DUI checkpoint video goes viral, but there’s a twist

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DUI checkpointA YouTube video of a man being stopped at a DUI checkpoint in Rutherford County, Tenn., has gone viral, with well over 2 million views. The video is offered with little context, other than brief commentary from the subject pointing out that his constitutional rights were violated.

But does it matter that he planned the entire altercation?

Chris Kalbaugh, a 21-year-old junior at Middle Tennessee State University, is seen in the video being approached by a Rutherford County deputy sheriff as he pulled up on a checkpoint on the Fourth of July. The window in his vehicle was cracked open about two inches, and he was instructed to roll it down, but he refused, saying “this is fine.”

According to the video, the officer appeared taken aback at the refusal and asked Kalbaugh his age. The driver responded by asking if he’s required to provide such information. He gave his age only after the officer told him he must.

At that point, the officer instructed Kalbaugh to pull over to the side of the road.

Again, Kalbaugh refused, responding instead by asking if he was being detained. The officer became more agitated.

“I broke no laws, and I made sure to be respectful the entire time while still exercising my constitutional freedom,” Kalbaugh said, according to the Daily News Journal. “The officers would not let me leave, but would not answer if I was being detained.”

The Journal reported that Kalbaugh is “affiliated with the Libertarian Party,” and that he informed Axl David, communications director for the Libertarian Party of Tennessee, that he planned to “exercise his rights” at the checkpoint and record the results.

The incident was planned, David told the Journal.

David added that this was not the first time Kalbaugh has confronted police on video, saying the college student also records confrontations with the local homeless population for a Facebook page he dubbed, “Don’t Support Murfreesboro Panhandling.”

So it appears that Kalbaugh intentionally refused to comply with the officer so he could videotape the response. Is that relevant in the context of standing up for one’s rights?

Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Lisa Marchesoni told the Journal that officials are “reviewing the incident” and “looking into the matter to determine if there are any policy or procedure violations.”

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Tom Tillison

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