How can we have the audacity to refer to law enforcement as a "Shakedown"? After all, laws were created to provide a safer environment for our people, so the enforcement of those laws are beneficial to the people...right? Not necessarily.
The bold and brazen enforcers have gone far beyond the spirit of many laws, to what has become an obvious and transparent armed robbery network, taking money from the people, and giving it to themselves under the guise of the law. If you are still not convinced, here are a few examples:
1) Speed traps: A speed trap exists wherever traffic enforcement is focused on extracting revenue from drivers instead of improving safety, made possible by speed limits posted below the prevailing flow of traffic. These are opportunistic situations in which law enforcement officials are hidden from the public view, just as a speed limit is reduced and speed limit signs are not clearly visible. There have been multiple examples of people warning drivers of an upcoming speed trap and being arrested for this activity. If it was indeed about safety, these drivers being aware of the speed trap would reduce their speed (if necessary), and according to the reasoning for speed laws, this slowing down would improve public safety. Clearly, speed traps are all about the money and not about safety in any way, shape or form.
2) Unmarked traffic enforcement vehicles: If the interest of enforcement was truly public safety, enforcement vehicles would be clearly marked as a reminder to motorists to be mindful of all traffic laws. The presence of unmarked patrol cars serves one purpose - REVENUE.
3) Regulatory fines and market conduct exams: Regulation was put in place to manage the public affairs of various industries in the interest of serving the public, and was supposed to be staffed by experts in those industries that were charged with the judicious management of those industries interaction with the public. Unfortunately for regulated industries and the public that they are supposed to protect, the ultimate goal of many regulatory entities has been to fine regulated businesses, because they get to keep the money. Under this situation, anyone subject to regulatory oversight is now "guilty until proven innocent", in gross violation of the expected protections of the accused in the USA. Fines are assessed with impunity, and the purpose of a market conduct exam is no longer to find and correct damaging activities of regulated businesses. Instead, it is to find enough slight variations from common practice to justify a large fine...payable to them.
4) Transparency of laws: Speeding laws are always put in place under the facade of public safety. There are states now which specifically codify certain speeding violations as subject to fines, but not dangerous enough to warrant an increase in hazard points to an automobile insurance company. Clearly, by making these laws, the state is saying that such violations are not dangerous, do not increase risk of an accident, do not jeopardize the public safety, but anyone violating these provisions must pay the applicable government entity. Speaking of transparency, this one is painfully obvious that it is a tool to shake down more money from the people.
5) Civil Asset Forfeiture: Civil asset forfeiture is the creme de la creme of government shakedowns. If any law enforcement official has any reason to believe that anything in the possession of anyone they come in contact with might in any way, shape or form be connected to any illegal activity, they can simply take it and keep it for their employer! To regain what was stolen takes an expensive legal process, and it is always an uphill battle to win. No due process, which is an obvious violation of the 14th amendment. Civil asset forfeiture can only be correctly defined as one thing- armed robbery!
*Update* The Colorado legislature has approved and the Governor has signed HB 1313 which requires transparency in Civil Asset Forfeiture in Colorado, so kudos to them all for a step toward constitutionality! Stop the Shakedowns will be watching to see the impact of this new law. We may continue in the future with another initiative which completely bans the practice all together.
Just because a government sanctioned entity does it, does not mean it's right! Legislatures may sanction these activities to make them legally proper... but legally proper alone does not mean morally proper.
"Stop the Shakedowns" is a movement that is designed to remind our government that the people will hold them accountable when push comes to shove. Bold face theft was never something the people agreed to allow from any government entity.