Motorist who refused to comply at JPD checkpoint credits his race and says others should be outraged
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A Jackson man, who refused to show his ID at a police checkpoint, said he got away with it because of the color of his skin. But legal experts urge you to think twice before not complying with law enforcement orders. According to the Jackson Police Department, violent crime areas are targets for checkpoints.
Wayne Halcomb recorded his encounter with an officer at a JPD roadblock Friday on Robinson Road. He repeatedly refused to show ID and proof of insurance.
“We’re checking driver’s license, proof of insurance,” said an unidentified JPD officer. “Why?” asked Halcomb. “Why? Yeah,” responded Halcomb. “Sir, we’re just checking drivers license and insurance, replied the officer.
The Jackson motorist was in a long line of vehicles being stopped at the traffic stop.
“Have I committed a crime,” Halcomb asked during the exchange. “No, you have not, not at this time,” said the officer. “Then am I being detained?” Halcomb inquired.” Go ahead,” said the officer. “Thank you, Goodbye.” “That’s how you deal with checkpoints, people,” Halcomb added while driving away during his recording on Facebook.
The social media post has more than 1,000 shares. The south Jackson resident, who is White, said poor communities are being targeted for checkpoints, and discrimination allowed him to leave while minority motorists were subjected to harassment.
“I think that people should be outraged at what happened,” said Halcomb. “I definitely recognize that I have White privilege, and I’m trying to use my White privilege to shine light on some of the issues going on.”
Criminal Defense Attorney Vic Carmody Jr. said checkpoints are legal, and driver’s licenses are a privilege.
“When an officer stops you even in a roadblock and their purpose as they stated clearly was to check and make sure you have a valid license and insurance, they have the right to do that,” said Carmody.
Refusal could result in arrest for failing to obey a law enforcement command.
Thursday, the ACLU of Mississippi requested that JPD end checkpoints, calling the Ticket Arrest Tow or TAT initiative unconstitutional, bad policy, and vulnerable to substantial legal exposure.
“What you can’t do is just say we’re gonna set up checkpoints but just to fight crime in general and stop people throughout the city,” said ACLU of MS Executive Director Jarvis Dortch. “If you do that, you can allow police to basically put in place stop and frisk for drivers.”
Mississippi College School of Law Professor Matt Steffey said law enforcement roadblocks and checkpoints are constitutional when every motorist is stopped. They also give officers the chance to arrest those with warrants, in possession of drugs or impaired.
“A roadblock set up for the purposes of checking drivers licenses, insurance, vehicle tag and registration and the like, sobriety checkpoints are clearly lawful,” said Steffey.
Jackson Police Department Chief James Davis said the checkpoints target areas in the city with high violent crime rates.
“People think that it’s roadblocks, and people took it wrong that we’re targeting a certain group of people. Our intent is to get wanted individuals off the streets,” said Davis. “We have outstanding warrants where people once again are wanted for murder, aggravated assault, carjacking, rape, drive-by shootings.”
Chief Davis said Halcomb was allowed to leave because of the safety issue for officers and motorists with congested traffic in the area. JPD reports more than 100 felony arrests at checkpoints since January.
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