Boston Transit Police Conducts Warrantless Searches on All Bus, Subway RidersThose who refuse will be arrested for “trespassing” in a public area
Apr. 08, 2014
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In accordance with the Department of Homeland Security, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is now requiring that all Boston bus and subway riders submit to a warrantless search prior to boarding.
The MBTA transit police announced that everyone will be stopped and searched at “Transit Watch” checkpoints and that anyone declining a search will be ordered to leave the station, even though the area is public property.
“All persons choosing to use the MBTA transit system will be subject to security inspections of their handbags, briefcases and/or other carry-on items,” a Transit Watch pamphlet reads. “Any person refusing to allow a security inspection will be either denied entry or requested to leave MBTA property.”
The pamphlet also warns that anyone refusing to leave the station when requested will be subject to arrest “for trespass pursuant to M.G.L. 266, Section 120.”
“It is unclear how the trespassing law would apply given that the area is public property and it is not a crime to exercise your Fourth Amendment rights,” the Bay State Examiner reported on the subject.
The news outlet also pointed out that travelers could not see the signage warning them about the searches until they arrived at a checkpoint.
Last year, the Transportation Security Administration set up similar checkpoints inside the transit stations, making it clear that these new checkpoints are simply a continuation of the same.
And such warrantless searches on public transportation aren’t just limited to Boston. Back in 2012, TSA agents randomly interrogated bus riders in Houston, Texas while digging through their belongings without a warrant.
"I don't feel like by purchasing a ticket or riding a bus that I have to forfeit my Constitutional rights and my protections and be subject to search or seizure," passenger Derrick Broze told METRO board members during a heated meeting.
But DHS has every intention to do just that and even worse, governments around the world are pressuring citizens to take public transportation rather than their own vehicles.
The city of Hamburg, Germany is even working to ban cars within its city limits in the coming decades.
It isn’t too far-fetched to envision a future where individuals who want to travel have no choice but to take public transportation which requires invasive, TSA-style screening prior to boarding.
And if they decide to walk? Well, they may encounter a roaming Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) squad, as Super Bowl attendees did this past February.
In short, their Fourth Amendment rights will be practically eliminated.
"We are not the Airport Security Administration," TSA air marshal Ray Dineen said to the L.A. Times. "We take that transportation part seriously."