The 21-year-old Tennessee man who became a viral sensation after recording a stop at a DUI checkpoint over the 4th of July holiday is now admitting that he did plan the confrontation. The information comes as the Tennessee Highway Patrol has released a nearly 30-minute dashcam video from one of its officers showing the incident.
"This was just meant to be another YouTube video of someone exercising their rights," Chris Kalbaugh told WTVF-TV on Thursday.
"I didn't have any certain expectation of what I thought was going to happen. The point is just to see if I would be able to exercise Constitutional rights," he added later.
An associate of Kalbaugh emailed TheBlaze earlier this week to deny claims he said the incident was planned. TheBlaze had reported based on an article from the Daily News Journal that friend Axl David (who also serves as communications director for the Libertarian Party of Tennessee, to which Kalbaugh belongs) had spoken with Kalbaugh about planning the confrontation to “exercise his rights.” But now Kalbaugh is admitting a plan of some sorts was in place.
"Chris Kalbaugh went there with the intention of recording the process to see how it was handled, and what has happened since he couldn't have imagined," WTVF reporter Chris Cannon said. His report makes the premeditation clear:
Earlier in the day, the Tennessee Highway Patrol released the full, unedited video from the incident.
"This is an unedited Tennessee Highway Patrol video of the interaction between Rutherford County Sheriff's Deputy A.J. Ross and a driver during a DUI Checkpoint July 4, 2013 at South Rutherford Boulevard in Murfreesboro," the YouTube video description reads.
It captures the audio exchange between Kalbaugh and Deputy A.J. Ross, and shows Kalbaugh's vehicle once he pulls over to the side.
And while no blockbuster information is revealed, it does shed more light on the back-and-forth. WTVF has some of the quotes:
"Go ahead and roll down your window for me," Deputy Ross said.Kalbaugh refused to roll down his window more than a couple inches and told Ross, "This is fine, sir."When asked how old he was, Kalbaugh said, "Is that a required question to answer?"After some back and forth where Kalbaugh refuses to answer questions, Ross told Kalbaugh to, "Put it in park and shut it down."Ross and a THP trooper obtained Kalbaugh's driver's license and searched him. When Kalbaugh said he had the constitutional right not to answer questions things quickly escalated."Listen to what I'm saying," said Ross."I'm listening," replied Kalbaugh."No, you're not. You're trying to run your mouth over me and it ain't working out because I'm going to win," the deputy went on to say.The video showed Ross ask Kalbaugh if he had any drugs, open containers or weapons. Soon they brought over a drug dog, which "hit" on one of the car's door handles. Inside, they found two beer bottle caps and traces of drugs."There's a few seeds in the passenger seat of marijuana," Ross said."That's not from me," Kalbaugh replied."Okay, well I'm just telling you what's in the car," said Ross. "My advice is clean the car out."Kalbaugh insisted he bought his car used last year and doesn't smoke marijuana or any kind of drugs.The video ended with the deputy explaining if Kalbough had just answered simple questions he wouldn't have been searched."The best thing to do is just be honest. All I need is reasonable suspicion," Ross said."Well, what gave you reasonable suspicion?" Kalbaugh asked."The way you were acting, because you wouldn't even answer if you had been drinking or not - and then you're coming up with a video camera running. Yeah, that brings up reasonable suspicion," said Ross."I have a right to do those things," the 21-year-old insisted."You've got the right to learn a lot," Ross went on to say.
You can watch that footage below:
Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold has said he stands by Deputy Ross and believes the officer did nothing wrong.
"No, he did not trash his constitutional rights," Arnold told WTVF. And he added the response from the public has been ugly.
"I've personally had phone calls at my house threatening to decapitate my children," he explained.
As for Kalbaugh, he said the death threats are "immature" and he doesn't support them.
Still, he adamantly denies any findings of drugs, saying he went and got a drug test after the stop and passed.
"Surely if I had drugs in my car they would have arrested me, but I was let go with no charges. I'm sure they knew that is not actually drugs," he told the news outlet.