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Tennessee Highway Patrol Releases Dash Cam Video of Viral DUI Checkpoint Stop

Tennessee Highway Patrol Releases Dash Cam Video of Viral DUI Checkpoint Stop
Friday, July 12, 2013

by Chris Cannon and Adam Ghassemi

NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Tennessee Highway Patrol has released the full dashcam video of a DUI checkpoint in Rutherford County after a driver's YouTube recording of the incident went viral. 
Officials said they have reviewed the videos and found nothing wrong with the response of a deputy with the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office. They said the driver put himself in a position to give the deputy reasonable suspicion of the driver. 
Chris Kalbaugh, the 21-year-old student at Middle Tennessee State University responsible for recording the checkpoint stop has also spoken out about his video, and the reasons for making it.
He said was decided late on the night of July 3rd to intentionally drive to the DUI check point in Rutherford County and see what officials would do if he refused to roll down his window to talk to them. 
Before going through the stop, Kalbaugh started recording video from his passenger seat. The video was posted on YouTube and has been view almost 4 million times.  
"I didn't have any certain expectation of what I thought was going to happen. The point is just to see if I would be able to exercise Constitutional rights," Kalbaugh said.
According to Kalbaugh, there were moments where his rights were violated after Deputy A.J. Ross approached his car.
Kalbaugh's video showed a drug dog hitting on his car, giving officers probable cause to search the vehicle. According to the student, the deputy found a leafy-substance in a door handle and suspected it was marijuana.
"They did not even confirm to see if it was. They did not test it. Surely if I had drugs in my car they would have arrested me, but I was let go with no charges. I'm sure they knew that is not actually drugs," Kalbaugh said.
The student was detained for a short time while officers searched his car, and then he was free to go. He was not charged with any crime.
The member of the Libertarian party said he had a drug test taken after going through the check point and it came back negative for drug use.
A few hours later he posted the video from his encounter on YouTube and it quickly went viral.
The video has prompted death threats against members of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office, including Sheriff Robert Arnold.
In retrospect, Kalbaugh said the only thing he would do differently is record his car before driving to the check point. He felt that would prove there were no drugs inside his vehicle.
Rutherford County officials said the public has only seen the edited version of the stop, and that nothing was done wrong.
Thursday the Tennessee Highway Patrol released dashcam video of the entire half-hour conversation between Kalbaugh and Deputy Ross.
In the video, Deputy Ross could be heard explaining to Kalbough exactly why his actions gave officials reasonable suspicion that the student may have been drinking. 
"Go ahead and roll down your window for me," Deputy Ross said. 
Kalbaugh refused to roll down his window more than a couple inches and told Ross, "This is fine, sir."
When asked how old he was, Kalbaugh said, "Is that a required question to answer?" 
After some back and forth where Kalbaugh refuses to answer questions, Ross told Kalbaugh to, "Put it in park and shut it down."
Ross and a THP trooper obtained Kalbaugh's driver's license and searched him. When Kalbaugh said he had the constitutional right not to answer questions things quickly escalated.
"Listen to what I'm saying," said Ross.
"I'm listening," replied Kalbaugh.
"No, you're not. You're trying to run your mouth over me and it ain't working out because I'm going to win," the deputy went on to say.
The video showed Ross ask Kalbaugh if he had any drugs, open containers or weapons. Soon they brought over a drug dog, which "hit" on one of the car's door handles. Inside, they found two beer bottle caps and traces of drugs.
"There's a few seeds in the passenger seat of marijuana," Ross said.
"That's not from me," Kalbaugh replied.
"Okay, well I'm just telling you what's in the car," said Ross. "My advice is clean the car out."
Kalbaugh insisted he bought his car used last year and doesn't smoke marijuana or any kind of drugs.
The video ended with the deputy explaining if Kalbough had just answered simple questions he wouldn't have been searched.
"The best thing to do is just be honest. All I need is reasonable suspicion," Ross said.
"Well, what gave you reasonable suspicion?" Kalbaugh asked.
"The way you were acting, because you wouldn't even answer if you had been drinking or not - and then you're coming up with a video camera running. Yeah, that brings up reasonable suspicion," said Ross.
"I have a right to do those things," the 21-year-old insisted.
"You've got the right to learn a lot," Ross went on to say.
Wednesday, Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold told NewsChannel 5 in an exclusive interview Deputy Ross did nothing wrong and they did not violate Kalbaugh's constitutional rights.
Kalbaugh told NewsChannel5 he felt his rights were violated but said the death threats made against the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office since the video went viral were "immature."
"Even if they're empty threats, that's not something I encourage. I actually discourage that strongly," he said. 
Kalbaugh was eventually let go without any charges being files. Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold said Deputy Ross did not violate Kalbaugh's rights and did nothing wrong. 
View the previous stories and watch the original video:

NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather