South Texas Police Target Gangs with Checkpoints 12/30/12
December 30, 2012
SAN JUAN, Texas (AP) - Police in a South Texas town are targeting gang members with roadside checkpoints, raising questions of profiling and unreasonable searches.
San Juan Police Chief Juan Gonzalez tells The McAllen Monitor that the periodic checkpoints are "non-conventional," but says they are part of a larger effort to curtail gang activity.
Vehicles are stopped at the checkpoints and checked for violations regarding insurance, seatbelts and driver's licenses. Gonzalez says nearly all gang members are willing to announce their gang affiliation. They are asked to voluntarily allow officers to photograph their gang tattoos and their information is added to a state gang database.
Joseph Martin, a lawyer with the South Texas Civil Rights Project, says the checkpoints raise constitutional questions about unreasonable searches and seizures.