NEW ORLEANS – The ACLU of Louisiana urged New Orleans officials to shelve a plan to conduct “informational” stops of motorists amid COVID-19, asserting the plan raises serious concerns for constitutional rights and public health.
“The Constitution is clear: Police cannot stop vehicles and question occupants unless they reasonably suspect criminal activity,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana executive director. “All Louisianans have a basic right to move around the city without being stopped by police, unless they are breaking a law. There are far better ways to educate the public about the dangers of COVID-19 than arbitrarily stopping motorists who haven’t done anything wrong. Rather than stopping the spread of COVID-19, these checkpoints will exacerbate it by needlessly increasing the interactions between police and the public. We’re also deeply concerned that these checkpoints will be used as a pretext for invasive and racially-biased searches, fueling our mass incarceration crisis while doing little to improve public safety. We’ll be monitoring NOPD’s implementation closely and standing ready to defend people’s constitutional rights.”