A recent article in The New York Post revealed how the NYPD used the pandemic to justify creating COVID-19 checkpoints.
New York officials have stopped 353 cars at entrances to the Big Apple to warn travelers of the mandatory two-week quarantine rule. The stops were made from Wednesday through Friday at bridges and tunnels, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.
Police are using the pandemic as an excuse to circumvent the Fourth Amendment by asking a vehicle’s occupants to answer questions like have they spent more than 24 hours during the previous 14 days in any state on New York’s restricted list?
The city has the audacity to claim that these stops are “quick and educational.” There is nothing quick and educational about being stopped and questioned by government officials.
Is there anything educational about fining people $10,000 dollars?
Travelers who violate the quarantine rule could face up to $10,000 in fines. There are currently 35 states plus Puerto Rico on the list.
Earlier this year, The Orlando Sentinel called COVID-19 checkpoints security theater, and worried about the cost to taxpayers. COVID-19 checkpoints have also been set up in Rhode Island, North Carolina, Colorado, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
Penn Station COVID-19 checkpoint
A WKZO article shows U.S. military personnel conducting a COVID-19 checkpoint at Penn Station.
A few dozen travelers got off a train from Miami at New York City’s Penn Station on Thursday and were greeted by a team of public health workers and mayoral office staff who handed them informational fliers about the state’s new COVID-19 quarantine rules.
Government officials use COVID-19 as an excuse to question and interrogate visitors.
The team, comprised of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s public engagement unit and the city’s COVID-19 Test & Trace Corps, were running a checkpoint starting at Penn Station on Thursday to ensure that visitors from any of the 35 states on New York’s travel advisory were aware of the 14-day quarantine mandate.
Imagine getting off a train or bus in New York City and being forced to go through a government checkpoint. This is America, you say? I can refuse to answer their questions, right?
People who refuse to answer their questions could be fined anywhere from $2,000-$10,000.
A spokeswoman for City Hall said refusing to fill out the quarantine form could subject travelers from designated states to a $2000 fine, and violations of the quarantine orders could result in a $10,000 fine.
Three years ago, I revealed that police have created thirty-three different types of checkpoints. But this latest ploy; using a pandemic as an excuse to create another police checkpoint, is inexcusable.
COVID-19 checkpoints make a mockery of police reform and tramples our Bill of Rights. It is only a matter of time before COVID-19 checkpoints spread across the country.