Drivers in Reading, Pennsylvania are objecting to a recent, recurring police practice of setting up roadblocks and then asking drivers to turn over blood and saliva samples as part of an ongoing study.
The study has federal funding, and was paid for by $8 million in taxpayer money. It is being conducted by a private research firm, but local police are providing logistical support. The flashing lights of police cars and blocked off roads give the appearance that participation in the study is mandatory, said Reading drivers.
Drivers in Texas and Alabama have already voiced their concerns. (RELATED: Police to drivers: Please ‘volunteer’ to give us your saliva, blood)
Now, Pennsylvania drivers are similarly outraged.
“I feel this incident is a gross abuse of power on many levels,” said Ricardo Nieves, who was stopped at a police roadblock, according to Russia Today.
After stopping at the roadblock, drivers are asked to provide blood and saliva samples. They are sometimes compensated for their giving samples, and compliance is not mandatory.
Still, Nieves said that had to decline to participate several times before police actually let him go.
The police have gone too far with these roadblocks, said Mary Catherine Roper, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union in Pennsylvania.
“A car driver or passenger cannot be required or pressured into providing a DNA sample and in fact, can’t be stopped at all except on suspicion of a crime or for a properly conducted sobriety checkpoint,” she said.
Other civil liberties attorneys have said similar things about the legality of the roadblocks.