Escondido Police Sobriety Checkpoint Challenged On Video

Angel Navarrete, Daniel Alfaro Challenged Escondido Police On Video

Just two days ago, the Escondido Police Department issued 16 citations after stopping more than 600 drivers at a DUI checkpoint, but Thursday there is word that a stop back in February that was captured on video will be the focus of a court case this summer.

Escondido Police smashed the window of a car during a February 11 checkpoint when the driver refused to comply with them. The two men inside the vehicle videotaped the entire exchange and told the officers they were doing so.

Angel Navarrete and his passenger, Daniel Alfaro, are also heard on the video talking about their plan to challenge the checkpoint by refusing to provide their driver’s licenses. In the exchange seen on the video, an officer verbally warns that he will break the vehicle's window and Navarrete gives him permission.

Victor Torres, who is representing the driver said the two Escondido men weren’t trying to antagonize the officers but, rather, prove they know their constitutional rights.

“This is the third thing out of the cop's mouth: 'if you don't roll the window down I’m going to break your window.' That’s why from then on it became a contest of wills,” said Torres. "They repeatedly asked if they're being detained, at that point they don't say, 'show me your driver's license,' in fact, at one point they say, 'show me your driver's license and we'll let you go.' Well then, what is the reason for the initial stop?”

Navarrete was not intoxicated at the time and he had a valid driver's license but the two men were charged with resisting a police officer, a misdemeanor. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charge in March and are scheduled to appear in court in July.

The Escondido Police Department is not commenting on the video until after the case is heard in court.

Following is a transcript of the confrontation beginning at roughly two minutes and 15 seconds into the clip. Officers are identified -- to the best of our ability -- by number.

Navarrete: "How you doing?" Officer #1: "Can you roll your window down?" Navarrete: "I can hear you just fine." Officer #1: "No, no I want you to roll the window down." Navarrete: "Why is that sir?" Officer #1: "Because I'm going to break it if you don't open it." Navarrete:" Then go ahead." Officer #1: "I'm sorry?" Navarrete: "Go ahead." Officer #1: "Go ahead and break it?" Navarrete: "It's up to you."

Officer #1 motions for another officer to join him.

Navarrete: "Am I being detained or am I free to go?" Officer #1: "No, you're not free to go." Navarrete: "So am I being detained?" Officer #1: "You're being detained." Navarrete: "And may I ask why?" Officer #1 to Officer #2: "He doesn't want to roll down the window and says he doesn't have to." Officer #2: "Need to check your IDs; sobriety checkpoint. If you don't you're going to delay us and we're just going to take you to jail." Navarrete: "Is there a reason... ?" Officer #2: "We're not going to let you hold up the checkpoint." Navarrete: "What's the reason for the checkpoint officer?" Officer #2: "Sobriety checkpoint. It's been explained to you twice." Navarrete: "Am I being detained or am I free to go?" Officer: "We're going to arrest you for interfering with what we're doing. Would you like to go to jail?" Navarrete: "Am I being detained or am I free to go?" Officer #2: "Yes, yes you're being detained. It's your last opportunity." Navarrete: "Why am I being detained?" Officer #1: "This is your last opportunity." Navarrete: "Why am I being detained?"

Officer #2 tries to open door.

