by Rick Gee
Newman of Ferrum, Virginia is my newest hero. After you watch
these videos, she may become your hero too.
September 12, 2000, Ms. Newman was traveling along Virginia 40, minding
her own business, when a state police officer motioned for her to pull
over. Had Ms. Newman been speeding? Was she weaving around after a night
of cocktails? Was she a victim of racial profiling? No, she was pulled
over for a routine ďlicense and registration checkpoint.Ē
she had done nothing wrong, and was being stopped for no good reason, Abby
Newman was in no mood to cooperate with the police.
Who are you? What is your name? I need to know who you are.
No, you donít.
Yes, maíam, I do.
Iím not speeding. Iím not intoxicated. I have given you no reason to
stop me, and this irritates me. And I would be very happy to go into town
and talk to the supervisor, because laws cannot be passedó
Maíam, I would be glad to give you my supervisorís name and phone
number, but first I have to know who you are.
That is insufficient. You do not have to know who I am.
cop must have been utterly flabbergasted at the insolence of this
particular serf, because at this point he reaches inside Newmanís car
and opens the door.)
Sir, you cannot, you cannotó
Step out of the vehicle.
No sir. You cannot reach into this vehicle.
Sure I can. I have to know who you are.
do you think he wants to know who she is? The suspense is killing him.)
You do not.
I must know who you are before you can go down the road.
I have not broken any laws.
this point, Cop #2 comes over, probably thinking, ďWhatís the hold-up
here? I have a very important appointment at Krispy Kreme!Ē)
I have not accused you of breaking any laws, maíam.
yet he hasnít. Just give him a minute; heíll come up with something.)
You just reached in my vehicle and opened this door.
I have no idea who you are. You may be wanted in ten states for all I
know, OK? I need to know who you are. Do you have a driverís license?
Officer Vic here feels no compunction whatever in assuming the worst about
It just occurred to me that you have no probable cause.
cause? Where do you think this is, lady? America?)
Shut the ignition off.
Turn your car off for me.
Because Iím asking you to turn the car off. Turn the car off.
sound like heís asking to me. Sounds more like a direct order.)
Are you going to give me your driverís license? Youíre not going to
give me your driverís license?
OK, do you realize youíre obstructing justice?
justice? Isnít that what Slick Willie did? This woman is just sitting in
her car, standing up for herself.)
Iím on the side of the road and Iím not doing any such thing. You
asked me to pull overó
Youíre obstructing justice.
Yes maíam. And I donít know who you are.
dogged pursuit of the identity of this dangerous criminal continues
You donít need to know who I am.
Yes maíam, I do.
I donít know who you are,
Step out of the car for me.
I am trooper Mike Boylan with the Virginia State Police.
to go, Mike. Sheís sure to crack now!)
You are violating my United States constitutional rights. No matter what
the laws in the state of Virginia have to say, they cannot usurp that. Any
laws that go contrary to the United States constitution are null and void,
and I do not have to submit to them. I am not intoxicated. You have
already stated you donít know who I am, so thereforeó
oh, Mike. She sounds pretty smart: ďusurpĒ and ďnull and void.Ē
She must be a lawyer or something.)
Thatís the whole point: I donít know who you are. I told you who I am,
the way, Mike. You tell her whoís boss.)
This is an approved checking detail site.
you feel safer knowing that the cops are meticulously checking details of
license and registration instead of, oh I donít know, hunting down real
Are you gonna tell me who you are?
Youíre not gonna tell me who you are?
isnít it obvious at this point that she has no intention of telling you
her name? Maybe if you ask her another 16 times, sheíll tell you
everything: her name, her measurements, where Jimmy Hoffa is buried. If
that doesnít work, maybe you can haul her downtown and put her under the
hot lights, submit her to Chinese water torture, or better yet, take off
her shoes [ďI need you to take off your shoes. Are you gonna take off
your shoes?Ē] and give her forty lashes with the bastinado.)
You have not charged me with anything. You have not told me Iíve done
anything wrong, and I do not owe you that, sir, because I donít serve you;
you serve me. And I think
you and your bosses and everybody else who writes the laws have forgotten
I told you, my bosses donít write the laws, we simply enforce the law,
Mike, take out your gun and show her youíre not fucking around.)
Even if theyíre wrong?
Is that worth debating here on the side of the road?
Mike, you forgot to ask her what her name is.)
