How would you like to be going out for a nice dinner and then return home, only to be stuck going through a California DUI checkpoint in San Diego County?
San Diego DUI Law Center’s attorneys post the locations of these drunk driving roadblocks but sometimes the cops cheat and don’t announce the location.
Some folks in San Diego county don’t think that’s fair so they’re trying to level the playing field. Protesters stood on New Year’s Day along Valley Parkway,-warning drivers of a DUI checkpoint ahead. Of course, lawyers know the cops provide no required escape route.
San Diego county DUI checkpoints in Escondido are deservedly under fire. Thank goodness for the ACLU. American Civil Liberties Union has sent a letter to Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher asking him to stop his DUI officers from forcing protesters to move from freeway offramps.
Protester Matt Bologna shot video of an Escondido police officer approaching the group and saying, “What I’m just asking is that you guys go 500 feet from the freeway offramp.”
The ACLU said the protesters should not have had to move.
“It really is about free speech,” said Sarah Abshear of the ACLU. “The protesters were protesting on a public sidewalk and they were holding up signs. That’s really a fundamental part of the First Amendment.”
In the video, Bologna asked the officer whether the First Amendment applies anymore. The officer answers, “I’m just letting you know what the vehicle code says. I know you guys are doing a service.”
Abshear said the part of the vehicle code the officer was referring to doesn’t apply to protesters.
“It was meant to apply to people who are selling or vending things,” she said.
Bologna said the officer was polite, but he thinks police should not make protesters move.
“Personally, I’d like them to let us practice our First Amendment rights and end these invasive checkpoints,” said Bologna.
Maher said he wants to collect all the facts before saying anything more, but he did tell the North County Times, “If there is something we should do differently, we will do it differently. My concern is … they are going to cause a drunk driver to evade the checkpoint and end up seriously hurting themselves or an innocent victim.”
Ultimately, the protesters did obey the officer that night and moved.
Bologna said the protesters were warning drivers about the checkpoint because police had not put any signs about it.
However, Escondido police said there were in fact signs up that night.