This is what happens when the Fourth Amendment no longer matters…
Nearly two dozen motorists in Aurora, Colorado had a nasty surprise last Saturday, when they were stopped at an interesction, made to put their hands out of the car windows by officers with riot shields, AR-15 rifles and shotguns, and then taken from their cars and children at gunpoint, handcuffed and then…asked if their cars could be searched.
AURORA, Colo. — Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates holds a news conference Monday afternoon in response to a controversial weekend incident where officers searching for a bank robber stopped dozens of cars, pulling drivers out at gunpoint.
Meanwhile, police released bank surveillance photos showing an armed and masked bank robber brandishing a handgun and gesturing toward people in the bank.
The unusual mass search of motorists happened Saturday afternoon after police said an armed man robbed a Wells Fargo bank at East Hampden Avenue and South Chambers Road.
Police tracked the fleeing robber to the intersection of East Iliff Avenue and South Buckley Road.
Responding officers barricaded the area, trapping about 25 cars near the intersection. Then, police went car by car and pulled out each occupant at gunpoint and handcuffed them.
“Cops came in from every direction and just threw their car in front of my car,” said Sonya Romero, who was one of the drivers handcuffed. “We all got cuffed until they figured out who did what.”
Ben Barker watched the ordeal and told 7NEWS police were armed with shotguns and rifles.
“We didn’t know if we were in the line of fire or what the hell was happening,” Romero said.
Eventually, police came to a white Ford Expedition and arrested the driver. Police have not released the suspect’s name.
Aurora police officer Frank Fania told ABC News that the police had no description of the bank robber and based on the “reliable” tip, a “split-second decision was made to stop all the cars at that intersection, and search for the armed robber”. The search took between an hour and a half and two hours. ‘Most of the adults were handcuffed, then were told what was going on and were asked for permission to search the car,’ Fania said. ‘They all granted permission, and once nothing was found in their cars, they were un-handcuffed.’
The guy who was arrested had two hanguns in the car.
Let’s take a look a look at something called the 4th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
The 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 seized.
In Aurora, the police had no probable cause, no writ and nothing to even describe who or what they where even searching for. The notion that people can “give permission” for their effects to be searched after they have been seized and handcuffed at gunpoint is tragically preposterous. This is, however, what now passes for law enforcement in this country. You can be stopped, arrested, seperated from your spouse and children and held at gunpoint all under the pretense that a criminal of unknown description might be found in your area.
This is how the Constitution is murdered.
Bonus legal analysis here from law professor Eugene Volkh, who thinks the guy who was arrested has a pretty strong case to have the evidence supressed, to say nothing of the civil rights violations lawsuits…