Another “Anomaly”

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Public Offender shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.

One incident amongst a growing trend of “anomalies” illustrates how the police take their power-tripping home.

What? A citizen dared to deny my lawful order? Execution is warranted! Don’t want to make me a sandwich? Metal light fixture upside the head for you!

It’s okay, he’ll probably get a slap on the wrist… The same sentence a plebian charged with the same offense would receive, right?

As reported by NBCWashington.com,

A D.C. police officer tried to kill his wife last month, using Lysol, a metal light post and knives to attack and restrain her in their home, according to prosecutors.

Officer Samson Lawrence has been indicted in Maryland on charges of attempted first- and second-degree murder in connection with the Nov. 24 attack, Prince George’s County State Attorney Angela Alsobrooks announced Friday.

“They are very serious charges and we take them very seriously, which is why we’ll continue to work with Prince George’s County police to continue to investigate and move forward through the process,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Spokesman John Erzen said.

According to court documents, Lawrence was trying to hang a projection TV in his Accokeek home when he became angry that his wife didn’t know where the screws to hang it were. He allegedly grabbed a can of Lysol and sprayed his wife in the face every time she spoke.

The victim told police when she refused to make him something to eat, Lawrence began to push her.

Alsobrooks said the victim tried to leave the home but was struck on the head with a metal light fixture as she lay on the floor. She managed to break free and get to a phone to call 911, but Lawrence allegedly held two large kitchen knives to her face and throat and threatened her.

The victim pushed Lawrence off her and escaped the home. She called 911 at a neighbor’s house. The couple’s 16-year-old daughter heard the altercation and also called 911.

By the time police arrived, the suspect had fled the scene. He was taken into custody the next day, officials said.

Read more…

Public Offender

Another “Anomaly” is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Another “Isolated” Example of a Body Cavity Search

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Public Offender shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.

A 54 year old woman had her vagina and rectum probed but no illicit substances were found. Undaunted, the heroic U.S. Customs and Border Protection took her to a hospital in El Paso to get to know her a little better. She was handcuffed, given a laxative, and evacuated her bowels in front of the officers (talk about scatalogy!). Her abdomen was then x-rayed and a speculum was used to plumb the depths of her nether regions. No illicit materials were found but the officers had a great time!

Of course, actions like these are absolutely necessary to keep us safe and free, right?

From ElPasoTimes.com:

A New Mexico woman claims in a federal lawsuit that she underwent a brutal and inhumane six-hour full-body cavity search by federal officers that included anal and vaginal probes that made her feel like an “animal.”

The woman, a Lovington, N.M. resident, also is suing University Medical Center, where she was forced to have an observed bowel movement, was X-rayed, had a speculum exam, vaginal exam and had a CT scan.

The suit claims the hospital “violated her” and then gave her the $5,000 bill.

The lawsuit names the El Paso County Hospital District’s Board of Managers, University Medical Center, Drs. Michael Parsa and Christopher Cabanillas, two unknown supervising U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and two other CBP officers only identified by their last names of Portillo and Herrera as defendants. The doctors and the agents could not be reached for comment.

The 54-year-old woman, who is not identified in the suit, is asking for an unspecified amount of money and to end the policy that gives federal agents and officers the authority to stick their fingers and objects up people’s cavities when they search for drugs.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union in federal court in El Paso on behalf of the woman who was stopped as she crossed at the Bridge of the Americas a year ago. Despite the six-hour search at the port and then later at UMC, no drugs were found.

The woman is identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, the woman was first frisked and strip-searched at the port of entry, where officers stuck their fingers inside her rectum and vagina. When that search came up negative, she was taken to University Medical Center.

“These extreme and illegal searches deeply traumatized our client,” ACLU of New Mexico Legal Director Laura Schauer Ives said in the news release. “The fact that our government treated an innocent 54-year-old woman with such brutality and inhumanity should outrage all Americans. We must ensure that government agents never put another person through a nightmare like this ever again.”

Read more…

-Public Offender

*Note that the woman was sent a hospital bill for $5,000.

Another “Isolated” Example of a Body Cavity Search is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Man Alleging Police Torture Released From Prison

Monday, December 16th, 2013

This article was written by Don Babwin of Associated Press and published on MSN.com on December 11,  2013.

Stanley Wrice’s release from the prison came a day after Judge Richard Walsh overturned his conviction, saying officers lied about how they had treated Wrice.

CHICAGO — A man who for decades insisted that Chicago police tortured him until he confessed to a rape he did not commit walked out of an Illinois prison on Wednesday after spending 30 years behind bars.

“It’s just an overwhelming feeling of joy, happiness that finally it’s over with,” 59-year-old Stanley Wrice said, moments after he walked into the arms of his two daughters, attorneys and others who greeted him as he left Pontiac Correctional Center.

Wrice, whose belongings after so long in prison amounted to a small box filled with photographs, legal papers and letters, said his immediate plans were to eat a cheeseburger and get some sleep; he said he had none Tuesday night.

Wrice’s release from the prison came a day after Cook County Judge Richard Walsh overturned his conviction, saying officers lied about how they had treated Wrice.

The ruling was just the latest development in one of the darkest chapters of Chicago Police Department history, in which officers working under former Lt. Jon Burge were accused of torturing suspects into false confessions and torturing witnesses into falsely implicating people in crimes.

Wrice has insisted for years that he confessed to the 1982 sexual assault after officers beat him in the groin and face. And a witness testified at a hearing Tuesday that he falsely implicated Wrice in the rape after two Chicago police officers under Burge’s command tortured him.

