Archive for August, 2012

One Man’s Litter…Can Get You Arrested

Friday, August 31st, 2012

I live in Georgia. We have laws in this state against posting signs on the rights-of-way (ROW). The Georgia Department of Transportation issues news releases yearly warning politicians not to post signs on the ROW. These same laws state that anyone who violates these laws shall be punished the same as littering.

SignsCodeGeorgiaCopBlock One Mans Litter...Can Get You Arrested

Imagine my surprise when I was arrested July 1, 2012 while out on my weekly routine picking up illegal signs. My actions were not politically motivated. I was going out weekly, with the blessing of the Georgia Department of Transportation, picking up signs along the roadways. You’ve seen the various signs: Pressure washing, roofing, mattresses, house foreclosures, we restore bad credit, etc. Consider the fact that election season had just started too and you’ll see I really had my hands full.

You would think politicians would know the law – especially someone running for Solicitor General of Houston County, such as Amy Smith. She did not want me picking up her illegal signs. Amy’s husband, Lt. Brian Smith, is a lieutenant at the Warner Robins Police Department. He is the one who declared that his wife, solicitor Amy Smith, wanted to press charges for 23 counts of theft by taking.

I have pictures of the signs I picked up that clearly show them on the right-of-way. Officer Jerry Neese of the Warner Robins Police Department, the officer who noticed me picking up signs, wrote on my arrest report that the signs were on the ROW. Still, I could not convince them of my good intentions or that the signs ARE litter. I was arrested, booked, handcuffed, and transported in the back of a police van to the county jail until I could post bail.

Bail was set at $5000, for what amounted to $92 worth of signs. I had to pay $500 bond to be released. The name of the judge that signed the arrest warrant that Sunday afternoon was Angela Sammons, the magistrate. My trial date in state court is set for September. 6, 2012. At this point, I have refused to pay another $1500 (cheapest I’ve found) for a defense lawyer.

This story was submitted by Joseph Howard.

Note: A follow-up with Joseph revealed that on August 28, 2012 “[he] got home from work and found a letter from the Houston County DA stating that the case has been dismissed ‘at the request of the victim.’”

Joseph said, “I was surprised that I didn’t feel any less angry that it happened in the first place. I would have liked to have gone forward in court to get a judgement as to whether I have a right to clean up litter or not. I guess I will just have to get arrested again. I AM THE VICTIM! They put me through hell. I have never been convicted of even a misdemeanor before.”

One Man’s Litter…Can Get You Arrested is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

This Week in Puppycide

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Have a good weekend everyone!

 

–Radley

No Justice When Women Fight Back

Friday, August 31st, 2012
What do a nineteen-year-old lesbian from New Jersey, a 23-year-old trans woman in Minneapolis and a 31-year-old mother in Florida have in common? All three were attacked, all three fought back and all three were arrested. All three are currently in prison while their attackers remain free. Oh, yes, and all three are black women.

Read the whole story at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/11196-no-justice-when-women-fight-back

LA Officers Body Slam White Woman Twice During Texting Traffic Stop

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Hat Tip to Frank, who submitted this video.

In this YouTube video, LA police bodily drag and lift a woman out of the driver seat of her car, body-slam her on the ground, handcuff her, and then body-slam her again! The woman is a 34 year-old registered nurse, says the video, and police were engaged in a "routine" traffic stop because the woman was allegedly using her cell-phone while driving.

After leaving the woman bruised and battered in the patrol car, these two armed and large police officers bump fists to congratulate one another for what they apparently believe to have been an heroic arrest.

According to the LA Times Blog,

The videotaped confrontation between two Los Angeles Police Department officers and a woman was disturbing and will be fully investigated, Police Chief Charlie Beck said.

“I have serious concerns about this incident," Beck said. "Every Los Angeles police officer, regardless of rank, will be held accountable for their actions."

The commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Foothill Division was reassigned Wednesday, a day after video was broadcast showing two of his officers twice body-slamming a 34-year-old nurse to the pavement, once while she was in handcuffs.

The move to reassign Capt. Joseph Hiltner, as well as bump him from his current Captain III rank to a lower pay grade of Captain I, was announced by Beck at a news conference Wednesday evening at LAPD headquarters.

Hiltner, a 34-year LAPD veteran, could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Beck said Internal Affairs detectives have launched a criminal and administrative investigation into the Aug. 21 use-of-force incident, which began after the officers pulled over Michelle Jordan at a Del Taco restaurant in Tujunga because she was holding a cellphone while driving.

LAPD brass didn't find out about the incident until the department was contacted by a KNBC reporter asking for comment Tuesday about the incident and black-and-white security surveillance footage that captured the officers' actions, police officials said.

As the 5-foot 4-inch Jordan left her vehicle, she allegedly failed to comply with officers' commands to get back into the car and was slammed to the ground by the male officers and placed in handcuffs, according to police officials.

While handcuffed, she was led to the officers' patrol car. Moments later, she was slammed again to the pavement, apparently with more force, by one of the officers, who was much larger than Jordan, the officials said.

The video footage appears to show the two officers exchanging high fives after Jordan was taken down.


Saint Paul Police Brutality

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Saint Paul Police Brutality is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Police are the criminals

Friday, August 31st, 2012

In early July, Saginaw police unloaded 46 bullets into an ornery homeless man, Milton Hall and killed him, allegedly because he refused to put down a knife, while yelling at police. This event was caught on video by a bystander (more here).

Knowing the usual police bullshit, I have a hard time believing he even had a knife. However, assuming he did (because who am I, a mere peon, to question the police version of events?), several observations come to mind.

Police claim to uphold law and safety, but they are the ones who create the crime to begin with.

They do this first, indirectly. While police are increasingly militarized, and have tanks and drones to use on the people they claim to protect, ordinary citizens’ rights to arm themselves are increasingly being eroded. In many states it is difficult or impossible to obtain firearms. It is even illegal to carry a knife. Based on mere common sense, it would seem rapists and muggers would feel much more comfortable in an environment where police clearly cannot humanly be on every street corner, yet individuals are prohibited from defending themselves. From this perspective, police indirectly generate crime, and indirectly hamper deterrent methods victims would otherwise use. In addition, the constant, increasing, and violent enforcement of drug laws feeds, breeds, and perpetuates gang crime (have you ever heard of gangs profiting and operating off of sales of Tylenol, Campbell’s Soup, or Robitussin?)

Police also literally create crime. They constantly turn harmless situations into lethal ones. The practical (although unstated) purpose of police is not to preserve safety, but to play with, and do whatever the fuck they want to with their weapons. They have a tendency, and indeed a legal right to execute people on sight – as long as the execution is accompanied with five magic words – “I feared for my life.” Oscar Grant was shot in the back, while lying down, for being an annoyance to police. Police there turned a situation of public disturbance into one of death. Officer Mehserle was ultimately not charged with murder, was not convicted of murder, and served the lightest sentence possible.

John Williams was shot in the back while strolling down the streets of Seattle because he was disabled, half-deaf, and didn’t hear Ian Birk tell him to put down his whittling knife. Birk effectively turned an afternoon stroll into murder. He was cleared of all wrongdoing.With the Milton Hall shooting, police turned a situation of a homeless man disturbing the peace into one of murder.

When police fabricated warrants with respect to drug crime allegations against Jose Guerena, the result was an innocent man was pumped full of bullets in his own home, and bled to death in front of his wife and son. He had never been convicted of any crimes, and no evidence of drug trafficking was found in his home. There, the police turned the public safety “hazard” of drug use into a situation of murder.

In another botched drug raid, police shot and killed an elderly man, Eurie Stamps, again escalating the minor problem of drug use into one of murder. In yet another botched SWAT raid which was televised for a reality TV show, police shot and killed 7-year-old Aiyana Jones while she was sleeping, again escalating a situation into death.

Erik Scott was shot and killed for lawfully bearing a firearm at Costco – escalation of a situation of grocery shopping into one of murder. Former Marine Manny Loggins was executed in front of his daughters for crashing his car into a fence – escalation of property damage into murder. Alan Kephart was shot on sight for swearing at police – escalation of verbal abuse and traffic violations into murder.

One woman was shot in her own backyard, when she walked into her own yard and “startled” a prowling officer – escalation to assault with a deadly weapon. Police regularly turn events involving peaceful sidewalk chalking into circumstances involving violence and arrest. Now, even feeding the homeless ends in arrest.

If you’re really concerned with “safety” – just ask yourself, what is more dangerous – drug use, or the murder that police cause when they are attempting to stop drug use? What is more dangerous – chalk writing on the sidewalk, or the costs, arrests, and violence involved when police try to stop it? What is more dangerous – handing out food to the homeless, or the violence and arrest involved when police try to stop it?

Make no mistake, police are the crime. In the process of attempting to “preserve order” by stopping all kinds of dangers – feeding the homeless, jaywalking, swearing, chalking, smoking weed – they are beating, killing, and using violence to drag people off to jail. Does this really make any fucking sense? You don’t beat your child for not eating vegetables because the act of beating and violence is much worse than the wrong of not eating vegetables during one meal. You don’t lock your friend in a basement for smoking weed or getting drunk because the violence that comes with tying your friend up, and locking them in a cold dark cell is much worse than the effects of smoking a joint or having too many beers.

So why do you cheer when police do it?

Police are not here to oversee safety. They are militarized, armed to the teeth, and they constantly escalate moderately-concerning situations into violent and deadly ones. This is not about your safety – it is about their safety, and their power over you. They raid our homes, they have machine guns to use on you, and they kill you if you so much as talk back.

Police are the criminals is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Prosecutor Scott Ellis and Other NH Trooper Trouble

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

I have lived in New Hampshire for only a short time. At first I was impressed by the ‘live free or die’ tag on the license plates, but sadly, I have found this attitude is simply part of a tradition, rather than a real attitude that the people of New Hampshire hold. Just as in every state I have lived, the people don’t seem to mind being pushed around by the authorities in place, and put up with it just as they do everywhere else in this country. We allow our public officials to lie, and cheat in order to get ahead. The state police don’t even read Miranda Warnings for the most part. If you try explaining this to an attorney, however, you will get the response that they are the police, and you are the one that has been arrested. Basically the sentiment is that, regardless of if the police commit any miss-steps in legal procedure, or has lied outright, it doesn’t matter because they are the police, and you are the one having been arrested. How is this right? How is this tolerable? Most people would probably go with the idea that ‘it won’t happen to me, so I won’t bother being upset’. This could happen to anyone.

Lately it has been brought to my attention that Prosecutor Scott Ellis is even willing to stoop so low when giving advice to witnesses of crimes, or alleged crimes, that he has even told a witness recently that it isn’t within their rights to plead the Fifth Amendment – even though it is well within their rights as a United States citizen.

Prosecutor Scott Ellis went even further saying that the Fifth Amendment is for people who are lying. In other words, Scott Ellis lied directly to a witness with the intention of coercing said witness into providing the information that he wanted. Even more troubling to me is the fact that in this state, the prosecutor doesn’t have to be a lawyer.

Certainly, with having given the information that I have above, one can see where it would be a public service to make all prosecution staff lawyers and paralegals. Perhaps if this was done, the prosecution in Keene and elsewhere might have a reasonable knowledge of the law, and hopefully the Constitution of the United States. What other rights are being trampled on by those in authority positions? Are we really a citizenry that practices the ideology that a defendant will always be deceptive, and a police officer will always tell the truth? I can tell you that as a human being that this assumption is absurd, and more attention should be paid to the fact that our public servants are humans like us, which means they are just as capable of deceit. Furthermore, doesn’t anyone else find it abhorrent that a member of the prosecution would lie in order to coerce someone? It feels as if, in order to protect ourselves, that we must at least audio record any encounter with law enforcement, and that is a shame.

With have said all of this, isn’t it time that we as a citizenry start to care again? Isn’t it time we right our wrongs when it comes to civil servants? Apparently, we feel it is just fine that government officials openly lie to us, while we as citizens could be placed under arrest for such an indiscretion? I have been arrested on two occasions, and on both of those occasions at no point was I Mirandized. Does the Miranda Warning exist in New Hampshire?

On one of those occasions I was arrested for DWI. The arresting officer was very decent with me in person. We talked openly about the Dodge Charger he was driving and the speed it was capable of. At one point, in a non-emergency situation, with no emergency lights on, Trooper Michael McLaughlin told me we were doing in excess of one hundred MPH. He even went on to make comment that the car drove so smooth that the only way you could tell how fast we were going was because of the noise from the light bar atop his cruiser.

The trooper never gave me a preliminary breath test, and took me to the Newport police department where the breathalyzer there promptly malfunctioned. We then went to Valley Regional Hospital and had a blood test taken. The findings were .17 bac. When we returned to Newport, I was admiring the assault rifle on the ceiling of his vehicle. He took it out of its mountings and offered it up to me to hold and examine. After all of this, I thought, well, this is a pretty cool cop.

When I received the discovery for the case, he said that I had taken a preliminary breath test, and it registered .24 bac! I never took a PBA! How one goes from a bac of .24 to .17 in an hour is beyond me, but that is what he claimed in his report. I noticed that he failed to mention any of his indiscretions that evening, however, he had no problem making me look like a complete fool. I ended up taking a plea deal. During the deal, the prosecution Trooper Scott Ellis made a complete turnabout with the original police report.

He said that my BAC started out at .15, and then rose to .17, so instead of aggravated DWI, I was sentenced to a regular DWI. How is this change possible? Did Trooper Ellis notice the obvious lie within Trooper Michael McLaughlin’s report? If so, did he simply cover for the trooper, and change the report? Given that Trooper McLaughlin was obviously deceptive in his report was he reprimanded? I doubt it.

So, one point being made is: no matter how cool they are, you will probably find out they are not when you receive your paperwork, and B: Who is worse? Trooper McLaughlin for lying, or Trooper Scott Ellis for covering it up, lying to witnesses, and acting outside of the law?

This story was submitted by Joseph Cox.

Prosecutor Scott Ellis and Other NH Trooper Trouble is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

NH Law Enforcement Proves That Unconstitutional “Sobriety” Checkpoints Are Not Actually About Roadway Safety

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Police in Bedford, NH recently obtained a court order to conduct a “sobriety checkpoint” as required by state law:

NH RSA 265:1-a Sobriety Checkpoints

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no law enforcement officer or agency shall establish or conduct sobriety checkpoints for the purposes of enforcing the criminal laws of this state, unless such law enforcement officer or agency petitions the superior court and the court issues an order authorizing the sobriety checkpoint after determining that the sobriety checkpoint is warranted and the proposed method of stopping vehicles satisfies constitutional guarantees.

So, essentially, these checkpoints legally need to be about catching drunk drivers.

Getting the court to approve such an order requires a legal showing that such government action is actually required to protect the public from the dangers of impaired motor vehicle operators.

The Union Leader reports that out of 268 suspicion-less detentions, 11 people were arrested, only 1 was actually driving while intoxicated.

That’s a pathetic 0.373% success rate.

So Soviet-era checkpoints are necessary to catch drunk drivers and are not intended to enforce other criminal laws?

I’ve caught more drunk drivers by simply watching a stationary curve in the roadway… and I didn’t have to mass interfere with the freedom of movement we’re supposed to have in this county.

NH Law Enforcement Proves That Unconstitutional “Sobriety” Checkpoints Are Not Actually About Roadway Safety is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Video Captures Michigan Man’s Shooting by Police

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Submitted by Mark Daniels

Video Captures Michigan Man’s Shooting by Police is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

LAPD to Protect and Serve? Yeah, Right.

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

NBC Los Angeles reports:

Surveillance video from a Del Taco not far from where Michelle Jordan, 34, was stopped by police has prompted an internal investigation into how LAPD handled the arrest, which the woman says was unnecessarily rough.

The security video — obtained exclusively by NBC4 – shows a patrol car pull up at about 11:15 a.m. on Aug. 21 near Foothill Boulevard at Saluda in the Tujunga area.

Police say they pulled her over for allegedly using her cell phone while driving. It looks like a routine traffic stop, until Jordan gets out of her vehicle.

“She made some unwise moves,” said her attorney Sy Nazif. “But certainly nothing that warranted a physical assault from the LAPD.”

Moments after Jordan, of Sunland, gets out of the car, officers put her in handcuffs. After some discussion, perhaps argumentative by Jordan’s own account, one of the officers throws her to the pavement, head first.

“A short time later while still handcuffed another encounter occurred between Jordan and the officers and she was taken to the ground a second time,” according to a statement released by LAPD Tuesday night.

Raymond Branch was outside the Del Taco when the arrest went down.

“The first part, I believe they had a right to arrest her for resisting, but the second part was overboard,” Branch said.

The 34-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of interfering/resisting arrest and released on her own recognizance.

Jordan and her attorney say the move caused her serious injuries to the head and upper body, which they have documented with photos, as shown below. LAPD to Protect and Serve? Yeah, Right.

“At no point was she a threat to these officers, and she was in cuffs,” Nazif said. “We give them authority and power. If somebody says the wrong thing, they can’t use that , use that authority to physically attack her.”

The LAPD says a use of force investigation has been launched in the case and both male officers — one with 22 years of service, the other a probationary officer with 10 months on the job — have been taken off the street until the probe is complete.

The case has made its way to the desk of LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

“My initial review of the officers’ statements and the recorded video cause (sic) me to have serious concerns about this Use of Force,” Beck said in a statement. ”We will investigate this thoroughly and hold our officers accountable for their actions.”

This incident is the latest involving what suspects have described as rough arrests on the part of LAPD officers.

That officer has been “downgraded” from commanding officer, but will still retain the rank of captain, according to LAPD spokeswoman Karen Rayner.

 

 

LAPD to Protect and Serve? Yeah, Right. is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights