The very best cops in this country are the ones you never hear about. They go about their thankless jobs, they stick their necks out every
day, trying to make the world a safer place. They sweep drunks off the street at 3:00 a.m. They fill out paperwork constantly.
One their days off, their neighbors expect them to act as the neighborhood security guard, referee and guidance counselor. One fellow I
know was a cop for several years, and upon leaving the profession, one of the first things he noticed was that his nose stopped hurting. Apparently
he got into street fights every night, through no fault of his own, and it was just part of the job.
In fact, I've known a lot of people who have been law enforcement officers, and a few who still are, and they truly are America's Finest.
Without people like them, this country (or any other) would be an awful place to live, because there are so many nearby residents who
simply won't behave themselves without forcible external control
But unfortunately there are also the cops at the bottom of the curve. The ones who are only marginally qualified. The ones who
should be at the city jail — on the other side of the bars. The ones who are only working as cops because that's the best
job they can get at the moment. And worst of all, the ones with more ego than brains: self-important badge-happy goons who
should never have been hired. Generally, cops of this sort are only found in small towns, because the police departments in major
cities filter their applicants quite stringently.
In some cases, formerly reasonable men and women have been put into positions where they have to justify their paychecks by generating revenue
for the cities that hired them. It is a stereotype I'm sure you know very well: There's a cop in every small town handing out speeding tickets to tourists
on the biggest highway around. But stereotypes don't just materialize out of nowhere. There really are small towns that make a lot of money off
the speeders on interstate highways. Rather than taking a bite out of genuine crime, many cops spend their days hiding in the roadside bushes
with a radar gun and writing tickets. This sort of activity has very little to do with public safety, but is instead a pretense to stop passing
motorists and search their cars for guns, drugs, seat belt violators, or any of several other petty offenses. If you fail the "attitude test",
you'll pay dearly. You might assume they're just following orders, but you might be wrong.
This page shows some examples of what can happen when local and state police agencies have too much power, too
little restraint, and too many bad ideas.
The local police have been given too much authority
Warrantless GPS tracking
The militarization of the police
Ordinary cops have too much fire power
The use of drones against civilians
Seat belt laws
You're guilty of something, we just need to figure out what it is
No offense is too petty to overlook
Cops believe their computer terminals, no matter what they say
Cops believe their polygraph machines, no matter what they say
Please refrain from defending your own life and property
Anything you have ever said can be used against you
Parking tickets and other fundraising mechanisms
Cops will not stand for insults
Other objectionable traits
The War on Little Kids with Lemonade Stands
Videotaping the police
The use of Traffic Signals as Fundraisers
The use and abuse of Tasers
The Road to Tyranny is All Downhill From Here
Abuse of Power
Cases in which guns saved lives
The Police State on the Subway
Abusive and Invasive Searches at the Airport
The Homeland Security report on right wingers
The case of Steven Hatfill
FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Invasion of the Food Police
Carnivore, Einstein, Tempest, and Echelon
Hate Crime Laws
The Proposed National ID Card
is not a truth existing which I fear
or would wish unknown to the whole world."
The local police have been given too much authority
Police halt Montgomery County commuters on I-270 to hunt for bank robbery suspects.
Police arrested three bank robbery suspects in Montgomery County on Tuesday after officers set up a roadblock on Interstate 270 and
walked car to car with pistols, shotguns and semiautomatic rifles drawn. The rapid show of force stunned late-morning commuters but
allowed officers to nab the trio 44 minutes after the robbery. "I guess it turned out well, so it's hard to argue with success,"
said Don Troop, who was heading to the District when traffic came to halt. A group of officers made its way to his car and other cars
around him. "They were just walking along saying: 'Pop the trunk! Pop the trunk!'"
Horror: Police force man to undergo invasive anal
operation. When New Mexico police stopped a local driver for committing a minor moving violation, they decided to check whether he was carrying
drugs in his anus. So they procured a warrant, drove him to two different hospitals, forced him to endure eight medical procedures — including
an invasive colonoscopy — and stuck him with the bill. No drugs were found.
The Drift toward Despotism.
David Eckert was pulled over by police in Deming, N.M., for failing to come to a complete halt at a stop sign in the Walmart parking lot.
He was asked to step out of the vehicle, and waited on the sidewalk. Officers decided that they didn't like the tight clench of his
buttocks, a subject on which New Mexico's constabulary is apparently expert, and determined that it was because he had illegal drugs
Supreme Court appears to support a warrantless police
search. In a case that could narrow legal protections against police searches, a majority of Supreme Court justices sounded ready
Wednesday [11/13/2013] to reject an appeal from an imprisoned Los Angeles gang member who contended that after he objected to a search and was then
taken away under arrest, police unconstitutionally entered his apartment. Justices appeared to agree with attorneys for the Los Angeles Police
Department, who defended the search as legal because the gang member, Walter Fernandez, was not present and his girlfriend gave police permission to
enter their home.
Get Read All Over New York — Not Just At Toll Booths. After spotting a police car with two huge boxes on its trunk —
that turned out to be license-plate-reading cameras — a man in New Jersey became obsessed with the loss of privacy for vehicles on
American roads. The man, who goes by the Internet handle "Puking Monkey," did an analysis of the many ways his car could be tracked and
stumbled upon something rather interesting: his E-ZPass, which he obtained for the purpose of paying tolls, was being used to track his
car in unexpected places, far away from any toll booths.
The Real Purpose of
Oakland's Surveillance Center. City leaders have argued that Oakland needs a massive surveillance system to combat violent crime,
but internal documents reveal that city staffers are also focused on tracking political protesters.
You Are Being Tracked: How License Plate Readers Are Being Used to Record Americans' Movements.
A 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.
NYPD Designates Mosques as Terrorism Organizations.
The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorist organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to
record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise
means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.
The Editor says...
What's the difference between that and profiling? And where are the "separation of church and state" people now?
Turning public schools into forts.
[A]s I point out in my book, "A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State," with every school police raid and overzealous punishment
that is carried out in the name of school safety, the lesson being imparted is that Americans — especially young people — have
no rights at all against the state or the police. Indeed, the majority of schools today have adopted an all-or-nothing lockdown mindset that
leaves little room for freedom, individuality or due process.
Court OKs DNA swab in serious arrests. A narrowly divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that police can collect DNA from people
arrested but not yet convicted of serious crimes, a tool that more than half the states already use to help crack unsolved crimes.
The case, described by Justice Samuel Alito as "the most important criminal procedure case that this court has heard in decades,"
represented a classic test between modern crime-fighting technology and centuries-old privacy rights.
applaud ruling on DNA swabbing. The Supreme Court has ruled that is now legal for law enforcement to take the
DNA of people arrested, even though they have not yet been convicted of a crime. The decision was a big victory to
police and victim rights groups in the fight over how and when your DNA can be used, with the justices being nearly split
down the middle.
Police can take DNA swabs from arrestees. A sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday [6/3/2013] cleared the way for police
to take a DNA swab from anyone they arrest for a serious crime, endorsing a practice now followed by more than half the states as well as
the federal government.
Court's DNA Ruling
Brings U.S. a Step Closer to 'Gattaca'. The day that DNA cheek swabs officially became the new fingerprints deserves to be
marked and remembered — and not just because of the inevitable march of technology. No, the Supreme Court's 5-4 holding
today [6/3/2013] in Maryland v. King, that anyone arrested for a "serious crime" can have his or her DNA taken without any suspicion, is a landmark
because it represents a major step toward a "Gattaca" world. This means that evidence of a crime can be collected without any
particular suspicion, avoiding the pesky requirement of a warrant that the Founding Fathers thought would give us liberty and privacy.
A few days later...
cops collect DNA samples at Alabama roadblocks. Off-duty cops in two counties in Alabama spent the weekend
collecting saliva and blood samples from drivers at roadblocks. According to Lt. Freddie Turrentine with the St. Clair
County Sheriff's Department, drivers were asked to voluntarily offer samples of their saliva and blood for a study being
conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.
were roadblocks in St. Clair and Bibb counties asking for blood and DNA samples this weekend? St. Clair and Bibb
county authorities are confirming there were roadblocks at several locations in their counties Friday and Saturday [June 7-8, 2013]
asking for blood and DNA samples. However, the samples were voluntary and motorists were paid for them as part of a study, they
said. According to Lt. Freddie Turrentine of the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department, it isn't the first time such roadblocks
have occurred in the area.
The Editor says...
The samples were voluntary, huh? How voluntary is it when the police stop your car on an Alabama highway
and demand evidence? I suspect you'll be detained until the cops get what they want. Is it legal for off duty
cops to set up a roadblock? It sounds like an Alabama shakedown to me.
Police Agencies Are Assembling
Records of DNA. Slowly, and largely under the radar, a growing number of local law enforcement agencies across the country
have moved into what had previously been the domain of the F.B.I. and state crime labs — amassing their own DNA databases of potential
suspects, some collected with the donors' knowledge, and some without it.
Another instance, in another state:
Pa. town latest to force
drivers over and ask for cheek swabs for federal study. Drivers in a southeastern Pennsylvania town were forced off a local street and into a
parking lot, so a federal contractor — aided by local police — could quiz them about their road habits and ask for a cheek swab, in a
replay of an incident last month in Texas. The checkpoint, in downtown Reading, was one of several conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and
Evaluation, which was hired by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Motorist checkpoint in Reading draws questions. A private firm with a
federal contract — and backed up by city police — forced motorists off Laurel Street and into a private parking lot Friday [12/13/2013] to
question them about their driving habits and ask for a swab of their mouth. "I feel this incident is a gross abuse of power on many levels," Reading resident
Ricardo Nieves, one of those stopped, told City Council Monday. He said federal and local tax dollars were being used to stop innocent people without
probable cause, and allow a private company to hire uniformed police to force citizens to listen to their questions. He said he wasn't told what the
swab was for, but added, "Clearly it was for DNA."
Police presence at traffic stop troubling. Appearance is everything.
So when a police car's lights are flashing along the side of a city street lined with cones, and someone forces motorists into a parking lot that contains uniformed
city police, forgive the motorists for believing police are operating that checkpoint. And when people with no ID tell motorists they want to ask about their
driving habits but also ask for a mouth swab, forgive the motorists for believing they want a DNA sample without a warrant. And when the same people say the
questions and the swab are voluntary but don't take no for an answer, forgive the motorists for thinking it's not really voluntary after all. Because that's
the way it's supposed to appear: not voluntary.
flags raised after local drivers asked for DNA samples at police checkpoint. Drivers in St. Charles County were asked to take part
in a government survey that involved the odd request of blood and saliva samples. One driver who emailed News 4 said a deputy and
others dressed in safety vests directed drivers to take part and answer questions about alcohol and driving. The study is being conducted
by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and is supposed to be voluntary. Constitutional Law attorney Bob Herman said
the study does raise some red flags.
recommends lowering blood alcohol level that constitutes drunk driving. The National Transportation Safety Board
voted to recommend to states that they lower the blood-alcohol content that constitutes drunken driving. Currently, all
50 states have set a BAC level of .08, reflecting the percentage of alcohol, by volume, in the blood. If a driver
is found to have a BAC level of .08 or above, he or she is subject to arrest and prosecution.
The Real Threat to America.
Of the many uncomfortable truths emerging from last week's bombing and subsequent manhunt — including the fact that American
cities are still vulnerable to Islamic terrorism — one of the most troubling but least talked-about is the fact that martial
law may now become part of the municipal playbook. It was not two immigrant brothers — "losers," their uncle called
them — who closed down Boston, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, put military vehicles in its streets, and sent
men in helmets and flak jackets into peoples' homes. It was our elected leaders: our local, state, and federal political
officials and law-enforcement authorities. If any Bostonians objected to having their civil liberties trampled on, they were
drowned out by their cheering neighbors who massed in the streets to celebrate the authorities who had turned their city into something
resembling Fallujah under American military occupation.
Stop-and-Frisk Practice Violated Rights, Judge
Rules. A federal judge ruled on Monday [8/12/2013] that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights
of minorities in the city, repudiating a major element in the Bloomberg administration's crime-fighting legacy. The use of police stops has been widely cited
by city officials as a linchpin of New York's success story in seeing murders and major crimes fall to historic lows.
The Editor says...
Martial law would bring the crime rate to historic lows, too, but is that the kind of country we want to live in?
Ted Nugent to Newsmax: 'Stop and Frisk Violates the 4th Amendment'.
"As I sit here with you today, I am convinced that the concept of stop-and-frisk violates the Fourth Amendment," Nugent said in an exclusive interview with Newsmax
before taking the stage at the packed House of Blues in Orlando. "But I don't agree with the judge in New York — that gal that presumed the cops are
stopping someone based on the color of their skin. "That is wrong. They do not profile based on color of skin. They profile on suspicious behavior.
It's a behavioral response, not an ethnic or skin-color response. I am certain of that."
Stop-and-Frisk in Court, Police Testify About Orders to
Increase Stops. The NYPD's stop and frisk program began in 2002 and since then, according to data compiled by the New York Civil
Liberties Union, the police have conducted 4 million such "interrogations," peaking in 2011 with 685,724. The vast majority of stops
are of blacks and Hispanics. Little more than ten percent end in any kind of summons. The program is currently being challenged in
court, where testimony yesterday [3/21/2013] revealed police officers were ordered to increase their number of stop and frisks.
Opposing viewpoint #1:
How to Increase the Crime Rate
Nationwide: A racial-profiling lawsuit over the New York Police Department's "stop, question and frisk" policies is
now in the hands of a judge whose decision is expected within weeks. [...] A decision against the NYPD would almost certainly
inspire similar suits by social-justice organizations against police departments elsewhere. The national trend of declining
crime could hang in the balance. And the primary victims of such a reversal would be the inner-city minorities whose safety
seems not to figure into attempts to undermine successful police tactics.
Opposing viewpoint #2:
Don't Stop Frisking. Since the early 1990s the New York Police
Department has used a crime-prevention strategy that it calls "stop, question, and frisk." Accordingly, officers stop and question a person based on reasonable
suspicion and sometimes pat down the clothing of the individual to ensure that he is not armed. The department credits the strategy in large part for the huge
declines in murder and major crimes over two decades in what is now the nation's safest big city.
Gun Conviction Buckles Under Stop and Frisk. Police officers may question an
individual "where there is an 'objective, credible reason, not necessarily indicative of criminality,' to initiate the level one encounter," the unsigned
opinion states. [Jeffrey] Johnson's conduct, however, "did not provide an objective credible reason" for the officers to question him. The
officers said their suspicions were heightened because of a history of crime and drug dealing in the building, but the appellate majority rejected that
Technologies of Surveillance. The NYPD is testing a new type
of security apparatus that uses terahertz radiation to detect guns under clothing from a distance. As Police Commissioner Ray Kelly
explained to the "Daily News" back in January, If something is obstructing the flow of that radiation — a weapon, for
example — the device will highlight that object. Ignore, for a moment, the glaring constitutional concerns, which make
the stop-and-frisk debate pale in comparison: virtual strip-searching, evasion of probable cause, potential racial profiling. [...] We're
scared of both terrorism and crime, even as the risks decrease; and when we're scared, we're willing to give up all sorts of freedoms to
assuage our fears. Often, the courts go along.
NYPD Commissioner says department will begin
testing a new high-tech device that scans for concealed weapons. The department just received a machine that reads
terahertz [sic] — the natural energy emitted by people and inanimate objects — and allows police to view
concealed weapons from a distance. "If something is obstructing the flow of that radiation, for example a weapon, the device will
highlight that object," Kelly said. A video image aired at a Police Foundation breakfast Wednesday [1/23/2013] showed an officer,
clad in a New York Jets jersey and jeans, with the shape of a hidden gun clearly visible under his clothing when viewed through the
The Editor says...
No doubt the system is being fine-tuned to search for marijuana. Overlapping objects could easily appear to be a gun,
which could lead to an unfortunate misunderstanding.
photograph license plates, store data. Little Rock may not be a likely terrorism target or a gang crime hotspot, but the
Arkansas capital has decided to follow the example of high-security cities by expanding electronic surveillance of its streets.
This Dog Can Send You to Jail.
[Scroll down] He said that he was going to write me a warning, and I said, 'OK, that's fine.' He asked me if I had any
drugs in the car. I said, 'No, sir, I don't do drugs, and I don't associate with people who do.' He asked me would I mind
if he searched my vehicle, and I said, 'Well, yes, I would mind if you searched my vehicle.'" But thanks to the U.S. Supreme
Court, the deputy did not have to take no for an answer. In the 2005 case Illinois v. Caballes, the Court declared that
"the use of a well-trained narcotics-detection dog... during a lawful traffic stop generally does not implicate legitimate privacy interests."
Law Be Right Around The Corner For Americans? Merely a week after military exercises featuring Blackhawk helicopters were
flown over the Miami skyline, the Florida Highway Patrol has informed the public that it will set up "vehicle inspection checkpoints" on
specific roadways in at least six Florida counties that will be established during daytime hours. State troopers will be requesting
drivers licenses and conducting a visual inspection of every third vehicle once the checkpoint has been established.
Dear Mr. Security Agent,
Today, we already see genital groping by federal agents and at least one Texas state trooper who was caught on film. Their goal is not
"public safety," but public humiliation, intimidation, and control. Cowing the peasants into meek obeisance to unchecked authority.
Can waterboarding American "detainees" in clandestine torture centers really be that far behind?
Ron Paul Correctly
Rebuts LaPierre's Call For Fed to Fund Armed School Guards. With just days remaining in his final term in Congress, veteran congressman
Ron Paul has come out strongly against NRA President Wayne LaPierre's recommendation that armed officers should be stationed in schools nationwide.
Paul has consistently called attention to the growing technological apparatus of the police state -- surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners
and other intrusive devices aimed at keeping tabs on criminals and ordinary citizens — some of which are necessary, other parts of which are
questionable and objectionable.
Guns and the Government. The Supreme Court
has ruled consistently and countless times that the "police power," that is, the power to regulate for health, safety, welfare and
morality, continues to be reposed in the states, and that there is no federal police power.
Oklahoma Robo Cop Alert!
It's called ALPR-Automatic License Plate Reader, and these things are all the rage. ALPRs are not ordinary cameras. Attached to
police cruisers, or fixed on telephone poles or other stationary places, the cameras snap an image of nearly every license plate they
encounter. The device produces a file for each image captured, which includes searchable text displaying the time, date and GPS
location of the car when and where the plate was 'read'. This information is fed into a database, where it can be shared with
other agencies and databases, and "mined" or analyzed.
Automated License Plate Readers Threaten Our
Privacy. Law enforcement agencies are increasingly using sophisticated cameras, called "automated license plate readers" or
ALPR, to scan and record the license plates of millions of cars across the country. [...] Photographing a single license plate one time on
a public city street may not seem problematic, but when that data is put into a database, combined with other scans of that same plate on
other city streets, and stored forever, it can become very revealing.
It's not about public safety. It's all about raising money for the state government.
Oklahoma HB 2525.
HB 2525 will allow police to pull you over... Not because you are speeding, not because you are driving erratically, but to check
and see if your auto insurance is expired. In fact, it can be the primary reason you are pulled over. ... Plain and simple,
HB 2525 is ripe for abuse and would let the police pull you over for any reason they wanted. All they would have to say
is that they were checking to see if your insurance is current.
2525 would allow stops for no insurance. The proposed law, House Bill 2525, would allow law enforcement officers to pull over
a vehicle if they believe it is uninsured. Currently, officers do not have "probable cause for a stop" on that basis alone.
A blogger was dragged off to a mental ward because of his Facebook posts.
Exactly what you'd expect in North Korea, China, or Cuba.
'Outraged' judge frees veteran Raub from Virginia
psych ward. [Scroll down] His saga began Aug. 16. That's when [Brandon] Raub was taken into custody at his
Richmond home by FBI and Secret Service agents and Chesterfield County Police. He was not charged with a crime, yet he was handcuffed
and placed in the back of a police vehicle. From there, Mr. Raub was taken to a police station and then to the John Randolph Medical
Facility in Hopewell, Va., for a psychiatric evaluation. He was never formally arrested or charged with a crime, Mr. Whitehead said.
"He was in his underwear, in his living room, he sees a group of police, FBI agents walking up, he talks with them, he's asked about some
Facebook postings, they handcuff him," Mr. Whitehead said.
There is more about Brandon Raub
on this page.
The Case Against Driver's
Licenses: Even a person merely walking down the street, having committed no crime, can be compelled to
produce his ID. And if that person lacks an ID, that person will very likely be arrested on the spot and held
until his identity is ascertained. This is the reality of Homeland America. You must have permission
to move. You do not move freely. Even if you are walking.
Knows No Limitation: New DOJ Rules Allow More Intrusive Searches. Shouldn't law-abiding citizens
be able to live their lives free from the fear that our own government would underhandedly manipulate our rights
in their pursuit of an investigation? After all, the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution enumerates a
limitation on the federal government, one that prevents "unreasonable search and seizure." Today, this
enumerated protection is being ignored by — of all institutions — the U.S. Justice
Department, under the darkened shadow of Attorney General Eric Holder.
The Indiana Supreme Court
Guts the Fourth Amendment. A ruling by the state of Indiana's Supreme Court last Thursday [5/12/2011] in
Barnes vs. Indiana has seemingly vacated the Constitution's Fourth Amendment provision against unreasonable search
and seizure. The case involved a domestic dispute and the Court ruled 3-2 that police can force their way into a
person's home without a warrant if they deem such entry is necessary.
No right to resist illegal cop entry into home. Overturning a common law dating back to the
English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday [5/12/2011] that Hoosiers have no
right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes. In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David
writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a
homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer's entry.
gives police a new entryway into homes. The Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision in a Kentucky case,
says police officers who loudly knock on a door in search of illegal drugs and then hear sounds suggesting
evidence is being destroyed may break down the door and enter without a search warrant.
of Pre-Crime. Moral of this story: If you hear the cops at the door, quietly get off the
john, and whatever you do, don't flush. Read the whole account of the case, which ought to get your
Sheriff: If We Need to Conduct Random House to House Searches We Will. According to Newton
County Sheriff, Don Hartman Sr., random house to house searches are now possible and could be helpful
following the Barnes v. State of Indiana Supreme Court ruling issued on May 12th, 2011.
When asked three separate times due to the astounding callousness as it relates to trampling the inherent
natural rights of Americans, he emphatically indicated that he would use random house to house checks,
adding he felt people will welcome random searches if it means capturing a criminal.
too much license to cops. A series of recent court rulings, including one this week from the
US Supreme Court, appear to erode one of our bedrock defenses against the arbitrary, abusive power of the
state. At risk: the Fourth Amendment guarantee to all American citizens of the right to be "secure
in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."
Home Insecurity. While the U.S.
Supreme Court said police may force their way into a home to prevent the destruction of evidence, the Indiana
Supreme Court, in a less noticed decision issued the week before, said police may force their way into a home
for any reason or no reason at all. Although the victim of an illegal search can challenge it in court
after the fact, three of the five justices agreed, "there is no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by
police officers." They thereby nullified a principle of common law that is centuries old, arguably
dating back to the Magna Carta.
US Police State Begins Exponential Expansion.
The recent Indiana Supreme Court ruling against the US Constitution, rendering the Fourth Amendment null and
void in that State by patently leftist activist judges, is only the latest unconscionable step in a series of
actions designed to unravel each and every portion of the Bill of Rights. It is also one of the latest
actions designed to compliment and enhance the already jack-booted Obama police State march into our States,
our cities and homes.
held in protest of 'unlawful police entry' ruling by Indiana Supreme Court. Protesters showed up
on the south steps of the Indiana Statehouse Wednesday [5/25/2011], to rally against a controversial ruling by
the Indiana Supreme Court. The ruling, which allows police to enter your home without a warrant,
sparked threatening emails and phone calls from those angry with the court's decision.
High court urged to rethink
ruling on resisting police. A group of 71 state lawmakers is asking the Indiana Supreme Court to
reconsider a ruling that says people don't have the right to resist police officers who enter their homes illegally.
Speeders Could Get Fingerprinted. Motorists stopped for traffic violations in Tennessee could
be fingerprinted if state lawmakers approve a bill pending in the legislature. Currently, when drivers
are cited during traffic stops, police officers ask for the driver's signature on the ticket, but the proposed
bill would allow police departments to eliminate signatures and collect fingerprints.
Cops pay 3 a.m. visit to tell
man his door is unlocked. A Lakeville man says he feels violated after two police officers woke him up at
3 a.m. to tell him his door was unlocked. Their surprise visit was part of a public service campaign to remind
residents to secure their homes to prevent thefts.
The Editor says...
This is just inexcusable conduct on the part of the local cops. Leaving the door to one's house unlocked is not
a crime, and with no evidence of a crime in progress, the police had no right to enter the house. It is
the police officers who were violating the law in this case, and if they were to face civil liability for their
actions, it would go a long way toward preventing the spread of this behavior. If these "public service
campaign[s]" go unchallenged, police departments in other cities will try them out.
Stories of Anguish
at the Hands of Police: Nine stories of abuse at the hands of California policemen.
California police state:
The totalitarians are fully in control of America's largest state. The California Supreme Court ruled
4-3 last Thursday [1/24/2002] that police in the state may search cars if a driver fails to produce a license
or registration, regardless of whether the officer has a warrant.
Washington DC is a police state.
Washington. It's hard to remember, but Washington wasn't always a city of walls. Thomas
Jefferson held a public reception at the White House after his second inaugural, and citizens were able to
freely wander through the building to personally ask presidents like Abraham Lincoln for jobs and other
favors. Harry Truman took long walks around Washington each morning protected by just a handful of
Secret Service agents. Capitol Hill had no roadblocks or barricades, and cars and trucks passed directly
in front of the White House as they drove down Pennsylvania Avenue, one of the city's busiest thoroughfares.
The End of "The
Right to Remain Silent": Every kid who has watched a re-run of TV cop shows
knows that "you have the right to remain silent" when the police come knocking. Except
that, now, you don't. In Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District of Nevada, the Supreme
Court, in one stroke, turned Justice Jackson's advice on its head, and turned generations
of TV cop shows into so much false advertising. Silence, said the Court, is not only
not privileged: it can get you thrown in jail.
Court Opens Door To Searches Without
Warrants. It's a groundbreaking court decision that legal experts say will affect everyone:
Police officers in Louisiana no longer need a search or arrest warrant to conduct a brief search of your home or
business. Leaders in law enforcement say it will keep officers safe, but others argue it's a privilege
that could be abused.
None Dare Call It
Fascism. Fascism operates under the principle of "might makes right," through the exercise of raw,
naked governmental police power. In America today, the increasingly rough-shod violation of constitutional
rights by government agents in the name of "protecting the environment" or the "war on drugs" is an indication
of how far we are proceeding in this direction.
Posse Comitatus: Military Cops Arrest Civilians in Florida City. In Homestead, Florida,
Posse Comitatus is dead. The Air Force now responds to civilian crime in the small city, population
around 30,000. "Here at Homestead Air Reserve Base we have the Crime Stop hotline that allows anyone
either on base or off the installation to anonymously report a crime," explains the Homestead Air Reserve
to Secret Weapon: GPS Device. Across the country, police are using GPS devices to snare
thieves, drug dealers, sexual predators and killers, often without a warrant or court order. Privacy
advocates said tracking suspects electronically constitutes illegal search and seizure, violating Fourth
Amendment rights of protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, and is another step toward
George Orwell's Big Brother society.
Pat-Downs Turn PATCO Into Police State. Commuters who ride PATCO trains between southern New
Jersey and Philadelphia should expect random searches of their clothing, pockets, bags and vehicles on their
morning trip to work. Twelve Transportation Security Administration screeners, armed with an explosive-sniffing
K-9, checked 663 commuter bags randomly selected from the morning rush at the Lindenwold station Tuesday
[9/7/2010]. ... "We can conduct any kind of search we want," said [Delaware River Port Authority Police Chief
Wisconsin court upholds
GPS tracking by police. Wisconsin police can attach GPS to cars to secretly track anybody's
movements without obtaining search warrants, an appeals court ruled Thursday [5/7/2009].
Courts Divided on Police
Use of GPS Tracking. If a police officer puts a GPS tracking device on your car, should he or she
have to get a warrant first? It's a simple question, but one, so far, without a clear legal answer. In
an example of how unsettled the issue is, in just the past week, appeals courts in two different states delivered
completely opposite rulings.
Supreme Court to Decide
Constitutionality of Warrantless GPS Monitoring. At the Obama administration's urging, the Supreme
Court agreed Monday [6/27/2011] to review whether the government, without a court warrant, may affix GPS devices
on suspects' vehicles to track their every move. The Justice Department told the justices that "a person
has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements from one place to another," and demanded the justices
undo a lower court decision that reversed the conviction and life sentence of a cocaine dealer whose vehicle was
tracked via GPS for a month without a court warrant.
Officer admits to hiding GPS device in
woman's car. A former Costa Mesa police officer has admitted to hiding a Global Positioning System
device in a woman's car without her knowledge, court records show. Aaron Paul Parsons pleaded no contest
Monday to a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully using an electronic tracking device, according to Orange County
Superior Court records.
get warrant if DUI suspect balks at blood test. Blood samples taken from motorists without their
explicit on-the-spot consent can't be used to convict them of drunken driving, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled
Monday. The justices acknowledged Arizona has an "implied consent" law saying motorists agree to provide
a sample of blood, breath or urine for testing if they are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol
Court to decide whether police can take your blood without your permission. The case involves a traffic stop in Missouri, but
its ramifications could range far wider, potentially rewriting drunk-driving laws in all 50 states. "It comes down, basically, to are
you going to see blood draws every single time someone gets pulled over for a DUI," said Michael A. Correll, a litigator with the
international law firm Alston & Bird, who examined the legality of blood draws in the West Virginia Law Review last year.
The NDAA Repeals More Rights.
Innocent people are wrongly accused all the time. The Bill of Rights is there precisely because the founders wanted to set
a very high bar for the government to overcome in order to deprive an individual of life or liberty. To lower that bar is
to endanger everyone. When the bar is low enough to include political enemies, our descent into totalitarianism is
Protests Near Secret Service Protected Folk
Effectively Outlawed. In case you question the value of having a Justin Amash or a Ron Paul in the House of Representatives,
they were two of only three votes against H.R. 347, the "Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011." ... Although
[Secret Service] protection isn't extended to just everybody, making it a federal offense to even accidently disrupt an event attended by a
person with such status essentially crushes whatever currently remains of the right to assemble and peacefully protest.
the Secret Service Tell You To Shut Up? When the Framers of the Constitution wrote the First Amendment, they
lived in a society in which anyone could walk up to George Washington or John Adams or Thomas Jefferson on a public street
and say directly to them whatever one wished. They never dreamed of a regal-like force of armed agents keeping
public officials away from the public, as we have today. And they never imagined that it could be a felony for
anyone to congregate in public within earshot or eyesight of certain government officials. And yet, today in
America, it is.
Another Brick Removed. HR 347 was
recently signed into law by President Obama. This statute had wide support amongst both parties of Congress.
In essence, it criminalizes disruptive behavior upon government grounds, at specially designated national events (Super Bowl,
nominating conventions, etc.) and anywhere that Secret Service is protecting "any" person. Obviously, the goal of this
law is to enhance the ability of the Secret Service to protect those persons it is charged to do so; but in extending this
power, this law eviscerates the citizens' rights to assemble and petition under the First Amendment.
Surveillance without proper authority is
illegal. On June 2, 2009, a janitor in an office building in New Brunswick, N.J., noticed what he thought was terrorist-related
literature and sophisticated surveillance equipment in an office he had been assigned to clean. He told his boss, who called the local
police, who notified the FBI. Later in the day, the FBI and the New Brunswick police broke into the office and discovered five men busily
operating the equipment. Four of the men were officers from the New York City Police Department, and the fifth was a CIA agent.
The conundrum faced by all of these public servants soon became apparent. Who should arrest whom?
Supreme Court Ruling Allows
Strip-Searches for Any Offense. The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search
people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the
presence of contraband. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court's conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no
position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and
drugs but also public health and information about gang affiliations.
Kentucky Supreme Court
Rules Highway Checkpoints Illegal. Kentucky's Supreme Court has ruled that highway checkpoints of drivers who refused to display a
$10 city sticker in their window are in fact unconstitutional and therefore, illegal. The city of Liberty required all 1,850 residents and
anyone working within the city limits to purchase and display the sticker, but teachers at a local school had failed to do so, prompting local police
to take action. Those individuals who refused to purchase a $10 sticker and place it in their vehicle windows were targeted by city officials, who
mandated that police set up roadblocks.
The Forfeiture Racket: Police and prosecutors won't give up their license to steal.
[Scroll down] Criminal forfeiture can also prevent defendants from effectively contesting the charges against them. When the DEA accuses a doctor of
illegally prescribing pain medication, for example, one of the first actions it takes is to freeze his assets for possible forfeiture. Since most doctors
make their entire living from their practice, nearly everything they own can be frozen. Many accused doctors therefore don't have the resources to hire
legal representation, much less experts to counter government assertions that they're prescribing controlled substances outside the normal practice of medicine.
Forfeiture makes it nearly impossible for them to mount a credible defense.
FBI, DEA warn IPv6 could shield criminals from police. Relax. This has
nothing to do with criminals. It's cop bluster designed to get us to wiretap ourselves "before the cops get Congress to force us to".
We Don't Need No Stinking Warrant: The Disturbing,
Unchecked Rise of the Administrative Subpoena. Meet the administrative subpoena: With a federal official's signature,
banks, hospitals, bookstores, telecommunications companies and even utilities and internet service providers — virtually all
businesses — are required to hand over sensitive data on individuals or corporations, as long as a government agent declares
the information is relevant to an investigation. Via a wide range of laws, Congress has authorized the government to bypass the
Fourth Amendment — the constitutional guard against unreasonable searches and seizures that requires a probable-cause warrant
signed by a judge.
The Courts Will Soon Decide If Police Can Sample
Your DNA Without A Warrant. U.S. courts will soon decide whether Americans can have the expectation of privacy
over their DNA, reports Kate Moser at the Recorder. Michael Risher of the ACLU of Northern California is challenging a
California law that requires all felony arrestees to give a DNA sample.
DNA test jailed innocent man for murder. Scientists,
lawyers and politicians have raised new concerns over the quality of forensic evidence testing — so is the criminal justice
system too reliant on lab tests without realising their limitations?
Says Police Can Install Cameras On Your Property Without Warrant If Your Property Is A 'Field'. This is in response to the two defendants
in the case seeking to have footage from said surveillance cameras thrown out in their court case on unreasonable search and seizure grounds. Judge
Griesbach made this ruling on the recommendation of US Magistrate William Callahan, who based his position on a US Supreme Court Case ruling that open
fields were not covered under the 4th Amendment and didn't require a warrant. [...] And this doorway to abuse has been opened all because police
didn't want to bother to get a search warrant to put video equipment on private property.
Judge OKs Installation of Surveillance Cameras Without a Warrant. On October 29, a federal district court judge ruled that police can
enter onto privately owned property and install secret surveillance cameras without a warrant. The judge did set forth a few guidelines that
must be followed before such activity would be permissible, but the fact that such a scenario is accepted as constitutional by a federal judge is a
serious setback for privacy and for the Fourth Amendment.
Surveillance Cameras Are Not All That.
Cameras were a big help in Boston, but that doesn't mean they are generally a good idea.
Mayor Bloomberg admits
soon NYPD surveillance cameras will be on nearly every corner. Envisioning a future where privacy is a thing of the past,
Mayor Bloomberg said Friday [3/22/2013] it will soon be impossible to escape the watchful eyes of surveillance cameras and even drones in
the city. He acknowledged privacy concerns, but said "you can't keep the tides from coming in." "You wait, in five years, the
technology is getting better, they'll be cameras everyplace ... whether you like it or not," Bloomberg said.
The Editor interjects...
"Whether you like it or not"? Is that representative government, or an omnipotent nanny state?
Spy Cameras Won't Make Us Safer. CCTV cameras have minimal value
in the fight against crime. While it's comforting to imagine vigilant police monitoring every camera, the truth is very different,
for a variety of reasons: technological limitations of cameras, organizational limitations of police, and the adaptive abilities of
criminals. No one looks at most CCTV footage until well after a crime is committed. And when the police do look at the
recordings, it's very common for them to be unable to identify suspects. Criminals don't often stare helpfully at the lens,
and [...] tend to wear sunglasses and hats. Cameras break far too often. [...] Cameras afford a false sense of security,
encouraging laziness when we need police to be vigilant.
Rep. Peter King On Boston Bombing: "We Need More Cameras". ["]So yes, I do favor more cameras. They're a great law
enforcement method and device. And again, it keeps us ahead of the terrorists, who are constantly trying to kill us.["]
Boston's Top Cop Warns Against "Police
State". Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis warned against creating a "police state" in the aftermath of the marathon
bombings during testimony in front of a congressional hearing today [5/9/2013]. "We do not, and cannot, live in a protective enclosure because
of the actions of extremists who seek to disrupt our way of life," Davis told lawmakers, adding "I do not endorse actions that move Boston
and our nation into a police state mentality, with surveillance cameras attached to every light pole in the city."
