05 April 2008

Your Opinion Is Welcome

This to me is so far off the scale of illegal search and seizure I can hardly find the words to express my outrage.

California: Police Raid Car Enthusiast Gathering, Generate Revenue

Police raid Riverside, California parking lot to issue modified car tickets at local car enthusiast gathering.

Using $503,000 in federal and state gas tax revenue to pay for overtime
, nine police agencies in Riverside, California sent more than one hundred police officers to surround a gathering of automotive enthusiasts. Owners of imported sport compact cars had gathered at the Canyon Crossing shopping center on Friday night to swap stories, talk about their passion for cars and show off the latest enhancements to their rides. At around 11pm police surprised participants by blocking all exits with fifty police cruisers. Officers then began a warrantless search and interrogation operation of the 150 vehicles that were present.

"If you're not into street racing, why would you need that?" Riverside Police Traffic Sergeant Skip Showalter asked an enthusiast during a similar crackdown last year. "Why would you want more power going to your car?

Police issued a total of forty-eight tickets for "engine modifications" with police accusing the owners of the parked vehicles of being street racers.

snip, my emphasis.

Someone please explain to me just how this is anyones business but the owner of the vehicle?
As long as the engine meets emission standards,how is it against the law to put performance enhancing parts on your own vehicle? And how is it possible to be street racing while you are in a parking lot full of cars?
This is so far over the top I can't believe there aren't going to be several lawsuits stem from this.I know I would be in contact with the ACLU the minute the doors opened the next day. Class action against every single police department, the state AND the federal government for civil rights violations, illegal search and seizure, harassment and whatever else they could find.Turn the whole toolbox over and throw everything in it at them.This is outrageous.

Another fifty tickets were issued for paperwork violations, dark window tinting and lack of a front license plate. The most revenue, however, will be generated from the fees imposed on twenty vehicles that were confiscated. Despite labeling the parking lot raid as taking place at a "street racing venue," Riverside Police offered no evidence that any street racing actually took place.

Across the state, gas tax funds are regularly used to fund similar crackdowns that generate big revenue. In 2004, the California Highway Patrol issued a total of 101,553 "modified car" citations worth $10.5 million according to CHP data obtained by TheNewspaper.

Other law enforcement agencies participating in Friday night's raid included the California Highway Patrol, Riverside County Sheriff's Department, and police from Baldwin Park, Fontana, Irwindale, Moreno Valley, Ontario and Mount San Jacinto Community College

The original article is here, I found it courtesy of Fark and I am just about speechless that this can in anyway be considered legal.

Cross posted at Outta The Cornfield and Ornery Bastard

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