Possible extra FBI, DHS scrutiny for refusing bag search, says civil rights group

Anthony Freda Illustration

Mark Rockwell
Government Security News

A person who refuses a bag search at transit police checkpoints in the Washington, DC, subway system and walks away could come under further observation by Federal Bureau of Investigation or Department of Homeland Security agents once outside the rail system, said a civil rights activist group.

The group, the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, posted transcripts from an early January meeting about the searches. The meeting, between Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) Riders Advisory Council (RAC), transit officials and the public, was a forum on concerns about the searches.

Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition vehemently opposes them on Fourth Amendment grounds.

At the meeting, according to the coalition, the chief of the subway’s police force said a person who refuses a bag search and exits a station could face closer watch by other law enforcement agencies. “Well I can tell you without any uncertainty that that person would be observed.  And what that means to you is different than what it means to me, but that person would be observed,” said Metro Transit Police Chief Taborn in the transcripts posted on the Web site.

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