Hope Ademo gets the uncle sam suit out again soon.
Hope Ademo gets the uncle sam suit out again soon.
In the post Bridgport’s “Finest” Lackluster, I shared a number of raw videos with some descriptive text, that showed the hostility exhibited by every Bridgeport police employee I met on Saturday, Jan. 19th, 2013.
This video – an attempted conversation with David Uliano – exemplifies this fact.
re: David Uliano, badge #537
On Aug. 16th, 2012 the ctpost.com reported that David Uliano was suspended (with pay) for testing positive for narcotic use. I believe we each own our body but if dude is caging others for possessing, using or selling such items, that’s pretty messed-up.
That same article noted that:
Uliano, 41, of Derby, was placed on administrative leave last fall after a video briefly surfaced that allegedly showed Uliano in a loud dispute with a woman. He and five other officers were cleared of excessive force charges in a 2004 domestic violence case in which a man was fatally shot.
has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending an internal investigation.The action was taken against David Uliano, 41, of Derby, after a video surfaced on a public website and remained there for several hours Wednesday. The video, which sources said involves a heated discussion with a woman, has since been taken down.
The Office of Internal Affairs is investigating the matter.
On Saturday, I attempted a conversation with Uliano. At one point, he told me, “If you want to talk to me personal, I’m asking you to sing ‘god bless america’ and then put it on your website.” My question to him, “. . . do you think your actions tonight are perpetuating the ideals expressed in that song?”
David Uliano – employed at Bridgeport police – is NOT someone I’d hire for protection.
Creating primer resources for active groups, ensuring a couple key components are covered, and funding for a month-long mini-tour are the three areas outlined in the video (script below) that I think will be good investments to increase Cop Block’s impact.
Interested and able to help? Please visit: CopBlock.org/Donate
Any coin is much-appreciated, though reoccurring donations will help provide us with a bit more stability so we can budget accordingly.
Setting-up reoccurring donations is easy. When at CopBlock.org/Donate, simply input the amount you want to donate (in this example I used 10FRNs) and click the green “Donate” button.
Then, on the next screen, select the frequency desired (in this example I choose “monthly”).
If you want to help fund one of the specific areas outlined in the video, just click the text “Include a message with your payment” and in the text field box that then appears, type the associated term(s).
In this example I keyed “key components.” If you identify more than one area, your donation will be split equally among them.
All donations received without a comment noting a desired earmark will be used to fulfill the asks given in the video (resources for groups, key components, short tour). If donations above that amount are received, they’ll be used in other ways to advance Cop Block’s mission.
When I get a better idea of the coin raised for the short tour I’ll post my intended route and will work to connect with Copblockers.
Script from Video
If you watch the mainstream news or listen only to those who claim the right to control your life, it’s very likely that you have a pretty bleak outlook on the world today.
But recognize that such a reality – the belief that you yourself, can’t possibly hope to address those problems, as they’re so overwhelming – is the very paradigm being pushed by those attempting to usurp your rights.
Uncertainty and fear are peddled to gain your acquiescence.
Their very existence and the scope of their actions are directly contingent on the authority you grant them.
Fortunately many individuals are thinking for themselves.
They realize that though they’re rightfully disillusioned, there must be a better alternative.
If you’re watching this video, it’s likely you’re already familiar with Cop Block.
If not, I encourage you to check out Cop Block’s About page, but briefly, Cop Block is a decentralized project supported by a diverse group of individuals united by their shared goal of police accountability.
We do not hate cops. We believe that no one – not even those with badges – has extra rights.
We live by that fact and seek to share it with others. Both to safeguard our rights and those of future generations.
We choose to focus on police, because they are quite literally, the teeth, or enforcers of the State.
In fact, police claim a “right” to initiate force.
It is that institutionalized violence that is the issue.
Cop Block was founded three years ago this month.
In that time, the project has grown from a Tumblr site, to a group blog, to its current iteration, as a heavily-trafficked resource.
It’s clear we’re having an impact. But I know we can do more.
That’s the purpose of this video. To help get from here to there.
Over the next few minutes I’m going to share some thoughts and ask for your help, so that we can make more likely a reality where the institutionalized violence we see today is replaced by peaceful coexistence.
My hope is for us to so thoroughly change the conversation about policing, that the need for Cop Block becomes obsolete.
