DUI checkpoint video goes viral

DUI checkpoint video goes viral

Posted: Updated: July 6, 2013 5:43 AM CDT
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -

A driver recorded his stop during a DUI checkpoint in Rutherford County and uploaded the video to YouTube.  By Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after it was posted, it had more than 1.3 million views and 22,000 likes.

The driver, Chris Kalbaugh, wrote on his YouTube page that the DUI checkpoint happened in Murfreesboro on July 4, 2013 and the deputy told him "it is okay to take away my freedom."

In the video Kalbaugh approached the checkpoint with a camera recording from the passenger seat pointed toward the driver's side window.

A deputy, identified on the video as A.J. Ross, asks Kalbaugh, who is not identified on the video, to roll down his window. The window is partially rolled down and Kalbaugh tells the deputy, "This is fine sir."

The deputy responds," Why is that fine?"

Kalbaugh replies, "Because I can hear you."
 
The deputy then asks, "How old are you?"

Kalbaugh responds," Is that a required question to answer?"

The deputy tells the driver it is a required answer.

Kalbaugh tells the deputy he is 21 years old.  In video the deputy then tells the driver to pull over to the side of the road.

Kalbaugh then begins to ask the deputy repeatedly if he is being detained.  In the video the deputy does not tell the driver he is being detained, though he continues to tell him to pull over to the side of the road.

Then, when Kalbaugh continues to ask if he is being detained, the deputy says, "Okay, step on out."

Kalbaugh asks again, "So I am being detained?"

The deputy responds, "Either pull over to the side or you can step out right here. Which do you want?"

An image on the video says Kalbaugh's car was surrounded by officers and he felt intimidated to pull to the side of the road.

He pulled to the side of the road and a state trooper asked him to step out of the vehicle.

Kalbaugh gets out of his car and off camera he is asked if officers can search his vehicle. Kalbaugh indicates on an image in the video that he did not give consent.

A K9 officer then uses a police dog to smell the car for illegal substances. The dog alerts the officer to the driver's side door.

In an image in the video, Kalbaugh says the dog was alerted because of a command the officer gave, not because of an illegal substance in his car.

Two deputies then search the car.

In the video, Deputy Ross says to the other deputy, "He is perfectly innocent and he knows his rights.  He knows what the constitution says."

The other unidentified deputy says the dog gave, "not a very good alert."

Shortly after, the video shows one deputy finding the camera and taking it off the seat.

Kalbaugh ended the video with a series of images that said:

I was yelled at, bossed around, my car ransacked without my consent, had my rights taken away from me all because of my window. All while not being detained, I broke no laws.  Officer Ross told me that my Constitutional rights did not matter at checkpoints.
He said it is okay to take away Constitutional rights and civil liberties for reasons of safety.  He didn't even ask me if I had been drinking. This was a DUI Checkpoint.

The video ends with the statement, "Happy Fourth of July, America."

Kalbaugh lives in Murfreesboro and is a member of the Rutherford County Libertarian Party.

In a press release sent by The Libertarian Party of Tennessee, Kalbaugh said, "I broke no laws and I made sure to be respectful the entire time while still exercising my Constitutional freedom."

Kalbaugh continued to say, "I wanted to show that I was not impaired and to get the confrontation over with.  When I got out, he demanded my ID even though I didn't break any laws or traffic violations.  They also said they were going to search my vehicle because the drug dog 'hit' on the vehicle.  I don't do any drugs and I have never had any illegal substances in my car.  When the officers said that the drug dog hit on my car, I became furious because I knew that was impossible.  All of this happened because I did not want to lower my window all the way, which was completely legal."

Kalbaugh also added that his video was not made to be disrespectful towards law enforcement. 

"There are plenty of great cops in Tennessee that do not believe in going outside of the law to take away Constitutional freedom. Having rights is not disrespectful," he said.

Prominent Nashville criminal defense attorney Rob McKinney viewed the video. He told Nashville's News 2 the driver knew his rights well.

"I think it was a smart young man who wanted to prove a point that he knew his constitutional rights and he wanted to show how things are on the streets," McKinney said.

When asked if the Constitutional rights of the driver were violated, McKinney said, "Not from what I saw there."

McKinney said the driver's Constitutional rights in the video were not violated since officers have a right to ask drivers for their identification.  Plus, being detained is also within the officer's legal rights if it's for an investigative purposes.

As for the K9 unit, the officer can only enter the vehicle if the K9 officer detects an alert like drugs.  However, McKinney said it's tough to tell in the video if the dog actually detected something or if the handler manipulated to dog to do so.  Regardless, McKinney feels the video gives a motorists an idea what their rights are.

He said, "Your Constitutional rights are valid at the roadside just as well as walking down the street."

The Rutherford County Sheriff's Office is reviewing the video and investigating the matter.

"The Rutherford County Sheriff's Office is reviewing this incident," spokeswoman Lisa Marchesoni wrote in an email Friday afternoon. "We are looking into the matter to determine if there are any policy or procedure violations."

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