On Sunday, Los Angeles Police Department officers fatally shot a homeless man. It is being reported that man suffered from mental illness and did not have a weapon at the time of the incident. The video can be seen HERE. Continue reading
Lawmakers in Missouri have put forth a bill that would bar public access to any videos taken by police. Watch the video below for the full story.
This is just another reason your government wants control of the internet.
Also listen to this interview below we did with Jason Bermas, creator of the films “Loose Change”, “Fabled Enemies”, “Invisible Empire”, and most recently “Shade: The Motion Picture”.
The shooting death of a 13-year-old California boy believed to be carrying an assault rifle unfolded in no more than 10 seconds, police said. Andy Lopez Cruz, who was later found to be carrying a plastic replica, was struck by seven bullets. Continue reading
After moving to the border state of Arizona, I learned quickly that it isn’t prudent to drive a car into Mexico because the Federal Police like to pull over “American-looking” tourists and shake them down for cash (yes, Virginia, the Mexican national police force does profile).
The practice of Mexican police harassing traveling Americans for their cash is so prevalent, most insurance companies require a special rider on one’s insurance policy before covering a car trip into Mexico. Continue reading
Second Amendment activist Adam Kokesh was arrested Tuesday evening following an armed raid on his home in the Washington, D.C. area.
Police have charged Kokesh, 31, with possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II drug while also in possession of a firearm. According to the Washington Post, charging documents filed in court Wednesday morning said that hallucinogenic mushrooms, a Schedule I narcotic, were found in the raid. Continue reading
WEST PARIS, Maine — Maine State Police say a teenager from West Paris is recovering Sunday morning from gunshot wounds after being shot by a state trooper Saturday night.
James Reynolds, 18, is being treated at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, according to a news release from the Maine Department of Public Safety.
Reynolds was shot by Trooper Jason Wing as the trooper was investigating a report of a suspicious man along the Roy Road in West Paris, according to police. State Police said Reynolds was armed with a hunting rifle.
The shooting occurred at about 6:45 p.m. Reynolds was flown by a LifeFlight of Maine helicopter to the Lewiston hospital.
Wing has been placed on administrative leave with pay, which is standard state police procedure following a shooting. A team of investigators from the Maine Attorney General’s Office, assisted by state police, is investigating the incident and the final report of the shooting is likely to be released in several weeks. The Attorney General’s Office investigates all shootings in Maine involving police officers.
Memorial Day weekend, in Sacramento, California, a man was beaten to death by police at a metro PCS store on Folsom Blvd. He sustained 10 blows to the head with a baton, after being handcuffed, as he was unarmed. He stopped breathing while in custody, and later died at a hospital.
May 28, 2013 In Sacramento, California, a man was beaten to death by police at a metro PCS store on Folsom Blvd. He sustained 10 blows to the head with a baton, after being handcuffed, as he was unarmed. The police originally came after a worker at the store called, claiming the man was ‘talking incoherently’, and may be a threat, while he was unarmed. When the police came, the man allegedly tried to barricade himself in the store, and resist being locked in a cage by police. Following the police forcing him outside the store and handcuffing him on the ground, a female police officer proceeded to beat his head with a baton while he cried out in agony, as he was handcuffed and face down on the pavement. While the police, in desperate defense of their official story, called this man ‘violent’, resisting being locked in a cage for what he may or may not have done, is known as self defense to many. It appears even the slightest move, will grant you an instant death sentence from the constitution-less police of this new era.
Are we allowed to talk about martial law, the militarization of police, and the complete shutdown of cities on command? Or will that get the glorious law enforcers to storm and kick in our own doors now? Just what are the rules in effect today? Just what sort of precedent is being set here right before our eyes?
It was your commoner citizens who located the Boston bombing suspect after finding him hiding in a boat. This was after the martial law decree had arbitrarily been lifted, and it was now ordered permissible to go out in one’s backyard again.
Is martial law the answer to sticky incidents with fleeing suspects? Can this now apply to any suspects or any manhunt in the United States, anywhere, for any reason?
One might argue that clearing the streets under military decree is very useful for a particular purpose when pursuing a suspect: allowing a “free fire zone” of automatic .40 caliber hollow point gunfire, the known preference of the new “Homeland Security” apparatus. So what precedents are we setting now, in terms of rewriting the entire law enforcement paradigm, arguably a much more serious concern than a single 19-year-old bleeding suspect. Yeah. What the fuck actually happened last week in Boston?
Governor Deval Patrick took an unprecedented security step, asking people in Boston, Watertown, and several other nearby communities — totaling a million people — to “shelter in place” — stay at home behind locked doors and open up only to police officers with proper identification.” – Boston Globe
“Asking?” Martial law is just a friendly request, and the Globe dutifully disseminates. CBS News counts “thousands of heavily armed law enforcement officers and scores of military-style tactical vehicles,” but is quick to have an expert standing by to justify it as “perfect sense.” Just perfect. All that for one bleeding, injured 19-year-old.
One wonders how many tank divisions and predator squadrons might have been called in if this was one of the much-fabled “cells” we hear so much about on TV. I’m not disputing the need to capture the suspect, an obviously dangerous person, given what he is accused of doing. I am disputing the federal intervention, the military suspension of the Constitution and the militarization of local policing – all greatly warned about numerous times as we descend into outright authoritarianism, clamoring for the federal troops and toys to come and save us. Not only were the public politely “asked” to stay within their homes, authorities also pushed the “media back further and further from the action unfolding (CBS).” This bodes well for a free and open society.
In the midst of all this bombing hysteria the House of Representatives (sic) passed CISPA, with more government/private sector spying. Less accountability for the mishandling of your private data, and more total information awareness totalitarianism is ensured. That is the direction that every single one of these bills travels, bar none. Nearly every act of Congress concerning security of any sort increases government and corporate surveillance powers, diminishes accountability, oversight and the public’s right to challenge their own surveillance by authorities both public and private. We are living more and more in The Matrix, with 4th Amendment protections now considered “quaint” and of a bygone era that no longer has any relevance today.
Praise for surveillance cameras has been noted since Boston with calls for more public surveillance, more facial recognition, more integration of things like traffic cameras and license plate readers.
I think CCTV cameras are much more needed in urban areas. – Rep. Peter King (R), New York, House Committee on Homeland Security
Of course he does. He thought that before this latest photo-op. The answer is always more security, more surveillance, more intrusion, and less individual protection from government and from the private corporate sector.
A tremendous catharsis overwhelmed Boston with the announced capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as if that explained and ended everything. When you enact martial law with thousands of machine gun wielding stormtroopers and armored personnel carriers in the streets, and then make them go away, the people will be grateful. No doubt.
But this is where the story should be entering a new phase of discovery, intense investigation and disclosure. Sorry Boston; this is far from the end.
It was the FBI, apparently, who had monitored the two Chechen brothers for years, according to their own mother. Zubeidat K. Tsarnaeva claims the FBI had contacted her and her sons repeatedly over the past 5 years. She even claims that the two were “controlled” by the Feds and “set up” in some kind of sting operation. If that sounds baseless, well we have already had an admission by FBI that they “interviewed” the older brother Tamerlan back in 2011. Further, the Wall Street Journal reports that this FBI interview was in response to a “request by the Russian government.”
Scratch the vinyl. Say what?
Russian intelligence / counter-terrorism is already reported to have asked FBI to check out the older brother, now deceased, whom the FBI says blew up bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon. The FBI admits to talking to this suspect. They then claim, absurdly to have “closed the file” because they allegedly found nothing “suspicious.”
Do these suspected terrorist files even get closed at all? We’re straining credulity here.
Magnitudes more disturbing than any of that is the actual on-the-record activity by the FBI in at least 17 “terrorism” cases with so-called “foiled plots” since the 9/11 attacks. What the FBI does routinely – and this is not in dispute – is to orchestrate terror bombings with targeted individuals. These bombings are suggested and assisted by an undercover FBI provocateur. Often fake explosives and arms are provided. The targeted individuals are strictly monitored, and then set up and arrested with spectacular headlines and a grateful public that was saved from yet another act of senseless terror. The plots are provoked by the government itself in a controversial practice that many call “entrapment.”
Was the Boston Marathon bombing such a case of a sting that was somehow allowed to succeed?
What is the evidence?
Little is known about the operational planning, other than a vague claim by the boys’ mother alleging “control” and “set up.” However, some highly suspicious evidence has emerged from the bombing incident itself. Two main things remain unexplained, and corporate media has not, to my knowledge, investigated the most disturbing evidence the public has seen so far. This corporate media blackout is indicative of unreported, behind the scenes answers likely given by authorities when nosy reporters inquire about these matters.
First: We have the cross-country coach from the University of Mobile, AL saying that authorities announced “training exercises” by the bomb squad at the start of the race. Bomb sniffing dogs were present and used, according to Alastair (“Ali”) Stevenson, who ran the race. Repeated public address announcements told the runners and spectators to “…not worry, this is just a training exercise.”
A lengthy list of justifiable questions springs to mind, which any reporter worth his lunch would immediately want to ask. Yet, none of these questions, and none of the responses to them were published last week. But how could that be?
Let’s start with the absurdity of running a “training exercise” with the bomb squad in the middle of a sprawling, 26-mile-long, city-wide event that draws 500,000 spectators and more than 22,000 runners. It’s not really a time for an “exercise,” but a time to actually protect the public, no? Am I out of line here? I’m sure someone will inform me if I am.
Is this phrase “training exercise” a public relations lie to calm the sheeple, when in fact it is not an “exercise” at all, but a live security detail searching for possible explosives?
Other obvious questions concern who participated in this exercise? Which agencies and which private entities? What were the specifics of the exercise? Did this alleged exercise open up security holes by giving away critical information about security procedures to numerous parties beyond the control of law enforcement? Were explosives, real or fake, involved? Why is information regarding this exercise covered up?
The little matter of who was involved brings up big main question number two.
Second: Photographic images from the finish line / bombing of the Boston Marathon show a collection of suspicious characters acting in some semi-official capacity. What little can be discerned from the photos suggests they may be military mercenary contractors, possibly from a company called Craft International.
These men wore large black backpacks, very similar to the exploded backpack seen in photos immediately after the bombing. They also stand in positions very near the location of one of the bombs. They communicate with one another. One seems to hold a device in hand, perhaps a radiation detector. Others, who are dressed identically, rush over to a FBI bomb squad truck, which arrives minutes after the detonations. They talk with FBI personnel.
This all suggests that these men were coordinating with the FBI bomb squad all along. Is this the “exercise?” It also suggests that the FBI’s bomb squad (a federal entity) was already present before the bombings even happened. Why is a federal bomb squad unit at a marathon race even before bombings occur?
I’ll unload just one more question, concerning these mysterious, unnamed operatives. How can private military mercenaries be involved in any way, shape or form with domestic security on US streets, and notably at an event that turned out to be highly insecure, in the extreme?
