Murfreesboro, TN- A video of an altercation between a Tennessee college student and police officer at a DUI checkpoint on the Fourth of July as gone viral and are raising questions about the officer’s present and past behavior.
The video, which was uploaded to YouTube on July 4th by the Tennessee Libertarian Party, shows Chris Kalbaugh, 21, arguing with veteran sheriff’s Deputy A.J. Ross.
The video shows Rutherford County Deputies stopping Kaulbaugh at one of the many DUI checkpoints set up across the country on the Fourth of July.
Things between Kaulbaugh begin to escalate immediately when Deputy Ross asks him to roll down his window. The young man refuses, saying the level he has it “is fine.” Kaulbaugh says in text which scrolls over the YouTube video, “It was perfectly within the law for me to have my window rolled down this much. We could hear each other perfectly.”
Deputy Ross is angered by Kaulbaugh’s defiance and then instructs him to pull over. Ross then instruct Kaulbaugh to exit his vehicle and has it searched by drug sniffing dogs.
Kaulbaughs’ video states that if a K-9 hits on your vehicle police can search your vehicle without your consent. Kaulbaugh also states that the K-9 officer directs the drug to “hit” his vehicle so police can search it.
Officers searched Kaulbaugh’s vehicle but find no drugs. He was released with no citations.
The video quickly went viral and inspired others to film altercations with police officers. Axl David, the communications director for the Tennessee Libertarian Party, said the event was orchestrated, we assume to show that law enforcement officers knowingly and willingly violate drivers’ constitutional rights.
After the video went viral, garnering over 2 million views, many began to question Deputy Ross’ behavior. But a Tennessee attorney says Ross did not do anything wrong, “When he says, ‘This is fine,’ and he doesn’t have to lower it any further, right there at that point, the officer is permitted to escalate the degree of confrontation with the citizen. The officer can ask him to roll the window down or pull the car over,” attorney David Raybin explained to KLTV.
The constitutionality of sobriety and drug checkpoints has been challenged more than once. In the 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that sobriety checkpoints were constitutional and did not violate a person’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rights. At that time the court specifically addressed the constitutionality of the checkpoints themselves and “not detention of particular motorists for more extensive field sobriety testing,” which they said would “require satisfaction of an individualized suspicion standard,” the New York Times reported.
DUI checkpoints are common during holiday weekends, and are prevalent during the Fourth of July weekend since it is the most deadly day on American roads thanks to the ridiculously high number of drunken drivers on the road. While the Tennessee Libertarian Party sees these sobriety checkpoints as an affront to their civil liberties, others consider these checkpoints necessary to keep the roads safe.