Australian Activist Defeats Spy Cameras
In Landmark Case. Expansion of the global surveillance grid was dealt a major blow in Australia last week after a legal
challenge by an individual against the State of New South Wales brought about a landmark ruling. A local resident opposed to the
introduction of CCTV cameras succesfully proved that public surveillance carried out by his city council not only broke Australia's
privacy laws, but also did nothing to prevent crime — the supposed reason for its installation.
Seattle [is the]
Latest City to Install DHS Surveillance Equipment. Add Seattle to the list of local governments taking money from the Department of Homeland
Security to put their citizens under federal surveillance. [...] Perhaps wiring the city with high-tech, federally funded surveillance equipment is what
Seattle mayor meant when he described the city's budget as "a moral document. It puts resources behind our vision of the city we want to see."
Apparently, part of those resources are coming from the federal government and they are earmarked for use to putting the city under the vision of the
Department of Homeland Security.
Is Crazed Super Bowl Security a Taste of America
To Come? In the run-up to Super Bowl XLVIII (just be happy they don't use Egyptian numerals), the New York City Police Department
is deploying an "amazing arsenal of security initiatives," including 200 "temporary" surveillance cameras to ensure that dirty deeds remain undone
at the big game. [...] But never fear, security at the the Super Bowl itself promises to make attendance at football's championship game an awful
lot like spending several hours at a very cold TSA checkpoint — with some watery beer. Get used to it America, this massive
demonstration of pointless security theater just may be a glimpse of the future.
City Wants Surveillance Cameras
to Record Every License Plate. Police in North Carolina want to build surveillance cameras that would record every car license that passes
by and run it through the FBI's criminal database, alerting authorities in real time if it finds a match. The system would store license plate
numbers for up to a year to provide authorities with historic data should they want to review the data later. "There is no expectation of privacy
to a license plate number," said John Carey, the police chief in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, since a license plate is a displayed public record.
Homeland Security Uses Local
Police to Set Up Surveillance Buffer Zones. In order to sweeten the pot of federalization, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is giving gifts of
expensive gadgets to local police forces. [...] How is all this new technology being used? Who is being watched? Why are they being targeted for
surveillance? Neither law enforcement nor federal agents are talking.
Warrantless GPS tracking
GPS Tracking Devices.
Do you ever get that feeling that you're being followed? Maybe you are.
Court Rules Probable-Cause Warrant Required for GPS Trackers.
An appellate court has finally supplied an answer to an open question left dangling by the Supreme Court in 2012: Do law enforcement agencies need a
probable-cause warrant to affix a GPS tracker to a target's vehicle? The Third Circuit Court of Appeals gave a resounding yes to that question today [10/22/2013]
in a 2 to 1 decision. "Today's decision is a victory for all Americans because it ensures that the police cannot use powerful tracking
technology without court supervision and a good reason to believe it will turn up evidence of wrongdoing," said ACLU attorney Catherine Crump in a statement.
"These protections are important because where people go reveals a great deal about them, from who their friends are, where they visit the doctor and where
they choose to worship."
Administration Argues No Warrant Required for GPS Tracking of Citizens. The federal government informed an appeals court on
Thursday [5/31/2012] that it has the right and the power to place GPS tracking devices on the privately owned vehicles of citizens without
obtaining a warrant. This is in open rebellion to a Supreme Court decision from January that held that such warrantless installation
of tracking devices on cars was unconstitutional.
GPS tracking banned by court, privacy fight turns to cell phone data. The D.C. nightclub owner at the center of a
landmark Supreme Court case about GPS tracking is now also challenging prosecutors' extensive use of data from cell phone towers
to monitor his location. The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that police violated Antoine Jones' Fourth Amendment rights
when they placed a GPS device on his Jeep and tracked the vehicle for a month without a valid warrant.
warn high court of big government intrusion in GPS case. The high court will decide whether warrant-less GPS tracking
by law enforcement is a violation of Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable search and seizure. The U.S. vs. Jones
case is scheduled for argument in early November. ... With an expired warrant that applied only to the District of Columbia, police
officers installed a GPS tracker on nightclub owner Antoine Jones's vehicle when it was parked in a public lot in Maryland. The
information they obtained from tracking Jones, whom they suspected of involvement in a cocaine-distribution operation, over the course of a
month allowed them to trace Jones's movements to a house in Maryland. Police reportedly found cocaine, crack and cash inside the
court case on GPS surveillance could break new ground. In a potentially groundbreaking case on
high-tech tracking by police, the Supreme Court will decide whether constant surveillance is such an intrusion
on people's lives that police need a warrant before attaching a GPS device to a person's car.
Court Hears Whether GPS Counts as 'Big Brother'. Citizens traveling public highways should have
no expectation of privacy just because police are tracking their movements through GPS rather than in person,
the U.S. government argued Tuesday [11/8/2011] in a case before the Supreme Court that pits the interest of
law enforcement against individual privacy rights. The dispute springs from a situation in which police
affixed a GPS tracking device to a suspect's car without a proper warrant. It monitored the suspect's
movements for several weeks, noting where his vehicle went and how long it stayed at each location.
Court justice: Warrantless GPS tracking 'sounds like 1984'. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments
today in United States v. Jones, a case that will determine whether the government has the right to use GPS devices
to track the locations of criminal suspects without a warrant. Several justices reportedly expressed concern
over the government's argument, but Justice Stephen Breyer seemed particularly unnerved, bringing George Orwell
into the legal debate.
Breyer warns of Orwellian government. A Supreme Court justice on Tuesday [11/8/2011] expressed major concerns
that the government would engage in round-the-clock surveillance reminiscent of the totalitarian world of the
George Orwell novel 1984 if the court ruled in the government's favor. The court heard oral arguments
in the Jones case, in which the outcome will determine whether warrantless GPS tracking by law enforcement is an
invasion of Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
Court: Police Need Warrant for GPS Tracker. The government argued that attaching the tiny device
to a car's undercarriage was too trivial a violation of property rights to matter, and that no one who drove in
public streets could expect his movements to go unmonitored. Thus, the technique was "reasonable," meaning
that police were free to employ it for any reason without first justifying it to a magistrate, the government
said. The justices seemed troubled by that position at arguments in November, where the government acknowledged
it would also allow attaching such trackers to the justices' own cars without obtaining a warrant.
Hail Samuel Alito, Privacy Champion Extraordinaire! Yesterday [1/23/2012] the Supreme Court handed
down the most important privacy case of the Roberts era, U.S. v. Jones. The unanimous decision
is an occasion for dancing in the chat rooms. In holding that the government needs a warrant before
attaching a GPS device to a suspect's car to track his movements 24/7 for a month, all the justices rejected
the Obama administration's extreme and unnecessary position that we have no expectations of privacy when it
comes to the virtual surveillance of our movements in public places.
Why the Supreme Court GPS
Decision Won't Stop Warrantless Digital Surveillance: On January 23 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously
that law enforcement authorities do not generally have a right to affix a GPS tracking device to a suspect's car without
first obtaining a valid warrant. Of the many things that can be said about the case, which has been called the most
important Fourth Amendment test in a decade, perhaps the most sobering in the long run will be this: the decision is
based on technology assumptions that are rapidly becoming irrelevant.
Setback for Big Brother.
Authoritarians nationwide were disappointed to learn Monday that a unanimous Supreme Court had denied their ability to place
hidden global-positioning-system (GPS) tracking devices on cars without a warrant. The decision is long overdue in a
society where government officials have quietly turned to technology to spy on the public. A number of lower courts
saw no problem with letting police record the movements of any motorist at any time for any reason.
Turns Off Thousands of GPS Devices After Supreme Court Ruling. The Supreme Court's recent ruling
overturning the warrantless use of GPS tracking devices has caused a "sea change" inside the U.S. Justice
Department, according to FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann. Mr. Weissmann, speaking at a University
of San Francisco conference called "Big Brother in the 21st Century" on Friday [2/24/2012], said that the
court ruling prompted the FBI to turn off about 3,000 GPS tracking devices that were in use.
The Editor says...
I would have guessed there were 300, but not 3,000.
The militarization of the police
I suspect the average cop probably watches too many crime-fighter movies. Ordinary cops are, with increasing
frequency, acting like soldiers on a battlefield rather than professionals whose primary concern is law and order.
This is particularly troublesome because of the military-style weapons they now use, which is the subject of the section
below this one.
absurdly dangerous militarization of America's police. [Scroll down] What we have here is the
absurdly dangerous militarization of America's police departments. Our sprawling Department of Homeland Security
and the Pentagon (which gave the MRAP to Bastrop [Texas]) are haphazardly spreading war equipment, war techniques and
a war mentality to what are supposed to be our communities' peacekeepers and crime solvers. Having the technology
and mindset for military actions, local authorities will find excuses to substitute them for honest police work,
turning common citizens into "enemies."
Towns Say 'No Tanks'
to Militarized Police. Residents in some towns have begun standing up to the large armored vehicles
that local police departments are receiving from the federal government. Six-figure grants from the
Department of Homeland Security have been funding BearCats and other heavily fortified vehicles in towns
and cities nationwide since soon after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Beginning last summer, the government
also has handed out 200 surplus vehicles built to withstand mines and bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan,
and is considering requests from 750 more communities.
Every Part of American Life Became a Police Matter. If all you've got is a hammer, then everything starts
to look like a nail. And if police and prosecutors are your only tool, sooner or later everything and everyone
will be treated as criminal. This is increasingly the American way of life, a path that involves "solving" social
problems (and even some non-problems) by throwing cops at them, with generally disastrous results. Wall-to-wall
criminal law encroaches ever more on everyday life as police power is applied in ways that would have been unthinkable
just a generation ago. By now, the militarization of the police has advanced to the point where "the War on
Crime" and "the War on Drugs" are no longer metaphors but bland understatements.
Small town America
shouldn't resemble war zone. Something potentially sinister is happening across America, and we should stop and take
notice before it changes the character of our country forever. County, city and small-town police departments across the
country are now acquiring free military-grade weapons that could possibly be used against the very citizens and taxpayers that
not only fund their departments but who the police are charged with protecting. [...] This trend is not only sweeping America's
small cities, it's hitting American college campuses as well. Ohio State University recently acquired an MRAP. Apparently,
college kids are getting too rowdy. These are just some of the most egregious examples. There are countless stories of
police departments getting (and often later selling) assault weapons, drones, and other military-grade equipment that is absolutely
ill-suited for America's main streets. The Pentagon's 1033 program, which "provides or transfers surplus Department of Defense
military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies without charge," is a big part of this disturbing trend.
Scenes from a
militarized America: Iowa family 'terrorized'. When critics (like me) warn about the dangers of police militarization, this is what
we're talking about. You'll see the raid team, dressed in battle-dress uniforms, helmets and face-covering balaclava hoods take down the
family's door with a battering ram. You'll see them storm the home with ballistics shields, guns at the ready. More troubling still,
you'll see not one but two officers attempt to prevent the family from having an independent record of the raid, one by destroying a surveillance
camera, another by blocking another camera's lens. [Video clip] From the images in the video, you'd think they were looking for an
escaped murderer or a house full of hit men. No, none of that. They were looking for a few people suspected of credit card fraud.
new details about the violent police raid in Iowa. The raid was apparently for suspected credit card fraud. Ankeny Police
Department officials are now speaking out. But I'm not sure they're helping their cause. [...] So they see nothing wrong with how the
raid was handled, and the department has no stated policy for executing warrants. All of that is troubling enough. (The lack of a
written policy also suggests a lack of training.) As is the "officer safety" justification, as if that in itself trumps the rights of the
people inside the house.
Indiana town's police
force gets armored carrier from military. An armored carrier the West Lafayette police department recently acquired
from the U.S. military is being refitted and will soon serve as a "moving shield" for officers, the city's police chief said.
DoD Program 1033 Militarizing Local Police Departments. Those who are
paying attention are seeing the constant notices of military equipment from overseas war-zones being dispersed to domestic police departments. These
giveaways are usually in the form of armored vehicles (as far as the public knows). This is all made possible by the Defense Department's Program 1033.
In place since 1997, the program allows the DOD to give away the equipment — often free of charge — to local police departments who apply for the equipment
grants. This year has been the year of the MRAP, or Mine Resistant Armor Protected vehicle. For the first time these fighting vehicles, costing
an upwards of $600,000 each, are being sent out to American cops, and in rapid fashion.
The Price I Paid for
Fighting for a Library Free of Porn and Sex Offenders. [Scroll down] I've noticed more stories about the militarization of local police
and harassment of citizens happening at an alarming rate across this country. Salinas, California just got an armored police vehicle which is disturbing its
residents. They don't understand why their police need such a thing in such a little town. Places like Boulder, Colorado and Preston, Idaho also
received these vehicles, disturbing their inhabitants too. Stories of police acting above the law, searching without warrants and abusing their power
are on the rise also. There are videos all over YouTube of concealed weapons permit holders being forced to the ground and threatened with a bullet to
the head over a legally carried weapon by officers too caught up in their own power to abide by the law. It's a frightening time to be a private
Militarized police. With almost 13,000
agencies in all 50 states and four U.S. territories participating in a military "recycling" program, community police forces across the country
continue to be transformed into outposts of the military, with police agencies acquiring military-grade hardware-tanks, weaponry, and other equipment
designed for the battlefield-in droves. Keep in mind that once acquired, this military equipment, which is beyond the budget and scope of most
communities, finds itself put to all manner of uses by local law enforcement agencies under the rationale that "if we have it, we might as well use
it" — the same rationale, by the way, used with deadly results to justify assigning SWAT teams to carry out routine law enforcement work such as
delivering a warrant.
Leftover armored trucks from Iraq
coming to local police agencies. The Albany County sheriff's office is among eight law-enforcement agencies in New York that
have received the free mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, made for $500,000 apiece. Civil liberties advocates, meanwhile,
see it as the increasing militarization of police forces.
start with a little Police State this morning... .
Department gives local police equipment designed for a war zone. The Defense Department recently announced it would be
giving domestic law enforcement forces hulking vehicles designed to efficiently maneuver in a war zone for use in thwarting any potential
domestic law enforcement paranoia turn US into a police state? In an article for The Guardian earlier this month that raised questions
about the 1033 program — an initiative that allows the Defense Department to donate surplus military equipment to local police
forces — Michael Shank pointed to the mounting evidence that suggests the police force in America is looking more and more like
the military. "The growing militarization of the United States appears to be occurring at home as well as abroad, a
phenomenon which is troublesome and sure to continue without decisive action," he wrote, warning of, "the blurring line
between military forces and the local police who are meant to protect and serve." Someone is training law enforcement
officials in this heavy-handed behavior. The question is, why?
Beware Of The Police's Increasing
Militarization. In early August, a SWAT team broke through the gates of a 3.5-acre farm in Arlington, Texas, that promotes a sustainable lifestyle
and did a 10-hour search of the property. Residents were handcuffed and held at gunpoint as police looked for nonexistent marijuana plants and various
city code violations. As the owners watched, 10 tons of their private property was hauled off in trucks — dangerous items such as
blackberry bushes, okra, tomatillo plants, native grasses and sunflowers that provided food and bedding for animals, everything from furniture to compost.
Whatcha Gonna Do If They Come for You. [Scroll
down] For [Radley] Balko, the crackdown on illicit drugs is the driving force behind police militarization. Battlefield rhetoric —
we speak of the drug "war," for instance — encouraged an "us vs. them" attitude that superseded the old "protect and serve." Hundreds
of police forces began to insist that they needed SWAT teams to combat dangerous drug traders. In dress and in tactics, SWAT forces are far closer
to military than police. The book's cover features a phalanx of state troopers wearing Kevlar vests and face shields, gear more reminiscent of the
battle suits from the Halo video game series than of a local sheriff. As military-style police became the norm, the need to treat suspects like
enemy combatants changed the legal landscape.
domestic law enforcement paranoia turn US into a police state? Judging by the way the Department of Homeland Security is spending your
money, domestic unrest may be coming soon to a city near you. The DHS has been making purchases lately that seem to signal a federal fear of riots
across the nation in the coming months. The obvious question is, what do they know that they American people don't? A more enduring and
chilling question is what will be the end result of America's increasingly militarized police force?
Dallas County Now Has Its Very Own Bulletproof,
"Mine-Protected" Military SUV. The initial plan was to shove the vehicles, called MRAPS (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) into a warehouse
and let them collect dust. That changed when someone decided that, having served so admirably overseas, it would be only just to bring the MRAPs
stateside and deploy them in the domestic war on crime. And so, for the past couple of months, news reports have been popping up announcing that
places like Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Ohio State University have been receiving their very own military-grade armored SUVs.
The cops at Ohio State have an armored fighting
vehicle now. The Ohio State University Department of Public Safety has acquired an armored military vehicle that looks like it belongs in Iraq or
Afghanistan. Gary Lewis, a senior director of media relations at OSU, told The Daily Caller via email that the "unique, special-purpose vehicle is a
replacement" for the "police fleet." He called the armored jalopy "an all-hazard, all-purpose, public safety-response vehicle" with "obviously enhanced
capabilities." Lewis did not specify exactly what previous mode of transport was replaced.
Is America Inching Toward a Police State? In his book, [John W.]
Whitehead warns of the gradual transformation of America into a police state in which stronger law enforcement and a robust surveillance apparatus might give rise to
a state governed by the strong arm of the law. He contends that the lines between foreign and domestic surveillance and between law enforcement and military
agencies are dissipating. This has resulted in an increasing number of military-style SWAT raids and the rapid growth of the government surveillance programs
led by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Beware Warrior Cops.
We need police to catch murderers, thieves and con men, and so we give them special power — the power to use force on others. Sadly, today's
police use that power to invade people's homes over accusations of trivial, nonviolent offenses — and often do it with tanks, battering rams and armor
you'd expect on battlefields.
Lewiston police unveil armored
vehicle at Night Out. People flocked to Marcotte Park on Tuesday for National Night Out as the Police Department showed of its newest additions:
a robot and an armored personnel carrier.
When your own police label you a terrorist. Concord Police Chief John Duval
recently begged Washington, D.C., for more than $250,000 to buy a military-style "armored personnel carrier" — the Lenco BearCat G3. Chief Duval
claims he needs this military personnel carrier because of groups like the "Free Staters." He stated in his application that their threats were "real and here" and
are providing Concord police "daily challenges." A "Free Stater" is a person loosely participating in peaceful, social and economic migration: to move 20,000
Americans who believe in smaller, responsible government to New Hampshire. I did that. I came to New Hampshire for that very reason. So, yes, I guess
I am a "Free Stater." I am also a Republican, a lawyer and a computer nerd. Concord police want a military-style vehicle because of people like me?
Rights Violated By Authorities. A Nevada family files a lawsuit after police literally seize their house to use as a command post after
entering without a warrant and assaulting family members. Isn't this what helped start the American Revolution?
allegedly forced from home by police files rare Third Amendment suit. According to the complaint, it all began when the
Henderson city police called Anthony Mitchell that morning to say they needed his house to gain "tactical advantage" in a domestic
violence investigation in the neighborhood. The situation turned ugly when Mitchell refused repeated requests to leave and
police smashed through the door, the 18-page complaint states. Mitchell alleges the police, upon entering his home, forced
him to the floor at gunpoint, then shot him and his "cowering" dog with a few rounds of pepper-spray pellets.
Uphold the Third
Amendment. [Scroll down] Now we see another Third Amendment case, from Henderson, Nev., in which the plaintiffs, the
Mitchell family, claim that Henderson police seized their home — battering the door open with a battering ram — so as
to secure an advantageous position in addressing a domestic violence report involving a neighboring house. The police were quite
rude — calling the inhabitants "a•••••••s" and shooting both Anthony Mitchell and his dog
with a pepper-ball gun — before setting up a lookout post in the house. Should the Third Amendment have something to say
A Real Live Third Amendment Case. The most obvious obstacle to
winning a Third Amendment claim here is that police arguably do not qualify as "soldiers." On the other hand, as Radley Balko describes in his excellent
new book The Rise of the Warrior Cop, many police departments are increasingly using military-style tactics and equipment, often including the aggressive use of
force against innocent people who get in the way of their plans. If the plaintiffs' complaint is accurate, this appears to be an example of that trend.
In jurisdictions where the police have become increasingly militarized, perhaps the courts should treat them as "soldiers" for Third Amendment purposes.
And Now They Trample The Third Amendment.
Henderson police arrested a family for refusing to let officers use their homes as lookouts for a domestic violence investigation of their neighbors, the
family claims in court. [...] The Mitchell family's claim includes Third Amendment violations, a rare claim in the United States. The Third Amendment
prohibits quartering soldiers in citizens' homes in times of peace without the consent of the owner.
Capitol troopers begin carrying assault rifles. Regulars around the state Capitol will soon be seeing something
different: Troopers carrying military-style assault rifles. [...] Officers once armed only with handguns will be walking around
the Capitol with M-6 carbines, a variant of the AR-15. We don't have to explain the irony. Not all officers will be so
armed — just enough to make a public statement.
Cops with Machine Guns: The Killing of Michael
Nida. In October 2011, the police-related shooting death of unarmed man, Michael Nida, 31, raised serious questions about
the state of policing in the city of Downey, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. Why did it raise questions? The father of
four who worked in construction wasn't shot with a handgun by one of the Downey Police Department's officers. He was shot with an MP5
submachine gun, the same gun used by the Navy Seals.
Battlefield Main Street.
A rapidly expanding Pentagon program that distributes used military equipment to local police departments — many of
them small-town forces — puts battlefield-grade weaponry in the hands of cops at an unprecedented rate. Through
its little-known "1033 program," the Department of Defense gave away nearly $500 million worth of leftover military gear
to law enforcement in fiscal year 2011 — a new record for the program and a dramatic rise over past years' totals,
including the $212 million in equipment distributed in 2010.
The Militarization of Policing in America. American neighborhoods
are increasingly being policed by cops armed with the weapons and tactics of war. Federal funding in the billions of dollars
has allowed state and local police departments to gain access to weapons and tactics created for overseas combat theaters —
and yet very little is known about exactly how many police departments have military weapons and training, how militarized the police
have become, and how extensively federal money is incentivizing this trend.
Tanks on Main Street: The Militarization of
Local Police. Take a close look at your local police officers, the ones who patrol your neighborhoods
and ensure the safety of your roadways. Chances are they look less and less like the benevolent keepers of the
peace who patrolled Andy Griffith's Mayberry and more like inflexible extensions of the military. ... Moreover,
as an investigative report by Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz reveals, in communities large and small across
America, local law enforcement are arming themselves to the teeth with weapons previously only seen on the
battlefield. "Many police, including beat cops, now routinely carry assault rifles.
Is Offering Free Military Hardware To Every Police Department In The US. The US military
has some of the most advanced killing equipment in the world that allows it to invade almost wherever it
likes at will. We produce so much military equipment that inventories of military robots, M-16 assault
rifles, helicopters, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers eventually start to pile up and it turns a lot
of these weapons are going straight to American police forces to be used against US citizens.
The Creeping Militarization
of the Home Front: Deploying troops on the home front is very different
from waging war abroad. Soldiers are trained to kill, whereas civilian peace officers
are trained to respect constitutional rights and to use force only as a last resort. That
fundamental distinction explains why Americans have long resisted the use of standing armies to
keep the domestic peace. Unfortunately, plans are afoot to change that time-honored
Bowl 2012 Security Patrols Use Robots, Toxin Monitors, F-16s. Weeks before this year's Super Bowl
championship contenders were set, massive security teams were hard at work to secure the city of Indianapolis,
deploying some of the most advanced defense technologies ever used at the big game. The U.S. military,
police and federal agencies, including NORAD and Customs and Border Protection, all have officers on the
ground, who specialize in multiple types of emergency situations.
Trade Center to be kept safe using military-grade technology. The New York Post reported the
high-tech system of thousands of "intelligent" cameras and computer processors can recognise people's faces
and retinas and then compare that information with databases such as terrorist watch lists, sources said.
Pentagon halts free guns for
police. The Defense Department recently fired off a round of letters warning state law enforcement officials to track
down every gun, helicopter and Humvee that the military had given them under a $2.6 billion surplus program, or have their
access to the handouts cut off.
the government fears the people, that is liberty.
When the people fear the government, that is tyranny."
— Thomas Jefferson
Ordinary cops have too much fire power
The local police, with the help of the feds, have become militarized, using weapons and tactics that were once reserved for foreign battlefields.
Incoming Boston mayor,
police clash over AR-15 proposal. Boston police are clashing with the city's incoming mayor over a proposal to arm some
officers with AR-15 rifles. Mayor-elect Martin Walsh came out against the plan over the weekend. The Boston Police Department
had been pushing for a limited number of officers to carry the high-powered rifles, in light of recent mass shootings as well as the
Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year.
The Editor says...
Bigger guns do not equate to faster response and smarter cops.
Cops can use radio waves to bring
your car to a halt. Finding a safe way to stop fleeing cars has been a difficult problem for law enforcement for a long time.
Police have tried everything from spike strips to PIT maneuvers to bring fleeing villains to a halt. Now, however, a British company has
a slightly more high tech idea: radio waves. The company, known as E2V is working on a system called RF-Safe Stop that projects
radio pulses which overwhelm and shutdown engine electronics.
The Editor says...
I would not want to be in the vicinity when that weapon was used. Will the police pay for knocked-out engines on nearby cars? Probably not.
If the radio signal is powerful enough to kill an automobile engine, wouldn't it also kill all the electronics in the area, and wouldn't it be a severe health
hazard? At the very least, this would almost certainly violate the FCC's RF exposure standards for "uncontrolled exposure areas." If the weapon kills
the electronics in your engine, wouldn't it also kill your pacemaker? This idea comes from the same nanny state that requires warning signs where
there's a microwave oven in use in a public place!
Online Ammunition Salesman Says One Police Department Is Ordering Lots Of
Ammo. Seems like more than just the Social Security and DHS etc are gearing up for what is coming. Reading about
these .gov agencies buying all the ammo that they have been buying is eye opening, but to be on the phone talking to someone trying to
procure this much ammo for a police department, is chilling!
York's Long-Distance Body Scanners Challenge 4th Amendment. The NYPD, sometimes referred to as the
world's "seventh largest army" with 35,000 uniformed officers, already does a brisk business frisking potential
suspects, with little pushback. In the first quarter of last year, 161,000 New Yorkers were stopped and
interrogated, with more than nine out of 10 of them found to be innocent. And there are cameras already in place
everywhere: in Manhattan alone there are more than 2,000 surveillance cameras watching for alleged miscreants.
New Anti-Crime Cameras Being Installed
Downtown. Officials said 38 anti-crime cameras will soon be installed in downtown Los Angeles. In the coming weeks, this new
equipment will replace cameras which have been broken or failing for years.
Iowa city to buy their own semi-automatic AR-15s. Police in one Iowa city could soon be buying their own assault rifles to
carry in squad cars to ensure they aren't outgunned by criminals in the wake of several high-profile shootings involving semi-automatic
AR-15s, FoxNews.com has learned. Half of the 50-member force in Marion, Iowa, will take part in the upgrade, paying for the $2,000
guns in installments deducted from their paychecks, according to Police Chief Harry Daugherty.
San Francisco to Test
Big Brother Cameras. The United States continues its slow morphing into Big Brotherdom, this time through the use of
cameras that predict crimes before they take place based on "suspicious" behavior. The cameras will then summon law enforcement
to help pre-empt the crime from taking place. The Daily Mail (Britain) reports, "Using a range of in-built parameters of what is
'normal' the cameras then send a text message to a human guard to issue an alert-or call them." They can track up to 150 people
at a time and will build up a "memory" of suspicious behavior to begin determining what is inappropriate.
Just like the Telescreens in 1984:
Talking Surveillance Cameras Coming to U.S. Streets.
Talking surveillance cameras that bark orders at passers-by and can also record conversations are heading for U.S. streets, with manufacturer
Illuminating Concepts announcing the progress of its 'Intellistreets' system.
launches nationwide look into police 'militarization'. ACLU cites ten cases where the use of excess force and weaponry
demonstrate the need for investigation. In one case, police blinded themselves with a flash bang grenade and then mistakenly
shot a sleeping nine-year-old. Police in Paragould Arkansas had to pull back from a plan to patrol streets in full SWAT gear after
public pressure mounted. The Paragould Police Chief had said he expected most people stopped would be innocent of any crime, but
claimed it was the civilian's responsibility to "prove" innocence.
DHS deploying in Homeland with 'weapons of war'.
Compounded by the administration's now "on the radar" push to further restrict civilian firearm ownership, the recent controversy over the
potential use of drones over American soil to kill citizens without due process, and a longstanding and documented train of abuses tied to
the militarization of law enforcement activities, those who keep an eye on such things are noticeably distressed.
Kelly says cops could take down an aircraft. The NYPD now has anti-aircraft capability.
New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly tells "60 Minutes" that the NYPD has "some means to take down a
plane" in what he termed an "extreme situation," during an interview tonight on CBS, according to a
transcript of the exchange.
sheriff launches 'Operation Exodus'. The Bossier Parish sheriff's office is launching a program
called "Operation Exodus," a policing plan for an end-of-the-world scenario involving a mostly white group of
ex-police volunteers and a .50-caliber machine gun, inspired in part from the Book of Exodus in the Bible.
Machine Gun-Toting Officers To Patrol
NYC Subway. The NYPD is pulling out all the stops to beef up safety of the subways. On
Thursday it launched a new anti-terror effort called "Operation Torch," but the cost of the program is raising
some eyebrows. The NYPD's new firepower consists of cops with Mp5 submachine guns, rifles, body armor
and bomb-sniffing dogs.
Big Brother Not Only Watches Us, It Toys
with Our Children. Lego, for example, in 2003 began marketing a plastic construction set depicting
a police 18-wheeler housing a surveillance unit, complete with monitoring devices and control panels to track
movements of little Lego citizens. … While the Lego surveillance play set is — according to the
company — oriented toward 8-year-olds, a rival company, Playmobil, which produces plastic figures for younger
darlings, apparently has determined there is a market for toys teaching 4-year-olds the benefit of submitting
oneself to intrusive police searches.
OKs searches of cell phones without warrant. The California Supreme Court allowed police Monday [1/3/2011]
to search arrestees' cell phones without a warrant, saying defendants lose their privacy rights for any items
they're carrying when taken into custody. Under U.S. Supreme Court precedents, "this loss of privacy
allows police not only to seize anything of importance they find on the arrestee's body ... but also to open
and examine what they find," the state court said in a 5-2 ruling.
Where have you gone,
Sheriff Taylor? [Scroll down] Not long ago I reported on an even more absurd case, in Shreveport,
Louisiana. There, the police chief cooked up this hare-brained idea of holding gas station employees and owners
criminally liable in cases where drivers drive away without paying. I can almost hear your incredulity. ... Well,
you see, the chief got the town council to require station attendants to make their customers pre-pay. If they don't,
and the driver drives off without paying, then the attendant is also a criminal! This sort of regulation of
everyday life is all too common. The basic idea is to scribble out a criminal code to make it easy for
The Rise of the American
Police State. The increasingly antiterrorism-oriented police units have begun to regard
dissenting citizens, or even innocent and unsuspecting citizens, as the "enemy" in domestic "war zones." ... The
militarization of the police does not occur instantaneously, but is the cumulative result of each military tool
amassed, each protester silenced based on his political views, or each wrongful search that goes unchallenged.
Child abuse! Call the SWAT team! Apparently they
take their polygamy very seriously in Texas. Our troops in Iraq might be able to use a piece of equipment
like the one at [left], pictured during the raid on the FLDS compound in Texas.
S.W.A.T. Team Use In U.S. Law Enforcement Dramatically Increases.
The SWAT teams wear camouflage, body armor and gas masks, and use weapons such as diversionary "flashbangs" (a
diversionary device), submachine guns, explosives and chemical weapons. Kraska's survey shows that the
SWAT teams receive training by active and retired military experts in special operations. Heckler and
Koch, makers of the MP5 submachine gun used by the Navy Seals, also provide training to the SWAT teams.
Some units also have helicopters and armored personnel carriers at their disposal.
Our Growing Police State.
The Giffords/Roll shooting was brought to an end by a bystander. The Ft. Hood massacre on November 5,
2009, which killed 13 American soldiers and wounded 29 others was brought to an end by two base police
officers using conventional sidearms and procedures. The warning signs for this terrorist attack, the
first on American soil since 9/11, were ignored and yet it was the local cops on the beat who faced and dealt
with a terrible crime. Every case one can think of was resolved by conventional methods. And yet
the police powers of government on a local and national level have been growing at an alarming rate. And
despite a dissonant data base there is a growing trend towards militarization of police forces and of an
invasive state security apparatus.
Obama and his Syndicate. [Scroll
down] Now the extremely bad news for US citizens. First, on 19 January 2012, multiple videos were
made of a shipment — via rail — of hundreds of Bradley armored vehicles and related equipment
moving from Northern California Southward. ... The US military, Department of Homeland Security and LOCAL Police
are conducting "urban warfare exercises" in recent and unprecedented "showings of force" under the now undeniable
(by any intelligent beings) Dictator-in-Chief Barack Hussein Obama. These military forces are inhabiting
the streets and air of and over Los Angeles, Boston, Little Rock, Miami and Colorado amongst others.
Homeland Security seeking assault and sniper rifles.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a bid for 36 Colt LE901 rifle systems, which will accept and function any military specification
(Mil-Spec) .223 caliber upper receiver, and is thus backwards compatible with all CBP/U.S. Border Patrol M4 upper receivers.
Not surprisingly in this matter is the recent award by DHS, but no solicitation can be found for, .223 caliber Remington Enhanced
Department Of Homeland Security Is Buying 450 Million New Bullets. The Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office is getting an "indefinite delivery"
of an "indefinite quantity" of .40 caliber ammunition from defense contractor ATK. U.S. agents will
receive a maximum of 450 million rounds over five years, according to a press release on the deal. The
high performance HST bullets are designed for law enforcement and ATK says they offer "optimum penetration for
The Editor says...
If the Immigration and Customs people need that many bullets, I'd say it's time to take all the U.S. Army personnel out of
their comfortable assignments in Germany and Japan, and send them to the Mexican border.
Who Does The Government Intend To Shoot?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) confirms that it is purchasing 174 thousand rounds of hollow point bullets to be delivered to
41 locations in major cities across the U.S. No one has yet said what the purpose of these purchases is, though we are led to
believe that they will be used only in an emergency to counteract and control civil unrest. Those against whom the hollow point bullets are
to be used — those causing the civil unrest — must be American citizens; since the SSA has never been used overseas to help
foreign countries maintain control of their citizens. [...] If this were only a one time order of ammunition, it could easily be dismissed.
But there is a pattern here. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has ordered 46,000 rounds of hollow point
It's illegal for passengers to ride in a trailer -- unless you're a cop.
County sheriff's department enlists 16-foot trailer for mass arrests response. No longer will Passaic County law enforcement have to
take separate cars to respond to a scene where mass arrests are expected. Now the sheriff's department has a 16-foot dual axle trailer to
transport up to 20 officers to parades, demonstrations, shopping frenzies or college parties that might get too rowdy. The $130,000 trailer
came from the state's Department of Corrections through a federal Homeland Security grant, putting Passaic County on New Jersey's Mass Arrest
Why do America's
police need an armored tank? If the new American paramilitary is being created not to repel
a massive invasion of Al Qaeda based terrorists unleashed on our homeland, then why are we militarizing
our society to a point that surpasses the wildest dreams of former Iron Curtain leaders of the 1970's?
Perhaps it is not to keep the masses protected but incarcerated; to hold their wealth and prevent it from
leaving the country, to control their spending with strict illegal monitoring and currency manipulation,
to tax without representation, and to modify behavior just like prison inmates are manipulated using controls
beyond the scope of most inmates mental capacity.
DNA Gun Tags Rioters for Future Arrest. [A] new high velocity DNA
tagging system, designed by UK firm Selectamark, fires small soft green DNA pellets which could remain on the target's skin for weeks. Andrew Knights from
Selectamark said: 'On contact with the target the uniquely-coded SelectaDNA solution leaves a synthetic DNA trace mark that will enable the relevant authorities to
confirm or eliminate that person from their involvement in a particular situation and could ultimately lead to arrest and prosecution.'
The use of drones against civilians:
Unmanned aerial vehicles, colloquially referred to as drones, are now being used as a high-tech law enforcement surveillance tool.
(When did we vote on this?) The UAVs are used to obtain aerial video from an altitude of 400 feet or less. They
might not make enough noise to alert you to their presence, and in the event of a SWAT situation, the SWAT team can make
plenty of noise to be sure you don't hear any aircraft. The UAVs I've seen do not appear to be powerful enough to
lift a good camera lens, to say nothing of an image stabilizer, so the resulting video is probably not that great. (If
the video is completely useless, that fact will never be made public.) So far there has been nothing said about the penalties for shooting down a
drone, or confusing it enough to make it crash, but after that happens you can be sure there will be legislation written, debated, passed and signed
into law in a matter of 24 hours -- much like the way the
300-page Patriot Act materialized in six weeks and was signed into law without
being read by anyone in Congress. (What's the rush?) The penalty for
shooting at a UAV will probably be the same as the penalty for shooting at a police car, and the first person to do so will be prominently
featured on the evening "news" (which is usually nothing more than an infomercial for big government -- but that's another story).
employ Predator drone spy planes on home front. Local police say they have used two unarmed
Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June.
The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have used Predators for other domestic investigations, officials
said. ... The drones belong to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which operates eight Predators on the
country's northern and southwestern borders to search for illegal immigrants and smugglers. The previously
unreported use of its drones to assist local, state and federal law enforcement has occurred without any public
acknowledgment or debate.
there a drone in your neighbourhood? There are at least 63 active drone sites around the U.S, federal authorities have been forced to reveal
following a landmark Freedom of Information lawsuit. The unmanned planes — some of which may have been designed to kill terror
suspects — are being launched from locations in 20 states.
Surveillance Drones Don't Live
Up To Expectations. Predator Drones have proven not to be worth the cost in their ability to curb contraband, drug
traffic, and illegal alien activity. Nearly two years after Predator B drones were deployed along the Texas/Mexico
international border, the unmanned surveillance aircraft have proven to be, well, not worth it. The drones were intended to
augment the presence of border agents and physical barriers such as some 700 miles of intermittent border fencing along the Rio
Grande River. The Hill reported on June 10, 2010 that setting up a single drone in Corpus Christi, Texas (on the Gulf
Coast), would have an estimated cost of between $20 and $80 million to focus on the Texas border alone.
Krauthammer On Drones
Flying In US: "Stop It Here, Stop It Now". "I'm going to go hard left on you here, I'm going ACLU," syndicated columnist Charles
Krauthammer said in opposition to the use of drones on the U.S. homeland. "I don't want regulations, I don't want restrictions, I want a
ban on this. Drones are instruments of war. The Founders had a great aversion to any instruments of war, the use of the military
inside even the United States. It didn't like standing armies, it has all kinds of statutes of using the army in the country." "A
drone is a high-tech version of an old army and a musket. It ought to be used in Somalia to hunt bad guys but not in America. I don't
want to see it hovering over anybody's home. [...]"
Predator Drone in the USA Could be Spying On You. Americans are familiar with unmanned spy drones
providing surveillance of Iranian nuclear complexes and Taliban armed militants combating American troops along
the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Now the Obama administration has quietly authorized Predator
Drone use by law enforcement officials in the United States to spy on American Citizens.
Government Withholds Information on Drone
Flight Authorizations. State and local law enforcement are increasingly using unmanned aircraft for
investigations into things like cattle rustling, drug dealing, and the search for missing persons. Any drone
flying over 400 feet needs a certification or authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration, part of the
DOT. But there is currently no information available to the public about who specifically has obtained these
authorizations or for what purposes.
Privacy concerns as US
government rolls out domestic drone rules. Unmanned drones could soon be buzzing in the skies above many U.S. cities, as the federal
government green-lights the technology for local law enforcement amid widespread privacy concerns. The Federal Aviation Administration on
Monday [5/14/2012] began to explain the rules of the sky for these newly licensed drones at potentially dozens of sites across the country.
Is There a Drone In Your
Backyard? Earlier this week, the federal government announced that the Air Force might be dispatching drones to a backyard
near you. The stated purpose of these spies in the sky is to assist local police to find missing persons or kidnap victims, or to
chase bad guys. If the drone operator sees you doing anything of interest (Is your fertilizer for the roses or to fuel a bomb? Is
that Sudafed for your cold or your meth habit? Are you smoking in front of your kids?), the feds say they may take a picture of you
and keep it. The feds predict that they will dispatch or authorize about 30,000 of these unmanned aerial vehicles across America in the
next 10 years. Meanwhile, more than 300 local and state police departments are awaiting federal permission to use the drones they
already have purchased — usually with federal stimulus funds. The government is out of control.
Change to Drone Policy, Drones Still Controversial. The use of drones by the United States is so controversial that even
mainstream media outlets cannot ignore it. Earlier this week, CBS News asked who would be targeted by U.S. drones, and who would
decide whom the drones target. According to that report, the decision would be "concentrated" in the hands of a very small group
of people at the White House.
America: The Home of the...
Compliant? If you want a quick measure of the state of American society, you might consider the federal government's
use of unmanned aerial drones to monitor U.S. citizens, and in particular the EPA's matter-of-fact defense of its use of drones over
the Midwest as necessary to "verify compliance" with environmental laws. And as the EPA's "environmental justice" agenda is
quickly becoming the government's official overarching priority, we might describe the Obama era as the dawning of the Age of
government to use 'drones the size of Golf Balls to spy on American citizens'. A 30-page memorandum issued by President
Barack Obama's Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley on April 23 has stated that the drones, some as small as golf balls, may
be used domestically to 'collect information about U.S. persons.' The photos that the drones will take may be retained, used or
even distributed to other branches of the government so long as the 'recipient is reasonably perceived to have a specific, lawful
governmental function' in asking for them.
Paul proposes bill protecting Americans from drone surveillance. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday [6/12/2012] introduced the
Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act, which would require the government to get a warrant before using aerial drones to
surveil U.S. citizens. More broadly, Paul's bill is aimed at preventing "unwarranted governmental intrusion" through the use of
drones, according to the lawmaker.
Rand Paul Tries To Shoot Down
Drone Surveillance. Does the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable
searches and seizures include aerial surveillance of your house and property? Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., thinks so.
Talk of drones patrolling US skies spawns
anxiety. The prospect that thousands of drones could be patrolling U.S. skies by the end of this decade is raising the specter of a
Big Brother government that peers into backyards and bedrooms.
Dumb and Dumber Drones. On
Valentine's Day (politicians know that holidays and weekends are ideal times to pull the wool over our eyes), Obama signed the FAA
Modernization and Reform Act. This law allocates $63.6 billion to the Federal Aviation Administration between 2012
and 2015. Basically, it authorizes the FAA to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to loosen and expand drone regulations for
both military and private/commercial use.
The Drone Zone. It took a few seconds to
figure out exactly what we were looking at. A white S.U.V. traveling along a highway adjacent to the base came into the cross hairs
in the center of the screen and was tracked as it headed south along the desert road. When the S.U.V. drove out of the picture,
the drone began following another car. "Wait, you guys practice tracking enemies by using civilian cars?" a reporter asked.
One Air Force officer responded that this was only a training mission, and then the group was quickly hustled out of the room.
GPS Hijacking: Team of U.S. Faculty, Students Take Control of
Drone. Faculty and students at the University of Texas at Austin have proven that a sophisticated surveillance drone can be hacked mid-flight via its
GPS. The same could be done with virtually any type of drone, or even with a commercial airliner. Drones, or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), are used
both domestically — particularly along our southern border — and by the military and the CIA abroad, especially in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and
elsewhere. Last week, a small team of faculty and students was able to take control of a Department of Homeland Security drone by "spoofing" its GPS.
Drone Manufacturers Contribute Millions to Congressional Campaigns. President Obama's drone fever is contagious and is spreading
worldwide, and the American industries that build the drones are slavering over the chance to supply the demand.
Air Force Wants
Tiny Drones That Squirt Trackable Sensor Goo. The Air Force wants a new kind of tracking tech
in which a tiny drone surreptitiously "paints" an individual with some kind of signal-emitting powder or
liquid that allows the military to keep tabs on him or her. Or perhaps upload his coordinates to a
hellfire missile. On Tuesday, the Air Force put out a call for proposals for such technology, though it
didn't specify exactly what kind of drone might deliver the magic powder, or what the magic powder might be.
FAA Has Authorized
106 Government 'Entities' to Fly Domestic Drones. Since Jan. 1 of this year, according to congressional testimony
presented Thursday [7/19/2012] by the Government Accountability Office, the Federal Aviation Administration has authorized 106 federal,
state and local government "entities" to fly "unmanned aircraft systems," also known as drones, within U.S. airspace. "We are
now on the edge of a new horizon: using unmanned aerial systems within the homeland," House Homeland Security Oversight
Subcommittee Chairman Michael McCaul (R.-Texas) said as he introduced the testimony.
Use Increases Worldwide; Trade Rep Says Only the Guilty Need Fear. It's been about a year since a North Dakota man was
arrested after a local SWAT team tracked him down using a Predator drone it borrowed from the Department of Homeland Security.
Although the story has not been widely reported, Rodney Brossart became one of the first (if not the first) American citizens arrested
by local law enforcement with the use of a federally-owned drone surveillance vehicle after holding the police at bay for over 16 hours.
Laser-Powered Drone Could Remain Airborne
Forever. A drone being used by the United States Special Forces has the potential to remain airborne indefinitely if engineers can get
the science right. Using lasers beamed from the ground to the unmanned aerial vehicle, the military could send a continuous source of power to
the drone allowing it to fly without landing for refueling. This is the "exciting possibility" demonstrated during an indoor test flight
conducted by Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the Stalker drone. Lockheed Martin has already developed an electric version of the Stalker
that has a two-hour battery life and this latest experiment is an attempt to perfect the technology that will recharge that battery from the ground
while the drone remains in flight.
Bill would clip wings of
private drone use. Concern over the personal privacy implications of the nation's inevitable drone boom continues to
grow on Capitol Hill. This week, Rep. Ted Poe, a Texas Republican and former judge, will introduce the Preserving American
Privacy Act, which sets strict limits on when, and for what purpose, law enforcement agencies and other entities can use unmanned
aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Drones are being used on a limited basis by some police and federal departments, but they will be
available for commercial and private use in 2015.
Grain of salt: This comes from a Russian news site.
Predator drones to start operations over North Dakota.
The FAA has authorized the use of remote-controlled Predator drones in the airspace above nearly 10,000 acres in North Dakota. As of
this fall, unmanned military aircraft will use lasers to aim at ground targets from nearly 2 miles above the earth. Grand Forks,
North Dakota — the third largest city in the state — will host a domestic training facility for the military's unmanned
aerial vehicles starting in October. Several times a week pilots will remotely guide robotic drones through the sky at altitudes as high
of [sic] 9,999 feet above sea level and zone in [sic] on ground targets with the use of dangerous lasers.
This is an indication of the state of the art:
X-47B Completes First Pax River Flight.
Naval aviation officials chose 11 a.m. on Sunday morning [7/29/2012] to make history as the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator
made its first flight at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. [...] Pax River has a simulated aircraft carrier environment to test the
incredible feat of landing an unmanned aircraft on a carrier at sea. Navy leaders hope to make the first X-47B landing on a carrier
Self-Guided Bullets and Super
Sniper Scopes Deliver Death From 2 Km. As the technology facilitating the expansion of the surveillance state becomes more advanced, the need
for proximity to the target of the surveillance diminishes. For example, very soon drones will be equipped with lasers that can penetrate walls, map the
interior of a home or other building, and scan a targeted individual's genetic code from 50 yards with dizzying speed and accuracy. Additionally,
the ability to keep drones perpetually airborne is being engineered thanks to multi-million dollar research and development grants offered by the Pentagon to
companies on the edge of technological advancement.
Remember, military hardware and tactics eventually find their way into local police departments.
U.S. Air Force Training
More Drone Pilots Than Traditional Pilots. The U.S. Air Force is training more drone "pilots" than those who will be at the controls of traditional
aircraft, according to the Air Force chief of staff. To date, there are reportedly around 1,300 people controlling the Air Force's arsenal of Reaper,
Predator, and Global Hawk drones, and the Pentagon plans to add about 2,500 pilots and support crew by 2014, according to an article in published
August 3 by The Times (of London). The UK paper reports that 350 new drone pilots were trained in 2011 "compared to 250 conventional fighter
and bomber pilots."
Drones in the sky over
America. In a few years the skies over the United States will be filled with hundreds if not thousands of of drones, unmanned aerial vehicles,
doing a variety of tasks — border security, disaster relief, search and rescue, counter-terrorism and looking down on people and streets on behalf
of police departments.
One nation under surveillance. America is no longer "one nation
under God." Today, America is "one nation under surveillance." Cameras monitoring our every movement, satellites taking pictures of
our homes, listening devices being used to record our conversations, hi-tech computers capturing virtually every piece of correspondence, banking
institutions forwarding our private financial records to Big Brother, and now armed drones flying over the neighborhoods of the American
citizenry all reveal that America is anything but the "land of the free."
Chief Group Suggests Guidelines for Use of Police Drones. In advance of law enforcement's deployment of their drones, a
group representing police chiefs have issued recommended guidelines for the lawful use of the unmanned aerial vehicles. The Aviation
Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) published a three-page pamphlet suggesting ways local police can
successfully and safely include drones in their law enforcement efforts. The document breaks down its directions into four broad
categories: community engagement, system requirements, operational procedures, and image retention.
Law enforcement groups back drone-use
guidelines. The Airborne Law Enforcement Association, the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association
and the FBI National Academy Associates joined the International Association of Chiefs of Police in supporting rules designed
to keep police and other agencies from abusing the power that comes with drone use. The guidelines call for law enforcement
personnel to "secure a search warrant prior to conducting the flight" if a drone could infringe upon "reasonable expectations of
Drone may be coming to Miami-Dade. A new piece of
technology may soon be coming to South Florida, but is already raising concerns from residents. The Miami-Dade Police Department
recently finalized a deal to buy a drone, which is an unmanned plane equipped with cameras. Drones have been used for years in Iraq
and Afghanistan in the war against terror. Many residents are concerned that the new technology will violate their privacy.
Drone Gives Texas Law Enforcement
Bird's-Eye View on Crime. The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office is weeks away from launching an unmanned aerial
asset to help deputies fight crime. The ShadowHawk helicopter is six-feet long, weighs fifty pounds and fits in the back
of an SUV.
America's Biggest Drone Show, the Focus Shifts Toward Domestic Skies. If you want to know what the future looks
like, sit down and have a talk with Roy Minson. He's the senior vice president and general manager of unmanned aircraft
systems at Aerovironment, the manufacturer of nearly 85 percent of the Department of Defense's unmanned aircraft
fleet — not the Reapers and Predators that so often make headlines, but small aerial systems that make up the vast
majority of the DoD's 7,000 strong unmanned aircraft fleet. That is to say, business with the defense sector is good at
Aerovironment. But today Minson is talking almost exclusively about non-military applications for the company's
hardware — him, and just about everybody else at the nation's largest robotic systems show.
U.S. Navy Cloak Blade Inherently Stealthy Micro-Copter Presentation.
A presentation accompanied a recent demonstration of the Cloak Blade, a micro-copter developed by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
under contract from the U.S. Navy.
Will Police Drones Destroy the
Fourth Amendment? Although the president's use of drones to execute the war on terror and those he assumes are associated with it has so
far occurred only outside the United States, soon drones will slice through the domestic skies, as well. While the sight of drones over U.S.
cities and towns is rare now, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts that by 2020, 30,000 of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be
patrolling American airspace. Scores of these UAVs will be deployed by state and local law enforcement, adding to the many that will be sent
airborne by the federal government.
The coming drone attack on America.
Drones on domestic surveillance duties are already deployed by police and corporations. In time, they will likely be weaponised.
anti-drone hoodie which can make its wearer invisible to spies in the sky. Those concerned about the conspiratorial
machinations of the state surveillance infrastructure can now swap their tin-foil hats for a more fashion conscious accessory.
A New York-based artist has designed an 'anti-drone hoodie' stitched from metallised material used to counter the infra-red
cameras that spy drones use to spot people on the ground.
U.S. military spy drone. A sinister airborne surveillance camera gives the U.S. military the ability to track movements
in an entire city like a real-time Google Street View. The ARGUS-IS array can be mounted on unmanned drones to capture an area
of 15 [square] miles in an incredible 1,800 MP — that's 225 times more sensitive than an iPhone camera.
Virginia Becomes First to Pass Anti-Drone Legislation. Charlottesville, Va., has become the first city in the United States
to formally pass an anti-drone resolution. The resolution, passed Monday, "calls on the United States Congress and the General
Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to adopt legislation prohibiting information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being
introduced into a Federal or State court," and "pledges to abstain from similar uses with city-owned, leased, or borrowed drones."
Texas "Anti Drone" Laws Would be
Toughest in USA. Texas would have the toughest anti-drone legislation in the country under a bill filed by State Rep.
Lance Gooden (R-Terrell).
Which police departments want drones?
Following a FOIA request from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Federal Aviation Administration has released an updated list of
bodies, both public and private, that have applied for permission to fly surveillance drones in U.S. airspace. The FAA lists
81 entities altogether including police departments, government agencies and universities such as Cornell and Penn State.
FAA moves closer to
widespread US drone flights with plan for test sites. A future in which unmanned drones are as common in U.S. skies
as helicopters and airliners has moved a step closer to reality with a government request for proposals to create six drone test
sites around the country.
FAA To Kick Off State Drone 'Competition'.
States will soon compete to operate six unmanned aircraft test sites, commonly known as drones, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
announced on Wednesday [2/13/2013]. The FAA wants states to compete for the drone test sites, which were mandated by Congress last
year in the 2012 FAA Reauthorization bill. The sites will test the safety of drones before they are introduced into the National
Airspace System by 2015.
a Swarm of Lethal Bugs: The Most Terrifying Drone Video Yet. An Air Force simulation says researchers are at work on killer robots
so tiny that a group of them could blend into a cityscape.
Predator drones to spy on Americans. The documents provide more details about the surveillance capabilities of the
department's unmanned Predator B drones, which are primarily used to patrol the United States' northern and southern borders but
have been pressed into service on behalf of a growing number of law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Secret Service, the
Texas Rangers, and local police.
US Drones Intercept Electronic Communications and Identify
Human Targets. New records obtained by EPIC under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the Bureau of Customs and
Border Protection is operating drones in the United States capable of intercepting electronic communications. The records also
suggest that the ten Predator B drones operated by the agency have the capacity to recognize and identify a person on the ground.
Approximately, 2/3 of the US population is subject to surveillance by the CBP drones.
drones be used to spy on Americans? A small group of police and fire departments around the country are
using new high-tech drones for emergency response situations stoking fears about misuse of the unmanned aircraft.
Some are using sophisticated fixed-wing drones that can remain in the air for hours as well as online digital mapping
software to create virtual crimes scenes.
Security Drones Designed to Identify Civilians Carrying Guns. Recently uncovered government documents reveal
that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) unmanned Predator B drone fleet has been custom designed to identify
civilians carrying guns and track cell phone signals. "I am very concerned that this technology will be used against
law-abiding American firearms owners," said founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, Alan
Gottlieb. "This could violate Fourth Amendment rights as well as Second Amendment rights."
Weaponized drones. Drone manufacturers may offer
police remote controlled drones with weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas. Congress has required the Federal Aviation
Administration to loosen their regulations on drones and allow more drones in domestic airspace by 2015.
Oregon Company to
Sell Drone Defense Technology to Public. Do you want to keep drones out of your backyard? An Oregon company says
that it has developed and will soon start selling technology that disables unmanned aircraft. The company, called Domestic
Drone Countermeasures, was founded in late February because some of its engineers see unmanned aerial vehicles — which
are already being flown by law enforcement in some areas and could see wider commercial integration into American airspace by
2015 — as unwanted eyes in the sky.
Drone Question: Is Obama Building A Federal Police Force? [Scroll down] Put it all together, and it sure looks like
Obama is building the backbone for that national police force he wanted the first time he ran for office. Worse yet, both Democrats
and Republicans are now openly discussing a plan to put all the drones flown in America's skies, including those owned and operated by
local police departments, under the ultimate supervision of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice,
consolidating the country's surveillance and law enforcement powers under one powerful federal police jurisdiction.
17 Civilian Drone Facts You Really Should Know.
[#13] Connections between UAVs and the operators are easily broken. The frequency between the drone and its operator is easily
lost. Civilian drones use the same frequencies (GPS) as your cell phone. The frequencies are subject to interference from
variables such as weather or deliberate jamming. [#14] Drones are easily hacked. Under the direction of the US Department
of Homeland Security, engineering students were told to see if they could hack a drone. They did, and were easily able to substitute
their information for the drone's programming via GPS.
GAO report on unmanned aircraft systems, September 2012.
[Scroll down to page 36] Additionally, a June 2012 poll conducted by Monmouth University reported that 42 percent of those
sampled were very concerned about their own privacy if U.S. law enforcement started using UAS [unmanned aircraft systems] with high tech
cameras, while 15 percent said they were not at all concerned. However, the poll reported that of those sampled, 80 percent
said they supported the use of UAS for search and rescue missions while 67 percent said they oppose the use of UAS to issue
Hundreds of Drones Go Homeless. As the war in Afghanistan winds
down, many commanders are asking what is going to happen to the large fleet of drones that have patrolled the skies, according to the Air Force
The Editor says...
See if you can predict the fate of surplus military UAVs. What's going to become of them?
(A) They will be dismantled and sent to a recycling company.
(B) They will be sold at Army Surplus stores.
(C) The weapons will be removed (if we're lucky) and they will be given to big-city police departments.
PETA Plans to Fly Drones That
Would 'Stalk Hunters'. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is actively shopping for a drone that would "stalk hunters," the
organization said Monday [4/8/2013]. The group says it will "soon have some impressive new weapons at its disposal to combat those who gun
down deer and doves" and that it is "shopping for one or more drone aircraft with which to monitor those who are out in the woods with death on
their minds." The group says it will not weaponize the drones, but will use them to film potentially illegal hunting activity and turn it
over to law enforcement.
The Editor says...
The PETA people obviously do not understand hunting or hunters. I don't know much about it myself, but here's what I think I know:
Most hunting takes place on private property in the middle of nowhere with the permission of the property owner. The people who engage in
"illegal hunting activity" aren't gonna hesitate to blow a PETA drone to pieces, and the PETA people would be wise (for once) to forget about
looking for those pieces. In any event, how can you tell a private drone from a police drone?
Beck: If Police Get Drones, 'The 2nd Amendment Is Absolutely Dead'. Senator Rand Paul's media tour following his
"misunderestimated" statements on drones brought him to Glenn Beck's radio show Friday, where the two men discussed the prospects
of a terrifying future where police cars have "robotic firing arms" that take down criminals with the push of a button. If that
ever happens, Beck told Paul, "the Second Amendment is absolutely dead."
Dodging drones. The mayhem following Boston's Marathon massacre left
four dead and 260 injured, prompting Police Commissioner Edward Davis last week to endorse the use of unmanned spy aircraft above next year's marathon.
"Drones are a great idea," he told the Boston Herald. Actually, they're not. [...] Surveillance cameras don't prevent crime. There was no lack of video
footage of the marathon, and the images were useful in quickly identifying the suspects after the fact. Much of the useful footage came from men and women
filming the finish line or from cameras installed to watch over nearby shops and stores. Government drones would not have thwarted the attack.
Bill to Allow
Police to Use Drones Without Search Warrant Heads to Maine Senate. In a narrow decision, lawmakers accepted an amendment
to a bill offered by Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, that could allow police to use a drone without a search warrant. In a 7-6 vote
on May 1, the Legislature's Judiciary Committee sided with Maine Attorney General Janet Mills on the issue of how police can employ
unmanned aerial vehicles in criminal investigations.
Chicago Suburb Approves Two
Year Ban on Drones. The Evanston City Council voted 5-4 for a two year ban on the use of airborne drones. The vote
brought together an odd coalition of people: the anti-war groups were joined by the libertarians and the privacy advocates to pass
Mueller: FBI deploys
drones in US for 'limited' surveillance. The FBI uses drones to watch specific targets within the United States, the bureau's chief said
Wednesday [6/19/2013]. FBI Director Robert Mueller told senators the agency uses drones infrequently for surveillance in the U.S., and only in
regards to specific investigations. "Our footprint is very small," Mueller said in testimony. "We have very few and have limited use."
FBI Chief Admits Use of Drones in Skies Over U.S..
Federal Aviation Administration officials claim that within the next five years there will be close to 10,000 civilian drones in use once the FAA grants
them greater access to U.S. skies. Congress had directed the FAA to provide drones with widespread access to domestic airspace by 2015, but the
agency is behind in its development of safety regulations and isn't expected to meet that deadline even though the FAA has granted more than two hundred
permits to state and local governments, police departments, universities and others to experiment with using small drones.
town, concerned about surveillance, considers drone hunting licenses. The small Colorado town of Deer Trail is considering
an ordinance that would create drone-hunting licenses and offer bounties for hunters who shoot down an unmanned aerial vehicle.
"We do not want drones in town," Phillip Steel, a resident in town who drafted the ordinance and submitted it for approval by the town
board, told The Denver Post. "They fly in town, they get shot down."
warns shooting at drone could result in prosecution similar to shooting at manned airplane. People who fire guns at drones
are endangering the public and property and could be prosecuted or fined, the Federal Aviation Administration warned Friday [7/19/2013].
The FAA released a statement in response to questions about an ordinance under consideration in the tiny farming community of Deer Trail,
Colo., that would encourage hunters to shoot down drowns. The administration reminded the public that it regulates the nation's
airspace, including the airspace over cities and towns.
The Editor says...
This is one of the symptoms of impending tyranny: "The authorities" establish severe penalties for interference in their
pet projects. In this case, they are equating unmanned aircraft with manned aircraft, much like the way they equate a
police dog with a police officer.
Bravado is contagious.
FBI says it doesn't need
warrant to use drones. The FBI has told Congress it does not need to get a warrant to conduct surveillance with drones,
in a letter laying out some of the top federal law enforcement agency's policies for how it uses unmanned aerial vehicles. In a
July 19 letter to Sen. Rand Paul, Stephen D. Kelly, assistant director for the FBI's congressional liaison office, said the agency
has used drones in 10 instances, including twice for "national security" cases and eight times for criminal cases. The FBI
authorized the use of drones in three other criminal cases but didn't deploy them.
Drone industry gives journalists not-so-subtle
hint — don't use the word 'drones'. "Drone" is a dirty word at this week's drone industry convention in Washington. The
sector long has opposed use of the term, seen by some as having an inherently negative connotation that doesn't accurately describe the awesome technology
and potential positive uses of today's unmanned aerial vehicles.
Even a small aircraft overhead can put you in danger.
Toy helicopter kills teen in Brooklyn: report.
A model helicopter hobbyist was killed Thursday [9/5/2013] when a remote controlled helicopter cut off the top of his head in a Brooklyn, N.Y., park.
Texas law gets tough on public, private
drone use. More than 40 state legislatures have debated the increasing presence of unmanned aircraft in civilian airspace, with most
of the proposals focused on protecting people from overly intrusive surveillance by law enforcement.
What could possibly be the motive, other than chest-thumping territorialism?
FEMA threatens to arrest volunteer
drone operators during Colorado flood relief. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) threatened to arrest anyone flying drones over the
Colorado flood damage over the weekend, even those volunteering with the relief effort. On Saturday [9/14/2013], FEMA grounded Colorado company Falcon
UAV — a drone manufacturer that had been helping local authorities map the disaster area in near-real time — and threatened to arrest
anyone flying a drone over the disaster area, IEEE Spectrum reports.
Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey to team for drone
tests. Maryland has agreed to work with Virginia and New Jersey on research into unmanned aircraft, a move that could strengthen Maryland's
bid to land one of the six drone test sites to be awarded this year by the Federal Aviation Administration. The three states are among the
25 finalists seeking an FAA-sanctioned site to study how unmanned aircraft might safely be integrated into U.S. airspace.
Ignoring the Constitution. [Scroll down] The president
also has stepped up the use of airborne drones to spy on Americans in apparent violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibition of unreasonable and unwarranted searches.
Previously owning up to only two instances of domestic unmanned aerial surveillance, officials of the Customs and Border Protection service released a list last week
of 500 occasions over three years in which the agency flew Predator drone missions on behalf of other federal agencies.
How drones will change your life. Apart from what
they do for the military; drones have already proven themselves capable sheep herders, delivery boys, tour guides, filmmakers, archaeologists, and —
possibly — spies. The global economic potential of these machines is astounding; a recent study estimated the worldwide market for unmanned
aerial vehicles (UAVs) at $89 billion in 2013.
US announces six drone test sites. The US aviation regulator
has announced the six states that will host sites for testing commercial use of drones. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) picked
Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia. The sites are part of a programme to develop safety and operational rules for
drones by the end of 2015.
FAA says New York, five other
states chosen to host drone test sites. New York was among six states selected Monday to develop sites to test drones, a
decision that likely will bring the unmanned aircraft to New York's skies and badly needed jobs to upstate. The New York site will be
at Griffiss International Airport, a former Air Force base in upstate Rome. Aerospace firms and universities in New York and Massachusetts
will be involved in the research.
FAA names 6 sites for testing drones.
The Federal Aviation Administration named six teams across the nation that will host the development and testing of drones to fly safely in the
same skies as commercial airliners. The announcement represents a major milestone toward the goal of sharing the skies by the end of 2015,
in what is projected to become an industry worth billions of dollars. But technical hurdles and privacy concerns remain in a regulatory
program that's already a year behind schedule.
Blimplike surveillance craft set to deploy over Maryland heighten privacy concerns.
They will look like two giant white blimps floating high above I-95 in Maryland, perhaps en route to a football game somewhere along the
bustling Eastern Seaboard. But their mission will have nothing to do with sports and everything to do with war. The aerostats —
that is the term for lighter-than-air craft that are tethered to the ground — are to be set aloft on Army-owned land about 45 miles
northeast of Washington, near Aberdeen Proving Ground, for a three-year test slated to start in October.
Leads to Man's Arrest, Prison Sentence. Rodney Brossart has a unique distinction, although it may not be one he wanted. The
North Dakota man became the first person to be sentenced as a result of drone surveillance in the United States. Brossart's three-year sentence
comes following a 116-hour stand-off with a SWAT team on his ranch in 2011. The team was called in after Brossart resisted arrest for not
returning livestock from a neighboring farm that had wandered on to his property; Brossart and his three sons then engaged in the stand-off before
authorities brought in the Predator drone.
Meet CUPID: The Drone That Will Shoot You With
an 80,000 Volt Taser. Are drones not scary enough for you yet? How about this? A drone helicopter that spots you and
identifies you as an intruder. It tells you to stop and put your hands behind your head. Instead, you keep coming. The drone then
shoots you with barbed Taser darts that pump 80,000 volts into you. If you try to get up, it will continue pumping voltage into you
until you submit and the authorities arrive. This isn't some dystopian theory. It's very real already, and I just saw it in action.
Yes, it is terrifying.
for drones that 'perch' on power lines to recharge, never have to land. Imagine a world where drones
never have to touch the ground after takeoff. That's what MIT PhD. candidate Joseph Moore did, and now he's
on the cusp of creating a drone that can "perch" on power lines just like birds to recharge its batteries.
Seat belt laws:
They're not about public safety, they're about control.
Seat belt laws give cops an excuse to stop motorists and look for other violations. This has nothing to do with
public safety and everything to do with justifying the cop's paycheck. Your local TV reporter is much too eager
to assist in this effort, telling you only the government's side of the story.
Should you wear a seatbelt? Of course. I wouldn't drive 50 feet without wearing my seatbelt. But
in a "free country" it should be voluntary.
Feds Propose Tracking Black Boxes in All
New Cars. The vehicle black boxes — which are either tiny standalone devices or part of a vehicle's computer system —
are to record speed, engine throttle, breaking, ignition, safety belt usage, the number of passengers, airbag deployment, and among other things time of
the recording and sometimes a passenger's location, depending on a vehicle's model.
The Editor says...
There will be no need for the cops to ask you if you were wearing your seatbelt two minutes ago. Your car will snitch on you.
Buckles and bucks: The seat belt mandate is back.
The people of New Hampshire are about to find out if their legislators are so hard up for money that they will
sell their principles for cash. Every legislative session, leftist and "moderate" lawmakers try to pass
a law requiring drivers to wear seat belts. The argument is always the same: The law will save
lives. This year, the argument is different: The law will bring cash.
About State Mandatory Seat Belt Harness Laws: While the use of a seat belt has saved
some people in certain kinds of traffic accidents, there is ample proof that in other kinds, some
people have been more seriously injured and even killed only because of forced seat belt use. É The
public is denied the right to know there is a legitimate contrary side to the seat belt law
controversy. At one time, it was the same with air bags until one investigative reporter
decided to start printing the truth about air bag dangers in certain kinds of traffic accidents.
There's a web site about this specific issue:
Seat Belt Choice dot com. There
is a concerted effort from Washington through the National Highway Transportation Safety
Administration to pressure every state in America to enact a primary seat belt law and make
everyone buckle up or lose federal transportation money. A primary law means you can be
stopped solely if you or someone else in your vehicle is not wearing a seat belt. And
if you are stopped, you may be ticketed, fined and perhaps even arrested.
The truth about seat belts: When
we read the instructions to police officers and emergency personnel for filling out the FARS data
forms, we learn that all persons who fell off the bed of a pickup truck or fell off a snowmobile
or a three-wheel or four-wheel ATV or from a go-cart are to be listed as having been
"ejected". Moreover, there is no evidence to prove that all the persons who are
listed as having been "ejected" actually were. É When we look at the actual data we
find that most of these data points are coded as "9" which is the FARS code in this
category for "unknown". In other words, all they really know in most cases is
that the victims was outside the vehicle when they arrived on the scene.
belt laws: Primary seat belt laws give law enforcement agents a virtual carte blanche
to conduct traffic stops. Nevada's recent experience proves states don't need more intrusive
statutes to persuade more people to buckle up.
The cops aren't always wearing seat belts themselves.
No seat belts in 42% of
fatal police car crashes. The study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA), which analyzed 733 crashes from 1980 through 2008, comes less than a week after a separate
report found that fatal traffic incidents in 2010 were the leading cause of officer deaths for the 13th
straight year. ... Some officers resist wearing seat belts because the restraints slow their movement in and
out of the cars, Floyd says. Others complain that the straps get tangled in utility and gun belts.
Dangerous Changes in Seat Belt Law: Primary enforcement allows the police
to freely go on a "fishing" expedition to find sometime wrong under the pretense of not using a seat belt. Primary enforcement
resuscitates the once dreaded "general warrants" of King George III of colonial America against motorists.
On the other hand...
In Praise of Routine Traffic Stops: In July
2004, Michael Wagner's not wearing a seat belt got him stopped in a SUV near Council Bluffs, Iowa, that had
in it "flight training manuals and a simulator, documents in Arabic, bulletproof vests and night-vision
goggles, a night-vision scope for a rifle, a telescope, a 9mm semiautomatic pistol and hundreds of
rounds of ammunition."
One more step toward cradle-to-grave nanny state paternalism:
Stricter booster seat
requirements begin Sunday. Six- and 7-year-olds who had "graduated" from their booster seat to a passenger
seat will find themselves back in the saddle come Sunday [1/1/2012], thanks to a new law designed to increase
child safety in California. California state law currently requires parents to keep their kids in booster
seats until they reach the age of 6 or weigh at least 60 pounds.
Great Golden State Business Exodus. One would think that given the serious nature of [California's]
problems, the legislature would focus on solutions at the exclusion of all else. Instead, lawmakers —
what would we ever do without them? — found the time in 2011 to trespass even deeper into Californians'
personal lives. Topping off Sacramento's monument to foolishness is a law requiring children younger than 8,
except for those taller than 4 feet 9 inches, to sit in booster seats in cars. Previous law let kids
leave their boosters at 6. Now children who had moved out of cars seats are being forced back into them.
Actually, the law is more authoritarian — and offensive and infuriating — than it is silly.
The Editor says...
This is another example of incremental changes in restictive laws, and once again, the changes only move in
buckling up your pet in the car can mean big fines. Judging from the alarming number of summonses issued so far for failing
to buckle up in the back seat, motorists don't seem overly concerned about the current Click It or Ticket crackdown. After all, most
unrestrained drivers and passengers can afford a measly $46 fine. But if you drive with an unrestrained pet, don't expect a slap
on the wrist. Penalties range from $250 to $1,000 and as much as six months in jail.
The Editor says...
Just imagine if they catch you with a box of kittens in the back of your truck!
Ranch exempt from 'Click
It or Ticket'. President Bush found himself in a flap Tuesday about seat-belt use, a day after a
federal agency began a campaign to encourage drivers to buckle up. Video cameras caught Bush without his
seat belt while driving a pickup on his Texas ranch last weekend, giving a tour to NATO Secretary-General Jaap
de Hoop Scheffer.
The Editor says...
