All Americans have a 4th Amendment right to be free of “unreasonable searches and seizures” — which is routinely violated by the TSA in our airports — but this doesn’t seem the least bit unreasonable.
The Wells Fargo at Chambers and Hampden was robbed just before closing time on Saturday. Shortly afterwards police shut down the intersection of Buckley and Iliff just southeast of the bank, corralling nearly two dozen cars in search for the suspect.Police Chief Daniel Oates on Monday apologized to the innocent bystanders that got caught up in the search for the suspect. Oates also said the ends justify the means since the suspect was caught.
The police are still apologizing for the inconvenience and trauma to all of the motorists caught up in the sweep, but insist that there was no question of the location of the suspect.
“We had a virtual certainty that the bank robber was in one of those cars,” Oates said.
Officers did find the suspect in one of the cars, and he will likely face bank robbery charges in federal court, Oates said. Investigators also found a beekeeper mask they say the man wore during the robbery as well as two pistols connected to the crime, he said.
…But now some of the motorists are raising questions as to whether their civil rights were violated with the mass detention. And adding insult to injury, the lawyer for the suspect is already claiming that his client initially refused the police demand to search his vehicle until he felt “pressured” to do so and that all the evidence obtained from the search – money, guns, beekeeper mask – should be thrown out. (No link on that portion of the story yet, but CNN is covering it on their morning lineup.) Seriously?…
So how did they have a “virtual certainty” that the bank robber would be found at that location? The bank teller had inserted a GPS device in the bag of money they gave the suspect and the police were tracking him. When it became obvious that the getaway car was approaching a choke point in the traffic, officials moved in, shut it down and began methodically going through every car at that intersection. And they found the guy, who the police described as “extraordinarily dangerous.”
It is too bad that some innocent people were temporarily inconvenienced, but their constitutional rights weren’t violated. After all, if a GPS device alerts you that money that was just stolen in a bank robbery is in 1 out of 10 cars in a particular area, it hardly seems “unreasonable” to search those 10 cars. By any standard, that’s considerably more “reasonable” than what the TSA does, random highway checkpoints set up by the police, or even police searching the trunk of your car if you forgot your driver’s license. While our legal system should begin with a presumption of innocence, we’ve gone beyond that and have tilted it heavily in favor of the criminal. Giving them yet another get-out-of-jail free card because the police can’t use their “psychic powers” to determine which one of 10 different cars the crook is in would be insane.