I've posted in the recent past about the spread of a disturbing new tactic in MADD's "War on Drunk Driving": the forcible withdrawal of blood from citizens suspected of DUI — a practice which has actually been endorsed by the U.S. Supreme Court. See, for example, Taking Blood By Force, Forced Blood Draws by Cops Spreading, Blood Draws in the Back Seat by the Dashboard Light, DUI Suspect Resisting Forced Blood Draw Is Tasered and Dies, Forced Blood Draws: Citizen Backlash? and, in the case of forced urine extraction, Catheter Forced Up Penis After DUI Arrest. Included in one post was a link to a frightening video of the procedure in action. See Forced Blood Draws: A Video.
The following is an editorial addressing this practice and the video:
Suspected Drunk Drivers Strapped to Torture Tables by Police in Guantanamo-Style Blood Draw
Sunday, July 12 — If you've been thinking lately that America doesn't resemble the country your parents grew up in, you're right – it doesn't, because it isn't. In fact, America has changed dramatically since the 1950s and 1960s, and not for the better in terms of your rights under the "law" and the Constitution.
Nowhere is this more evident than in cases involving drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Granted, driving under the influence is most certainly dangerous and cops ought to be given the tools to protect us against those who abuse their driving privilege in this manner. But the issue has become so hyper-politicized in recent years that now police are using extra-constitutional techniques in order to determine whether someone has been driving under the influence, all with the blessing of the U.S. Supreme Court.
This blatant Fourth Amendment violation is epitomized in a shocking video recently released online showing police in Georgia strapping down American citizens who have only been accused of driving drunk before using a needle to forcibly draw blood from them.
In this video, which was broadcast on Atlanta's Fox affiliate, one suspect can be heard saying, "What country is this?"
"We all are American citizens and you guys have me strapped to a table like I'm in Guantanamo f***ing Bay," complains another suspect, regarding the forced blood draw.
The policy of police obtaining a warrant to draw blood from those merely suspected of being drunk at a DUI checkpoint or a routine traffic stop has been in place for years across many states, but to actually see it in action is disturbing.
The clip shows individuals being strapped down on a padded table at the Gwinnett County jail. Even those who show no resistance whatsoever are forcibly restrained and have their heads pressed down by an officer using his elbow.
The man who is screaming, "What country is this?" has been identified as Mike Choroski. He is seen protesting as officers forcibly hold him down in order to obtain the sample without his prior consent. Infowars.com reports that he is still awaiting trial; Choroski claims he is not guilty and that there was no accident involving his vehicle.
"I'm a taxpaying American who refused something….I refused to do this….what happened to me in that room was unnecessary and nobody should have to do that," Choroski said.
David Boyle, an attorney, said during an interview with Fox 5 Atlanta that such forced blood draws actually constitutes an "unreasonable search," as in Fourth Amendment.
"Holding down and forcing somebody to submit to this is really intrusive in terms of that level of invasive procedure into someone's body is ridiculous for investigating a misdemeanor," Boyle said in the interview.
The report says cops do first obtain a search warrant, but like Boyle says, they nonetheless force citizens to comply with what is very much an invasive procedure. And, as Infowars.com points out, the threshold for obtaining such a warrant is low:
Despite the fact that citizens can lose their driver's license for a year if they refuse a standard breathalyzer test, cops can then get a warrant to forcibly draw blood, 'for every DUI stop, even if there's no accident or injury.'"
Since January, police in Gwinnett County, Ga. have conducted in excess of 100 forced blood draws – a practice that, until now, was not very widely known (unless you happened to be one of the unfortunate souls who were arrested for DUI in Georgia).
"I'm stunned, I did not know that this was legal, I did not know they could take your blood without your consent," a Fox 5 anchor said in response to the clip, further stating that the process indeed appeared to be a Fourth Amendment violation.
According to reports, Georgia, by far, is not the only state that enforces so-called "no refusal" DUI checkpoints, where cops can forcibly draw blood. That's because in 2005 the nation's highest court ruled, astonishingly, that it is not unconstitutional for states to forcibly hold down citizens and obtain blood samples.
In January 2013, another Supreme Court ruling affirmed that a warrant must first be obtained in order to take the blood sample, but that in an "emergency" police could bypass the warrant requirement.
The "emergency" authorizing the bypass of a search warrant is that the blood-alcohol level may become lower if a warrant has to be obtained — which is possible in all cases (as it is true that the level may actually increase). Warrants, incidentally, are usually obtained very quickly — essentially automatically — by telephone.
(Thanks to Joe.)