Most of the reporters who cover the White House beat probably have very little experience with
wide-open ranch land. It is also possible that some of the reporters have never considered the
possibility that certain laws do not apply on private property.
If you're important enough, you don't need to wear seatbelts, even
while surrounded by cops.
(White House photo by Pete Souza)
You're guilty of something, we just need to figure out what it is.
There are so many laws on the books these days, it's almost as if every activity is either
mandatory or prohibited. If you look suspicious and you fail the "attitude test", it
won't take long for the neighborhood policeman to think of some charge to file.
Dookhan's Falsified Lab Data: Symptom of a Corrupted System. Friday [12/6/2013], former Massachusetts chemist Annie Dookhan pleaded guilty to
all 27 counts of falsifying nearly 40,000 criminal drug cases, effectively upending the Massachusetts criminal justice system. Dookhan
admitted to filing false test results, mixing drug samples together, and lying under oath about her job qualifications. [...] Dookhan's "dry
labbing" is just one part of a structure that incentivizes people working in the criminal justice system to get convictions — not
truth — and put as many people in prison as possible without regard to their actual guilt.
No One Is Innocent. Have you ever thrown out some
junk mail that came to your house but was addressed to someone else? That's a violation of federal law punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Harvey Silverglate argues that a typical American commits three felonies a day. I think that number is too high but it is easy to violate the law without
intent or knowledge.
We're all potential suspects
and should be treated as such, apparently. Earlier today [6/19/2013], a Washington Examiner editorial warned that "if phone records are useful
now in stopping terrorist attacks, how long before politicians and bureaucrats decide archiving the entire phone call would be even more useful? How
long before the limitations and safeguards now in place are set aside?" Within a few hours, King provided an illustration of precisely what the
[Washington] Examiner editors fear. Responding to a question by Fox News' Bill Hemmer about why the government needs everyone's phone numbers and
not just suspects', King said, "Because if you don't have all of them, the system is incomplete."
6,125 Proposed Regulations
and Notifications Posted in Last 90 Days — Average 68 per Day. It's Friday morning, and so far today, the Obama administration
has posted 165 new regulations and notifications on its reguations.gov website. In the past 90 days, it has posted 6,125 regulations
and notices — an average of 68 a day.
Once You're On the 'List,' You Can't Get Off. Thanks to the
all-encompassing nature of federal databases, and the seamless integration of the "Homeland Security" apparatus, every police officer and
sheriff's deputy has the ability to ruin the life of any Mundane who displays something other than instant and unconditional submission.
This was demonstrated in the case of Los Angeles resident Shawn Nee, an amateur photographer, who was accosted by sheriff's deputies while
taking photos of subway turnstiles.
Court Rules Motorists Can Be Detained For
Paying By Cash at Toll Booths. The Eleventh Circuit US Court of Appeals has ruled that private contractors operating toll roads on behalf
of the state have the power to detain and store records on motorists who pay by cash at toll booths — another example of how using cash is
increasingly being treated as a suspicious activity.
The 5 Dumbest Drug Laws in America. In
Texas, it's illegal to buy or sell chemistry equipment without the state's permission. [...] In Florida, every drug user is a potential drug
Cash for that Latte? It May Land You on FBI's Terrorist List. Really? Yes, crazy as it sounds,
in our post-9/11 snitch/spy/surveillance society, if you "always pay cash," you may be marked as a potential
terrorist. That's according to an FBI flyer that appears to be aimed at proprietors and employees of
Some laws are on the books just in case the cops can't think of anything else you've done wrong.
Use a Computer, Go to Jail. If you are reading this column
online at work, you may be committing a federal crime. Or so says the Justice Department, which reads the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)
broadly enough to encompass personal use of company computers as well as violations of website rules that people routinely ignore. In April the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rightly rejected this view of the CFAA, which Chief Judge Alex Kozinski noted could conceivably make a
criminal out of "everyone who uses a computer."
Do You Like Online
Privacy? You May Be a Terrorist. A flyer designed by the FBI and the Department of Justice to promote
suspicious activity reporting in internet cafes lists basic tools used for online privacy as potential signs of
terrorist activity. The document, part of a program called "Communities Against Terrorism", lists the use of
"anonymizers, portals, or other means to shield IP address" as a sign that a person could be engaged in or supporting
terrorist activity. The use of encryption is also listed as a suspicious activity along with steganography, the
practice of using "software to hide encrypted data in digital photos" or other media. In fact, the flyer
recommends that anyone "overly concerned about privacy" or attempting to "shield the screen from view of others"
should be considered suspicious and potentially engaged in terrorist activities.
Insult added to injury:
Florida man who lost hand charged with feeding
gator. A Florida airboat captain whose hand was bitten off by a 9-foot alligator faces charges of feeding of the animal.
Student jailed for
2 nights when she can't show ID. News about the Police Department lately could run under
the headline of the daily Dismal Development, starting with a judge declaring Tuesday that an officer
was guilty of planting drugs on entirely innocent people and continuing back a few days to gun-smuggling,
pepper-spraying and ticket-fixing. Here, in the pointless arrest of Ms. Zucker, is a crime that
is not even on the books: the staggering waste of spirit, the squandering of public resources,
the follies disguised as crime-fighting.
the U.S. Sanction Murder? In the Declaration of Independence, our Founding Fathers said one
of the reasons for their rebellion against King George is that he had "erected a Multitude of new Offices,
and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their Substance." Those brave gentlemen
wouldn't believe how many Swarms of Officers harass us today, or how much of our Substance they consume. ... Our
government has created so many rules and regulations and has so many agents and inspectors to enforce them,
there is no way on earth you can obey them all. If they want to get you for something, they can.
And worst of all, in many cases you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent.
We All Have
Something to Hide. Criminalizing huge swaths of behavior is one of government's favorite weapons.
Not only does it bring much of life under rulers' control, it also silences dissent. Authorities can easily
muzzle critics by investigating them. Given an endless list of laws and the likelihood of having broken
some, which of us wouldn't quail at the threat of such a fishing expedition?
Victims of Over-Zealous Police
Officers: No one disputes the fact that seat belts save lives. Most states, therefore,
have buckle-up laws that make it a misdemeanor to drive with being properly belted. However, in Texas,
the Transportation Code not only permits a police officer to stop a driver for the non-use of seat belts, it
also permits the officer to arrest the driver for violating that law. Gail Atwater was one of those
Running From the Police — Is It
Sufficient For A Stop? In a 5-4 decision decided in January, the United States Supreme Court
effectively dished up more power onto the plates of law enforcement officers, giving them the authority to
detain a person who flees at the mere sight of a policeman.
nation choking on endless laws. Heading back to work this week, Americans were greeted not only by a new
year but also by a whole slew of new laws — 31,000 of them at the state level — covering everything
from guns to 100-watt light bulbs to, of course, "health care." As usual, most of these laws tell us what we can't
do: texting while driving (duh), cyberbullying and smoking in bars. In the near future, everyone will be a
criminal for at least 15 minutes, whether they know it or not.
Every American Is Now a Criminal! You think
you are a law abiding citizen, don't you? Think again! You have been, you are now, and you will continue to
break the law for the rest of your life, because there are too many laws, with millions more laws to follow. Many
of these laws are totally unconstitutional but have never been challenged in the courts. Sometimes you break the
law without any knowledge of it, even though ignorance of the law is not an excuse, if you are caught. But worse,
millions are breaking the law because they are convinced the laws are illegal, or just plain stupid. With more
people intentionally breaking the law, eventually the rule of law breaks down, as does our Republic. The examples
of stupid laws would fill volumes. Examples of conflicting laws would fill even more volumes.
Ten Campus Follies of 2002: [For example] An American University student was pinned down and
handcuffed outside a Tipper Gore speech by plainclothes campus police who refused to identify themselves.
The student was charged with stealing Gore's intellectual property by videotaping her speech, which was open to
How Free Are We Really?
There is neither such thing as a people with complete freedom nor one completely bereft of it; it's a matter of
degree. While many realize this, few understand that there is a barometer with which liberty can be
measured: The number of laws in existence. By definition, a law is the removal of a freedom, as
it dictates that there is something you cannot or must do. ... Every year our nation enacts more and
more laws but hardly ever rescinds any, which means every year we become progressively less free. I call
this "creeping totalitarianism."
Federal Regulations Back to Near-Record Levels.
Federal government regulators issued 4,148 new rules in the 71,269-page Federal Register in 2003, 19 fewer than they
did in 2002. The cost of those rules appears nowhere in the federal budget. According to the Federal Register,
the five most active rule-producing agencies — the Departments of Treasury, Transportation, Homeland Security,
and Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency — account for 46 percent of the rules under consideration.
Ten Thousand Commandments 2011.
Thanks to the bailouts and other amplified spending, CBO projects a FY 2011 deficit of a previously
unthinkable $1.48 trillion, greater than FY 2010's actual deficit of $1.294 trillion.
With the unveiling of the 2012 budget, President Obama projects an even larger FY 2011 deficit than CBO
does: $1.645 trillion. This figure will be the largest deficit since World War II,
at 11 percent of the entire U.S. economy.
Time to stop the
flood of federal regulation. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute's just-updated annual snapshot
of federal regulations — "Ten Thousand Commandments" — the federal government spent $49.1 billion
to enforce regulations in 2008, costing businesses $1.17 trillion to comply. In other words,
businesses are being forced to allocate vast sums of money and time to comply with the federal government's
bewilderingly complex rules and mandates.
Commandments (2010 edition). Precise regulatory costs can never be fully known, because, unlike
taxes, they are unbudgeted and often indirect. But scattered government and private data exist on scores
of regulations and on the agencies that issue them, as well as on regulatory costs and benefits. Some of
that information can be compiled to make the regulatory state somewhat more comprehensible.
Earlier issues of "10,000 Commandments":
The cops are always looking for drugs.
dogs in traffic stops often wrong. Drug-sniffing dogs can give police probable cause to root through
cars by the roadside, but state data show the dogs have been wrong more often than they have been right about
whether vehicles contain drugs or paraphernalia. The dogs are trained to dig or sit when they smell drugs,
which triggers automobile searches. But a [Chicago] Tribune analysis of three years of data for suburban
departments found that only 44 percent of those alerts by the dogs led to the discovery of drugs or
paraphernalia. For Hispanic drivers, the success rate was just 27 percent.
restricting cell use in cars takes effect today. Beginning today [3/1/2008],
police in New Jersey can write $100 tickets to motorists they catch using hand-held cell
phones behind the wheel. Cell phone use by drivers has been against the law in New
Jersey since 2004, but it has been a secondary offense. A police officer could only
write a ticket if the driver had been pulled over for speeding or running a stop light or
some other infraction. The updated law makes talking or texting on a hand-held cell
phone a primary offense.
The Editor says...
Oh, yes, and it makes another handy excuse to look for guns and drugs in the car
during a traffic stop. That's where the real money is anyway. But what about
the use of CB radio, FRS walkie-talkies and other two-way radios? What about other activities that
require the use of a hand, such as smoking, taking a sip of a beverage, or catching a sneeze
with a Kleenex? Is it now illegal in New Jersey to apply make-up while driving to work?
Proposed Car Cellphone Ban Is Wrong. It has been said that we can't go a day without breaking the
law. This one is for those who haven't broken any of the millions of others yet. The ruling class
can always put your in jail for something. You're only exempt if you are a member of the ruling class.
You've Broken Without Even Realizing It. Say hello to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which
makes it a crime to gain "unauthorized access" to a computer or a website. What does "unauthorized access"
actually mean? Nobody knows. But the law says it applies to wireless routers.
Buckle up laws were just the beginning.
Unsafe at Any Smoke. A study just
released by the CDC characterizes second-hand smoke as the latest threat to "safety" — and of course, "the
children." It urges what you'd expect: That it be made illegal to smoke in your own car, at least, if "the
children" are present and possibly even if they're not. For as any smoker knows — as anyone who has shopped for
used cars knows — any car that has been smoked in retains the essence of the Marlboro Man for years, even decades
after the last butt was crumpled in the ashtray.
New Frisbee Law Just Latest Attempt to Raise Cash. This week, Los Angeles County okayed a new regulation
banning the throwing of Frisbees or footballs on the beaches — which, of course, destroys the purpose of
living in Southern California in the first place. The first offense will earn you a hefty $100 fine; the
second, $200; the third and beyond, $500. You can, of course, apply for a permit. For parents with
industrious children, holes deeper than 18 inches are also banned — so get your kids the
cheap plastic shovels or pay a fine.
Los Angeles County Bans Frisbees on Beaches. The moonbat
micromanagers ruling La-La Land must finally be running out of things to ban. Now they're suppressing fun on the beach.
End the Drug War, Mr.
President. The War on Drugs has been a massive failure by any serious estimation. Sixty-seven
percent of our nations' [sic] police chiefs consider it so.
War on Drugs: Because Prohibition Worked So Well ... Forty years ago, the United States locked up fewer than 200 of
every 100,000 Americans. Then President Nixon declared war on drugs. Now we lock up more of our people than any other
country — more even than the authoritarian regimes in Russia and China. A war on drugs — on people,
that is — is unworthy of a country that claims to be free.
Why black people don't trust the police:
I don't trust cops and I don't know many black people who do. I respect them. I sympathize with them. I am
appreciative of the work they do. But when you've been pulled over for no good reason as many times as I have; when
you've been in handcuffs for no good reason as many times as I have; when you run out to buy some allergy medication and upon
returning home, find yourself surrounded by four squad cars with flashing lights and all you can think about is how not to get
shot, you learn not to trust cops.
May Draft Cops to Catch Tax Cheats, Official Tells Senate. One police officer's responded, "We're prevented from
going after illegal alien lawbreakers, but we're going to go after American citizens who try to keep more of their own money?"
Shredding the Constitution.
In Dearborn, Michigan, in June, 2010, a pastor and two lay Christians were arrested outside an Arab festival, under the
pretense that they were blocking a tent entrance, creating a public danger, and "screaming into a crowd." Video footage
of the event clearly showed that this was untrue. Last year, an assistant evangelical pastor from a Southern California
church and two church members were arrested by the California Highway Patrol for reading the Bible outside a DMV office to those
waiting in line almost an hour before opening time. Although the Christians were 50 feet away from the entrance, they were
cited for "impeding an open business."
Radioactive man? Milford resident
pulled over by state police. Mike Apatow was minding his own business Wednesday, driving to an appointment for work in Washington
Depot when a state police car appeared suddenly and signaled for the Milford resident to pull over. [...] "I asked the officer 'What seems to
be the problem?'" Apatow said. "He said 'You've been flagged as a radioactive car.'" Apatow's doctor had given him a document attesting
that he'd had a medical procedure involving a small amount of radioactive material that he handed to the officer. A Stratford firefighter,
Apatow was more curious than annoyed by the incident. "I had no idea the police even had devices like that," he said.
The Editor says...
It is safe to assume that the officer took a good look at Mr. Apatow's car while it was pulled over, looking for expired stickers,
guns, drugs, or cash.
No offense is too petty to overlook
The Editor says...
There are parts of any big city where the streets are crawling with truly awful people
who have served time in prison, or should be in prison, yet the cops seem to spend most
of their time making themselves visible to non-violent citizens who are just trying to
get from one place to another. Law and order is a wonderful thing, but hair-splitting
legalism is not.
Austin Police Arrest Jogger Because
She Couldn't Hear Them. Austin, Texas, is supposed to be weird. It is not supposed to be a police state. [...] Jaywalking is a
class c misdemeanor, not typically an offense that leads to arrest. Police say the jogger was arrested for failure to identify herself and
for a traffic signal violation. The arrest is under investigation. Municipalities often use traffic violation citations to generate revenue.
13, arrested for allegedly throwing snowball at cop. A 13-year-old boy arrested for allegedly hitting a Chicago police officer with a
snowball says he was wrongly picked out of a crowd of kids walking home from school. And besides, he adds, the snowball didn't even hit the cop.
"It made me mad," said the eighth-grader, who is facing a felony charge of battery to a police officer.
Drivers ticketed for failing
to clear snow off their vehicles under new 'ice missile' law. A new law requiring motorists to remove snow and ice from their vehicles has become a
new source of revenue for Connecticut. State police are aggressively ticketing drivers who ignore the so-called 'ice missile' law. Since the law took
effect Jan. 1, state police have issued at least 230 tickets to truckers and motorists who were driving snow-covered vehicles. At $120 per
summons that amounts to $27,600 in tickets in a month and a half. The fine is $75, plus $45 in various surcharges.
When you ask the police for help, the first thing they investigate is YOU.
South Carolina woman
jailed after failing to return movie rented nine years ago. A South Carolina scofflaw movie renter spent a night in jail this week after police
busted her for failing to return a Jennifer Lopez movie she rented nine years ago. WHNS reports the scenario unfolded after Kayla Michelle Finley went
to the Pickens County Jail in the northwestern tip of the state Thursday [2/13/2014] to report an unspecified crime — but instead got charged with
Woman jailed for not returning 2005 video rental. Kayla Michelle
Finley may be wishing that services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime had been around a little earlier. The South Carolina woman spent a night in jail
last week for failing to return a video she rented — in 2005. It was a VHS tape. Of a Jennifer Lopez movie. Finley, 27, was
arrested Thursday in Pickens County, South Carolina, on a misdemeanor charge of failure to return the video, according to CNN affiliate WYFF-TV.
Man discovers it is illegal to wash his car in his own driveway.
A couple of friends cleaning up a car they had just purchased were threatened by the police for car washing in their own driveway. The reach of the nanny state
truly has no bounds when it comes to dictating what people must do on their own private property.
Electric car owner charged
with stealing 5 cents worth of juice. One Saturday in November, Kaveh Kamooneh drove his Nissan Leaf to Chamblee Middle School, where
his 11-year-old son was playing tennis. Kamooneh had taken the liberty of charging the electric car with an exterior outlet at the school.
Within minutes of plugging in the car, he says a Chamblee police officer appeared. "He said that he was going to charge me with theft by taking
because I was taking power, electricity from the school," Kamooneh said. Kamooneh says he had charged his car for 20 minutes, drawing about a
nickel's worth of juice.
City Shuts Down 11-Year-Old
Selling Mistletoe to Fund Braces. An 11-year-old Oregon girl who wanted to help her father pay for her braces by selling mistletoe over
the holidays, found herself embroiled in city bureaucracy. On Saturday, Madison Root went to the downtown market to sell fresh mistletoe she cut
and wrapped herself from her uncle's farm in Oregon. She told KATU News, "I felt like I could help my dad with the money." However, a
private security guard hired by Portland Saturday Market blocked her path to a straighter smile by telling her to stop selling the mistletoe, citing
city rules that ban conducting business or soliciting at a park without proper approval and documentation.
Orders for mistletoe
pour in after Oregon girl told she can't sell them, but can beg for money at city park. It appears the Oregon girl who was told she could
not sell mistletoe in a public park, but could beg for money to pay for her braces, will be able to pay for dental work... and then some. Hundreds
of mistletoe orders have poured in after reports of 11-year-old Madison Root being told by a security guard that she cannot sell the item at a public
park, but she could, if she wanted to, beg for money, KATU.com reported.
Georgia restaurant told to remove
flags honoring USA, troops. Three months ago, Miller put up the American flag, the Georgia state flag and banners for every branch of
the military. On Friday [11/15/2013], he was told they have to come down. "I'm just floored," said Miller. "And I called the guy
and asked what they're for. And he said I'm in violation with my flags flying above my restaurant."
Christianity Under Attack in America.
[Scroll down] This prohibition against Christian religious practice is not limited to the military. Police throughout the land also frequently
come down hard against Christians. In 2010, a group of students from the Arizona-based Wickenburg Christian Academy were ordered by a police officer
to cease their quiet prayers on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. The officer cited a statute that prohibits demonstrations on the
steps, but no official policy bars prayer at that location.
Woman Forced To Strip And Serve Jail Time For
Overdue Ticket. A North Texas woman was handcuffed, stripped down and booked into jail — all because of an overdue traffic ticket.
It was just a ticket. Sarah Boaz was cited in August after an officer said she ran a stop sign.
D.C. businessman faces two years in jail for
unregistered ammunition, brass casing. Mark Witaschek, a successful financial adviser with no criminal record, is facing two years in prison for
possession of unregistered ammunition after D.C. police raided his house looking for guns. Mr. Witaschek has never had a firearm in the city, but he is
being prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The trial starts on Nov. 4. The police banged on the front door of Mr. Witaschek's Georgetown
home at 8:20 p.m. on July 7, 2012, to execute a search warrant for "firearms and ammunition ... gun cleaning equipment, holsters, bullet holders and
The Editor says...
When the cops start raiding houses looking for gun cleaning equipment, holsters and receipts, we are living in East Germany.
Viva the shutdown!
Like Atlas Shrugged in reverse. You or I might think one of the main points of sequestering a wilderness zone like Yellowstone Park
would be so visitors could get more intimate with nature by skinny-dipping in a cooling stream, perhaps under the influence of alcoholic beverages.
But the park rules say no — and there's a whole army of uniformed government employees just itching to enforce them. Is this really what
government is for? Really?
Park Service threatens to arrest
WWII vets who try to visit their memorial. So, you've heard the story today about the group of World War II veterans who had to break through
barriers deliberately placed there by the Obama administration as part of its game-playing over the Democrat-forced government shutdown. It's bad enough
that they were deliberately inconveniencing 80-90 year old men who honorably served their country. I thought that was pretty low. And I was
right, but I didn't think they could sink any lower. Well, they did.
Rescue Pilot Issued Parking Ticket for His Helicopter. So ridiculous it's funny... and
You step out of line, the man comes and takes you away.
Seattle cops to don
opponents' jerseys. The Seahawks announced Wednesday that undercover law-enforcement officers will wear opposing team jerseys at
games this season in an effort to quickly detect fans exhibiting unruly and inconsiderate behavior.
This was either an act of nit-picking legalism or political activism:
Hidden camera catches culprit
taking man's Second Amendment sign. A New York man, frustrated when his pro-Second Amendment sign kept disappearing, was surprised
when the hidden camera he set up revealed the culprit to be a local cop. Jon Gibson, of rural Lake Lincolndale, about 50 miles north of
New York City, told FoxNews.com he set up a hunting field camera near the sign, which reads "Protect the Second Amendment," and features the
silhouette of an assault rifle, after two mysteriously vanished. A third sign disappeared before the camera finally captured the sign
stealer — a police officer from the nearby Somers Police Department.
Caught On Camera:
Cop Kicks, Confiscates Pro-2nd Amendment Sign. A police officer from Somers Police Department in New York has been caught kicking and then
taking a pro-Second Amendment sign from the yard of Jon Gibson of Lake Lincolndale, New York. Gibson's sign said, "Protect the Second Amendment,"
with a silhouette of an AR-15 across the top.
Every action requires a permit.
Police Stop Effort to Feed
the Homeless. In Raleigh, North Carolina the non-profit religious group, Love Wins Ministries, makes an effort to feed and help the
homeless every Saturday and Sunday. But this weekend was different. The group was attempting to hand out coffee and sausage biscuits
when the police officers arrived.
State Seizes Two-Year-Old Child From Parents Because They
Smoked Pot, Child Dies in Foster Care. Statistics on child abuse in foster care are, perhaps unsurprisingly, hard to come by, but children
in foster care may be up to 10 times more likely to die than children in the care of their own parents; one estimate places the number of children
who die in foster care in the US every year at about 1540.
Auburn cop fired for
blowing the whistle on ticket, arrest quotas. Do police officers write tickets because of quotas? Most law-enforcement agencies will
deny that any exist, but the police department in the college town of Auburn, Alabama will find that difficult. One of their officers secretly
recorded briefings in which quotas were explicitly demanded for traffic citations, arrests, and other "contacts," which if enforced would have meant
nearly 1.5 police contacts per resident each year.
Man charged with Brandishing for putting gun away.
[Scroll down] I grew up in a legal family, married a judge's daughter and have known dozens of judges both good and bad over the years. I have
never however, seen a judge behave as badly as the one in this case. He simply did not want to hear any of the defense.
Free Justin Carter Now.
In the state of Texas, a 19-year-old man named Justin Carter sits in prison, ruthlessly stripped of his freedom for making an offensive joke.
[...] For this he was arrested by Austin police, charged with making a "terroristic threat," and thrown into prison. He may languish there
until the start of the next decade. [...] He's been incarcerated since March without trial.
Let Your Babies Grow up to Exercise Their 1st Amendment Rights. This last winter a Texas teenager, Justin Carter, made a very stupid
and tasteless mistake. [...] Carter has been jailed on (an unaffordable) $500,000 bail since the late winter/early spring (accounts vary), through
the spring and now well into the summer. According to his parents (who claim that he is a danger to no one at all), he has been assaulted
numerous times and is now in solitary confinement on suicide watch, stripped naked in a dimly lit cell with a hole in the ground.
Indiana man faces possible
jail time for nursing bald eagle back to health. This reminds me of a 2011 story in which an 11-year-old Virginia girl rescued a woodpecker from the
family cat only to be approached by a Fish & Wildlife agent flanked by an armed state trooper informing them of a court date and a $500 fee.
When everything is a crime,
government data mining matters. Prosecutors have become kings, with the ability to find a crime committed by just about
anyone. Data mining and access to internet activity can help find terrorists, but it also can be used to find crimes which were not
previously known to have been committed by political opponents. A "find the target first, then find the crime" political approach
requires access to information of an unprecedented level. Which is exactly what is happening.
Activists Arrested and Cuffed at Independence Hall for Handing Out Fliers. Mark Passio wrote about his experience last
Yep, it's those last two bullets that'll really do some damage.
NY Man Arrested for
Having Nine Bullets Instead of Seven Loaded in Gun. Gregory D. Jean of New York was pulled over Sunday evening because
the lamp over his license plate was not working. He ended up arrested for violating the new NY SAFE Act. The troopers saw
Jean's .40 caliber pistol in the front seat and asked to inspect it. The weapon is legally registered and possessed, but it
contained nine bullets instead of the new legal amount of seven.
DA Refuses to Prosecute Man Arrested
For Having Two Extra Bullets. Gregory Dean Jr. was recently arrested — pulled over when authorities noticed a license plate
lamp was out on his vehicle. The lamp wasn't the problem, however. Troopers noticed a handgun in the vehicle. The weapon was
legally registered to Dean, but upon further inspection, the gun was noted to have 9 rounds as opposed to 7 — a violation of the
SAFE Act. He was charged with 'Unlawful possession of certain ammunition feeding devices', and faced a possible 6 months in jail.
For two extra bullets.
in New York Arrested For Letting His Daughter Play With Plastic Airsoft Gun in Park. A father in New York City has been
arrested on a host of charges after letting his daughter play with an Airsoft Gun in a park. The father let the child fire a couple
of plastic BBs at a tree and then carry the "gun" around the park. The father was arraigned Thursday on charges including reckless
endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child and violating city weapons laws. The man was also charged with resisting arrest
after he objected to the arrest.
Mother of 3-Year-Old
Fined $2,500 for Toddler's "Public Urination". A Piedmont [Oklahoma] police officer was fired for writing an excessively
hefty fine for her three-year-old's "public urination" on the family's property.
The $4,000 Trash Can. [Martha] Boneta, a Fauquier County
farmer, hosted a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls -- an occasion for which she lacked the proper "events permit." For this, the
county slammed her with a $5,000 fine. She also got in hot water for selling items, such as yarn and birdhouses, that she had not made herself.
The Mayor of East St. Louis is the New Baby
Sitter. A new restriction passed by Mayor Alvin Parks of East St. Louis has enacted a new curfew and dress code
for the city's youth. Anyone under 18 that is caught out of class during school hours, outside after 10pm or out of the
house or school anytime without a parent or guardian, they will be arrested. Additionally, the mayor decided that youth
should also be prohibited from wearing any blue or red.
'Overcriminalization' Making Us a Nation of
Felons? Critics argue there are so many new laws, rules, and regulations that it's all too easy to violate one of these laws and never
know you did it. Take, for example, Texas retiree George Norris and his wife, Kathy: federal agents raided and ransacked their Texas home
in 2003. Originally, the indictment against them was sealed, so they weren't even told why they were targeted at first. [...] George wound up
serving nearly two years in federal prison alongside killers, rapists, and other hardened criminals. What was his crime? A paperwork
violation related to flowers in his backyard nursery: buying, importing, and selling perfectly legal orchids.
The Environmentalists' Police
and Welfare States. The story about the abuses by Fauquier County against Martha Boneta, the farmer, of pitchfork protest
fame, just gets creepier and creepier.
Duncan, South Carolina Police Ticket Parents for
Cheering During High School Graduation. [In Duncan, South Carolina,] it's against the law to cheer for your kid during the
graduation ceremonies. In the past, parents and relatives who cheered were escorted by cops from the stadiums. But Duncan
residents went civil disobedience in response, standing to cheer and then simply leaving the stadium on their own. [...] This year,
the cops busted 13 parents for nefarious cheering.
The Nanny State Meets the
Quota Cops. Here's the kind of story that makes me fear for the future of the nation. It is a disturbing example of both government
stupidity and soft tyranny.
Protest Farmer Confronts Government Corruption and Retribution. American Thinker was the first to report about how Fauquier
County, Virginia attempted to fine farmer Martha Boneta for hosting a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls without a special events permit.
I'll bet they wouldn't have stopped a Muslim from doing the same thing.
City tells woman she can't pass out free water
in 112-degree heat. The city of Phoenix is facing a possible lawsuit after a woman claimed a city worker told her she could not pass out free
water in the Arizona heat without a permit. Dana Crow-Smith tells ABC 15 she was passing out water bottles in the 112-degree heat along with
others in an attempt to share their Christian beliefs with people attending a festival downtown last month, when a city worker ordered them to stop.
She said the worker told the group they would be cited if they continued passing out the water because they did not have a permit.
town threatens to take overgrown pet bunny from girl, 7. A 7-year-old Connecticut girl will lose her 20-pound pet
rabbit if North Haven officials get their way. Zoning Enforcement Officer Arthur Hausman issued a cease-and-desist order
to the Lidsky family two weeks ago, informing them that they were violating town zoning regulations because their property was
smaller than the 2 acres required to keep rabbits and other types of livestock.
The Editor says...
The city government thinks a rabbit needs two acres of land? Really? Who has two acres or more in Connecticut?
Oregon Man Sentenced to
30 Days in Jail — for Collecting Rainwater on His Property. Gary Harrington of Eagle Point, Oregon, says he plans to
appeal his conviction in Jackson County Circuit Court on nine misdemeanor charges under a 1925 law for having what state water managers
called "three illegal reservoirs" on his property — and for filling the reservoirs with rainwater and snow runoff.
NJ dad saves 5-year-old, car
plunges over cliff, dad gets traffic tickets. Some stories so teem with action that they create a nightmare for headline writers. This one not
only teems with action but has a galling anticlimax.
Owner Threatened with Jail Time for Flying American Flag. A Georgia man was slapped with a
ticket and threatened with jail time after he refused to remove an American flag that's been flying outside
his business for more than thirty years. An Albany code enforcement officer alleged that Tom Gieryic's
flag was in violation of the city's sign ordinance. The standard size American flag was posted on a pole
outside Gieryic's automotive repair shop.
Choc and Awe.
I am looking this bright Easter morn at a Department of Homeland Security "Custody Receipt for Seized Property
and Evidence". Late last night, crossing the Quebec/Vermont border, my children had two boxes of "Kinder
Eggs" ("Est. Dom. Value $7.50?) confiscated by Customs & Border Protection. Don't worry, it's for
their own safety.
cuffed for not holding escalator handrail. Anyone who has ridden an escalator and bothered to
pay attention has seen — and likely ignored — little signs suggesting
riders hold the grimy handrail. In Montreal's subway system, the friendly advice seems to have
taken on the force of law, backed by a $100 fine. Bela Kosoian, a 38-year-old mother of two, says
when she didn't hold the handrail Wednesday [5/13/2009] she was cuffed, dragged into a small holding
cell and fined.
Cops Throw Drivers in Jail for Expired Tags. In a city that hosts its fair share of murders and
terror plots, Washington, D.C., police are cracking down on another threat to the nation's capital —
expired vehicle registrations. To the frustration of forgetful drivers, Metropolitan Police Department
officers are throwing people in jail for letting their tag renewals lapse.
tag law costs unsuspecting biker. Antonio Gonzales rode his customized Harley-Davidson from New
Mexico to Bike Week, and then his wallet got a painful welcome from a Flagler Beach police officer —
a $1,151 citation for having his bike's license plate mounted vertically on a saddle bag. "I rode all
the way out here and all I have is 700 bucks," Gonzales said. "Then I get a $1,151 ticket." Many
bikers who ride customized motorcycles mount their plates vertically.
Girl, 10, Arrested for Using Knife to Cut
Food at School. A 10-year-old Florida girl faces felony weapons charges after bringing a small
steak knife to school to cut up her lunch, according to a report on MyFOXOrlando.com. School officials
say the Ocala 5th grader had brought a piece of steak for her lunch, and a four and a half inch steak knife
with which to cut it. According to the report, a couple of teachers took the utensil and called
authorities, who arrested the girl and took her to the county's juvenile assessment center.
Many more stories like this are on
the Zero Tolerance Page.
Topeka Cracks Down On Unlicensed Bicycles.
Topeka police are warning local bicycle owners they could face up to $76 in fines and court costs if they're
caught pedaling unlicensed bikes. Already this year 27 cyclists have received citations that include
a $10 fine plus $66 court costs for riding unlicensed bikes.
Police in Laramie, Wyo., Cite
Teen Girls Who Threw French Fries for 'Hurling Missiles'. Three 13-year-old
girls accused of throwing french fries during lunchtime at their school were cited for
"hurling missiles," an adult infraction covered by city ordinances.
Woman Arrested for Dancing at the Jefferson
Memorial. At 11:59, just four minutes after the event's start, U.S. Park Police had detained and
were handcuffing the aforementioned "Jefferson 1"
ostensibly for unauthorized dancing. Or, as former
Bureaucrash chief Jason Talley puts it, "One minute I'm taking video of people celebrating the freedoms etched
in the walls surrounding us, the next we see armed agents of the state putting chains on a friend of ours."
Woman cuffed, booked for
not paying library fines. A Wisconsin woman has been arrested and booked for failing to pay her
library fines. Twenty-year-old Heidi Dalibor told the News Graphic in Cedarburg that she ignored the
library's calls and letters as well as a notice to appear in court. Still, she was surprised when officers
with a warrant knocked on her door, cuffed her and took her to the police station to be fingerprinted and
The U.S. police state: Attorney Russ
Stein details his arrest for "idling." You have to read it to believe it.
Subway Rider Busted for Selling a
Token. Transit police handcuffed and cited a man who sold a $1.75 subway token to another
rider who was having trouble with a token vending machine. Transit authority spokeswoman Jocelyn Baker
… acknowledged that [Donald] Pirone sold the token at face value and did not make a profit. But
the law is the law, she said.
A similar but different case:
a nickel token. Because Mrs. Romanski picked up an abandoned token, she was surrounded, arrested
and led to a security office. There the guards stole her orphaned nickel. They refused to let her
use a restroom by herself. They prevented her from having lunch with her friends. Finally they
threw her out of the casino.
Police Arrest NH Man For Giving a Manicure
Without a License. A self-proclaimed manicurist decided to open for business in Concord [NH] on
Monday [5/9/2005] without the state's approval, attacking state licensing laws with a nail file. Michael
Fisher, 23, of Newmarket, N.H., was arrested and charged with violating the state's license law. He said
he organized the protest to call attention to what he said are needless obstacles facing small businesses in
the state. … The manicure performed without a license was undertaken right outside the state Board of
Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics office.
HPD still issuing tickets for
license plate borders. "It was never the intention of the Legislature for people to be receiving
traffic citations for having license brackets," said state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, who sponsored
the bill. "It's clearly out of bounds for them to be issuing tickets now." ... The [Houston police]
department's most prolific officer, Matthew Davis, issued at least 1,216 license bracket tickets since
January. He wrote 30 in one day in February and has issued more than 200 since [Governor] Perry signed
for dropping sunflower seed. It could be called a case for the birds, but an
Oklahoma woman is crying fowl over a $185 fine for dropping a sunflower seed in public.
transit police begin passenger ID stops. Although officials would release few details about the initiative, the
identity checks will mark the first time local rail and subway passengers will be asked to produce identification and be
questioned about their activities.
illegal to recite the Gettysburg Address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It is illegal to
deliver the Gettysburg Address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial without permission from the U.S. National
Park Service. On President's Day — standing where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his
"I Have a Dream Speech" — Phillip Howell, 25, recited Lincoln's famous address and was quickly
stopped by a Park Police officer. He told Howell that he could not give speeches on the steps of the
memorial without a permit.
Woman Ticketed for
Sitting on a Playground Bench with No Kids. The Rivington Playground on Manhattan's East
Side has a small sign at the entrance that says adults are prohibited unless they are accompanied by
a child. … [The ticket] could bring a one thousand dollar fine and 90 days in jail.
