Archive for the 'Media' Category

Bitcoin and the New Fourth Estate: An Interview with Cop Block

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

bitcoin-qr-code-bitcoinwarriorBitcoin and the New Fourth Estate: An Interview with Cop Block was originally published to BitcoinWarrior.net on August 23, 2013. It is reposted here to further inform readers of CopBlock.org about Bitcoin.

BitcoinWarrior.net notes, “We are committed to continually improving this site and bringing the best educational information, news, and strategies to our readers.”

If you find value in the information below consider donating Bitcoin to the good folks at BitcoinWarrior.net via the QR code to the right or via their public key: 1LyFcQatbg4BvT9gGTz6VdqqHKpPn5QBuk

 

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bitcoinSince the founding of the nation, a free press has been seen as essential to keeping the people informed and the government honest. The Fourth Estate, although not an official branch of the government, has always been considered to have that key governmental function of keeping our public officials honest through investigation and revelation.

The media has at some points in the nation’s history been better at fulfilling this responsibility than at others. It really came to shine, though, during the tenure of Richard Nixon when Daniel Ellsburg released the Pentagon Papers and Woodward and Bernstein broke the Watergate scandal. These revelations ended an unjust war and brought down a corrupt president.

For the past thirty years, and especially since 2001, the press has been increasingly ineffective at its job, however. News was once provided at a loss by networks as a public service and in return for their use of the public airways. Now, news is commoditized and run as profit centers for news organizations. This changes dramatically what gets aired and how. Which is more important for the public good, the enactment of The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the birth of a royal baby? Which will get more revenue? The TPP may be dry as dust, but it will have broad effect on every American. The royal baby will not impact our lives at all, but has the kind storybook sentimentality that makes people want to tune in.

I am not suggesting that the royal baby story should be ignored by the media, but I do look for the in-depth stories on the TTP, the Bradley Manning trial, or a host of other topics that should be front page news, and are not. Instead, when not covering “human interest” stories, the media has turned into one pundit after another pushing personal or corporate agendas free of any need to be accurate with their facts. They stir up false controversy and misplaced fear. They distract their viewers from what is really important and create a feeling of helplessness.

There are a lot of reasons for the current state of the media, but suffice it to say that newspapers and networks have long abdicated their responsibility as watchdogs of the government. Too often, they are merely propagandists complicit with government and corporate abuses.

There are remedies, however, and the internet has been instrumental in piercing the veil. Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are two examples of heroes in the mold of Daniel Ellsberg and Mark Felt. They are arguably even greater heroes given that Ellsberg was vindicated and Felt remained hidden until he revealed himself after a long and distinguished career. Manning was sentenced this week to 35 years, more than many other spies, many of whom had revealed more crucial or damaging information to national interests. Snowden is currently living in exile and unsure of what will happen when his one-year reprieve in Russia is finished.

Both Manning and Snowden revealed information not to harm American interests or to enrich themselves, but because they saw things that didn’t jive with the vision of America that they believed in. They felt that it was their duty to reveal what they knew, even at great personal cost, so that we the people could decide if that information represented the kind of America that we want to live in. And in both cases, good has arguably come from those revelations. Due in part of Manning’s actions, the Iraq war ended earlier than it might otherwise have done and we had a national discussion about whether we as a nation condone torture. Because of Snowden, we are currently having a discussion about how much information the government can and should collect on its citizens.

In both of these cases, Bitcoin has played a role. After the Manning revelations, the US government pressured credit card companies and PayPal to deny payments to Wikileaks. There may be argument about whether Wikileaks is a legitimate journalistic organization, but there is little doubt that the government’s actions were an attempt to silence an uncomfortable voice. There have also been calls for Bitcoin donations to Edward Snowden, including a legal defense fund being collected by Wikileaks.

In a world where the flow of money can be so easily controlled by a government that has vested interests at odds with the good of the people, Bitcoin begins to show its true usefulness. Bitcoin was a lifeline to Wikileaks and may be a lifeline to Edward Snowden; and moving forward there is little doubt we will have to help other organizations and individuals who have transgressed the government in our name.

I have recently had the pleasure of talking with Pete Eyre of Cop Block, an organization dedicated to exposing and reigning in the abuses of our state and local police forces. Despite the colorful name, Cop Block states clearly that they “do not hate cops” but want to “highlight the double standard that some grant to those with badges by pointing to and supporting those harmed.” By highlighting police abuses, Cop Block is fulfilling the Fourth Estate duty to hold those who work in our name responsible for their actions.

NewCBLOGOCop Block accepts Bitcoin donations. Because of that, I asked Peter if he would do a short interview with me on the role Bitcoin plays at Cop Block.

Bitcoin Warrior: Why did your organization first start accepting BTC?

Pete: CopBlock.org has accepted BTC since late 2011. After learning a bit about BTC the Bitcoin-QT was downloaded, though now Blockchain.info is utilized.

Bitcoin Warrior: Do you see any risk in associating yourself with BTC?

Pete: Even if BTC as a currency itself fails it has undoubtedly caused many to conclude that alternatives other than FRNs are preferable. When the clout granted to FRNs evaporates, those who claim arbitrary authority over others will lose their grip. Bitcoin is empowering, liberating.

Bitcoin Warrior: A few years ago, Wikileaks had its sources of funding cut off when PayPal and credit card companies stopped processing donations. They circumvented this in part by accepting BTC. Does this inform your decision to use BTC at all and do you see any possibility that your organization might be targeted in the same way due to your activities?