Perhaps our society has reached that tipping point into utter insanity and breakdown.
The two brothers Tsarnaev have been established by the FBI as the only perpetrators, the onlysuspects, the only reason for the Boston bombings to have occurred. An FBI press conference went so far as to caution the entire media and public against looking elsewhere:
For clarity these images should be the only ones, I emphasize the only ones, that the public should view to assist us. Other photos should not be deemed credible and they unnecessarily divert the public’s attention in the wrong direction and create undo work for vital law enforcement resources. – Special Agent Rick DesLauriers, the head of the FBI’s Boston office
I find it hard to interpret this diktat as anything other than a direct order to narrow one’s thinking and evidentiary standards. The entire nation has been cautioned that all other evidence is to be deemed by the civilized world as not “credible.” As George W. Bush said a decade prior, at the United Nations: “Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories…”
One might expect such direct state orders inside Soviet Russia, but in our allegedly free society with its proudly proclaimed “free press” this is disturbing. The FBI has just discredited the entire concept of investigative journalism and assumed the role of sole authority on all information related to this case. The media is cautioned not to entertain any additional facts, no matter how they may appear to bear on the case. Nothing that doesn’t come directly from the Federal Bureau of Investigation is to be considered “credible” by anyone. Period.
So, is this the end of the so-called “free society?” Land of the free, home of the brave? Or is our new paradigm the land of the surveilled and controlled, home of the cowering, with martial law and propaganda for all?
And with so many thousands upon thousands of law enforcers available at the touch of a button, how about sending, say, one of them to investigate at least 14 counts of manslaughter and massive criminal negligence at that Texas fertilizer plant explosion? Or is that not in the script?
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lies in critical condition since Friday evening, but as of Sunday morning:
“Boston Mayor: Bombing Suspects Acted Alone” – Reliable Stenography by Time Magazine & Associated Press
How the hell would he know?
Several hours later:
Bombing suspect throat injury prevents questioning Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for now – Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is in a hospital, sedated and unable to be interrogated because of a throat injury. Authorities want to know if anyone else was involved. – Christian Science Monitor
Welcome, my son. Welcome to the machine. – Pink Floyd
(RT) -A 17-year veteran of the New York City Police Department pled not guilty Thursday to charges that he supplied police paraphernalia and weapons to a stickup crew, which then used the equipment to rob drug dealers.
Officer Jose Tejada is accused of involvement in a string of 2006 and 2007 robberies in which he is alleged to have provided NYPD badges, uniforms and even police vehicles to a group of thieves. Tejada, 45, who had been assigned to police Harlem, was in uniform and on duty at the time of at least one of his alleged crimes.
He’s been connected to three of the more than one hundred robberies the crew is supposedly behind, with some dating back to 2001. Tejada is charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to distribute drugs including heroin, cocaine, MDMA, and marijuana, as well as an unlawful use of a firearm charge, according to local NY1 news.
Prosecutors say Tejada was caught in an “ongoing Internal Affairs Bureau investigation” and has been suspended from the department after holding a family of three at gunpoint while his colleagues searched their home.
He also is accused of checking the legal status of other robbers in the gang and letting them know when it was safe to flee then reenter the United States.
“Obviously it is sad and disappointing anytime a police officer is arrested,” said NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly.
Tejada is the second officer to be charged as part of the robbery crew, which began in 2001 and has “netted more than 250 kilograms of cocaine and $1 million in narcotics proceeds,” prosecutors told the Times.
Emmanuel Tavarez, an eight-year veteran of the force, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in May 2012 after being convicted of similar crimes. Twenty other members have been implicated in the years-long investigation.
(NYDailyNews) -Protesters enraged over the fatal shooting of a teenager by police poured into Brooklyn streets for a third straight night Wednesday, pitching bricks, bottles and garbage in furious clashes with cops.
At least 46 demonstrators were arrested along Church Ave. in East Flatbush. Police struggled to control a hostile crowd that broke away from a planned peaceful vigil for Kimani (Kiki) Gray, 16, killed by police on Saturday night.
Sam Costanza/New York Daily News
Police push protesters back on Church Ave. in East Flatbush.
Gray’s sister Mahnefeh was among those arrested. A police officer suffered a gash in the face when a tossed brick hit him, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said, and a window was smashed in an inspector’s car.
Kimani Gray is shown in this undated photo released on Sunday, March 10, 2013, in New York. Gray was shot and killed by New York City police officers in Brooklyn, when he allegedly pointed a .38 caliber revolver at them. Both officers fired, striking Gray. He was taken to Kings County Hospital, where he was pronounced DOA.
“They didn’t have to kill him,” Makaeo Williams, 18, said as police on motorcycles tracked alongside him. “I’m feeling mad inside. I’m angry. That’s why I’m out here.”
Many in the community contest police allegations that Gray pointed a gun at cops when he was shot during a confrontation with two plainclothes officers on E. 52nd St. Saturday night. Those suspicions on the street intensified Wednesday when an autopsy report revealed Gray was hit by seven bullets — three to the back.
Sam Costanza/New York Daily News
A pregnant protester who was knocked to the ground gets help from other protesters.
It was not clear in what order the shots struck the teen or whether he had his back to the police when they opened fire .
Sam Costanza/New York Daily News
Protesters taunt cops on Church Ave.
A witness told the Daily News Tuesday that the youth did not have a gun in his hand. But a police spokesman said the witness told detectives she couldn’t see the incident clearly “from the angle I was at.”
A woman who identified herself as Gray’s cousin told news outlets Wednesday that the teen was carrying a gun for a friend and was trying to alert cops that he had a weapon when he was shot. A loaded .38-caliber revolver was recovered at the scene.
Todd Maisel/New York Daily News
Tishana King said she witnessed the shooting of Kimani Gray from her third floor window and she says she saw no gun.
The trouble Wednesday night began soon after more than 200 people set off from the vigil site at Church Ave. and E. 55th St. around 8:30 p.m.
Photo of crime scene.
Dozens chanted “NYPD, KKK, how many kids did you kill today” as they marched west on Church Ave. toward the 67th Precinct stationhouse.
But things quickly got out of hand as some protesters tried to climb on police motorcycles. Men and women were pepper-sprayed and thrown to the ground and handcuffed.
The spot where Kimani Gray was killed by NYPD. Councilman Jumaane Williams has locked horns with Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly over the incident.
“I’m scared for everything, myself, my store, my workers,” said Salm Sami, 45, who owns the Deli, Grill & Grocery at Church and New York Aves. “This is three days of this.”
The protesters eventually backtracked to the vigil site where the parents of Ramarley Graham — an unarmed teenager fatally shot by police in the Bronx last year — were waiting. “It never seems to end,” said Frank Graham, Ramarley’s father. “The community has a right to be angry.”
But City Councilman Jumaane Williams, a frequent NYPD critic, blasted outsiders who he said escalated tensions. “Please stay the HELL out of our community will only agitate our kids,” Williams fumed on Twitter. “It’s dangerous and counterproductive.” ”
With Thomas Tracy, Joe Kemp and Rocco Parascandola
(Baltimore Sun) -A federal judge has ordered Baltimore police to halt a “veritable witch hunt” into the personal life of a man who alleges that his camera was seized as he filmed an arrest.
In a ruling unsealed Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Gauvey said the department must pay $1,000 for a “not so subtle attempt to intimidate the plaintiff” in a civil suit against the department.
She took issue with tactics employed against Christopher Sharp, who sued the department two years ago, alleging that officers deleted images from his phone after he recorded a female friend being beaten by officers at the 2010 Preakness Stakes.
The U.S. Justice Department has sided with Sharp, and the case has led to new department policies upholding the rights of citizens to record police.
But according to court records, the department continued to challenge Sharp’s credibility in the civil case — contacting his ex-wife and former employers and seeking to determine “whether or not the plaintiff is a drug addict,” according to a court filing by the department.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland is helping to represent Sharp, and argued in court filings that the efforts were intimidation and harassment.
Gauvey agreed, saying that the police inquiries were “an appalling and apparent attempt to squeeze the plaintiff with questions that would almost certainly never be permitted in court.”
In an unusual move, Gauvey ordered the payment and said the department’s attorneys would have to seek court permission for further contact with anyone as they seek to gather information in the case.
City Solicitor George Nilson said he believed the requests for information on Sharp had been “benign” and “legitimate,” but that the city is unlikely to fight the ruling.
He said the city will continue to dispute Sharp’s allegations, saying that the plaintiff has been “utterly unable” to identify the officer who he alleges took his phone despite having been provided hundreds of names and pictures of police working that day.
“Tell us who it was,” Nilson said.
In court filings, the Police Department’s chief legal counsel, Mark Grimes, had argued that Sharp and his lawyers were trying to “handcuff the BPD in its pursuit of facts.”
“In short, Mr. Sharp believes that the defendants are not entitled to a defense,” Grimes wrote.
The ACLU’s legal director, Deborah Jeon, welcomed the judge’s ruling.
“We very much appreciate the court’s recognition that overzealous and unprofessional litigation tactics such as those engaged in by BPD counsel here have no place in any case — let alone in a Maryland civil rights case,” Jeon said in a statement.
Sharp alleges that images of the arrest, along with family photos, were erased from the phone by police.
The Justice Department’s civil rights division has urged the court to find in Sharp’s favor, saying that seizing and destroying recordings without a warrant violates constitutional guarantees of due process and protections against illegal searches.
After weighing in on the Baltimore incident, the Justice Department has sided with plaintiffs in similar cases.
Baltimore police dispute the ACLU’s contention that what happened to Sharp is part of a pattern of abuse and contend that policy changes have been sufficient to guide officers on citizens’ rights to record. Officials said other cities have contacted Baltimore for guidance in drafting their policies.
But Justice Department attorneys said Baltimore’s policy changes did not go far enough.
The day after the new policy became public, police officers were caught on video threatening to arrest a man for loitering in Federal Hill. The man had been recording them as they held someone on the ground.
The ACLU had said a lawsuit could have been avoided if police had worked to develop clearer policies and had acknowledged that Sharp should have been able to record the incident. But the Police Department did not respond to that request, prompting the lawsuit in August 2011.
“It was the Police Department’s refusal to admit it was wrong that made me take this to court, and the department’s lawyers have done everything they could to make that process more difficult,” Sharp said in a statement released by the ACLU.
The issue of recording police garnered attention in 2010 when a motorcyclist was charged in Harford County with videotaping on a helmet-mounted camera his interaction with a state trooper who had pulled him over at gunpoint for speeding. The man was acquitted and the Maryland attorney general’s office later issued an opinion advising police agencies that people have a right to record officers.
In August 2012, police told Sharp of their intention to subpoena medical records related to a hair follicle test and served subpoenas for Sharp’s phone records and information from a previous employer, Laurel Park racetrack. In addition, they contacted his ex-wife, her current boyfriend and her mother, which his attorneys described as “running amok in Sharp’s personal life.”
Gauvey said the contacts with people in Sharp’s personal life were not necessarily improper, as it was possible that Sharp had shared his version of the Preakness incident with them. But excerpts of the depositions “presented a picture of defense counsel ‘working [the] plaintiff over’ — asking irrelevant and personal questions about his custody arrangements for his young son and his divorce proceedings.”
A. Dwight Pettit, an attorney who is not involved in Sharp’s case but who has filed numerous lawsuits against the city, called Gauvey’s decision “unusual, but very positive.”
(Memphis) An off-duty Memphis police officer, accused of threatening a man by getting the victim’s phone number from the 911 call center, is now under arrest.
Officer Darrell Malone will be prosecuted for harassment.
This comes more than three months after the incident was first reported.
The victim says he’s relieved the DA’s office is taking action.
“I’m tickled pink,” said Michael Montgomery, who thought the county forgot about his case.
“I had some real concerns that it was just being dropped.”
But it looks like someone believed he had one against Officer Malone.
He’s been arrested for harassment. Court documents show the officer turned himself in Monday after authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.
Montgomery first came forward demanding action back in October.
“It’s a complete abuse of power,” said. ”He stepped across a line that shouldn`t be stepped across.”
Montgomery says Malone flashed a gun at him on Germantown Parkway and threatened him.
When Montgomery called 911 for help, the off-duty officer was able to get Montgomery’s personal cell phone number from 911 Dispatcher Jenny Rice,.
Montgomery told us, “I got a phone call from a blocked cell phone number. It was the off-duty police officer again who had gotten my information from dispatch. He was making more threats to me.”
Since then, Montgomery has wanted Officer Malone charged with a crime, but MPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau decided Malone didn’t commit one and put him back on the job November 27th.
Now, the police department says he’s relieved of duty, again, but won’t say when that happened or why.
Montgomery’s just glad to know the system works, even if it takes a while.
“If you fight the system, it will work for you,” said Montgomery. ”You just have to knuckle down and bear with it. It may not be what you want immediately but in the end you are going to get your results.”
Officer Malone’s first court hearing has been set for April 5th. Montgomery says prosecutors tell him he has a right to attend all of Malone’s hearings but doubts he’ll go to them.
(Infowars) -An Indiana woman falsely raided by a SWAT team is suing the city of Evansville and the police department after cops smashed down her door and threw flash grenades into her home in response to “threatening” Internet posts that she wasn’t even responsible for.
“Police came up empty-handed in a search for evidence about threatening Internet posts but only after damaging the house, handcuffing the woman and her granddaughter and seizing their computers, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court at Evansville,” reports the Courier Press.
Police claim the raid, which occurred back in June, was justified due to Internet posts traced back to 68-year-old Louise Milan’s house which threatened to attack the police department, but the posts had been made by a suspected gang member who had hijacked Milan’s wi-fi connection because it was not password protected.
The lawsuit states that the actions of the officers “were done with malicious intent to cause severe mental and emotional distress to Milan.”
After smashing Milan’s window and her storm door, police threw two flash grenades into the home before ordering Milan and her daughter onto the floor at gunpoint. The two were handcuffed and paraded in front of their neighbors before police seized computers and a cellphone.
The police even ensured that a news camera crew was there to document the raid in order to “memorialize” the incident.
Alleged gang member Derrick Murray, who lived nearby, later admitted to a federal court that he had used his smartphone to hijack Milan’s wi-fi connection to make the threatening posts.
SWAT raids which turn out to target the wrong houses are a routine characteristic of America’s increasing decline into a police state.
- In October last year, police in Middletown, Delaware searching for a “person of interest” raided Steve and Jennifer Tuppeny’s house and held them at gunpoint before realizing they had the wrong house.
- In July 2010, a Minneapolis-St. Paul SWAT team raided the wrong house, shot the family dog and forced three children to sit next to the bleeding corpse of their beloved pet for over an hour.
- Police in Adams County, Colorado falsely raided the home of Jeff Fisher before shooting and killing his pet dog Ziggy when the animal attempted to run away.
- Lebanon, Tennessee resident John Adams was shot to death by cops as his wife was handcuffed in another room following another wrong house raid in September last year.
- A 12-year-old girl suffered second degree burns after police used flash grenades in executing a raid on a house in Billings, Montana last October over an alleged meth lab that never existed.
These are just a handful of cases from the last few years in what is turning into an epidemic of police abuse as a result of the failure to properly verify that such raids are targeting the right people.
(DailyMail) -A police officer allegedly gave a three-year-old girl a sexually transmitted disease when he abused her, a court has today heard.
PC James Williams, who was based at Trinity Road police station, in Bristol, is accused of assaulting the toddler in a house in the city and passing on chlamydia to her.
On the first day of evidence at his trial today a jury heard the allegations against the 28-year-old came to light when the little girl complained that she was sore when she went to the toilet.
When her mother asked why, she said Williams had ‘hurt’ her and indicated how with her hands.
She also claimed Williams had exposed himself to her, the court heard.
While staying with her father the following day, the youngster repeated some of the claims to him.
Williams, who is suspended from duties as a response officer for Avon and Somerset police, denies sexual assault by penetration on a child under 13.
The girl’s mother shook as she recounted what her daughter told her had happened.
As she stood in the witness box at Bournemouth Crown Court she said the first time she took her daughter to the doctor, she did not tell him what the three-year-old was claiming.
The youngster, whose anonymity is protected by law, was diagnosed with a water infection.
But she was taken back to the GP several days later where the allegations were explained.
She was then admitted to Bristol Children’s Hospital for a full examination where tests revealed she had chlamydia, a disease usually transmitted sexually, which can cause infertility.
Her mother said: ‘I know chlamydia can cause problems for older ladies with them having children and that was one of my worst fears.’
Prosecuting, Kerry Barker said Williams and others who had come into contact with the girl around that time were all tested for the disease.
Mr Barker said: ‘He (Williams) agreed voluntarily to undertake tests for chlamydia and those tests showed he too had chlamydia, and it was the same strain.’
Williams was privately confronted about the allegations by the family, with the girl – now five – in the same room.
Witnesses told the jury that when asked who had touched her, she pointed at him and said that he had.
When asked again she repeated the response, but when asked for a third time she replied: ‘It’s a secret.’
The court heard from several witnesses at that ‘tense’ meeting who said Williams did not deny the allegations at the time.
The girl’s mother told the jury: ‘James didn’t really react.’
During the alleged victim’s first year in nursery school, staff catalogued ‘concerning’ and ‘sexualised’ behaviour towards other children.
After counselling sessions, her behaviour became more normal but she is still ‘very cuddly’ towards other children, her mother said.
The jury heard the girl’s infection was treated with medicine. But then two years later her symptoms returned.
Tests revealed she had the infection again, having had no contact with Williams since the allegations first surfaced.
The case continues.
(Fox) -This kid was no killer — but some callous Bronx cops sure treated him like one.
Instead of earning himself a simple trip to the principal’s office, a terrified 7-year-old boy was hauled out of class, handcuffed like a hardened criminal and “interrogated” by police for a grueling 10 hours — all over a playground dispute involving $5, his family is charging.
“My son was crying, ‘Mommy, it wasn’t me! Mommy, it wasn’t me!’ I never imagined the cops could do that to a child. We’re traumatized,” Wilson Reyes’ distraught mom, Frances Mendez told The Post last night.
“Imagine how I felt seeing my son in handcuffs!’’ she said. “It was horrible. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
The bizarre overreaction by cops came after the child had been accused of swiping $5 from another student after school.
The money, which was supposed to be used for a school trip that never happened, had fallen on the ground in front of Wilson and two other boys, and one of them scooped it up.
Wilson was falsely accused of taking it, and he scuffled with one of the kids.
Officers showed up at PS X114 on Dec. 4 at about 10:20 a.m., and handcuffed and held Wilson in a room there for four hours. They then hauled him off to the 44th Precinct station house for another six hours of interrogation and verbal abuse, according to a $250 million claim against the city and the NYPD.
The boy protested his innocence, to no avail.
(Image credit: screenshot of YouTube video originally captured by attorney Howard Price)
(End The Lie)- Tamara Gaglione was recently paid $250,000 in damages for being pulled over for talking on her cellphone, after which she was thrown to the ground and hogtied by California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers on the shoulder of a busy freeway.
This type of behavior, while indeed disgusting, is far from surprising given that police hogtying women isn’t all that rare and a woman died of suffocation last year in the back of a Los Angeles Police Department patrol car after being kicked in the genitals and forced into the vehicle.
In this case, it seems that the dashboard camera is what ultimately held the officers accountable, just as a similar camera did in the case of a 66-year-old man who was beaten for no apparent reason.
The incident occurred in August of 2011 and resulted in charges of evading and resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license, all of which were dropped after a judge saw video footage of the incident captured from a dashboard camera of a CHP cruiser.
30-year-old Gaglione, 2 months pregnant at the time, was pushed face-first into the asphalt after an officer swept her legs with a kick. Another officer used his knee to pin her to the ground, all while she was pregnant.
Howard Price, Gaglione’s attorney, told the Huffington Post that Gaglione could hear officers talking about the video of the encounter on the way to the station.
Yet when Price requested the video in order to present it as evidence in Gaglione’s criminal trial, he was told no footage of the incident existed.
“I went back to them, and I said, ‘Look, am I stupid? This involved a chase. There must be a videotape,’” Price said.
Eventually, the prosecutor finally handed over the footage from the dashboard camera of a backup officer, although that footage showed nothing.
Once Price was told the footage did, in fact, exist, he was told that no one could transfer the video to another medium.
Price was then forced to go to the CHP station himself in order to record the footage for posterity.
The video Price took of the original CHP footage being played was then uploaded to YouTube and can be seen below.
“The conduct here is outrageous. What these officers did here was bewildering to me. They knew she was pregnant,” Price told the Los Angeles Times. “She never resisted arrest.”
“After first stopping on the right shoulder, she was ordered to not stop there, to go forward and get off freeway [sic],” Price explains on his website. “Because of rush hour traffic noise, she did not hear clearly what she was directed to do.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the officers ordered her to toss her car keys out of her window, exit her vehicle and put her hands on the car.
Instead, Gaglione simply stands outside of her vehicle staring at the CHP officers, “appearing confused,” as the Los Angeles Times puts it.
When the officers are yelling, “Turn around,” it appears that Gaglione says something, although it is inaudible.
In the official report, the CHP officers claimed that she appeared to raise her arms in a menacing manner, although it is quite hard to detect if there are any menacing arm movements from the footage.
The officers then approach Gaglione with their guns drawn, sweep her legs with a kick and push her face-first into the ground.
Another officer pins Gaglione to the ground with a knee in her back, although Price contends that it was actually placed on her neck.
“At another point, it appears the woman is kicked in her left ribs,” the Los Angeles Times notes. “Eventually she is hogtied and placed in a squad car.”
“I’d never seen a gun for real before,” Gaglione said. “I just froze. I was scared they’d shoot me.”
While Gaglione maintains that she told the officers she was pregnant when they first approached her, one of the officers, Officer Daniel Hernandez, said that she did not mention that she was pregnant until she was on the ground.
In Hernandez’s report, he said that he kneed Gaglione in an effort to distract her so that Officer Roberto Martinez, his partner, could handcuff her.
The officers wrote in their report that the incident escalated because Gaglione ignored their orders and “appeared to raise her arms in an aggressive manner after hopping out of the van,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Gaglione later sued both the CHP, the sergeant and five officers involved in the incident, “alleging that her civil rights had been violated and that she had been subjected to excessive force and malicious prosecution,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
While CHP officials would not discuss the incident itself, they said that both sides concluded that the $250,000 settlement was in everyone’s best interest.
“The CHP conducted a review of the tactics and, as necessary, took appropriate action,” stated Fran Clader, department spokeswoman.
Both of the officers involved in the incident with Gaglione remain CHP officers.
After the misdemeanor charges were dropped, Gaglione pleaded no contest to the infraction for using a cellphone while driving.
Gaglione is now the mother of a 9-month old son and moved to Pennsylvania from Los Angeles after the 2011 encounter, according to Price, who added that her son was not apparently affected by the incident.
“I will always be scared of police officers because of these knuckleheads,” Gaglione said.
(DailyMail) -Three Connecticut police officers have been put on administrative leave after they were caught on video brutally beating a suspect in a local park.
Elson Morales, Joseph Lawlor and Clive Higgins, all 10-year veterans of the Bridgeport Police Department, are shown on the tape kicking and stomping on a man they had already subdued with a stun gun.
They will remain on paid administrative leave while the May 2011 encounter is investigated.
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO
The sobering footage was uploaded on YouTube on January 18 by an anonymous user. It is unclear who filmed it.
In the video, which goes in and out of focus, the pop and sizzle of the electric stun gun can be heard before a man shouts ‘nice shot’ from off camera as the suspect falls to the ground.
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Within seconds, two officers stand over the motionless man and begin kicking and stomping on him as he writhes around on the grass. A third officer drives up in a police cruiser with the sirens blaring and attacks him.
At one point a witness yells at the officers, ‘You got him, cut the (expletive).’
Carolyn Vermont, president of the Greater Bridgeport branch of the NAACP, slammed the police response, describing it to the Connecticut Post as ‘horrible, totally unacceptable.’
‘No person should be treated as an animal, no matter what they are charged with,’ she said.
Police Chief Joseph Gaudett Jr. said he learned about the video last week and promptly ordered the city’s Office of Internal Affairs to investigate the beating. He also notified the Bridgeport State’s Attorney.
Motionless: The suspect lies motionless on the grass throughout the attack
‘I’m concerned by what I saw and ordered the Office of Internal Affairs to conduct an immediate, thorough and timely investigation,’ Gaudett told The Post.
‘If violations are found, we will take action. Our officers are held to high standards and rightfully so, and we intend to maintain these standards.’
Gaudett refused to release the name of the man being kicked and stomped by the officers in the video and what charges were lodged against him.
Video: The video of the beating was uploaded on YouTube on January 18
According to The Post, police sources said the man was being pursued by officers following reports that he had a gun.
When the officers finally subdued him, no gun was found, but the man was wearing a holster, the source said.
The man was charged in the incident and did not file a complaint against the police officers.
The sources told The Post that the man, who wasn’t seriously injured in the beating, is now serving prison time on unrelated charges.
“He failed to disclose he had applied for other agencies and also he had changed his answers to be more accommodating,” said Detective Steve Berry with the Mesa Police Department. Berry said Mesa police weren’t aware of this until Kelso’s wife at the time called police and told them in August 2011. A few days after that call, Mesa police got another call, this time from Kelso’s stepson.
“He had allegedly used a Taser, a department-issued Taser, on his then-14-year-old son,” Berry said. Kelso’s stepson told police he had brought home a report card Kelso wasn’t happy with. Police said Kelso then concocted a story to explain why he deployed his stun gun.
“An aggressive dog had come into the yard,” Berry said.
The stepson said the incident happened in 2007; again, police weren’t aware until he called them in August 2011. But Mesa police said they immediately began investigating after that.
“We take these things very seriously,” Berry said.
According to court records, Kelso claimed he used the stun gun in self-defense because his stepson attacked him with an iron. But a jury convicted him of aggravated assault and Mesa police said if Kelso hadn’t resigned first, he likely would’ve been fired.
“Clearly this is someone the police department would not have on our force,” Berry said.
Kelso’s case is now up before the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board; they’ll decide whether to suspend his certification, revoke it or take no action. CBS 5 News tried reaching Kelso, but couldn’t find a current address or phone number for him. We also tried contacting him on Facebook but haven’t heard back.
(NYMagazine) -NYPD boss Ray Kelly was his version of giddy yesterday while describing new technology that will allow police to just see straight through people’s clothing. As detailed by The Wall Street Journal, “The so-called T-Ray machine detects terahertz radiation, a high-frequency electromagnetic natural energy that is emitted by people and can penetrate many materials.” Kelly, in a speech at the Waldorf-Astoria, explained, “If something is obstructing the flow of that radiation, for example a weapon, the device will highlight that object.” After a demonstration, he added, “You get a sense of why we’re so hopeful about this tool.” And the government is footing the bill.
The “multimillion” dollar machine is being paid for by the U.S. Department of Defense, according to NYPD spokesman Paul Browne. For now, the tester device (pictured above) is large and could be mounted to a car, but eventually the deparment hopes “to get the T-Ray technology in a device small enough to carry on an officer’s gun belt,” the Journal reports.
While the sci-fi-style machine could eventually make the department’s controversial street stops obsolete, it comes with its own obvious civil-liberty issues, along with the chance of identifying, say, a hairbrush, wallet, or candy bar as something more dangerous.
“Any technology that allows police to peer into a person’s body or possessions raises a lot of questions,” said NYCLU director Donna Lieberman. “But to the extent that this technology reduces the abuse of stop-and-frisk that harms hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers every year, we’re intrigued by the possibilities.”
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) — Former Metro police officer John Norman is going to prison for two years. News 3’s Sandra Gonzalez has this story.
Norman was in court this morning to face his punishment after pleading guilty to charges of coercing women to expose their breasts after stopping them on the road.
Judge Abbi Silver — after hearing victims’ statements — looked right at him and said: “You are nothing short of a sexual predator with a badge.”
Before Norman was sentenced, he was allowed to give a statement.
“But if I did at any point make anyone feel threatened I am truly and humbly sorry ’cause that was never my intent to use my intention to force people to expose themselves,” Norman said.
He also said he “is not a monster lurking in the dark” , and that he understands that his actions weren’t above reproach.
He even turned back and looked at one of the women who he stopped in this case who was in the courtroom. She was in tears.
“I was angry and I was saying you are such a liar in my head. You are full of it, because you knew what you were doing the whole time you were doing it. You knew your intentions. You just kept getting away with it and you thought you would get away with it again,” said victim Victoria Elizabeth Murnane.
She went on the stand and pleaded with the judge to be as strong in her declaration of punishment for Norman. So did another woman, Rebecca Portillo. They asked that he required to be registered as a sex offender for life.
One woman says she still suffers from panic attacks. The other says she’s afraid of male officers pulling her over again.
“I’m afraid, especially if I’m alone. I’ll have to call back up or stay on the phone with 911 until somebody else comes because I don’t trust,” Murnane said.
Norman received maximum sentencing for the counts he previously pleaded guilty to: oppression under color of office, and open or gross lewdness. His punishment is two years in prison and he was taken away in handcuffs.
Two women left the courtroom very grateful. “I said thank you, thank you God. Thank you. Thank you,” Murnane said.
Norman’s defense attorney David J. Roger declined to comment.
Once Norman is released from prison, he will have to register as a sex offender.
He was with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for 3-1/2 years.
ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. – The Adams County deputy who shot a dog named “Ziggy” after responding to the wrong building for a burglary has been taken off patrol duty permanently, according to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.
The announcement of the decision comes after days of silence from the Sheriff’s Office.
Ziggy was shot and killed after deputies went to the wrong building while responding to a burglar alarm, according to lawyers at the Animal Law Center.
Deputy Wilfred Europe III, 31, was identified as the deputy who pulled the trigger.
Jeff Fisher, the owner of Ziggy, an 8-year-old blue heeler/border collie mix, said he watched as Europe shot and killed his dog in front of his workshop.
“He killed my dog for no reason, no reason at all,” Fisher told 7NEWS reporter Amanda Kost.
During a Friday afternoon press conference, Sheriff Douglas Darr responded to what he called “a firestorm of controversy” over the incident.
He also suggested, “There has been too much misinformation, there have been too many people speculating.”
Darr recapped that two deputies were sent to respond to a burglar alarm from a west main entry door at Thoutt Brothers Concrete at 5384 Tennyson Street. He did not mention Deputy Europe by name.
The deputies were sent to try to determine what set off the alarm he said, but never got to the right building. Darr pointed to a map while he explained that sign for 5384 is at the end of a long driveway off Tennyson Street. Closer to the road, the building at 5460 also belongs to Thoutt Brothers Concrete.
The deputies parked on the western side of the building at 5460, where there is a sign for Thoutt Brothers Concrete. He said they walked to the west side of a small building to the north of the building at 5460 and east of 5470. The building did not have a street address on the Sheriff’s blueprint.
The door is not numbered, but he said it had a small label that said “Advanced Door.”
“They found that door to be open… unlocked,” Darr said. “The deputies do what they’re supposed to do, and they decided to check it. They crack it open and as they crack it open they hear somebody inside and also hear a dog.”
The person inside, who was later identified as Fisher, grabbed the door just before the deputy pulled it closed. The sheriff said the two deputies stepped back and drew their weapons.
Fisher opened the door and Darr said the deputies were giving him instructions, including asking him to control his dog. Ziggy did get out and Darr described the animal as “barking and growling.”
“One deputy retreated about 20-to-25 feet, um, as the dog was moving toward him he kicked the dog and as we were told it didn’t deter the dog. The dog continued to come and the deputy fired two rounds, one of the rounds hitting the dog,” the Sheriff said.
According to Darr, the 55-to-57 pound dog was killed about 23-feet from the door.
Fisher had told Kost that Ziggy was running away from the deputy at the time the shots were fired. The Sheriff wouldn’t to comment on that, saying it was a piece of the ongoing investigation.
Darr also said his department didn’t have a written protocol for handling dogs, but said he expects them to behave “reasonably” with respect to protecting themselves.
Asked about a comment the deputy may have made after the shooting about Fisher getting a new dog, Darr said it was being looked in to.
“We’ve discovered that a deputy admits he made a comment like that and that will become a part of our internal affairs investigation,” Darr said.
Darr said his department would look into training to help avoid a repeat of this situation.
“This is not something we want to go through a second time,” Darr said.
“When you’re going to conduct an investigation, you have an obligation to get every account from everybody who was there who might know something. And so our detectives went back to the building to try to talk to Mr. Fisher to see if they could get his account of the story. He is understandably upset and did not initially want to talk to us. That has all changed and I can tell you that he has talked to us and has provided us an account of what happened down there and it’s a little different today than it was a couple of days ago,” Darr said at 3:14 p.m., about half way through the press conference.
Then, just before the end of the press conference, a reporter asked Darr how the statement had changed.
“No, I didn’t say that his account was different, what I said is that he is now talking to us. Because, initially, he did not want to talk to us when we went down to have a discussion with him. On the day that the detectives went down to see him, to get his account of the story, he asked us to leave. And that has now changed and we now have the opportunity to talk to him,” he answered at 3:23 p.m.
– Deputy Europe’s history –
On Feb. 26, 2012, Deputy Europe was on-duty when he shot and killed a man who allegedly lunged for a gun — later identified as a pellet gun — during a traffic stop.
In May, the independent Adams County Critical Incident Team ruled the deputy was justified in shooting and killing 40-year-old Don Alan Cambron.
During the traffic stop of four people in a Suzuki Grand Vitara, Deputy Abdulla spotted a black handgun on the back-seat floorboard of the sport utility vehicle,according to the shooting review report.
Deputy Abdulla shouted, “Gun! Gun! Gun!” and “Floorboard!” the report said.
Europe yelled, “Don’t move! Don’t move! Don’t Move!”
Europe later told investigators he saw Cambron, who was seated in the back seat, “lunge” toward the floorboard behind the driver’s seat where the gun was.
Europe ordered Cambron, “Put your hands up!” the report said.
Europe said he could not see Cambron’s hands and was afraid he had the gun. Europe said he feared for his and Deputy Abdulla’s lives and fired three shots, hitting Cambron.
Cambron later died at Denver Health Medical Center.
The gun was later found to be a black pellet gun that looked like a realistic 9mm semiautiomatic handgun, the report said. Several passengers in the vehicle agreed the gun looked real and said they heard the deputes shout “Gun!Gun!Gun!” and “Don’t Move!…Put your hands up,” the report said.
The shooting review concluded that Europe’s actions were justified.
“The prosecution could not disprove that Deputy Europe reasonably believed that there was a credible and life threatening circumstance endangering him and his fellow officers,” according to the shooting review report issued by then-Adams County District Attorney Don Quick.
Europe has a history of relatively minor legal violations, including a weapons charge and pleading guilty to having his dog off leash, according to court records,
In 2001, a 20-year-old Europe was charged with unlawful discharging a weapon and possessing an illegal knife in Denver, court records state.
A case summary shows he entered a guilty plea on Dec. 12, 2001, and was sentenced to six months unsupervised probation.
Europe had a deferred sentence hearing, which allows a defendant to clear their record if they avoid new violations. Both charges were dismissed by the court on June 6, 2001, court records state.
In 2003, he pleaded guilty to having a dog running at large/leash law violation in Denver and was fined $80, according to court records.
In 2004, he was cited failure to vaccinate, license, spay-or-neuter his dog in Denver. Those violations were dismissed.
At age 18, Europe was cited for careless driving in Denver and operating an unsafe vehicle. He pleaded guilty to a lesser moving violation and was fined $26, court records state.
After a YouTube video of an LAPD officer pulling over and ticketing a bicyclist with little cause on the Venice Beach bike path went viral, the ticket was canceled and the officer’s conduct is under investigation.
In the 10-minute clip, a cyclist turns on his helmet camera and records the interaction, which drew a handful of onlookers who protested that the cyclist had done nothing wrong and that the officer needed to address serious crime in Venice.
The bicyclist, who identifies himself at 34-year-old Chris Jackson of Venice, was posted after Thanksgiving weekend, when he was ticketed for speeding after telling a motorcycle officer was blocking the popular bike-only path.
(Salon) -One of the most disturbing trends in law enforcement in recent years is the hyper-paramilitarization of local police forces. Much of the funding for tanks for Fargo’s hometown cop shop comes from the Department of Homeland Security. The feds have a lot of money to throw around in the name of preventing terrorism, and municipalities want to get that money. As anyone who has done budgeting knows, the best way to ensure your funding stays high is to request a lot of money and spend it all.
As a result, every year the police get more tools, gadgets, weapons, and surveillance technologies that, whatever their stated purpose, serve to give cops greater capabilities to curtail the rights of anyone unlucky enough to be standing in their path.
We were going to list these in order from least to most creepy, but that proved far too challenging. So here are some cop tools you may not be familiar with, in no particular order.
1. Shock-cuffs.These made a splash in late 2012 when it was reported that Scottsdale Inventions had submitted a patent for metal handcuffs capable of delivering “high-voltage, low amperage shocks to disrupt a person’s voluntary nervous system,” much like Tasers. Depending on the model used, the handcuffs could shock a detainee at the will of his captor, or if the detainee wanders past a certain border – like an invisible fence for dogs.
Even more disturbing is the potential to arm the handcuffs with needles capable of injecting medications, sedatives or any number of liquid or gas substances into the detainee. But don’t worry – some models may include a flashing light or sound-alert to warn the person that a shock is about to happen.
2. Rapid DNA analysis. One of the main stories of the future of policing will be cops’ ability to collect biometric data in the field, instead of at the downtown precinct. EFF reported earlier this month on a potentially troubling technology called Rapid DNA analysis, being developed by contractors with the federal government. The machine, which is about the size of a laser printer, has the ability to collect, analyze and catalog your DNA onsite in about 90 minutes.
The stated purpose of the technology is to help identify family relationships between refugees, which could be beneficial if used in limited ways. According to EFF, however, the US Citizenship and Immigration agency suggests “that DNA should be collected from all immigration applicants—possibly even infants—and then stored in the FBI’s criminal DNA database.” As with all data collection in the US, the wrench only goes one way, and once local police forces obtain this technology the potential for abuse is huge.
3. Mobile fingerprinting. Police forces across the country have become enamored of smart phone-sized fingerprint scanners. The police use the devices to scan two fingers of the suspect and transmit the data via Bluetooth to the officer’s laptop in his cruiser. The laptop then checks the image against criminal databases for a match.
The ACLU of Washington is concerned that the devices could be used to collect fingerprints, not simply scan them, though Seattle police insist they don’t keep the scanned fingerprints.
4. Iris scans.When I was arrested covering Occupy in December 2011, a livestreamer who was an old hat at political arrests warned me about the iris scan. Beginning in 2010, the NYPD started scanning arrestees’ irises on intake and immediately prior to arraignment. The stated purpose of these scans is to ensure that the person brought before the judge is the right one (there were some instances of mistaken identity), but in practice the scope of the iris scan is much broader. It’s plainly an example of collecting biometric data of people who haven’t been convicted of a crime, as well as a mechanism to punish those who refuse the scan.
The scan isn’t mandatory, but as I wrote about my own experience, “if you don’t submit to it, you will be punished.” In my case, I refused the scan on intake, but was told I would be held in jail for an extra night if I didn’t allow my eyes to be scanned before I saw the arraignment judge, despite the fact that there was no initial scan to compare it with.
This technology, like DNA analysis and fingerprinting, can now be used in the field. BI2 Technologies has developed a device that slides over an iPhone and allows officers to scan a suspect’s face and eyes, and then check that scan against a criminal database. Critics say the tool is problematic because it can scan a person’s face from up to four feet away, possibly without their awareness. Beyond that, there is a disturbing partnership emerging between BI2 Technologies, the FBI and local police forces, with reports that the FBI plans to launch an iris national database in 2014.
5. License plate recognition.It’s not just your eyeballs and fingertips that law enforcement wants to scan. Relatively new technology called license plate recognition allows police to run thousands of tags a day, all while just driving around. Cameras mounted on cop cars constantly scan the area and check plates against databases, and alert the officer if there’s a match.
A Long Beach police officer describes the scope of LPR this way:
In our case we are running multiple databases — we have “wanted felony vehicles,” “be on the lookout,” “24 hour hotsheet,” “wanted by detectives,” “LA County warrants,” and our gang unit. In addition to this we have “stolen vehicles,” which are available to everybody in the state. Currently in our database we have 24,000,000 plus reads.
Just like the other surveillance tools, police departments expect use of LPR to increase in the coming years. According to a Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) survey, “71 percent of responding agencies already have LPRs,” though often just on a handful of cruisers. Tellingly, “almost every police agency expects to acquire or increase their use of LPRs in coming years, and that five years from now, on average they expect to have 25 percent of their cars equipped with LPRs.”
As Kevin Goztola notes, this kind of technology isn’t inherently inappropriate, but without strict regulation many innocent people could be surveilled unconstitutionally. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a US person who discovered through requests for public records that his daily routine had been monitored automatically. The WSJ concludes, “The rise of license-plate tracking is a case study in how storing and studying people’s everyday activities, even the seemingly mundane, has become the default rather than the exception.”
When it comes to drones, the future is wide open. From proposed surveillance in Seattle to assisting arrests in North Dakota, police drones are here and they aren’t going anywhere. NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly recently told a crowd that his department was “looking into” using drones to surveil political protests, though “a drones program is not being actively pursued at this time.” Recently obtained FOIA documents, however, show that the NYPD counter-terrorism unit may be in the early stages of developing the use of drones.
As drones get smaller, more versatile and increasingly capable of behaving “autonomously,” it’s not difficult to imagine a time in the future when drone surveillance is integrated with LPR technology, all in the name of increased security.
Corrections Officer Kris Rongen Receives Officer of the Month Award
(LewRockwellBlog)-Auburn, Washington resident Dustin Theoharis was asleep in his bed on February 11, 2012 when two armed strangers entered his room and started to give him orders. Understandably startled, Theoharis reached for a flashlight. This prompted the two intruders to open fire. Theoharis – who was still in bed –was shot sixteen times, but survived. The assailants who shot Theoharis were Detective Aaron Thompson of the King County Sheriff’s Office and Corrections Officer Kris Rongen. They had arrested Theoharis’s roommate, Nicholas Harrison, an ex-convict who had failed to report for community supervision. The officers were searching his bedroom to find if Theoharis had a gun, which would have allowed them to charge Harrison with a parole violation. They had no warrant or probable cause, and no gun was found. Since Harrison was already in custody at the time of the incident, there was no need to conduct a “safety sweep” of the residence.
