Watch out for highway robbers in Tennessee. Not surprisingly, these robbers pack guns — and badges.
A recent video featured on ebaumsworld.com exposes law enforcement officers in the greater Nashville, TN, area. (NewsChannel 5 is the on-air and online branding for WTVF-TV in Nashville, so I’m assuming it’s local to that area.) These officers make several traffic stops and in some cases, either falsifying or not even giving a reason why the vehicle was stopped. They are searching vehicles and looking for one thing: cash. If they find enough of it, they are assuming it’s used in drug trafficking and keeping it.
Of course, regular readers already know my thoughts on drug prohibition (in a nutshell, it’s a failed policy). The only reason I even mention it here is that drug prohibition is being used as a flimsy excuse to commit robbery under the auspicies of law enforcement. I normally don’t deal in large amounts of cash when I can avoid it; I don’t think I’ve ever maxed out my ATM card’s daily cash withdrawal limit in my life. However, it’s something I would like to retain the right to do and I resent that someone carrying large amounts of money is being used to imply that same someone has to be a drug dealer. (For example, I know many sex toys cost in the $500 and up range and it is perfectly understandable to want to buy these with cash to preserve privacy.)
For those that are not aware of this, obviously, do not consent to a search of your vehicle without a search warrant; lock the doors behind you if asked to exit and do not surrender your keys, no matter what the officer says. This is the United States of America and we still have the Fourth Amendment in the Constitution prohibiting unreasonable search and seizure. Yes, declining a search may result in a traffic ticket once in a while, though from what I saw in the video, one can get stopped even if one has done nothing wrong (an injustice upon itself).
For more detailed info, I recommend checking out flexyourrights.org. This organization also sells two DVDs I recommend: “10 Rules For Dealing With Police” and “Busted: The Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters”.