Monday, June 23, 2008

4th Amendment Trampled in DC - Illegal Police Checkpoint

***UPDATE - This incident occurred in DC Ward One, represented by Jim Graham. If you live here, please email him to ensure that he sees this video at: jim at grahamwone dot com. My email to Jim is at the bottom of the description. For more info about your Police District, city council representative, and other places to lodge complaints, go to ***

This video was shot on the afternoon of June 20, 2008 at the corner of Warder St NW and Princeton Pl NW very close to my house.


We have only the rights we are willing to fight for.

Police checkpoints like this are illegal and in direct violation of the 4th amendment, which is meant to protect us from "unreasonable searches and seizures" without "probably cause."

Mayor Fenty, DC Attorney General Peter Nickles (living in an estate in Virginia) and MPD are using the recent murders as an excuse to shut down our neighborhoods.

This is what the start of a police state looks like.

This is part of the fascist shift this country is experiencing.

Here are three ways to fight back:


You do not have to talk to the police. Police often act as if citizens are required to speak to them. You don't! If they question you, and you don't want to speak to them, simply tell them you have nothing to say. If they persist say, "I want to speak to a lawyer."

If stopped, ask them if you are being detained. If "yes," just say you don't want to say anything, except to a lawyer. If "no," tell them you're going about your business. Then do so.

DO NOT AGREE TO A SEARCH! On the street, they do not have the right to search you without a good reason. Police might anyway, but a lawyer may be able to have the results thrown out if you don't agree to the search. Same thing goes for in your car. DO NOT AGREE TO A SEARCH!

Record as much info as you safely can with any run in with police: date, time, location, names of witnesses, contact info, names of cops, badge numbers, everything.


We still have enough of a democracy here that your voice has value. I hope.

Call the Mayor's Office of Community Relations & Services at 202.442.8150. To reach your district department, call 311.

If you were stopped at a checkpoint, your car was searched, or you experienced an inconvenience due to the police, call the ANSWER Coalition, which is organizing a community and citywide response to the checkpoints and police misconduct. 202.544.3389 ext 14


This is one time that holding a sign can be very effective if carefully placed:



Music credits:
Both tracks used in this video are from Head Roc's album Negrophobia.
The first track, "Police Origin," features the voice of Jared Ball. The second track, "Tarzan," includes a conversation about "Cop Watch," which was the inspiration for this video.


Councilmember Graham,

I was appalled to hear that checkpoints were being put up randomly in DC neighborhoods and couldn't believe it until I saw it with my own eyes on my own street. When I did, I made the following video about it which expresses my concerns, and the concerns of others affected by this checkpoint.

I look forward to hearing what you plan on doing about this and if you will join us in resisting this trampling of our Constitution.


Adam Kokesh