Category: Civil Liberties


American Inertia

 

 

” I’ve borrowed Kathy Shaidle’s headline because I think that sums up John Derbyshire’s column better than the one he and his editors chose: “The Impotent Eagle.” It’s not that we are incapable of doing anything, it’s that we can’t rouse ourselves to do anything.

  John was my colleague at National Review for many years, where I regarded him as a gloomier version of me, and he regarded me as a hopeless Pollyanna. Nevertheless, much of what he writes today will be familiar to readers of both After America and The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, personally autographed copies of which make kind and thoughtful Christmas presents and really aren’t as suicidally depressing as you might think. Derb’s mournful refrain was taken from a throwaway line a correspondent made re immigration:

Replied my friend:

‘I think that withdrawing birthright citizenship from the children of illegals would be a good move, and highly appropriate. I don’t see why we couldn’t do it going forward. But of course we won’t, because we can’t do anything.’

It was that closing phrase that stuck in my mind. We can’t do anything. It’s so damn true.

   John focuses on the big headlines: the Afghan war… immigration… law enforcement in Ferguson… America can’t win wars, enforce its borders, prevent looting. He could have added a bazillion others: build a flood barrier that prevents one measly not-so-Superstorm Sandy ruining people’s lives for years after… replace the dingy decrepit dump of LaGuardia with an airport that isn’t a total embarrassment to one of the world’s great cities… upgrade the most primitive bank cards in the developed world… stiffen Republican spines to come up with plans for debt reduction that kick in before the middle of the century…

  But I’m increasingly struck by how “we can’t do anything” applies to all the small stuff, too. If you’ve ever spent hours on the phone going round in circles with your health insurer over some nothing little thing, you’ll be aware that “we can’t do anything” is not a monopoly of the big geopolitical strategists. The whole joint seems to be seizing up, and it bothers me. Americans now have less health-care freedom and less banking freedom than many Continental Europeans. But let’s not get all comparative about this. In absolute terms – and certainly in comparison with the America that was – too much of daily life has become over-complicated and over-regulated and over-sclerotic, and too many people are content to string along with it. “

 

Mr Steyn’s piece is , of course , the mandatory read of the day 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pentagon Finally Details Its Weapons-For-Cops Giveaway

 

 

DoD Weapons Giveaway

 

 

Click image and scroll down for an interactive , state by state and 
county by county accounting of the DoD weapons giveaway

 

 

 

” You may have heard that the image-conscious Los Angeles Unified School District chose to return the grenade launchers it received from the Defense Department’s surplus equipment program. You probably have not heard about some of the more obscure beneficiaries of the Pentagon giveaway:

  • Police in Johnston, R.I., with a population less than 29,000, acquired two bomb disposal robots, 10 tactical trucks, 35 assault rifles, more than 100 infrared gun sights and two pairs of footwear designed to protect against explosive mines. The Johnson police department has 67 sworn officers.
  • The parks division of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources was given 20 M-16 rifles, while the fish and wildlife enforcement division obtained another 20 M-16s, plus eight M-14 rifles and ten .45-caliber automatic pistols.
  • Campus police at the University of Louisiana, Monroe, received 12 M-16s to help protect the 8,811 students there (or perhaps to keep them in line).
  • The warden service of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife received a small aircraft, 96 night vision goggles, 67 gun sights and seven M-14 rifles.

  For more than 20 years, the Pentagon program that distributes surplus weapons, aircraft and vehicles to police departments nationwide received little attention or scrutiny. Defense Department officials closely guarded the details of which agencies across the country received which items.

  Then, events in Ferguson propelled the 1033 program, as the surplus distribution is called, into the public eye.”

 

Total Value of Tactical Items Distributed by Department of Defense 1033 Program

 

 

    Readers should take note of when this program really took off … 2010 . It comes as no surprise that this disastrous policy truly came into it’s own during the current administration .

 

 

 

” Flooded with calls for greater transparency, in late November, the Pentagon quietly released data that details all tactical equipment distributed through the program, and for the first time identified the agencies that received items. The data is a national gift list of high-caliber weapons, armored vehicles, aircraft and similar military equipment, all delivered for the price of shipping and often with little civilian oversight.

  The program has doled out $5 billion in equipment since 1990. Most of it was general office and maintenance equipment – shovels, copiers, computers – but the Pentagon largesse included tactical military equipment worth more than $1.4 billion, disseminated in 203,000 transfers to about 7,500 agencies. Even after Ferguson, the program continues to chug along, transferring $28 million in tactical equipment in the past three months.”

 

 

     Read the entire accounting and be sure to click the interactive link to see exactly what type of military firepower that your local authorities have received from the Feds .

   See also , The Marshall Project’s companion piece, A Department Of Defense 2014 Gift Guide : 

 

 

” Shopping for holiday gifts for your local police department, park ranger or campus security team? How about an “interim fast attack vehicle”? Or a nice grenade launcher? These are just a few of the $5 billion dollars worth of surplus items that the Defense Department has distributed to law enforcement agencies and others in its Excess Property Program, also called the 1033 program. Below is a list of gifts culled from records that the department quietly made public last month. The values are based on what the Pentagon paid when it acquired the equipment. The recipients paid only shipping.”

 

 

 

MRAP Giveaway

 

 

God save us from our own government …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Garner Could Spark American Spring

 

 

 

 

 

 

” The violent death of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia set off the Arab Spring. Could the killing of Eric Garner lead to a springtime of police reform – and regulatory reform — in the United States?

  Bouazizi was a street vendor, selling fruits and vegetables from a cart. He aspired to buy a pickup truck to expand his business. But, as property rights reformer Hernando de Soto wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “to get a loan to buy the truck, he needed collateral — and since the assets he held weren’t legally recorded or had murky titles, he didn’t qualify.”

  Meanwhile, de Soto notes, “government inspectors made Bouazizi’s life miserable, shaking him down for bribes when he couldn’t produce licenses that were (by design) virtually unobtainable. He tired of the abuse. The day he killed himself, inspectors had come to seize his merchandise and his electronic scale for weighing goods. A tussle began. One municipal inspector, a woman, slapped Bouazizi across the face. That humiliation, along with the confiscation of just $225 worth of his wares, is said to have led the young man to take his own life.”

  Bouazizi was a poor man trying to engage in commerce to make a better life. His brother Salem told de Soto the meaning of Bouazizi’s death: “He believed the poor had the right to buy and sell.”

  It was a story that resonated across the Arab world – a government that stifled freedom and enterprise, unaccountable bureaucracy, arbitrary enforcement, official contempt for citizens, a man who just couldn’t take it any more.

  Eric Garner’s story is surprisingly similar. He had been arrested more than 30 times, for such crimes as marijuana possession and driving without a license, and most often for selling untaxed cigarettes on the street.

  Why sell untaxed cigarettes? Because New York has the country’s highest cigarette taxes, $4.35 a pack for New York State and another $1.50 for the city. A pack of cigarettes can cost $14 in New York City, two and a half times as much as in Virginia . So a lively black market has sprung up. Buy cigarettes at retail in Virginia or North Carolina, sell them at a big markup in New York, and you can still undercut the price of legal, taxed cigarettes.

  Patrick Fleenor reported in a 2003 study for the Cato Institute that New York’s cigarette taxes had created a thriving black market, with rising levels of street crime, turf wars and increasing organized crime. He found that from 1990 to 2002, as the city and state repeatedly raised taxes, New York’s sales of taxed cigarettes relative to the national average plummeted. But reported smoking rates fell only slightly, in line with national trends. Obviously a lot of New York smokers were getting their fix from the black market.

  A 2013 study by the Mackinac Center found, not surprisingly, that New York had the highest rate of cigarette smuggling, totaling 61% of the state’s cigarette sales. “

 

Read it all at USA Today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rumain Brisbon: Unarmed Black Man Killed By White Police Officer In Phoenix

 

 

 

” Rumain Brisbon, an unarmed black man, was shot and killed by a white police officer in Phoenix, Arizona, Tuesday night.

  In a string of cases involving unarmed black men dying at the hands of officers the last several months, another incident hits news.

  According to a report published by USA Today, an officer in Phoenix says he felt threatened by 34-year-old Rumain Brisbon, so he used lethal force. The encounter led to Brisbon getting shot twice and dying from his gunshot wounds at a north Phoenix apartment complex.

  A “detailed account” of what resulted in Brisbon’s death was released by the police department. The police department’s account is being argued by some witnesses and community activists, nonetheless. Those people are saying the officer’s force was “excessive” and that Brisbon’s death was “unwarranted.” “

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Many Police Killings Are There Annually?

 

 

 

 

 

” Today’s Wall Street Journal has a front page story titled, “Hundreds of Police Killings Uncounted in Federal Statistics.”

Here is an excerpt (sorry for no link; there is a paywall):

  A Wall Street Journal analysis of the latest data from 105 of the country’s largest police agencies found more than 550 police killings during those years [2007 – 2012] were missing from the national tally or, in a few dozen cases, not attributed to the agency involved. The result: It is nearly impossible to determine how many people are killed by the police each year.

  Public demands for transparency on such killings have increased since the August shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Mo. The Ferguson Police Department has reported to the FBI one justifiable homicide by police between 1976 and 2012.

  Law-enforcement experts long have lamented the lack of information about killings by police. “When cops are killed, there is a very careful account and there’s a national database,” said Jeffrey Fagan, a law professor at Columbia University. “Why not the other side of the ledger?”

Good question.

  However, there is an unstated bias at work here.  It is in the unfortunate title of the Journal article quoted above.  “Uncounted in Federal Statistics.”   But the Journal is hardly alone.  The bias/assumption is that the FBI “oversees” police departments across America.  Thus, it follows that those departments ought to be reporting data to the FBI.   This is incorrect.  Local police do not report to the FBI.   Often departments cooperate with one another.  Cooperation should not be confused with a legal obligation.

  To clarify, we should know how many police killings there are.  We should even know more than that.  [If a guy is shot 5 times by an officer and is hospitalized for 8 months and manages to live, but is paralyzed, why should that incident not also be counted? ]    Governors should be responsible for this data-gathering task, not the federal government.   Btw, the article says, “Also missing from the FBI data are killings involving federal officers.”   Good grief.   Let the feds start there.  FBI, DEA, IRS, etc

  Kudos to the Wall Street Journal for pressing police agencies around the country for this information.  Good reporting.

Related articles here and here. “

 

 

    This piece comes through the graces of author Tim Lynch and the liberty-loving folks at Cato Institute . 

 

    Update: The Wall Street Journal pay wall has been rolled down and this article is now viewable in it’s entirety here and we highly recommend it . We reprint a part of it below:

 

 

 

WASHINGTON—When 24-year-old Albert Jermaine Payton wielded a knife in front of the police in this city’s southeast corner, officers opened fire and killed him.

  Yet according to national statistics intended to track police killings, Mr. Payton’s death in August 2012 never happened. It is one of hundreds of homicides by law-enforcement agencies between 2007 and 2012 that aren’t included in records kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

  A Wall Street Journal analysis of the latest data from 105 of the country’s largest police agencies found more than 550 police killings during those years were missing from the national tally or, in a few dozen cases, not attributed to the agency involved. The result: It is nearly impossible to determine how many people are killed by the police each year.

  Public demands for transparency on such killings have increased since the August shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Mo. The Ferguson Police Department has reported to the FBI one justifiable homicide by police between 1976 and 2012. “

 

 

 

    Authors Rob Barry and Coulter Jones along with their editors at the Journal are to be commended for their efforts in bringing this damning evidence of the encroaching American Police State to light . Read it all .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reserve Deputy Arrested For 610 Loop Road Rage Shooting

 

 

 

” A reserve deputy constable with Harris County Precinct 6 has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

  Kenneth Caplan was taken into custody Wednesday morning, authorities tell KHOU 11 News.

  Caplan is accused of shooting a 20-year-old woman who was driving on the 610 Loop at Stella Link about two weeks ago.

”  I feel like I got a taste of death honestly,” the victim, who does not want to be identified, told KHOU 11 News.

  In her first ever interview, she told us she is afraid of retaliation.”

 

KHOU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judge Andrew Napolitano To Jon Stewart: Fear Makes People ‘Surrender Their Liberties For Safety’

 

 

 

Published on Dec 2, 2014

” By all rights, Jon Stewart’s Monday interview with Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano should have been awkward, given the smackdown of Fox News that Stewart had delivered earlier in last night’s Daily Show. But the topic was civil liberties, something Napolitano started out noting that he and Stewart basically agree on. The audience, too, judging from their reaction. “We need to know that our rights come from our humanity, not the government,” Napolitano said, earning a hearty round of applause from the audience. Stewart probed: “Is the problem really the government, or does it lie in us, and our desire for safety, and for law.”

HT/Against Crony Capitalism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exclusive Interview: Oath Keepers Surrounded By 50 Police Told To Stop Defending Building In Ferguson From Fires

 

 

 

” Ben Swann traveled to Ferguson and sat down with Sam Andrews, the head of the Ferguson Oath Keeper operation about what the group is doing, how police have responded to them, and why 50 armed police officers surrounded a building where the Oath Keepers were protecting businesses and told them to either leave the buildings rooftop or they would be arrested. “

Ben Swann has the story

    Not content to let the police prevent them from exercising their Constitutional right to self-defense , business owners and the Oath Keepers have retained counsel who fired off a letter to the Chief of Police in St Louis . Below is a copy of the letter:

We Need To Talk About Sandy Hook

 

 

 

 

Published on Dec 1, 2014

” Visit our website!:
http://mediasolidarity.com/

  Independent Media Solidarity is a loose knit group of independent journalists that have come together to tackle the issue of Sandy Hook. We are normal people with normal lives, who have families, children, and jobs. Although many of us haven’t physically met each other, we are united. All we seek are answers to the many inconsistencies. But most importantly, we just want the truth made available to all who might seek it.

  Over the past 2 years, efforts to explain and expose the Sandy Hook event may seem to have slowed down. We never slowed down. “

 

HT/InfoWars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Defense Of ‘Antigovernment Militias’

 

 

 

 

” Why do you “need” an AR-15? Well:

  When Sam Andrews awoke on Tuesday morning, he found his wife watching a television interview with a woman whose bakery had been vandalized during the violent unrest here on Monday.

“ She said, ‘You’ve got to go help her,’ ” Mr. Andrews said in an interview on Saturday morning.

  And so Mr. Andrews, a former Defense Department contractor who is now a weapons engineer in the St. Louis area, set to work. Under the auspices of a national group called the Oath Keepers, Mr. Andrews accelerated plans to recruit and organize private security details for businesses in Ferguson, which are receiving the services for free. The volunteers, who are sometimes described as a citizen militia — but do not call themselves that — have taken up armed positions on rooftops here on recent nights.

Anonymous Take Down Ft. Lauderdale’s Site For Anti-Homeless Laws

 

 

 

” The hacktivist group Anonymous is no fan of Fort Lauderdale’s new laws targeting the Florida city’s homeless population, and they took down multiple city websites to prove it.

  Using a denial-of-service attack, Anonymous was able to crash two websites and the city’s email service on Monday, the Sun-Sentinel reported. The main city website, fortlauderdale.gov, was taken down for hours, as was the police department website.

  Mayor Jack Seiler told the newspaper that all systems were back online around 6:30 p.m. local time, though sporadic problems were reported. Residents looking to pay utility bills were also denied during the outage.”

 

We Are Anonymous

We Are Legion

We Do Not Forgive

We Do Not Forget

Expect Us

 

Russia Today

 

 

Update: Broward Circuit Judge Thomas Lynch has issued a stay on Ft Lauderdale’s anti-homeless feeding laws :

 

” A judge ordered Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday to temporarily stop enforcing a new law than restricts the feeding of homeless people, intervening in a controversy that has brought the city a storm of negative international attention.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas Cop Places Woman In Chokehold For Video Recording

 

 

 

 

 

 

” A Texas cop placed a woman in a chokehold because she was video recording some type of police activity in the parking lot of what appears to be a fast food restaurant after she refused to provide identification.

  It started when Corpus Christi Sergeant J.E. Lockhart stormed up to Lanessa Espinosa, who was standing a good distance away from the investigation, accusing her of interfering – after a nearby cop from another agency accused her of being a “jailhouse lawyer.”

“ There is a probable cause for us to be out here,” Lockhart said. “I want to know who you are, so I’m requesting your ID. You fail to ID, I’m going to take you into jail. And that’s law.”

“What’s my charge?

“You’re not being charged with anything.”

“Then I don’t have to show you my ID, sir.”

“ You’re involved in an investigation. You want to interfere with an investigation, you’re going to jail for interfering with a police officer in performance of his investigation. Do you understand that? DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?”

  Espinosa understood that Lockhart was out of line, so she said she was in fear for her safety and took a step back, which was when another cop placed her in a chokehold.”

 

PINAC has more

 

 

 

DC Police Department Budgets Its Asset Forfeiture Proceeds Years In Advance

 

 

 

 

” Asset forfeiture may be the greatest scam perpetuated on the American people by their government — and it’s all legal. For the most part, assets seized translate directly to monetary or physical gains for the agencies doing the seizing, an act often wholly separated from any American ideals of due process.

  The New York Times recently obtained recording of asset forfeiture conferences which showed prosecutors advising cops on how to best exploit these programs to obtain additional funds and goods for their respective law enforcement agencies. In short, it appears that many agencies use asset forfeiture to fill departmental shopping lists, rather than as the criminal syndicate-crippling action it was intended to be.

  The Washington Post has been digging into the oft-abused programs for the last six weeks. The latest article in this series comes to similar conclusions about how the programs are viewed by law enforcement agencies.

  D.C. police have made plans for millions of dollars in anticipated proceeds from future civil seizures of cash and property, even though federal guidelines say “agencies may not commit” to such spending in advance, documents show.

  The city’s proposed budget and financial plan for fiscal 2015 includes about $2.7 million for the District police department’s “special purpose fund” through 2018. The fund covers payments for informants and rewards. “

TechDirt has more on this grand scheme of legalized theft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How The Obama Administration Gives Away Military-Grade Weapons To Local Police

 

 

 

 

 

” In the weeks after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., images of officers training rifles on crowds of protesters from the turrets of armored vehicles became a potent symbol of the distrust between law enforcement and citizens in Ferguson — and elsewhere.

  Now, civil rights and civil liberties advocates are calling on the Obama administration to respond to the events in Ferguson by discouraging police from relying so heavily on military equipment and tactics.

  Several federal programs are helping local law enforcement to acquire heavy weapons, either by making funds available or by providing the equipment directly. One program at the Pentagon transferred surplus military equipment worth nearly half a billion dollars to local police last year. Grants provided by the Department of Homeland Security total another $1 billion, and Holder’s department provides hundreds of millions more.

” We do not condition that money on requiring real change in policing,” said Sherrilynn Ifill of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in a press conference on Tuesday. “Taxpayer money to local police departments should come with the condition that the police take responsibility for improving.” “

 

 

Washington Post has more on the burgeoning American Police State . Read it all .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police Shooting Of Pre-Teen In Cleveland Caught On Surveillance Video That Contradicts Cops Claims

” Last week police in Cleveland shot and killed12-year-old Tamir Rice, claiming the boy tried to pull a (fake) gun out of his pants when ordered to put his hands up. The interaction was instigated by a 911 caller who said he saw someone with what was a “probably fake” gun.

  Now surveillance video appears to contradict police claims, as it shows the police officer shooting Rice immediately after getting out of a moving patrol car.

  There could be more than 300 million (real) guns in America, and an infinitesimally small proportion are used to commit crimes. Politically expedient fearmongering over guns, however, can lead to frivolous 911 calls that, in combination with trigger-happy yet largely immune cops, can be fatal. “

Reason

Cop Assaults Man For ‘Dangerous’ Wallet, Can’t Understand Why He Got Fired Again

 

 

 

 

 

” Anthony Zamora was working security at a Walmart in Corpus Christi, Texas, back in May when he saw a suspicious character who appeared to be carrying an illegal weapon, brazenly and openly. Zamora, being the guardian of peace and tranquility that he is, couldn’t let this hazard to public safety go unchecked.

The dangerous device? The threat to public safety? That’s right- it was a wallet. With a chain attached. “

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,500 New Documents ID’d In White House-IRS Taxpayer Harassment Cases

 

 

” In a shocking revelation, the Treasury Inspector General has identified some 2,500 documents that “potentially” show taxpayer information held by the Internal Revenue Service being shared with President Obama’s White House.

  The discovery was revealed to the group Cause of Action, which has sued for access to any of the documents. It charges that the IRS and White House have harassed taxpayers.

  In an email from the Justice Department’s tax office, an official revealed the high number of documents, suggesting that the White House was hip deep in probes of taxpayers, likely including conservatives and Tea Party groups associated with the IRS scandal.

  In requesting a delay in the delivery date of the documents, Justice told Cause of Action, “The agency [Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration] has located 2,500 potentially responsive documents and anticipates being able to finish processing 2,000 of these pages by the December 1 date. It needs the additional two weeks to deal with the last 500 pages to determine if they are responsive and make any necessary withholdings.”

 

Thanks to Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Employee Fired After Posting Pictures Of DHS Vehicles Parked In Hotel Parking Lot

 

 

 

 

 

 

” What happens in public isn’t afforded an expectation of privacy — unless you’re the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS is all about shutting down people taking photos in, around or of public structures. According to the many piles of useless paperwork compiled by the many useless Fusion Centers, the most effective terrorist weapon is any device that captures still images or video.

  The nation is loaded with phone-wielding terrorists. But thanks to the swift corrective action applied by a former Secret Service agent and the multi-billion dollar agency, guests at the Drury Park Plaza Hotel in Chesterfield, Missouri, are safe from the terrorist activity of 28-year-old US Navy veteran (and now, former hotel Houseman) Mark Paffrath.

  Mark says that on Thursday after work he snapped 2 photographs and a short video of several dozen Homeland Security vehicles in the parking garage. He then uploaded them to his Facebook page. In his post he writes “why are all the cop cars here…I wonder if it has anything to do with Ferguson”, he also included the hashtags #Ferguson #NoJusticeNoPeace.

Hooray for the First Amendment! … oh, wait.

  On Friday, shortly after arriving to work at the Drury Plaza Hotel, Mark stated that he was called to the office of Jeff Baker, the General Manager. Upon arriving Mr. Baker advised Mark that he needed to remove the photos and video from Facebook. Mark immediately complied and removed the post. Mark then continued and finished his shift.

  A private company decides to insert itself into a situation where no one — not even the DHS — needed to step in. Having achieved its goal of suppression, one would think the story ends here. But it doesn’t.”

 

TechDirt has the scoop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local Judge Unseals Hundreds Of Highly Secret Cell Tracking Court Records

 

 

 

 

” A judge in Charlotte, North Carolina, has unsealed a set of 529 court documents in hundreds of criminal cases detailing the use of a stingray, or cell-site simulator, by local police. This move, which took place earlier this week, marks a rare example of a court opening up a vast trove of applications made by police to a judge, who authorized each use of the powerful and potentially invasive device.

  According to the Charlotte Observer, the records seem to suggest that judges likely did not fully understand what they were authorizing. Law enforcement agencies nationwide have taken extraordinary steps to preserve stingray secrecy. As recently as this week, prosecutors in a Baltimore robbery case dropped key evidence that stemmed from stingray use rather than fully disclose how the device was used.

  The newspaper also reported on Friday that the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s office, which astonishingly had also never previously seen the applications filed by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD), will now review them and determine which records also need to be shared with defense attorneys. Criminals could potentially file new claims challenging their convictions on the grounds that not all evidence was disclosed to them at the time.

  Relatively little is known about precisely how stingrays are used by law enforcement agencies nationwide, although more and more documents have surfaced showing how they’ve been purchased and used in limited instances. Last year, Ars reported on leaked documents showing the existence of a body-worn stingray. In 2010, security researcher Kristin Paget famously demonstrated a homemade device built for just $1,500.

  Worse still, local cops have lied to courts (at the direction of the United States Marshals Service) about the use of such technology. Not only can stingrays be used to determine a phone’s location, but they can also intercept calls and text messages. While they do target specific phones, they also sweep up cell data of innocents nearby who have no idea that such data collection is taking place. “

 

Ars Technica has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Akai Gurley: Black Man Shot And Killed By Police, Stepfather Angry At Accident

 

 

 

 

 

” Mr. Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old black man from Brooklyn, was shot and killed this week by a new police officer in what is being called an “unfortunate tragedy.” Yet Gurley’s stepfather is understandably angry about the accident, saying he is “p***** off,” and the New York community at large also seems full of unrest over the situation. Canada Journal News shares the latest on this breaking story this Saturday, November 22, 2014.

  While leaving a housing complex, Akai Gurley was said to be fatally shot. He was unarmed and involved in no criminal activity at the time, confirms the report. It seems in this sad case that the black man was killed by a rookie cop for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but not everyone is so sure. Gurley was leaving the Brooklyn apartment with his girlfriend by his side; this particular housing area where the accident occurred is known for its high crime rate.”

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 11-18-14

 

 

 

National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

 

 

 

 

” Here are the 12 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, November 18, 2014:

  • Cleveland, Ohio: A police officer was fired after he was found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of a crash and violating the probation set by the city. ly/EuVFr
  • Butte County, California: A deputy is facing allegations that he molested an 11-year-old girl, according to authorities. The deputy was taken into custody following a seven-month investigation by the Chico Police Department. ly/EuVdo
  • Los Angeles, California: A man who says police officers beat and kicked him unconscious has filed a lawsuit alleging civil rights violations. The officers are on paid leave as the LAPD investigates. ly/EuHwD
  • San Mateo County, California: A deputy who recently ran for sheriff has been arrested and charged with smuggling drugs and cell phones into jail for inmates, authorities said. ly/EuqSZ
  • Update: Pasco County, Florida: The county sheriff says one of his deputies violated the public’s trust. That deputy is accused of sexually violating a woman while on-duty. He’s been fired from the department and is facing sexual battery charges. ly/Et5Qh
  • Update: Denton County, Texas: A now-former deputy was indicted by a grand jury. He was indicted on a charge of theft of more than $1,500 and less than $20,000 after he allegedly took money from three individuals while in uniform. ly/EukPR
  • Sandusky, Ohio: A police officer involved in a controversial traffic stop has been suspended for 60 days and ordered to sign a last chance agreement. The officer received the discipline after he was found guilty of several administrative charges, including insubordination and failing to be honest.ly/Etj71
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana: A police officer will no longer receive pay during his suspension. He was first put on paid leave amid a criminal investigation in which he was accused of stealing money from a police motorcycle club.ly/Et7N4
  • Polk County, Florida: A deputy resigned after he was caught on camera stealing a DVD. ly/Et6Ad
  • Pasco County, Florida: A deputy has been fired and charged with evidence tampering. The deputy responded to a Walmart, recognized shoplifters on surveillance video as friends, and never filed any charges. ly/Et4ZT
  • Taunton, Massachusetts: A police officer has been accused of excessive force in five casesA fight caught on camera in the police station booking room is the latest potential blemish on the record of a veteran detective who’s described as “decorated and proactive” by his chief. ow.ly/Etvbd
  • Update: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A jury convicted a now-former police officer of obstructing justice, a charge that stems from his heated arrest and quick release of a man. The jury found him not guilty of two other charges: false imprisonment and official oppression. ow.ly/EtuRI “

 

 

Cato Institute

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutmeg State SWAT Storms Gun Owner’s Home, Seizes Firearms

 

 

 

 

” Connecticut gun owner told Guns and Patriots that his civil rights were stripped from him by an anti-gun judicial branch and a soon-to-be ex-wife who is uncomfortable with him owning guns.

“ High risk SWAT team rolls in and takes all my guns,” said Edward F. Taupier the respondent in a two-year divorce action that has escalated to an all-out war. “It took two armadillo armored vehicles, 75 officers with weapons drawn, and 45 minutes to raid my house.”

  Although he said he posed no risk to the officers, Taupier was thrown to the ground and arrested.

  Taupier, who is a former Wall Street chief officer at Citibank, said he has no prior record of arrests or charges – not even a speeding ticket – yet his home was invaded and his guns stolen based on a false allegation made by a person he does not even know, he said.

  Linda J. Allard, a West Hartford family law attorney, contacted Superior Court Judge Elizabeth L. Bozzuto, the judge assigned in his divorce proceeding, to discuss a private email she never received directly, he said. “I have never met Linda Allard. I didn’t do anything wrong. I sent an email to seven people that did not include Allard.”

  That did not stop the Cromwell police and the judicial marshal, acting outside of a criminal jurisdiction, from having him violently arrested, he said. Allard’s statement to the police, which is missing from evidence, falsely accuses Taupier of threatening Bozzuto in that email, he said. “I never sent any threat to her or anyone.”

  After being bailed out of jail, costing his family a total of three-quarters of a million dollars in bond, Taupier said he is assigned to 27 new bail and bond conditions, wears two ankle bracelets, which includes a GPS tracker, and is not permitted to leave the house except for court appearances. This is all despite the fact that the initial risk warrant was determined to be invalid in criminal court, he said.

“ I am on 24-7 lockdown. All my freedoms have been denied,” he said. “This happens to people in North Korea or in the Russian Gulag.”

  One day after the arrest, his contract with Citigroup as a financial officer was terminated. The job that gave him the opportunity to be at home with his children after school, instead of warehoused in day care, was taken away from him too, he said.

  Taupier’s arrest happened just two days after Tanya A. Taupier initiated an ex parte emergency hearing on Aug. 29 in which Bozzuto ordered their two children, aged 9 and 10, be extracted from one elementary school to another elementary school of Mrs. Taupier’s choice, said Taupier.

“ I have had 50-50 percent custody of my children for the past nine years,” he said. “I am an active and engaged parent – I love my kids.” Her extreme action is a result of a disagreement concerning the best schooling and after-school environment for their children, he said. “That’s what led to the false arrest.”

  In court Taupier’s ex-wife  said she wanted the school transfer to be as unobtrusive to the children as possible, but at the same time she requested a police escort, to extract two children in the middle of a school day, he said. “It not only violated the children’s rights, it terrorized them.”

  Mrs. Taupier then filed a full protective order against him, even though there was no family threat, he said. In court, Mrs. Taupier said Taupier’s possession of guns exposes the children to potential, deadly thugs that can hurt them. She makes this claim without any evidence, said Taupier. “In all the 12 years we have lived together there has never been a domestic violence incident.”

  Nonetheless, he said his 50-50 percent custody of the children was unilaterally dissolved by Bozzuto. The new judge assigned, because of the long length of this case, Judge Jorge A. Simon, accepted the ex-wife’s demand to cease weekend visitation and limit any visitation to supervised at a court approved location. “My time with my children now consists of two six-minute phone conversations per week.”

  All this time, the ex-wife failed to tell the court that out of the 13 guns that were in her possession, eight of them were given to him by her deceased father, he said. “Guns are a hobby for me. I purchase and collect guns to upgrade them,” said Taupier. “I’m an electrical engineer – I have mechanical skills.”

  It was the court appointed guardian ad litem, who initiated the gun ban against him without any evidence his hobby was a threat, he said. At the advice of then-counsel, Taupier agreed to temporarily remove the firearms from the home in exchange for time with his children. Time with his children would not be what the GAL proposed and Taupier later retrieved the firearms with the intention of selling his collection to offset legal costs, he said. “I have $50,000 custom made gun work, with enhanced triggers on my own guns.”

  Attorneys’ fees, mediation costs and GAL services that are dragging out the divorce, racked up fees in excess of $30,000, he said. “I have no money, no job, and I’m still not divorced.”

  The Connecticut Bar Association dismissed a grievance complaint filed by Taupier against the GAL, Margaret Bozek, because he said her actions did not seek the best interest of the children. “The GAL was not doing her job,” he said. Bozek recommended a full summer of revoked parental rights for Taupier. “My children want to see me. I want to see my children. How is separating us in their best interest?

  Family court, a court of equity, is using the children to punish Taupier for his political activism against GAL services, said Taupier. In a criminal jurisdiction Taupier is entitled to a Fernando hearing which would give him the right to be presented with his accuser. Family court circumvented criminal law by issuing a criminal order in a civil court arena, he said. “The risk warrant allowed officials to take custody and employ the SWAT teams.” In the criminal court, the risk warrant was deemed invalid, he said.

  For a state known as the “Constitution State” it does not follow the Constitution very well, he said. “There are First, Second, and Fourth Amendment violations – even my right to vote has been taken away.”

  Taupier believes his case is not an isolated one, he said.

  The entire family court system is embedded with players in a scam designed to soak money from good parents in order to fund a system that is completely broken. “I come from a big Irish, Catholic family. Family is everything to us,” said Taupier. “My family has been destroyed by family court.” “

 

Thanks to Human Events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Justice Department Defends US Marshals’ Airborne Cell Tower Spoofers; Refuses To Acknowledge Program Exists

 

 

 

 

 

 

” The Justice Department has been summoned to say a few words in defense of the US Marshals’ Cessna-mounted cell tower spoofers. And while it tried to leave a lot unsaid, it actually said quite a bit.

  The Justice Department, without formally acknowledging the existence of the program, defended the legality of the operation by the U.S. Marshals Service, saying the agency doesn’t maintain a database of everyday Americans’ cellphones.

  Because America’s criminal element is forever only moments away from permanently escaping the grasp of law enforcement, the DOJ has refused to confirm or deny the existence of technology everyone already knows exists — IMSI catchers and single-engine aircraft. The DOJ’s caginess is commendable. I’m sorry, I mean ridiculous. Here’s the same official further protecting and defending The Program That Dare Not Confirm Its Existence, using statements that indicate the program exposed by the Wall Street Journal not only exists, but functions pretty much as described.

  A Justice Department official on Friday refused to confirm or deny the existence of such a program, because doing so would allow criminals to better evade law enforcement. But the official said it would be “utterly false’’ to conflate the law-enforcement program with the collection of bulk telephone records by the National Security Agency, a controversial program already being challenged in the courts and by some members of Congress.

  No one’s conflating the feds’ airborne ‘Stingray’ with the NSA’s ongoing bulk phone records collections. All people have done is note that surveillance technology of this sort has the ability to collect (and store) millions of unrelated phone records in a very short period of time. “

 

Read the rest at Techdirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 11-15-14 to 11-17-14

 

National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

 

 

” Here are the 7 reports tracked for Saturday, November 15 to Sunday, November 17, 2014:

  • Update: Campbell, Wisconsin (Previously reported 07-25-14): The police chief pled no contest to a misdemeanor charge that accused him of harassing a local tea party activist by using his email to sign him up for multiple online dating, insurance, and pornography websites. ly/Eq3lV
  • Holyoke, Massachusetts: A police officer who drew his gun following a heated argument with another officer at a restaurant was fired following an investigation. ly/EpKPi
  • Beardstown, Illinois: Police arrested one of their own officers on charges of theft, criminal damage to government-supported property, and official misconduct. ly/Eowfs
  • Hoffman Estates, Illinois: An officer allegedly made a phone call to people in a hotel room warning them that officers were on their way. Police were responding to a complaint of loud noise and a marijuana smell. ly/Eoybf
  • Phoenix, Arizona: A detective is facing charges of domestic violence and disorderly conduct after he allegedly got into a fight with his girlfriend.ly/EovHa
  • Rocky Ford, Colorado: A police officer has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of a 27-year-old man. He is being held on a $1 million bond. ly/Eovw9
  • Update: Placer County, California (Previously reported 07-14-14): A now-former sheriff’s deputy pled no contest to a single felony charge of having unlawful sex with a minor. ly/EqayE “

 

 

Cato Institute

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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