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We Are The Law

According to this story, teens celebrating their graduation from the eighth grade made the mistake of being in the same area of the world where someone had discarded an empty bottle of alcohol.

Seems the principal of the school found the bottle in the woods and, since the kids happened to also be in that area, he had a pretty good idea that they must’ve been drinking. Police were apparently called and, well, police being the police — and the kids repeatedly denying their guilt — the kids had to submit. In this case, they had to submit to being tested to see if they’d been drinking.

Now they get to add to their achievements: Not only did they graduate eighth grade, they also passed the alcohol breath tests.

The ACLU is appropriately filing suit on their behalf. As so often happens when the police want something, they simply took it: the kids were required to take the test without benefit of warrant or parental permission.

I remember once when I was about 19 years old, having a similar thing happen to me. As it turns out, I wasn’t 100% innocent, but the police didn’t know that. They approached me and my friends as we stood in a field, about a block from a dance club. We saw them coming long before they got there and discarded the beer bottles we were holding. Not being satisfied with our answers to what we were doing out there, the officers decided to take us back to our car and search it. This was after one of the officers picked up a beer can — a rusty beer can (we were drinking from bottles, remember?) — and said he had the proof we were drinking right there.

Like a lot of people, I refuse to drink from rusty beer cans. But I was a smart-ass. I know, I know: hard to believe. I said, “That can’t be my beer. It’s warm.”

So we trudged off to our car — in handcuffs, by the way — and waited while the officers searched it and found the beer in the trunk.

I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I think I spent a few hours in jail and then my mother and sister came to get me out. Trust me: that was way worse than anything the police could have done themselves. I don’t believe anything else came of that event. I don’t remember ever going to court.

The point is, though, that as with the kids in the woods, the po-po had no more right — and no more reason — to detain us and search our car than they did to make those kids take a breath test. Too often, the cops simply decide they want to do something, and then they do it.

The Law says they can’t do such things. But they don’t care. Why? Because, in their minds, they are the Law. As a judge once said to me, in a moment of private honesty, “they have the guns.”

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