Wrice was sentenced to 100 years in prison.

It will be up to a special prosecutor to decide whether to retry him following his release. The special prosecutor did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday evening.

Wrice joins a number of men who in recent years have been released from prison because they were tortured into confessing at the hands of Burge’s men. Dozens of men — almost all of them black — have claimed that, starting in the 1970s, Burge and his officers beat or shocked them into confessing to crimes ranging from armed robbery to murder.

In court Tuesday, Wrice testified that two former officers beat him with a flashlight and a 20-inch piece of rubber — the same weapons, lawyers say, that others have said the two used on them to get them to confess to crimes or implicate others in crimes they did not commit.

The officers refused to testify at Tuesday’s hearing, citing their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

No Chicago police officers have been convicted of torturing suspects, but Burge was convicted in 2010 for lying in a civil suit when he said he’d never witnessed or participated in the torture of suspects. He is serving a 4 1/2-year sentence in federal prison for perjury and obstruction of justice. Chicago also has paid out millions of dollars to settle lawsuits in cases related to Burge.

The torture allegations also were a factor in former Illinois Gov. George Ryan’s decision to institute a moratorium on the death penalty in 2000. Gov. Pat Quinn abolished the death penalty in 2011.

Man Alleging Police Torture Released From Prison is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Badges of Dishonor: How Two Macon Cops Became Crooks

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

This story was originally posted by Joe Kovac Jr. at www.Macon.com.

After his midnight shift began on a Wednesday evening late last January, Macon police officer Troy Guidry sent a text message to a buddy on the force.

“Ready to go shopping tonight,” Guidry’s text to officer Jon Wantz said.

For weeks, Guidry had had his eyes peeled for a tractor. He’d been wanting to spruce up the tree line around his 2½ acre yard in eastern Monroe County.

As it happened, a small Kubota tractor, an orange one with a backhoe on it, was parked inside the gate at the Mr. Rooter plumbing company on Roff Avenue, less than a minute’s drive from the Pio Nono Avenue precinct office where Wantz and Guidry were based.

Guidry texted Wantz again: “I think you had a good idea about that little orange one at the rooter place.” Guidry added that if he spotted a tractor loaded on a trailer, “its mine.”

A few hours later, about midnight, the two cops scoped out the plumbing company while on duty. The gate was open.

A man who lives nearby heard one of the officers announcing his presence, saying, “Macon police,” as if to ward anyone off.

Wantz and Guidry took turns using Wantz’s pellet rifle to shoot out the plumbing company’s security lights. They exchanged texts about how those “lights are tough” to bust.

Guidry texted Wantz, his lookout: “As soon as I get that light I’m getting the trailer.”

With the trailer, the tractor on it, hitched to Guidry’s pickup, Wantz, in his squad car, escorted Guidry north to the Monroe County line.

They hadn’t known that a surveillance camera at the FedEx on Roff Avenue had recorded their getaway. Or that the tractor’s owners had outfitted the Kubota with a GPS tracker that, when the tractor was cranked, pinpointed its location.

Not long after his shift ended about daybreak, Guidry arrived home. A neighbor saw him, still in uniform, driving the tractor. Around the same time, someone at Mr. Rooter checked a computer screen and realized one of the company’s tractors, a $24,000 Kubota, was somewhere it shouldn’t be — 14 miles up Ga. Highway 87 near Lake Juliette.

About 8:30 a.m., Monroe sheriff’s deputies wheeled into Guidry’s dirt driveway.

Guidry sent Wantz an urgent text: “Cops are here!!!”

“Well, good luck with that,” Wantz replied, perhaps unsure whether Guidry was kidding.

But Guidry’s text to Wantz half an hour later left little doubt.

“I’m so f—-d,” it said.

* * *

This story is based on details in a Macon Police Department investigative file, which The Telegraph examined after Guidry and Wantz were sentenced to prison in mid-November.

Guidry, 41, who received a five-year prison term, pleaded guilty to stealing the tractor, criminal trespassing and violating his oath of office.

Wantz, 33, pleaded to the same charges as well as second-degree burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary. He was sentenced to four years behind bars.

The investigative account of their crimes and misconduct includes text messages, videotaped interrogations and detectives’ notes. Hundreds of pages in all, it was an exhaustive effort to ferret out malfeasance that officers were, or may have been, involved in.

The probe led to criminal charges against two other policemen. One has since pleaded guilty to taking two pistols he seized while on duty and giving them to relatives as gifts. The other is accused of improperly taking a handgun from someone and later tossing it in the trash. A fifth officer under scrutiny turned in his badge.

The investigation paints a troubling picture of officers buying and smoking marijuana on duty, of them sneaking into businesses after hours, stealing weapons, computers, heavy-duty lawn mowers, pickup trucks, equipment trailers and, in the end, a high-dollar Kubota tractor. It also shows steps that police took to rid their ranks of cops gone bad.

* * *

Not long after his arrest on Jan. 24, the day authorities found the tractor at Guidry’s house, Wantz began telling on himself — and Guidry.

“I’m a talker,” he told a detective.

Wantz revealed that he and Guidry had broken into a doctor’s office on Ridge Avenue. In June 2012, they climbed in through an unlocked window after shooting out security lights with Wantz’s pellet gun. Inside, they took a tablet computer.