Pete: Wikileaks does excellent work. PayPal usually doesn’t. Bitcoin was an example of a bottom-up solution working to bypass top-down control. No longer can censors so easily silence those who question their authority by cutting their purse strings. That is most certainly a prime motivator for CopBlock.org to not just accept BTC but to advocate to Cop Block groups to create BTC wallets of their own and to pay those who create value for CopBlock.org in BTC.

In a marked divergence from currency controlled by governments and their cronies, the transparency of BTC, in its functionality and in transactions made, coupled with the ability for BTC to be exchanged without the intervention of an uninvolved third party – are attributes conducive to its success.

Bitcoin Warrior: How have the BTC donations been going? Do you feel that accepting them has in any way improved your donation drives?

Pete: CopBlock.org operates on very little funding. Some coin is donated. Other coin accrued is a result of the profit made from items moved through http://CopBlock.org/Store. Some donations to CopBlock.org made in BTC likely wouldn’t have been made were that avenue not available. To be clear – being able to point to a non-credit/debit card donation options is exciting. It’s a sign that the old top-down models are failing. Parallels exist between that and the top-down provision of policing and any other good or service.

Those so-inclined can help us have a bigger impact can donate via the Bitcoin address or QR code at http://CopBlock.org/Donate

Bitcoin Warrior: What do you feel the future of BTC is likely to be?

Pete: Ideally, the future of BTC will be bright. The biggest questions – in my mind – are due to the meddling of regulators, who, unable to directly stop BTC, are attempting to stymie its potential by making it difficult for would-be purchasers to obtain BTC. What is certain is that a fiat currency controlled by a secretive group of individuals will always go to its net worth – zero. Personally, I’m a fan of open banking, and BTC has many attractive characteristics, which are helping individuals safeguard their wealth from the claimed “legitimacy” of an uninvolved third party to steal or regulate its movement while at the same time (BTC is) helping to dissolve arbitrary political boundaries.

Bitcoin Warrior: What do you feel that Cop Block’s two or three most significant successes have been?

Pete: Cop Block is more an idea than an organization. It’s difficult to point to an incident or to objective metrics that showcase the breadth and depth such ideas have spread and are continuing to spread.
One could point to anecdotal examples – the number of groups that have proliferated, the names of individuals from all walks of life who have reached out and are getting involved, or even to the amount of pushback received (which brings to mind the oft-pointed-to statement about knowing one is over the target when they’re getting flak).

Bitcoin Warrior: If Cop Block was widely successful in its mission, how would that affect policing and society at large?

Pete: Cop Block is decentralized, therefore this response is mine alone.

What is government but an association of people who claim the right to initiate force within an arbitrary political boundary? Can someone who claims a right to steal from you truly protect you? Does such an institution create the proper incentives? Can justice and accountability be had through a system founded on violence?

Police today operate in an institution founded on double standards. No matter the oversight or any number of other band aid approaches, one can’t fix a coercive monopoly. If there’s a demand for safety and security it could be better provided via consensual interactions. For more on this angle, I encourage you to search for a video/post “Focus on the Institution”

Bitcoin Warrior: What are the best ways for people to get involved?

Pete: Cop Block is decentralized. Those interested in getting involved are encouraged to do so in whatever capacity they’re most interested. Connecting with people in owns own community makes a huge difference. Those interested are encouraged to contact a group near them (http://copblock.org/groups) or, if there’s not yet one, change that to (http//copblock.org/startagroup). We’re in this together. This is a movement based on love. We seek not to perpetuate the division that categorizes a person as “police” or “civilian” but to make clear that we are all humans and thus all have the same rights.

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copblock-bitcoin-qr-codeIf you want to fuel our efforts at CopBlock.org using Bitcion scan the QR code on the right or use the public key: 1Hy8xL2ey3GwFLTEd3NTS76A3bWMnQ2dRP

Bitcoin and the New Fourth Estate: An Interview with Cop Block is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Police Accountability Report: Episode 91 – LRN.fm

Monday, April 29th, 2013

This week, a couple stories that should cause anyone critically thinking to see that those wearing badges aren’t always operating with the best intentions.

Story #1
Deputy Charged with Oppression After Groping Allegation

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Deputy-charged-with-oppression-after-groping-4458304.php

For example, a woman who couldn’t find her family at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo said a deputy constable groped her after she turned to him for help. Then he threatened to arrest her, she said.
The officer, Precinct 5 Deputy Constable Tommy Forgue, was charged with misdemeanor official oppression.
The woman became separated from her relatives February 22nd at the rodeo’s popular barbecue cook-off.
She said Forgue stepped forward and introduced himself, according to a criminal complaint.
Forgue was in uniform, working a part-time security job at the rodeo.
Forgue said he would help locate the woman’s family. He offered the use of his cellphone and volunteered to drive her to her parent’s car, police said.
He then asked to see her breasts, a prosecutor said in court.
When she refused, Forgue pulled down the woman’s shirt and began to grope her, according to the complaint. She feared the sexual assaults would escalate and sent a friend a text message for help.
“At one point, (the woman) attempted to get out of the vehicle and (Forgue) threatened to arrest her if she didn’t get back into the vehicle,” according to the complaint.
Houston police questioned Forgue. He admitted driving her in his car and said he told the woman she could be arrested for public intoxication.
Forgue denied making any sexual advances to her.
Forgue is on administrative leave from his position as a patrol deputy, officials said. He is free on $1,000 bail.

Story #2
Former Indianapolis Police Officer Michael Rinehart Gets Home Detention in DWI Hit-and-Run Crash

http://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/former-indianapolis-police-officer-michael-rinehart-gets-home-detention-in-dwi-hit-and-run-crash

Also, a former Indianapolis police officer who had been drinking when he hit a construction worker and left the scene has been sentenced to home detention.
Michael Rinehart pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in an agreement with the prosecutor’s office.
In June 2012, Rinehart sideswiped construction worker Billy Thompson with the side mirror of his pickup truck in a construction zone along 16th Street in Speedway.
Witnesses said they saw Rinehart pop his mirror back out and continue driving.
It was later revealed that, at the time of the incident, Rinehart was already on suspension from the police department for drinking while on duty.
Rinehart was sentenced this past Tuesday to 60 days on home detention. He must also pay restitution to Thompson.
Rinehart, who has been with the department since 1977, has since resigned.
Michael Rinehart injured a man while driving carelessly.
Michael did not stop to make sure Mr. Thompson was okay, nor did he voluntarily make an attempt to make right with his victim.
This man who harmed another person and avoided taking responsibility for his mistake is being court-ordered to stay in his home for 60 days, and to pay restitution to his victim, which he ought to have done voluntarily.
Meanwhile, millions of people around the world are jailed for years, decades, and in some cases even lifetimes, for so-called ‘crimes’ that have no victim… Does that seem right to you?
One thing is clear: The intent of man-made legislation is NOT to protect individuals or encourage peaceful co-existence.

That’s this week’s Police Accountability Report brought to you by CopBlock.org.
I hope you’ll take a moment to consider just what it is that you are paying for via taxation – and speak out against the corruption.
Until next week, stay safe and remember that badges don’t grant extra rights.

Police Accountability Report: Episode 91 – LRN.fm is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Police Accountability Report: Episode 88 – LRN.fm

Monday, April 1st, 2013

This week, a couple stories that should cause anyone critically thinking to see that those wearing badges aren’t always operating with the best intentions.

Story #1
Baltimore City Officer Indicted in Training Shooting

http://owingsmills.patch.com/articles/baltimore-city-officer-indicted-in-training-shooting

A Baltimore City police officer has been indicted in Baltimore County on misdemeanor charges of second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.
Officer William S. Kern shot a University of Maryland Baltimore police trainee in the head during a training exercise at the Rosewood Center in Owings Mills on Tuesday February 12th. The grand jury indictment identifies the trainee as Raymond Northern Gray.
Gray was critically injured.
If Kern is convicted, the assault charge could carry up to 10 years in prison; the maximum sentence for reckless endangerment is five years, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
In a statement, the office said an arrest warrant has been issued for Kern, who has been with the Baltimore Police Department since Nov. 7, 1994. The state’s attorney’s office has asked Baltimore City police to “suspend any Internal Affairs’ investigation until the completion of the criminal case,” the statement reads.
The Baltimore Sun reported that top Baltimore police commanders, including the director of the training academy, did not know training exercises were happening in Owings Mills the day Gray was shot.
During a news conference on the night of Febuary 12, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said the incident was unacceptable and announced that all police academy operations and training exercises were suspended until a safety evaluation was completed. Batts did not answer a question about why live ammunition was used during the exercise.

Do these seem like the best people to rely on for your safety?

Story #2
Dekalb Officer Charged with Felony Child Cruelty

http://www.wsbradio.com/news/news/local/dekalb-officer-charged-charged-felony-child-cruelt/nW6CD/

A DeKalb County Police Officer is free on bond after he was indicted by a grand jury for beating a child in Walton County. 
DeKalb Police Officer Matt Davy is charged with felony child cruelty and aggravated assault in the October 8th beating of his girlfriend’s 13-year old son. Walton County authorities said it all stemmed from an argument between the boy and some other kids, ending at the home of a neighborhood girl and her mother. The girl’s mom called Davy, who arrived a short time later to hear the girl’s side of the story.
“The daughter tells him, ‘he cussed me out and he pulled this knife out,’” said Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman. “The guy says, ‘Oh, is that right?’”
Witnesses said Davy turned on the boy, beating him and choking him until the 13-year old passed out. Davy then left the child in the neighbor’s yard to find his own way home. 
Bob Hastings saw the beating and saw the boy get up after Davy drove off. Slowly, holding his stomach in obvious pain, the sobbing boy walked his bicycle home. Hastings said he was shocked. 
“It went from a heated exchange or conversation with the neighbors to rage,” Hastings recalled. “(It seemed) extreme to me from a disciplinary standpoint. It was not normal behavior in public.”
Davy was released from the Walton County Jail Monday on a $15,000 bond. There is no word yet on when the case might go to trial.

Until next week, stay safe and remember that badges don’t grant extra rights.

Police Accountability Report: Episode 88 – LRN.fm is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Cop Block’s Pete Eyre on RT, Weighs-in on NYPD Employee Excesses

Friday, March 15th, 2013

On Wednesday, March 13, 2013 I joined Abby Martin on Breaking The Set, a program hosted on RT America, to discuss the recent shooting death of 16-yr old Kimani Gray by NYPD undercover employees, as well as related topics.

Related resources:

The full episode, with the text from the video description, is below:

EPISODE BREAKDOWN: On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin calls out the corporate press for their round-the-clock coverage of ‘pope smoke’ whilst neglecting the Guantanamo hunger strikers, and the DHS buying 1.6 billon rounds of ammunition. Abby then talks to Pete Eyre, from Cop Block, about the NYPD’s involvement in the death of a Kimani Gray and their egregious overstepping of civil liberties. Abby then talks to Michael Dannenberg, of Education Trust, about the trillion-dollar student debt bubble. BTS wraps up the show with a look at Charles and David Koch’s financial empire & the extent of their influence in the corporate takeover of America.

Cop Block’s Pete Eyre on RT, Weighs-in on NYPD Employee Excesses is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Public Officials in Massachussetts & New Hampshire Lose Their Guns

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Boston.com reports on January 28, a police officer’s gun went missing in Plymouth, Massachussetts after he inadvertently left it in a courthouse bathroom.
Captain John Rogers Jr. claims he put the gun down in the bathroom of Wareham District Court at about 3 p.m. January 28, then left without it. He reportedly went back for it minutes later, but it was already gone. He immediately notified court officials, who notified local police to search for the gun with the help of a weapon-sniffing dog.
The Patriot Ledger reports that court officers collected the names of everyone on the court list of appearances and also searched the parking lot, the bushes and underneath vehicles without finding the weapon.

A similar incident happened in Concord, New Hampshire on January 25. WMUR-TV had the following report:

Public Officials in Massachussetts & New Hampshire Lose Their Guns is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Police Accountability Report: Episode 76 – LRN.fm

Monday, December 31st, 2012

This week, a few stories that should cause anyone critically thinking to see that those wearing badges aren’t always operating with the best intentions.

Story #1
Former Moulton Police Officer Charged with Child Abuse

http://blog.al.com/wire/2012/12/former_moulton_police_officer.html

A former Moulton, Alabama police officer has been indicted for allegedly beating two 8-year-old girls.
Moulton police officer Mitchell Breland was charged by a Lawrence County grand jury. Authorities had arrested the 27-year-old in September after an investigation by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.
The case originated from complaints by hospital personnel who treated one of the alleged victims for injuries consistent with abuse. Police employees said the indictment alleges that Breland repeatedly whipped two girls.
The charges are Class C felonies punishable by a minimum one year and maximum 10 years in prison.
Breland is free on $5,000 bail.

Story #2
Former NYC cops convicted of misconduct in encounter with woman start their jail sentences

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/b463426da91248e5a8e3159d9decd488/NY–Off-Duty-Officer-Rape

Two former New York City police officers convicted of official misconduct over their interactions with a drunken woman they had helped get home have started their jail sentences.
Franklin Mata and Kenneth Moreno appeared separately in state Supreme Court in Manhattan in late December and were taken into custody.
The men were accused of rape but acquitted. They were convicted of misconduct in May 2011 for repeatedly returning to the accuser’s apartment while telling dispatchers they were elsewhere.
Moreno was sentenced to a year. He had said there was no sex, that he had cuddled with the woman in her bed.
Mata was sentenced to 60 days. He had said he merely napped on her sofa.

Story #3
SCI Pittsburgh Officer Kelly Guilty on Four Counts

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/former-state-prison-guard-guilty-on-four-counts-667316/

A judge found former Pennsylvania State Correction Officer Tory Kelly guilty on four criminal counts related to inmate abuse, and not guilty on 10, following a week-long non-jury trial. Kelly had been a guard at the State Prison in Pittsburgh.
Kelly now faces sentencing March 20 for the 4 crimes of simple assault, official oppression, terroristic threats and intimidation of a witness. The intimidation charge is a felony, the others misdemeanors.
All relate to interactions two years ago with a single inmate, Randy Jones, who was housed in the prison’s F Block for a few days. F Block is the scene for what investigators said was systematic abuse of inmates viewed as pedophiles, or the genesis for what defense attorneys suggest is a massive conspiracy to smear guards.
All of the accusers were convicted of sex crimes with minors. All had credibility problems, from shifting stories, to motives including the hopes of big civil lawsuit recoveries and potential parole consideration. Judge Cashman didn’t find that their accounts proved Mr. Kelly’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Kelly’s attorney said, “The types of inconsistencies and outright falsehoods that have been brought into this courtroom are enough to create reasonable doubt.” He characterized the accusers as “the kind of person who would manipulate a child into having sexual contact with them,” and were now trying to manipulate a system in an effort to advance lawsuits and get paroled.
Assistant District Attorney Jon Pittman countered by saying, “I would say the evidence is overwhelming,” and noted that four victims unequivocally identified Mr. Kelly as their assailant and offered similar accounts.
Randy Jones has requested protective custody; Pittman says he did so “because he’s afraid of the guards.”
Mr. Kelly was stunned by the verdict.
He also faces a likely March trial on five counts stemming from an August 2011 encounter with another former officer, Curtis Hoffman. Hoffman has told investigators that Kelly tried to egg him into a fight, in an alleged effort to intimidate him out of talking with investigators and testified that Kelly bragged about beating up inmates. He said he didn’t see any of the encounters alleged by Kelly’s four accusers.

Are these really the type of actions you want to continue paying for?
That’s this week’s Police Accountability Report brought to you by CopBlock.org.
Until next week, stay safe and remember that badges don’t grant extra rights.

CopBlock-Podcast-logo-320x71

Police Accountability Report: Episode 76 – LRN.fm is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Police Accountability Report: Episode 75 – LRN.fm

Monday, December 24th, 2012

This week, a few stories that should cause anyone critically thinking to see that those wearing badges aren’t always operating with the best intentions.

Story #1
Ex-Police Officer Pleads Guilty in Murder-for-Hire Scheme
http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/5036202-418/ex-chicago-cop-pleads-guilty-in-murder-for-hire-scheme.html

Former Chicago Police Officer Jerome Finnigan was the ringleader of an “elite” Special Operations Section that ransacked homes without warrants and shook down drug dealers for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.
Last Tuesday wearing an orange jump suit and shackles, he admitted to those crimes as well as to the most outrageous charge — that as an officer, he ordered a hit on another cop.
But as part of his plea deal made public in federal court, Finnigan pled guilty only to the murder-for-hire charge and to a tax charge; an agreement where he would see no more than 13 years in prison for his crimes.
Four years after Finnigan’s arrest, it remains unclear what federal prosecutors won out of the negotiation.
While Finnigan’s plea deal says he cooperated and that he would continue to do so, the 28-page document offers no hints that the investigation would go any higher than it had since his 2007 arrest.
He downplayed the murder-for-hire plot, calling it: “for lack of a better word, [a] charade” and said “it was not my intent to kill anybody.”

Story #2
Denver Cop Convicted of Rape Free on Bond Until Sentencing
http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22231503/judge-denver-cop-convicted-rape-free-bond-until

A Denver police officer convicted of rape and kidnapping will remain free on bond for the two months until his sentencing date, despite his victim’s concerns for her safety.
A judge recently set bond for Hector Paez at $50,000 and his sentencing for March 1.
Denver District Court Judge John Madden noted that his family had put their property up as collateral for a bond.
“It would have an enormous impact on your family and children,” Madden warned Paez about failing to appear in court.
Madden also told Paez he must remain in his home in the meantime, unless he’s meeting with his attorney.
On May 16, 2010, Paez arrested a woman on an outstanding warrant, drove her to a secluded spot and coerced her into performing oral sex.
The woman has said multiple times she’s afraid of retribution from Paez and pointed out that he threatened her — saying he knows where she lived — as he released her the day of the attack.
For part of her testimony at trial, Paez turned and stared her down, she said.
Jurors convicted Paez of Class 4 felony sex assault and Class 2 kidnapping. They also found him guilty of the misdemeanor of lying to authorities.
The lightest sentence he could receive is probation. For the rape, the most he faces is an indeterminate sentence to life in prison. The kidnapping carries a penalty of up to 24 years in prison.

Story #3
Former Detroit Police Officer Officer Admits Lying on Time Sheet to Collect $30,000 in Overtime
http://www.freep.com/article/20121217/NEWS01/121217055/Detroit-police-officer-Kim-Mosby-Colbert-pleads-guilty-lying-time-card-30-000-overtime

A former Detroit police officer, Kim Mosby-Colbert, pleaded guilty to lying on her overtime sheets and collecting nearly $30,000 in overtime pay she never earned from October 2009 through June 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced this week.
Under the terms of her plea deal, she faces up to six months in prison. She also could be ordered to pay nearly $30,000 in restitution when she is sentenced in March.
We hope that prosecutions like this one will let public servants know that they will be held accountable for their conduct and will deter them from stealing public funds to which they are not entitled,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said.
Although all public servants’ paychecks consist solely of money stolen from taxpayers – otherwise known as victims – apparently it is wrong to steal. That seems inconsistent.
Are these really the type of actions you want to continue paying for?
That’s this week’s Police Accountability Report brought to you by CopBlock.org.
Until next week, stay safe and remember that badges don’t grant extra rights.

cb sidebar podcast 320x85 Police Accountability Report: Episode 75   LRN.fm

Police Accountability Report: Episode 75 – LRN.fm is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Ademo’s Wiretapping Convictions Appealed to NH Supreme Court, Reported by The Union Leader

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

freeademo graphic matt roach copblock Ademos Wiretapping Convictions Appealed to NH Supreme Court, Reported by The Union LeaderThe write-up below was originally published in The Union Leader – the most-circulated newspaper in the ‘shire. It details the latest iteration in legal land for Ademo Freeman, who, after working to gain accountability for Darren Murphy’s assault of a high-schooler who had muttered an explicative, was himself run through the criminals justice system.

For all related content, including dozens of videos, uploaded legal land documents, posts, and more, see: http://CopBlock.org/FreeAdemo

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CopBlock co-founder appeals his wiretapping conviction
by Dale Vincent, Dec. 13th, 2012, New Hampshire Union Leader

MANCHESTER – CopBlock.org co-founder Adam Mueller, who was convicted of felony wiretapping in connection with recorded calls to school and police officials about the arrest of a student at Manchester High School West in 2011, has appealed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Mueller posted portions of the conversation as part of a video on CopBlock.org.

Mueller represented himself at an Aug. 13 trial in Hillsborough County Superior Court North before Judge Kenneth Brown.

The jury convicted him of three counts of felony wiretapping for recording calls Oct. 4, 2011, with Manchester police Capt. Jonathan Hopkins, West High School Principal MaryEllen McGorry, and Denise Michael, a school secretary, all without their consent.

The conversations were about an Oct. 3, 2011, arrest of a West High School student in the cafeteria. The arrest by the school resource officer was videotaped by another student, who had met Mueller and Copblock.org co-founder Peter Eyre a few weeks before.

The video showed the officer grabbing the student, pushing him face down onto a cafeteria table and handcuffing him.

Ten days after his August trial, he mailed a motion to the court, seeking to have the verdict set aside or reversed, the charges dismissed with prejudice, the conviction vacated and his release ordered, or, alternatively, a new trial ordered and the remaining sentence stayed. He argued he had been confined in jail, without access to legal materials, and that is why he hadn’t filed the motion sooner.

The prosecution objected to the motion and the judge denied it, saying it was not filed within the required seven days and that Mueller himself had requested immediate sentencing after the verdict was returned, and Mueller is an “experienced pro se litigator and knows the rules.”

Mueller’s attorney, Brandon Ross, said once the Supreme Court receives the trial transcript, which is due by Dec. 30, it will issue a scheduling order.

Ross said the court may order a mid-March deadline for briefs from both sides. An oral argument was requested, but that is up to the court, he said.

Ross said the main argument is that Mueller was convicted of felony wiretapping, but the way the statute is written, if he was a party to the recording, he could be convicted of only a B misdemeanor, which carries just a fine. A felony carries jail time, although Mueller served only a few months.

“Every state has its own rules (about recordings),” said Ross, adding that New Hampshire’s wiretap law “is written in a terribly confusing way.” In an email, Ross said the question is what the statute was trying to forbid by the felony-level offense. “From our perspective, it was actually trying to stop nefarious third parties from surreptitiously recording phone calls they have no business hearing. Someone recording a call which he’s a part of? Not as serious.”

Ademo’s Wiretapping Convictions Appealed to NH Supreme Court, Reported by The Union Leader is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Court Personnel Especially Hostile at Ian Freeman’s Pre-Trial Hearing

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Around 7:15 AM, eight individuals including myself left the Keene Activist Center in Keene, NH in order to make it to Palmer, MA District Court for a 9:00 AM pre-trial hearing for Ian Freeman of Free Talk Live. Four people in the Palmer area also made it to the hearing. Ian was arrested for filming inside of Palmer City Hall during an allegedly public tax sale on October 25, 2012. It was claimed that he was being “disorderly” by filming in the public space.

Upon entering the courthouse, the man operating the security theater (badge #245) asked what Cecelia (of Ladies in Keene) and I were there for, to which I responded, “A hearing.” After further questioning, I noted that it was a pre-trial hearing. Cecelia was told cell phones were not allowed in the courthouse, so she went to return it to the vehicle. Having emptied my pockets before entering the building, I walked through the metal detector and stepped off to the side to wait for my friends. Cecelia and Jay (who runs www.mail-to-jail.com) came through security, but Ian was questioned about why he had a tripod – as that was an indication that he had a camera. Ian shared the notice to record he had filed and convinced the man (badge #245) to hold his equipment at the desk until after the notice was reviewed by the judge; he was let through, without his recording equipment.

Around this time, court personnel noticed a couple of people in the entryway to the building were holding cameras. At the sight of video cameras, the demeanor of the public employees present immediately became aggressive, and additional court officers and police officers were called to the lobby. Unwilling to have a conversation about the fact that they are public officials in a public space or the Glik decision, a couple of court officers demanded that those with cameras leave the entryway and approached them aggressively in an attempt to force them backwards, out the door. It was pointed out that there was a camera across the room, on the ceiling, that was documenting what was taking place – the double-standard did not seem strange to the court personnel. A man by the name of Saccomani assaulted Shire TV‘s James Cleaveland by grabbing at his camera. James was told that if he stepped through the threshold with his camera again, his camera would be stolen. When two court officers hurriedly exited the building in his direction, I followed to observe. The officers, making threats the entire way, made James move towards the parking lot. Though moments before they had claimed he could not exercise his right to film inside the building, the officers now claimed that he must move off of the property entirely.

After that interaction, I passed through the security line again. A woman, (badge #202) blocked the metal detector and asked me if I was part of the group. I noted that while I was friends with some of the individuals present, I was an individual rather than part of a group. The woman told me “not to start” and her and court officer Saccomani commented to each other that yes, I was in fact part of a group. I asked the woman to try not to collectivize people so much.

Saccomani positioned himself so that he blocked the path of those in the security line – CopBlock.org‘s Pete Eyre and all those behind him. While Pete tried to have a conversation with him, he stood unwilling to converse but willing to hold up everyone trying to pass through the security theater. At one point he stepped on the foot of another friend, Robbie, then instead of apologizing made a comment about how he should not have been in the way. Robbie was ordered to leave the courthouse with his beverage.

During the approximately ten minutes that Saccomani rudely stood in Pete’s path – Prevost closing the door on him at one point – Cecelia tried to have a conversation with the woman (badge #202) who was spouting orders to move from one location that does not obstruct traffic to another. These unnecessary orders were a common occurrence throughout the length of this ordeal, though the unnecessary orders came from a handful of different court officers. Cecelia noted that she was not in fact standing in a place that would inconvenience anybody, but when Cecelia asked her to consider her actions she responded in an extremely childish manner – by sticking her hands in her ears, the way a small child would while exclaiming, “I can’t hear you!”

Cecelia continued to share her thoughts and the woman called a court officer named Prevost to make threats. I was a little startled when Prevost, a tall man, began walking towards me in an extremely aggressive manner and threatening me with arrest for “disorderly conduct.” The woman pointed towards Cecelia and said, “Her!” The threats directed at me momentarily became directed at Cecelia, who asked why she would be charged with disorderly conduct for speaking. Just following orders is not a good thing – this man was willing to use force against an individual without having any idea what it was they had supposedly done wrong – or which individual had committed the action inaccurately portrayed to be in violation of man-made legislation. The scene resembled that of an attack dog being released and set on a victim, the owner realizing the dog was not attacking their intended target and calling the dog back to direct them to the intended victim. Among the first appearance-related observations I made about court officer Prevost was that he had very noticeable bags under his eyes, as if he has a lot of trouble sleeping at night. If I acted in such an aggressive and unaccountable manner, I would have trouble sleeping at night as well.

Eventually, everybody passed through the metal detector and proceeded to enter the courtroom. On my way through the door, Prevost told me to remove my hat. Although uncomfortable complying with the orders of any stranger claiming to have authority to force me to remove articles of my clothing, I did so as to not have his threats again directed at me. At some point after taking my seat, though, I returned the hat to my head – I was more comfortable that way. I was not threatened again. Another activist, Jason Repsher, was told to remove his hat as he sat down. When he stated that he would prefer to leave it on, Prevost told him to leave the courtroom. Not wanting to miss the hearing or deal with being assaulted by public officials, he removed his hat. When Pete was told to remove his hat, my observation was that he wanted to react to his initial instinct not to simply obey the arbitrary orders of the stranger claiming to have the authority to initiate force against others for not following his orders, but to discuss it. Then he seemed to decide that was not the best way to utilize his time in that particular instance.

While waiting for Ian’s hearing to begin, other cases were heard. A few different times, defendants were told by the judge that the charges against them would be dropped if they paid money. Most of the other cases also consisted of individuals being told to give “the state” money. It was made very clear what the incentive of this business (albeit one where the customers come involuntarily) is. The prosecutor spoke with Ian a couple times before the hearing. If I understand correctly, the first time he said that the misdemeanor charge would be dropped if he would plead guilty to the ‘city ordinance violation’; Ian declined. Next, the prosecutor said that he would dismiss both charges if Ian donated money to charity. At arraignment, according to Darryl Perry,

 Ian was offered a plea deal, which would require him to claim “responsibility” (apparently Massachusetts lingo for “plead guilty”). He stated that he wanted this to go away and that he didn’t want to return to Massachusetts for court. The Judge offered to let Ian pay $50, he asked if he could donate that money to charity, she denied that request and set a court date of December 10.

Since he already had to make the trip back to Massachusetts for court, Ian declined the offer. Ian was told that the misdemeanor charge would be dismissed anyway, and that they would proceed with the ‘city ordinance violation’ which was referred to as a civil matter.

The judge claimed to have not received any of the pre-trial motions submitted by Ian and for that reason, supposedly, would not allow the hearing to be filmed despite Ian’s objections to proceeding without his camera present. Hopefully these public employees will be more reasonable the next time Ian is told to appear, in late January. It was also noted that the ACLU filed an appearance.

I am very glad to be surrounded by wonderful friends and activists with the shared goal of spreading the idea that nobody has authority over anyone but themselves, regardless of their attire or place of employment.

After leaving the District Court, we all went to Palmer City Hall where Ian was arrested for filming. Most of the dozen individuals who spent a few minutes touring the building filmed the entire time. The signs stating that filming was not allowed were no longer posted throughout the building. None of the individuals who filmed in the City Hall today were arrested for the same action that supposedly justifies Ian being arrested in October.

Palmer District Court
235 Sykes Street, Suite 3
Palmer, MA 01069-1190
(413) 283-8916

Court Personnel Especially Hostile at Ian Freeman’s Pre-Trial Hearing is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Jeffrey Weinhaus, Now Recovered from MO State Patrol Shooting, Indicted

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Last week Jeff Weinhaus, who recovered from being shot three times by individuals employed at the Missouri State Patrol, had a hearing scheduled that he hoped would reduce the ransom on his head for his freedom-of-movement. Weinhaus never had that day in court. And his ransom was not only not reduced, it was increased by 500%, to the (cash-only) amount of 250,000FRNs.

That change was due to conclusions reached the day prior by a  “grand jury” who “indicted” Weinhaus of eight actions deemed “illicit,” including “attempted assault on a law enforcement officer.”

As has been my contention since first learning of Weinahus (he was involved to some extent with Central Missouri Cop Block, though I didn’t know him) – this situation reeks of a lack of accountability.

For complete overview, including videos, see: http://CopBlock.org/JeffreyWeinhaus

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The italic text below comes from the post, Grand Jury Indicts Weinhaus, by Ed Pruneau, which was posted on Nov. 30th, 2012 to emissourian.com.

[The text in brackets following each block of text are my thoughts, similar to what Grey did in the post, Kings Men Raid Free Poker Room.]

A Franklin County grand jury has issued an indictment against Jeffrey Weinhaus, the suspect who was wounded in an armed confrontation with Missouri State Highway Patrol investigators in September.

[The claimed "armed confrontation" is given as fact when it hasn't been proven. If that is true, and there's nothing to hide, why haven't the names of the two shooters been released? And why has only a vague general overview of the incident - the standard 'officers feared for their life' schtick - been given?]

The indictment was handed up Tuesday, one day before a hearing was scheduled in Associate Circuit Judge Stan Williams’ court to consider a new request to reduce the man’s bond.

[Legal land (aka "court") is not objective. Its actors are driven not by a goal of obtaining justice but of their own self-interests (it's a monopoly rife with perverse incentives). In this situation, Weinhaus' call to reduce the ransom was trumped by convenient legal land maneuvering.]

The grand jury indictment automatically transferred the case from associate circuit court to circuit court where Weinhaus will be arraigned. His next court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 4.

[If anyone is on the ground in the area and can attend in-person to support Weinhaus that'd be awesome: Franklin County Judicial Center, 401 East Main Street, Union, MO 63084. If you do make it there, please share a write-up or video of what happened via http://copblock.org/submit.]

Presiding Circuit Judge Gael Wood signed the indictment and ordered a new $250,000 cash-only bond for Weinhaus.

A previous motion for a bond reduction was denied by Associate Circuit Judge Dave Hoven.

Weinhaus, 45, had been held in the county jail on a $50,000 cash-only bond since he was arrested Nov. 1 when he appeared in Hoven’s court for the bond hearing.

Previously, Weinhaus had been in the hospital and at his brother’s home in Jefferson County recovering from gunshot wounds he sustained in the September 11th encounter with the two troopers.

At that time, the troopers were attempting to serve an arrest warrant charging Weinhaus with possession of a controlled substance (morphine) and tampering with a judicial officer, both felonies, and misdemeanor marijuana possession charge.

[This is the first I've heard of a morphine-related threat. But just like the green, even if it is true, where's the victim? If there is none, there is no crime.]

The grand jury indictment includes those original charges plus five additional felony counts, including two counts each of attempted assault on a law enforcement officer and armed criminal action and one count of resisting arrest.

The investigators allege that they shot Weinhaus when he refused to comply with them and began drawing a handgun.

[Why would a media outlet cite only one-party in a two-party interaction? If space is given to share the perspective of one party it seems unbalanced to not then share the perspective of the other party - unless of course the local media is purposefully or unthinkingly in cahoots with the claimed "authorities." Oh wait, a line of script from Weinhaus' perspective is given, but not until near the end of the write-up.]

The Investigation

Investigators with the highway patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control went to serve a search warrant August 22nd for the seizure of computers belonging to Weinhaus, based on alleged threats directed at law enforcement and judicial officials in Crawford County. Weinhaus broadcast those video blogs from his home off Highway K, south of St. Clair.

When Weinhaus opened the door, the troopers smelled marijuana smoke coming from the house. After Weinhaus refused to let them search the home they obtained another search warrant and inside they seized a misdemeanor amount of marijuana and some pills, later identified as containing morphine.

[Again, who did Weinhaus harm? I think the bigger threat to the community are those strangers who have the audacity to claim the "legitimate" right to break into Weinhaus' home, after getting approval from a friend, and stealing his property because he created and shared content they didn't like. Sounds a bit like Soviet Russia.]

Weinhaus, who has described himself as a born-again Christian and both a political activist and a political prisoner, has been provoking politicians, judges and law enforcement officials in several eastern Missouri counties for years.

Authorities allege that Weinhaus made multiple threats against Crawford County officials in recent months. That’s what led to the seizure of his computers and the Franklin County warrant.

[Granted, I don't claim to have viewed all the videos on Weinhaus' YouTube channel, but this statement - that Weinhaus made "multiple threats" is an allegation. What is true is that "Crawford County officials" subsist on an explicit threat - obey or else. I think we're seeing that happen here.]

In a video post September 9th, he threatened to “occupy the courthouse” on September 14th or September 17th, but did not specify which courthouse.

That post led the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to increase security measures at the courthouse there, and officials in Crawford County took extra security measures as well.

Weinhaus has denied that he made any direct threats against anyone and claims that when he got out of his car September 11th he did not attempt to draw his gun but raised his hands over his head and was shot by the troopers.

The shooting occurred at the MFA gas station on Highway K, south of St. Clair.

[If anyone was in the area and witnessed, or even better, recorded the exchange, please speak out. It seems a lot of folks in Weinhaus' sphere are scared.]

Weinhaus has been a defendant in a number of civil and criminal legal cases arising out of Jefferson, Franklin and a number of other Missouri counties.

Weinhaus wrote about many of these incidents and other alleged corruption in small newspapers he published, including The Provocateur and The Bulletin which later evolved into his website, bulletinman.com.

 

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For complete overview, including videos, see: http://CopBlock.org/JeffreyWeinhaus

 

Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop I (the outfit where the shooter(s) are employed)
http://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov/MSHPWeb/PatrolDivisions/TroopHeadquarters/TroopI/index.html
P.O. Box 128
Rolla, MO 65402-0128
Phone: (573) 368-2345
Fax: (573) 368-2352

Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop C (the outfit investigating the actions of their colleagues down the road)
http://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov/MSHPWeb/PatrolDivisions/TroopHeadquarters/TroopC/index.html
891 Technology Drive
Weldon Spring, MO 63304
Phone: (636) 300-2800
Fax:(636) 300-2741

Jeffrey Weinhaus, Now Recovered from MO State Patrol Shooting, Indicted is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights