Would you (peace officers) follow an order to search someone’s home unlawfully in violation of the Fourth Amendment? You have no search warrant, court order, exigency, parole or probation exemptions, fresh pursuit, plain sight, no probable cause to even secure the residence for a warrant, etc. The answer should unambiguously be, NO!
What if your mayor or governor made the same demand via executive order? Hopefully, the answer would remain, forcefully, NO!
Yet what if there was a really good reason, … like a public pandemic? Would you go house to house at the demands of a politician who justified that his or her order was meant to facilitate “the greater good”? Although the illustration is easy to answer for most police officers since the lines of delineation between right and wrong are clear, this appears to be the roller coaster ride we are currently on.
Things have gotten pretty murky with executive orders being issued in violation of several constitutional rights. We’ve clearly seen demands that have violated the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, citizens caught failing to comply with these commands have been warned, cited, and arrested. This is becoming a field day for constitutional attorneys defending these cases, many of which have been immediately dismissed.
The problem for police officers is that many of the orders are not exactly defined as “illegal” until a court says so. In the meantime, politicians are expecting cops to be mindless robots following directives under the threat of discipline; or worse yet, termination.
We are beginning to see it happen, and it should scare the luster off our badge. It’s tyranny, and it’s currently being practiced across America at this very moment.
- Officer Defends The Constitution & Placed On Leave Pending Termination
- Taking enforcement action on ‘rules’ that violate the Bill of Rights is bad practice
- Federal judge rules church can continue drive-in services after pastor cited
As the coronavirus takes on political manifestations demanding safety at all cost, the price being paid includes economic catastrophes, which lead to high rates of domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse as well as suicide. Therefore, in reality, the “safety” protocols are producing extremely tragic, unintended consequences. Some argue the results will ultimately outweigh coronavirus concerns.
That is why the salon owner in Dallas and other business owners like her have said enough, and are willing to be jailed or cited in defiance. Long-term repression of liberty and freedom ARE NOT the American way.
Police leaders should consult with legal counsel as the stakes are increasing, particularly those working in organizations demanding that police officers enforce “orders” that discard the Bill of Rights.
Peace officers should also consult with their labor attorneys before they are fired for insubordination, as I’ve heard many cops talking about the price they’d pay if they failed to comply with enforcement demands resulting from executive orders issued by mayors and governors.
However, there will also be a price to pay for blind allegiance to violating constitutional rights, assuming our republic doesn’t crumble.
The following excerpt is from an earlier Law Officer article, “Taking enforcement action on ‘rules’ that violate the Bill of Rights is bad practice.”
Almost all “orders” related to COVID-19 violate the Bill of Rights in one way or another. Therefore, any government agency taking an aggressive enforcement approach, including the physical use of force, should reconsider its actions. We (peace officers) swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Historically, the enemy has been far more recognizable. Yet now it is masked in the zeal of political leaders willing to discard the Constitution as they flex their power with the explicit desire to be powerful. This is more than the “slippery slope” we often use as an idiom, it’s a “tidal wave” crashing down on freedom and the blood that was shed to obtain and defend it.
Therefore, police officers need to reflect upon the substance of the oath they took when their badge was pinned in place.
So, am I’m calling political leaders urging aggressive enforcement of “rules” as our enemy? If they continue to repress liberty, freedom, or the values that created American exceptionlism, they are not acting like a friend to our way of life. As a matter of fact, the more these individuals demand compliance with unreasonable demands, the more they sound like third-world dictators. Hence, an enemy!
So back to my original question: Would you intentionally search someone’s home unlawfully in violation of the Fourth Amendment? Of course not! … Or would you?
– Jim McNeff