Two posts ago, I gave you the California DUI arrest rate for the Memorial Day weekend. Although, checkpoints in Los Angeles did, in fact, nab some drunk drivers, some people protested that there was a racially motivated ulterior motive to specific checkpoints in Los Angeles.
On Friday, May 24th, which marked the beginning of the long Memorial Day weekend, protesters spread out across East Los Angeles to object to the DUI checkpoints. The protesters felt that the officers had not setup the checkpoints as a way to determine who’d been driving under the influence. Rather, citizen’s rallied with protest signs that accused officers of trying to make things more difficult for undocumented immigrants.
Some Los Angeles citizens felt that the police were unfairly targeting the immigrant, Latino, Mexican communities. Carlos Montes, who spearheaded the protests, told KTLA, “These police checkpoints do not catch drunk drivers. They catch mostly people who do not have driver’s licenses and they impound their cars.” The protesters claimed that the police deliberately set up the checkpoints in particular locations to catch people who might be driving without a license, many of whom are undocumented immigrants.
A small group of protesters set up on the Corner of Atlantic Boulevard and Whittier to warn drivers of the DUI checkpoints.
Not everyone was in favor of the protests. Some believed that the protest was misguided in that it only helped drunk drivers evade the checkpoints. One officer told a KTLA reporter that, out of about 400 cars stopped, only 4 were caught driving without licenses. The police said that the signs must have been working because on a normal night they would have caught anywhere from 15 to 20 people without their licenses.