What ever happened to respecting our elders? An
82-year-old California woman says an officer cited her for taking too long to cross an intersection.
Mayvis Coyle insists when she entered the crosswalk the signal was green, but it turned red before she reached
the other side where an officer was waiting with a $114 ticket. "He treated me like a six year old,
like I don't know what I'm doing," Coyle said.
arrested over 96 cents. A Mansfield, Ohio, woman was arrested and
jailed for failure to file a 2001 city income tax bill totaling 96 cents … [after] she
explained the situation to a city employee who told her not to bother with the trifling amount.
Handicap permit should let a man
sit. Arthur doesn't want me to tell you his last name because he'd rather not get
on the bad side of the police. … His wife walks into the store to shop. Arthur likes to
wait in the car. "I can't follow her around for an hour and a half," he tells me. They've
been doing it this way the past year and a half … This worked out fine until the other day when a
community service officer working for the Cudahy Police Department leaned in Arthur's open window
and told him it was not legal for him to sit in the car and wait like that.
In a police state, everyone is a criminal suspect.
Guards make woman remove bra that triggered
metal detector at Idaho courthouse. Security guards refused to allow a woman into a federal
courthouse in Idaho until she removed a bra that triggered a metal detector. Lori Plato says she and her
husband, Owen Plato, were stunned when U-S Marshals Service employees asked her to remove her bra after the
underwire supports set off the alarm.
barbering? Raids at Orange County shops lead to arrests. As many as 14 armed Orange County
deputies, including narcotics agents, stormed Strictly Skillz barbershop during business hours on a Saturday in
August, handcuffing barbers in front of customers during a busy back-to-school weekend. ... In "sweeps" on
Aug. 21 and Sept. 17 targeting at least nine shops, deputies arrested 37 people — the
majority charged with "barbering without a license," a misdemeanor that state records show only three
other people have been jailed in Florida in the past 10 years.
Woman Cited for Cursing at Toilet. A Scranton woman who allegedly shouted profanities at her overflowing
toilet within earshot of a neighbor was cited for disorderly conduct, authorities said. Dawn Herb could
face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300.
No suspect is too young.
school police ticketing students as young as six. School police officers in Texas are doling out more
tickets to children as young as 6, who under past disciplinary practices would have been sent to the principal's office
instead, according to a report by a Texas nonprofit.
No suspect is too old.
Failure to Water. In another example of
overcriminalization, police in Orem, Utah decided to enforce an ordinance against neglected yards by arresting
Betty Perry, a grandmother and widow who was seriously negligent in watering her lawn. The 70-year old
was handcuffed, arrested, and taken to jail.
Police target careless drivers in crosswalk sting.
Coos Bay Police were kept busy Tuesday [2/9/2010] targeting drivers who didn't comply with crosswalk safety laws during
a pedestrian safety operation in Empire. For three hours Tuesday morning, officers were staked out at the
intersection of Cammann Street and Newmark Avenue, while a non-uniformed decoy pedestrian used the crosswalk.
Lawsuit: Student arrested for
burping. A 13-year-old was handcuffed and hauled off to a juvenile detention for burping in class, according
to a civil rights lawsuit filed against an Albuquerque public school principal, a teacher and a city police officer.
Resident Fined Thousands For Not Recycling Cat Litter. Dupont Circle resident Patricia White says
she has been fined eight times for throwing homemade cat litter in her trash. The fines total $2,000.
White says she shreds old newspaper and junk mail to use as cat litter. She believes she is helping the
environment by reusing the paper and avoiding cat litter you will find in stores. After being fined several
times, White says she called the Department of Public Works inspector who issued the tickets. According to
White, the inspector admitted to digging through trash looking for violations.
Police Handcuff 6-Year-Old Girl for Misbehaving at School. Milledgeville's acting police chief, Dray Swicord,
said Tuesday [4/17/2012] that he stands by an officer's decision to handcuff an elementary school student for safety Friday after
she allegedly threw a tantrum. Swicord said the arresting officer is not under investigation for his actions.
Cops believe their computer terminals, no matter what they say
woman battles DMV over alleged false conviction. Maryann Raab says she hasn't been to Florida since 1977, yet the DMV claims it
has proof she was convicted of DUI there in 2005 and as a result suspended her driver's license last month.
Innocent Man Stuck With 100 Parking Tickets.
After two years, innocent man is still fighting parking tickets incorrectly issued because of a personalized license
plate. In the two years since San Carlos resident Nick Vautier moved to California's San Francisco Bay Area,
he has received over a hundred parking tickets worth $3000. He is not responsible for a single one of them,
but several jurisdictions continue to prosecute him without ever having established any guilt.
Woman Slammed in the Slammer. In a very sad story, 78-year-old Garland resident Betty Smith
related her horrendous tale of woe to Dallas County Commissioners at their January 9th meeting. Her story
of abuse by the Dallas County judicial system and Sheriff's Department began when she was awakened by knocks
on the door at 4:00 one morning. The officer told her she was being arrested for illegally ordering a
duplicate copy of her driver's license. Never mind that Ms Smith's car had been carjacked not long ago,
along with her purse and personal belongings, including her driver's license. [...] On the way to jail, the
deputy told her that her record indicated that she had committed a homicide in Arizona.
woman arrested on false federal charges. Hope Clarke was put in handcuffs on a bench warrant for
failing to put away her marshmallows and hot chocolate while staying at Yellowstone National Park last
year. Federal agents apparently blindly relied on a computer database, even though the court had a copy
of the citation showing she had paid.
Proof that the minimum wage is too high:
Prisoner wrongly freed after officials get
phony, typo-filled fax. Officials mistakenly released a prisoner from a Kentucky facility after
receiving a phony fax that ordered him freed, and it took them nearly two weeks to realize it. The fax
contained grammatical errors, was not typed on letterhead and was sent from a local grocery store.
snafu is behind at least 50 'raids' on Brooklyn couple's home. Blame it on a computer.
Embarrassed cops on Thursday [3/18/2010] cited a "computer glitch" as the reason police targeted the home
of an elderly, law-abiding couple more than 50 times in futile hunts for bad guys.
Homeland Security sifts through internet traffic looking for "suspicious" words.
Sticks, stones and dangerous words.
[Scroll down] The bureaucrats trying to keep the homeland secure, even at the cost of damage to the First Amendment, concede that the manual's language
is vague and should be "updated." In the hands of normal speakers of English, the lists can be harmless enough, but computers are only as smart as
whoever is punching the keyboard. That's not always very smart. The hands of government agents are heavy on all of us.
Cops believe their polygraph machines, no matter what they say
Seeing threats, feds target instructors of
polygraph-beating methods. [Scroll down] The federal government previously treated such instructors only as nuisances, partly because
the polygraph-beating techniques are unproven. Instructors have openly advertised and discussed their techniques online, in books and on national
television. As many as 30 people or businesses across the country claim in Web advertisements that they can teach someone how to beat a
polygraph test, according to U.S. government estimates.
How accurate are lie-detector tests?
[Scroll down] If polygraphs are so fallible, why use them at all? In part because testing can intimidate people into confessing, deter bad
behavior, and create an impression (however misleading) of vigilance. In other words: security theater.
The Truth About Lie Detectors (aka Polygraph Tests). The accuracy (i.e.,
validity) of polygraph testing has long been controversial. An underlying problem is theoretical: There is no evidence that any pattern of
physiological reactions is unique to deception.
The truth about lie detectors.
The county prosecutors offered Buzz a deal: they would drop all charges if he agreed to take a polygraph — a lie detector test — to
prove his innocence. Convinced the whole episode was one big mistake, Buzz readily agreed. He took two tests but both suggested he
was lying about his innocence. This, along with circumstantial evidence, sealed his 1979 conviction and he spent two-and-a-half years in
prison for a murder he didn't commit.
'Elephant in the
Room' Ignored by Prosecutor After Conviction of 'Beat the Polygraph' Instructor. As someone who spent much of the past four years conducting an
exhaustive investigation of the U.S. Government's use of credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph, I didn't expect MacBride to mention the
proverbial "elephant in the room" — that is, the fact so many countermeasures exist to make it possible for any individual to "beat" or pass a
polygraph exam. And he didn't.
Indiana Man Sentenced to Prison
for Teaching People How to Beat Polygraph Exams. Eight months in prison. That was the sentence handed down to Chad Dixon today by a federal
court judge in Alexandria, Va. His crime? Teaching people — in particular, government job applicants — how to beat polygraph
The Editor says...
Sounds to me like a violation of the defendant's rights to free speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of association.
He is apparently being silenced because the government does not want the general public (jury pool) to know that it is possible to
spoof a polygraph exam.
The polygraph is merely a psychological rubber hose, not a way of
detecting deception. [T]here is nothing in the polygraph procedure that can discriminate between nervousness caused by anxiety
in the innocent in response to a question, and nervousness caused by fear of getting caught in a lie in the guilty.
The Lie Behind the Lie Detector. The polygraph pens
don't do a special dance when a person lies. The polygrapher scores the test by comparing physiological responses (breathing, blood
pressure, heart, and perspiration rates) to these probable-lie control questions with reactions to relevant questions such as, "Did you ever
commit an act of espionage against the United States?" (commonly asked in security screening). [...] If responses to both "control" and
relevant questions are about the same, the result is deemed inconclusive.
The curious story of how the lie detector came to be. Ninety years after its invention,
the polygraph still has not been accepted by the scientific, legal or political communities. "The whole process smacks of 20th Century witchcraft," said
Senator Sam Ervin, who died in 1985. It does not help that every now and again serious criminals trick the polygraph. In 2003, Gary Ridgway admitted
he was the Green River Killer, having murdered 49 women in the Seattle area. Ridgway had passed a lie detector test in 1987, while another
man — who turned out to be innocent — failed.
Please refrain from defending your own life and property
NYC alarms with notice: 'Immediately
surrender your rifle'. New York City authorities have been sending out notices to residents who own guns that now violate new ammunition
capability laws, demanding they relinquish their weapons — and even though the notifications may just be standard police procedure, the text
is a shocker. At issue: Weapons that hold more than five rounds of ammo, The Blaze reported.
Man shoots intruder at 2am, gets charged with murder.
A man's home is his castle,
except in Maryland. US Air Force Tech Sgt. Matt Pinkerton shot an intruder in his home on September 13th just before 2 am.
That is not in question. Yet somehow, in Maryland, where Castle Doctrine does not exist by statute but rather only by case law, Sgt. Pinkerton is
being charged with 2nd degree murder.
Defenselessly 'sheltered' as anti-gun fortress
is breached. As any decent American knows, there is no feeling more powerless than to realize that a couple of mass murderers are loose in your
neighborhood and you are denied the right to keep a gun to defend yourself, your family or your home. A sickening knot tightens in your gut. [...] Then
came the latest Orwellian phrase in the "homeland security" lexicon: "Shelter in place!" So, not only are you not allowed to defend yourself against
mass murderers, you are not supposed to run from them, either. This, my fellow countrymen, is pure insanity.
who locked boys who were vandalizing father-in-law's home in a closet faces jail. A man who says he caught four boys vandalizing
his father-in-law's home has been charged with child endangerment after corralling them in a closet until police arrived.
For Stopping Youth Gang Vandalizing Family's Home. And before you assume there is more to this story... there isn't.
Just another victory for convenient 'victims' preying on the few producers that remain in Amerika. Get this, the four thugs
are of ages 8 and 10. They and their 'parents' should be taken out to the woodshed. But they won't, because
today's 'entitled misunderstood youth' and their [amoral] guardians are free to destroy anything that offends their parasitic
arrested after corralling vandals in a closet until police arrived. [Scroll down] Upon entering the house, Daniels
saw a great deal of the damage downstairs and went upstairs to confront the intruder. Jesse encountered four young boys, all with
hammers. The boys tried forcing their way out several times, Daniels corralled them into a closet awaiting police arrival.
he won't prosecute upstate NY man who put 4 boys in closet after vandalism spree. A district attorney says he won't prosecute a
New York man who corralled four boys in a closet when he found them vandalizing a relative's home.
points gun at burglar, and guess who gets arrested. George Bardwil, who owns linen company Bardwil Home, was at home in
his E. 51st Street apartment in Manhattan in January, when a man broke in. Bardwil, 60, brandished the gun at the
intruder, who then fled, and the businessman called 911. But when he showed police footage of the incident recorded on his home
security system he was arrested on suspicion of possessing an illegal gun.
feverish de-legitimization of personal self-defense . Three Florida high school students disarmed another student
who was armed with a loaded pistol while riding home on a school bus. The school district then promptly suspended all three
students for being involved in an "incident" with a weapon. One of the suspended students asked, "How are they going to
suspend me for doing the right thing?"
Excuse Me, Your Illogic Is Showing: Orwell's
Vision Emerges In California. Emeryville, California Police Chief Ken James claims that guns are not defensive weapons.
If true, then why do police carry them?
Why I own an AR-15. I bought an AR-15 so
that I wouldn't have to ask twice for a criminal to get out of my house.
police chief: The idea that a gun is a defensive weapon is a 'myth'. California Police Chief Ken James insisted
earlier this month that the idea of a gun as a "defensive weapon" was a "myth." Speaking at a news conference about gun
control with California lawmakers, James explained that he was concerned with the amount of weapons owned by American citizens.
"One issue that always boggles my mind is that the idea that a gun is a defensive weapon," James said. "That is a myth.
A gun is not a defensive weapon."
Resident Forced to Forfeit Gun Used to Stop Home Invasion. In late January, 64-year old Clare Niederhauser was arrested
for shooting at burglars fleeing from his property. At a plea deal hearing, he apologized for firing the shots, agreed to pay
a $700 fine, take a weapons class, and forfeit the weapon he used. Fellow residents of Layton, UT are coming to the aid of the
elderly man, who was arrested after firing a shot at a burglar's vehicle and a fleeing accomplice after they attempted to break in to his
property with a crowbar.
A Gun Ban That Misfired.
The D.C. gun ban, enacted in 1976, prohibited anyone other than law-enforcement officers from carrying a firearm in the city.
Residents were even barred from keeping guns in their homes for self-defense. Some in Washington who owned firearms before the
ban were allowed to keep them as long as the weapons were disassembled or trigger-locked at all times. According to the law,
trigger locks could not be removed for self-defense even if the owner was being robbed at gunpoint.
If you're counting on the government to keep you safe, you can expect to be disappointed.
In an Emergency; Grab Your Scissors. Continuing the idea that only the government can protect you the Department of
Homeland Security has released this video of options if you are in a dangerous situation. Key in the DHS plan is to take cover
and hide. [...] One has to wonder if teaching actual self defense tactics might be a better plan. Or maybe an offer to put a
baseball bat at every cubicle.
Homeland Security has advice
for confronting mass murders: scissors. Is your workplace getting shot up by a crazed gunman? No problem —
just grab a pair of scissors and fight back! That's some of the helpful advice in a new instructional video from the Department of
Homeland Security that was posted on the agency's Web site just a month after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
'Tackle crazed gunmen with scissors or just hide under your desk'.
The U.S Government has issued a controversial video telling office workers what to do should a crazed gunman storms their building.
Issued by Homeland Security, the video, called Active Shooter Situation: Options for Consideration, tells workers to flee if it is
safe or find a hiding place if trapped should a gunman storm the building. The video even advises using scissors as a weapon to
defend yourself if your are caught in the open.
Nadler: Two to Four Self-Defense Shots is Enough. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) applauded his state's expansion of
the current gun control laws on Tuesday [1/15/2013] telling Breitbart News, "I'm glad New York passed strong legislation. Would
I have preferred stronger? — always — without knowing the details of what they did." The passage of the new gun control laws
make the New York legislation the strictest in the nation.
Chicago Police Chief: We'll
Shoot Licensed Civilians With Guns. During an interview on radio station WVON 1690 am this week Chicago's Police Chief Gary
McCarthy surprised listeners when he commented on the upcoming concealed carry law that must be passed in Illinois within the next six months.
McCarthy made a scary prediction that citizens carrying legally could be shot by Chicago police.
Chicago Police Chief: We'll Shoot
Licensed Gun Owners. Under Chicago's Police Chief Gary McCarthy and the hack that hired him, Chicago has quickly become Murder
City USA. Last year by a substantial amount, more Americans died from gunfire in the Windy City than died in Afghanistan. The
gunfire is coming from the violent street gangs that infect the streets of Chicago. Since they have failed to solve the real problem
of gunfire killing people in their streets, the current administration has invented a problem their media pals can fool the dupes that vote for
them into thinking they are solving. Their invented problem is: what to do about "dangerous" people who are licensed gun owners?
Tucson Gun Turn in —
First Hand Account. As I walked the line for the next two hours, I saw very few guns that had any value in excess of
the value of the $50 gift card being offered. Quite frankly, most of the guns were rusted, inoperable junk. I saw only
three firearms that I would value in excess $400, two S&W revolvers and a single 4" blue Colt Python. Most of the guns
worth anything were comprised of .22 rifles, and all of those were of nominal value.
Progressives and the Phony Gun Debate.
To typical Progressives, government is the very essence of life, and anyone who is not directly employed by government or
who has been given police powers by the State stands in the way of the State providing life and happiness. Lest
anyone believe that denial of individual self-defense is a top agenda for Progressives, think again. Both Canada
and Great Britain essentially have outlawed individual self-defense, and should any individual use any kind of "offensive
weapon" in self-defense, then that person faces extremely harsh punishments.
People are Buying
Guns and Ammunition for a Reason. Police response time to a 911 call is roughly 8 minutes, but making that call may
attract the intruder's attention. There are other sounds that are sure to get his attention as well. For instance, there's
the sound that a 12 gauge pump shotgun makes when you chamber a round, and then there's the sound of an AR 15 when you release
the charging handle. Both of those sounds will put the fear of God into anyone with any sense, and the response time of an AR 15
is 3200 feet per second.
Congratulations to Mayor Rahm Emanuel for Chicago's
successful gun control policies: only 19 shot in 18 hours yesterday! Curious how the cities that are most restrictive when it comes
to law-abiding citizens possessing firearms to protect themselves and their loved ones are also the cities that are awash in violent crime.
Cops Arrest Homeowner for Crime of Self-Defense.
A man in New York recently scared off some gang members by firing a couple of warning shots into the ground. When the cops arrived, did they congratulate
the man for protecting his family and start looking for the thugs? That's what would happen in a logical and just society, but the anti-gun mentality in
New York is so pervasive that the cops actually arrested the homeowner. Needless to say, I can't imagine this happening in Georgia or Wyoming —
places where both the law and cops seem to be more rational.
The police can't protect you. The Aurora, CO police force is a
fine, highly motivated department — I know because the police association was formerly my client. There were officers already at
the theatre for the midnight showing of Batman to deal with the anticipated crowd. Only 90 seconds elapsed between the first 911 call
and officer's arrival on scene. This is a spectacular response time. Yet 12 people were already dead and 58 wounded.
Which is why they are called "first responders" and not "first preventers."
Gun Crazy II. [Scroll down] But waiting for the Man is not
an option. "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away" — in Newtown, they were twenty minutes away. The obscene
horror of mass-shooting sites is often compounded by how long the killers have to go about their deadly work in "gun-free zones" (which should be
re-dubbed "free-fire zones") before being interrupted — at which point they typically kill themselves. In the recent Oregon mall
shootings, the killer decided to turn his gun on himself when he caught sight of an armed civilian, and the Connecticut monster shot himself once
the "first responders" started to arrive.
Until We All Understand Police Limitations,
Some Will Put Faith in Gun Control. [Scroll down slowly] Response times for emergencies vary enormously from place to place. In some
rural or semi-rural areas, emergency response is measured in hours. Even in towns or cities, a five-minute response — from the moment an officer
receives the radio call until he arrives in a school parking lot — would be amazingly fast. Consider, however, that a radio call likely would
not have been made until someone at the school realized what was happening and made a call, a call that will take precious seconds — even
minutes — to make and to be understood. By the time a radio signal flashes out, a shooter could easily have been shooting for five
minutes or more.
Sandy Hook shooting timeline. Authorities say the first emergency call
about the shooting came in at "approximately" 9:30 a.m. "Sandy Hook school. Caller is indicating she thinks someone is shooting in the building," a
dispatcher told fire and medical personnel, according to 911 tapes. Police and other first responders arrived on scene about 20 minutes after the first
calls. Police report that no law enforcement officers discharged their weapons at any point.
When Seconds Counted, The Police Were 20 Minutes Away.
The murder of 26 students and teachers at Sandy Hook is both a massacre and a tragedy. The fact that the murderer met no armed resistance during the
20 minutes of his massacre is an obscenity. The solution to this problem seems pretty simple. The only way to stop a person with a gun is another
person with a gun at the time and place of the crime — and, as former police officer Mike McDaniel writes at PJM, because of response times, that will rarely,
if ever, be a member of the police.
Disarming We the People.
In America, there were no "police" forces as we understand them today until 1835, and their creation by no means negated either the
citizenry's unalienable right of self-protection or the expectation that ultimate responsibility for the individual's safety fell squarely
on his own shoulders. The police are public employees, there to add to the safety of the citizenry; they are not the sole arbiters of
public order. To suggest otherwise is to misunderstand the role of government and its relationship to the individual.
Man, 80, charged after shooting burglar in his Englewood home. Awakened by his 75-year-old wife, [80-year-old Homer] Wright
confronted a 19-year-old burglar who had broken through some plywood over a bathroom window in hopes of stealing liquor, according to
police. Wright grabbed his 38.caliber pistol, loaded with four rounds, and shot the intruder in the leg. The suspect was
arrested — but so was Wright.
bar owner who shot burglar would like his gun back. Homer "Tank" Wright says he's happy prosecutors dropped
charges filed against him after he shot a suspected burglar last week. But the 80-year-old tavern owner in Englewood
is upset they did not return the .38-caliber pistol he used to shoot the intruder in the leg.
SWAT and the Second Amendment. In a free society, a
society with a fundamental right to keep and bear arms, police officers believing they may shoot a citizen in his own home simply
because he is carrying a firearm cannot be tolerated. Officers must absolutely avoid putting citizens in situations where they
might be armed, or even pointing firearms in the direction of police officers banging on or breaking down their front doors. If
such misconduct is tolerated, as in the cases of Jose Guerena and Andrew Scott, the next knock on any citizen's door may be the last
they ever answer.
City official insists residents shouldn't defend themselves.
D.C.'s crime solution: Be a victim.
Washington residents are up in arms, though not armed. With violent crime up 40 percent in the first two months of the
year — including double the number of robberies at gunpoint — residents are looking for ways to protect
themselves. Elected officials and police have no solution.
Shotgun-wielding Minnesota farmer, 74, charged
after chasing down thief. A farmer who chased down a thief and held him at gunpoint until
authorities arrived now faces a more serious charge than the thief himself. Kenneth Englund, 74, was
charged with second-degree assault, a felony. The thief, who the sheriff said admitted stealing about
$5 worth of gasoline from Englund's neighbour, was charged with misdemeanour theft.
Felonized for Foiling a Real Crime.
Bradford Township, Minn., doesn't have its own police force, relying instead on deputies sent from 15 miles
away. When Bradford Township Board member Kenneth Englund detected thieves stealing gasoline from his
neighbor's farm, he attempted to detain the thieves using his unloaded shotgun. ... [Now] Englund faces the
most serious charge from the incident.
The government goes after the victim rather than the perpetrators.
Elderly man facing
serious charges for shooting at thieves. Legal analyst Dan Recht said he believes the Jefferson
County District Attorney is "seriously overcharging" a Wheat Ridge homeowner, accused of attempted first
degree murder for shooting at two thieves. 82-year-old Robert Wallace said he fired two shots at
two men when they tried to run him over while stealing his flatbed trailer. Wallace now faces
twelve felony counts, including four counts of attempted first degree murder, for what he described
as an act of defending his property and his life.
Stolen Trailers. Say you're
82 years old. Say that you see two people a third of your age with criminal records stealing your
trailer. Say that you run out to stop them and they almost run you over. You fire two shots.
The thieves are let go, and you find yourself facing life in prison. It's not a hypothetical scenario.
Defend your family, go to
jail. A Brooklyn man who shot and wounded an intruder while defending his family will spend three
days in Rikers Island, the same jail housing the burglar who terrorized his home, because he owns an
One law for us,
another for you. The California state Senate voted 28-8 Wednesday [6/1/2011] to exempt itself
from the pointless gun-control laws that apply to the rest of the populace. Legislators apparently
think they alone are worthy to pack heat on the streets for personal protection, and the masses ought to
wait until the police arrive.
Thanks to Otis McDonald and
the Supremes. The fact is that most crimes cannot be deterred because the bad guys don't generally
mug people in front of the officer on patrol. Since the police can't be everywhere, people need a way to
State "Emergency Powers" vs. The Right to
Arms. After Hurricane Katrina, many New Orleans residents legally armed themselves to protect their
lives and property from civil disorder. With no way to call for help, and police unable to respond, honest citizens
were able to defend themselves and their neighbors against looters, arsonists and other criminals. However, just
when these people needed guns the most, New Orleans's Police Superintendent ordered the confiscation of firearms,
allegedly under a state emergency powers law. "No one will be able to be armed," he said. "Guns will be
taken. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns."
Why do civilians need assault weapons?
One self-defense situation that comes to mind is the L.A. riots. Who can forget the nightly news's live footage of thugs hurling rocks at passing
cars, buildings on fire, and looters smashing storefront windows? Then there was the savage beating of truck driver Reginald Denny. What was
stunningly absent from the video footage? There were no police or fire personnel. According to the Los Angeles Times, police were ordered to
stay out of the area for three hours. Numerous 911 calls for assault, murder, and fire-bombings went unanswered. [...] When there's no law
and order — only chaos — that's when civilians need assault weapons.
Dial 911 and Die. Do the police owe a duty to protect
you from criminal attack? In most of the United States, the answer is "no." In fact, in most cases
the police do not even have to respond to your emergency 911 call. Don't believe it? Read the true
stories from all across America about citizens who depended solely upon their telephone and police response for
emergency help against a violent criminal. Not only did those crime victims not get help, the local
government and police escaped legal responsibility for failing to help those victims.
DC 911 Puts Woman on
Hold... During a Home Invasion. When seconds count, the cops are minutes away or... they put you [on] hold. A Washington DC woman was
recently the victim of a home invasion and when she called the police for help, the 911 operator made her wait. As a reminder, the average crime
happens in one minute.
Sleeping 911 Operator Cost FL County $75,000.
Pasco County, Fl. owes a family $75,000 because of a 911 operator who grew frustrated with a caller and dropped the call to fall asleep
while the caller's girlfriend died due to choking. According to WTSP out of Tampa, Nancy McGhee died while choking on food because
when her boyfriend called 911, the certified operator grew frustrated and passed the call along to his subordinate.
Defense: The basic premise of this book is: defensive use of firearms is not just for the military
and police; it is for every citizen confronted or assaulted by violent criminals violating their personal and
property rights. This book contains numerous examples of citizens who used firearms to save their own
lives, or the lives of others, before law enforcement arrived.
Cases in which guns saved lives: There are
approximately two million defensive gun uses per year by law abiding citizens, according to a recent
The Police Have
No Obligation To Protect You. Americans have come to believe that first responders, particularly
the police, not only will protect them but have a duty to protect them. It is this belief that underpins
arguments about gun control and every other nanny state social policy. Don't worry, be happy for the
benevolent state will provide for and protect you. Leave it to the experts. In truth, the state
can't protect anyone and has no such legal obligation. As the citizens of Alameda discovered, the state
has no conscience and can decide — on the spot — which services it will provide. A
little-known yet vital Supreme Court case explains why.
Have gun, will travel.
Law-abiding gun owners can run into serious trouble when on the move. Venturing into firearm-unfriendly states creates
confusion about what individuals need to do to abide by a confusing maze of regulations. Congress should act to prevent
honest citizens from winding up behind bars because police are misinformed.
Gun Control Laws Only Control the Law Abiding. Just like the
majority of police officers who never have to fire their gun during the course of a career, most civilians will never be shot at while watching a
movie, browsing in a shopping mall or attending school. But for those few that do have the misfortune to be an unwilling participant in an
ambush here are a few rules of thumb you may find useful.
Dispelling bullet myths. Terms like
"stockpile" are used to scare people, but gun owners know they can go through that amount in a couple days of training. The handful of
people who buy ammunition with the intent of committing a crime could just circumvent Mr. Lautenberg's provisions by buying 999 rounds
in local stores. As usual, the gun grabbers won't do anything to stop actual crime, but they'll hinder innocent Americans who just want
to protect themselves and their families.
Sheriff: Calling 911, Waiting Not Best Option for Defense. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. has released a 30 second public
announcement calling on the citizens of Milwaukee to familiarize themselves with a firearm and aid the police in defending life between the time
they dial 911 and the time the police arrive.
Wisconsin sheriff urges residents to arm
themselves. A sheriff who released a radio ad urging Milwaukee-area residents to learn to handle firearms so they can defend
themselves while waiting for police said Friday that law enforcement cutbacks have changed the way police can respond to crime.
Poll: Armed Citizens, not Gun Control, Will Lower Violent Crime. In a poll conducted by PoliceOne, a majority of law enforcement
personnel said universal background checks, "assault weapons" bans, and "high capacity" magazine bans do not make police safer and will not lower
violent crime. Armed citizens, on the other hand, do make a positive difference.
poll: 85% say gun control won't work, 86% want civilians armed . An authoritative new poll of more than 15,000 cops released
on the eve of this week's Senate anti-gun debate shows that a sweeping majority of officers don't believe gun control will work or keep them
safer, and nearly nine in 10 believe having more armed citizens would curb gun violence.
News that must be suppressed. If our major
media were not fully committed propagandists, they would report the findings of a large scale survey of law enforcement personnel on the subject of
further gun legislation. After all, they are currently following the President's strategy of distracting the public from the awful state of the
economy by exploiting the victims of Newtown to push for further erosion of Second Amendment rights. So the views of law enforcement personnel
ought ot [sic] be of some interest.
Trenton man says he held off intruder for
30 minutes before police arrived. Police officials are examining the response to a 911 call Sunday night that left a city
man struggling with an intruder at his building without any officers arriving. Dan Dodson said it was 20 or 30 minutes
before two officers eventually arrived in response to his wife's calls to police telephone numbers.
Dispatcher Tells Woman About to Be Sexually Assaulted There Are No Cops To Help Her Due To Budget Cuts. An Oregon woman
was told by a 911 dispatcher that authorities wouldn't be able be able to help her as her ex-boyfriend broke into her place because of
budget cuts. Oregon Public Radio reports that an unidentified woman called 911 during a weekend in August 2012 while Michael Bellah
was breaking into her place. Her call was forwarded to Oregon State Police because of lay-offs at the Josephine County Sheriff's
Office only allows the department to be open Monday through Friday.
Wait two hours; Buy Gun. On March 16, Teri Bice awoke to the sound of someone trying to
break down the door of her home in New Orleans. She did what most Americans would do:
dial 911. One big problem, there was no answer at the other end.
Report: D.C. police
need guidance to avoid unlawful home entry. D.C. police officers need a refresher on when it's legal to enter a home
without a warrant, according to a report issued Wednesday [6/12/2013] by the city's Police Complaints Board. The board said it
routinely receives complaints about officers entering homes — the complaints comprise nearly 14 percent of all those
received since 2009 — and recommends the department should write a general order clarifying the exigent circumstances that
would justify a warrantless search. "Providing better training and developing a general order on warrantless entries for officers
will aid them in carrying out their duties all the while protecting the rights of the public," said Philip K. Eure, director of the
Office of Police Complaints.
SAFE Act Claims it Allows 'Warrantless' Police Searches. The registry process of New York's SAFE Act allows for
warrantless police searches into gun owners' homes, a violation of the Fourth Amendment, according to plaintiffs of a lawsuit
filed in U.S. District Court Eastern District. The law firm representing plaintiff Gabriel Razzano argues the registry
process is "essentially secret and results in a mandatory, warrantless Penal Law 400 gun removal visit from police."
"The entire purpose of the registry is a sham to permit intrusions into a person's home on consent without a warrant for a
'gun removal,'" La Reddola, Lester and Associates said in a release. "The entire registry and database seek to justify
warrantless police searches, which my client and I now believe to be the real purpose of the SAFE Act."
The SWAT Team Would Like to See Your Alcohol
Permit. How police use regulatory inspections to conduct warrantless searches.
How police use regulatory
inspections to conduct warrantless searches: In August  a team of heavily armed Orange
County, Florida, sheriff's deputies raided several black- and Hispanic-owned barbershops in the Orlando area.
There were more raids in September and October. According to the Orlando Sentinel, barbers and
customers were held at gunpoint, some in handcuffs, while police turned the shops upside down. A total of
nine shops were raided, and 37 people were arrested. By all appearances, these raids were drug
sweeps. Shop owners told the Sentinel police asked where they were hiding illegal drugs and
weapons. But in the end, 34 of the 37 arrests were for "barbering without a licence," a misdemeanor
for which only three people have ever served jail time in Florida. Two arrests were for misdemeanor
marijuana possession. Just one person was arrested on felony drug and weapon charges.
Stupidity Contest. [Scroll down] Contestant Number Two is the Metro Police in Washington, DC,
which has decided to harass random travelers by searching their bags before they board the subway. This is akin
to the TSA's mindless bureaucracy — but even worse. [...] Good intelligence by the CIA and FBI is the way
to stop these crackpots, not empty security theater that makes life more difficult for law-abiding people.
Police push for warrantless searches of cell
phones. This is an important legal question that remains unresolved: as our gadgets store
more and more information about us, including our appointments, correspondence, and personal photos and videos,
what rules should police investigators be required to follow? The Obama administration and many local
prosecutors' answer is that warrantless searches are perfectly constitutional during arrests.
Additional information about warrantless searches can be found in the
cell phones subsection.
Map of Botched Paramilitary Police Raids.
attack: Depth of federal arms race should surprise, shock citizenry. In late February,
four federal agents carrying side arms with a drug-sniffing dog descended on the Taos Ski Valley in
what was called a "saturation patrol." Authorities were working on tips of possible drug selling
and impaired driving in the ski resort's parking lot and surrounding area. But the agents weren't
from the FBI, ATF, or even the Drug Enforcement Administration. Rather, the agents represented the
U.S. Forest Service. [...] It may come as a surprise to many U.S. taxpayers, but a slew of federal
agencies — some whose responsibilities seem to have little to do with combating
crime — carry active law enforcement operations.
SWAT Team in Full Body Armor Raids Home, Confiscates ONE Dud Shell Casing, Federal Charges Laid. At 8:20 p.m. on
July 7, 2012, SWAT agents showed up at Mark Witaschek's D.C. home to execute a search warrant for "firearms and ammunition ... gun
cleaning equipment, holsters, bullet holders and ammunition receipts." Witaschek's 14-year-old daughter answered the door and let
about 30 officers, who were in full tactical gear, inside. The officers immediately charged upstairs and demanded that Witaschek
and his girlfriend, Bonnie Harris, surrender, face-down. Both were handcuffed.
SWAT Mix-Up: U.S. Marshals Mistakenly
Raid Home of Fla. Nurse. A police mix-up nearly had a disastrous outcome in Sarasota, Florida, when a SWAT team burst into a woman's
apartment with their guns drawn. Louise Goldsberry, a 59-year-old nurse, was terrified when she saw a man with a gun outside her kitchen window.
She then ran to her bedroom and grabbed her gun, leading to a tense standoff. Fortunately no one was injured during the confusion.
Florida Nurse Terrorized by US Marshals in Warrantless Raid.
It was a typical evening after work when Sarasota, Fl., resident Louise Goldsberry finished dinner and began to clean up. The nurse,
employed by the Sarasota Doctors Hospital, proceeded towards the kitchen sink to clean the dishes when she gazed out her window. Her gaze
met the eyes of a man wearing a hunting vest who was aiming a gun directly at her face.
NYPD broke down door without warrant, beat up family, stomped pet bird to
death. A Staten Island family barbecue turned into a nightmare when it was interrupted by police investigating the improper use of a parking
cone to save a parking spot on the street. What resulted was a day the family will never forget, as their home was invaded without a warrant, several
family members were bludgeoned, and a NYPD officer sadistically stomped on a pet parakeet that lay helpless on the floor.
If Police Can't Identify a Masked Officer,
How Can The Public? At a local public safety fair in Austin, Infowars Nightly News reporter Jakari Jackson asks Austin police
officers about the masked Austin SWAT team member who confined him to his own home. [Video clip]
Mother of three negligently shot in the head during
botched drug raid. The American Drug War claimed another casualty when a woman was shot in the head while sitting on a couch by an incompetent police
officer, who fired his weapon through an exterior wall prior to raiding the home. At about 10:30 p.m. on December 11th, a group of cops calling
themselves the U.S. 23 Task Force swarmed the residence and prepared to break in and capture people for possessing drugs.
to Kill: The Growing Phenomenon of Police Shooting Unarmed Citizens. I'm not talking about a situation so obviously fraught with risk that there is
no other option but to shoot, although I am hard pressed to consider what that might be outside of the sensationalized Hollywood hostage crisis scenario. I'm
talking about the run-of-the mill encounters between police and citizens that occur daily. In an age when police are increasingly militarized, weaponized and
protected by the courts, these once-routine encounters are now inherently dangerous for any civilian unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
SWAT-Team Nation. In 1972, America
conducted only a few hundred paramilitary drug raids a year, according to Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the
Age of Colorblindness." By the early nineteen-eighties, there were three thousand a year; by 2001, Alexander notes, the annual count
had skyrocketed to forty thousand. Today, even that number seems impossibly low; with one annual count of combat-style home raids
hovers around eighty thousand. [...] But what's remarkable is how routine these tactics have become as a means of pursuing nonviolent suspects
and low-level investigations, particularly in the war on drugs. Thousands of police departments nationwide have recently acquired stun grenades,
armored tanks, counterattack vehicles, and other paramilitary equipment, much of it purchased with asset-forfeiture funds.
107-year-old Arkansas man dies in shootout with S.W.A.T.. A 107-year old Pine Bluff man died
Saturday [9/7/2013] after a shootout with officers and S.W.A.T. members. The Pine Bluff Police Dept. released the following information about the incident on Saturday evening.
Mission Creep: EPA Agents Enter Drug
War. A large-scale narcotics investigation and sentencing in Montana has revealed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has
entered the enforcement of U.S. war on drugs. The EPA has full federal law enforcement capabilities, and their charter allows them to participate in the
investigation and prosecution of "criminal conduct that threatens people's health," according to the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division (EPA CID).
raid in Alaska sheds light on 70 fed agencies with armed divisions. The recent uproar over armed EPA agents descending on a tiny Alaska
mining town is shedding light on the fact that 40 federal agencies — including nearly a dozen typically not associated with law
enforcement — have armed divisions. The agencies employ about 120,000 full-time officers authorized to carry guns and make arrests,
according to a June 2012 Justice Department report. Though most Americans know agents within the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Federal Bureau
of Prisons carry guns, agencies such as the Library of Congress and Federal Reserve Board employing armed officers might come as a surprise.
E.P.A. is the New Gestapo.
Just recently, a task force including members of 10 state and federal law enforcement agencies descended on a gold mine in the
tiny town of Chicken[,] Alaska[,] with a population of 17 last month, in what locals described as a raid. "Imagine
coming up to your diggings, only to see agents swarming over it like ants, wearing full body armor, with jackets that say
"POLICE" emblazoned on them, and all packing side arms," gold miner C.R. Hammond told the Alaska Dispatch. [...] According to
the EPA The investigation was into possible violations of the Clean Water Act. The officers were part of the Alaska
Environmental Crimes Task Force and visited the outpost near the Canadian border during the third week of August to investigate
water discharges into rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. This is how the EPA handles an investigation, with rifles,
handguns and bullet proof vests?
Parnell orders investigation of mining raids.
Enforcement officers with the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Bureau of Land Management were armed and wore body armor, according to Parnell.
He said an investigator with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation joined the agents, who said they were looking for violations of the Clean
The Editor says...
I suspect this investigation could have been carried out by two little old ladies with a smart phone and a laptop. Instead they sent a SWAT team.
Book Review: "Rise of the Warrior Cop". Today SWAT teams are nothing special.
They've multiplied like mushrooms. Every city has a SWAT team; 80% of towns between 25,000 and 50,000 people do as well. These teams are busy; in
2005 there were between 50,000 and 60,000 SWAT raids in the U.S. The tactics are pretty much what you would expect — breaking down doors,
rushing in with military weaponry, tear gas — but the targets aren't. SWAT teams are routinely deployed against illegal poker games,
businesses suspected of employing illegal immigrants and barbershops with unlicensed hair stylists.
Are Police in America Now a Military Occupying Force? [Scroll
down] When considered in terms of cops per square mile, Los Angeles assigns a whopping 469 officers per square mile, followed by New York
with 303 officers per square mile, and Chicago with 227 cops per square mile. [...] Consider that in 1980, there were roughly 3,000 SWAT
team-style raids in the US. By 2001, that number had grown to 45,000 and has since swelled to more than 80,000 SWAT team raids per year.
On an average day in America, over 100 Americans have their homes raided by SWAT teams.
Armed agents raid
animal shelter for baby deer. WISN 12 News investigates an operation raising questions about the use of government resources and
the state policy that meant a death sentence for a fawn. "It was like a SWAT team," shelter employee Ray Schulze said. Two weeks ago,
Schulze was working in the barn at the Society of St. Francis on the Kenosha-Illinois border when a swarm of squad cars arrived and officers
unloaded with a search warrant.
13 Wisconsin officials raid animal shelter
to kill baby deer named Giggles. Two weeks ago, Ray Schulze was working in a barn at the Society of St. Francis no-kill animal shelter in Kenosha,
Wis., when officials swarmed the shelter with a search warrant. "[There were] nine [Department of Natural Resources] agents and four deputy sheriffs, and
they were all armed to the teeth," Mr. Schulze told WISN 12. "It was like a SWAT team." The agents were there to retrieve a baby deer named
Giggles that was dropped off by a family worried she had been abandoned by her mother, the station reported. Wisconsin law forbids the possession of wildlife.
13 Wisconsin officials raid animal shelter
to kill baby deer named Giggles. Two weeks ago, Ray Schulze was working in a barn at the Society of St. Francis no-kill animal shelter in Kenosha,
Wis., when officials swarmed the shelter with a search warrant. "[There were] nine [Department of Natural Resources] agents and four deputy sheriffs, and
they were all armed to the teeth," Mr. Schulze told WISN 12. "It was like a SWAT team." The agents were there to retrieve a baby deer named
Giggles that was dropped off by a family worried she had been abandoned by her mother, the station reported. Wisconsin law forbids the possession of wildlife.
Rise of the Warrior Cop.
The police say that they knocked and identified themselves, though [Matthew David] Stewart and his neighbors said they heard no such
announcement. Mr. Stewart fired 31 rounds, the police more than 250. Six of the officers were wounded, and Officer
Jared Francom was killed. Mr. Stewart himself was shot twice before he was arrested. He was charged with several crimes,
including the murder of Officer Francom.
SWAT Overkill: The Danger of a Paramilitary Police Force.
[Scroll down] Abetting this trend was the federal government's willingness to make surplus military equipment available to police and sheriffs'
departments. All sorts of hardware is available, from M-16s to body armor to armored personnel carriers and even helicopters. Lots of
police departments grabbed the gear and started SWAT teams, even if they had no real need for them. The materiel was free, and it was fun.
Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police
Raids in America. Americans have long maintained that a man's home is his castle and that he has the right to defend it
from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, that right may be disappearing. Over the last 25 years, America has seen a
disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police
units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams
today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home. These increasingly frequent raids,
40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to
the terror of having their homes invaded while they're sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not
as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders,
many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors.
An Unbearable Aroma of Self-Righteousness in SWAT Nation.
[Scroll down] The so-called "voluntary lock-down" in Watertown — a more appropriate phrase might be "martial law" — offered a chilling
spectacle for anyone who cherishes his personal freedom. Remember the Fourth Amendment? That guaranteed that "The right of the people
to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated." Yet in Watertown,
platoons of heavily armed police in combat gear went from house to house, guns drawn, banging down doors, screaming at people to come out of their own
houses with their hands on their head. There were "a lot of big guns pointed at us," said one Watertown resident. Several news outlets
used the word "surreal" to describe this concentrated display of the coercive power of the state. What worries me is not that it is "surreal" but
that it is, increasingly, all too real.
time this month: Obama gun-ban critic raided by heavily-armed fed contingent. I'm sure his opposition to the President's
assault on the Constitution has nothing to do with the raid. Aren't you? This is the second known military-style raid on
"preppers" in New Jersey in a little over a month based upon the word of informants, and I hasten to add, "known." There are quite
possibly other raids that haven't made the news. In neither of these instances are the people raided known to have a violent record.
Whether New Jersey is singling out preppers for these insanely over the top, highly dangerous, and extremely wasteful raids are legitimate
questions that should be asked of the local, state, and federal agencies in New Jersey that are putting lives at risk to justify their
Maryland State Police, FBI
SWAT Teams Thwart a Guy with a Few Guns. You are forgiven for thinking that a major terrorist attack was thwarted in
Sharpsburg, Maryland, this past Thursday. A Maryland State Police helicopter was in the air over 4433 Mills Road most of
the day, as police, FBI SWAT teams, armored vehicles, and K-9 units converged upon the residence of Terry Allen Porter, 46.
Porter, however, wasn't home. Nor, it turned out, was Porter on any "Most Wanted" lists. Terry Allen Porter's home was
raided using all the power of the state security apparatus not because he was terrorist, a bank robber, serial killer, or a relative
of the Kennedy clan, but because of an anonymous tip that he was an avid outdoorsman.
Apparently, cops must watch a lot of television. Sometimes there is a good reason to send a dozen cops
out to surround somebody's house, toss in some tear gas, and drag the bad guys off to jail. But it isn't necessary
for the police to initiate violence against non-violent suspects. And in their zeal, they sometimes
raid the wrong house altogether. SWAT team raids are probably really justified about once a month,
but one article below says there are 4½ SWAT raids every day -- in Maryland
Remembering the Murder of Donald Scott. [Scroll down] More than
thirty officers from five different agencies — including the DEA and the Forest Service but not, significantly, the Ventura County
Sheriff's Office — took part in the assault on Scott's home. Two of the participants in the attack on Scott's home told Bradbury
that the possibility of "forfeiting" the land was explicitly discussed during the pre-raid briefing.
Man Dies in Police Raid on Wrong House. A 61-year-old man was
shot to death by police while his wife was handcuffed in another room during a drug raid on the wrong house. Police admitted their mistake, saying
faulty information from a drug informant contributed to the death of John Adams Wednesday night [9/26/2012]. They intended to raid the home next door.
Florida Police Knock on Wrong Door at 1:30 a.m.
Without Identifying Themselves, Then Fatally Shoot Armed Resident. Via Instapundit comes the news that deputies in
Lake County, Florida, early on July 15, fatally shot a man named Andrew Lee Scott. Deputies say they didn't identify
themselves as police when they knocked on Scott's apartment door at 1:30 a.m. They also say that when Scott, 26,
while armed with gun drawn, they immediately opened fire and killed Scott in his own
doorway. His girlfriend was present in the apartment.
SWAT Shooting of Jose Guerena. All evidence suggests an incompetent investigation and raid
resulted in the death of an innocent father and Marine.
Marine Survives Two Tours in Iraq,
then SWAT Kills Him. [Scroll down] KGUN's Joel Waldman says the SWAT team prevented paramedics
from going to work on Guerena for one hour and fourteen minutes. The sheriff's department maintains that
Guerena was holding an AR-15 when the paramilitary force fired 71 bullets in his home, but other key parts
of the government story have collapsed. While PCSD initially claimed Guerena fired the weapon he was
alleged to have been holding, the department now says it was a misfire by one of the deputies that caused
this deadly group panic inside a home containing a woman and a toddler.
A Guy Gets SWAT Team-ed for Not
Securing His Wireless Network. [Scroll down] You know where this is going. They got
the wrong guy. Someone else had used Covert's wireless connection to download child porn.
["]Law enforcement officials say the case is a cautionary tale.["] It sure is. I can certainly
think of some lessons we might draw. One might be: Maybe the cops should check to see if a
suspect's wireless network is secure, and therefore that they have the right guy, before they break into
his home and point their guns at his head.
The EPA's Swat Team: Hubert Vidrine, a
manager at a refinery plant, was at work when FBI and EPA Criminal Division Agents stormed into his place of
business using M-16s and police dogs. His alleged crime was storing waste covered by the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) without obtaining a permit. Just wait, it gets better...
'SWAT' raid still troubling after story corrections. The story was a sensation on Wednesday morning
[6/8/2011]. A Department of Education SWAT team broke down the door to a house owned by a man whose wife was
delinquent on her student loans, according to original reports. The man was handcuffed and, along with his
children, put in a cop car for 6 hours. It turns out that some of this story was misreported. It
wasn't a SWAT team but a special branch of the DOE who executes search warrants. And it wasn't for a student
loan, but the warrant was in connection with a criminal investigation. But before you breathe a sigh of
relief, it should be rightly asked: What ... is DOE doing with a paramilitary unit to serve warrants?
team launch dawn raid on family home to collect unpaid student loans. A father was dragged from
his home and handcuffed in front of his children by a SWAT team looking for his estranged wife — to
collect her unpaid student loans. A stunned Kenneth Wright had his front door kicked in by the
raiding party at 6 am yesterday before being dragged onto his front porch, handcuffed and led to a
police car with his three children.
SWAT Team Raids House
at 6 AM ... for Estranged Wife's Defaulted Student Loans. If this story isn't a wake-up call
about the militarization of police and criminalization of everything, then I'm afraid the patient is even
deader than the Fourth Amendment. Read this, and weep for what your country has become.
The cops raid the wrong house:
snafu is behind at least 50 'raids' on Brooklyn couple's home. Blame it on a computer.
Embarrassed cops on Thursday [3/18/2010] cited a "computer glitch" as the reason police targeted the home
of an elderly, law-abiding couple more than 50 times in futile hunts for bad guys.
apartment raided in Annapolis. Wearing masks and carrying rifles, Annapolis police officers attempting
to execute a search warrant broke down the door of an apartment, set off a percussion grenade that released smoke
and a flash of light and noise, and kicked one occupant in the groin. Then they realized that they were
at the wrong address.
Executes No-Knock Raid — On The Wrong House. A young girl was nearly killed by FBI agents who not only raided the
wrong house, but shot at an unarmed teenage girl.
FBI Shoots Up House of Unarmed People.
An FBI SWAT team stormed a family home in District Heights, Maryland, yesterday [11/15/2012] at 6 a.m. Agents fired at an unarmed
18-year-old woman in what appears to have been a no-knock raid.
Oops! Wrong house.
FBI cuts down Mass. mom's
door in wrong-home raid. A Massachusetts mother says the FBI used a chain saw to cut through her
door and held her at gunpoint for at least 30 minutes before agents realized they were conducting a raid
at the wrong home.
Uh-oh. Wrong house. Sorry we killed you.
SWAT and the Second Amendment. On July 15, 2012,
at 1:30 a.m. in Leesburg, Florida, Lake County deputies knocked on the door of 26-year-old Andrew Lee Scott's apartment, thinking
attempted murder suspect Jonathan Brown was inside. They did not identify themselves in any way. Brown had been seen earlier
in the apartment complex, and his motorcycle was parked near Scott's apartment. This was the only "evidence" of his presence.
When Scott opened his door with a gun in his hand, a deputy opened fire, killing Scott. Brown was later found in a nearby apartment
Wrong house. Sorry about the dog.
St. Paul Cops Shoot Dog in Wrong-Door Raid, Force
Handcuffed Kids to Sit Near the Corpse. A St. Paul, Minnesota family claims in a lawsuit that police officers who conducted
a wrong-door raid on their home shot their dog, and then forced their three handcuffed children to sit near the dead pet while officers
ransacked the home. The lawsuit, which names Ramsey County, the Dakota County Drug Task Force, and the DEA, and asks for
$30 million in civil rights violations and punitive damages after a wrong-door raid, also claims that the officers kicked
the children and deprived one of them of her diabetes medication. The suit also alleges that one of the lead officers with
the task force "provided false information" in order to get a warrant to raid the Franco family's home.
Minneapolis SWAT Team Raids Wrong House.
Khang, a Hmong immigrant with shaky command of English, set down his gun, raised his hands and was soon on the
ground, an officer's boot on his neck. The gunmen, it turned out, were members of a police SWAT team that
had raided the wrong address because of bad information from an informant — a mistake that some critics
say happens all too frequently around the country and gets innocent people killed.
Murder with a badge.
Public confidence in law enforcement is essential to maintaining a free and orderly society. The thin
blue line frequently finds itself under attack from the left, so it's natural for conservatives to come
readily to its defense. This instinct should be resisted when police make serious mistakes and engage
in a cover-up instead of asking forgiveness from the public.
The cops raid the wrong house, again:
Alameda raid mistakenly
targets TV reporter's home. Police and FBI agents arrested a drug suspect in Alameda on Wednesday [9/14/2011],
but not before mistakenly trying to raid a home across the street belonging to a network TV reporter and her political
consultant husband. Alameda and Martinez police, together with FBI agents, pounded on the door of CBS News
contributor Priya David Clemens and her husband, Alex Clemens, at their home on Lina Avenue at about 7 a.m.
When cops knock, can they
barge in? Police came to Maria Huff's Burbank home in 2007 after hearing that her son had
written a letter threatening to shoot up his high school. They asked Huff if they could come in and
she said no, not without a warrant. When they asked if there were any guns in the house, Huff said
she would get her husband, then headed inside, followed by her son, who was also at the doorway, and four
officers. After remaining for five to 10 minutes and finding no evidence of a crime, the officers
left. In short order they were hit with a civil suit by Huff, her husband and son — who had
written no such threatening letter — for entering the home without any legal justification.
no matter the intent. In May of 2004, federal agents in a black sport utility vehicle ran
Krister Evertson off the road, piled out of their vehicle in full SWAT gear, trained an automatic weapon
at his head, and arrested him. Evertson's crime? He failed to put a federally mandated sticker
on a UPS package. A jury acquitted Evertson of the charges, but the feds later charged Evertson for
"abandoning" hazardous material. Evertson is an award-winning scientist working on fuel-cell
technology, and the chemicals were both properly stored and necessary for his work. Nonetheless,
he spent 21 months in federal prison.
Armed and dangerous: Federal
agencies expanding use of firepower BATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, even the National Park Service and
Department of Health and Human Services — all have their own SWAT teams.
Marine killed by SWAT was acting in defense, family says. New details are emerging about Jose
Guerena, the man killed last Thursday [5/5/2011] in a SWAT incident at his Tucson home. He was gunned
down by SWAT members while his wife and young child hid in a closet. Now, the Pima County Sheriff's
Department has taken responsibility for the fatal shooting.
Sheriff Lott's New Toy. The
Richland County, South Carolina Sheriff's Department just obtained an armored personnel carrier, complete
with a belt-fed, .50-cal turreted machine gun. Sheriff Leon Lott has charmingly named the vehicle "The
Peacemaker," and insists that using a caliber of ammunition that even the U.S. military is reluctant to use
against human targets (it's generally reserved for use against armored vehicles) will "save lives."
Can we call this overkill, yet?
4.5 SWAT Raids Per Day.
Over the last six months of 2009, SWAT teams were deployed 804 times in the state of Maryland, or about
4.5 times per day. In Prince George's County alone, with its 850,000 residents, a SWAT team was
deployed about once per day. According to a Baltimore Sun analysis, 94 percent of the state's SWAT
deployments were used to serve search or arrest warrants, leaving just 6 percent in response to the
kinds of barricades, bank robberies, hostage takings, and emergency situations for which SWAT teams were
Bellevue family sues
FBI over 'terrifying' raid. The lasting impact of the raid on Gary Adams' home became clear in
a comment from his 3-year-old granddaughter during a recent trip to the pharmacy. "She said, 'Granddad.
Police. Hide,' " Adams, 57, of Bellevue recalled Wednesday while discussing the federal lawsuit he filed
against the officers who burst into his home March 3.
Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated
Incidents". Map shows where incidents have occurred resulting in death or injury of a police
officer, death of a nonviolent offender, raid on an innocent suspect, unnecessary raids on doctors and sick
people, and other examples of paramilitary police excess.
Homeowner Wants Police To Fix Trashed House. The San Jose Police Department stormed into a
Stockton home searching for an accused killer, but they left without him, and left behind a complete mess.
Apparently it was a SWAT raid for no reason other than intimidation.
Gibson Guitars still faces no charges, months after raid.
Back in August, the federal government's raid on Gibson Guitars made huge news. The raid by armed agents was
ostensibly conducted because Gibson was illegally using rare, restricted woods from India and Madagascar to make its
guitars — even though nobody in India or Madagascar filed any complaints against them.
about the raid on Gibson Guitar.
"At least until the 1980s, SWAT teams and other paramilitary units were used
sparingly, only in volatile, high-risk situations such as bank robberies or hostage situations.
Likewise, "no-knock" raids were generally used only in situations where innocent lives were determined
to be at imminent risk."
"You don't need to know. You can't know." That's what Kathy Norris, a 60-year-old grandmother of eight, was told
when she tried to ask court officials why, the day before, federal agents had subjected her home to a furious search. The
agents who spent half a day ransacking Mrs. Norris' longtime home in Spring, Texas, answered no questions while they emptied file
cabinets, pulled books off shelves, rifled through drawers and closets, and threw the contents on the floor. The six agents,
wearing SWAT gear and carrying weapons, were with — get this — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Unlikely Orchid Smuggler: A Case Study in Overcriminalization. George Norris, an elderly
retiree, had turned his orchid hobby into a part-time business run from the greenhouse in back of his home.
He would import orchids from abroad — South Africa, Brazil, Peru — and resell them at
plant shows and to local enthusiasts. He never made more than a few thousand dollars a year from his
orchid business, but it kept him engaged and provided a little extra money — an especially important
thing as his wife, Kathy, neared retirement from her job managing a local mediation clinic. Their life
would take a turn for the worse on the bright fall morning of October 28, 2003, when federal agents,
clad in protective Kevlar and bearing guns, raided his home, seizing his belongings and setting the gears in
motion for a federal prosecution and jail time.
Federal SWAT Raid Over ... Orchids.
So as it turns out, even the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has its own SWAT team.
about the George Norris case.
questions SWAT drug search that led to dog's death. SWAT team breaks into home, fires seven
rounds at family's pit bull and corgi (?!) as a seven-year-old looks on. They found a "small amount" of
marijuana, enough for a misdemeanor charge. The parents were then charged with child endangerment.
So smoking pot = "child endangerment." Storming a home with guns, then firing bullets into the family pets
as a child looks on = necessary police procedures to ensure everyone's safety.
Justice for Sal. Last week
The Washington Post reported that Sal Culosi's parents have reached a $2 million settlement with
Fairfax County, Virginia, police Detective Deval Bullock, who shot and killed the 38-year-old optometrist
during a January 2006 SWAT raid on his home. The unusual settlement reflects the outrageous facts of
this case, in which an unarmed man suspected of nothing more than betting on sports was recklessly gunned
down during an unnecessarily violent operation.
Pre-Crime Policing. An
allegedly "disgruntled" man has his guns seized, and "voluntarily" surrenders to two SWAT teams and dozens of
police officers for a crime that hadn't been committed.
SWAT officers invade home, take 11-year-old at gunpoint.
Nearly a dozen members of a police SWAT team in western Colorado punched a hole in the front door and invaded
a family's home with guns drawn, demanding that an 11-year-old boy who had had an accidental fall accompany
them to the hospital, on the order of Garfield County Magistrate Lain Leoniak. The boy's parents and
siblings were thrown to the floor at gunpoint and the parents were handcuffed in the weekend assault, and
the boy's father told WND it was all because a paramedic was upset the family preferred to care for their
Home your castle? Not anymore.
[Scroll down] Meanwhile in Detroit, a 7-year old girl sleeping on her grandmother's sofa was shot as a
SWAT team crashed into the home looking for a murder suspect. Turns out they had the wrong house.
The murder suspect lived next door. Then there is the case of Cory Maye, a young man I've written about
several times over the past few years. Maye fired blindly as intruders crashed through a back door into
his baby daughter's bedroom. One of the intruders was hit. In the next moment the intruders identified
themselves as police officers and Cory Maye immediately surrendered. He was convicted of murder of a
police officer and sentenced to death.
In Virginia, the Death Penalty for Gambling.
[Scroll down] As [Salvatore] Culosi emerged from the doorway, clad only in a t-shirt and jeans, SWAT
officer Deval Bullock's finger apparently slipped to the trigger of his Heckler & Koch MP5 semiautomatic
weapon, already aimed at the unarmed Culosi. The gun fired, releasing a bullet that entered Culosi's side,
then ripped through his chest and struck his heart, killing him instantly. It only got worse from there.
Big News in Culosi Case.
Apparently, the recommendation handed down by the internal police investigation is that the officer who shot and
killed Culosi be given three weeks of unpaid suspension, and that he be removed from the SWAT team. I'm
not as outraged by that recommendation as Culosi's family (though I fully understand their outrage). But
as you expect, it's far less than one I would consider a just outcome.
Police Officer Fatally Shoots Dog After Going To Wrong Address. An Austin police officer
fatally shoots a dog after showing up at the wrong address for a domestic violence call.
Buffalo Woman Says
Police Raided Wrong House, Killed Her Dog. Prada was 5-years-old at the time. The black Labrador Retriever became more
than a pet, but a part of [Rita] Hairston's family. A companion. Last Saturday morning, she returned to her E. Morris
Ave. house in University Heights in Buffalo and discovered her home had been broken into and Prada was missing. There was a
puddle of blood on the floor and bullet holes in the door of a bedroom where Prada slept. But it was not a burglar who
broke in. Hairston found a search warrant, signed by a judge, issued to the Erie County Sheriff's Department, on
her kitchen floor.
Police Shot Dog in Apparent Raid at Wrong
Apartment. Buffalo police are investigating a Breckenridge St. man's claims that police killed his dog when they
mistakenly raided his apartment while executing a search warrant. Adam Arroyo wants police to apologize for the death of
his pit bull Cindy, which was chained inside the kitchen during a raid on his home Monday [6/3/2013].
They Always Shoot the Dog.
A cop on a paramilitary drug raid decided to cut across the lawn at an adjacent home. The homeowner's watch
dogs did exactly what they're supposed to do when an uninvited guest trespasses on the property. They
attacked. So the cop shot 'em. One thing I've noticed while picking through the depressingly long
list of botched drug raids: The cops always shoot the dog.
300-lb. probation officer shoots
woman's 12-pound dog in Albany. A probation officer in Southwest Georgia fatally shot a woman's 12-pound dog while on a routine visit
Monday, an act the dog's owner claimed was unnecessary. Cherrie Shelton's dog Patches, a two-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, approached officer
Antoine Jones as he arrived at her home, she told FOX 31 in Albany. Before Shelton, of Albany, could finish telling the officer the dog
wouldn't bite, he had pulled out his gun and shot the dog.
Police Serve Warrrant
at Wrong House, Shoot Their Dog, Now Refuse to Pay Vet Bills. The City of Leander, Texas is refusing to pay the medical bills for a
German Shepherd dog that was shot when police served a warrant at the wrong address. An officer shot "Vinny" in June, putting the dog in the
hospital with $1,500 in medical bills. Luckily he survived and is recovering, but the city is denying the claim against them. The
family is planning to sue.
Speaking of dogs...
police dogs only bite Latinos and African-Americans. Police officers in Los Angeles have long faced accusations of institutional racism,
but now it appears their dogs may be unjustly discriminatory, too. A new report focusing on the Canine Special Detail of the LA Sherriff's
Department (LASD) has uncovered a vast increase in the number of minority individuals bitten by police dogs since 2004. And in the first
six months of this year, every single victim of a bite by a LASD dog was African-American or Latino.
A Drug Dog Named 'Guilty'. Over the
last 20 years or so, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the alert from a drug dog is enough to establish probable cause for a search.
The problem is that while it's true that dogs have a finely tuned sense of smell, far better than any technology we humans have been able to develop,
we've also bred into dogs a trait that can supersede that ability — an eagerness to please us. Without careful training, drug dogs
will end up relying more on the body language of their trainers than on their olfactory prowess. That means that for many drug dogs, an
"alert" is little more than a validation of the suspicions of its handler, [...]
Mass SWAT Raids in Buffalo.
[Scroll down] It'll be interesting to see how many of the 78 people arrested actually get charged
and convicted. From the 38 SWAT raids, police seized a total of five guns, not exacty a data point
in support of the argument that SWAT teams are necessary because drug dealers are overwhelmingly armed with
high-powered weaponry. Also, given that police seized a grand total six pounds of marijuana and seven
ounces of crack in the entire operation, it's probably a bit of a stretch to say the raids "put a dent" in the
Buffalo drug trade. I'd imagine you'd find that much weed in a single SUNY-Buffalo frat house.
Bringing the media along for the ride was a nice touch, though.
Officer Killed by Non-Lethal Flashbang Grenade. The only malfunction with the flashbangs in these
stories was the timing of their detonation. Had they not gone off prematurely, they would eventually have
been used against U.S. citizens, just as they're used every day in America. Most of the time, they're used
against people merely suspected of a crime, and most of the time those crimes are nonviolent, consensual drug
crimes. That is, by design, when they're used exactly as intended, flashbangs cause serious,
sometimes permanent injury to people who have yet to even be charged -- much less convicted -- of
nonviolent, consensual crimes.
This Is Your War on Drugs.
We have another video of a raid by the Columbia Police Department. ... This isn't like watching video of a car
accident or a natural disaster. This doesn't have to happen. You're watching something your
government does to your fellow citizens about 150 times per day in this country. If this very
literal "drug war" insanity is going to continue to be waged in our name, we ought to make [very] sure
everyone knows exactly what it entails.
Practice on the People.
A reader sends this incredible column from Tactical Response magazine, which I gather is a periodical
for SWAT types. ... The author is actually suggesting SWAT commanders lobby to have their teams deployed in
situations for which they normally wouldn't be to ensure they're in good practice. Put another way, he
suggests they practice their door smashing, room-clearing, flash-grenade deploying, and other paramilitary
tactics on less-than-violent people, so they're in better form when a real threat arises.
Sheriff: SWAT Team Necessary
Because Man Is a "Self-Proclaimed Constitutionalist". As it turns out, the kid was fine.
After the raid, a doctor examined him, and told him to drink some fluids and take a Tylenol. I'm even
more troubled by the explanation for the aggressive tactics: ["]The sheriff said the decision to use
SWAT team force was justified because the father was a 'self-proclaimed constitutionalist' and had made
threats and 'comments' over the years. However, the sheriff declined to provide a single instance of the
father's illegal behavior. 'I can't tell you specifically,' he said.["]
The Deadliest Rhetoric.
At 12:30 a.m. on January 5, just three days before Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at a Tucson gathering
hosted by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), a SWAT team in Framingham, Massachusetts, conducted a drug raid on
the home of 68-year-old Eurie Stamps. Stamps wasn't the target of the raid. Nor was he armed when the
police shot him. In fact, police had found their suspects, Joseph Bushfan — the 20-year-old son
of Stamps' girlfriend — and Devon Talbert, also 20. The two were arrested outside the home.
They still went ahead with the raid, which ended with Stamps' death.
Fourth Circuit Denies Qualified
Immunity in Mistaken SWAT Raid. [Scroll down] I still wonder why gun rights groups like
the NRA aren't more disturbed by the ubiquitous use of SWAT teams. Here, the fact that the Bellotte's
were legal, registered gun owners was used as justification for the violent, volatile entry into their home.
It isn't the first time this has happened. You'd think that's something that might concern Second Amendment
recall SWAT team break-in. Kenneth and James Jimerson were pulled from their bed, put in handcuffs
and taken from their home. ... The SWAT team didn't any find anything in the brothers' home; turns out officers
had invaded the wrong home. "They came back and said apparently we have made a mistake," said Kenneth.
Swat Team turns house upside down
looking for attempted murder suspect. The swat team turned his house upside down looking for
a man with a gun, and now this local homeowner wants to know who is going to clean up the mess left
behind. ... Alicia Jennings, a concerned neighbor, told our cameras, "They kicked in the doors... pulled
out the windows... the cabinets. They destroyed this man's house."
Another Isolated Incident.
An elderly couple says Cook County sheriff's police on a drug raid smashed into their Southwest Side house late
Thursday night, terrorizing them before admitting they had the wrong house. With her husband already asleep,
84-year-old Anna Jakymek was just turning out the lights when she heard loud noises at the back and front doors
about 11:30 p.m. Her initial thought was that her 89-year old husband had fallen out of bed, but
she realized something else was happening when she looked into the front room.
Civil libertarians argue that military-style raids escalate the level of violence in what could be routine police
action, and are leaving a growing number of innocents terrorized, wounded or dead. "Botched raids are a
staple of law enforcement," said Graham Boyd, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Drug Law Reform
Project. "There is a never-ending stream of ruined homes, ruined lives and innocent people who are killed
or terrorized." The Cato Institute Web site features an interactive map tracking hundreds of botched
paramilitary police raids nationwide beginning in the late 1990s, including dozens of instances in which
innocent people were killed.
Elderly Woman Has
Heart Attack: Mistaken SWAT Raid. Once again, a SWAT team in Georgia has raided the wrong
house — this after a supposed two-year investigation. Maybe I'm missing something here, but it
would seem that after two years they would know where they're supposed to be going.
Does NASA have a SWAT team, too?
sting terrifies woman, 74. But at the end of the sting operation, agents were left holding a speck
of lunar dust smaller than a grain of rice and a 74-year-old suspect who was terrified by armed officials.
tragedy shows the dangers of paramilitary-style policing across US. [Peter] Kraska estimates
that the total number of SWAT deployments across the country "increased from a few hundred per year in the
1970s to a few thousand per year by the early 1980s to around 50,000 per year by the mid-2000s." Today,
he says "every decent-sized city has a SWAT team, and most have several. Even absurdly small towns like
Eufaula, Ala., (population 13,463) have them... Where their purpose once was to defuse an already violent
situation, today they break into homes to look for illicit drugs, creating violence and confrontation where
there was none before."
Militarization and Policing — Its
Relevance to 21st Century Police. This work examines the blurring distinctions between the
police and military institutions and between war and law enforcement. In this article, the author
asserts that understanding this blur, and the associated organizing concepts militarization and
militarism, are essential for accurately analyzing the changing nature of security, and the
activity of policing, in the late-modern era of the 21st century.
Is this still America?
Armed federal agents of the Department of Education conducted a pre-dawn SWAT-style raid on the home of a Stockton,
Calif., man. Read that again: The Department of Education has taken up arms against the citizenry. Meanwhile,
federal Transportation Security Administration officials routinely grope our 6-year-olds and conveniently arrange
that attractive women are subjected to their full-body porn cameras. Not even George Orwell's 1984
dystopian police state went that far.
Prohibition. Unlike Bill Clinton,
President Obama admits he inhaled! "Frequently," he said. "That was the point." People laugh
when politicians talk about their drug use. The audience laughed during a 2003 CNN Democratic presidential
primary debate when John Kerry, John Edwards and Howard Dean admitted smoking weed. Yet those same politicians
oversee a cruel system that now stages SWAT raids on people's homes more than 100 times a day.
People die in these raids — some weren't even the intended targets of the police.
SWAT Team + Hooters Girls + White Supremacist + Katrina
Humanitarian Mission = Best Local News Story Ever. I really can't write a summary that does all of this justice.
Botched Raids Not Rare.
The botched Atlanta raid that ended in the shooting death of 88-year-old Kathryn Johnston was sad and tragic, but
unfortunately, it was neither uncommon nor unpredictable. After taking a year to research and write a paper
for the Cato Institute on the proliferation of forced-entry, paramilitary-style raids, I'm sorry to say Johnston
is just one of at least 40 innocent people killed in botched raids over the last 20 years in America.
Worse, there are dozens more cases of low-level offenders, bystanders — and police officers killed
The raid on Mayor Cheye Calvo's house
To paraphrase Ray Donovan, where do they go to get their dogs back?
Prince George's raid prompts
call for probe. When the shooting stopped, two dogs lay dead. A mayor sat in his boxers,
hands bound behind his back. His handcuffed mother-in-law was sprawled on the kitchen floor, lying
beside the body of one of the family pets that police had killed before her eyes. É What police left
behind was a house stained with blood and a trail of questions about their conduct.
Police raid Maryland
mayor's home and kill his dogs. Mayor Cheye Calvo got home from work, saw a package addressed
to his wife on the front porch and brought it inside, putting it on a table. Suddenly, police with guns
drawn kicked in the door and stormed in, shooting to death the couple's two dogs and seizing the unopened
Mayor Cleared In Raid
That Killed Dogs. A small-town mayor whose dogs were killed in a drug raid was cleared of
any wrongdoing after police had been reluctant to rule out his involvement in drug smuggling or apologize
for the violent incident.
Time to rein in police SWAT teams.
[Scroll down] Ah, but it's so much easier and so much more fun to barrel into someone's house with big guns and
storm trooper uniforms. The proliferation of SWAT deployments in this country is stunning, up from 3,000
a year in the mid-1980s to more than 40,000 now, according to Peter Kraske, who studies the militarization of
policing as a criminal-justice professor at Eastern Kentucky University. ... "Telling the people that these
officers followed procedure and did nothing wrong sends a chilling message," [Cheye] Calvo says. "And
then we wonder why people who live in high-crime areas don't trust the police. They treated us like
animals. They were not there to protect and serve, they were there to search and destroy."
