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Texas cops now violating the law to detain motorists suspected of NOT violating the law

Probable cause

(NaturalNews) One of the guiding legal principles in America is that in order for you to be detained for almost any reason by an officer of the law, there must be "probable cause" for you to be stopped and held against your will.

As defined by Law.com, probable cause is when an officer of the law has "sufficient reason based upon known facts to believe a crime has been committed or that certain property is connected with a crime." There is a subjective element to probable cause as well, but detaining someone when no element of probable cause exists is not legally acceptable.

Someone should tell police officers in Lakeview, Texas, to review their probable cause definitions.

As reported by The Daily Sheeple and local media, police there are actually pulling motorists over to praise them for doing the right things and not breaking any laws.

The Baxter Bulletin reported that under the new program, Lakeview Police give out give certificates to places like Starbucks and other businesses.

"We are conducting a 'Doing it Right Safe Driving Campaign. We look for people wearing their seat belts, obeying the speed limit and all the traffic laws," Police Chief David Hotchkiss recently told a driver and her passenger whom he witnessed breaking no traffic laws. "You were doing the right thing so we want to give you this Starbucks gift certificate."

What can go wrong with this?

And while that may sound like a wonderful, trust-building gesture, the traffic stop did not come free, so to speak.

Prior to stopping, the chief essentially invaded the couple's privacy, and again, with no probable cause:

"Hotchkiss pulled out and ran the license plate. The dispatcher informed him who owned the car and that everything checked out fine. Hotchkiss pulled the car over. The male passenger popped out of the car with his hands up in a joking manner. Then he asked what the driver had done wrong.

"The police chief told the passenger to get back in the car and he would explain things to them. Hotchkiss went to the female driver, collected her information, went back to his patrol vehicle and ran the information. The driver came back with a clean driving record and all her paperwork checked out just fine."

If you're going to pull someone over to "reward" them for "doing the right thing," what is the purpose of running all of their information, which is the same as treating drivers as if they were suspected of doing something wrong?

"Recently, we've seen a lot of negative things about the police," the chief said. "I just wanted to do something that let the community see us doing something good and let us look for drivers doing good things."

That is true, and his intentions are likely good and admirable. But that doesn't hide the fact that these stops and subsequent background checks might not stand up in court if a good trial lawyer were to get wind of what's going on.

Endangers police as well

As The Daily Sheeple further reported:

"The confused and anxious motorists are not told the purpose of the traffic stop until the officer returns with the surprise gift – which is actually a species of Trojan Horse that permits the officer to sneak a peek at the driver's record without a legally valid reason. ...

"There is no such thing as an innocuous contact between a citizen and a police officer, especially when that contact involves a demand for identification and scrutiny of the citizen's background. In every contact with a citizen, a police officer treats the latter as a potential suspect and a threat to 'officer safety.'"

In fact, this additional contact with the public could actually put officers' lives in danger in ways that they otherwise would not have had to deal with. That helps explain why officers run plates and check license information when they make their public relations stops, but again, the fact that people are being stopped for not doing something wrong will present a legal problem for this police department that they may not be able to defend in court at some point.





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