The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday May 21st

Aldermen Oppose USA PATRIOT Act as Civil Rights Violation

In a resolution brought forth by Alderman Mark Dorosin, the board formally denounced large segments of the act and requested that Carrboro police officials not be required to comply with the civil rights violations the resolution states that the act contains.

The act, which was a direct response to the Sept. 11 attacks, was introduced in the House as a compromise between Senate and House anti-terrorism legislation Oct. 24. It was passed by the Senate the following day by a 98-1 vote. The day following Senate approval, the bill was signed into law by the president.

The act gives federal enforcement agencies much more leeway in their ability to intercept communications, detain terror suspects and free up information sharing between various governmental agencies.

Dorosin spoke forcefully for the passage of his resolution, claiming that asking members of the Carrboro community to follow immoral laws is in itself immoral.

Alderman Jacquelyn Gist agreed with the proposal, saying the board could not allow the government to use its police force in a way they would deem unethical. "We do not want to require our police officers to comply with this law," Gist said. "We do not want this here."

The passage was met with smiles around the table as the aldermen congratulated each other on their decision, a landmark move in North Carolina. Carrboro joins Berkeley, Calif., as one of the few towns in the United States to speak out against the legislation.

The act came under fire almost as soon as the legislation made it to Congress' floor. Various civil liberties agencies and numerous liberal groups have decried the act as an abomination of government and a sweeping violation of individual's rights.

Despite Carrboro's strong stance against the act, the only event in which the board would have a chance to stand up to the federal government would be if federal agencies attempted to enact the act inside Carrboro's jurisdiction.

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