“It is time to abandon the pretense that state citizenship is a permissible basis upon which to justify the detention and search of out-of-state motorists, and time to stop the practice of detention of motorists for nothing more than an out-of-state license plate,” Judge Carlos Lucero states.
It is a common practice for the police to stop and search vehicles even before a reasonable cause can be established. Black people suffer such harassment the most. Presumption of innocence means nothing to American law enforcement, as they freely violate the rights of citizens to privacy.
Most often, patrol cars have stopped and searched vehicles from out of state. It is a very common practice on highways linking states, and it targets drivers whose vehicles’ license plates are issued by states with high crime rates. Cops stop these motorists and search them without any justification for the charge.
Following a December 2011 incidence on Interstate 70, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has passed a verdict on the matter. Two highway police officers pulled over Peter Vasquez who was driving alone at night on interstate 70 and conducted a search on him.
It was clear that what warranted the search by the officers was the fact he was coming from a place that was well noted for dealing in drugs. The aggrieved and embarrassed man filled a lawsuit against the cops. Although a lower court dismissed the case in November 2014, an Appeal court took it up and passed judgment on the case.
The Federal appeal court’s ruling creates a very good precedent; it is one of many steps that should be taken to restrict the way police bend and twist the rules to serve their agenda. Illegal stops like these disproportionately target Black people. Because by most police departments, Black people are considered to have a higher risk of committing a crime.
This verdict indeed comes as good news as it is going to curtail the police’s abuse of power. We fully support the decision by the appeal court. How long will the police violate our rights with impunity? This can’t continue. Police officers are vested with enormous authority, and so they must be very restricted in how they exercise their authority. America is not a police state, citizens have rights, and it is the time the police start to respect those rights.
Source: The Huffington Post
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