SWAT Gone Wild in Maryland. Late last
month, Berwyn Heights, Maryland Mayor Cheye Calvo took the unusual step of filing a civil rights lawsuit
against the police department of his own county. The suit stems from a 2008 SWAT team raid on Calvo's
house that resulted in the shooting deaths of his two black Labrador retrievers. In pushing back against
the abuse he suffered at the hands of the Prince George's County police department, the mayor is helping
expose a more widespread pattern of law enforcement carelessness and callousness throughout the state
4.5 SWAT Raids Per Day.
Over the last six months of 2009, SWAT teams were deployed 804 times in the state of Maryland, or about
4.5 times per day. In Prince George's County alone, with its 850,000 residents, a SWAT team was
deployed about once per day. According to a Baltimore Sun analysis, 94 percent of the state's SWAT
deployments were used to serve search or arrest warrants, leaving just 6 percent in response to the kinds of
barricades, bank robberies, hostage takings, and emergency situations for which SWAT teams were originally
Killed In Capitol Hill Chase Was Shot Five Times. Six months after a Connecticut woman was killed
in a hail of police gunfire on Capitol Hill, the federal investigation remains under wraps, even as new information
has surfaced showing she was shot multiple times from behind, including once in the head. Three of the five
shots that hit Miriam Carey, 34, entered through her back, and another struck her upper left arm, according to the
official report of her autopsy, obtained by a lawyer for her family. An accompanying toxicology report shows
that Carey, a dental assistant, had no drugs or alcohol in her system when she was killed.
cop who randomly slammed woman to the ground not so tough after receiving threats. The Tucson police officer
who was caught on video brutally pummeling a female student as she walked innocuously near the campus of the University of
Arizona has been identified as Joel Mann, according to local ABC affiliate KGUN. The thuggish incident occurred on
Saturday as packed bars near campus slowly cleared out after the Arizona Wildcats men's basketball team lost a thrilling
overtime game. Mann, a sergeant with 18 years of experience, was one of a legion of officers deployed in full,
pseudo-military riot gear. He wore a helmet and face shield. In the video, Mann comes out of absolutely nowhere
and violently pushes woman over a metal frame. She is smashed head over heels to the ground.
[Chicago] officer charged in 95-year-old's death. An officer was charged this morning in the police
killing of 95-year-old John Wrana, the World War II veteran who was fatally shot with beanbag rounds in his apartment
at a south suburban senior facility last year. [...] The elderly man had refused medical treatment for a urinary tract
infection, and reportedly became belligerent. Police who were called to the scene fired a Taser that failed to
hit Wrana, and then shot him with bean-bag rounds fired from a shotgun. He died hours later of internal bleeding,
Clash With Riot-Gear Clad Cops In Albuquerque. People are angry over Albuquerque police's involvement
in 37 shootings, 23 of them fatal since 2010. Critics say that's far too many for a department serving a
city of about 555,000.
Student sues after being arrested for buying bottled water.
A University of Virginia student arrested by Alcoholic Beverage Control agents who wrongly believed she'd
illegally bought beer when in fact she only had bottled water is seeking $40 million in a lawsuit filed
Tuesday [3/25/2014]. Elizabeth K. Daly, 21, alleges malicious prosecution, six counts of assault
and battery and failure to appropriately train ABC agents in the suit which names the state and seven agents
involved in her arrest. Daly was arrested on April 11, 2013 when ABC agents confronted her outside
of a Charlottesville supermarket.
Cops must face justice
in killing of homeless man. The beating was caught on a surveillance tape. When you watch those 33 minutes of
footage, assuming you can stomach the experience, it's hard to believe that anyone could declare the perpetrators "not guilty." The
surveillance camera footage shows Thomas being beaten and stunned with a Taser by police until he was unrecognizable and unconscious.
Police shootings of unarmed citizens.
Owing in large part to the militarization of local law enforcement agencies, not a week goes by without more reports of hair-raising incidents
by police imbued with a take-no-prisoners attitude and a battlefield approach to the communities in which they serve. Sadly, it is no longer
unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later, such as the 16-year-old teenager who
skipped school only to be shot by police after they mistook him for a fleeing burglar. Then there was the unarmed black man in Texas "who
was pursued and shot in the back of the neck by Austin Police... after failing to properly identify himself and leaving the scene of an
unrelated incident." And who could forget the 19-year-old Seattle woman who was accidentally shot in the leg by police after she
refused to show her hands?
Woman Thrown Face-First into
Concrete Slab Sues Cops. A Chicago woman is suing a police officer and the town of Skokie, Ill., claiming she was seriously injured
when a cop used excessive force when he threw her face first into a jail cell's concrete bench following a drunk driving arrest. Cassandra
Feuerstein, 47, claims in a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday [10/9/2013], that she required reconstructive surgery to "replace the bones that had
been shattered" after being pushed into the cell on March 10.
95-year-old man dies after police
use stun gun on him. A 95-year-old Illinois man who allegedly confronted police officers with a knife and cane died after they shot him
with a stun gun and bean bag rounds. Officers were called to an assisted living home in the village of Park Forest Friday after the man, identified
as John Warna, allegedly became combative with employees of a private ambulance company who were attempting to transfer him to a hospital for medical
treatment, The (Chicago) SouthtownStar reported.
Autopsy: Bean bag rounds fired by police killed Park Forest man, 95. A 95-year-old man died of
internal bleeding after police fired bean-bag rounds at him during a confrontation in a Park Forest senior living complex, according to an autopsy
performed Sunday [7/28/2013].
police killing of 95-year-old necessary? When John Wrana was a young man, fit and strong and fighting in World War II with the U.S. Army Air
Corps, did he ever think he'd end this way? Just a few weeks shy of his 96th birthday, in need of a walker to move about, cops coming through the
door of his retirement home with a Taser and a shotgun.
World War II
veteran, 95, died after police shot him with TASER and bean bag rounds. A 95-year-old world War II veteran died after being Tasered and
hit with bean bag rounds by police for threatening care home staff — but his family insist he was killed unnecessarily. Police say that John
Wrana, who lived in a Chicago assisting living home, was brandishing his cane, a metal shoehorn and a knife before officers shocked him and hit him
with bean bag rounds.
purchase leads to night in jail for U.Va. student. When a half-dozen men and a woman in street clothes closed in on University of Virginia
student Elizabeth Daly, 20, she and two roommates panicked. [...] A group of state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents clad in plainclothes approached her,
suspecting the blue carton of LaCroix sparkling water to be a 12-pack of beer. Police say one of the agents jumped on the hood of her car.
She says one drew a gun. Unsure of who they were, Daly tried to flee the darkened parking lot. "They were showing unidentifiable badges after
they approached us, but we became frightened, as they were not in anything close to a uniform," she recalled Thursday in a written account of the April 11
East Nashville Restaurant Owner Surprised By
Raid. An East Nashville business owner was surprised with a late-night raid when a group of armed officers with bullet proof vests charged
into The Family Wash restaurant. The business opened 11 years ago, and owner Jamie Rubin said he's never received a phone call about his
restaurant like he did last Friday night. "That I better get in because there were more cops than they could count in here," explained Rubin about
the phone call.
Cop Backhands Handcuffed Suspect. This video depicts a suspect in handcuffs,
who clearly is not aggressive in any manner. Apparently, the suspect says something offensive to the officer, which results in him being backhanded
across the face. [Video clip]
Bakersfield Man Dies During
Arrest, Eye Witness Video Footage Confiscated. Kern County Sheriff's deputies were investigating David Sal Silva for public intoxication.
In total, nine officers of the Kern County Sheriff's department and the California Highway Patrol beat Silva to death, as they claimed he resisted arrest.
Vallejo, California: Six Fatal Police Shootings
in 2012. [Scroll down] Officers then ordered [17-year-old Jared] Huey to raise his hands and stay still. An officer
standing on a step stool then looked over the fence before pointing his rifle over. At the same moment, a second officer pointed his
gun over the fence. "At this point, decedent [Huey] had his hands up in the air, and yelled, 'Don't shoot!' 'No! No!'" according to
the complaint. The officers then collectively fired their weapons about 10 to 20 times at Huey.
Florida Man Flees Seatbelt Stop on Foot,
Cop Runs Him Over and Kills Him. Shortly after 12:30 a.m. this morning [5/8/2013] a Volusia County Sheriffs
deputy saw Marlon Brown driving without a seatbelt, and attempted to pull him over. When Brown kept driving, the deputy gave up
pursuit while reporting a fleeing vehicle. Almost immediately, reports the Daytona Beach News-Journal, officers with the DeLand
Police Department (the county and city share a dispatch system) said they'd spotted the vehicle and began their own pursuit.
What happened next absolutely should not have.
Rochester, NY Police
officers Assault Disabled Man in Motorized Wheelchair. Just when I think the Rochester, NY Police department can't sink
any lower, they manage outdo themselves!
Anonymous threatens to take down California police
department. Members of the hacktivist collective Anonymous are demanding that a California police department remove an
officer from the force after video has surfaced of the cop in question firing at a civilian 11 times at point-blank range.
In the last few decades, local police departments have begun to use excessive force more and more often. Sometimes
it is in the form of tasering or pepper-spraying people who don't deserve it, but sometimes it is more subtle:
Police cars now have blindingly-bright lights that are intense enough to put on a locomotive or airliner. This
adds to the intimidation when they make a "routine traffic stop" late at night. The over-use of ridiculously
bright lights began in about 1975.
Houston PD Kills Wheelchair-Ridden Schizophrenic
Double Amputee 'Armed' With Pen. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but it's definitely no match for a police officer's service
weapon. The Houston PD demonstrated they'll be perfectly obedient New World Order minions when this past weekend they executed a schizophrenic,
wheelchair-ridden double amputee who was apparently threatening to attack officers with a pen.
The Predator State Goes Domestic. [Scroll down] A team of deputies
tasered the 55-year-old farmer and took him into custody. His daughter Abby, frantic for the safety of her father, tried to intervene; for
"striking" the sanctified personage of a deputy, she was arrested and charged with assault. When Brossart's wife Susan refused to help the
deputies locate what they described as "illegal" firearms, she, too, was arrested and charged with lying to law enforcement officers (who are
trained to lie and can do so without legal consequence).
Policeman kills double amputee 'armed' with
pen. A US police officer has shot and killed a one-armed, one-legged man in a wheelchair after the double amputee waved a metal object
that turned out to be a pen.
Bail lowered for Robbinsville police officer who attacked child, mom in
wheelchair. After his arrest Sept. 17, [Sgt. Mark] Lee was charged with official misconduct, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of endangering
the welfare of a child, five counts of aggravated assault upon a police officer, and one count each of burglary, harassment and criminal mischief.
Cops Strip Search Mom [...] for Maybe
Rolling Through Stop Sign. Getting pulled over for rolling through a stop sign is whack. But getting pulled over, having
a gun pointed in your face, and then being strip searched on the side of the road in front of your two children for rolling through a
stop sign is, well, really whack and probably an excessive use of force. At least that's what a new lawsuit in the Sunshine
State is claiming.
A Report From Obama's "Humane" Drug War. At 5:30 a.m. on
May 10, armed men broke into the bedroom of Kirk Kyle Farrar's 12 year-old daughter and shook her awake. The men led her downstairs at gunpoint and
forced her to lie on the floor next to her mother and father, with her hands behind her head. Another armed man took Farrar's two-year-old son from his crib,
and would not let his parents hold him. "My son screamed for his mother for what seemed like an eternity," Farrar wrote in an email to friends, obtained by
Reason. "I will never forget the hopeless feeling of not being able to comfort my son or daughter." The armed men who broke into Farrar's home were
officers with the Meridian, Idaho, Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
SWAT and the Second Amendment. [Jose] Guerena's wife
Vanessa saw armed men in the front yard and woke Jose, who had time only to hide her and their son in a closet as far from the front door
as possible and to take up a rifle to meet the unknown threat. Jose would not take his rifle off safe or fire a shot. Smashing
in the door, five members of the SWAT team fired 71 rounds into the home, shredding it from floor to ceiling and wall to wall.
They hit Jose 22 times and denied him medical care for more than 74 minutes, ensuring his death.
Kelly Thomas video: 'Dad, they are killing me'.
Kelly Thomas repeatedly apologized to Fullerton police officers, saying he was "sorry" as they continued to pummel him with their fists and batons, a dramatic video of the
July 5 beating of the homeless man reveals. The grainy black-and-white video, shown Monday on the first day of a preliminary hearing for two Fullerton police
officers charged in the case, shows a shirtless Thomas being repeatedly struck. He eventually screams: "Dad, they are killing me."
Doctor: Chest compression led to CA homeless
death. The 37-year-old homeless man died from facial injuries, including blood in his nose, and mechanical compression to his chest that made it
difficult for him to breathe and deprived his brain of vital oxygen, said Dr. Aruna Singhana, a forensic pathologist for Orange County.
Thirteen kicks to the head
"unjustified". The monotony of a surveillance camera inside a parking garage is shattered as a
man runs into view. Immediately he's tackled by a second man who punches him in the face. A third
man joins the fray and delivers repeated kicks to his head. Thirteen to be exact. An assault?
Without question. But, despite the video evidence, it's doubtful the assailants will be held accountable.
They wear badges. Or, wore badges.
Cop Handcuffs 5 year old and Charges Him with Battery. Earlier this year, a Stockton student was
handcuffed with zip ties on his hands and feet, forced to go to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and
was charged with battery on a police officer. That student was 5 years old. Michael Davis is
diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. His mother says it has led to fights at
school. But when the school district said it had a plan to change Michael's behavior, his mother says
things went wrong.
Police defend K-9 in
attack on 8-year-old. Police say the Friday [11/25/2011] attack of the department's police dog,
Storm, on an 8-year-old boy was an unfortunate accident, but Storm has done much more good than bad during his
time with the department. The boy, Patrick Assion, was visiting his grandmother's house in Campbell and playing
hide-and-seek with his cousin in the backyard when Storm took hold of Patrick's arm and dragged him to the ground.
slammed against car by San Jose police officer wins appeal. [Scroll down] [Laura] Bushell-McIntyre,
a pediatric nurse who had just graduated from San Jose State, was attending the fraternity party when police
arrived in response to a disturbance call. The court said she had complied with Officer William Foster's
request to leave the house, but touched his badge after repeatedly asking him for his badge number. Foster
then put her in a pain compliance hold and slammed her against a car, the court said.
Retired Police Sergeant
Faces 35 Years for Not Producing a Drivers License. On July 18th, five
deputies arrived in three taxpayer funded patrol vehicles to take one nonviolent [65 year
old] man to jail, thus carrying out Judge Mackay's 90-day old warrant. [Raymond] Karczewski
offered no resistance, yet his wife reports her husband was rammed up against the side
of the house with his head slammed into the siding. If Karczewski is such a threat to
society, why did the criminal justice system wait 90 days to act? In 90 days Karczewski
could have been long gone but was arrested at home.
A Beating in Pittsburgh.
A year after three cops beat an unarmed music student, they are still getting paid to do nothing.
handcuffed, jailed for unpaid traffic ticket. Police say they had no
choice but to go by the book when they handcuffed a 97-year-old woman and took her
to jail for failing to pay a traffic ticket.
The Editor says...
The police are really saying they have no common sense, no judgement, no latitude or discretion of any kind. This is
the inevitable end product of zero tolerance policies. Was
the arresting officer any safer with this woman handcuffed? Is Highland Park safer with the old lady under arrest?
Can you just imagine the riots that would have resulted if this had been a black woman?
The Taser's Edge. Books
such as Three Felonies A Day detail the near-impossibility of not violating some state or federal law
(inadvertently or not) just by dint of getting out of bed and going about your day. The country is so
thick with Thou Shalt Nots — laws, rules and regulations — that there's almost always a reason
for some cop to pester you. When you get indignant and object, it's open season. ... We are
talking about police tasing people — body-slamming them onto the ground and sometimes breaking
their teeth off in the process — for things like talking back (or even just talking to
To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Pepper Sprays Squirrel At Mesquite School. Police in Mesquite are reviewing a case involving
an officer who pepper sprayed a baby squirrel outside of Kimbrough Middle School. The incident happened
Wednesday [4/6/2011] while several students watched in horror, and caught the situation on camera.
Why Cops Aren't Whistleblowers.
While awarding Barron Bowling $830,000 last September for the beating he suffered at the hands of a Drug
Enforcement Administration agent in Kansas City, Kansas, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson went out of her
way to acknowledge another victim in the disgraceful affair: Kansas City police detective Max Seifert.
In January 2003, Bowling was on his way to fill a prescription when Timothy McCue, an on-duty DEA agent, tried
to pass him illegally on the right side of a wide one-lane street. Bowling accelerated to prevent McCue
from passing, and the two cars collided. After the collision, McCue and another agent got out of their
car. McCue drew his gun, threw Bowling to the ground, and beat him to the point of inflicting brain
damage. McCue later justified the violence by saying Bowling "resisted arrest" when he lifted his
head from the pavement.
charges against two West Palm officers are dropped. More than three years ago, images of two
West Palm Beach police officers kicking and punching a handcuffed suspect flashed across television newscasts,
embarrassing city leaders and angering prosecutors who later called the case a "serious misuse of public trust."
The recent dismissal of official misconduct charges against Louis Joseph Schwartz and Kurt Graham, however,
came and went with much less fanfare.
Atlanta PD Ignore Lawsuit to Censor Their
Misdeeds. Just this year Atlanta PD was ordered to pay $40,000 settlement to East Atlanta Copwatch
activists when their right to film was impeded. This is the kind of accountability that you get when there's
no competition. Would you visit a grocery store that was known for brutalizing its clients? Do you
want to pay men to beat up other people? To delete footage of their misdeeds? To shelter themselves
from responsibility through language like "sovereign immunity?"
SWAT Team Meets... Smoking Ban?
[Scroll down] The police chief denies the charge, and says two of the cops were patrol officers, and two
had just finished working a nearby DWI roadblock. Of course, even if the police chief is right, we've
reached the point where are there are places in this country where four cops will come to haul you off in
handcuffs... for smoking a cigarette in a bar.
Police video shows officer
firing at prone suspect. In the video, Flint Farmer was lying on the grass between the curb and the
sidewalk. It was shortly before 2 a.m. on a June morning in the West Englewood neighborhood, and Farmer
had been shot by a Chicago police officer. Then, according to the video, the veteran officer, Gildardo Sierra,
stepped onto the parkway and walked a semicircle about the prone Farmer as three bright flashes went off.
woman blasted with pepper spray. The photo was taken Tuesday evening [11/15/2011] by seattlepi.com
photographer Joshua Trujillo at an Occupy Seattle protest at Westlake Park. The elderly woman featured in the
photo was pepper sprayed by police just moments before. Her name is Dorli Rainey, and she's 84 years old.
Obey the feds or else.
We have a socialist President and an aggressive Administration where disobedience to its new rules will be severly
punished. And, shockingly, such disobedience is already being punished in a park near you. A single
event can beautifully illuminate the darkness ahead.
an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected.
No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions."
– James Madison
March 29, 1792
Anything you have ever said can be used against you
Secret military device lets Oakland
deputies track cellphones. Oakland County commissioners asked no questions last March before
unanimously approving a cellphone tracking device so powerful it was used by the military to fight terrorists.
Now, though, some privacy advocates question why one of the safest counties in Michigan needs the super-secretive
Hailstorm device that is believed to be able to collect large amounts of cellphone data, including the locations
of users, by masquerading as a cell tower. "I don't like not knowing what it's capable of," said county
Commissioner Jim Runestad, R-White Lake Township, who has met in recent weeks with sheriff's officials about
Keep Quiet About Cell-Tracking Technology. Police across the country may be intercepting phone calls or
text messages to find suspects using a technology tool known as Stingray. But they're refusing to turn over details
about its use or heavily censoring files when they do.
Data Spying in the States: Public Safety or
Invasion of Privacy? Last month, USA Today reported that at least 125 police agencies in 33 states have used a
variety of spy-worthy tactics and technologies to obtain information about thousands of cell phones and their users. The
newspaper's investigation found that one in four law enforcement agencies use a tactic known as a "tower dump" to get the identity,
activity and location information of any cell phone that connects with a particular cell tower in a specific timespan.
Additionally, 25 law enforcement agencies used federal grants to purchase a piece of equipment developed for military and
intelligence gathering purposes known as a "Stingray," which mimics a cell tower, allows police to track the movements of a specific
cell phone and captures data from a cell phone, such as the phone numbers dialed and text messages received.
Providers Collect Millions From Police for Handing Over User Information. Major U.S. cellphone providers received more than
$20 million from law enforcement agencies in conjunction with more than 1.1 million user information requests in 2012, according to
documents released Monday [12/9/2013] by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. Five of the seven companies queried by Markey offered precise or
ballpark figures for the revenue they received from law enforcement in 2012.
Obama Asks SCOTUS for Warrantless Cellphone
Searches. Last week, the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to rule that the Fourth Amendment allows for warrant-less cell phone searches.
The administration filed a petition asking the SCOTUS to hear a 2007 case in which information was retrieved from a cell phone that was used to obtain evidence
against the defendant.
administration asks Supreme Court to allow warrantless cellphone searches. In 2007, the police arrested a Massachusetts man who appeared to be selling
crack cocaine from his car. The cops seized his cellphone and noticed that it was receiving calls from "My House." They opened the phone to determine the
number for "My House." That led them to the man's home, where the police found drugs, cash and guns. The defendant was convicted, but on appeal he argued
that accessing the information on his cellphone without a warrant violated his Fourth Amendment rights.
Warrantless Cellphone Tracking Is Upheld.
In a significant victory for law enforcement, a federal appeals court on Tuesday said that government authorities could extract historical location data
directly from telecommunications carriers without a search warrant. The closely watched case, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth
Circuit, is the first ruling that squarely addresses the constitutionality of warrantless searches of historical location data stored by cellphone service
NY troopers in big SUVs peer in on texting
drivers. New York has given state police 32 tall, unmarked SUVs to better peer down at drivers' hands, part of one of the
nation's most aggressive attacks on texting while driving that also includes steeper penalties and dozens of highway "Texting Zones," where
motorists can pull over to use their devices.
Blond beauty set to sue NYPD over
sexy photos swiped from iPhone. A Long Island beauty says NYPD cops seized her iPhone and that one of them stole sexually explicit photos
and videos meant for her boyfriend's eyes only. Pamela Held, 27, of Deer Park, is poised to sue the city and the Police Department, accusing a cop
of invading her privacy by forwarding the provocative images from her iPhone. The steamy images of Held were sent to a personal cell phone that
her lawyer said belongs to Officer Sean Christian.
usually need warrant to get cellphone locations, NJ Supreme Court rules in Middletown case. The state Supreme Court has ruled that
police need a warrant to get cellphone location data in most cases. With Thursday's [7/18/2013] ruling, the court overturned an appellate
decision, which said that a defendant in a Middletown burglary case did not have an expectation that the location information would be private.
The federal government spies on everyone, even if the local cops don't.
Atty. In Fla. Robbery Case Seeks
NSA Phone Records. The lawyer for a man on trial in a South Florida armored car robbery is seeking cellphone records
possibly produced by a recently revealed National Security Agency surveillance program, according to federal court documents.
about domestic surveillance.
Cops: U.S. law
should require logs of your text messages. AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other wireless providers would be required
to capture and store Americans' confidential text messages, according to a proposal that will be presented to a congressional panel
today [3/19/2013]. The law enforcement proposal would require wireless providers to record and store customers' SMS
messages — a controversial idea akin to requiring them to surreptitiously record audio of their customers' phone
calls — in case police decide to obtain them at some point in the future.
How Many Millions of Cellphones Are
Police Watching? In response to a congressional inquiry, mobile phone companies on Monday finally disclosed just how many
times they've handed over users' cellphone data to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. By the New York Times' count,
cellphone companies responded to 1.3 million demands for subscribers' information last year from law enforcement. Many of the
records, such as location data, don't require search warrants or much court oversight. Both police and cell service providers had
long resisted releasing details on the scope of cellphone surveillance.
City Is Amassing Trove of
Cellphone Logs. When a cellphone is reported stolen in New York, the Police Department routinely subpoenas the phone's call records,
from the day of the theft onward. The logic is simple: If a thief uses the phone, a list of incoming and outgoing calls could lead to
the suspect. But in the process, the Police Department has quietly amassed a trove of telephone logs, all obtained without a court order, that
could conceivably be used for any investigative purpose.
Senate bill rewrite lets feds read
your e-mail without warrants. A proposed law scheduled for a vote next week originally increased Americans' e-mail privacy. Then law enforcement
complained. Now it increases government access to e-mail and other digital files.
The Editor says...
Cops are notorious for claiming, "We don't write the laws, we just enforce them." Such claims are completely untrue, as we see in
this case: The cops tell the state legislators what kind of laws they want, and the politicians put it in writing.
Leahy scuttles his warrantless e-mail
surveillance bill. After public criticism of proposal that lets government agencies warrantlessly access Americans' e-mail, Sen. Patrick Leahy
says he will "not support" such an idea at next week's vote.
Protects Cellphone Data On 4th Amendment Grounds, Cites Government's Technological Ignorance. The feds, along with Los Angeles law
enforcement agencies, have bypassed the protections of the Fourth Amendment by deploying roving cell phone trackers that mimic mobile phone towers.
The FISA Amendments Act has been used as a "blank check" for wholesale spying on Americans and has been abused often enough that the Director of National
Intelligence was forced to admit these Fourth Amendment violations publicly.
If you carry a cell phone everywhere you go, it can
yield a lot of evidence about your whereabouts and the contents of your text messages, emails, and phone
calling history. More and more, the police are acting as if all that information is theirs for
Signs That Life In U.S. Public Schools Is Now Essentially Equivalent To Life In U.S. Prisons. The following are 18 signs
that life in our public schools is now very similar to life in our prisons.... [For example,] #1 Virginia Attorney General Ken
Cuccinelli has announced that school officials can search the cell phones and laptops of public school students if there are "reasonable
grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules
of the school."
A Bill Requires Police Get A Judge's Approval Before They Can See Your Texts Or Location. A month ago, we learned that more (and maybe
many, many more) than 1.3 million people's cell phone data were handed over to US law enforcement agencies in 2011 alone. Text
messages, caller locations, and records of who called whom and for how long had all been shared without a judges' approval — because, according
to current law, no approval is needed. Last week, the Congressman who helped reveal how rampant and unregulated that sharing is introduced
legislation to start restraining it.
How Many Millions of Cellphones Are Police
Watching? In response to a congressional inquiry, mobile phone companies on Monday [7/9/2012] finally disclosed just how many
times they've handed over users' cellphone data to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. By the New York Times' count, cellphone
companies responded to 1.3 million demands for subscribers' information last year from law enforcement. Many of the records, such as
location data, don't require search warrants or much court oversight. Both police and cell service providers had long resisted releasing details
on the scope of cellphone surveillance. But the new disclosures from cellphone companies still leave a slew of unanswered questions.
More Demands on Cell Carriers in
Surveillance. In the first public accounting of its kind, cellphone carriers reported that they responded to a startling 1.3 million
demands for subscriber information last year from law enforcement agencies seeking text messages, caller locations and other information in the
course of investigations.
US government reading email without a warrant? It doesn't want to talk about it. After issuing hundreds of Freedom of Information Act requests,
the ACLU learned that many local police departments around the country routinely pay mobile phone network operators a small fee to get detailed records of
historic cell phone location information. The data tell cops not just where a suspect might have been at a given moment, but also create the possibility
of retracing someone's whereabouts for months.
The Most Powerful, Well Connected
Company You've Never Heard Of. Have you ever heard of a tech company called Neustar? Probably not, and that's just the way the
government wants to keep it. Neustar is a relatively new company that is playing a large, albeit secret, role in the expansion of the
surveillance state. According to published reports, Neustar handles the law enforcement surveillance and user data requests for over
400 telecommunications companies. To accommodate their clients' demands, Neustar maintains a database containing information on every cell
phone in the United States — including yours.
Feds Sue Telecom for Fighting
Warrantless Search. The Justice Department is suing a telecommunications company for challenging a request from the Federal Bureau of
Investigation for customer information — despite the fact that the law authorizing the request explicitly permits such challenges. [...] Clearly
the Justice Department is unaccustomed to having to defend its attempts to obtain customer data on its own say-so; and it isn't taking this fight
Covert FBI Power to Obtain Phone Data Faces Rare
Test. Early last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation sent a secret letter to a phone company demanding that it turn over
customer records for an investigation. The phone company then did something almost unheard of: It fought the letter in court.
The U.S. Department of Justice fired back with a serious accusation. It filed a civil complaint claiming that the company, by not handing
over its files, was interfering "with the United States' sovereign interests" in national security. The legal clash represents a rare and
significant test of an investigative tool strengthened by the USA Patriot Act, the counterterrorism law enacted after the attacks of Sept. 11,
Twitter data raises
question: Who's following you? Maybe police. Everything is evidence. You might want to remember that the next time you log on.
According to new data released by Twitter on Monday [7/2/2012], American police are leading the charge to get users' info from the popular San
Francisco-based microblogging service. Overall, from Jan. 1 through June, the company received 849 law enforcement requests for
individual users' information, granting 63% of those requests. American law enforcement accounted for 80% of those information requests compared
to other nations, just as Americans are thought to make up a dominant share of the service's users. U.S. officials made 679 requests, getting
what they wanted 75% of the time.
Justice Dept. Wants to
Track All Cellphones Without a Warrant. In its relentless never-ending quest for more power to track and follow American
citizens through their cellphones, the Department of Justice (DoJ) requested last week that Congress give them easier access to location
data stored by cellphone service providers. [...] In other words, because the laws protecting privacy vary somewhat depending upon where
an individual citizen lives, Congress should come along and override them all and provide a federal, looser standard, all in the name of
Obama DOJ Wants Greater Power to Access
Cellphone Records. Barack Obama's Justice Department is requesting that access to cellphone records be made more available
to the government. Jason Weinstein, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's criminal division, asserted that
warrants for early stages of investigations "crippled" prosecutors and law enforcement officials and thus should be abolished.
Your Tweets Can Be Subpoenaed. Prosecutors don't have to get a warrant to
subpoena your tweets, even if you delete them, because they're public information owned by a third party, a New York judge ruled on Monday [4/23/2012].
Police Are Using Phone
Tracking as a Routine Tool. Law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has
become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small,
often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight, documents show. The practice has become big business for
cellphone companies, too, with a handful of carriers marketing a catalog of "surveillance fees" to police departments to
determine a suspect's location, trace phone calls and texts or provide other services.
'stingray' gadget lets cops track cellphones without telco help. Why would the well-heeled suburb of Gilbert,
Ariz., spend a quarter of a million dollars on a futuristic spy gadget that sounds more at home in a prime-time drama than
a local police department? The ACLU caused a stir Monday [4/2/2012] with its extensive report of cellphone surveillance
by local police departments, which routinely request location information and other data from cellphone providers, often
under vague legal circumstances. But one bit of information provided by Gilbert officials suggests that cops sometimes
try to cut out the middle man.
Obama wants to track you.
Under federal law, even the most basic cellphone must collect location information so that 911 services can respond
appropriately. The Obama administration wants the ability to seize this data for its own purposes. Last
month, the Justice Department filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit insisting the
government had the right to gather 60 days' worth of tracking information from a cellphone without a warrant
issued on probable cause.
Ruling Opens Phones To Warrantless Searches. Cell phone users might think that their phones can't be
searched without a warrant any more than their homes can be. But one judge just gave cops engaging in warrantless
cell phone searches a foot in the door. Judge Richard Posner of the seventh circuit court of appeals ruled
Wednesday [2/29/2012] that the question of cell phone searches isn't whether law enforcement can open a phone
and start snooping on its information without a warrant, but only how deep their warrantless search can go.
cellphones confiscated in school's probe of drug selling. Stevenson High School in north suburban
Lincolnshire is in the midst of a drug investigation that has relied on confiscated student cellphones to identify
suspects, a school spokesman said today. Jim Conrey said school officials have looked at the phones' text
messages to assist in their investigation into drug sales on campus.
Judge OKs warrantless
tracking of suspect's cellphone. Investigators seeking the location history of an armed robbery
suspect's cellphone aren't required to obtain a search warrant before compelling the carrier to turn over the
information, a federal judge has ruled. The decision, issued by US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of
the District of Columbia, said the Stored Communications Act doesn't require investigators to get a warrant
based on probable cause to access the suspect's location history pulled from cellphone towers.
California Governor Veto
Allows Warrantless Cellphone Searches. California Gov. Jerry Brown is vetoing legislation
requiring police to obtain a court warrant to search the mobile phones of suspects at the time of any
arrest. The Sunday [10/9/2011] veto means that when police arrest anybody in the Golden State, they may
search that person's mobile phone — which in the digital age likely means the contents of persons'
e-mail, call records, text messages, photos, banking activity, cloud-storage services, and even where the
phone has traveled.
Technology: They'll Know Where You Are: Under the so-called Communications
Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (CALEA) police are given the authority to track
the locations of any cell phone users even if they're not dialing 911.
Digital Bread Crumbs: Following
Your Cell Phone Trail. Cell phones leave a data trail, and it is becoming standard operating
procedure for police departments and federal agents to use this data to locate and track people.
Police push for warrantless searches of cell
phones. This is an important legal question that remains unresolved: as our gadgets store
more and more information about us, including our appointments, correspondence, and personal photos and videos,
what rules should police investigators be required to follow? The Obama administration and many local
prosecutors' answer is that warrantless searches are perfectly constitutional during arrests.
Software Turns Your Cell Phone
Against You. Malicious software for cell phones could pose a greater risk for consumer's personal and
financial well-being than computer viruses, say scientists from Rutgers University. The scientists have made a
particularly resilient malware, known as a rootkit, that can turn a cell phone's microphone, GPS and battery against
the phone's owner.
The Editor says...
That's odd. Up until now, anyone who developed a rootkit was called a hacker by the mainstream
news media. Why, in this case, are they being called scientists?
Easy Access to Suspects' iPhone Info Raises Privacy Concerns. Those who think an iPhone is only
for saving address book entries may be surprised to learn police are using the devices' saved data caches to
catch criminals. Global Positioning Satellite technology on the phone enables police to pinpoint precise
locations and compare that information with statements made by suspects.
OKs searches of cell phones without warrant. The California Supreme Court allowed police Monday [1/3/2011]
to search arrestees' cell phones without a warrant, saying defendants lose their privacy rights for any items
they're carrying when taken into custody. Under U.S. Supreme Court precedents, "this loss of privacy
allows police not only to seize anything of importance they find on the arrestee's body ... but also to open
and examine what they find," the state court said in a 5-2 ruling.
Video: How to Cop Proof Your
cops imposing a digital police state. Michigan State Police are accused of stealing driver's cell
phone data on routine traffic stops. Michigan has become a digital police state. And if people in
Michigan just stand by and let this digital totalitarian [nonsense] continue, it will probably come to your
state too. We are a nation of copycats after all, governments in the United States like to take other
people's ideas to control people and make them their own.
Cops Be Allowed to Scan Your Phone During a Traffic Stop? According to an American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU) letter to the director of the Michigan State Police on April 13, that department
has several forensic cellphone analyzers deployed in the field. Forensic analyzers are routinely used
in police investigations to recover data from computers and other digital devices. Lately, cellphones
have become valuable sources of evidence for police, since one phone can include almost all of an individual's
private communications (SMS, recently dialed numbers, email, Facebook and Twitter posts) as well as location
data from the device's GPS unit.
Speeding Ticket Require Forfeiting Your Smartphone Data? Whatever ever happened to the good
ol' days where getting pulled over just meant you would get a speeding ticket, or if you're lucky, just a
warning? Well, if it's up to the Michigan State Police, those days are not only long gone, but a
speeding ticket is now reason enough to harvest all the information possible on you, including all of your
e-mail, social networking, texting, personal photos, and virtually anything else you might have on your
cell phone, or in many cases, your smartphone.
cops imposing a digital police state. Michigan State Police are accused of stealing driver's cell
phone data on routine traffic stops. Michigan has become a digital police state. And if people in
Michigan just stand by and let this digital totalitarian [nonsense] continue, it will probably come to your
state too. We are a nation of copycats after all, governments in the United States like to take other
people's ideas to control people and make them their own.
