The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

27 September 2004

Hey, we're only supposed to catch drunks

The city of Oakland, California, at least for the time being, is no longer setting up roadblocks to catch drivers under the influence; it seems that the license checks are also catching rather a lot of illegal immigrants, and well, that is so discriminatory, you know?

The umbrella group Oakland Community Organizations has been fighting the roadblocks. Says OCO's Jesus Rodriguez:

These checkpoints make people's lives miserable, not make them safer. I've watched while the police have towed away cars [full] of groceries, leaving children crying on the sidewalk.

Cars found to be operated by unlicensed drivers in Oakland are routinely towed; it costs $125 plus storage fees to retrieve a towed vehicle.

As a general rule, I am not a big fan of DUI checkpoints: while yanking drunks off the road is certainly a laudable goal, I doubt the police are getting all that much of a return on their investment of time, money and equipment, and meanwhile you and I are waiting in line, our patience wearing thin, our time deemed officially worthless.

On the other hand, I have to side with Larry Reid of the Oakland City Council, who isn't particularly sympathetic to the plight of the, um, undocumented:

I don't care if they are illegal immigrants. They should not be driving on our streets without a license, without insurance. I expect the Oakland Police Department to do its job and get them off the street.

Meanwhile, the city is revising its guidelines for checkpoints, which may include advance notification of checkpoint locations to Latino community organizations. I wish someone would tell me about these things in advance. Then again, I'm legal and therefore presumably not entitled to such consideration.

(Via Tongue Tied)

Posted at 1:39 PM to Dyssynergy

TrackBack: 7:02 PM, 27 September 2004
» September 27, 2004 - the day I got all liberal and stuff. from Undercaffeinated
I was over at Dustbury reading his thoughts on Oakland's decision to suspend the DUI checkpoints that affect so many unlicensed illegal immigrants and found that the vast majority of my brain thinks suspending checkpoints is ridiculous and agrees with......[read more]

Cars found to be operated by unlicensed drivers in Oakland are routinely towed; it costs $125 plus storage fees to retrieve a towed vehicle.

Not true, or at least it shouldn't be. From the California Vehicle Code:

14602.6. (a) Whenever a peace officer determines that a person was driving a vehicle while his or her driving privilege was suspended or revoked or without ever having been issued a driver's license, the peace officer may either immediately arrest that person and cause the removal and seizure of that vehicle or, if the vehicle is involved in a traffic collision, cause the removal and seizure of the vehicle, without the necessity of arresting the person in accordance with Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 22650) of Division 11. A vehicle so impounded shall be impounded for 30 days.

I don't think "Arrest" in this case necessarily means "handcuffed and in the back of a patrol car", at least it didn't 5 years ago.

Posted by: Matt Navarre at 5:05 PM on 27 September 2004