Larry Davis can be excused if he is a tad confused. Austin police pulled him over for running a red light. As we have seen before (and discussed in this column), police often use pretextual reasons to conduct drug or alcohol stops. In this case, police asked Davis to take a voluntary breath test and he consented and blew a 0.0. He also agreed to a blood sample and was later cleared of seven types of drugs. Negative on everything, but he was arrested and spent the night in jail under a bizarre “take-no-chances” policy which seems to boil down to “arrest them all and let God sort them out.”
This is not the first such case. In an earlier arrest, Biana Fuentes below a 0.08 – below the threshold but was still arrested. The cases are routinely dismissed but not after citizens have to spend the night in jail and secure lawyers. No officers have been reportedly disciplined. Indeed, they appear to be following this take-no-change policy that amounts to little more than blind arrests. Police insist that the officer had a reasonable suspicion that he was high on another drug like marijuana and did not want to take a chance. That is quite a standard. The driver voluntarily passes every test, but he is still arrested.
You may recall Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo from the recent story where he defended a controversial jaywalking arrest by noting that it was not so bad when women are being sexually assaulted by officers in other cities. Of course, under the take-no-chances policy, his department can simply arrested everyone on the sidewalk on the chance that they might have previously jaywalked (or are about to jaywalk). One can’t be too careful. After all, with no one on the streets, there can by definition be no jaywalking.