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The Rutherford Institute: Drivers Beware: The Deadly Perils of Traffic Stops in the American Police State

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By John W. Whitehead
May 13, 2019

“The Fourth Amendment was designed to stand between us and arbitrary governmental authority. For all practical purposes, that shield has been shattered, leaving our liberty and personal integrity subject to the whim of every cop on the beat, trooper on the highway and jail official. The framers would be appalled.”—Herman Schwartz, The Nation

We’ve all been there before.

You’re driving along and you see a pair of flashing blue lights in your rearview mirror. Whether or not you’ve done anything wrong, you get a sinking feeling in your stomach.

You’ve read enough news stories, seen enough headlines, and lived in the American police state long enough to be anxious about any encounter with a cop that takes place on the side of the road.

For better or worse, from the moment you’re pulled over, you’re at the mercy of law enforcement officers who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to “serve and protect.”

This is what I call “blank check policing,” in which the police get to call all of the shots.

So if you’re nervous about traffic stops, you have every reason to be.  More

Freedom Watch • A Year in Prison for Criticizing Police; Police Kill Unarmed Naked Teen; Flashing Headlights To Warn Drivers MIGHT Be Protected Speech

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The Rutherford Institute

Your tax-deductible donations support The Rutherford Institute’s ongoing efforts to make the government play by the rules of the Constitution.

MAY 11, 2019

WHITEHEAD: ON THE ISSUES

D Is for a Dictatorship Disguised as a Democracy

Predator Cops, Guilty of Sex Crimes Against Women and Children, Are a Menace to Society

The Essence of Evil: Sex with Children Has Become Big Business in America

RUTHERFORD: ON THE FRONT LINES

Man Faces a Year in Prison for Criticizing Police

Gov’t Officials Arrest Disabled Veteran for Buying Canned Iced Tea, Bug Spray

Napping Not Allowed: Ban on Sleeping in Cars Could Allow Police to Seize Car Occupants, Vehicles and Carry Out Warrantless Searches

SUPPORT THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM: DONATE TODAY

IN THE COURTS

The Supreme Court’s Majority Defends the Death Penalty

Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Gun Questions During Traffic Stops

Federal Judge Sides With Federal Government, Rules Mass Surveillance Can Remain Secret

Massachusetts Judge Says ATF Can Apply A Suspect’s Fingerprints To Unlock An IPhone

Federal Judge Says Flashing Headlights To Warn Drivers Of Hidden Cops MIGHT Be Protected Speech

PODCAST: FREEDOM UNDER FIRE

Freedom Under Fire is a free weekly podcast available on SoundCloud and iTunes.

Predator Cops Are a Menace to Society

The Essence of Evil: Sex with Children Has Become Big Business in America

Podcast Archive

VODCAST: ON TARGET

Vigilantes with a Badge: Warrior Cops Endanger Our Lives and Freedoms

TRI GIFT SHOP

Speak truth to power with these wardrobe staples and support The Rutherford Institute’s critical work while you’re at it!

T-SHIRT: The Rutherford Institute Classic Resistance
T-SHIRT: “Speak Truth to Power”

MUG: “Time to Wake Up!”
MUG: “Make American Free Again”

BOOK: Battlefield America: The War on the American People (Autographed by John W. Whitehead)

AMERICAN POLICE STATE

WATCH: Woman Goes Off on Montana Cops who Walked in Her Home Without a Warrant

Police In Oklahoma Kill Unarmed Naked Teen

Victims Say Domestic Abuse by Police Officers Goes Unpunished

The Growth of the American Police State

AMERICA AT WAR

US and China Account for Almost Half of World’s Military Spending

BEHIND BARS

John Kelly Joins Board of Company Operating Largest Shelter for Unaccompanied Migrant Children

People in Alabama Prisons Are Shackled to Buckets for Days on End

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NATIONAL SECURITY

US Searches of Phones, Laptops at Airports Rising

Monthly Arrests at U.S.-Mexico Border Top 100,000

GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION

Police Officers Outran Misconduct, Felonies and Became Police Chiefs

Former Cop Sentenced to 9 Years for Selling Drugs Stolen by Corrupt Police Squad

WAR ON KIDS, FAMILY

Mother Arrested for Letting Child Take Lyft to School

A 9-Year-Old Boy Was Handcuffed. How Many Other Children Have Been?