I brainstormed components and tactics we could add or grow, and I incorporated feedback received from Copblockers.
What is certain is that a handful of folks can’t do it all.
Key is decentralization and a consistent message.
I identified three areas that I consider low-hanging fruit, and that I think would offer a good return-on-investment, should you have the interest and ability to help defray costs
Firstly, resources for local groups
We house at CopBlock.org/Groups all known contact info for offshoots as well as allies.
This graphic shows the increased number of local groups, from the fall of 2012, until now.
How did this happened?
We’ve created content, such as the /startagroup document, to help lessen the hurdle for proactive Copblockers, who then plant a flag and connect with those in their area to make a difference on the ground.
We’ve created print-ready flyers to help make it easier to share ideas, made available through our store an inexpensive 200-piece literature pack, and make ourselves available to brainstorm and work together where it makes sense.
Just imagine how different – for the better – things will be when the simple act of making transparent the actions of aggressors becomes the norm.
I’m asking for your help to provide active Copblockers with resources, so that they can do more.
Your reoccurring donation, or one-time donation, earmarked for resources, will be used to have created primer resources, like know your rights documents and videos, and crowdsourceable resources, like print-ready flyers, graphics, a better smartphone app, and to provide literature to active groups.
I hope and think a goal of getting 100FRNs donated per month for resources is obtainable.
And if it the coin is there and it makes sense, one idea is to solicit proposals from groups on how they’d utilize it to have an impact in their area, then put the proposals to a vote on CopBlock.org and allow Copblockers to decide which group to award the coin. Think of it as an X-Prize of sorts for police accountablity.
Secondly, compensation for key components
Cop Block is decentralized. We solicit submissions from those who’ve experienced, witnessed, or have commentary about, police interactions.
There’s not a lack of such content.
Thus far we’ve received over 2,000 submissions.
The editing and scheduling of these submissions has for most of Cop Blocks existence, been done by a volunteer, or a group of volunteers.
But more-recently I started compensating another Copblocker, to the tune of 150FRNs a month, or about five bucks a day, to tackle this integral task.
Ideally, it’d be great if this cost could be covered by folks who appreciate the work, and who have deeper pockets than do I.
In addition to the editor, another vital component I hope to have better-funded is our IT, which is quite literally the backbone of our operations.
Specifically, the hosting that’s provided by Liberty Web Alliance.
Last year CopBlock.org was taken offline by repeated DoS attacks.
A small team of tech-savvy friends hardened the site, and moved it, as well as local cop block offshoots also based on WordPress, to a dedicated server.
That provided much stability.
Yet recent site-related issues have again necessitated the need to step-up our IT, and with that, comes costs, about 200FRNs a month.
So, for these two key components – editing and scheduling submissions, and IT – I’m hoping we can get reoccurring donations earmarked for key components, at 350FRNs per month.
Thirdly, funding for more in-person collaboration
The Internet has undoubtedly been instrumental for the sharing of ideas that now seem so basic
It’s facilitated connections that ignore arbitrary political boundaries and underscore that we’re not alone, which can only empower others to get involved.
And it’s allowed us to bypass completely those who historically have censored the free flow of information.
Yet not to be discounted is in-person communication, which is unparalleled in its qualitative impact.
Prior to focusing on Cop Block, I spent time criss-crossing the states in MARV, the Mobile Authority Resistance Vehicle, with Motorhome Diaries and Liberty on Tour.
Ademo Freeman, who founded Cop Block, was involved in both as well.
When on the road we created hundreds of videos and interacted with thousands of people – including some who’ve since founded Cop Block offshoots.
This past summer I raffled-off MARV and reinvested the coin into my current vehicle – a 1996 turbo diesel Tahoe.
In mid-January I plan to leave the ‘shire and roll to North Carolina to pick-up my motorcycle.
Instead of just rolling down and back, over a couple of days, I plan to, over the course of a month, meet with Copblockers from the eastern seaboard, Midwest and Rust Belt, especially those who have founded groups, so that we can brainstorm, share ideas, hit the streets, and generate content.
This past August when traveling to visit family and friends, I was able to get-together with the founders of Ohio Cop Block and Minnesota Cop Block.
It was clear that our interaction was of much value, to all involved.
I’m hoping you can help defray my fuel costs, to make this short jaunt more realistic.
This one-month jaunt I’m proposing, which will end in late February in Nashua, NH at Liberty Forum, where I’m slated to speak about Cop Block, will be a good way to prove the effectiveness of this outreach tactic on a smaller scale, and make more realistic a future, longer tour, that could incorporate outreach at colleges, know your rights trainings, and Copblocking.
Coin donated and earmarked for “Tour” will be used to help make this possible.
Fuel costs, which I estimate will be about a grand, will be my biggest expense. Any additional monies received will be used to provide resources to Copblockers met.
So to summarize, if you find any of these three areas compelling – groups, key components, or a short tour – and can help make them happen, that’d be much appreciated.
Any other donations made to Cop Block will be used to do outreach to current law enforcement employees, to compensate Copblockers for creating graphics, for video contests, and much more.
CopBlock uses WePay and Bitcoin.
Thanks for your time. And if you’re not able to donate coin, it’s all good – we appreciate link love and even better, learning of your own peaceful, proactive efforts to cause those around you to think.
Remember, decentralizing is key, feel free to implement any ideas you have.
All content or graphics you see generated by Cop Block are free for you to use or modify.
And I’m always down to brainstorm – just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The 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
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.”
The war on “terror” will never be over, it will just change locations. Like the war on drugs, prostitution, pornography, and the many others that will follow, it is a war on humanity. These wars will never be won; the State will just keep creating new boogiemen to frighten us with. The sheep will anxiously anticipate the next fall guy the State offers up as a sacrifice for the war on whatever happens to be next. Be careful, the next pawn could be me or you. - Mike Wasdin
On November 21st we posted here at CopBlock.org a write-up by Eric Freerock, Ohio Cop Block Admin Jailed For a Shipping Error, which communicated that Jacob Frost, plead “no contest” to a watered-down agreement of guilt in a situation that involved personnel from from “homeland security” and a substance some claim is “illicit”.
Frost, has been sentenced to a ‘community-based corrections facility’ after pleading no contest to a charge of ‘attempted possession’ for having been shipped the banned substance methylone.
He didn’t actually order methylone.
To be clear – Frost did not order methylone. He ordered another substance (synthetic marijuana) that – as adverse to it as many have already commented they are – is not deemed “illicit.” Thus, he did not violate arbitrary man-made dictates conflated to be law.
Shouldn’t then, Frost’s receipt prove from his online purchase show that the substance shipped was an error on the vendors side? Yes.
Another component of this story that too negates Frost’s guilt was that the chain of custody for the shipped substance was totally compromised. Prior to Frost receiving the package it had been accidentally delivered to the wrong address, and the person there opened the package.
Shouldn’t then, the case against Frost have been thrown-out due to this factual inability to account for the contents of the shipment? Yes.
But Frost took a plea deal. He plead “no contest” because the alternative he faced – four or more years in a cage – was not for him worth the risk.
Frost is now housed at the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation Center – or Worth Center – in Lima, OH.
This text is from the Worth Center’s stated mission:
Prison is only one sentencing alternative. Other alternatives, less expensive to the tax payers, are possible and provide a more measured response. . .
W.O.R.T.H. will address positive values such as self-esteem, self-reliance, and human dignity, and make an effort to create a sense of belonging as if in a family structure, to promote stability so that an environment is created where the individual can internalize positive change.
As residents progress through the W.O.R.T.H. Program, privileges will be earned as individuals become more responsible for their lives. Conversely, if negative behavior warrants, more controls can be imposed and privileges can be restricted in a progressively intrusive manner to the point of probation revocation and sentence to long term incarceration in a state prison institution.
Frost called me on Wednesday, December 5th from the Worth Center.
My recount of our conversation, first shared with his friends in Ohio Cop Block, is below:
We’d only ascertained Frost’s whereabouts a couple days prior thanks to his bud and fellow Ohio Copblocker Kane Newkirk, who tracked down that info.
Two days prior to receiving that call from Frost I’d called the Worth Center, after which I shared this update with those in Ohio Cop Block:
First off and most-important – should Jacob in that situation? Should he have his choices and freedom of movement restricted?
Nope. There was no victim.
It’s clear to anyone familiar with this situation that Frost’s treatment has nothing to do with “justice.” He harmed no one. He’s just a number, another case, to be run through the system by his captors.