Five months later in November, they went back in and took two TVs, a $1,300 laptop computer and $40 cash. Some of the loot was recovered at Guidry’s house.

Detectives led Wantz to an orthodontist’s office on Northside Drive. They wanted him to show them how he’d broken in there. He said he’d gone in through a window. Investigators learned that in the months before being caught, he and Guidry had slipped into the office a number of times. Nothing was reported missing.

While Wantz was describing the break-in there, as an aside he mentioned how he and Guidry “had been actively using and purchasing marijuana while on-duty,” detectives noted. Wantz said other officers were buying weed and smoking on the job, too, but he refused to name them.

During the late-night break-ins at the orthodontist’s office, Boone Orthodontics, Wantz said he’d seen a 55-inch TV. He recalled Guidry saying it would look good in Wantz’s game room.

Reached by phone the other day, the orthodontist’s office manager, Kate Boone, said she was surprised when detectives showed up in January and informed her that cops had been sneaking into the place.

Boone was glad the TV she’d bought as a gift for her orthodontist father hadn’t been stolen. But a year after the intrusions, she was still shaken.

“It’s very disturbing,” she said. “How do you protect yourself from the police?”

* * *

On the evening of Aug. 9, 2012, a Bibb County Board of Education worker at the school system’s bus yard on Roff Avenue met up with Troy Guidry.

Guidry had dropped by about 8:30 p.m. to say that a maintenance lot gate was open. The worker thanked Guidry and said he would go shut it. When he did, just as he closed it, Guidry, in his patrol car, pulled into view.

Guidry, unbeknownst to the worker, was still inside the locked gate. The worker didn’t have a key to open it.

While they waited for someone to come unlock it, an owl swooped in and landed on a post. The worker snapped a picture of it with his phone. He joked about taking a photo of Guidry as well and sending it to the Macon police chief.

The worker later told detectives that Guidry had asked him not to. Guidry said he didn’t need his cop “buddies to know about me getting locked inside of here.”

A few days later on Aug. 12, according to warrants, Guidry made off with one of the school system’s commercial-grade riding mowers. It was stolen from the area he’d been locked in a few nights earlier.

The mower was hauled away on a trailer pulled by a 1993 Chevrolet pickup that belonged to the BOE.

Two weeks after that, another mower, a trailer and another ’93 Chevy pickup were taken.

The trucks were found within walking distance of Precinct 3 headquarters.

It was January before the mowers turned up. Authorities hunting the stolen Kubota tractor found one of them at Guidry’s house. The other was in Guidry’s native Louisiana. Prosecutors said he’d sold it to his father for $1,000.

* * *

Detectives interviewed a number of Wantz and Guidry’s fellow Precinct 3 officers.

One officer told them Wantz often pulled cars over without radioing in the stops.

Another cop recalled an episode in mid-2012 when Wantz’s squad car “reeked of marijuana,” and a similar encounter about that time when Guidry’s did, too.

The same cop said Wantz had admitted to keeping a revolver he found in a house on Roy Street, across Pio Nono from their precinct office. The cop said Wantz also mentioned taking a handgun from the back seat of a car someone was passed out in. The officer said Wantz told him he gave the pistol away.

From the looks of their investigation, the prospect of stolen firearms was a priority.

Gun thefts by an officer named Jonathan Graves, another Precinct 3 cop, were also discovered by detectives. Graves, 27, pleaded guilty in October to stealing two guns and was sentenced to 10 years on probation.

Earlier this year when detectives questioned him about Wantz and Guidry, Graves mentioned seeing Wantz with known prostitutes while on duty. Graves said he once saw Wantz parked behind a closed business with a prostitute in the front seat of his patrol car.

Wantz, according to Graves, said they were “just sitting.”

Graves recalled seeing Wantz another time with a “hooker” near Montpelier Avenue.

“Jon Wantz later advised Jonathan Graves that he did not engage in sexual relations with the prostitute because she was too drunk,” investigators noted.

Investigators also heard how Wantz was frequently known to take a woman on ride-alongs while he was on patrol. Detective Sgt. Jason Batchelor, a former Army MP and 14-year veteran of the department who spearheaded the probe, interviewed the woman.

Of the 20 or so times she accompanied Wantz, the woman said, “I’m sure it didn’t look good.”

She described her relationship with Wantz as friendly. She said they kissed once. She said Wantz sometimes gave her lifts home when she’d been out drinking. Other times, she said, she’d call him to bring her cigarettes — and he did.

During his interview with the woman, Batchelor explained that such behavior from an officer was anything but proper.

Batchelor said law enforcement is a calling, not something you do for the money or recognition. He said he believed in his “heart of hearts of the purposefulness of this profession.”

“If someone don’t maintain that set of principles,” he said, “I ain’t got no use for you.”

* * *

Batchelor had a question for Wantz: “Why?”

An answer, at least part of one, slowly emerged.

In a blue-gray-carpeted interrogation room, one with a small table, two chairs and a trash can, the suspect cop opened up. A video camera near the ceiling was rolling, and the room was wired for sound.

Guidry had been arrested earlier that day, but Wantz, yet to be handcuffed, wasn’t sure how much detectives knew about his own involvement.

Wantz, in jeans and a Georgia sweatshirt, had been on the force about seven years. He said the trouble started when he was switched to working midnights. He started hanging out with Guidry, a five-year veteran, whom he’d helped train.

Wantz said that in recent weeks Guidry had talked about needing a tractor. Wantz said Guidry had his eye on a huge one on Hillcrest Industrial Boulevard, one Wantz thought was way too big for yardwork. (“Guidry’s dumb as a box of rocks,” Wantz said later.)