After a False Accusation, Police and Child Services Forced a Family Apart for 7 Months

Man Who Kept Girl In Dog Cage, Sexually Assaulted Her Won’t Serve Prison Time

You Apparently Can’t Win A Drug War Without Sexually Abusing Kids And Murdering Parents

Arizona’s Department Of Child Safety Has A Pattern Of Sending SWAT Teams For ‘Medical Kidnapping’

SURVEILLANCE & PRIVACY

Amazon’s Facial-Recognition Technology Is Supercharging Local Police

Uber To Track Drivers And Passengers In Real-Time Using RapidSOS App

FREE SPEECH

Facebook Bans Far-Right Leaders for Being ‘Dangerous’

Offended By What Someone Said? Now You Can Report Them To Law Enforcement

Florida Man Arrested After Refusing to Remove Obscene Sticker From Window

TECHNOLOGY

Robots Edge Closer to Unloading Trucks in Amazon-Era Milestone

ECONOMY

Wealthy Elites Freak Out As Homeless Hordes Take Over West Coast Neighborhoods

RESISTANCE

Family Separation Protests Surveilled by Private Firm for DHS

AMERICAN POLICE STATE

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The Rutherford Institute

AMERICAN POLICE STATE

Risk of Police-Involved Death by Race/Ethnicity and Place

Inked With a Skull in a Cowboy Hat, L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Describes Exclusive Society of Lawmen at California Station

Former Deputy Who Made Child Porn Gets Probation Instead Of Prison Time

Salem Police: Deputy Stole Guns From Dead Man’s Home While on Duty

Policeman Confronts Reporter For Taking Photos of Him Detaining Homeless Man

Police Called Multiple Times on Girl Selling Homemade Cookies

Family Begs For Answers After Veteran Dies In Police Custody—Claim His Organs Are Missing

Cincinnati Police Use Taser on 11-Year-Old Girl Accused of Stealing From Supermarket

Cops Go To Wrong House, Kill Innocent Man, Receive A Free Pass From Local Grand Jury

Girl, 11, Shocked With Police Taser at Cincinnati Kroger

WATCH: Cop Attacks Handcuffed, Blindfolded Man for No Reason, Injuring Him—Not Guilty

State Police Testing Saliva Swab to Catch Stoned Drivers

Arkansas Officer Fired After Telling Group of Black Men They ‘Don’t Belong’ in His City

OVERCRIMINALIZATION

80-Year-Old Grandma Thrown in Jail For Smoking Pot In Her Own Home to Treat Her Arthritis

Dear America: What the hell happened to us?

5 Comments

Marti Oakley

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“Our government has done more to harm us than any supposed terrorists could have done. They have and are taking our freedom away a day at a time. We are now under constant surveillance and spied on by government agencies. We cannot write an email, text a friend, drive down the road, board a plane, talk on our phones or even shop without our messages being intercepted and logged, our calls being recorded, our license plates being scanned, our face    being photographed and our fingerprints and dna collected at every conceivable opportunity.  So who is it that the government is really afraid of? Some supposed terrorist “over there”,…..or…YOU?”

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The View from a Political Atheist

After years of writing about the egregious conduct of the federal and state governments, and, after watching the public sitting idly by while our rights are violated especially under this bogus “war on terror”, I have to wonder what happened to us? Maybe the better question is….what happened to so many of you? When did you lose your sense of who you are and where you come from, and what that should represent? Why are so many so quick to label those who are sounding the alarms that something has gone terribly wrong, as being “conspiracy theorists?” Or maybe, leftists, or neo-cons, communists, etc… These labels and others like them serve no purpose but to keep us divided and warring amongst our selves while those orchestrating our demise continue their insidious work. In the end, they all coalesce into the same group. That political divide that so many of us love to argue, is an illusion.

