Police Chief Says Citizens Are Subject To ID Checks By SWAT Teams

"Let me see your papers!" This will be the phrase many in Paragould, Arkansas will be hearing in the coming days as Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall told residents on Thursday evening that due to the rise in crime they are putting forth an extreme solution; police armed in SWAT gear with assault rifles.

Now before I go on. Remember the left's talk all this week about how we don't need 'weapons of war' on the street? I suppose that only applies to law abiding citizens. Clearly they have no problem arming police with these 'weapons of war' and we know criminals possess them, so why should law abiding citizens be kept from them? But I digress.

Look at what Stovall has in store for those in high crime areas in order to "take back the streets."

"[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck," Stovall said. "If you're out walking, we're going to stop you, ask why you're out walking, check for your ID. We're going to do it to everybody. Criminals don't like being talked to."

Yeah and law abiding citizens don't like being asked nosey questions that are none of the police's business if we are not doing anything wrong. Can anyone say Fourth Amendment violation?

According to Stovall, "They may not be doing anything but walking their dog. But they're going to have to prove it."

Wait, what? Someone is walking their dog and they have to prove it to these men? If it isn't apparent, then what can one do? Fine. You show them ID, you answer their questions. I ask you, what does that actually prove? It proves you have an ID and can speak. Other than that, this is nothing more than the slippery slope to a full police state. We are dangerously close to that now.

Paragould Daily Press reports on the reasons given for such measures:

Normally, police would not stop individuals for simply walking on the street, but Stovall said the level of crime in certain areas and concerns from residents gave his officers the right to institute the actions announced at the town hall event.

"This fear is what's given us the reason to do this. Once I have stats and people saying they're scared, we can do this," he said. "It allows us to do what we're fixing to do."

Stovall further elaborated on the stop-and-ID policy Friday morning, claiming the city's crime statistics alone met the threshold of reasonable suspicion required to lawfully accost a citizen.

"To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason," he said. "Well, I've got statistical reasons that say I've got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you're doing out. Then when I add that people are scared...then that gives us even more [reason] to ask why are you here and what are you doing in this area."

Hold up there just a minute! This is utter BS! Someone in the meeting should have called this police chief out and demanded his resignation after such an assertion. Just because there is high crime does not give him any authority to stop anyone and everyone on the street, ask for their ID and question them. He has no probable cause to detain them individually unless they are doing something wrong!

Let's make it clear that Sovall and his police department are doing nothing but setting themselves up for some major lawsuits. If they are contemplating such Constitutional violations now, what do you think they will be doing to cover their own backsides once they start implementing this stuff?

"I'm hoping we don't run across [any] of that," Stovall said. "Will there be people who buck us? There may be. But we have a right to be doing what we're doing. We have a zero-tolerance. We are prepared to throw your hind-end in jail, OK? We're not going to take a lot of flack."

Then those people have a right to sue your "hind-end" if you falsely accuse and arrest them. Just be prepared for those consequences Mr. Stovall.

While the Mayor tried to backtrack from the severity of the plan put forth by the Police Chief, there is no doubt that he agrees with it. He attempted to take the sting out of the police chief's word by saying, "The only people who are really going to be impacted by this are mostly the unknowns. We just want to make a presence out there for the criminal element. And we want to make a presence for the people who are concerned and give them a sense of security."

Attorney Curtis Hitt of Hitt and Kidd law firm said that officers may engage in "consensual questioning" with citizens. "The bottom line is it would have to be determined on a case by case basis," he said.

While Hitt said that he has high regard for Stovall and the police department and believes their intentions are in the right place and that was to prevent crime and make Paragould safe, he as said, "At the same time, as an attorney who reads police reports and keeps up with the law, I certainly will be careful of that for any of my clients."