Immediately after the shots were fired, Detective Benjamin Wheeler – one of four other officers on the scene – went to the downstairs bedroom, where he found Theoharis lying in a pool of blood and the two officers who had shot him in what appeared to be a “state of shock.”
When Wheeler asked what happened, Thompson told him that the victim “told us he had four guns, and then he started reaching for one.” This was a lie. No gun was found in the bedroom. A rifle was found in a locked gun case in the room next door. Theoharis was asleep when the officers went into his darkened bedroom and began barking orders at him, and within ten seconds he had been perforated with sixteen shots.
By any reasonable definition, Detective Thompson and Officer Rongen committed the crime of attempted homicide. An internal review of the incident by the Sheriff’s Office found that neither Thompson nor Rongen had asked “anything about the occupant of the room, if there were weapons present or if the person permanently lived at the residence.” The officers were faulted for not taking the time to “determine a safe course of action” with four other detectives who were present.”
For its part, the Department of Corrections simply ruled that Rongen’s actions had followed department policies. Rongen, invoking the Fifth Amendment, had refused to cooperate with the investigation.
The King County Prosecutor decline to file criminal charges against either assailant, insisting that the shooting was justified because of a “perceived risk” to officer safety.
All police are taught to perceive all citizens as potential risks, and to put “officer safety” ahead of all other considerations. Does this mean they can shoot any of us at any time?
(ACLU) – GRAND JUNCTION – The Colorado ACLU announced today a settlement agreement with the Colorado State Patrol that will resolve a federal court lawsuit filed on behalf of the family of Jason Alan Kemp, who was shot and killed at his Grand Junction home in 2010 when he refused to allow state troopers into his home without a warrant.
To settle the lawsuit, the State Patrol will pay over $1 million to Jason’s family and will also implement new training modules for all current and future officers to include specific instruction on the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment and its limited exceptions. The new training will also emphasize de-escalation tactics and the limits on officers’ permissible use of force. The agreement provides for ACLU lawyers to review the new training curriculum and to attend and monitor training sessions.
“ACLU lawyers were prepared to prove not only that state troopers violated the Constitution when they unjustifiably kicked in Jason Kemp’s front door and shot and killed him, but also that supervisors all the way up the chain of command were responsible for recklessly deficient training that was the ultimate cause of this needless and preventable death,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “To its credit, the State Patrol has now agreed to major policy and training reforms—which ACLU will monitor–aimed at ensuring that all state troopers are thoroughly instructed on the limits of their constitutional authority. It is our hope that these reforms will prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.”
According to the lawsuit, troopers Kirk Firko and Ivan Lawyer were investigating a minor accident that resulted, at most, in minimal damage to a neighbor’s lawn. They suspected Jason Kemp was responsible and that he may have been driving under the influence of alcohol. When they knocked at his door, Kemp told the troopers to get a warrant. Instead of seeking a warrant, the troopers proceeded to break down Kemp’s front door, with guns drawn. When the door gave way, trooper Lawyer fired his weapon, killing the unarmed Kemp at the scene.
“Jason was killed because he did what every American has the right to do,” Silverstein said. “He insisted that police comply with the Fourth Amendment and obtain a warrant before entering a person’s home.”
In some cases, courts allow law enforcement to enter a home without a warrant if so-called “exigent circumstances” are present. In the settlement agreement, the State Patrol affirmed—and agreed to instruct all state patrol officers—that the risk that blood alcohol evidence might dissipate “does not constitute exigent circumstances sufficient to allow warrantless entry.” Similarly, state patrol officers also will be taught that a suspected DUI that results in no personal injury does not justify warrantless entry into a home.
According to the ACLU, discovery as the suit proceeded revealed systemic problems within the Colorado State Patrol. “The more we learned about the circumstances surrounding Jason’s death, the more it became clear that the poor decision-making by state troopers on the scene that resulted in Jason’s death reflected deep institutional failures in trooper supervision and training,” said Rebecca Wallace, ACLU Staff Attorney. “We uncovered compelling evidence that high-ranking supervisors had fostered a culture that encouraged the use of overly aggressive law enforcement tactics, even when those tactics posed a very real risk to public safety.”
The settlement agreement provides for comprehensive training on the Fourth Amendment at the Academy level, as well as on-the-job training related to investigations that lead troopers to homes, with a specific focus on DUI investigations in the home. This training is to be reviewed and monitored by the ACLU.
In 2011, a Mesa County grand jury indicted Firko and Lawyer for their actions in connection with Jason’s death, but the criminal charges were ultimately dismissed. “The result of the criminal cases meant that the ACLU’s civil action was the family’s only path to justice for Jason Kemp,” said Paul Karlsgodt, the ACLU Cooperating Attorney who led the litigation team. “And only through settlement was it possible to achieve these major changes in training and policy. The Colorado State Patrol is to be commended for coming to the negotiating table with a willingness to make significant changes aimed at preventing this kind of tragedy in the future.”
Statements of the parents of Jason Alan Kemp:
Connie Kemp, mother of Jason Alan Kemp
Ms. Kemp says, “I want to thank Baker Hostetler for working pro bono in cooperation with the Colorado ACLU to protect the public and provide hope for all the families affected by injustice against them. We are gratified that the legal costs incurred by this long, arduous fight have been donated to the ACLU. I want to say thank you to the ACLU on behalf of my son Jason and encourage the public to continue to support the Colorado ACLU. They collectively empower every citizen of Colorado.”
Keith Kemp, father of Jason Alan Kemp
Mr. Kemp says, “Many of our constitutional rights are in place to protect us from the government. The Colorado State Patrol are to protect and serve. Instead they violated the constitution and in the process ended Jason’s life. Jason died asserting his constitutional rights. Because the criminal charges filed against the state troopers were dismissed, this lawsuit was the only way to shine light on the injustice Jason suffered. The ACLU was instrumental in having the state of Colorado and the CSP change their way of doing business. With the ACLU’s vigilance, I hope no more lives will be lost.”
(LA Times) – Two Los Angeles Police Department officers are under investigation for allegedly preying on women over a period of five years, luring them into an unmarked car and forcing them to perform sex acts, according to court records.
Detectives from the LAPD’s internal affairs unit suspect that Officers Luis Valenzuela and James Nichols targeted at least four women whom they had arrested previously or who worked for them as informants, according to a search warrant reviewed by The Times.
The pair repeatedly used the threat of jail to get women into their car and drove them to secluded areas where one of the officers demanded sex while the other kept watch, the warrant alleges.
Valenzuela and Nichols worked together until recently as narcotics officers in the Hollywood Division. Investigators have identified four women who encountered the pair and made similar independent accusations against them.
The warrant cites sexually explicit text messages that one alleged victim claims she exchanged with the officers after their encounters. Last month, investigators obtained the woman’s cellphone and computers in hopes of finding the messages the officers are alleged to have written. The department has yet to examine the electronic devices, a police official said.
Investigators had planned to confront the officers in a surprise operation early next week, but were forced to accelerate those plans Thursday, when one of the women unexpectedly filed a lawsuit against the officers. Fearing that Valenzuela and Nichols might destroy evidence, investigators rushed to sequester the officers and seize their computers and phones, police confirmed.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck emphasized Thursday that the investigation was ongoing, but added he was “saddened by the allegations. If they are true, it would be horrific,” he said.
Valenzuela, a 15-year department veteran, and Nichols, a 12-year veteran, were expected to be assigned to their homes pending the outcome of the probe, the head of the internal affairs group said. The officers could not be reached for comment.
The first woman to accuse Valenzuela and Nichols came forward in January 2010, when she told a supervisor in their narcotics unit that the officers had stopped her more than a year earlier, according to the warrant. The woman, who worked as a confidential informant for the narcotics unit and knew the men, said they were dressed in plain clothes and driving a Volkswagen Jetta. Valenzuela threatened to take the woman to jail if she refused to get in the car, then got into the back seat with her and exposed himself, telling the woman to touch him, the warrant said.
An investigation into the woman’s claim went nowhere when the detective assigned to the case was unable to locate her, according to the warrant.
A year later, however, another woman demanded to speak to a supervisor after being arrested and taken to the LAPD’s Hollywood station. Sometime in late 2009, according to the warrant, two officers driving a Jetta pulled up alongside her as she was walking her dog in Hollywood. The officers, whom she recognized as the same cops who had arrested her in a previous encounter, ordered her into the car, the woman recounted. It is not known why she was arrested.
Believing that the officers were investigating a case, the woman said she felt compelled to comply. Valenzuela then got into the back seat with the woman and handed her dog to Nichols, who drove the car a short distance to a more secluded area. “Why don’t you cut out that tough girl crap,” the woman recounted Valenzuela saying as he “unzipped his pants and forced [her] head down toward his lap and physically held her head down” as he forced her to perform oral sex on him, according to police records contained in the warrant.
The woman said she didn’t report the incident immediately because she felt humiliated, thought no one would believe her and feared for her safety. Police noted that the woman displayed erratic behavior while recounting the events. Later, she made violent threats while in custody and was transported to a hospital.
Based on this allegation, the department reopened the investigation into the pair. The investigator assigned to the case interviewed this second accuser and managed, as well, to find the first woman who had come forward the year before. She, too, gave a statement, saying she had refused Valenzuela’s commands to fondle him.
For reasons not explained in the warrant, the department’s investigation made little progress for the next 18 months. During this time, police records show, the officers were transferred, with Valenzuela being reassigned to the Olympic Division and Nichols to the Northeast Division. (Nichols was involved in the high-profile arrest last year of Brian C. Mulligan, an executive at Deutsche Bank, who alleged he was the victim of excessive force. Police contend that Mulligan, while deranged on drugs, charged at Nichols and suffered injuries while Nichols and his partner took him into custody).
Cmdr. Rick Webb, who heads the LAPD’s internal affairs group, declined to comment on the specifics of the probe, but said such cases are often difficult to complete.
The case picked up steam again in July 2012, when a man left a phone message for the vice unit at the Northeast station, saying he was a member of the Echo Park neighborhood watch and had been told by a prostitute that patrol officers in the area were picking up prostitutes and letting them go in exchange for oral sex, the warrant said.
Two more months passed before a third internal affairs officer was assigned to look into the Echo Park claim. The investigator was aware of the earlier allegations against Valenzuela and Nichols and “thought the circumstances and location were very similar.”
It is not clear how, but the investigator identified another two women who reported encounters in which Nichols and Valenzuela had sought sexual favors in exchange for leniency.
One said Nichols had detained her in July 2011, handcuffed her and driven her to a quiet location. Removing the restraints, Nichols exposed himself and said, “You don’t want to go to jail today, do you?” the woman recalled. Fearing she would be arrested, the woman performed oral sex on Nichols, who then released her, she said. She said Nichols had done the same thing to her six years earlier.
The other woman discovered by the internal affairs investigator alleged that she became a confidential informant for Valenzuela and Nichols after she was arrested, according to the warrant. Valenzuela, she said, told her that having sex with him would help her avoid jail, according to the warrant. She alleged that she had sex with the officer twice, once when he was off duty at her apartment in Los Angeles, and the second time in the back seat of an undercover police car while he was on duty. She said she was afraid he would send her back to jail if she refused.
She said Nichols contacted her in January 2011 and told her he would cancel her obligation to inform for him if she would have sex with him.
The woman filed a lawsuit against the city on Wednesday, alleging that the officers forced her to have sex with them several times in exchange for keeping her out of jail. The Times in general does not name the victims of alleged sex crimes.
That lawsuit was first reported by City News Service. Despite the officers’ promises, the woman was sentenced to jail in April 2011 and remains there, the lawsuit alleged. A district attorney’s spokeswoman said the woman is serving more than seven years in jail for possession of cocaine with intent to sell and identity theft.
(RT) -A second Texas State trooper has been suspended without pay for being involved in a roadside cavity search that subjected two women to humiliating searches of their genital regions.
The two victims, 38-year-old Angel Dobbs and her niece, 24-year-old Ashley Dobbs, claim they were traumatized from what they consider a case of public sexual assault. After Farrell pulled them over on the side of a highway for throwing a cigarette butt out the car window, the trooper called his female colleague to search the women’s bodies and vehicle for marijuana.
No narcotics or contraband were ever found during the vehicle search, but Farrell insisted that his colleague search the women’s bodies. Using the same latex glove on both women, Helleson searched their anuses and vaginas and irritated one of the women’s cysts, causing “severe and continuing pain and discomfort,” the lawsuit states. The search occurred on the side of the road while illuminated by the police car’s headlights, in full view of oncoming traffic.
“I was molested, I was violated, I was humiliated in front of other traffic,” Angel Dobbs told WFAA. “I had to watch my niece go through the same thing and I could not protect her at that point.”
After Helleson finished touching the women, they were released with a warning not to litter.
Initially, only Helleson was suspended from her position, since she conducted the physically violating search. But it wasn’t until the Dallas Morning News published a video of the search that the DPS took any action.
Two days later, the second trooper was suspended for failing to stop the violating search, but this suspension was not announced until Thursday.
The incident of the roadside cavity search is currently being investigated for possibly violating the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches.
“This is outside the constitutional grounds by a mile. It’s not even close. This has to stop. These two need to be stopped,” attorney Scott Palmer told NBC.
“What we’re dealing with is a Class C misdemeanor. It does not justify any type of pat-down, let alone an invasive search of cavities of women,” he added.
The case will go to a grand jury this month. The DPS has not publicly commented on the incident.
(NBCLosAngeles) -A Southern California teenager who was fatally shot while handcuffed by police last Wednesday was armed during the incident, a police spokesperson said Monday.
Haslip’s friends and neighbors, including Pastor Caleb Henderson, have admitted that Haslip was a gang member, but contest the way in which he was killed.
“No one should be shot, handcuffed with hands behind their back,” Henderson said.
Byttany Haines and her boyfriend Daniel Aguilar said they saw the deadly incident up close.
“He didn’t move; he wasn’t screaming; he didn’t try to resist; he was handcuffed,” Aguilar said.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s office told NBC4 that a deputy chased down and arrested Haslip while responding to a “man with a gun” call. When backup arrived, the office said Haslip “rolled over” and revealed a gun.
Haines said that’s when deputies started screaming for the teen to “get down.”
“And you hear one shot and he doesn’t move after that, you know he’s dead,” Haines said. “I started screaming, I cried and I just kept yelling, ‘Call the news, you guys can’t just do that to people.'”
Aguilar said the incident was disturbing.
“I felt like crying you know because I never seen anyone get popped like that,” Aguilar said.
Anita Morris, Haslip’s aunt, said the man’s father is in prison and his mother lives out of state. Morris said she always believed Haslip would turn his life around and is devastated he won’t get that chance.
“I like him to be remembered by his smile,” Morris said.
Amid the ongoing uproar over the gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi earlier this month, the latest case has again shone the spotlight on the police’s handling of sex crimes.
One police officer has been sacked and another suspended over their conduct after the assault during the festival of Diwali on November 13 in the Patiala region in the Punjab, according to officials.
The teenager was found dead on Wednesday night after swallowing poison.
Inspector General Paramjit Singh Gill said that the teenager had been “running from pillar to post to get her case registered” but officers failed to open a formal inquiry.
“One of the officers tried to convince her to withdraw the case,” Gill, the police chief for the area, told AFP.
Before her death, there had been no arrests over her case although three people were detained on Thursday. Two of them were her alleged male attackers and the third was a suspected woman accomplice.
The victim’s sister told Indian television that the teenager had been urged to either accept a cash settlement or marry one of her attackers.
“The police started pressuring her to either reach a financial settlement with her attackers or marry one of them,” her sister told the NDTV network.
Meanwhile, the Press Trust of India reported that a police officer has been suspended for allegedly refusing to register a rape complaint in the northern state of Chhattisgar.
The woman and her husband later brought the case to the attention of a more senior officer and a hunt has now been launched for her attacker, an auto rickshaw driver.
Official figures show that 228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded last year in India were against women.
The real figure is thought to be much higher as so many women are reluctant to report attacks to the police.
During an address to the chief ministers of India’s states on Thursday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged to bring in new laws to cover attacks on women.
(The Sun-Sentinel) -The Florida Highway Patrol trooper at the center of firestorm after she pulled over a speeding cop at gunpoint said fellow law enforcement officers have created a “life-threatening” situation that caused her to be in such fear for her safety she has become a “hermit.”
Trooper Donna “Jane” Watts’ 69-page lawsuit, filed in federal court Friday, seeks more than $1 million in damages. She is suing more than 100 police officers and agencies, and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The suit alleges 88 law enforcement officers from 25 jurisdictions illegally accessed her personal information more than 200 times, violating her privacy.
Lopez, who regularly averaged more than 100 mph on his drive between Miami and his home in Coconut Creek, was fired in September.
But in the months after the incident, officers looked up information such as her home address, picture, Social Security number, date of birth, and detailed vehicle description in a database available to police officers, according to her lawsuit.
The suit alleges the police agencies — including the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Lauderhill and Hollywood Police — did not properly train their officers, who used the information they received to intimidate Watts. None of the agencies were able to comment Monday.
Other defendants in the suit include the Orange and Seminole County sheriff’s offices and Orlando police, all of whom Watts contends accessed her information in November 2011.
According to the lawsuit, Orlando Officer Maro Kim received an oral reprimand because he had no official reason to access Watts driver’s license information. A police spokesman could not be reached.
Other agencies have already settled with her and so are not named in the lawsuit, according to Watts’ attorney Mirta Desir. Margate, for example, settled for $10,000 after two of its police officers accessed her private information, said Margate city attorney Gene Steinfeld.
The two Margate officers each received a letter of reprimand as punishment.
“The law had indeed been broken,” said Steinfeld on Monday.
Watts said after the incident she received random calls on her home and cell phones, some threatening. Pranksters ordered pizza delivery to her house, according to the suit. Watts, who lives on a cul-de-sac, said several vehicles would also stop in front of her driveway or idle on her street.
The suit states that Watts has been so upset about the privacy violations that she has “started to experience physical symptoms to include dry heaves and nausea when performing basic activities such as opening her mailbox, starting her ignition, or when being followed by a law enforcement vehicle for no apparent reason.”
Watts began opening her mailbox from the side instead of from the front in case there was something in it.
The suit states that Watts’ supervisors “do not believe that it would ever be safe for her to return to road patrol” and that Watts believes if she ever need police backup in an emergency, it would not be provided. More than a dozen troopers from her own agency also looked up her personal information.
She is also in the process of moving, according to the suit.
“This is an invasion of privacy,” Desir said. “Law enforcement does have access to information most residents don’t and with that level of access there should come a certain amount of care. … This is something that is not supposed to be done.”
When Watts pulled over Lopez, the incident was caught on the trooper’s dashboard camera. “This is not a first-time occurrence with y’all,” Watts told Lopez after pulling him over. “Y’all come from that way all the time, this Miami police car, and we never catch it.”
Lopez apologized and tried to explain he was running late. “With all due respect …,” he said, but Watts cut him off. “You don’t respect me, sir,” she said. “You don’t respect these people out here.”
(TheNewsPaper) -The second-highest court in North Carolina last week ruled police had no business stopping a car because its occupants appeared to be driving while nervous. On April 15, 2011, a pair of Sampson County sheriff’s deputies were running a speed trap on Interstate 40 when they noticed a green minivan. Corporal Bass and Pope each testified the vehicle slowed from 73 MPH to 65 MPH in the 70 MPH zone and that the driver and passenger stared straight ahead and “appeared nervous” as they passed.
The officers pulled out and caught up to the minivan. When the patrol car pulled along side, the minivan occupants did not make eye contact. The deputies claimed they saw the vehicle cross the fog line and was driving slowly, so they pulled it over for “unsafe movement.” A dashcam video of the incident shows no crossing of the fog line or other evidence of unsafe driving.
Gina Canty, the driver, was given a warning. She also consented to a search that uncovered a revolver and a rifle in a suitcase belonging to the passenger, her ex-husband Nathaniel Canty. A Sampson County Superior Court judge found Nathaniel Canty guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm. On appeal, a three-judge panel began poking holes in the police account of events.
“We find it hard to believe that these officers could tell Ms. Canty and defendant were ‘nervous’ as they passed by the officers on the highway and as the officers momentarily rode alongside them,” Judge Cheri Beasley wrote for the court.
The judges also dismissed the idea that the minivan’s slowing after seeing a patrol car running a speed trap.
“The reduction in speed standing alone could be explained a number of different ways, including normal apprehension many people feel when approaching a law enforcement officer,” Judge Beasley wrote. “Nervousness, failure to make eye contact with law enforcement, and a relatively small reduction in speed is ‘conduct falling within the broad range of what can be described as normal driving behavior… Based on the totality of the circumstances, these officers lacked reasonable suspicion to initiate the traffic stop that resulted in the search and seizure of the weapons in this case.”
The judges declared the lawyer in this case should have filed a motion to suppress the evidence gathered during the traffic stop. Because the defense counsel was “ineffective,” the three-judge panel ordered a new trial in which the motion to suppress would likely succeed.
(DailyMail) -The manhunt for a convicted bank robber who fled a Chicago jail has claimed the life of a family’s beloved pet.
Chanette Weaver has said her dog was shot dead by officers searching for Kenneth Conley who escaped from prison last Tuesday using knotted bed sheets.
Ms Weaver has alleged the officers shot dead her six-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback mix Kobi after she put him in a fenced-in yard at about 6.50am on Christmas Eve.
Escaped: Kenneth Conley, left, is still at large while Joseph Banks, right, was captured three days after the prison break
She said a Hazel Crest police officer knocked on her door five minutes later to tell her the dog had died.
Neighbours have said police later asked questions about Conley as they believed he was hiding at a house next to the Weavers.
Ms Weaver told CBS Chicago the police said they had been acting in self-defence when they shot the dog.
‘He said “Ma’am, your dog was getting ready to attack one of my officers.” And they shot him three times,’ Ms Weaver said.
Hazel Crest police has said officers felt they were at risk after the dog tried to attack them on a public path.
Conley, 38, is still on the run after he descended a 20 storey drop from a window of the Metropolitan Correctional Center last week with Joseph ‘Jose’ Banks, who was captured last Thursday by by agents and officers from the Chicago FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, and officers from the Chicago Police Department
Joseph Banks is known as the ‘second-hand bandit’ for wearing used clothes during his crimes.
The 37 year-old was captured by officers without incident. The two men had been on the run for hours before the escape was reported.
Banks was convicted the week before the escape of robbing two banks and attempting to rob two others.
Authorities say he stole almost $600,000, and most of that still is missing.
During trial, he had to be restrained because he threatened to walk out of the courtroom.
He acted as his own attorney and verbally sparred with the prosecutor, at times arguing that U.S. law didn’t apply to him because he was a sovereign citizen of a group that was above state and federal law.
Conley pleaded guilty last October to robbing a Homewood Bank last year of nearly $4,000.
Conley, who worked at the time at a suburban strip club, wore a coat and tie when he robbed the bank and had a gun stuffed in his waistband.
DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver police officer charged with sexually assaulting a woman he pulled over has been found guilty.
The verdict came in Tuesday afternoon against Hector Paez. He was found guilty of sexual assault, kidnapping and false reporting.
Paez appeared calm as he walked into the courtroom holding his wife’s hand. After the verdict was read his wife broke down as Paez was taken into custody.
Lynn Kimbrough with the Denver District Attorney’s Office said at the core the case was about the sexual assault.
“This case is very unusual. This type of case; I can’t think of another case like this that has happened here in Denver,” Kimbrough said. “There certainly is nothing that is systemic about this case.”
The reported attack occurred in 2010. The victim said she believed Paez used her criminal past to take advantage of her.
“I just thought, ‘Oh my God, he’s going to kill me, he’s not going to let me go,’ ” the victim told CBS4 in May.
She was waiting for her boyfriend at a Denver light rail station when Paez approached her in his patrol car. He asked her for identification and ran her information through his computer.
“Before I knew it he said I had a warrant and threw me in the back seat of the car.”
The woman did have a warrant for a probation violation, but after driving her to a secluded area Paez told her there was a way to avoid jail.
“He just undid his pants and said, ‘You know what you have to do,’ ” she said. “He thought, ‘Here’s somebody with a warrant and I can do whatever I want to do with them. They’re not going to tell on me.’ “
At first she complied but said when he asked her to take things further she refused and Paez eventually let her go with a threat to keep quiet.
Paez appeared stunned to hear the guilty verdicts. He will be sentenced on Thursday and faces a possibility of life in prison.
“We think about him not just every day but sometimes every hour, every moment,” said Chyendall Gibson.
At times it seemed like the sky was the limit for Daron Gibson. He had graduated high school and was figuring out exactly where he wanted his future to take him. During a night out with friends in July 2007, Daron was shot dead outside Clubhouse Bar in Tempe.
“It leaves you empty. It actually just knocks you to your knees, literally,” said Chyendall Gibson.
Five years later the grief that the Gibsons had learned to manage resurfaced. CBS 5 News uncovered the possibility Daron Gibson’s killer will likely never get justice.
“What bothers me is (Trow) didn’t do his job,” Chyendall said. “He didn’t do due diligence. He took an oath to uphold the integrity of his badge and the public’s trust. Where was that when he was taking this evidence and placing it in his garage?”
An internal investigation revealed from September 2004 to March 2012, Trow stored evidence from five cases in his garage to hide his unfinished work. That included case notes, crime scene photos and even original recordings of interviews. The report from that investigation said those items had been tossed together in cardboard boxes.
It was also discovered Trow didn’t write nearly a dozen reports, some dating as far back as 2007.
The report showed Trow also didn’t bother to turn in the rape kit of a 17-year-old.
“This is a no brainer,” said Marc Victor, a criminal defense attorney. “This is the kind of mistake you have to ask yourself what on earth was the detective thinking?”
Victor said if these cases are based on evidence, it’s a good chance all of them could be dismissed.
The Tempe Police Department wrapped up its investigation in May. Trow wasn’t fired, he received an unpaid 160-hour suspension.
“Where is the accountability in the department?” asked Daron’s Gibson’s father, Curtis Gibson. “Where are the checks and balances when you don’t do your job and somebody oversees you to make sure it gets done?”
Tempe police Chief Tom Ryff ultimately made the decision to keep Trow on the force. CBS 5 News tried for more than a week to get Ryff or someone with the department to go on camera and explain why Trow still has a job. The station’s requests were denied.
Tempe Police Department spokesman Michael Pooley did send a statement that read in part:
“In deciding the appropriate level of disciplinary action, a complete evaluation of Officer Trow’s work history was completed, finding overall superlative performance, and no prior violations of departmental policy in his 12-year career.”
Even after Daron Gibson’s case went cold, the Gibsons said they stayed in contact with Trow.
Over the years, dozens of emails were exchanged.
In one of those emails, Trow stated, “Neither I nor the Tempe Police Department have given up on this investigation in any way. In fact, I have spent a lot of time on this case often at the expense of time in working other cases.”
“He wrote that to me while evidence sat in his garage,” Chyendall Gibson said. “That’s just shameful. Officer Trow does not deserve to wear the badge.”
The Gibsons said that in the seven months since the investigation into Trow, the Tempe Police Department never told them their son’s case had been botched. Now they refuse to let Daron Gibson’s murder be swept under the rug again.
“To stand here and be silent in this situation you become part of the problem not part of the solution. That’s why it’s very important for us to speak out. We want this fixed,” said Curtis Gibson.
It’s likely the families of the victims in the nine other crimes still don’t know Trow mishandled their cases.
(DallasNews) -Two Irving women are suing two state troopers and the head of their department in federal court, alleging they were subjected to an illegal and humiliating “roadside body cavity search” during a traffic stop.
Angel Dobbs, 38, and her niece, Ashley Dobbs, 24, said the search occurred on State Highway 161 in or near Irving on the night of July 13.
They claim that a female trooper, Kelley Helleson, used her fingers to search their anuses and vaginas — using the same latex glove — while on the side of the road in full view of passing vehicles.
A screengrab from the dash-cam video seen above
They said David Farrell, a state trooper, had called Helleson to the scene after stopping the women’s vehicle and questioning them about marijuana. Farrell told them he stopped them after seeing them throw cigarette butts out of the window, according to the lawsuit.
He asked for the search because he said the women were “acting weird,” the suit said.
Farrell searched their vehicle for marijuana but didn’t find any, they said. He then tried to “morph this situation into a DWI investigation,” the lawsuit said. Angel Dobbs passed a roadside sobriety test and the women were given warnings for littering, the suit said.
During the search of Angel Dobbs’ anus, Helleson irritated one of the cysts she suffers from, the lawsuit said, causing her “severe and continuing pain and discomfort.”
“Angel Dobbs was overwhelmed with emotion and a feeling of helplessness and reacted stating that Helleson had just violated her in a most horrific manner,” the lawsuit said.
The women also are suing Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, saying he was aware of previous problems and complaints about “unlawful strip searches, cavity searches and the like” yet failed to do anything about it.
DPS spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said the department does not discuss pending litigation but issued the following statement:
“Following the traffic stop that occurred in July of this year and based on a citizen’s complaint, the Texas Rangers conducted an inquiry surrounding the events, and has since turned the results over to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office for review.”
A DA’s Office spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.
Scott H. Palmer, an attorney for the women, said the entire incident was caught on video from one of the trooper’s dash-mounted cameras.
“You can see what’s happening clearly,” he said.
Palmer said the Texas Rangers investigated his clients’ complaints but no action was taken against the troopers.
Palmer said the searches were basically a “sexual assault” on the side of the road.
“No one’s ever seen the likes of this,” he said. “We can’t let them get away with it.”
(Gothamist) – The NYCLU filed a federal lawsuit against the NYPD today on behalf of a Brooklyn woman who was arrested and allegedly shoved by cops when she refused to stop filming a stop-and-frisk in her neighborhood in June. Hadiyah Charles, a health policy advocate for marginalized communities who was recognized as a Champion of Change by President Obama, was returning home to her Bed-Stuy apartment on the evening of June 5th when she spotted officers frisking three young men who appeared to be fixing a bicycle on the sidewalk. Charles started filming the cops with her cell phone, which is perfectly legal as long as one doesn’t “interfere” with police action. Just don’t try telling that to cops.
Charles says that when she asked the officers why the youths were being frisked, she was told it was “police business.” After inquiring a second time, officers told her the young men knew why. But they told her they had no idea why they were being patted down. At this point, Charles started taking video of the incident with her smartphone. Noticing this, the officers allegedly told her to step back repeatedly, far beyond any “reasonable distance” from the officers. One of the cops, Pamela Benites, allegedly followed Charles, ordering her to back further and further away, and finally shoved her when she wouldn’t stop, according to the lawsuit.
After being shoved, Charles says she asked to file a complaint. Instead, she says she was handcuffed and taken to the 79th Precinct station house, where she was detained in a cell for 90 minutes and then released with a disorderly conduct summons. At point during her detention, she says Officer Benites made derisive comments, including calling her a “street lawyer” and telling her, “This is what happens when you get involved.” Fearful that she would be detained longer if she stayed to file a complaint, Charles left the station house with her phone and purse at the first opportunity. According to an NYCLU spokesperson, she eventually lost her phone, and video of the incident disappeared with it.
The disorderly conduct charge against Charles was dropped in October. Her lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages from the NYPD, and the NYCLU was eager to take legal action on her behalf. “New Yorkers have a constitutional right to film police activity in public,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement. “This right is especially important in neighborhoods of color, like Bedford-Stuyvesant, that are the epicenters of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices. It empowers residents to expose abuse policing and hold the NYPD accountable for violating people’s rights.”
NYPD officers have been repeeatedly criticized for violating witnesses’ and reporters’ constitutional right to document their conduct in public, and NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn says, “The NYPD should be training its officers to respect people’s constitutional right to film police activity in public. Good policing has nothing to fear from citizen oversight. Good policing embraces transparency.”