I do not have a problem with the law enforcement and how procedures are followed especially when it comes to checkpoint sites, but this particular night really made me change my mind just a little bit. One late Saturday night on July 18, 2009, there was a checkpoint site somewhere in South Carolina(between the North Carolina and South Carolina border) and it was directly in front of the store where my friend is currently employed. She did not really pay too much attention to the chaos outside until a young woman came in asking to use the telephone because it was an emergency.
My friend, (we will call her Rosa) who is an employee, let the young woman use the phone and afterwards asked her if she is in need of help. The young woman(we will call her Lupe) stated that she needs help because she and others have been stopped at the checkpoint site by law enforcement. Lupe also confirmed that everyone is in handcuffs and will not be released until they give the law enforcement upfront money or else they'll go to jail. Of course, everyone paid the money except for Lupe who didn't have the money at the time. This is the reason for the emergency call that she made earlier to relatives. When the relatives heard about what was going on, they decided to bring Lupe the money. But they did not make it, well at least not right then. The relatives had an minor accident on the way to help Lupe and her husband.
My friend Rosa, a good samaritan that I have known for a few years, loaned Lupe the money to give to the officers outside so that she and her husband would not be taken to jail. When Lupe returned to the officers to give them money, Rosa called a few non emergency numbers including the highway patrol to find out if this was legal. Much to her amazement, the captain at the highway patrol division told her that the officers had the right to collect money upfront. He said it is legal and the officers are only collecting bail money from people they think it should be collected from. As you can see the people who paid money to prevent being arrested were all Latinos including Lupe and her husband. The officers never checked their drivers license, registration, insurance or troubled them for DWIs.
They did not seem to care. The officers, or highway patrol only wanted money from these latinos to do whatever they needed to do with it and send them on their way. I am a little glad that everything went okay but just upset about how the laws that night was followed very poorly. If that had been any other minority besides Latinos, things would have been quite different. The inquiring minds who want to know about Lupe's relatives and how they are doing? They are fine but showed up moments after Lupe's husband was released from handcuffs. Also they gave Rosa her money back. The money was never an issue with my friend but helping someone who is just like herself(Rosa is latina also) meant the world to her. If Rosa hadn't worked that night, problems at that checkpoint site would have been a lot worse.