The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is the Georgia State police. They get the award for the following.
A 23-year-old Carleton University master's student is outraged and demanding an apology from Georgia officials after spending more than 11 uncomfortable hours in a detention centre for running a stop sign and speeding.That law enforcement thinks jailing an innocent person for half a day is perfectly alright, should scare the shit out of any law abiding person. This can happen to anyone just because you get a traffic ticket in Georgia.
Cheryl Kuehn said she was fingerprinted and had her mugshot taken before being forced to strip naked and shower, don a navy blue jail outfit and sleep in a cell with two other women while other inmates jeered and leered at her from adjoining cells.
"I was terrified," said Mrs. Kuehn, who spent Saturday night at the detention centre in southern Georgia after she was taken into custody following the traffic stop outside a restaurant along the I-95 near Brunswick, Georgia.
"I don't think it's a very humane way to treat someone who had not committed a crime, or even been accused of committing a crime," said Mrs. Kuehn, adding the "unjust" treatment she received in the Georgia jail was completely uncalled for.
But officials with the Georgia state police and Glynn County Detention Center, where Mrs. Kuehn was being held, said they were just following procedure when someone from another country is stopped for speeding or other traffic violations -- no matter how minor they might seem.
That procedure, they said, includes holding Canadians, including those carrying a valid passport like Mrs. Kuehn, or other "foreign nationals," in custody until the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency confirms they are legally allowed to be in the country.
"I'm not a terrorist. I'm a blond, petite woman from Canada, trying to go to Florida to celebrate graduating my master's in social work," said Mrs. Kuehn, who handed in her last paper Thursday. "They knew I was a tourist from Canada. They were treating me like an (illegal) immigrant."
Mrs. Kuehn, who was driving to Florida to visit her in-laws with her husband, Scott Kuehn, 24, brother-in-law Michael Kuehn and friend Dan-Que Pham, said her ordeal began when she was attempting to leave the highway to stop for dinner at about 5:20 p.m. Saturday.
Taking the wrong exit, Mrs. Kuehn said she made a U-turn before pulling the black Volvo station wagon into the restaurant parking lot.
That's when she heard a voice over a loudspeaker, ordering her not to park the car. Seeing the flashing emergency lights and realizing it was a police officer, she pulled over.
A Georgia state trooper told her he was giving her citations for going 55 miles an hour in a 35 zone and failing to stop at a stop sign. But instead of writing a ticket, the officer told her she had to post a bond before she could resume her trip.
As she broke down in tears, Mrs. Kuehn said the officer threatened to handcuff her if she didn't get in the back seat of his cruiser for the trip to what she thought would be the area police station.
Instead, she was driven to the detention centre where she spent the next 11 difficult hours separated from her husband, even though he collected the $222 U.S. to post her bond within three hours of her arrest.
"When they first put me in there, they all started banging on the windows and cheering like I was fresh meat," said Mrs. Kuehn, who spent a sleepless night in the cell before being released at about 5 a.m. and continuing to Daytona Beach, Florida. "It freaked me out."
Georgia state police senior trooper Larry Schnall said it's "routine" for police to haul out-of-country visitors to jail for traffic violations.
He said the policy is in place to prevent tourists from other countries, and some U.S. states, from racking up speeding tickets they never intend to pay. Paying the bond up front is an assurance like the citation fine will be paid or the bond money will not be returned.
"It doesn't matter if you are from Canada, England, Mexico. Typically, we would transfer you to the facility until you can make the appropriate paperwork," he said.
"We are not doing it to punish anyone or cause any greater grief. It is just the way the law is written," said the trooper, who offered no apologies for how Mrs. Kuehn was treated.
Col. Louise Newsome, jail administrator at the Glynn County Detention Center, said policy requires all non-U.S. citizens to go through the sometimes lengthy immigration process to determine if they are wanted on warrants. She said the jail adopted the policy in advance of a new Georgia state law, scheduled to come into effect in July. The controversial law, which deals with a variety of immigration issues, including social services and human trafficking, also requires legal status verification for people charged with a felony or drunk driving offence, according to a summary of the law posted on Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue's website.
However, Mrs. Kuehn was charged with neither a felony nor drunk driving.
"I want people to know when they are driving through Georgia this can happen to you," she said yesterday from Florida.
Somehow this is meant to fight illegal immigration, what a joke! I've been saying all along how screwed up in the head many of the anti-illegal bloggers are with their screwy ideas, well here is a perfect example. Be an out of state or tourist driving in Georgia and you could well end up in jail. Tell me how that is going to get rid of the 12 million illegals in the USA?
Has anyone in Georgia thought how this may effect tourism in that state? Enough stories like this, and tourists will stay away from the Peach state in droves. Maybe this blogger can tell me how that makes us all safer and increase jobs for American folks.
For jailing a tourist over a speeding ticket, The Georgia State Police are today's Knucklehead of the Day.
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