Stopped and Questioned To Go To/From Work; Get Groceries?

A town in Arkansas as placed a crime-ridden town under 24-hour curfew. Personally, I find that a bit extreme. While the residents there may want the police to crack down on crime, do they really feel that having to be stopped and questioned going to work and returning home is necessary? I’ll bet it’s real pleasant to be questioned about why you are going to the grocery store and then having to be questioned again on your return.

I might understand a sun-down to sun-rise curfew but 24-hours? Are they seriously suggesting that the police have NO clue who these criminals are that now an entire town is basically under Martial law and has been for about a week now? AND the police chief is looking to expand this beyond the 10-block radius that is currently under this police state action.

Crime-ridden Arkansas town expands 24-hour curfew

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West Helena, Ark., Police Chief Fred Fielder speaks at a City Council meeting about a curfew in high crime neighborhoods on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008 in Helena, Ark. Police will expand their 24-hour curfew patrols beyond the 10 blocks now watched by officers armed with military rifles and night-vision goggles, stopping and questioning anyone who passes by. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
West Helena, Ark., Police Chief Fred Fielder speaks at a City Council meeting about a curfew in high crime neighborhoods on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008 in Helena, Ark. Police will expand their 24-hour curfew patrols beyond the 10 blocks now watched by officers armed with military rifles and night-vision goggles, stopping and questioning anyone who passes by. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston) (Danny Johnston – AP)
A Helena West police car is parked in a neighborhood where a curfew was established by the city's mayor Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008 in Helena, Ark. Police will expand their 24-hour curfew patrols beyond the 10 blocks now watched by officers armed with military rifles and night-vision goggles, stopping and questioning anyone who passes by. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
A Helena West police car is parked in a neighborhood where a curfew was established by the city’s mayor Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008 in Helena, Ark. Police will expand their 24-hour curfew patrols beyond the 10 blocks now watched by officers armed with military rifles and night-vision goggles, stopping and questioning anyone who passes by. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston) (Danny Johnston – AP)
By JON GAMBRELL

The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 13, 2008; 6:41 AM

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — Officers armed with military rifles have been stopping and questioning passers-by in a neighborhood plagued by violence that’s been under a 24-hour curfew for a week.

On Tuesday, the Helena-West Helena City Council voted 9-0 to allow police to expand that program into any area of the city, despite a warning from a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas that the police stops were unconstitutional.

Police Chief Fred Fielder said the patrols have netted 32 arrests since they began last week in a 10-block neighborhood in this small town on the banks of the Mississippi River long troubled by poverty. The council said those living in the city want the random shootings and drug-fueled violence to stop, no matter what the cost.

Read the FULL STORY here.

What I found a little contradictory was:

Fielder said officers had not arrested anyone for violating the curfew, only questioned people about why they were outside. Those without good answers or acting nervously get additional attention, Fielder said.

However, such stops likely violate residents’ constitutional rights to freely assemble and protections against unreasonable police searches, said Holly Dickson, a lawyer for the ACLU of Arkansas who addressed the council at its packed Tuesday meeting. Because of that, Dickson said any convictions coming from the arrests likely would be overturned.

Now, someone correct me if I’m wrong, but usually a curfew means you are confined to your home during the hours of the curfew, in this case 24/7. So, outside of needing to go to work or get groceries, what other answers constitute a “good answer” for breaking the curfew? Are they allowing residents to “freely assemble”? I just find these two paragraphs don’t make much sense; at least not according to the definition of “curfew“.

curfew

One entry found.

curfew
Main Entry:
cur·few Listen to the pronunciation of curfew
Pronunciation:
\ˈkər-(ˌ)fyü\
Function:
noun
Etymology:
Middle English, from Anglo-French coverfeu, signal given to bank the hearth fire, curfew, from coverir to cover + fu, feu fire, from Latin focus hearth
Date:
14th century
1: the sounding of a bell at evening <the Curfew tolls the knell of parting day — Thomas Gray>

2 a: a regulation enjoining the withdrawal of usually specified persons (as juveniles or military personnel) from the streets or the closing of business establishments or places of assembly at a stated hour
b: a signal to announce the beginning of a curfew
c: the hour at which a curfew becomes effective
d: the period during which a curfew is in effect

Then there was this little ditty:

“As far as I’m concerned, at 3 o’clock in the morning, nobody has any business being on the street, except the law,” Councilman Eugene “Red” Johnson said. “Anyone out at 3 o’clock shouldn’t be out on the street, unless you’re going to the hospital.”

