No, the Tempe police aren't pulling people over for "good behavior"

In a perfect storm of local news ineptitude and social media’s insatiable desire to get outraged about something, the story spread far and wide on Twitter today that Tempe police would be pulling over drivers who were following all traffic laws in order to reward them with a gift certificate for Circle-K.

As this a violation of the US Constitution’s 4th amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure, and requirements for probable cause, people were justifiably incensed. The ACLU were among 1,500 accounts that retweeted the story.

Problem is, the part about pulling people over was a complete fabrication on the part of the local news reporters.

This is the second year that the Tempe police have handed out gift certificates to people following good pedestrian and bicycle safety. Their press release said nothing about pulling over drivers, but that didn’t stop the reporter in the video from emphasizing multiple times that the police would be doing this.

Both Arizona 12 News and the Temple police put out tweets, a news article, and a Facebook Live video clarifying the “misinterpretation,” as 12 News puts it, but it wasn’t enough to reel in the story.


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