Miami Announces Plan for Random ID Checks

Miami cops go ‘in-your-face’ to deter terrorists – U.S. Security: Miami police announced Monday they will stage random shows of force at hotels, banks and other public places to keep terrorists guessing and remind people to be vigilant.

Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said officers might, for example, surround a bank building, check the IDs of everyone going in and out and hand out leaflets about terror threats.

Leaving aside the obvious point that this won’t deter terrorists, who will obviously have some sort of fake ID, and who by implication have already braved the cameras that are always running in banks, this plan sounds like an organized series of illegal suspicionless search.

We accept the dragnet approach to stopping cars on the roads due to the legal rule (legal fiction?) that driving is a ‘privilege, and hence more regulable than, well, walking.

But that rule doesn’t apply to walking. Although the devil is always in the details, so one needs to know more before taking any firm stands, I don’t see the legal (or constitutional) justification for this dragnet approach to pedestrians.

If so, this plan is ripe for challenge, although I wonder if the 11th Circuit is likely to be the most hospitable place for such a law suit.

(Related post: ID Card Required to Ride a Public Bus?)

Update: I’m told that both the police official and the ACLU official quoted in the story now say the article is all wrong.

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3 Responses to Miami Announces Plan for Random ID Checks

  1. Ugh says:

    There is no other way to describe what’s driving these people but cowardice and fear.

  2. Jay says:

    I wonder who will challenge it since the ACLU are cool with it?

  3. michael says:

    I read the ACLU quote in the article to refer to the part of the plan (announced yesterday) that involves having more visible, uniformed cops ostentatiously around. Nothing wrong with that.

    The Chief’s remarks were not part of yesterday’s official announcement, I don’t think the ACLU spokesman was responding to them, and indeed I wonder if the guy was just talking big and there may (I hope) not be much to it in fact.

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