Those who targeted Frost acted according to the perverse incentives inherent in the top-down monopoly for which they work. They have an incentive to create criminals where there are none.
Those responsible – the men and women with badges who kidnapped and caged him, the “prosecutor”, “judge”, those who transported him, and those now supervising every aspect of his life – likely went about their interactions with him as a matter of routine.
Looking throughout history, when institutions are created that by their very existence make more-likely the subjugation of the rights of another individual, it doesn’t lead to good outcomes. Instead, unthinking individuals cause real harm, all the while assuaging their own conscience by saying, “I’m just doing my job.” (Apparently though, for many such folks, their conscience is never completely muted as the “profession” of law enforcement suffers from the highest or one of the highest rates of alcoholism, domestic abuse, and suicide).
While I personally don’t have interest in smoking synthetic marijuana (and in fact I encourage people not to use it per a negative experience I had myself back in 2010 when in Vegas), the fact that Jacob smoked it or at least in this instance, ordered it, doesn’t make him a criminal.
I favor free trade in drugs for the same reason the Founding Fathers favored free trade in ideas: in a free society it is none of the government’s business what ideas a man puts into his mind; likewise, it should be none of its business what drugs he puts into his body.
- Thomas Szasz
Even if all readers of CopBlock.org, or all those supposedly controlled by a gang of people who collectively dub themselves the “State of Ohio”, agreed that synthetic marijuana was harmful, that still doesn’t preclude Frost’s right to ingest it, or any other substance he chooses.
If I don’t have the right to tell you what you can or cannot ingest I can’t suddenly gain that ability if I was part of a larger group who advocated as such. Rights are not created by groups. The same is true were I to add a badge to my attire or have a fancy title.
If Frost harms himself, that’s his fault. If he harms someone else, he’s responsible. That is true whether one is sober or not. Synthetic marijuana is not the issue.
The real issue is ideas, and specifically, the fact that so many people actively or tacitly perpetuate the bad idea that a stranger has the right to dictate one’s life.
That bad idea gives credence to flawed legalese (conflated to be “law”) and absolves personal responsibility for those men and women who actually acted in the wrong (who tracked Frost’s package, which again, was a consensual interaction he had reached with another party), and who broke into his residence, stole his property, kidnapped, caged, and threatened him.
Those factors, again reliant entirely on a bad idea, meant Frost was confronted with a situation in which was on the defensive. Rather than risk his chances in legal land (which, as anyone who has been entwined there knows, is the epitome of arbitrariness) he essentially threw-up his hands and plead no contest. He saw the threats levied at him – wrong as they are, and knew that they could be implemented since so many have yet to ignore the claims made by self-described “authorities.” It’s simply been peddled so much through gun-run (public) indoctrination and mainstream media. Thus, Frost opted for a lesser “punishment.”
Was that the right choice? Perhaps you or I would have pursued another avenue – maybe pointing out that we hadn’t in fact ordered methylone or that the package had been intercepted – but it was Frost in this situation and he acted as he best saw fit.
And unfortunately, other individuals (you? someone you care about?) will continue to be harassed for non-violent, non-victim actions until we each conclude that such treatment is not ideal, and we change the way we think and act.
The surest way to make that happen is for us each to really consider the structure of the failed criminal injustice system and conclude that we can do better.
Safety can never be had through people who first steal your money. Security will never be gotten when there’s no recourse for accountability or check on claimed abilities. Those admirable goals will happen only after we each reject the bad idea of external arbitrary authority.
Hopefully each of us can draw from this our own lessons.
If you’re so-inclined, please write to Frost, I’m sure he’d love to hear from you:
PO Box 5305
Lima, OH 45802
In a recent Adam Vs the Man episode, Cop Block’s own Ademo Freeman joined the conversation, which after a call from Luke McKellar, touched-on Frost’s situation (23:00) and later on plea deals (24:33).
A writer who would prefer to remain anonymous submitted the following via CopBlock.org’s ‘Submit a Post’ tab.
According to the NH Supreme Court website Ademo’s appeal was accepted on October 26, 2012. See here.
This means that the NH Supreme Court will actually hear Ademo’s appeal. Whether or not the court even reaches the 1st Amendment arguments, it’s likely Ademo’s conviction will be overturned. Brandon Ross has handled the appeal extremely well, and if you read it you’ll see that based on the clear meaning of the statute, Ademo at most was only guilty of a misdemeanor.