Navarrete: "Why am I being detained?" Officer #2 to first officer: "Go ahead; break it." Officer #1: "Watch your face, mister. I'm going to break it [the window]." Alfaro: "We're recording all this, officer. Is there a reason why you're breaking the window, officer?" Officer #1: "I'm asking you nicely to roll down the window." Alfaro: "Can I get your name, officer, and your badge number?" Officer #1: "Yes you can." Alfaro: "What's your name and your badge number, officer?" Officer #1: "You need to open the door." Alfaro: "Officer, can I get your name and your badge number?" Officer #1: "Okay." Alfaro: "Officer, can I get your name and your badge number, please? Are you refusing to give me your name and your badge number, officer?" Alfaro: "Are we free to go?" Officer #1: "You're being detained." Alfaro: "Could you tell us they reason why we're being detained?" Officer to another: "Get your car over here." Navarrete: "Why are we being detained, officer?" Alfaro: "Officer... I need to know your badge number and your name, officer." Navarrete: "Is there a reason why you don't want to tell us your name and badge number, officer?" Officer #2: "Are you drinking and driving?" Navarrete: "I am not drinking and driving." Alfaro: "Officer, are you detaining us, officer? Officer, I need to know your name. You have to, by law, to tell me your name." Navarrete: "Name and badge number, officer." Alfaro: "Officer, name and badge number." Officer #2: "Okay, in our investigation..." Alfaro: "Officer" Navarrete: "So, am I free to go, officer?" Officer #2: "You're going to end up getting arrested." Navarrete: "Officer, am I free to go?" Alfaro: "Are you detaining us officer?"

A police car pulls up directly in front of Navarrete's vehicle.

Alfaro: "Is there a reason you're detaining us officer?... Officer, can I get your name?" Navarrete: "Name and badge number. Is there a reason why you are refusing to give us [your] name and badge number, officer?" Alfaro: "Officer, we need to know your name and badge number." Navarrete: "You asked if I'm drunk, I said I'm not." Officer #1: "When we break the window could you make sure that you cover your face?" Navarrete: "Yes, sir." Alfaro: "Officer, we would like to know your name. Is there a reason why you're refusing us to give your name? Navarrete: "What's your name and badge number, officer?" Alfaro: "Officer... we would like to speak to the lieutenant here." Officer #2: "The lieutenant just spoke." Alfaro: "We would like to speak to Lieutenant Albergo please, officer." Navarrete: "You asked if I've been drinking; I said, 'No.' Am I free to go?" Officer #2: "You need to show your ID and you're free to go." Alfaro: "Officer, why... ?" Navarrete: "So what's the purpose of the... checkpoint, officer?" Officer #2: "It's a sobriety checkpoint." Navarrete: "So, why do you want to see my ID?" Officer #2: "We're going to check your driver's license." Navarrete: "Why is that?" Officer #2: "You know why." Alfaro: "You can check for sobriety, officer. You have the tools. You have the tools to check for sobriety, officer." Officer #3: "If you don't do something soon we're going to hook your car up and pull it out of the way because you're being a..." Alfaro: "Officer? Officer, why are you guys refusing... ?" Navarrete: "So, am I free to go?" Officer #3: "No, you're not free to go." Alfaro: "Why is that, sir?" Navarette: "Why is that, officer?" Officer #3: "You either show us your licence or we're going to back a tow truck up and hook your car up." Alfaro: "Officer, do we appear to be intoxicated? Officer #3 to other officers: "And now he is interfering with the checkpoint." Unidentified Officer: "Yeah." Officer #3: "Go ahead." Alfaro: "Officer, we would like to leave right now." Officer #4: "[Unintelligible] when you don't comply. Do you understand?" Navarrete: "Am I free to go?"

Police break the window.

At this point identifying individual police officers becomes more difficult because of the lighting and camera work. There are at least five officers at the door next to Navarrete. Speakers identified as "Unknown Officer," are just that and the use of the term is not meant to indicate that every line spoken by "Unknown Officer" was spoken by only one person.

Navarrete: "Are we f... Officer, he just cracked, he just destroyed my window." Unknown Officer: "Yeah, you had four opportunities and you were given warnings." Alfaro to Navarrete: "Turn off the car."

Officer #4 helps Navarrete out of car and puts handcuffs on him.

Alfaro: "Officer, why are you detaining him?" Officer #4: "He's under arrest." Officer #3: "He's under arrest for interfering with... our duties." Alfaro: "Officer." Officer #3: "It's that simple." Unknown Officer: "I think we'll need the videotape for evidence." Officer #3: "We do." Unknown Officer: "[Unintelligible] we'll take that video camera." Alfaro: "Officer, this is my private property." Officer #4: "Yeah, that's nice. Open this passenger door." Alfaro: "Officer, This is my private property." Officer #4: "Open the door."

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