The killing Thursday of a Georgia police officer occurred in the most dangerous kind of encounter officers face with a potentially hostile public.
And that is the so called traffic stop. Traffic stops are more accurately called transportation stops, because they occur under authority of a state commercial transportation statute.
By David Tulis / NoogaRadio 92.7
Not only does the officer die from his wounds, according to reports, but so does the citizen in the car that was pulled over. The person in the car reportedly fled, and shot at a pursuing DeKalb county officer. Gov.-elect Brian Kemp said, “we are forever grateful for his service and sacrifice. Our prayers are with those who mourn.”
In Tennessee and other states, officers face their greatest danger from not domestic dispute calls, but from traffic encounters under state transportation statutes that give — or don’t give — police authority to stop travelers who are non-commercial users of the road under the state’s commercial use law.
In Chattanooga, Mayor Andy Berke refuses to properly enforce Tenn. Code Ann. Title 55, and for nearly 10 months his government has been under transportation administrative notice. The notice points out that the only people in cars and trucks who can be stopped are those involved in commercial travel, also known as transportation.
City employees kept in harm’s way
The mayor, who is a licensed lawyer in good standing, ignores the scope of the statute. The mayor pretends that there is no distinction between travel and transportation.
The structure of his own government tells him that there is such a distinction. His executive branch of City of Chattanooga runs a transportation department, which has authority only over one category of car or truck. And that category is that of motor vehicles involved in commercial for-hire activity.
Just as Chattanooga’s ordinance operates a transportation department for regulating vehicles for hire (and fixing bridges and potholes), state law regulates vehicles for hire, and not others. State law is required to be compliant with the federal transportation rules at U.S.C. 49. Federal law regulates only vehicles involved in the stream of commerce, and not others.
Chattanooga has been under administrative notice since Feb. 20. Hamilton County has been under transportation administrative notice since March the 1.
Both municipal corporations and their leadership are ignoring the statute, and thereby are putting officers and deputies in peril by allowing them self-initiated access to people on the road who are not criminals, who have committed no crime, who in practice become subject to arrest and seizure without probable cause.
Cops encounter angry PRIVATE people in cars
Police use Title 55 to gain easy access to the public to generate arrests and funding. They halt members of the public in arrest conditions under a lower probable cause standard than in the constitution. And that is the commercial statute. The commercial statute has a very low barrier and threshold for “probable cause.” And that standard is the traffic infraction which is not a crime at all, and often no even a tort. Traffic infractions or violations are often technical (missing tail light, lack of use of indicator, tag expiry, no tag light) or accidental (speeding).
The relationship under the transportation statute is in equity (contractual) and subject to administrative law (Title 55 is administrative law binding up all who are involved in privileged, taxable and permitted activity, namely operation of a motor vehicle on the public right of way.
Get your TAN now: Transportation Administrative Notice creates cause of action vs. cops, traffic court defense
Because police use these technical faults or violations of contract that are not sins and not crimes under the criminal statute at Tenn. Code Ann. Title 39, they open themselves to personal danger. They encounter on the roads people who are nonprofessionals, just private citizens who are acting privately and not as employees or owners or operators of a business.
They encounter private people whom they have no authority to stop, people who sometimes are ugly and hateful, and the officers sometimes end up getting killed.
Berke leaves city employees in grave danger
Mayor Andy Berke knows the limits of Title 55, but refuses to make a fiat executive decision ordering his servants under Chief David Roddy to obey the law and remove from danger 500 sworn cops who routinely exercise police powers under the commercial law at the double nickel.
Such a step would put Chattanooga once again in the national spotlight, and also its mayor, who would be taking a remarkable political position as against an illegal and unconstitutional people-abusing state policy of enforcement that pretends there is no distinction between travel and transportation.
Mayor Berke refuses to consider transportation administrative notice as a proper spark to ignite a reform that would make Chattanooga a sanctuary city and haven from an 80-plus year term of illegal ultra vires and racist enforcement whose primary victims are blackis, the poor, immigrants, and the vulnerable category of orphans and widows.
Given the operation of the notice doctrine in Tennessee law, the longer he ignores TAN, the stronger it becomes as the presumed authority within the city limits. That is because as the city “sits on its rights” and does not take notice, it ratifies the position made in the notice, that high court policy is of no account, and only the statute itself controls. Ignorance of the law, they say, is no excuse. Under notice, the cops know the law..
“Traffic Stops accounted for 26 (63 percent) of the 41 self-initiated cases that lead to line of duty fatalities. Enforcing traffic regulations represent the most common form of contact the public has with law enforcement.” “Deadly Calls and Fatal Encounters,” National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Aug. 3, 2016, 648pp. See pp. 50-61 http://nleomf.org/programs/cops/cops-report.html