Here’s the text of the wiretapping statute.
“570-A:2 Interception and Disclosure of Telecommunication or Oral Communications Prohibited. –
I. A person is guilty of a class B felony if, except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter or without the consent of all parties to the communication, the person:
(a) Willfully intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any telecommunication or oral communication;
(b) Willfully uses, endeavors to use, or procures any other person to use or endeavor to use any electronic, mechanical, or other device to intercept any oral communication when:
(1) Such device is affixed to, or otherwise transmits a signal through, a wire, cable, or other like connection used in telecommunication, or
(2) Such device transmits communications by radio, or interferes with the transmission of such communication, or
(3) Such use or endeavor to use (A) takes place on premises of any business or other commercial establishment, or (B) obtains or is for the purpose of obtaining information relating to the operations of any business or other commercial establishment; or
(c) Willfully discloses, or endeavors to disclose, to any other person the contents of any telecommunication or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a telecommunication or oral communication in violation of this paragraph; or
(d) Willfully uses, or endeavors to use, the contents of any telecommunication or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a telecommunication or oral communication in violation of this paragraph.
I-a. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if, except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter or without consent of all parties to the communication, the person knowingly intercepts a telecommunication or oral communication when the person is a party to the communication or with the prior consent of one of the parties to the communication, but without the approval required by RSA 570-A:2, II(d).”
Essentially, the statute reduces the crime to a misdemeanor for a person who is a party to the communication (i.e. a participant). Of course this last little bit was left out of the jury instructions that Michael Valentine submitted to the judge and ultimately went to the jury. This omission was either gross incompetence on the part of Michael Valentine in that he couldn’t be bothered to read the entirety of statute, or intentional prosecutorial misconduct and a violation of NHBA rules of professional conduct specifically, 3.3(a)(1) and 3.8(a).
Knowing this, one can’t help but realize how dripping with arrogance and hypocrisy Michael Valentine’s closing statement was. As he railed Ademo for asking the jury to nullify his charge, hammering home the point that we must all obey the law, he had already submitted jury instructions that omitted a relevant part of the law so he could secure a felony conviction. This was a violation of his professional obligation as an attorney and as a prosecutor.
On June 28th, 2011 Larken Rose published to CopBlock.org an essay titled When Should You Shoot a Cop, about which one commenter accurately stated:
Incredible article! I hope people take the time to actually read the full article after their brains shut down after seeing the “shock” title.
I realize, as Larken must have when he wrote the essay a year and a half ago, that some individuals will be outraged that this video was made. Yet it’s a conversation that needs to be had*.
If one cannot even talk about each person’s innate right to self-defense, then it shows just how far-gone is the conversation. How much the “protectors” have become those most tyrannical. I say this as an advocate of the non-aggression principle and of voluntaryism.
Unsurprisingly, Larken’s strike-the-root prose went on to become one of the most-visited pieces of content on the site, which thusly netted a lot of comments.
It’s been cited by at least two fusion center releases – the Arizona Counter-Terrorism Information Center (Ademo Contacts Arizona Counter-Terrorism Information Center) and The Central Florida Intelligence Center (Central Florida Intelligence Exchange Promote CopBlock.org).
The mere act of “Liking” the article got two individuals rebuffed by their “party” colleagues, as detailed on the July 27th, 2012 write-up, Politicos Attacked for ‘Liking’ CopBlock.org Post:
South Carolina’s Republican Party is distancing itself from two local party officials who appeared to endorse violence against police officers on Facebook — a position that seemed to take anti-government conservatism too far for South Carolina’s Tea Party-heavy GOP. The party’s top brass called for their resignation from local party committees Monday night.
On October 6th, 2011, Larken Rose wrote the following in his post Federal Agents Visit Larken Rose – Mention CopBlock.org Blog Post:
A fascist came up to each front window and knocked. I rolled down my window just a bit, and a gray-haired, veteran fascist informed me that I was not being arrested. That’s nice. . . Out of the blue, the veteran fascist commented about the fact that I’ve posted things on my web site talking about killing cops.
On November 13th, 2011, Larken Rose expanded on his essay with a video uploaded to YouTube.com/LarkenRose:
In 2012, the legislation in Indiana mentioned by Larken around the 6-min mark in the video changed course. Instead of “law” existing that claimed that an individual had the right to use defensive force against anyone except those with badges, legislation “approved” self-defense against any aggressor, no matter their place of employment.