Really? So in this Councilman’s opinion the average citizen, voting and taxpaying citizen at that, has NO RIGHT to be on any street at 3 o’clock in the morning? Really? What if they work a shift that starts at 4 or 5 am? What IF they got off work at midnight and stopped for a meal and a few drinks and were heading home? ONLY people needing a hospital (which at that hour means maternity OR ER) have any business being up and out in the middle of the night? Some people are night owls. Some insomniacs find walking helps them. This “nanny” is a Councilman? And this still doesn’t explain the need for the curfew to be 24-hours a day, every day until they decide to lift it.

Is this really the only way to get a handle on crime? Is this particular police department so inept that they have to institute a martial law scenario?

Or is this just an excuse to slowly expand into other high-crime areas as get us all used to being stopped and questioned for no good reason?

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~ by swfreedomlover on August 13, 2008.

4 Responses to “Stopped and Questioned To Go To/From Work; Get Groceries?”

  1. There is nothing wrong with curfews for minors and each community has the Constituional right to enfoce them.
    When I was growing up in the 70’s in my hometown in Ohio, curfews for anyone under the age of 18 were enforced 365 days a year.
    What’s the big deal? It cuts down on crime.

  2. LIBERALS WANT PEACE… WELL HERE IT IS. IN ORDER TO NOT HURT ANYONE’S FEELINGS (NO RACIAL PROFILING, FOR EXAMPLE), EVERYONE MUST BE IN LOCKDOWN.

    THIS IS ABSOLUTELY FAIR

  3. Well golly gee guys……………..IF we were talking about curfews that forbid teens under the age of 18 from being on the street after 11 pm at night, I’d agree with you. However, the articles I saw made NO mention of the curfew being limited to minors between certain hours. The curfew is apparently for ALL the residents 24 hours a day. Exactly what part of “24-hour curfew” are you not understanding?

    Add to that the comment by that pathetic councilman about “As far as I’m concerned, at 3 o’clock in the morning, nobody has any business being on the street, except the law,” Councilman Eugene “Red” Johnson said. “Anyone out at 3 o’clock shouldn’t be out on the street, unless you’re going to the hospital.” I didn’t notice him mentioning minors here. He means ANYONE……regardless of age.

    Now, I looked for this after hearing it on CNN this morning. They also made NO reference to the curfew being limited to late night/early morning hours for minors only. AFTER posting this, then CNN changed their report up to say it was for minors only. BUT it is still 24/7, not just overnight. AND the police chief wants to expand the area of the curfew also.

    You can justify it any way you want to, but the people committing the most crime are generally already known to the police departments, as are the drug houses. They haven’t managed to stop anything, so tell me again why the rest of the law-abiding citizens have to pay the price.

    Screw profiling…………..if you know the majority of your drug crime is being committed by 18 – 21 year old white females…………why should any male have to be curfewed? If you know it is 20-30 year old asian males shooting up the neighborhood, WHY should any female or younger older males be curfewed?

    You all like to act like profiling is a bad thing. It is only a bad thing when it is abused and used as an excuse to harrass people. That is not the case most of the time. Particular areas are prone to crimes by particular people. It is an unfortunate fact and has nothing to do with anyone being racist.

    The FBI profiles all the time, it narrows their search down when looking for a serial killer for example. They know from profiling that serial killers are generally white males. So they narrow their search for white males then. Do you also think that is wrong? Do you really believe they should still look at black males with a suspicious eye for a string of murders?

    We need to get past this whole racial thing, it’s being abused as an excuse to subject all people, innocent people, to restrictions they don’t deserve and have not warranted.

    Why is it ok to profile when the profile is of a white person, but when the profile, or evidence is clearly that the perpetrators are of any other color than white, suddenly profiling is a bad thing. You can’t have it both ways.

    We all profile, anyone who says they don’t is a liar. We all do it on occasion for any number of reasons. What is profiling anyway? According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary:

    Main Entry:
    profiling
    Function:
    noun
    Date:
    1980

    : the act or process of extrapolating information about a person based on known traits or tendencies ; specifically : the act of suspecting or targeting a person on the basis of observed characteristics or behavior

    When you make a judgment about someone based on information you have collected you are profiling. People who smoke are profiled as smokers; people who are obese are profiled at over-eaters. Profiling is done every day by every person.

    To quote Benjamin Franklin: Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

  4. And if we don’t object to this it will be too late when they load us up on train cars and take all of us to the camps for destruction. This is just a start. This is just the beginning of what a police state looks like. Either get used to it or fight for your rights. Morons deserve what happens to them. Those of us who love liberty will fight, daily, hourly if need be to keep our freedoms!

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