As a political atheist, I firmly believe that if a politician’s lips are moving and sound is coming out…there is a good chance they are lying to us.

We are the terrorists we fear More

A Week in the Life of the American Police State

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speak

By John W. Whitehead

June 20, 2016

This commentary is also
available at www.rutherford.org.

“Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public purse.”—Adlai Stevenson, 23rd Vice President of the United States

If you’ve been caught up in the circus that is the presidential election, you’ve likely missed the latest news about all the ways in which the government continues to erode our freedoms, undermine our sovereignty, abuse our trust, invade our homes, invade our privacy, destroy our property, hijack our bank accounts, and generally render itself above the law.

Then again, this is all par for the course from a militaristic government that is armed to the teeth, wages war against its own people, imprisons its citizens for profit, marches in lockstep with the corporate elite, and treats human beings as little more than cattle to be branded, bought, sold and butchered.

The following incidents constitute a typical week in the life of the American police state.

Not content with merely spying on our emails and phone calls, the NSA wants to spy on thermostats, refrigerators, and pacemakers.

Reinforcing fears about how easily surveillance technology can be abused by government officials, local police in California are using money acquired through asset forfeiture to buy surveillance equipment that was then used to blackmail city council members.

Small-town police departments continue to militarize their forces, acquiring military equipment such as BearCat armored vehicles and SWAT teams at an alarming rate.

According to the Government Accountability Office, the majority of people in the government’s criminal face-recognition database have never committed a crime.

The private prison business is booming, signaling a profitable windfall for investors and a death knell for any American unfortunate enough to run afoul of the many laws criminalizing otherwise legitimate behavior such as growing a garden on one’s front lawn or hosting a Bible study in one’s backyard. More

Prisons Without Walls: We’re All Inmates in the American Police State

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By John W. Whitehead
June 15, 2015

This commentary is also available at www.rutherford.org.
“It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison and yet not free—to be under no physical constraint and yet be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national state, or of some private interest within the nation wants him to think, feel and act. . . . To him the walls of his prison are invisible and he believes himself to be free.”—Aldous Huxley, A Brave New World Revisited

“Free worlders” is prison slang for those who are not incarcerated behind prison walls. Supposedly, those fortunate souls live in the “free world.” However, appearances can be deceiving.

“As I got closer to retiring from the Federal Bureau of Prisons,” writes former prison employee Marlon

ABOUT JOHN WHITEHEAD  Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at www.amazon.com. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

ABOUT JOHN WHITEHEAD
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at http://www.amazon.com. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

Brock, “it began to dawn on me that the security practices we used in the prison system were being implemented outside those walls.” In fact, if Brock is right, then we “free worlders” do live in a prison—albeit, one without visible walls.

In federal prisons, cameras are everywhere in order to maintain “security” and keep track of the prisoners. Likewise, the “free world” is populated with video surveillance and tracking devices. From surveillance cameras in stores and street corners to license plate readers (with the ability to log some 1,800 license plates per hour) on police cars, our movements are being tracked virtually everywhere. With this increasing use of iris scanners and facial recognition software—which drones are equipped with—there would seem to be nowhere to hide.

Detection and confiscation of weapons (or whatever the warden deems “dangerous”) in prison is routine. The inmates must be disarmed. Pat downs, checkpoints, and random searches are second nature in ferreting out contraband.

Sound familiar?

Metal detectors are now in virtually all government buildings. There are the TSA scanning devices and metal detectors we all have to go through in airports. Police road blocks and checkpoints are used to perform warrantless searches for contraband. Those searched at road blocks can be searched for contraband regardless of their objections—just like in prison. And there are federal road blocks on American roads in the southwestern United States. Many of them are permanent and located up to 100 miles from the border.

Stop and frisk searches are taking place daily across the country. Some of them even involve anal and/or vaginal searches. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has approved strip searches even if you are arrested for a misdemeanor—such as a traffic stop. Just like a prison inmate.

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