Maybe with this law, cops will think twice about raiding a home for drugs? Maybe cops will stop working for the government and make their own agreements with their customers?
IMO, law didn’t need to be written for one to know when they can or cannot defend their life or property. It’s unfortunate people are taught to submit to police without question, yet to stick up to bullies, abusive husbands and any other non government connected persons.
On March 24th, 2012 post, Right to Resist now law in Indiana, cops show how evil they think we are, Edmond Dantes noted that:
Police really think people are that evil, that they will now just play real life Grand Theft Auto and start killing at will. Which begs the question, if people are really that inherently evil, why give so many of them the power of the badge over everyone else? It always appears to me that the worst of the worst are in gangs, whether it be Blood, Crypts, or Thin Blue Line.
But will people really just start killing at will? I can give you one fact, the law and/or a guy in a funny costume with a badge doesn’t stop me from killing someone. I don’t kill or use violence because I believe it is wrong morally. Even if murder were legal I wouldn’t kill anyone and most people wouldn’t either.
Does this piece of man-made legislation really change anything for people living within the arbitrary political boundaries of Indiana? Or for that matter – do people living outside those arbitrary political boundaries of Indiana have any less of a right to defend themselves?
We all want to be safe and secure. The question is, how is that best accomplished?
Think for yourself. Question claimed authority.
Educate your mind http://copblock.org/knowledge
P.S. Please keep in mind that Cop Block is decentralized so the perspective advocated on this post and the videos embedded does not represent all involved.
This write-up was originally posted to AmericanDailyHerald.com on Oct. 11th.
Police states always crack down on free expression. In 21st century America, police are increasingly targeting photographers and journalists and their war on the First Amendment is a troubling sign that America is no longer the land of the free.
by Glenn Horowitz
Not long ago I published an article about Antonio Buehler and his ordeal with the Austin, Texas police department on New Year’s Day that led to his founding of the Peaceful Streets Project, an organization dedicated to checking the systemic violence menacing ordinary people in the person of abusive police in Austin. Through peaceful voluntary action by community members, like recording police in their interactions with people and educating the public about their own rights and responsibilities as citizens exercising their lawful authority, Peaceful Streets aims to hold Austin’s police accountable for their actions. I was excited when I discovered the Peaceful Streets Project, as one firmly convinced that sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant it seemed to me promising as an effective remedy to counter the sort of unpleasant incidents of police abusing their authority we’ve seen so many times in recent years. It is by no means alone in this goal, other organizations and individuals across America are doing much the same thing in their communities and Peaceful Streets is actively seeking to coordinate with them as well as help new chapters of the program arise in other cities. I’m a big fan of the peaceful and positive change possible with this approach.
Unfortunately, much of the law enforcement establishment in America does not share my favorable opinion of this activity. The reaction of many agencies across the country to journalists and activists recording them has been unambiguously hostile, in some cases exhibiting a near-hysterical zeal to attack these people with every legal resource at their disposal.
Consider the case of Adam ‘Ademo’ Mueller: Mueller is a founding member of CopBlock, a grassroots organization similar to the Peaceful Streets Project in its goal to bring accountability to police, who was recently found guilty of violating three felony wiretapping statutes for recording officials while engaged in raising awareness of an incident in 2011 of a school ‘resource officer’ assaulting a student in Manchester, New Hampshire. These charges certainly sound serious and in fact could have landed Mueller in prison for 21 years. In fact, they were brought against Ademo for failing to tell Manchester police that he was recording them when he made some phone calls to the department seeking comment on the case. As fellow photojournalist Carlos Miller explains in his article about Ademo:
In layman’s terms, a person is guilty of wiretapping if he records a conversation with a person who is under the impression that the call is not being recorded.
It was clear from the conversation that Mueller was seeking on-the-record comments and it was clear from the responses of both police and the school official that they were well aware of that.
We’ve seen how cops act when they don’t believe they are being recorded and when they are aware they are being recorded. It’s the difference between night and day.
Furthermore, these are all tax-funded public officials who were called at their tax-funded public institutions while working for their tax-funded salaries.
It may have been a little different if Mueller had called them at home after hours.
Fortunately for Ademo, he ‘only’ received a twelve month sentence with nine of those months suspended and should be released by mid October. Unfortunately, the conditions of his release mean he will be under ‘good behavior’ for the next five years and any violation of this in the eyes of the State could land him in prison for several years. This intrusion in his life by the Manchester police hardly strikes me as just, especially since the officials involved were, as Miller details, public officials at work in public institutions all funded by taxpayer money; the claim of a reasonable expectation of privacy on their part just doesn’t pass the smell test for me.
Carlos Miller is certainly one with plenty of personal experience in dealing with officials who object to being recorded. In the course of documenting cases of police attempting to punish photographers since beginning his journal, Photography is Not a Crime, in 2007, he’s been arrested three times himself for recording them. He’s defeated the charges twice so far, and is fighting the third, which he found himself saddled with in February 2012 while filming police evicting protesters at Occupy Miami. He’s written about the incident, including the altercation initiated by Major Nancy Perez of the Miami-Dade police department that ended with his arrest for “resisting officer without violence,” punishable by up to a year in jail. Interestingly, though the police deleted his video, he was able to recover and post it, not only for maintaining public awareness but as evidence that can be used to refute the charge against him…evidence the police clearly did not want him to have. No others were arrested during the exchange, but a public records request showed that the Miami-Dade Police Homeland Security Bureau sent an email to various police officers, apparently including arresting officer Perez, 11 hours before the eviction indicating that Carlos would be photographing the action, information gleaned by monitoring his Facebook page.
What a remarkable coincidence!
Mr. Miller, a former mainstream newspaper reporter, is one who is well aware of his rights and the law, and is fighting this trend of police seizing cameras and deleting photographs and video through raising public awareness via his blog, reminding us that:
The law states that police need a court order to confiscate a camera unless it was used in a commission of a crime. The only exception is if there are exigent circumstances, such as a strong belief that the witness will destroy the photos, therefore destroying evidence.
Under no circumstances do police have the right to delete footage.
It ‘s gratifying to know that journalists like Carlos Miller are assertively defending the public’s right to record police in their duties without being harassed; it’s a vital tool and bulwark against government excesses, especially when those recordings can be used as evidence of the reality and widespread nature of these excesses. His trial, begun on July 25, 2012, was continued in September without a specified date, but this case bears watching for anyone concerned with this issue..
And what of Antonio Buehler, founder of the Peaceful Streets Project? His new organization is growing, its first Police Accountability Summit that was held this summer attracting 200 attendees, and their YouTube channel is kept current with regular updates, showing both the good and the bad sides of the Austin P.D. in action. The price for this success has been the additional scrutiny drawn to the project’s members and especially its founder; Antonio has been arrested not once, but twice more recently, on August 26 and again on September 21, both times for misdemeanor charges alleging interference with police in the performance of their duties.
After the August arrest, the Austin P.D. implemented a policy change requiring citizens with cameras to maintain a 50 foot distance from police while recording them. Then, in mid-September, just prior to Antonio’s third arrest, they rescinded the policy. This did not prevent them from making that third arrest, even though accounts of the incident indicate that during it he was continually backing away from police and questioning them whether he was far enough away yet. You can see the exchange for yourself here:
And while opinions vary as to its interpretation, I find myself in agreement with Caleb Leverett’s analysis:
I think Caleb’s take on this situation is accurate; it does indeed look like the Austin police are targeting Antonio Buehler in retaliation for the increased public scrutiny of their activities he’s brought to bear on them. In rescinding it they seem to acknowledge that the rule was arbitrary and capricious, yet they continue to pursue people recording them. An organization far more qualified than I in these matters, the National Press Photographers Association, agrees as well, and on September 24 directed a statement to Austin police chief Art Acevedo affirming their position that the Austin police department’s policies create a chilling effect on the exercise of First Amendment-protected free speech. Their conclusion is significant in my opinion:
As our organization, founded in 1946 with almost 7,000 members, has pointed out to numerous groups and law enforcement agencies – reliance by officers to interfere with and detain those engaged in a lawful activity under color of law is reprehensible. At best, behavior that chills free speech is extremely unprofessional, at worst it is criminal.
This really resonates with me, particularly in light of the concerns I’ve discussed many times in this column about the alarming trends accompanying America’s burgeoning police state; with it we’ve seen for ourselves the ongoing…and unambiguous…erosion of individual human rights and insistence on secrecy on the government’s part at every level. This is underscored by the vast number of recordings that demonstrate police abuse, too, many of them documenting truly violent and occasionally lethal police behavior directed against peaceful people. The cases of people like Kellie Thomas, a homeless schizophrenic man beaten to death by a swarm of police officers, and Nick Christie, an older man in poor health pepper sprayed to death while restrained in a jail cell for nonviolent misdemeanor charges, are just a couple of examples of the horrifically savage treatment that can be directed at suspects under color of law and should alarm every ordinary American. True, these cases are still infrequent, but their numbers are growing along with the State’s increasingly invasive tendrils and their similarities argue that they are no longer aberrant and isolated but more systemic all the time.
I strongly support the efforts of individuals and organizations like those I’ve mentioned here in their efforts to bring accountability to police departments across America by heightening public awareness of police abuses. We have been admonished for years by the government that its agents should have a free hand in their dealings with the public, shrouded in secrecy whenever they choose, but if the founding precepts of our country are taken seriously, it is not only our right but our duty to oppose that attitude. In large and vocal enough numbers that the mainstream can no longer pretend the problem doesn’t exist, we can make a difference.
We have not only the legal but the moral high ground here and since these public ‘servants’ claim a monopoly on the use of force, are funded with tax money and most critically, operate in public where they have no reasonable expectation of privacy, it’s about time we directed their favorite statement back at them, the one they’ve repeated endlessly at Americans:
Police, you have nothing to fear from being recorded…if you have nothing to hide.
Glenn Horowitz was born in 1961 and raised in New York City. He earned his commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates in Gaithersburg, Maryland where he worked as a flight instructor and air taxi pilot from 1986 through 1990. From 1990 until 1993 he worked in the Cincinnati, Ohio area as a civilian contract pilot for various branches of the U.S. military, predominantly the (USTRANSCOM) Defense Courier Service. When that company failed, he was hired as a line pilot flying mainly bank documents and canceled checks from Nashville until 2006 when disability due to multiple sclerosis ended his flying days. Glenn is currently living the disabled life in Nashville.
Last night, voters made their voices heard. Those in Colorado and Washington decided they were finished allowing government officials the ability to take money from their household budgets to spend on things like the actions in the video above.
According to republicreport.org, the top five special interest groups lobbying to keep marijuana illegal are:
1.) Police Unions: Police departments across the country have become dependent on federal drug war grants to finance their budget. In March, we published a story revealing that a police union lobbyist in California coordinated the effort to defeat Prop 19, a ballot measure in 2010 to legalize marijuana, while helping his police department clients collect tens of millions in federal marijuana-eradication grants. And it’s not just in California. Federal lobbying disclosures show that other police union lobbyists have pushed for stiffer penalties for marijuana-related crimes nationwide.
2.) Private Prisons Corporations: Private prison corporations make millions by incarcerating people who have been imprisoned for drug crimes, including marijuana. As Republic Report’s Matt Stoller noted last year, Corrections Corporation of America, one of the largest for-profit prison companies, revealed in a regulatory filing that continuing the drug war is part in parcel to their business strategy. Prison companies have spent millions bankrolling pro-drug war politicians and have used secretive front groups, like the American Legislative Exchange Council, to pass harsh sentencing requirements for drug crimes.
3.) Alcohol and Beer Companies: Fearing competition for the dollars Americans spend on leisure, alcohol and tobacco interests have lobbied to keep marijuana out of reach. For instance, the California Beer & Beverage Distributors contributed campaign contributions to a committee set up to prevent marijuana from being legalized and taxed.
4.) Pharmaceutical Corporations: Like the sin industries listed above, pharmaceutical interests would like to keep marijuana illegal so American don’t have the option of cheap medical alternatives to their products. Howard Wooldridge, a retired police officer who now lobbies the government to relax marijuana prohibition laws, told Republic Report that next to police unions, the “second biggest opponent on Capitol Hill is big PhRMA” because marijuana can replace “everything from Advil to Vicodin and other expensive pills.”
5.) Prison Guard Unions: Prison guard unions have a vested interest in keeping people behind bars just like for-profit prison companies. In 2008, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association spent a whopping $1 million to defeat a measure that would have “reduced sentences and parole times for nonviolent drug offenders while emphasizing drug treatment over prison.”