Friday, December 6, 2013

By Kathy Wray Coleman: Police to do checkpoint sobriety stops for illegal drinking in greater Cleveland today, sobriety checkpoints are legal in some states, including Ohio, but cannot be random, though otherwise police typically must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to pull a car over

By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News.Com and The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com, Ohio's No 1 and No 2 online Black newspapers ( and ( Reach us by phone at 216-659-0473 and by email at

CLEVELAND, Ohio- Parma, Ohio police will do sobriety checkpoints tonight, Friday, December 6, 2013, according a departmental press release. Police will conduct the checkpoints in the 5700 block of Ridge Road from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m, the press release said. 

Parma is a majority White suburb of Cleveland, and a city where Blacks traditionally stay away from due to claims of racism and police harassment, not to mention a consent decree the city once had with the Cleveland Chapter NAACP for discriminating in hiring against Blacks seeking to become firefighters there.

The U.S. Supreme Court in Michigan Dept of State Police v. Sitzdetermined via a ruling issued in 1990 that state highway sobriety checkpoints are not unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure or under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. But the high court said in its ruling that the traffic stops must not be random and must be done by uniformed police officers. And data must show that the purpose deters illegal drinking and driving.

Thirty eight states and the District of Columbia, including Ohio, have state laws that allow the checkpoints, though ordinarily police cannot stop a car without either probable cause or reasonable suspicion, the latter in such cases as alleged traffic violations.

In the absence of a state law permitting it, sobriety checkpoints are illegal. States that ban such checkpoints include Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.