As they say, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." Blanket stopping and questioning is unconstitutional, no matter what the intention is. If police have probably cause they need to follow the law and according to the law we live under, it is clear what they must do.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

If officers cannot provide these things, then they should not be engaging in this type of activity. If they are, then I ask you, are they breaking the law? If they are breaking it, even if their intentions are good, then what is different between the law officers that breaks the law and the criminal he seeks to deal with?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/nancy.condit.374 Nancy Condit

    this sounds a little like nazi germany don't you think

  • AD Roberts

    What a dumb mayor and chief. If you have people who are scared, ARM them and then they won't be scared any more. No. the liberals would NEVER DO THAT. It makes too much sense.

  • Doris

    Way back in the summer of 1957, I worked at a newspaper in Paragould that was desperately trying to voice an opposing view to the dominant Democrat daily and the entrenched Democrat party. There were lots of lawyers, lots of segregation, and lots of poverty in the town of 10,000. One of my bosses frequently claimed that if the good Lord decided to give the world an enema, Paragould would be the point of insertion. Is that now the destiny of the U.S.? Dominant Democrat press, entrenched Democrat government, lots of lawyers, renewed racial strife, lots of poverty, etc.?

    • mackelby

      Grew up 25 miles from there. We wen't to Paragould on the weekends because the women where extremely loose.

  • reggiec

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    TSA gets away with violating this amendment thousands of times each day.

  • Wolf-Talker1

    Finally a governmental official with a wonderful idea, if you want safety. This should become national policy all Loyal Subjects must give a little for SAFETY!

  • gnafuasusual

    But, illegals cannot be checked at random by Sheriffs. Where is the logic in all of this?

  • sheinLV

    “If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out
    walking, check for your ID. We’re going to do it to everybody.
    Criminals don’t like being talked to.”

    This is BS...don't need an ID to vote, but you better have your ID while you're walking around town...this will blow up in his face. I hope the folks in Paragould Arkansas fight this tooth and nail

  • Roscoe

    This police chief doesn't deserve this job in any police department. He should be terminated immediately.

  • J J

    But you don't need to show an ID to vote???

  • Carl Stevenson

    Just like Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, Mao's China, and every other totalitarian police state.
    Now all they have to do is finish disarming us and they can round us up, send us to the camps, and start the exterminations ...

    Most people don’t know that the Gun Control Act of 1968 was “written” by Senator Thomas Dodd (ironically, D-CT), the father of Senator Chris Dodd (also, D-CT), a major proponent of the 1994-2004 "Assault Weapons" ban (as explained below, they aren't assault weapons ... Far from it.).

    I put the word “written” in quotes above, because Dodd actually had the Library of Congress translate Hitler’s gun laws from the original German and used them almost word for word in “crafting” the law.

    This is WELL documented … poke around at http://www.jpfo.org and you’ll find the proof of that little-known fact, and much more of interest. (In particular, see http://jpfo.org/alerts/alert20070905.htm, but do poke around more on the JPFO website – there’s a wealth of useful information there.)

    OK, now that we’ve established the heritage of the AWB94, let’s explore the facts about both the myths that are circulating about the weapons they seek to ban and the general outcome which has, historically, always followed the disarmament of a population.

    The Bushmaster AR-15 and similar civilian weapons that Feinstein et al are demonizing and want to ban are NOT assault rifles at all. Don’t give the gun banners any leeway on these lies and distortions. Their intent is to confuse and misinform those who don’t know any better. In other words, they’re lying.

    Tell people the truth … tell them that the AR-15 is not really functionally different than other rifles except that it outwardly RESEMBLES the M-16/M4 machine gun that our troops use. (For reasons of economy in manufacturing, the inherent reliability and maintainability of the underlying design, and other factors, there are a lot of common parts, but the important ones that determine function are designed to preclude illegal conversion to fully-automatic operation like the military weapons with which the gun-banners want you to confuse them.)

    The guns they want to ban are NOT machine guns, as the gun grabbers and media try to convince you. They do NOT “spray bullets” as military weapons do. However their outward appearance, combined with deliberate untruths and the use of incorrect terminology, makes it easier for the deceivers to demonize these guns as they try to build support for banning them. (Which is, of course, just a step towards further bans in the future.)

