Skip to comments.Protesting ‘Patriots’ - Town Among Several Vowing to Block Patriot Act Enforcement
Posted on 04/28/2003 3:54:54 PM PDT by Brian S
Town Among Several Vowing to Block Patriot Act Enforcement
C A R R B O R O, N.C., April 27
In this old cotton mill town, the Friendly Barber Shop still cuts hair for a friendly $5.
It hardly seems like the front line in the war on terrorism, but try telling that to some of the town's 17,000 residents.
"We're all patriots," said Allan Spalt, a Carrboro resident. "We're all against terrorism. We all believe in protecting the country."
Local residents are worried the federal government has become too intrusive and that federal agents could sweep into town and violate their constitutional right to privacy.
"It's terrifying," said Lori Hoyt, a social worker from Carrboro.
Bill of Rights Defense
Residents have pressured the City Council to pass a "Bill of Rights defense resolution."
The measure requires federal investigators who visit the town to report to city hall and state their business. It also directs local police to stand in the way of any unreasonable searches or seizures.
"It may be David against Goliath, but it's a fight worth fighting," said Carrboro's mayor, Mike Nelson.
Dozens of cities around the country have passed resolutions urging federal authorities to respect the civil rights of local citizens when fighting terrorism. Efforts to pass similar measures are under way in more than 60 other places.
While the resolutions are largely symbolic, many of them provide some legal justification for local authorities to resist cooperating in the federal war on terrorism when they deem civil liberties and constitutional rights are being compromised.
At issue is an element of the president's homeland security program the USA Patriot Act.
The rules give the FBI and CIA more authority to wiretap and monitor residents. For example, federal agents no longer need probable cause to monitor mosques or political gatherings. They can also force librarians and county clerks to turn over public records, and jail them if they tell anyone.
Carrboro residents say what concerns them the most is something called the "sneak and peek" warrant. It allows federal investigators to come into your home, without you knowing, search everything, and they have a "reasonable" amount of time to tell you why they were there.
"The Patriot Act passed overwhelmingly in the hysteria following the Sept. 11 tragedy," said Mark Dorison, a local nightclub manager. "I don't think the American public has had a chance to digest the sweeping ramifications."
Are Carrboro residents really concerned that the FBI is going to break into their houses?
"If they can do that to somebody else, they can do it to anyone," said Alex Zaffron, a Carrboro resident.
"I'm an older person now," Hoyt said, "and I've learned not to trust what bureaucracies or big government says."
Civil Rights Terrorists?
Constitutional scholars say the new Patriot Act renews old distrust in federal authority.
"Under this standard of terrorism," said Kimberly Crenshaw of Columbia University, "the civil rights movement, the freedom riders, the sit-in demonstrations, all of these people could conceivably have been prosecuted as terrorists."
All this makes Carrboro Police Chief Carolyn Hutchinson uncomfortable.
She could go to jail if she refuses to cooperate with federal authorities.
"I won't initially run for the hills," she said, "but I will seek legal counsel."
The people of Carrboro say they realize their resolution, their police chief, and their mayor will end up in court, and they're ready for the fight.
ABCNEWS' Steve Osunsami contributed to this report.
I don't see how.
The FBI exceeds their authority grossly and routinely. If a local government isn't supposed to stand up to them, who is?
Well....who would you suggest to hinder the F.B.I. ?
I mean somebody needs to, from time to time,
or we can All Kiss the Bill of Rights Goodbye !
Offhand, my biggest problems is the Affirmative Defense provisions on assett forfeitures. That in short means guilty till proven innocent. The other is secret searches(which I have problems with anyway) that can be authorized by ANY judge, not just in the district. That's an easy opening for abuses of power.
Two names offhand. Dan Harmon. Bill Klinton.
I don't think that part does.....I can't SWEAR to that though offhand.
So can I assume that you live in a high risk area for terror, perhaps somewhere on Manhattan or in DC? Or are you, like so many big talkers, living in an area where you are highly unlikely to ever suffer from a terrorist act?
What you really mean to say is that you're plenty willing to sacrifice the lives of urban dwellers, air travellers, or Federal employees if somehow your vague and paranoic feelings about mythical government overreaching are assuaged.
Sorry, but them Constimatooshin classes you been takin' down at Denny's ain't 'zackly been right.