On July 11, 2013, police in Albemarle County, Virginia setup a roadblock to check ID's in a residential neighborhood after the police allegedly received several complaints from the public regarding speeding in the area. One resident of the neighborhood directly affected by the heavy-handed police response initially refused to comply with requests to show his ID while being seized at the roadblock and was threatened with physical violence and arrest, as is standard operational procedure by police at such roadblocks, before acquiescing. After passing through the roadblock, the resident responded by making a sign warning other motorists about the roadblock ahead and stood curbside holding it for all to see.
What's interesting to note here is the rational the police used to establish the neighborhood ID roadblock to begin with. Allegedly, a few complaints were received by the police regarding unsafe driving in the area so instead of increasing a roving patrol presence in the neighborhood, the cops resorted to suspicionless seizure dragnet operations instead. While the police claim such ID roadblocks are perfectly legal, such a claim doesn't pass the basic smell test. The Supreme Court has only upheld limited scope suspicionless roadblocks in a few isolated cases - namely immigration and sobriety roadblocks while explicitly striking down general law enforcement and drug checkpoints as illegal.
In the immigration and sobriety roadblock instances, the court rationalized the suspicionless intrusion based upon the magnitude of the problem and the lack of realistic alternatives. In this case, I'm quite certain the police have not conducted any studies to see how seizing everybody in a neighborhood and checking their ID will affect the accident rate in the area let alone alleged reports of unsafe driving. In other words, this is merely the artifact of lazy cops standing around at a fixed location harassing everybody as opposed to doing their job by patrolling the area pulling people over based upon real evidence of wrongdoing.
My thanks go out to Mr. Joe Draego for exercising his rights and making a stand while warning his neighbors about the suspicionless enforcement actions being directed against them by the police.
A few links to online articles regarding the incident appear below: