Suit “Seeks an injunction and damages for conspiracy to violate the Constitution…”
December 30, 2013
Following reports that police in Reading, Pennsylvania, participated in a national survey, in which random citizens were pulled over and asked for “voluntary” cheek swabs, a courageous resident filed a lawsuit against the city, its mayor and several others claiming his Fourth Amendment rights were violated.
“Nothing about this incident was ‘voluntary’ in my case,” Reading resident Ricardo Nieves stated at a City Council meeting two weeks ago, prior to pursuing the federal suit. “I feel this incident is a gross abuse of power on so many levels. I’m not a legal expert, but being forced off the road and unlawfully holding me against my will for any period of time, I would consider my liberty to be compromised and falsely imprisoned.”
Nieves was irked when on Friday, December 13, he drove up to a street where police lights were flashing and orange security cones lined the lane.
According to the suit, Nieves was driving in the right hand lane and that the left lane “was full of traffic such that he could not pull over to change lanes.”
Nieves’ lawsuit, obtained by Courthouse News, further states an officer “stepped out into plaintiff’s lane of traffic, blocked his further advance, and flagged him to pull off the public road into a parking lot on Laurel Street.”
There, Nieves says a woman with a clipboard walked up to him, stated he was not being “pulled over” and proceeded to ask if he would participate in a survey. According to the lawsuit, the woman explained “the purpose of the stop was a survey of drivers’ behavior and that she wanted to take a cheek swab to check for the presence of prescription drugs.”
Knowledgable of his Fourth Amendment rights, which are supposed to protect U.S. citizens from unreasonable and unwarranted searches absent of probable cause, Nieves repeatedly refused the surveyor’s request for a cheek swab, and after five minutes ultimately asserted “very firmly, ‘No. Thank You.’”
When Nieves researched the checkpoint, it disturbed him to find it was conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at the behest of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
He also found out it was conducted with the full cooperation of the city of Reading and its police department and that they were awarded a considerable sum for their part.
“The checkpoint was part of a $7.9 million, three-year survey by the agencies, which has been conducted several times since the 1970s,” reported the Reading Eagle.
“This was nothing more than a gross abuse of power and federal intrusion of my rights,” Nieves told Alex Jones during a live interview after his story broke nationally.
Of course, the Reading police chief thinks matters are being blown out of proportion. “People are not pressured by police presence to do something they don’t want to,” Police Chief William M. Heim told the Reading Eagle. “In the grand scheme of things, I think it’s a pretty innocuous and minor issue.” Heim is included in Nieves’ suit as a defendant, along with Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer and the Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation.
“When people are manipulated, it’s anti-democratic, and what’s being done here is controlling people. People don’t want to be controlled. People want to make their own decisions, because consciousness and the freedom to think is a fundamental human right. The idea of free will being violated is something that god doesn’t even do, yet man thinks he can do this to us,” Nieves stated to City Council and again on the Alex Jones Show.
Nieves’ suit reportedly “seeks an injunction and damages for conspiracy to violate the Constitution, constitutional violations and false imprisonment.”