THE BLOG
11/29/2005 08:13 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Post-PATRIOT Rosa Parks?

That characterization isn't original, but I'm surprised this story hasn't had wider coverage. Deborah Davis was riding the bus to work when, as part of its regular route, it stopped in Denver's federal government office park. A security guard boarded and asked to see everyone's ID. The same thing had happened the day before, and the Arvada mother of four (grandmother of five), taken by surprise, complied. But it bothered her, so on that day, Sept. 26, she didn't. The ID check wasn't about security, she told The Rocky Mountain News, "It's just a lesson in compliance -- the big guys pushing the little guys around."

When she refused to show her ID... officers with the Federal Protective Service removed her from the bus, handcuffed her, put her in the back of a patrol car and took her to a federal police station within the Federal Center, where she waited while officers conferred. She was subsequently given two tickets and released.

Ms. Davis is to be arraigned on Dec. 9 in US District Court. She'll be represented by the ACLU of Colorado. "Our client believes that the federal government had no right to demand that she produce identification as a condition of riding to work on a public bus that happens to pass through the Federal Center. She is willing to risk going to jail in order to take a stand as a matter of principle," Ms. Davis' volunteer lawyer says in an ACLU press release. Her case has attracted the attention of other privacy advocates, one of whom set up a website explaining Ms. Davis case and questioning the prospect of "a country where we must show 'papers' whenever a cop demands them."

Irony alert: One of Ms. Davis' sons is in the Army, now serving in Iraq. Another son is a Navy veteran. So there seems to be a family history of defending American freedom, if I'm allowed an editorial comment. (Disclosure: I'm a board member of an ACLU chapter not related to this case, and am related to people in Arvada, Colorado, where Ms. Davis lives, but I don't think we've ever met.)