Sunday, July 04, 2010

UHP's illegal-fireworks checks shows how Arizona's law could allow racial profiling

KSL had a rather illuminating story yesterday on how our tax dollars are spent busting Utahns who bring illegal fireworks back from that fireworks-coddling Wyoming. Perhaps most enlightening was the way that the UHP cop blithely seemed to admit making pretext stops in order to check for fireworks.

"Between the 4th and the 24th of July you could almost patrol the entire month and you're going to find something," the trooper was quoted.

According to the ride-along reporter, his first stop was for "a tailgating infraction." Seriously? The next stop was "suspected drowsy driving." (Apparently he wasn't driving poorly enough to suspect drunk driving.) No fireworks found, darn it. Finally, the trooper lucked out with a speeder who, for reasons unknown, fessed up information about his fireworks stash that he had no obligation to volunteer.

This is what I believe opponents of Arizona's new immigration law fear. Under the law (which I have read, including the House amendment), there does have to be an initial unrelated stop, but it can be for anything, including infractions and violation of local ordinances. As we can see from these fireworks busters, that leaves a lot of room for "unrelated" stops.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not sure if this actually costs tax dollars. This seems more like a UHP fundraiser.

Voice of Utah said...

Funny - good point.

Anonymous said...

You failed to mention that undercover UHP, in plain clothes and in unmarked cars cross the border into Wyoming where they sit and spy on Utahns as they load their purchases into their vehicles. The UHP take down license plate numbers and vehicle descriptions that they then radio ahead to UHP/Sheriffs waiting just across the border in Utah. That is all the UHP need to pull Utahns over, give them a citation and confiscate their property. The other tactics that you mention are used to find drugs and alcohol too, not just fireworks and have been used for decades, probably even in Arizona. If it was taking place prior to the new AZ law I don't think you can blame such tactics on the new AZ law.

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