Batchelor let Wantz ramble. Then he lowered the boom. Batchelor informed Wantz of the FedEx surveillance video and the text messages detectives had found on Guidry’s phone.

Wantz came clean and detailed the tractor theft. Then he told more. He spoke of checking businesses on his beat after hours to make sure they were secure. It was a routine. But somewhere along the line, he started venturing inside ones that weren’t locked.

“A lot of the doors and windows on businesses, I can tell you, I could go through the city of Macon and get in just about every single business here,” Wantz said.

Wantz said he never thought of stealing until he met Guidry, but that “with finances being what they are …”

He didn’t finish the thought.

Batchelor asked Wantz how he felt about it all.

“So ashamed. … Very embarrassing. It’s not me,” Wantz said. He said he’d justified the stealing, thinking “the insurance company will pay” for what he took.

About an hour into the conversation, Batchelor left Wantz alone in the room with a cellphone. Wantz called his wife. “I’m sorry,” he told her.

Unaware that Guidry had not implicated him, Wantz told his wife that Guidry’s conscience must have gotten to him.

“At the end of the day,” Wantz’s wife said, “it’s his fault.”

Before hanging up, Wantz said, “I’m so sorry. … So stupid.”

* * *

Guidry’s interrogation hadn’t lasted nearly as long as Wantz’s. Guidry lawyered up inside of 10 minutes.

Even so, his interview with detective Sgt. Bill Gay began amicably enough. Guidry, an LSU football fan, had a laugh at Notre Dame’s expense. The Fighting Irish had recently been throttled by Alabama in the national title game.

“You knew Notre Dame was gonna get that ass whupped,” Guidry said.

Then the room fell silent.

“What you want to know?” Guidry said.

“Tell me about the tractor,” Gay said.

Guidry said the Kubota had been there when he’d arrived home that morning, that a man, he wasn’t sure who, had dropped it off. Then Guidry appeared to think better of explaining things.

“It’s best,” he said, “if I just … wait for an attorney.”

Guidry, bald and stocky, dressed in a dark jacket and blue jeans, was left alone in the room to stew. After calling a relative to say he’d been arrested, he sat, quiet. Then he shouted a barrage of expletives.

He shook the handcuffs on his wrists and, in frustration, yelled another cuss word.

Guidry’s face sank to his hands. He whispered to himself, “It’s not happening.”

He fumbled in his jacket pocket for an electronic cigar. Folding and refolding his arms on his chest, he struggled to get comfortable in the cuffs. Then he took a long drag on the cigar. He blew out its fake-smoke vapor and sighed. The gravity of the circumstances appeared to be sinking in.

“I was a good cop, too,” he said to himself.

Badges of Dishonor: How Two Macon Cops Became Crooks is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Driver Arrested in Ohio for Secret Car Compartment Full of Nothing

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

This article was originally posted on Reason.com by Scott Shackford. The stories just get crazier by the day.

Norman Gurley, 30, is facing drug-related charges in Lorain County, Ohio, despite the fact that state troopers did not actually find any drugs in his possession.

Ohio passed a law in 2012 making it a felony to alter a vehicle to add a secret compartment with the “intent” of using it to conceal drugs for trafficking.

Gurley is the first actual person arrested under the law. WKYC in Northeast Ohio covered the arrest, with no notable journalistic skepticism whatsoever:

They pulled over the driver for speeding, but then troopers noticed several wires running to the back of the car.

Those wires then led them directly to a hidden compartment.

Around 5 p.m. on Tuesday state troopers made the arrest under the law, which is meant to combat criminals who modify the inside of their car, allowing them to store drugs or weapons inside secret compartments, which can often only be accessed electronically.

They just noticed some wires, did they? Just while in the process of handing Gurley a speeding ticket, they noticed the wires?

They did not, however, find any drugs, which means they’re arresting Gurley for the crime of an empty space:

Troopers arrested 30-year-old Norman Gurley, who didn’t even have any drugs on him, but it didn’t matter, because in Ohio, just driving a “trap” car is now a felony.

“Without the hidden compartment law, we would not have had any charges on the suspect,” says Combs.

But because of this law, one more “trap car” is now off Northeast Ohio roads.

“We apparently caught them between runs, so to speak, so this takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade. The law does help us and is on our side,” says Combs.

Combs’ claim is not challenged by the news station at all.

The law says it’s only a crime if the hidden compartment is added with the “intent” to conceal drugs, but it also outlaws anybody who has been convicted of felony aggravated drug trafficking laws from operating any vehicle with hidden compartments. The ACLU of Ohio warned against the new legislation:

The ACLU of Ohio believes SB 305 is an unnecessary and unproductive expansion of law. Drug trafficking is already prohibited under Ohio law, so there is no use for shifting the focus to the container. Further by focusing on the container itself, this bill criminalizes a person with prior felony drug trafficking convictions simply for driving a car with a hidden compartment, regardless of whether or not drugs or even drug residue are present.

Given this is the first arrest, you have to wonder how the courts might view a law making it a felony to alter a person’s own property for reasons that have nothing to do with actual public safety. Maybe we’ll see.

As for the car itself, the Institute for Justice’s 2010 “Policing for Profit”report calculated that law enforcement officials in the state have collected more than $80 million in shared proceeds from asset forfeiture funds. Oh, and the hidden compartment law exempts vehicles being operated by law enforcement officers, so if state troopers can come up with an excuse to use the ride they just grabbed, they may be able to keep it for themselves.

Driver Arrested in Ohio for Secret Car Compartment Full of Nothing is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Nearly Entire Gary Police Department Raids Business After Owner Makes Political Complaints

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Ken Davidson shared the following post, originally published at The Northwest Indiana Gazette.

On Saturday night, nearly the entire Gary Police Department was involved in some type of activity that no one seems to be able to explain. The Gazette received several tips regarding some type of police activity at 11th and Grant Streets in Gary. Upon arrival, the photograph below of two code enforcement officers sitting along the side of the road was taken. Shortly thereafter, several Gary police officers arrived and I was ordered to leave the area. Witnesses allege that up to 9 Gary Police Officers were at the scene on a Saturday night. At least 6 were there for several hours and at least one camped out at the property overnight. Scanner traffic said a “break in” was reported.

Now, a Gary business owner is claiming that the administration of Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson is using the federally funded code enforcement department to retaliate against him due to his criticism of the Administration.

Business owner Andy Young states that he has had several issues with various properties throughout the City. One of his properties is in the footprint for the Gary Sanitary District Ralston Lagoon project near the Gary airport. Young states that the city has seized that property illegally and threatened him with arrest if he attempts to access it. Despite an EPA mandate to resolve the matter by 2009, that case was just brought to Court by the City in 2012. And even now, as 2013 winds down, the case still lingers, although the GSD has effectively taken control of the property as of several years ago.

The question remains, who ordered all of this police activity. It is clear that a police officer would not “sit” on a property overnight without specific direction to do so. Chief Ingram stated clearly that he knew nothing about the incident when asked on Monday morning. A request for information to the Mayor’s Office was met with the following statement from Chelsea Whittington:

Currently a statement is being crafted by our legal department for distribution. We are working to meet your 5 o’clock deadline however if we are unable to oblige, you will receive the statement tomorrow. We respectfully request that you do not print that the mayor’s office was unavailable for comment and let this email serve as correspondence.

That letter was yesterday and a follow-up conversation with Ms. Whittington today resulted in her asking the Gazette for press “credentials.” Apparently, they have not finished crafting that response. Calls to code enforcement supervisor Kenya Maclin were not returned.

If you have been the subject of code enforcement action, please let us know about it at ken@northwestindianagazette.com.

Ken Davidson

Nearly Entire Gary Police Department Raids Business After Owner Makes Political Complaints is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Police Murder 80-Year-Old (retired Lockheed Engineer) Over Meth Suspicions; No Meth Found

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

This post, originally published at www.LastResistance.com, was shared anonymously via CopBlock.org’s submit page.

Police Murder 80-Year-Old Over Meth Suspicions; No Meth Found
Posted By Mark Horne on Oct 21, 2013

Police have a penchant for smelling things that aren’t there. This is why we’re often advised not to roll our car window down all the way at a traffic stop. Leave it cracked just enough so that you can hear the officer, he can hear you, and documentation can be passed back and forth. When it’s rolled all the way down, that gives the officer room to smell inside your car and claim that he “smells marijuana,” in which case he has to search your car for other drugs and weapons. So, you sit on the curb for an hour and wait for the police K-9 unit to show up so they can order the dog to “alert” to give them the excuse needed to tear your car apart. After they don’t find anything, they reluctantly let you go free, but not without a ticket for “failure to maintain your lane.”

If only this story had ended similarly, then a retired electrical engineer who worked at Lockheed Martin would still be alive today. Police claimed to have smelled chemicals associated with the production of meth at this man’s and his wife’s residence in Littlerock, California, located in Los Angeles County. That was enough for a judge to grant them a search warrant.

So, they burst in their house one night in June earlier this year unannounced to uncover the meth operation they were sure was going on there. Since it was the middle of the night, the 80-year-old man Eugene Mallory was asleep. When he heard the break-in, he was awakened, but before he was able to get out of bed, police shot him six times, and he died.

The police of course claim he pointed a gun at them:

“Age does not preclude somebody from being aggressive toward deputies,” said Steve Whitmore, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, in a statement to local news. “The lesson here is, and obviously forgive me for stating the obvious, but don’t pull a gun on a deputy.”

But Mallory’s much younger 48-year-old wife Tonya Pate denies that he pointed a gun at anybody. Besides, he had very poor eyesight, and he wouldn’t have known they were officers without his glasses, and he wouldn’t have pointed a gun at anyone without being able to see who it was. His glasses lay folded at his bedside when he was shot dead. He didn’t even have time to put them on.

They went ahead and searched their home after executing the old man. But they found no meth. They must have been watching too much Breaking Bad.

However, the police had to have been ecstatic when they found a small amount of medical marijuana on the premises. It belonged to Tonya’s son (from a previous relationship) who lives in a trailer on their property. He uses it for a health issue. (Hey, stop snickering. Maybe he really does have a health issue.) And they found two guns, which belonged to Mr. Mallory. I guess having guns makes you an underground drug lord. (Again, too much Breaking Bad.)

But remember, they raided this man’s house because they thought there was a meth operation. They didn’t suspect anything about marijuana. That was a convenient coincidence that the police are now using to justify their raid. Here’s Whitmore again:
“The truth of the matter is it was a narcotics search warrant. And what did they find on the premises? They found marijuana and they found a full grow operation that was producing the marijuana on site. The gentleman pointed a semiautomatic weapon at our deputies, and deputies, fearing for their safety as well as others, instigated deadly force.”

Now, Mr. Mallory’s wife Tonya has filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against the police department. I doubt she’ll get anywhere near that much, if anything at all, considering the police found a “full grown operation” (which may or may not have been illegal) and two guns.

 

Police Murder 80-Year-Old (retired Lockheed Engineer) Over Meth Suspicions; No Meth Found is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Pelham, NH Bully Cop Off The Street

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Concerned Dad‘ shared this post, originally from www.LowellSun.com, as well as the video, which he described as “horrifying.”

‘Pelham Officer Fired for Misconduct’

A town police officer accused of numerous violations of department policy has been fired, the town announced on Wednesday.

Officer Eugene Stahl was terminated as of Tuesday.

Stahl, a Pelham officer for 12 years, was the focus of a public disciplinary hearing before selectmen last month, where he was accused of:

Loudly berating a female drunken-driving suspect in a profanity-laced interrogation.

Drawing his gun on two apparently unarmed teens during a traffic stop.

Being heard by a Pelham police dispatcher on the radio speaking in a profane manner toward his superior officer, Lt. Brian McCarthy, and broadcasting his desire to punch one female civilian he encountered on duty “right in the face.”

Crashing his cruiser while driving with unnecessary and “life-threatening” speed – at 50 mph above the listed 30 mph limit, according to the state police accident reconstruction team’s report – en route to become the third officer to respond to a Pelham homeowner’s complaint.

Read more, here.

 

Pelham, NH Bully Cop Off The Street is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

How a Philadelphia Family Lost Their Home to Asset Forfeiture

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Nick Sibilla shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.

Under the legal doctrine of civil forfeiture, police can seize property tangentially linked to a crime, even if the property owner herself is innocent. As Isaiah Thompson reports in the Philadelphia City Paper, this is precisely what happened to Sandra Leino and her family:

“Long before the forfeiture action against her house would be completed, and without a judge or jury ever seeing her face, Leino would be forced from her house and made homeless along with her three children. She would lose her most precious possessions, and ultimately be deprived of her family’s most valuable asset — all without Leino ever being accused of any crime.”

But while Sandra and her children were completely innocent of any wrongdoing, her husband, Sam, was accused and arrested for
selling prescription pills. (Sandra asserts Sam was legally using those painkillers for his own personal use, after he was partially disabled from a truck accident.)

Just a few months after his arrest, the Philadelphia District Attorney filed a motion to seize the Leinos’ home in May 2010—a year and a half before Sam Leino even went to trial. Later that month, the Leinos were kicked out of their own home. They tried staying at a motel, but couldn’t afford it for more than one week. With no other options at the time, they were even forced to sleep in the backwoods.

Fortunately, a relative was able to take the Leinos for five months, albeit in tight quarters. Since then, Sandra has been able to rent a new place.

“But on her own now, and unable to pay rent on top of the mortgage on the house she was barred from entering, she began missing mortgage payments. When the DA did eventually withdraw its forfeiture case against the Leinos’ house, it was only because the bank had already foreclosed.”

As for Sam, in 2012, he went to trial and was “found guilty of one count of possession with intent to distribute, and sentenced to three to six years.”

But the story doesn’t end there. Isaiah Thompson elaborates:

“Four of the police officers who surveilled and arrested Sam Leino are among a group of six narcotics officers whose credibility has been effectively dismissed by the DA’s Office itself after allegations were made in open court that they were part of a drug-dealing ring within the Philadelphia Police Department…How many times the DA’s forfeiture unit has seized property based on the testimony of these officers is not presently clear.”

So far, the Philadelphia DA has dropped almost 300 cases due to this misconduct.

Unfortunately, Sandra Leino’s story is not an isolated incident. Between 300 and 600 real-estate forfeiture cases are brought per year by the Philadelphia District Attorney. Lax laws and scant protections have created hundreds of Sandra Leinos, just in Philadelphia.

According to the Institute for Justice’s nationwide study, Policing for Profit, Pennsylvania has some of the worst civil forfeiture laws. Law enforcement agencies can forfeit property based on a mere “preponderance of the evidence,” which is a much less stringent standard than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal convictions.

Plus, property owners have to prove their innocence, reversing both the burden of proof and centuries of jurisprudence. In other words, in civil forfeiture proceedings, property owners actually have fewer protections than accused criminals.

Not only that, under Pennsylvania state law, police can keep 100 percent of all proceeds seized from civil forfeiture. In fact, the Philadelphia DA has raked in more than $6 million a year in civil forfeiture proceeds.

Most of this policing for profit is from cash seizures. But “the average amount of cash seized by Philadelphia police was $550 — hardly the proceeds of a Pablo Escobar or a Walter White.” No wonder a Pennsylvania judge has lambasted civil forfeiture as “little more than state-sanctioned theft.”

Nick Sibilla is a writer at the Institute for Justice. This is a repost from IJ’s Liberty in Action blog. If you or anyone you know has been a victim of civil forfeiture, contact the Institute for Justice here: http://www.ij.org/about/potentialcase.

How a Philadelphia Family Lost Their Home to Asset Forfeiture is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

It’s Time to Accept that America is a Police State

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

This post by Andrea Dantzer was originally published at TheStateWeekly.com. I think the article speaks for itself. -Kate

These days, it doesn’t seem to take too long to find yet another example of the rising police state in America. However, that assertion is often met with resistance and the claims that calling the US a police state is just fear-mongering, and after all, we are still the freest nation in the world. But, are we? Is calling the United States a police state just anti-government rhetoric used to incite fear against the government or are there legitimate signs and warning signs that the police state is here and only going to get worse?

So, that there is no confusion in looking at the signs and so that everyone is on the same page, here are some definitions that will shed light on the way in which the police state is defined.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a police state as one in which a political unit characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures.

Arbitrary: 1: depending on choice or discretion; specifically : determinable by decision of a judge or tribunal rather than defined by statute. 2  a: (1) : arising from unrestrained exercise of the will, caprice, or personal preference : given to expressing opinions that arise thus (2) : selected at random or as a typical example b : based on random or convenient selection or choice rather than on reason or nature.

From Wikipedia: The term police state describes a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive. 

Totalitarianism means: 1 a : of or relating to centralized control by an autocratic leader or hierarchy …
b : of or relating to a political regime based on subordination of the individual to the state and strict control of all aspects of the life …. 

Often times, people think of a police state as one in which martial law as been declared, or that a 24-hour lockdown in place. Many others think of Nazi Germany when they hear the term, but think it can’t happen in a modern-day ‘democratic’ country (just for clarification, the Founding Fathers designed this country to be a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy). However, police states do not just happen overnight, a country does not go from being free, or relatively free, to a police state in a day. The noose just gets tighter and tighter slowly enough until one day, you run out of air and realize you are at the mercy of a totalitarian regime.

But, is that really happening in America? Here are just some, but certainly not all, of the many signs and warning signs that indicate we may be approaching full police statehood.

 

Sign: Whistleblowers are killed, jailed or have to seek asylum in non-extradition countries

 

Occurrences in the USA: Here are just six of the many whistleblowers that have been charged with violating the espionage act since Obama has taken office.

 

  1. Thomas Drake – Drake is a former senior executive of the National Security Agency (NSA), and was charged with violating the Espionage Act after going through the proper legal channels to disclose widespread domestic illegal surveillance, mismanagement of funds in the billions, gross waste of taxpayer money and massive corruption. Drake, at one point was facing up to 35 years in prison. The government ended up dropping all of the charges against Drake and in return for Drake’s agreement to plead guilty to a misdemeanor of misusing the agency’s computer system, agreed not to seek any jail time. Drake was sentenced to one year of probation and community service. The judge hearing the case called the actions of the government “unconscionable”.
  2. Stephen Jin-Woo Kim – In 2010, Kim was indicted on charges of making false statements and disclosing unauthorized information on matters of national defense. Kim is accused of violating the Espionage Act when he worked for the State Department as an adviser on nuclear proliferation and gave classified information about North Korea to Fox News reporter James Rosen. He has been indicted by a federal grand jury, but his case is still currently pending.
  3. James Hitselberger – Hitselberger, a Navy contract linguist, was charged under 18 USC 793(e) with unauthorized retention of national defense information while serving in Bahrain. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison, and is currently in jail as his trial continues.
  4. Bradley Manning – Pfc Manning is a US soldier who was accused of leaking over 700,000 classified documents, battlefield videos, files and cables. Manning was found guilty of 20 criminal counts in July, and sentenced to 35 years in prison on August 21, 2013.
  5. Shami K. Leibowitz  – Leibowitz is a former FBI employee who worked as a Hebrew translator and was charged with leaking approximately 200 pages of classified documents of transcribed conversations that the FBI had obtained through wiretaps of the Israeli embassy in Washington to blogger Richard Silverstein. Silverstein noted in an interview with the New York Times that Leibowitz released the information because “of concerns about Israel’s aggressive efforts to influence Congress and public opinion, and fears that Israel might strike nuclear facilities in Iran.” He was sentenced to twenty months in 2010.
  6. Edward Snowden – Snowden is a computer specialist who worked for the NSA and CIA; Snowden revealed several top secret government programs of the US and the UK, such as the NSA’s PRISM program to the press. Snowden has been charged with two counts of the Espinonage Act and theft of government property. Snowden fled first to Hong Kong and then went on to Russia where he received asylum for at least one year and was offered employment there as well. If found guilty, he faces up to 30 years in prison if the United States can get their hands on him long enough for a trial.

 

 

Sign: Increased Surveillance of Citizens…i.e…Big Brother is Watching You

 

Occurrences in the USA: While the fourth amendment of the Constitution states: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. – Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution , there are so many examples of the violation of this to name here, there are a few glaringly obvious ones that have to be called out.

 

  1. NSA Teams up with DEA to Prosecute Citizens  – Reuters recently broke the story that the Drug Enforcement Administration is being hand-fed information obtained by the NSA and used in the arrest and prosecution of American citizens.
  2. NSA programs PRISM and BLARNEY – While many people have heard about PRISM being talked about on the news, few have heard of BLARNEY, a clandestine program that is being run concurrently and alongside PRISM. BLARNEY is NSA’s phone surveillance program which captures communicative metadata; PRISM retrieves the actual content within the communication.
  3. Internet Monitoring – From the Wall Street Journal: “The National Security Agency—which possesses only limited legal authority to spy on U.S. citizens—has built a surveillance network that covers more Americans’ Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed, current and former officials say. The system has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans. In some cases, it retains the written content of emails sent between citizens within the U.S. and also filters domestic phone calls made with Internet technology, these people say. The NSA’s filtering, carried out with telecom companies, is designed to look for communications that either originate or end abroad, or are entirely foreign but happen to be passing through the U.S. But officials say the system’s broad reach makes it more likely that purely domestic communications will be incidentally intercepted and collected in the hunt for foreign ones.”
  4. Drones will be used for domestic surveillance – from RT News: The FBI uses drones for domestic surveillance purposes, the head of the agency told Congress early Wednesday. Robert Mueller, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, confirmed to lawmakers that the FBI owns several unmanned aerial vehicles, but has not adopted any strict policies or guidelines yet to govern the use of the controversial aircraft.  “Does the FBI use drones for surveillance on US soil?” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Mr Mueller during an oversight hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Yes,” Mueller responded bluntly, adding that the FBI’s operation of drones is “very seldom.”                     From a recent GOA report:

“Domestically, state and local law enforcement entities represent the greatest potential users of       small UAS [unmanned aircraft systems] in the near term because they can offer a simple and cost effective solution for airborne law enforcement activities”

5. RFID Chips being used to monitor students  – From US NewsA public school district in Texas can require students to wear locator chips when they are on school property, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday in a case raising technology-driven privacy concerns among liberal and conservative groups alike. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia said the San Antonio Northside School District had the right to expel sophomore Andrea Hernandez, 15, from Jay High School because she refused to wear the device, which is required of all students at the magnet school.

6. Automated License Plate Readers – From the ACLUA little noticed surveillance technology, designed to track the movements of every passing driver, is fast proliferating on America’s streets. Automatic license plate readers, mounted on police cars or on objects like road signs and bridges, use small, high-speed cameras to photograph thousands of plates per minute. The information captured by the readers – including the license plate number, and the date, time, and location of every scan – is being collected and sometimes pooled into regional sharing systems. As a result, enormous databases of innocent motorists’ location information are growing rapidly. This information is often retained for years or even indefinitely, with few or no restrictions to protect privacy rights. 

 

Sign: Increased Militarization of Police and Police Brutality 

 

Occurrences in the USA – Again, while there is way too many to list here, here are ten examples of increasingly brutal behavior from the boys in blue.

 

  1. Police taser man to get him off a roof, choke & drag him face-down across a staircase, killing him
  2. Two Davenport Officers Beat Down Woman Shoplifting Suspect Caught on Camera
  3. Officers Kill Mentally Disabled Men, Get Away With It Due to Lack of Training
  4. Police Taser a Pregnant Woman
  5. 95 Yr Old Vet Refuses Medical Treatment, Cops Kill Him
  6. Cop Punches 14 Yr Old Mentally Disabled Girl
  7. Cop Shoots Man in Back, Claims Self-Defense
  8. Defenseless Man Beaten To Death By Cops, Witnesses Said 
  9. GRAPHIC: Officer Shot a Unarmed Man 11 Times, Cleared of Any Wrong-Doing
  10. The Beating Death of Kelly Thomas 

 

 

Sign: Powerful And Continuing Nationalism – Totalitarian regimes love their slogans, symbols and images to drill in nationalism into their subjects.

 

Occurrences in the USA: From praising Obama in schools to a small child praying to Obama, it seems like nationalism is one step away from a recognized national salute. Sieg heil, anyone?

 

Sign: Increased Restrictions Against Natural Rights -

Occurrences in the USA:

  1. Can get prosecuted for Raw Milk
  2. “Free” Speech Zones 
  3. Judge Can Force Porn Stars to Wear Condoms as its “Constitutional”
  4. Arkansas Senate Trying to Ban Certain Tattoos and Body Piercing
  5. State Threatens Jail for Nutritional Blogger
  6. San Francisco Law Fines $500 for Incorrect Recycling
  7. Happy Meal Toys – BANNED (thankfully, McD’s showed how easy it is to sidestep such a ludicrous ban by charging ten cents for the toy in banned areas)
  8. State Forced Vaccines and Increasingly Difficult to Opt Out
  9. Illegal to Collect Rain Water on Own Property in some states
  10. Illegal to Grow GardensGardens Destroyed

 

Sign: Increasing Dictatorial Behavior of Leaders

 

Occurrences in the USA:

 

  1. Third Term for Obama? – From the leftist apologist site The Daily Kos: There is a scenario — a nightmare scenario for RWNJs — under which President Obama can legally and constitutionally win a third term as President of the United States. Of course, we should know that Barack Obama is too honest and honorable a person to pursue this course of action. But do the RWNJs know that?
  2. No Term Limits for President – From Fox News Latino: Democratic Congressman José Serrano has reintroduced legislation to repeal the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would end term limits for U.S. presidents and pave the way for President Barack Obama to stay in the White House for a third time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        While some claim that this will never happen and will never get passed, it should be noted that the same thing was once said about bills like the Patriot Act, NDAA and ObamaCare.
  3. President Bypassing Congress and Traditional Means of Legislation – From BenSwann.com: Obama is sidestepping Congress once again. This time, the unconstitutional act is in an effort to raise $6 Billion in new taxes to put WiFi in public schools across America. Rather than waste his time with the Constitution and Congress, Obama is going straight to the FCC to lobby for the new taxes. The new tax will apply to every American who uses a cellphone.  

While there are many, many, many more examples, this does give anyone pause to reflect on how many personal freedoms are being stripped away on a daily basis. With just the few examples given here, which are really just the tip of the iceberg, are you convinced America is or is quickly becoming a police state? Do you have other examples you think should be added?

It’s Time to Accept that America is a Police State is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights