Woman Arrested for Not Producing ID on Demand While Riding Bus

November 25, 2005 21:00 by keithkaragan

from: http://papersplease.org/davis/ 

" Meet Deborah Davis. She's a 50 year-old mother of four who lives and works in Denver, Colorado. Her kids are all grown-up: her middle son is a soldier fighting in Iraq. She leads an ordinary, middle class life. You probably never would have heard of Deb Davis if it weren't for her belief in the U.S. Constitution.
 One morning in late September 2005, Deb was riding the public bus to work. She was minding her own business, reading a book and planning for work, when a security guard got on this public bus and demanded that every passenger show their ID. Deb, having done nothing wrong, declined. The guard called in federal cops, and she was arrested and charged with federal criminal misdemeanors after refusing to show ID on demand.

On the 9th of December 2005, Deborah Davis will be arraigned in U.S. District Court in a case that will determine whether Deb and the rest of us live in a free society, or in a country where we must show "papers" whenever a cop demands them. "

The ACLU is representing her in the case. I noted during the 'Runaway Bride' incident how an overlooked issue is the right to travel freely in America, and this is but another example of the same. On a public bus the citizen has the legitimate expectation of privacy regardless of where this bus travels through. This wasn't a one time thing, rather a daily occurance because this bus enters a Federal office park - that has sinage indicating 'public welcome', apparently not.
Today everyone from the police to the bank, to the register clerk at any random retail store thinks they have the right to your personal information. They don't and we shouldn't give it up. In commerce situations the merchant gains from this information, what do we gain? In Ms. Davis' situation what is the benefit? and to whom? Did the officer use the information in order to look for cheats, for terrorists, for fugitives? no... What would be done if a passenger did not have identification? Are they automatically a suspected criminal? Would they have been arrested too, or was it the arrogance of Ms. Davis' refusal to present her ID that was threatening to the officers? It will be interesting to see if this comes down to abuse of power by these individuals involved, or public policy that is misrepresenting the authority of the police.

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