Police launch ‘abusive’ midnight wakeup calls

Thursday, April 26, 2012
By Paul Martin

by Bob Unruh

Police in Richmond, Va., have announced an initiative for officers on the midnight shift to inspect parked vehicles and then knock on the door of the owner’s home during the 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. time period “for an unexpected wakeup call” if they discover a situation that would lend itself to theft or vandalism.

But a civil-rights organization says the policy treads on citizens’ constitutional rights and, moreover, could create a dangerous situation for both the citizen and the police officer.

“The recent Trayvon Martin incident from Florida should serve as a stark warning of how the fear and misunderstanding of a homeowner can turn a benign situation into a tragedy involving loss of life,” John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, said in a letter to Richmond police chief Bryan Norwood.

“Except in the most compelling of circumstances, the Richmond police should avoid intrusions that create this kind of danger to themselves and residents,” he wrote of the city police plan to teach residents not to leave valuables in sight in a parked vehicle.

A spokesman for the police department today told WND that officials likely would have no comment on the program or the letter from Whitehead.

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