as is because he can hear the deputy clearly. Deputy Ross is heard asking Kalbaugh how old he is, but walks away without waiting for an answer. When he returns from asking the unnecessary question, Kalbaugh is instructed to pull his vehicle over on the side of the road.
Deputy A.J. Ross does not answer (according to video footage) when Kalbaugh repeatedly asks if he is being detained. The Tennessee law enforcement officer’s only response to the reasonable question is to tell Kalbaugh to either pull his car over to the side of the road or exit the vehicle.
Kalbaugh had this to say about the 4th of July DUI checkpoint experience:
“After he keeps using intimidation to get me to do what he wants, all the officers surround my vehicle like I’m a criminal. All this because my window was not lowered enough to his preference. I broke no laws whatsoever. On a day that we are supposed to be celebrating freedom and liberty.”
The Tennessee man also stated that Deputy A.J. Ross asked if he was an attorney and if he knew what the law pertaining to checkpoints was. Kalbaugh reportedly told the deputy that he did know the law, and stated that the rules state drivers have to stop, and he did.
Kalbaugh also had this to say during his exchanged with Deputy Ross:
“That is all. I’m not required to answer any questions. I have Constitutional freedom to travel without being randomly stopped and questioned.”
The 21-year-old man maintains that he was ultimately asked to present his identification, or “papers” as liberals so livid over border control security would put it. Illegal immigration identification proposals require that police officers wait until an individual has been detained for a possible violation or identified as a suspect before requesting ID, but not so with DUI checkpoints. Simply driving down the road during a holiday weekend or during a planned enforcement effort is all the justification necessary to force law-abiding Americans to stop, answer questions, and show photo identification.
Kalbaugh also maintains that the Tennessee deputy asked if he could search the vehicle. The Constitution-loving citizen would not utter such consent, so a K-9 officer was sent to sniff around the car. Kalbaugh, like others who have voiced opposition to DUI checkpoint policies, claims that K-9 officers might be commanded to give false alerts in order to prompt a search of a vehicle’s interior.
The 21-year-old Tennessee man feels that such an order was given during his 4th of July DUI checkpoint stop. Kalbuagh appears to feel that when a K-9 handler tells a dog to “check here” the canine officer begins scratching, giving the basis necessary to search inside a car. Police dogs are extremely well trained, and the vast majority of America’s police force is comprised of folks with ample integrity. As we all know though, there are bad priests and bad teachers, so it is feasible that there are disreputable police officers as well. Such a scenario is upsetting and difficult, yet not impossible, to believe..
A second deputy at the Tennessee 4th of July DUI checkpoint reportedly stated that the K-9 unit’s alert wasn’t “very good.” The man is shown shining his flashlight on Kalbaugh’s camera, noting to Deputy A.J. Ross that the device was recording. The video of Kalbuagh’s DUI checkpoint stop went viral after it was posted to the Libertarian Republic website.
Libertarian Party of Tennessee Communications Director Axl David has this to say about the video:
“We’ve gotten worldwide response for this. I watched the video when he uploaded it, and my blood boiled. I think that’s why it went viral.”
David went on to note that the Libertarian group is not anti-police but will expose any abuse of the Constitution. Rutherford County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Lisa Marchesoni stated that the 4th of July DUI checkpoint incident is being reviewed to determine if any procedure or policy violations occurred.
DUI checkpoints have become so commonplace that many do not even stop to consider the Constitutional violations involved with detaining and questioning and American citizen without just cause. Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day, even during routine traffic stops. The angst directed at Deputy Ross’s actions should not diminish the respect due to these brave men and women. Police officers are obviously placed in a difficult position when given an unconstitutional order. It is up to the average citizen to respectfully decline to follow such dictates and to put pressure on elected officials to change DUI checkpoint policies.