What might have been just another stop-and-search by police has become a full-blown controversy after a covertly recorded video of the incident was viewed online nearly 3 million times in just a few days.
The incident in question occurred on July 4, when Middle Tennessee State University student Chris Kalbaugh, 21, had his vehicle searched by police in what he says was a violation of his constitutional rights.
The video (above) shows Kalbaugh pulling up to a DUI checkpoint in Rutherford County, Tenn.. He is told by Rutherford County Sheriff's Deputy A.J. Ross to lower his window. When he lowers it a few inches and refuses to lower it further, things get heated.
Officers force Kalbaugh to the side of the road and tell him to step out of the vehicle.
"I have a constitutional right to travel freely without being randomly stopped and detained," Kalbaugh says to one of the officers before a K-9 unit is brought over to inspect the car, according to the video's captions.
Kalbaugh's captions go on to say that officers inform him the dog smells "illegal drugs" in his vehicle. The video then shows two officers searching the car.
"He's perfectly innocent and he knows his rights," one of the officers can be heard saying during the search.
"It wasn't a very good alert," the other officer says, presumably referring to the K-9's signal that there might be drugs in the car (such signals are referred to as alerts in police jargon).
Kalbaugh's video captions say Ross told him it is acceptable for constitutional rights and civil liberties to be suspended for reasons of safety.
Kalbaugh was allowed to leave and received no citations, The Tennessean reports.
The Rutherford County Sheriff did not respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post, but reportedly released a statement Friday saying it was investigating the incident.