Imagine being pulled over for doing nothing wrong — and then being asked for a blood sample.
That’s what happened to many drivers in Fort Worth, Texas on Friday.
Officials stopped drivers at a roadblock (even though they did nothing wrong), directed each of them to a parking spot, and then asked for breath, saliva, and blood samples.
This was all done in the name of “government research,” to figure out how many people were driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this project cost a whopping $7.9 million over the span of three years.
NHTSA claimed the study was “voluntary,” but many of the individuals who were pulled over told NBC News that they felt forced to give over samples.
Kim Cope was one of the individuals pulled over. She claims that although officials did not explicitly force her to park and give a Breathalyzer, she felt as though she had no choice.
She said, “I gestured to the guy in front that I just wanted to go straight, but he wouldn’t let me and forced me into a parking spot.”
Cope claims the officials then offered her money for various samples. “They were asking for cheek swabs. They would give $10 for that. Also, if you let them take your blood, they would pay you $50 for that. I finally did the Breathalyzer test just because I thought that would be the easiest way to leave.”
At this time, it is unclear if actual police officers pulled over civilians or not. Fort Worth police initially denied involvement in conducting the “survey,” but later admitted that they did, in fact, coordinate with NHTSA to carry it out.
The Forth Worth police station is currently “reviewing” officer involvement and ensuring that “FWPD policies and procedures were followed.”
Many found the traffic stops distasteful, and some have questioned if they are even constitutional.
Civil liberty attorney Frank Colosi said, “You can’t just be pulled over randomly or for no reason. They’re essentially lying to you when they say it’s completely voluntary, because they’re testing you at that moment.”
Even if these roadside “surveys” are not technically unconstitutional, it is worrisome if this is becoming an acceptable norm in our society.
What do you think?
Tell us in the comments section below.
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