Oakland police came under fire yesterday after several groups complained about the warnings which were issued by police in regards to the Cinco de Mayo holiday. The warnings, which were referred to as “Fiesta Time or Jail Times,” were criticized by several people due to their references to tequila and margaritas, two drinks which have become popular on May 5th.
The warnings, which were used by the Oakland Police Department, stated the following: “In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become synonymous with festive fiestas and salty margaritas. Historically, the fifth of May commemorates Mexico’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War, but present-day celebrations often lead to drunk driving—and there’s no victory in that.”
The Oakland Police Department was quick to issue an apology after the complaints saying that they would like to apologize for the warning regarding the holiday. They also noted that the language used in the statement may have been “insensitive to the cultural holiday.”
Cinco de Mayo complaints stated the police were targeting Mexicans
Much of the complaints about the Cinco de Mayo campaign came via social media. One Facebook post noted that the efforts seemed to be targeting “Mexicans” and that Mexican Chicanos seemed to be receiving more attention for their possible intoxication on May 5th then other ethnic groups might receive on their ethnic and culturally based holiday.
Others were quick to criticize the Oakland police department, not for posting warnings or installing DUI checkpoints, but for caving into the politically correct rhetoric. In fact, the Ira Mehlman, the spokesman for the Federation of American Reform noted that the police frequently engage in targeted campaigns on holidays.
For example, increased efforts are always made on the Fourth of July when DUI accidents typically increase. “This is what are police are supposed to be doing. Just because a few hyper-sensitive people get their feelings hurt shouldn’t be cause to put every motorist’s safety at risk. It’s the height of absurdity in political correctness,” said Ira Mehlman.
But the Oakland spokeswoman countered the claim that the Department was caving to political correctness by pointing out that the message is what is important, and they don’t want the message to get lost behind words that some groups might find offensive.
Police noted that despite the warnings about the holiday, however, they would remain vigilant about stopping drivers from drinking and driving.
Should there be checkpoints for DUI on Cinco de Mayo?
Another point of contention which was not addressed by the police or the offended parties, but which is a much more important discussion, is whether or not DUI checkpoints should even be lawful.
Many opponents of DUI checkpoints have argued for years that these checkpoints violate drivers Constitutional rights against unlawful search and seizure. Per usual, however, many groups of people are more offended by words and their possible underlying intent then whether their personal freedoms are violated.
Bottom Line: It shouldn’t matter how you say it. The message should be clear. Don’t drink and drive on Cinco de Mayo.
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