15:30 EST Update:
Sandy Brielmaier, a representative of Esther Price Candies spoke with us on the phone and read a prepared statement, which we are paraphrasing as:
Dayton PD asked to cooperate with efforts to keep our community safe and we agreed. We apologize for any misunderstanding.Our only objective is to only sell chocolate candies. We thought we were helping keep the community stay safer.
The growth of the police state in the United States is clearly a reality to many of us, but what is also troubling is the willing participation of private companies in the process of continuously violating the constitutional rights of Americans. One example is Esther Price Candies, a company located in Dayton, Ohio.
Local sources informed us that Esther Price Candies has a special arrangement with the Dayton Police Department which allows for the setup of a checkpoint in front of their company’s headquarters at 1709 Wayne Avenue in Dayton. The company also allows the Dayton Police Department to use their parking lot and facilities for a staging area and a secondary area of inspection for what Dayton cops consider to be potential criminals.
The use of private property to infringe on the rights of thousands of Americans that happen to travel through the area is something that Esther Price has repeatedly refused to talk about in the past. This reporter has attempted to shed light on why Esther Price Candies continues to partake in the violation of our rights, but was met with a wall of silence.
Today again I attempted to get some answers from Esther Price. I called the company’s headquarters at their public number (937) 253-2121 and I was put through to Peggy Weaver, who I was informed was the secretary to the company’s owner. Peggy Weaver has also acted as spokesperson for Esther Price in the past, according to reports from the Dayton Daily News.
When I asked why the company plans to allow government employees to use their property for the purpose of checkpoint staging, Weaver answered shortly, “It’s none of your business,” and disconnected the call.
Another reporter tried later in the day to reach a representative from Esther Price for comment, but was again transferred to Weaver, who this time demanded that we not write anything about the company’s involvement in DUI checkpoints.
While Peggy is essentially correct in that it is not the public’s business how a private company uses its own property, it does not bar them from scrutiny, especially when their property is being used to harass, assault and illegally detain American citizens without probable cause or due process.
DUI checkpoints, especially no-refusal check points, have become common in the United States. Local sources claim that “no-refusal” check points have been setup on Esther Price property in the past, where a judge is on standby ready to issue a warrant for the blood of a person being suspected of being under the influence. The individual is then strapped on and a nurse who is also present at the checkpoint will forcefully remove blood from the individual to determine if the individual is intoxicated or not.
In addition to the violation of rights guaranteed by the US Constitution against unreasonable search and seizure, DUI / OVI checkpoints are rarely effective at catching intoxicated drivers. Sobriety checkpoints do, however, often generate thousands of dollars in revenue each time they are held, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. This cost to the public does not include overtime pay for the several dozen officers who are frequently stationed at the checkpoints.
Dayton in particular also has a history of going out of its way to break laws in order to generate revenue for the city. Recent Ohio legislation is intended to put a stop to tickets issued by speeding and traffic light cameras without an officer present, but Dayton has challenged this law.
Below is footage recorded in 2014 from a checkpoint setup in front of the corporate headquarters of Esther Price.
It is very disturbing that a company that purportedly prides itself in being “all-American” is engaged in these type of activities and even refuses to engage the public in the conversation or answer even basic questions related to unconstitutional activities taking place on their property.
Update @ 3:05 PM:
Due to their continued refusal to address these pressing and important questions, some members of the public have decided to hold the company responsible, calling their publicly-available phone number at (937) 253-2121 and trying to find answers themselves. Others have taken to the Esther Price on their Facebook page to ask why they continue to allow cops to use their property for questionable purposes.
A marketing representative from Esther Price has responded to the outrage generated by their collusion with the Dayton Police Department, following a the #BoycottEstherPrice hashtag that is beginning to trend on Facebook.
We will continue to provide updates as the story continues.
This article written by Virgil Vaduva, with additional contributions from David Neely, both journalists for TruthVoice