Orange Line Searches

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Orange Line Searches

Postby BC Eagle » Mon Jul 26, 2004 4:24 pm

This morning I took the Orange Line inbound from Oak Grove. The commute went relatively smooth, with no bomb inspecting machines, or physical searches. The only things out of the ordinary were a crowded train right from Oak Grove (first time I haven't gotten a seat at Oak Grove) due to the Commuter Rail diversion, as well as a very heavy police presence at every station, with the exception of Downtown Crossing, which I found to be odd. Of course, North Station was closed.

However, my commute home between 3:15 and 4pm was a whole different story. I ran to catch an Orange Line train outbound at Downtown Crossing, only to find there was no need to run. The train sat on the platform for atleast 5 more minutes. Upon arriving at State St., there was an announcement that there was a delay in service, and the train would be standing by for several minutes. 5 minutes later, the train departed for Haymarket, and there was an annoucement that the train would be staying at Haymarket until cleared to proceed by T police. The operator of the train instructed us to prepare any bags that we had for inspection, that the train would not proceed until every bag on the train was searched. Upon arriving at Haymarket, the train stopped, and 3 T police entered the car I was in. The train was packed, and a very friendly officer remarked that there were too many passengers on board. Nevertheless, he began searching all bags. He said that people needn't bother hold open small purses and bags that "couldn't hold anything". The entire process took somewhere between 5 and 10 min. Pulling out of the station, I counted about 12 officers on the platform. After we were cleared to proceed, the train passed through North Station and the ensuing tunnel at close to full speed, as fast as I've ever seen an Orange Line car travel. I noticed at Community College that the same process was being undertaken for inbound trains.

Although I was annoyed by the delay in my commute home, the process made me feel quite safe. For those complaining about random searches, there was nothing random about this. Everyone who had a bag larger than a small purse was searched. No one on my car refused to be searched, everyone taking it in stride. For those of you saying you would refuse a search, I think you'd think twice if involved in this process. Although the officers were friendly, they were all business. I'm sure anyone who refused would be escorted from the train in no short order.
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Re: Orange Line Searches

Postby SbooX » Mon Jul 26, 2004 6:58 pm

BC Eagle wrote:Although I was annoyed by the delay in my commute home, the process made me feel quite safe. For those complaining about random searches, there was nothing random about this. Everyone who had a bag larger than a small purse was searched. No one on my car refused to be searched, everyone taking it in stride. For those of you saying you would refuse a search, I think you'd think twice if involved in this process. Although the officers were friendly, they were all business. I'm sure anyone who refused would be escorted from the train in no short order.


Well, as one of the people who said they would refuse a search, I stand by it. I had a very similar experience just now, coming home at about 7pm. Although I typically take a large courier bag with me every single day on my commute from Malden to Downtown Crossing, I have decided to leave it at home this week. Unfortunatly, if I am (in my opinion unjustly) kicked off the T, I have pretty much no other option for getting home and going to work, so I have decided to leave my bag at home and carry my books and clothes in my hands rather than be subjected to an unconstitutional search.

These searches will not make us safer. How can inspecting an old Asian womans bag of vegetables do that? I'm not saying that I have all the answers, just that throwing the constitution out the window is not the answer.
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Mon Jul 26, 2004 7:59 pm

Yeah I know, I even got to see those searches right in front of me too while joyriding that portion just to see for myself. They were REALLY scrutinizing people's bags before the trains were allowed to proceed. The officers themselves were in riot uniform too.
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Postby BC Eagle » Mon Jul 26, 2004 8:36 pm

I sympathize with the argument, although I don't completely agree with it, that random searches would violate the law insofar as that they would never be truly random, and have the potential to lend themselves to discrimination, and racial profiling. However, the blanket searches on the Orange Line do not violate the law. The MBTA does have the right to regulate their property as they see fit in order to promote public safety. It is the same as being searched before entering a federal building, or before watching a fireworks display on public land.
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Postby SbooX » Mon Jul 26, 2004 8:40 pm

Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


To me, that makes the blanket searches at least as illegal, and almost certainly more illegal than the random searches.
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:49 am

The Orange Line between Haymarket and Community College is not the only place being scrutinized. All NYCT Subway stops that flank the Manhattan and Williamsburg Flyovers at the East River before such trains can proceed forward.
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Postby BC Eagle » Tue Jul 27, 2004 7:45 am

SbooX wrote:
Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


To me, that makes the blanket searches at least as illegal, and almost certainly more illegal than the random searches.


I am familiar with the text of the amendment. When you purchase the privilege (note privilege, not right) to ride on the T you are surrendering yourself to their regulations. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure on your own property (your house, your car, etc.) and on public streets, etc. MBTA property is publicly funded, private land. If they want to search everyone due to security reasons, then they are well within their rights. It is no different from being searched upon entering Logan Airport, or walking into a government building.
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Postby NealG » Tue Jul 27, 2004 8:51 am

[quote="BC Eagle] MBTA property is publicly funded, private land. If they want to search everyone due to security reasons, then they are well within their rights. It is no different from being searched upon entering Logan Airport, or walking into a government building.[/quote]

That's not necessarily true. The MBTA is set up as a body politic by law (with rights and restrictions roughly equal to that of a muncipality) and is subject to limitations set forth in the Constitution. One could strongly argue that many of the public areas of the MBTA (I.E. rail platforms, plazas, maybe even buses and trains) are subject to the Fourth Amendment, just as streets squares and sidewalks under municipal and state jurisdiction are, while maintenence facilities, yards and storage areas are publicly funded private areas.
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Postby BC Eagle » Tue Jul 27, 2004 9:09 am

If they have rights and restrictions similar to a municipality, then I believe my argument still holds. Many cities that have held fireworks displays over the past few years have enclosed off public areas, such as parks and city greens, and subjected each person entering to search. The Patriots Superbowl Rally on City Hall Plaza last year is another instance. Walk into a City Hall lately? These are all examples of people's bags being searched on public land.
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Postby ST214 » Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:53 pm

But again, if the train is in the tunnel, or in a ststion, then when the cops board, they're gonna blow themselves up before they get searched.

This is the same stupidity as on Shore Line East in Connecticut. They took all the seats out of a coach, put in all the stuff that is in the airport, and do searches. Again, problem is you are searching them on the train. SLE takes it one step further, asn to reduce delays, everyone boards, then the train leaves, and they get searched en-route. Again, the bomb is on the train already.

The only way to do this affectively for the subway is to search before they go underground. Search at the stations before people go down the stairs.
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Postby Ron Newman » Fri Jul 30, 2004 8:01 am

I went to that Patriots victory rally and never got searched...
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Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Fri Jul 30, 2004 11:19 am

same here,

BTW, have the searches stopped yet on the orange line?
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Fri Jul 30, 2004 11:50 am

I'm sure they have.

BUT, if ther terror level goes to Orange or Red designation, then MBTA Management will resume searches, not only on the O line, but EVERYWHERE else on the system. That's what I think is gonna happen. The MBTA Bag Search Policy will most likely be carried out only when the terror alert goes from the current yellow to orange or red.
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Postby SbooX » Fri Jul 30, 2004 6:51 pm

No searches today at least...
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Postby AEM7AC920 » Fri Jul 30, 2004 11:02 pm

They are done now that the DNC is over funny because I haven't seen any Transit police or anything...
AMTRAK HAWK DETECTOR TRACK 1 NOOO DEFECTS OUT!
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