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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

checkpoint was “a gross abuse of power on many levels”

Reading resident Ricardo Nieves said that he had to repeatedly refuse to take part in the survey over a 5 minute period before the was allowed to leave. Nieves noted that the presence of city police and a police car with flashing lights was designed to “intimidate motorists” into submission and “gave the checkpoint an air of authority it would not otherwise have had,” according to the Reading Eagle.
Nieves told the City Council Monday that the company’s hiring of police officers to help run the checkpoint was “a gross abuse of power on many levels” and that the firm running it refused to divulge why they were demanding to take swabs of people’s cheeks, with Nieves asserting, “Clearly it was for DNA.”
City Police Chief William M. Heim later remarked that the cheek swabs were to test for the presence of prescription drugs, dismissing Nieves’ assertion that the police presence was coercive by claiming, “People are not pressured by police presence to do something they don’t want to.”
“Our rights are being violated more and more every day, it’s another way of government intrusion into our lives,” said Councilman Dennis M. Sterner, complaining that local police were unable to pick up local drug dealers after years of investigations, yet were perfectly happy to pull over motorists on a whim.