Troubled traffic stops lead to anal probes, civil rights violations [w/videos]

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Traffic stops key tool in war on drugs

Amid the battle against illegal drugs, sometimes the most mundane of stops go horribly awry.

In the early afternoon hours of January 2, 2013, a police officer pulled over David Eckert for allegedly failing to yield at a stop sign in the parking lot of a Walmart in Deming, NM.

This was no ordinary traffic stop.

Over the next 15 hours, Eckert would join a list of Americans who have become unwitting victims of police officers acting outside the scope of the law, victims of a legal system that no longer offers vigorous protection of civil rights, victims of the nation’s fervent and failed war on drugs.

Mexican cartels sell an estimated to $20 to $29 billion in illegal narcotics every year in the United States, and law enforcement officers have developed a siege mentality in attempting to halt that flow.

Traffic stops are at the heart of their efforts. They’ve become the gateway for drug searches. Favorable court rulings have emboldened law-enforcement officers to adopt more aggressive tactics in choosing which motorists they pull over, how they establish probable cause to search a vehicle and how long they detain drivers. Amid the battle against illegal drugs, sometimes the most mundane of stops go horribly awry.

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Troubled traffic stops lead to anal probes, civil rights violations [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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