The following statement can be attributed to Vic Walczak, legal director at ACLU of Pennsylvania:
The shooting of any individual is tragic, but it does not give police license to run roughshod over peoples’ constitutional rights in their effort to arrest the suspect. Now, a day after the terrible shooting of the police officer, it is highly unlikely the McKeesport police can justify continuing the search methods we witnessed yesterday. Warrantless, non-consensual entries into peoples’ homes, suspicionless vehicle stops and searches of motorists’ cars and trunks, and checkpoint stops cannot be justified under the fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution or Article I, section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The people of McKeesport should know that they have a right to say no to these searches, but they also should understand that they should not interfere in police operations even if it’s clearly illegal and unconstitutional. The fix for unconstitutional searches lies after the fact, in a court of law. If the police try to search your home or your car without a warrant, state clearly that you do not consent but that you will not interfere in their actions if they insist on acting unconstitutionally. To prevent or minimize harm to yourself or your family, get out of the way and talk to a lawyer later about whether you can sue for the violation.
If one of these searches occurs at anytime from now going forward, please report it to the ACLU on our Complaint Form. If the McKeesport and allied police agencies continue these unconstitutional searches, we may be able to take legal action against them.