Areas of Georgia may soon join metro Atlanta and the States of Tennessee and Wyoming as places that will allow officers to forcibly withdraw blood during traffic stops.
“We’re not out here to violate anybody’s rights,” said Powell Harrelson of the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and Metro Police, in a classic case of political doublespeak. That office is pushing for forced blood draws if a driver refuses to submit to a field sobriety test during a traffic stop. The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled the practice lawful in January.
State and local police have already planned Operation Thunder, a summer-long activity by State Troopers and local police that will saturate certain areas of the State with traffic checkpoints and stepped-up patrols.
Chatham County judges have not decided whether they will sign off on forced blood draws. The idea has drawn the ire of lawyers who say the State can make a sufficient case with dash-cam video and field sobriety tests. Under Georgia law, refusal to take a field sobriety results in an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension.
DUI attorney Doug Andrews told a Georgia television station he is worried about unintended consequences that might spring from inserting a needle into an unwilling driver’s arm. “They’re gonna hurt someone,” he said.
And it brings to mind how things got out of hand in New Mexico, when a man was stopped for running a stop sign and police thought that during questioning he clenched his buttocks in a suspicious manner.
Fourteen hours later, without granting his consent, the man had undergone X-rays, several rectal exams and a colonoscopy as police searched for drugs that were not there.
Forced medical procedures — whether blood draws or rectal exams — are torture and have no place in American jurisprudence. They are simply more signs of the burgeoning police state.