Yes sir, it is, because when you take one, you take another, you take
another, and before you know it, we canít go anywhere without our
papers, and thatís what this is: ďMay I see your papers please? You
canít travel down this road, maíam, unless you show me your papers
please.Ē Thatís what this is.
Step out of the car for me.
ďpretty pleaseĒ Mike.)
Step out of the car for me.
I do not have to obey you. Iíve not broken any laws.
Iím asking you to step out of the vehicle for me.
is so patient and polite!)
And Iím saying Iím not going to step out of my vehicle. Youíve
already told me the stickers are in order. I wasnít traveling, and under
speed. Iíve done nothing wrong, and this is absolutely wrong.
Do you have your driverís license with you?
has grown weary of Ms. Newmanís stalling tactics. He also has an
appointment at Krispy Kreme. He and Cop #2 decide to give up on persuasion
and resort to force.)
Donít reach inside my vehicle.
Iím going to place you under arrest for obstructing justice.
What am I obstructing, sir? SIR!
Step out of the car for me. Step out of the car for me.
You are physically forcing me out of myóno sir, donít you touch any of
my personal belongings in this car. Youíre right Iíve recorded this
conversation. Yes I did.
I did not resist.
#2: Iíll get the car.
to hell with the Constitution, officer. Go ahead and search that car. No
need for a warrant, or even probable cause.)
Donít you take one single item out of my vehicle, sir. (To Cop): Iím
not fighting you.
Youíre under arrest for resisting arrest, obstruction of justice and
assaulting a police officer.
I did not assault you.
when Ms. Newman is presumably handcuffed and in the squad car, our
keystone cops engage in an illegal search of the car.)
Would you say I did anything wrong?
course not, Mike. You are a veritable paragon of virtue.)
I mean, sheís gotta present me a driverís license.
#2: Yep. Sheís got to.
Adam-12 duo continues to rifle the car, looking for something with which
they may trump up some additional charges, no doubt.)
Strategies of Submarine Warfare, Hidden Agenda.
#2: Man, sheís into this weird crap.
itís really scary. She sounds like the type who would read Clancy!)
Ruthless.com, The Bear and the Dragon, Patriot Games Ö Well, I better
get a record started.
#2: Do you wanna ask her, or Ö
Iíll just write down she invoked her right to remain silent, even though
she donít believe in our laws.
had no idea that the verb ďto doĒ was so difficult to conjugate,
especially for a smart cop like you, Mike. Thatís OK. You doesnít need
to know how to speak proper when you have that gun to do the talking for
we need any further proof that the Constitution is dead in this country?
The Fourth Amendment states ďThe right of the people to be secure in
their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches
and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon
probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly
describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be
Newman was very much aware of her constitutional rights on that September
evening. Furthermore, she was willing to take a stand for those rights.
Clearly, the search of her car was unreasonable; the cops had no warrant,
nor did they have probable cause.
up a checkpoint where citizens are pulled over at random and harassed is a
violation in itself. Usually they are set up under the guise of removing
drunk drivers from the highways. How can these checkpoints be legal?
Simple: the Supreme Court of the United States says so. In Michigan State
Department of Police v. Sitz (1990), SCOTUS ruled that ďIn sum, the
balance of the State's interest in preventing drunken driving, the extent
to which this system can reasonably be said to advance that interest, and
the degree of intrusion upon individual motorists who are briefly stopped,
weighs in favor of the state program. We therefore hold that it is
consistent with the Fourth Amendment.Ē
just because the Supreme Court issues such an opinion doesnít make it
right, or even constitutional. Remember, judges, even the top nine judges
in the land, are merely lawyer-politicians in black robes and are an
integral cog in the wheel of the state apparatus. We should not be
surprised when the Supreme Court rules in favor of another branch of
government and against the interests of individual liberty.
checkpoints have no place in a free society. And what is the compelling
State interest in making sure that randomly detained drivers have their
license and registration in their possession? Whether the checkpoint is a
DUI checkpoint or a detail checkpoint, the result is the same: the
individual loses his liberty, and the state grows ever more tyrannical.
In the interest of justifying such harassment, politicians and their statist supporters typically fall back on the mantra of the nanny state: we are here to protect you and provide you with security. Once again, they ignore the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin, who taught us ďthey that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ultimately, the protection that the state purports to provide is an illusion, and the dupes among us end up trading their liberty for a handful of air. Count me among those who wish to retain their liberty.
August 17, 2001
|Rick Gee writes a monthly column entitled ďOn LibertyĒ for The Valley News in Santa Fe, New Mexico.|
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