    Also impress up on people that the AR-15 and functionally similar guns are NOT “only suitable for a war zone” as the ban’s proponents and media personalities keep saying, but that they are, in fact, NOT really suitable for combat use at all because of their limitations. (Our troops would be SERIOUSLY out-gunned if they went into battle with AR-15s.)

    Further, they are not “heavy weapons” as some of the media people keep saying. Inform people of the factual reality that these weapons are actually considerably LESS powerful than most of their grandpa’s deer rifles – to the point that in many states it’s illegal to hunt game larger than groundhogs and coyotes with the .223/5.56mm round that the AR-15 fires.

    The public has to be informed so that they understand that they are deliberately being misled and misinformed by the media to advance the citizen disarmament agenda of leftist tyrant wannabes in our government. (These same people through DHS and other alphabet agencies have recently purchased over 1.5 BILLION rounds of ammo – enough to shoot every man, woman, and child in the country 3-4 times – ammo that’s illegal for military use under international law). Considering that the you and I and all of the other US taxpayers are paying for all of this ammo, it’s frighteningly reminiscent of the story of political prisoners’ families being forced to pay for the bullets used to execute them … isn’t it?

    If we allow the leftist control freaks to ignore and ultimately gut the 2nd Amendment, history will inevitably repeat itself. These “gun control” proposals have NOTHING to do with preventing crime, but EVERYTHING to do with CONTROL.

    Hitler disarmed the Jews and others, then murdered about 15 million.
    Stalin disarmed the Russians, them murdered about 40 million.
    Mao disarmed the Chinese peasants, then murdered nearly 100 mullion.
    The Turks disarmed the Armenians, then murdered 1.5-2 million.
    Pol Pot disarmed the Cambodians and murdered millions.
    Rwanda disarmed its ethnic groups, then murdered millions.
    The list goes on … over 170 million people murdered BY THEIR OWN GOVERNMENTS in the 20th century – AFTER they allowed those governments disarmed them.
    They ALL thought “It can’t happen here” – until they were disarmed and it started, then it was too late. Don’t make the same mistake. Don’t EVER let your government disarm you.

    The Founders knew that government, if not constrained at every step, will continue to accumulate power and control until it becomes tyranny. That’s why they feared standing armies and insisted that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.“

    “Never forget, even for an instant, that the one and only reason anybody has for taking your gun away is to make you weaker than he is, so he can do something to you that you wouldn’t let him do if you were equipped to prevent it. This goes for burglars, muggers, and rapists, and even more so for policemen, bureaucrats, and politicians.” – Aaron Zelman and L. Neil Smith, Hope (2001)’


    Oh but you don't have to show them to vote!!!

  • Drifanwulf

    Paragould, Akansas is a small town with a population of about twenty-nine thousand. Crime has been a problem since 2005 when according to statistical information it began to increase. The larger city of Jonesboro is twenty minutes to the south. I would suggest most of the criminal element afflicting Paragould is coming from Jonesboro. Police Chief Todd Stovall wants his home town to be a safe place, but SWAT personnel armed with AR15's is definitely overkill.

  • sovereigntyofone

    “[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck,” Stovall said. “If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID. We’re going to do it to everybody. Criminals don’t like being talked to.”
    Really, I wonder how they'd like the answer " Stick it in you ears, this is the U.S. not China... comrade ".

  • sbr823

    People in Paragould, Arkansas need to show any other would be Hitlers in America that people will not put up with these tactics. SWAT teams across this country are becoming more active and appear to be expanding their responsibilities . . . are they becoming an American version of Germany's Gestapo?

  • Mike

    WOW!!! Have to have papers to walk the dog, but not to vote. This nut case needs to be fired.

  • Douglas

    I think our police force must make a decision when executing an order against members in the United States...as they Say: Just Say NO!! I served my country, but I was An American First and Foremost! You have to ask yourselves are you an American First or just a Bum with an Assault Weapon?