A Thursday afternoon police “license checkpoint” in a residential Albemarle County neighborhood netted at least one violator, as resident Joe Draego refused to comply with demands to produce his identification.

The scene on Old Brook Road was intimidating. Rattled neighbors and passers-through were confused and alarmed by the presence of large orange road signs and multiple unmarked Albemarle County police vehicles with lights flashing—some residents feared neighborhood criminal activity. At least six officers were on-site concurrently.

Police solicited most drivers for their “ID” or “drivers license;” however, some motorists were asked to also produce vehicle registration documentation.

Compliance with police requests was nearly 100%, but Joe Draego said, “no.” Claiming he’d done nothing wrong and verifying with police that he’d not committed a crime, Draego would not display his ID to the requesting officer. As a result of his resistance, Mr. Draego was threatened with a “warrant,” to be delivered to his home the following day.

The legality of drivers license checkpoints is dubious, at best, having been called into question by legal interpretations of United States Supreme Court decisions on the practice.

Florida attorney, Frank Russo, summarized his concerns:

In our view, the “Daytime drivers license and vehicle inspection checkpoints” contemplated by the FHP are more akin to those vehicle stops previously determined to be unconstitutional in City of Indianapolis v. Edmond . The court in Edmond was adamant that checkpoint programs whose primary purpose were indistinguishable in combating general crime control are an unlawful violation of the fourth amendment. The Supreme court stated:

“We decline to suspend the usual requirement of individualized suspicion where the police seek to employ a checkpoint primarily for the ordinary enterprise of investigating crimes. We cannot sanction stops justified only by the generalized ever present possibility that interrogation and inspection may reveal that any given motorist has committed some crime.”

Following the violent ABC takedown of three young women who had just purchased bottled water at a local supermarket and other hyper-militarized police activities in the Charlottesville area, citizens are understandably on edge.

The Rutherford Institute, a local civil liberties organization, has expressed interest in defending Mr. Draego against any charges brought by police.


  1. Can you legally refuse to present ID to a requesting police officer at a "license checkpoint"? Joe Draego would not comply. Now, will he be prosecuted? Video exclusive…

  2. If he was driving that may be OK. But if tthe person is just walking and not doing "probable cause" behavior, then it seems like another case of over zealouslness in ou policie state nation.

  3. If he was driving that may be OK. But if tthe person is just walking and not doing "probable cause" behavior, then it seems like another case of over zealouslness in ou policie state nation.

  4. One of my profs stated (actually now that I think of it a few of my profs) in law school questioned the constitutionality of these checkpoints but the present Supreme Court seems to think they're okay, so…..

  5. One of my profs stated (actually now that I think of it a few of my profs) in law school questioned the constitutionality of these checkpoints but the present Supreme Court seems to think they're okay, so…..

  6. Rob that's heavy! Can I play that if I credit your show? Everybody needs to know about this. I've never heard of anyone standing up to the gendarmes when they set up these 'checkpoints'. We have them all the time under the guise of combating drunk driving…

  7. Rob that's heavy! Can I play that if I credit your show? Everybody needs to know about this. I've never heard of anyone standing up to the gendarmes when they set up these 'checkpoints'. We have them all the time under the guise of combating drunk driving…

  8. If you ask me, he is making a fool of himself! If you want to operate your vehicle on the GOVERNMENT funded roadway, then you have to follow the laws of the GOVERNMENT on that roadway! If you have a problem with those laws, try walking, Mr. Draego! What a fool.

  9. This is horrible and I think that everyone who views this video should call the Police Dept. and complain. Where is the ACLU when you need them?

  10. Police are prepared to use deadly force (period). If you resist by not cooperating, the secret police will escalate until you stop resisting. It's not a secret there's police, but their names are top secret. People will say things like "they can't search my house without a warrant." Oh yes they can. Your job is to pay attention so you can give testimony that puts the officer in prison for violating your civil rights. You can't testify if your dead! The Bill of Rights is supposed to protect the citizens from the government. But it has a dual purpose to protect the police from the people. Police are on edge because they're putting their lives in danger by violating the code of conduct they took an oath to uphold–and for trivial offenses. We need major reform fast. Otherwise our job is to elect people who will cut the police budget by a dozen officers right away– this case plus the anonymous ABC agents.

  11. Your use of the swastika is both inappropriate and incorrect. I am assuming that you meant to equate the road block with Nazi Germany, a right facing swastika, not with Buddhism or Hinduism, the left facing swastika that you childishly drew. Equating what you experienced with the Nazis is disproportionate and unseemly. It got you on the Schilling blog and I guess that is why you must have called him over. Why not take some time to read a history book so you don’t appear so foolish to anyone who has.

  12. You should pay less attention to the incorrect drawing of a symbol and more attention to the incorrect use of police power. I didn’t call rob schilling, rob lived in the same neighborhood and happened to drive by. There is no honor in seeking fame but there is honor in standing up for the heritage of a once free people.

  13. In some cases it is easier to look at a symbol than to realize that we are becoming less and less a government of people moving toward a government for government. I have take a stand in my own yard here in Charlottesville and get hassty by city government related to an item in my yard. From lenght of the grass to a sign I have posted. It is time to get back to basics, whatever that may happen to be.

  14. Seems to me, that f you do not need ID to vote, then why should you ever have to show it to a cop?

  15. Update July 25, 2013

    Albemarle attorney, police chief express disconnect in ID checkpoint

    Why are so many police officers needed to stop motorists to see their papers? Why is the road block not made public ahead of time? According to elected Commonwealth’s Attorney Denise Lunsford this morning on WCHV with Joe Thomas, the citizens might ambush the officers. When is the last time an officer was killed in the line of duty in the county? Yet county cops kill several citizens every year. Every Year. The police are at war with the people. The war mentality has 2 benefits: (a) you don’t have to follow the normal rules and (b) you can use overwhelming force for minor threats. The group initiating the aggression will blame the victims and claim the victims pose the danger the aggressor is actually presenting.

    What’s the difference between probable cause and probable suspicion? asked a caller. Lunsford explained how probable suspicion could justify an escalation once the car is stopped without any probable cause for safety. Problem here is “probable suspicion” does not appear in the Constitution Lunsford took an oath to uphold. She doesn’t seem to understand what Supreme Law means. Lunsford refers to court rulings and lesser laws to justify committing felonies against citizens by violating their rights. She sounded like a defense lawyer representing the government, while in reality she can only prosecute law-breakers in and out of government.

    Police Chief Colonel Steve Sellers sounded just as strange yesterday on the Schilling Show. In response to the question of how militarized the police have become, Sellers of the military rank Colonel claimed the police are not militarized, at least less so than when Sellers became police chief. To further show how unprofessional Sellers is, he took offense whenever a contrary view was presented. At the end of the conversation, brave citizen Joe Draego called in to dispute Sellers account of what happened on July 11, 2013. Thanks Joe for standing up for our Constitution as if it were the Supreme Law of the Land.


  16. I ran across this letter and wanted to share it with anyone who might still be checking in with this blog conversation. It is a letter from Bruce Fein (counsel to Snowden) to President Obama. I highlighted in caps the phrase that moves me to speak out these days; in sending this to you I am expressing my appreciation to all of you who are also speaking out.

    Dear Mr. President:
    You are acutely aware that the history of liberty is a history of civil disobedience to unjust laws or practices. As Edmund Burke sermonized, “ALL THAT IS NECESSARY FOR THE TRIUMPH OF EVIL IS THAT GOOD MEN DO NOTHING”
    Civil disobedience is not the first, but the last option. Henry David Thoreau wrote with profound restraint in Civil Disobedience: “If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.”
    Thoreau’s moral philosophy found expression during the Nuremburg trials in which “following orders” was rejected as a defense. Indeed, military law requires disobedience to clearly illegal orders.
    A dark chapter in America’s World War II history would not have been written if the then United States Attorney General had resigned rather than participate in racist concentration camps imprisoning 120,000 Japanese American citizens and resident aliens.
    Civil disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act and Jim Crow laws provoked the end of slavery and the modern civil rights revolution.
    We submit that Edward J. Snowden’s disclosures of dragnet surveillance of Americans under § 215 of the Patriot Act, § 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments, or otherwise were sanctioned by Thoreau’s time-honored moral philosophy and justifications for civil disobedience. Since 2005, Mr. Snowden had been employed by the intelligence community. He found himself complicit in secret, indiscriminate spying on millions of innocent citizens contrary to the spirit if not the letter of the First and Fourth Amendments and the transparency indispensable to self-government. Members of Congress entrusted with oversight remained silent or Delphic. Mr. Snowden confronted a choice between civic duty and passivity. He may have recalled the injunction of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.” Mr. Snowden chose duty. Your administration vindictively responded with a criminal complaint alleging violations of the Espionage Act.
    From the commencement of your administration, your secrecy of the National Security Agency’s Orwellian surveillance programs had frustrated a national conversation over their legality, necessity, or morality. That secrecy (combined with congressional nonfeasance) provoked Edward’s disclosures, which sparked a national conversation which you have belatedly and cynically embraced. Legislation has been introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate to curtail or terminate the NSA’s programs, and the American people are being educated to the public policy choices at hand. A commanding majority now voice concerns over the dragnet surveillance of Americans that Edward exposed and you concealed. It seems mystifying to us that you are prosecuting Edward for accomplishing what you have said urgently needed to be done!
    The right to be left alone from government snooping-the most cherished right among civilized people-is the cornerstone of liberty. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson served as Chief Prosecutor at Nuremburg. He came to learn of the dynamics of the Third Reich that crushed a free society, and which have lessons for the United States today.
    Writing in Brinegar v. United States, Justice Jackson elaborated:
    The Fourth Amendment states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
    These, I protest, are not mere second-class rights but belong in the catalog of indispensable freedoms. Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart. Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government. And one need only briefly to have dwelt and worked among a people possessed of many admirable qualities but deprived of these rights to know that the human personality deteriorates and dignity and self-reliance disappear where homes, persons and possessions are subject at any hour to unheralded search and seizure by the police.
    We thus find your administration’s zeal to punish Mr. Snowden’s discharge of civic duty to protect democratic processes and to safeguard liberty to be unconscionable and indefensible.
    We are also appalled at your administration’s scorn for due process, the rule of law, fairness, and the presumption of innocence as regards Edward.
    On June 27, 2013, Mr. Fein wrote a letter to the Attorney General stating that Edward’s father was substantially convinced that he would return to the United States to confront the charges that have been lodged against him if three cornerstones of due process were guaranteed. The letter was not an ultimatum, but an invitation to discuss fair trial imperatives. The Attorney General has sneered at the overture with studied silence.
    We thus suspect your administration wishes to avoid a trial because of constitutional doubts about application of the Espionage Act in these circumstances, and obligations to disclose to the public potentially embarrassing classified information under the Classified Information Procedures Act.
    Your decision to force down a civilian airliner carrying Bolivian President Eva Morales in hopes of kidnapping Edward also does not inspire confidence that you are committed to providing him a fair trial. Neither does your refusal to remind the American people and prominent Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate like House Speaker John Boehner, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann,and Senator Dianne Feinstein that Edward enjoys a presumption of innocence. He should not be convicted before trial. Yet Speaker Boehner has denounced Edward as a “traitor.”
    Ms. Pelosi has pontificated that Edward “did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents.” Ms. Bachmann has pronounced that, “This was not the act of a patriot; this was an act of a traitor.” And Ms. Feinstein has decreed that Edward was guilty of “treason,” which is defined in Article III of the Constitution as “levying war” against the United States, “or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”
    You have let those quadruple affronts to due process pass unrebuked, while you have disparaged Edward as a “hacker” to cast aspersion on his motivations and talents. Have you forgotten the Supreme Court’s gospel in Berger v. United States that the interests of the government “in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done?”
    We also find reprehensible your administration’s Espionage Act prosecution of Edward for disclosures indistinguishable from those which routinely find their way into the public domain via your high level appointees for partisan political advantage. Classified details of your predator drone protocols, for instance, were shared with the New York Times with impunity to bolster your national security credentials. Justice Jackson observed in Railway Express Agency, Inc. v. New York: “The framers of the Constitution knew, and we should not forget today, that there is no more effective practical guaranty against arbitrary and unreasonable government than to require that the principles of law which officials would impose upon a minority must be imposed generally.”
    In light of the circumstances amplified above, we urge you to order the Attorney General to move to dismiss the outstanding criminal complaint against Edward, and to support legislation to remedy the NSA surveillance abuses he revealed. Such presidential directives would mark your finest constitutional and moral hour.
    Bruce Fein
    Counsel for Lon Snowden
    Lon Snowden

  17. This is very chilling! Bravo and BIG THANKS to Joe Draego for holding line in the sand. Thanks, Rob Schilling for reporting. We, the people, need to stand up for our liberties which are increasingly being eroded! Glad Daily Progress has also picked this story up. WAKE UP, CITIZENS!

  18. Disconnect Deepens: Safety before Liberty in ID checkpoints

    Albemarle County’s elected Commonwealth’s Attorney Denise Lunsford digs a deeper hole for local law enforcement in today’s newspaper. While she accuses others of having a mistaken view, is it possible that she is mistaken to believe court rulings and state laws trump the Constitution? Did she take an oath to committees (courts) or to the Constitution? She talks about the Constitution only as someone else interprets. Her oath requires her to act on her personal opinion of the Constitutionality of each issue before her. Or did she take an oath simply to follow orders?

    Lunsford doesn’t understand that safety and pre-crime are not duties of the police authorized by the people. Police are to investigate and prosecute AFTER a crime has occurred. Either we have too many police, or they are not working on actual crimes. There’s a television commercial that says– People are eaten by sharks every year. But we still swim… Would you be more safe if swimming were banned or you had to get a permit and undergo random checkpoints?

    Lunsford claims to have the facts. But in fact she was not present July 11 when Joe Draego refused to comply. Lunsford repeats what Police Chief Colonel Steve Seller said July 24 on the Schilling Show. Sellers was in Hawaii on July 11. Lunsford and Sellers have presented no evidence to support the “facts” other than quote others. The disconnect from the Constitution is so wide Lunsford and Sellers don’t understand, when the accused is presumed innocent, the accuser is presumed to be lying all the way until a guilty verdict is issued by the committee. It takes a special person to bear this burden.

    In the last paragraph, does Denise Lunsford on behalf of the police threaten the Board of Supervisors? Does she or anyone else rule over the citizens? When a court issues a “ruling”, your oath allows you to obey only when you personally agree that the ruling is Constitutional.


  19. This is end result of when elected offical forget they answer to the people. The police chief only serve at will of board. So maybe time to rethink do we need a chief who think he know better, same goes for the C.A.

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