Cops Be Allowed to Scan Your Phone During a Traffic Stop? According to an American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU) letter to the director of the Michigan State Police on April 13, that department
has several forensic cellphone analyzers deployed in the field. Forensic analyzers are routinely used
in police investigations to recover data from computers and other digital devices. Lately, cellphones
have become valuable sources of evidence for police, since one phone can include almost all of an individual's
private communications (SMS, recently dialed numbers, email, Facebook and Twitter posts) as well as location
data from the device's GPS unit.
enforcement to begin iPhone iris scans amid privacy concerns. Dozens of police departments
nationwide are gearing up to use a tech company's already controversial iris- and facial-scanning device
that slides over an iPhone and helps identify a person or track criminal suspects.
Big Brother on Your
Tail. Suppose I approached you with a request. I want you to carry a small gadget that will
automatically transmit your location to the police, allowing them to track your every movement 24 hours a
day, 365 days a year. Chances are you would politely decline. Too late. You already
accepted. That gadget, you see, is called a cell phone. For years, the cops may have been using it to
keep close tabs on you without your knowledge, even if you have done nothing wrong.
tracking cell phone owners, but foes aren't sure practice is legal. The NYPD is amassing a
database of cell phone users, instructing cops to log serial numbers from suspects' phones in hopes of
connecting them to past or future crimes. In the era of disposable, anonymous cell phones, the file
could be a treasure-trove for detectives investigating drug rings and other criminal enterprises, police
sources say. "It's used to help build cases," one source said of the new initiative.
NYPD Tracking Phones and
Owners. The capacity for tracking information is expanding so rapidly, it is truly breathtaking.
The ability to correlate the numbers that make up so much of our lives is giving rise to dangerous threats to
our right to live our own lives in peace. Suffice to say, the police gathering one more piece of personal
information without our consent, and allegedly in the absence of the accusation of, let alone conviction for, a
crime, makes all those affected a little less free.
Cops love iPhone data trail.
Detective Josh Fazio of the Will County Sheriff's Department loves it when an iPhone turns up as evidence in
a criminal case. The sophisticated cell phone and mobile computer is becoming as popular with police
as it is with consumers because it can provide investigators with so much information that can help in
How Long Does Your Wireless Carrier Retain Texts,
Call Logs? According to data gathered by the Department of Justice, it can be as little as a few
days or up to seven years, depending on your provider. AT&T, for example, retains information about who
you are texting for five to seven years. T-Mobile keeps the same data for five years, Sprint keeps it for
18 months, and Verizon retains it for one year. Verizon is the only one of the top four carriers that
retains text message content, however, and it keeps that for three to five days.
Which Telecoms Store Your Data the
Longest? Secret Memo Tells All. The single-page Department of Justice document, "Retention Periods
of Major Cellular Service Providers," is a guide for law enforcement agencies looking to get information — like
customer IP addresses, call logs, text messages and web surfing habits — out of U.S. telecom companies,
including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. The document, marked "Law Enforcement Use Only" and dated
August 2010, illustrates there are some significant differences in how long carriers retain your data. ... The
document was unearthed by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina via a Freedom of Information Act
Feds push for tracking cell phones.
Even though police are tapping into the locations of mobile phones thousands of times a year, the legal ground
rules remain unclear, and federal privacy laws written a generation ago are ambiguous at best.
Are the Police Digging into Your
Phone Records? The National Security Agency may not be the only one looking at your phone
records. As the agency's controversial program of collecting Americans' calling data continues to
draw heat, new questions have emerged about whether federal and local law enforcement officials are possibly
skirting privacy laws by obtaining phone records from companies that get the information in a questionable
manner and then hawk it over the Internet.
How the Police Get Your Phone
Records: Every time I receive a call, my cell carrier takes note of the incoming telephone number,
the time, date and duration of the conversation, and — because the call is sent through a network of
cell towers — my location. As it turns out, I'm also carrying the right kind of smart phone, which means
my device itself jots down my spot on the earth, as well. Between the brick and carrier, I've amassed a
strikingly detailed digital portrait of every chat, check in, text and voice message I've received and sent.
And since the diary of events is not in my possession, it's possible that others could get access.
The Snitch in Your
Pocket. Amid all the furor over the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program a few
years ago, a mini-revolt was brewing over another type of federal snooping that was getting no public attention
at all. Federal prosecutors were seeking what seemed to be unusually sensitive records: internal
data from telecommunications companies that showed the locations of their customers' cell phones — sometimes
in real time, sometimes after the fact.
Should Police Know Your Every Move, Thanks
to Your Cell Phone? Cell phones have become ubiquitous in America, but people rarely think about
the complex systems that make them work: how our phones connect with cellular towers to send and receive signals,
and how the towers "hand off" our call to the next tower as we move around town. But law enforcement agents
think about these things. In fact, police officers can obtain a great deal of information about our locations
and our movement, just from our cell phone records.
Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops.
The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from
cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday [4/13/2011] demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of
information requests for information on the program.
It's Tracking Your Every Move and
You May Not Even Know. A favorite pastime of Internet users is to share their location:
services like Google Latitude can inform friends when you are nearby; another, Foursquare, has turned reporting
these updates into a game. But as a German Green party politician, Malte Spitz, recently learned, we are
already continually being tracked whether we volunteer to be or not. Cellphone companies do not typically
divulge how much information they collect, so Mr. Spitz went to court to find out exactly what his cellphone
company, Deutsche Telekom, knew about his whereabouts. The results were astounding.
Cops Can Now Steal Your Cell Phone Data — 'Without the Owner Knowing'. It's a scary scenario.
You're driving down the road and get pulled over by a state patrolman. After checking your license and
registration, the officer asks for your cell phone, and then uses a futuristic machine to download all your
data. In Michigan, it's happening.
reveals keywords feds monitor on Facebook, Twitter. Have you ever wondered if the government — or more
specifically, the Department of Homeland Security — is monitoring your Twitter or Facebook posts? If the answer's
"yes," give yourself a pat on the back because you're right and not simply paranoid. There's even a list of keywords for which
subcontractors hired by the DHS check social networks.
EPIC Obtains New Documents on DHS Media Monitoring, Urges
Congress to Suspend Program. EPIC has submitted a letter to Congress following a hearing on DHS monitoring of social
networks and media organizations. In the letter, EPIC highlights new documents obtained as a result of a FOIA lawsuit and
points out to inconsistencies in DHS' testimony about the program. Though DHS testified that it does not monitor for public
reaction to government proposals, the documents obtained by EPIC indicate that the DHS analysts are specifically instructed to
look for criticism of the agency and then to redirect reports that would otherwise be circulated to other agencies.
Pursues Social Media Surveillance to Gather Intelligence. In a formal "request for information," the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) asked software companies for a digital tool that would systematically scan
the entire social media realm to find potential terrorist-related threats and intelligence information.
While hundreds of intelligence analysts are already probing overseas Facebook and Twitter posts, U.S. law
enforcement officials claim digital software could sift through more data than humans ever could.
Department of Homeland Security Is Searching Your Facebook and Twitter for These Words. The Department of Homeland Security
monitors your updates on social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, to uncover "Items Of Interest" (IOI), according to an internal
DHS document released by the EPIC. That document happens to include a list of the baseline terms for which the DHS — or more
specifically, a DHS subcontractor hired to monitor social networks — use to generate real-time IOI reports.
That's what Carnivore was
Cellphones or trackers? Debate
hasn't kept pace with technology. [Kelsey] Smith's death led Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to sign a bill compelling cellular service
providers to provide phone information for missing people in danger. But in recent years, as phones have taken on the roles of navigator,
assistant, researcher and memory box, they've become pipelines to vast reserves of personal information easily derricked out by government
investigators. Those investigators' powers have been little debated — publicly, at least — and even less understood.
Further, phones are still thought of as essentially private devices. That could be about to change.
That's No Phone. That's My Tracker. The device in your
purse or jeans that you think is a cellphone — guess again. It is a tracking device that happens to make calls. Let's stop
calling them phones. They are trackers. Most doubts about the principal function of these devices were erased when it was disclosed
Monday [7/9/2012] that cellphone carriers responded 1.3 million times last year to law enforcement requests for call data.
The Results from ACLU's
Nationwide Cell Phone Tracking Records Requests. If you're living in one of the places where local law enforcement agents reported
tracking cell phones, or for that matter anywhere else in the country, you might be wondering under what circumstances your law enforcement agents
are getting access to cell phone location information. Given the intimate nature of location information, the government should have to obtain
a warrant based upon probable cause to track cell phones. That is what is necessary to protect Americans' privacy, and it is also what is
required under the constitution. But is that what the police do?
Police requesting Americans'
cellphone data at staggering rate. Police are monitoring Americans' cellphone use at a staggering rate, according to new information
released in a congressional inquiry. In letters released by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), cellphone companies described seeing a huge
uptick in requests from law enforcement agencies, with 1.3 million federal, state and local requests for phone records in 2011 alone.
"We cannot allow privacy protections to be swept aside with the sweeping nature of these information requests, especially for innocent consumers,"
Markey said in a statement Monday [7/9/2012].
Landmark California Location-Privacy Bill Nears Governor's
Desk. California lawmakers have approved legislation that would require the state's authorities to get a probable-cause warrant
signed by a judge to obtain location information from electronic devices such as tablets, mobile phones to laptops. The measure,
sponsored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), passed the Senate in May and the Assembly approved the plan late Wednesday [8/22/2012].
Circuit OKs Feds Use of Cellphone as Roving Bugs. The Ninth Circuit of Appeals ruled on July 20 that agents of the
federal government may use a cellphone as a microphone and record the conversations overheard even when the phone itself is not being
used otherwise. [...] There are, of course, far reaching implications of such a decision. As we reported recently, a person will
not know, and perhaps will never know, if he has been the target of surveillance on the part of the federal government. Assuming,
as many a savvy American would, that the federal government is liable to eventually want to monitor and record your personal electronic
communication, is there not an expectation that when the cellphone is off the surveillance is suspended? Not anymore. In the
wake of the Ninth Circuit's ruling in Oliva, "roving bugs" are likely to become a favorite weapon in the ever expanding arsenal of the
In Cell Phone Privacy Case, Government's
Arguing a Theory of the Fourth Amendment 'That No One's Ever Heard Of'. A federal appeals court in New Orleans is set to hear a case
on whether the government can take possession of an individual's cell phone records from their carrier without a search warrant. A federal court
has already denied the government's bid to obtain the records without a warrant. Judge Andrew Napolitano weighed in on Fox Business Network this
morning [10/1/2012], saying the government's argument represents a new theory of the Fourth Amendment "that no one's ever heard of in 230 years."
In this case, the victim's cell phone showed the police where he was murdered.
GPS led investigators to suspects in killing of Washington & Jefferson football player. [Scroll down] Police reported little
movement in the case since then, although they were busy tracking leads, including a GPS trail left by Mr. McNerney's iPhone, which was stolen
from him that night, along with his wallet. While police are keeping details of the case close to the vest, they said they were led to the
suspects through the phone's GPS system, which indicated that the phone was near the Houston Street home of Mr. Hankins and the McDonald house
where Mr. Wells was staying at the time.
This is an original
compilation, Copyright © 2013 by Andrew K. Dart
Laptop computer searches and seizures
Most of this happens at airports and border crossings, but if it isn't vigorously challenged in the courts, it will
spread to the rest of the country.
Protecting Yourself From
Suspicionless Searches While Traveling: The Ninth Circuit's recent ruling in United States v. Arnold allows
border patrol agents to search your laptop or other digital device without limitation when you are entering the country.
EFF and many civil liberties, travelers' rights, immigration advocacy and professional organizations are concerned that
unfettered laptop searches endanger trade secrets, attorney-client communications, and other private information.
The Editor says...
If the act of traveling on an airplane entitles Big Brother to sift through your laptop or other electronic
device looking for whatever he can find, then it won't be long before Big Brother presumes to have your consent
when you travel on Amtrak or Greyhound. Or, eventually, a toll road or an Interstate highway.
These incremental changes only go in one direction.
Pressure Mounts Against Invasive Border Searches. Random, invasive laptop searches and
other digital privacy violations at the U.S. border are facing increasing pressure from the public and
Congress. One of the big complaints EFF and others have had is the lack of information and accountability
about the intrusive examination of computer files, cell phone directories, and other private
information — and the indiscriminate copying of that data — as Americans
come back home from overseas.
Unsuspected travelers' laptops may be detained at
border. This rings all alarm bells (also, the words 'police state' come to mind). I think
that anyone who is considering traveling to the US should think twice before doing so. I wonder what
would happen to anyone who has the 'wrong' combination of digital data and paperwork on him ...
They'll Take Your Laptop. [Scroll down slowly] Being "randomly" wanded and frisked at
an airport-security checkpoint is bad enough, but at least the inconvenience is brief. But the new
seizure policy essentially keeps law-abiding business travelers, with their entire professional lives on
laptops, hostage to a government agency and prevents them from doing their jobs -- again, all without
a hint of probable cause. That's more than an annoyance: It's official theft of your ability
to make a living.
Securing the Border Against Creepy Pictures on Some Guy's
Laptop. As I noted in a column last year, DHS is not looking for bombs in those laptops; it
is looking for incriminating files, and the charges that flow from the searches typically have nothing
to do with terrorism, contrary to Napolitano's implication.
It sounds like
the Bill of Rights is taking a beating.
Policy Kept To Search Travelers. The Obama administration will largely preserve Bush-era
procedures allowing the government to search — without suspicion of wrongdoing — the
contents of a traveler's laptop computer, cellphone or other electronic device, although officials said new
policies would expand oversight of such inspections. The policy, disclosed Thursday [8/27/2009] in a
pair of Department of Homeland Security directives...
My laptop is password protected,
so I have nothing to worry about... right?
can force you to decrypt that laptop. The Colorado prosecution of a woman accused of a mortgage
scam will test whether the government can punish you for refusing to disclose your encryption passphrase.
The Obama administration has asked a federal judge to order the defendant, Ramona Fricosu, to decrypt an
encrypted laptop that police found in her bedroom during a raid of her home. Because Fricosu has opposed
the proposal, this could turn into a precedent-setting case.
Cops Don't Know What You Encrypted, They Can't Make You Decrypt It. The last 24 hours [2/24/2012] have
produced two opposite rulings about whether suspects in legal cases have to cough up the password to potentially incriminating
data that they've encrypted on a hard drive. The two cases add up to a lesson: If the cops don't know what they don't
know, your secrets are safe. But if they know what they're looking for, the world's strongest cipher isn't going to stop them
from getting it from a suspect.
Wins Legal Victory Against Border-Agent Laptop Seizures. A Massachusetts federal judge denied a motion by the government
to dismiss a complaint filed on behalf of the organization created to raise legal funds for a soldier accused of leaking information
to WikiLeaks. At issue is whether government agents possess broad powers to search electronic devices at the border without
Radar traps: The cop's bread and butter.
Officials in speed trap Texas town caught lining pockets. If you've ever gotten a ticket at a small
town speed trap and suspected the money ended up in somebody's pocket, you might have been right. An audit
obtained by Watchdog.org shows that a group of current and former officials in Huntington, Texas —
population 2,118 — collected pay for thousands of hours they either didn't work or weren't supposed to.
Even as they complained that the town's coffers were running dry, they falsified traffic citation records to collect
fines higher than those imposed by the court, according to court records.
move to wipe corrupt 'Boss Hogg' town from map. One town in Florida is reportedly so corrupt — with one police
officer for every 25 people and a long record of issuing traffic tickets simply to raise government revenues — that
lawmakers are mulling a plan to wipe it off the map. Even the mayor says his town council members and officials are
crooks — though he says that from jail, The Daily Mail reported. He's currently behind bars, awaiting trial on
charges that he allegedly sold oxycodone to an undercover cop, the news outlet said. The town is Hampton, and it's home
to about 500. But now Florida state legislators have heard enough of the community's corruption, much of which was revealed in a
just-released audit, that they're pushing to shut it down, The Daily Mail reported.
Speed trap city accused of corruption, threatened with
extinction. How off-the-charts corrupt do you have to be to capture somebody's attention in the Sunshine State?
You can lay claim to a 1,260-foot stretch of busy highway a mile outside of town and set up one of the nation's most notorious
speed traps. You can use the ticket money to build up a mighty police force — an officer for every 25 people
in town — and, residents say, let drugs run rampant while your cops sit out by the highway on lawn chairs, pointing radar
guns at everybody who passes by. Of course, none of those things are illegal. But when you lose track of the money and
the mayor gets caught up in an oxy-dealing sting, that's when the politicians at the state Capitol in Tallahassee take notice.
Now they want this city gone, and the sooner the better.
Texas Man Fights Charge of
Warning Drivers About Speed Trap. A Texas man who was arrested for waving a sign to warn drivers of a lurking traffic cop
defended himself in a court by saying his warning was "the same thing as a speed limit sign." Ron Martin, 33, appeared in court
Wednesday [1/15/2014] to fight a misdemeanor charge of waving a homemade sign. He was arrested last October after Police Officer
Thomas Mronzinski saw him on the median strip of a six-lane highway holding up the sign — he is a sign painter by trade —
reading "Police Ahead."
The Rape of Delaware County, Oklahoma. Bernice, which has a population of
about 600, is bisected by Highway 85A. For the past quarter-century, the town has been one of the most notorious speed traps in the Midwest.
Until recently, the town didn't have a police department; instead, it contracted with the Delaware County Commission, paying $5500 a month to rent
sheriff's deputies to write speeding tickets and other citations.
Texas Woman Arrested for Warning Drivers About Speed Trap.
A Houston woman's attempt to save drivers from a speeding ticket landed her something worse: 12 hours in jail. As she rode her bicycle home from a
grocery store last week near downtown Houston, Natalie Plummer noticed police officers pulling over speeders. After she parked her bike and turned one of her
grocery bags into a makeshift sign warning drivers about the "speed trap" ahead, an officer drove up and arrested her.
Natalie Plummer Arrest Protest to be Held Saturday.
Houstonian Natalie Plummer was arrested on Thursday, June 21, for standing on the sidewalk and holding a paper sign. While riding her bike down West Dallas
on her way home from the grocery store, Plummer noticed HPD pulling over cars that were allegedly speeding. She took videotape of this happening near downtown
because she believed HPD was wrongly pulling over random people that were not even speeding.
Pedestrian thrown in jail for
12 hours for holding up sign warning drivers about police speed trap. A woman in Houston, Texas, was arrested and jailed for 12 hours after she held
up a make-shift sign to warn drivers about a speed trap. Natalie Plummer was officially charged with walking in the roadway — jaywalking,
essentially — though she says the police officers who arrested her were just angry that she had tipped off speeders.
Houston Residents Rally Behind Woman Jailed for 'Speed Trap'
Sign. A Houston woman who was arrested after she attempted to warn drivers about a speed trap is receiving support across the nation after her story went
viral. More than two weeks ago, as she rode her bicycle home from a grocery store near downtown Houston, Natalie Plummer noticed police officers pulling over
speeders. After she parked her bike and turned one of her grocery bags into a makeshift sign warning drivers about the "speed trap" ahead, an officer drove up and
arrested her. She was jailed for 12 hours.
Bright Lights, Big
Trouble. Erich Campbell thought he was being helpful. The Florida Highway patrolman thought
he was being obnoxious and disrespectful and gave him a $101 fine. "I couldn't believe it," said
Campbell as he paced next to Veterans Highway in Tampa, Fla. "I was in complete disbelief." Campbell's
crime? He flashed his headlights to alert oncoming cars after passing that patrolman's speed trap.
Highway Patrol illegally tickets motorists who warn others about speed traps. When the Florida Highway
Patrol pulls someone over on the highway, it's usually because they were speeding. But Eric Campbell was
pulled over and ticketed while he was driving the speed limit.
rules flashing headlights is free speech in Oregon case. Judge Joseph Carter determined the law covering the use
of high beams was valid, but was unconstitutional as it was applied by the deputy.
Man Arrested for Warning of Speed Traps. The capitol [sic] city of Texas has added another
dimension to the town motto "Keep Austin Weird" with a bizarre crusade against speed traps. After
launching his website, SpeedTrapAhead.org three years ago, Lance Mitchell became a burr under the saddle of
officials in fast-growing Lakeway, a toney community northwest of Austin, by warning drivers of —
well, speed traps ahead. But Mitchell's persistent crusade has now earned him an arrest and jail time
for allegedly violating city signage laws, according to the Dec. 25 Austin American Statesman.
Highway Patrol tickets motorists who warn others about speed traps. [Eric] Campbell says the FHP
trooper wrote him a ticket for improper flashing of high beams. Campbell says the trooper told him what
he had done was illegal. But later Campbell learned that is not the case. He filed a class action
suit which says "Florida Statue 316.2397" — under which Campbell was cited — "does not
prohibit the flashing of headlights as a means of communications, nor does it in any way reference flashing
headlights or the use of high beams."
can tip others to speed traps. [Scroll down] One of the troopers who previously had been
hunkered down in the median told him it was against state law to flash his lights to alert oncoming motorists
to slow down to avoid a speeding ticket. A judge in Hillsborough County disagreed and dismissed the
$115 ticket. Campbell filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of himself and the estimated thousands of
others who have been cited as well.
Radar traps - without radar.
The Eyes Have
It: No Need for Radar Gun in Ohio. Imagine a highway trooper pulling you over in the middle
of your summer travel and declaring that you were speeding. How's he know for sure? Because he says
so; at least, in Ohio. The state's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday [6/2/2010] that the trained eyeballs of
police officers are enough to hand out speeding tickets. A radar gun is unnecessary.
Federal Speed Traps:
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration last year raided $744 million that motorists
paid in federal gasoline taxes and doled out the cash to the states in the form of "highway safety" grants.
The word safety is meant to conjure images of responsibility, but the primary use of the money is paying
overtime to cops running speed traps. Virginia, for example, claimed $18 million in grants this
year, with $2.3 million allocated to the state police. That agency will use this money almost
exclusively on ticketing blitzes and new radar guns.
Ticketmaster: State trooper has written more than 5,000 tickets. The 5,005 speeding tickets
the 36-year-old veteran of 12 years has written since January 2000 is 603 more than his closest
colleague, a Sun-Times analysis of more than 700,000 tickets shows. Or as he puts it, "If I have to
get out of my car, you're usually getting a ticket." Assigned to the roaming Special Enforcement
Team — unlike most troopers who patrol the same stretch of highway every day — Heinzl
has gone as far as disguising himself a construction worker to nab speeders and is harder to avoid than most.
owner casts reasonable doubt on accuracy of speed cameras. Will Foreman has beaten the speed
cameras. Five times and counting before three different judges, the Prince George's County business
owner has used a computer and a calculation to cast reasonable doubt on the reliability of the soulless
traffic enforcers. After a judge threw out two of his tickets Wednesday [4/20/2011], Mr. Foreman said
he is confident he has exposed systemic inaccuracies in the systems that generate millions of dollars a year
for town, city and county governments.
drivers say money is motive for rise in traffic tickets. The reasons are in dispute, but
the trend is clear: The California Highway Patrol is handing out more traffic citations than it
did a few years ago, and that has generated tens of millions of dollars in new revenue for state and
local government. As the state and cities wrestled with shrinking revenue and growing budget gaps,
the California Highway Patrol issued about 200,000 more traffic citations in 2009 than it did two years
Memo Outlines Police Game for Writing Tickets. A police memo from a California city under federal
investigation for overzealous motorist prosecution appears to outline a game in which officers competed to write
tickets, impound vehicles and arrest drivers. The memo, from scandal-racked Bell, Calif., is entitled
"Bell Police Department Baseball Game," and assigns "singles," "doubles," "triples," and "home runs" to various
violations, The Los Angeles Times reported Monday [2/28/2011].
and the Left. When I go to buy my newspaper on a Sunday morning, I always pass by at least
three police cars. Sure, they're there to write traffic tickets, but they are there, and that
prevents crime. When I drive through the ghetto, I rarely see any police presence. Fighting
crime is expensive and dangerous, while tickets are safe and lucrative.
Smile, speeders: SC
town using I-95 speed cameras. Motorists zipping along a stretch of Interstate 95 South Carolina
may soon find themselves on camera.
Arizona May Abandon Speed Cameras on
Highways. More than a year after Arizona became the first state in the country to deploy dozens
of speed cameras on highways statewide, threats to the groundbreaking program abound. ... "I see all the
cameras in Arizona completely coming down " in 2010, said Shawn Dow, chairman of Arizona Citizens
Against Photo Radar, which is trying to get a measure banning the cameras on the November ballot.
"The citizens of Arizona took away the cash cow of Arizona by refusing to pay."
I Saw At the Napolitano "Revolution". One of the most extraordinary components of [Janet]
Napolitano's Arizona legacy has to do with her attempt to monetize state security. With virtually no
input from the state legislature, Governor Napolitano used her executive powers to mandate the purchase
and installation of speed-limit enforcing "photo radar" cameras which are now dispersed literally everywhere
in Arizona — in the city, and throughout the state's vast rural regions as well. Napolitano's
approach to speed enforcement is bad enough for its draconian, big-brother approach. But worse
still, in a blatantly cynical move, Napolitano established that citations from the statewide "speed
cameras" would carry with them no penalty to one's driving record — just a monetary fee.
speeders. To make good on his offer to help Chicago combat violence, Gov. Blagojevich envisions
putting speed cameras on interstates across Illinois — and using the revenue to form an "elite
tactical team" that would operate in Chicago and other cities. The idea is in its infancy, with no
budget and no timetable.
Teen tries GPS defense to fight
speeding ticket. A year ago July 4, Windsor teenager Shaun Malone, now 18, received a
ticket on Lakeville Highway after a Petaluma police officer using radar said he clocked the teen's 2000
Toyota Celica GTS going 62 mph in a 45 mph zone. But Malone's family contends that a GPS
system they installed in his car to monitor his driving habits proves he was driving 45 mph at
virtually the same time and place the officer said he clocked him speeding.
The Editor says...
Notice that the city is willing to spend thousands of dollars to avoid a precedent-setting verdict that would show
the fallibility of their beloved radar.
Troopers target speeders
to replenish Pike coffers. State troopers have been ordered to ticket more Mass Pike motorists
inside Route 128 as the cash-starved authority looks to pump an additional $600,000 in speeding fines into
its coffers. Pike spokesman Mac Daniel admitted yesterday the turnpike authority lost $600,000 in revenue
from speeding fines after the July 10, 2006, Big Dig tunnel ceiling collapse that killed Milena
Del Valle of Jamaica Plain.
The Editor says...
You have to hand them one thing: Massachusetts has abandoned any pretense that speeding tickets are
given out to make the roads safer. The state now admits that the tickets are all about raising money.
Maine state police using unconventional
tactics to get speeders' cash. Maine state highway patrolmen have increasingly used devious
tactics to catch speeders, including posing as survey teams or having laser guns in the back of unmarked
vans. One lieutenant tried to justify the methods by saying, "It's not entrapment, it's just
More than just myopic legalism — this is about using traffic cops to raise money.
tells parking officers to cite 55 violations a day. Let the meter expire, even for a minute or
two, and there's a parking officer issuing a ticket. Park too close to a driveway or ignore a
permit-only sign and again it's ticket time. If it seems like St. Paul aggressively enforces
parking meters and rules, this might help explain why: To make sure the city's enforcement officers
are working hard, police want each agent to write tickets for 55 violations a day.
Keene sues six parking meter 'Robin Hoods' who put
money in expired meters. The city has filed a lawsuit against six citizens, part of a group dubbed Robin Hood of
Keene that patrols downtown armed with video cameras and pockets full of change to fill expired parking meters. Also known
as Robin Hooders, the six are associated with the Free Keene group.
The Editor says...
Note that the city is filing a civil suit, not a criminal complaint, because the "Robin Hood" people didn't do anything illegal.
The issue has nothing to do with orderly parking. It's all about money and control.
Sign of the times:
'Phantom Taxes'. Are you starting to get the feeling that there's a cop around every bend in the road
just waiting to give you a ticket for speeding? Or a meter maid hovering near your parking meter waiting for the
minutes to expire? ... When government feels compelled to enforce laws not for the sake of good government but because
they need cash, it puts a decided crimp in personal liberty. But that hardly matters to governments who seek
new revenue streams rather than cutting the size and cost of their operations.
Court Upholds Mailing Tickets
to "Speeders" Caught by Camera. An Oregon appeals court that views traffic tickets solely as
civil matters rather than criminal cases has rejected a constitutional challenge to the controversial practice
of mailing tickets to unwary speeders.
Speed cameras in Montgomery County:
The Baltimore County Council has approved the use of speed cameras in the county's school zones. ... About
15 cameras will be leased initially for about $6,400 each per month. The percentage of the
revenues returned to the leasing company has not been determined yet.
York's phantom taxes. Reluctant to raise taxes publicly, the Bloomberg administration is pursuing a
"stealth tax" — launching an unprecedented squeeze on Big Apple residents and businesses, cracking down on
parking, health, safety and quality-of-life infractions with a vengeance, the data shows. The ongoing
blitz has worked so well that City Hall bean counters expect to rake in a record $884 million in fines
by the end of this fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.
It's not about public safety, it's all about raising money.
Recession Causes Speeding
Crackdown? The next time you're doing 60 in a 55-mph zone, make sure to look over your shoulder.
According to a USA Today report Wednesday, police around the country may be cracking down on drivers within the
traditional 5-10-mph "cushion" of the speed limit, as the recession continues to put pressure on state and local
proposed to outlaw speed traps. A state representative says he plans to introduce legislation
within the next two weeks that would compel communities to follow a public act requiring them to set speed
limits according to specific formulas. State Rep. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said communities are
preying on motorists by keeping speed limits too low. His legislation would force cities, townships
and villages to conduct speed studies to properly set limits in accordance with Public Act 85 of 2006.
Mobile Service Fights Speed Traps. The developer of Trapster, Pete Tenereillo, said the system,
which requires punching in a few keys such as "pound-1" to submit information to Trapster's database, should
comply with laws banning talking on cell phones. Tenereillo insisted he isn't encouraging motorists to
break the law or drive dangerously, saying drivers who speed are bound to do so anyway. And he said
police officials he's talked to haven't complained about the service because it inevitably encourages drivers
to slow down.
The Crime of Committing
'Contempt of Cop'. According to Fox News, in December 2009, Erich Campbell noticed a police officer
obviously running traffic radar parked near the Tampa International Airport. Campbell committed an egregious
act of contempt of cop: he flashed his headlights at oncoming traffic to warn them of the speed trap.
He was stopped and given a citation for "improper flashing of high-beams." The cost? $101.00.
There is a happy ending to this morality tale: the citation was eventually dismissed and Campbell filed a
class-action lawsuit against the state of Florida.
NBS Special Publication 442, "Report of the
60th National Conference on Weights and Measures 1975," May 1976, pp. 42-47.
Calibration Of Police Radar Instruments. The vast
majority of current radar guns use the 10,525 MHz allocation. Suppose, for example, that a radar instrument
which was designed for 10,525 MHz had a microwave oscillator which was detuned (outside the FCC allocation) to
12,000 MHz; then that radar instrument would measure a vehicle which was actually traveling 50 mph as traveling
57 mph even though a 50 mph tuning fork made for that gun would cause it to read 30 mph.
Radar traps are completely redundant on all Dallas-area freeways,
thanks to the presence of Smart Sensors manufactured by Wavetronix. These X-band radar modules measure the speed
of every car that passes by, and send the information immediately back to TXDOT. Whether it goes any further is
entirely up to the State of Texas. The presence of police cars on the side of the road is therefore totally
unnecessary -- unless the roadside cops are there to make people believe that's the only way to measure vehicle speed.
This mysterious roadside antenna is on Spur 408 in southwest Dallas. The writer knows an antenna when he sees one,
and the peculiar thing about this one is that it is tilted downward, about 20°, toward the traffic.
This specimen is located
at 32°41'52.0" N., 96°56'10.1" W. Photo by Andrew K. Dart, Copyright 2006.
Related information can be found on this page, including news about
license plate readers on the tollways (in lieu of toll booths), and a proposal to put RFID chips in all Texas license plates,
which would effectively put a TollTag or TxTag on every car. The location of every vehicle on every major highway
could then be recorded. That may also be a component of the proposed
odometer tax system as well.
makers of our Constitution … conferred, as against the government, the
right to be let alone — the most comprehensive of rights and the right most
valued by civilized men. To protect, that right, every unjustifiable intrusion
by the government upon the privacy of the individual, whatever the means employed,
must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment."
Parking tickets and other fundraising mechanisms
L.A.'s Over-the-Top Parking Tickets
Spark Revolt. If you've lived in a L.A. for even a short stretch of time you know there's a hidden but brutal tax in this
city. It's called the parking ticket. Opponents of the tax scheme say L.A. generates $300 million a year in parking
revenue, $150 million of that from tickets.
When the police get entrepreneurial:
The citizenry could become prey if police personnel find themselves rewarded for bringing in cash via the citations they issue.
So close civilian oversight over any such efforts is necessary.
A 2-Bit Meter
Feeder Frenzy. Parking-meter feeders are getting less bang for their quarter. At 47,000 meters around
town, 30 minutes for 25 cents is being reduced to 20 minutes at the same price. It's part of Mayor
Bloomberg's plan to raise an additional $16.8 million annually to help close the city's $4 billion budget
gap. The move has business owners fuming.
Speeding, Parking Tickets on Rise as Government Revenue
Source. Drivers across the country, beware — a heftier fine could be coming to a dashboard near
you. Faced with rising deficits and dwindling revenues, many states and local municipalities are turning to increased
traffic and parking fines to fill their coffers. In California, the cost of a "fix-it ticket" nearly tripled on
Jan. 1, meaning that drivers in the Golden State can pay up to $100 for having a broken headlight — an
infraction that didn't even garner a citation years ago.
Petty Police State:
Some officers in the Dallas Police Department are doing things against the letter and the spirit of our
laws. After writing a traffic ticket up, and getting the signature, too many on the force then
add on infractions. Gretchen West was stopped for a burned-out tail light. She took
away her ticket for $220. And paid. Then she got a letter in the mail, saying she owed an
extra $378 for failing to wear a seatbelt and driving without her headlights on. But, but
officer had not mentioned those alleged violations!
Cops will not stand for insults
who gave trooper the finger has charge dropped. The American Civil Liberties Union had argued that while
the gesture may be have been rude, it amounted to protected free speech.
An obvious violation of the First Amendment:
Faces Prosecution for Videos Mocking Police. In Washington, a cartoonist is possibly facing
jail time for a series of animated Internet videos that mock police officers. The cartoonist, who
goes by the name Mr. Fiddlesticks, is being investigated for alleged "cyberstalking," a crime in Washington.
If a police dog barks at you, don't bark back.
Florida linebacker arrested for
barking at police dog. While police were checking out a disturbance at an after-hours club, Antonio Morrison approached a police
vehicle and made a 'woof-woof' sound at a canine in the back seat according to the Orlando Sentinel. That was enough to put him behind bars.
Ohio man charged after
barking at police dog. Police say an Ohio man has been charged with a misdemeanor for barking
at a police dog.
Whatever you do, don't make the cops look bad.
Raft guide arrested after helping stranded rafter on Clear
Creek. Clear Creek sheriff's deputies on Thursday [6/10/2010] arrested a rafting guide for swimming to a
stranded young rafter who had tumbled from his boat on Clear Creek. Ryan Daniel Snodgrass, a 28-year-old
guide with Arkansas Valley Adventures rafting company, was charged with "obstructing government operations,"
said Clear Creek Sheriff Don Krueger.
Whatever you do, don't make other city workers look bad.
Man, 81, charged for
clearing pothole for repair. An Ohio man said he chipped away loose material to prepare a
pothole for repair and thought he was helping the city, not breaking the law. An undercover police officer
spotted 81-year-old James Stacy in the street near Stacy's home with a pickax and a broom last week.
Whatever you do, don't break the code of silence.
Whistle-blower let go as reserve deputy.
A law enforcement whistle-blower who told investigators he witnessed a Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy conduct a "dirty DUI" arrest has been
relieved from duty in what he said was retaliation for breaking the police code of silence. William Howard of Danville worked as a reserve in the
Sheriff's Department for 19 years until he was dismissed Tuesday [8/14/2012] without explanation and ordered to turn in his uniform and weapon.
Chicago police 'code of silence' protected felon cop. A pervasive culture of silence in the Chicago Police Department led
officers to try to cover up the brutal 2007 bar beating of a 115-pound bartender by a 225-pound off-duty officer, a federal jury has
decided. It was a big win for the plaintiff, Karolina Obrycka, who filed suit five years ago, and a big loss for the city.
The jury awarded Obrycka $850,000 in damages Tuesday, deciding the police department had enabled the disgraced officer, Anthony Abbate,
and shielded him from the attack's consequences until the case went public.
Don't yell at a cop.
police's search for drugs on D.C. teen is ruled illegal. A few days before Christmas 2005 at nearly
midnight, a uniformed District police officer patrolling the Sursum Corda neighborhood in Northwest heard
a 16-year-old on a corner call out his name and ask, "What's up?" That was before the yelling. And
it was the yelling — not the $974 in cash or the 24 baggies of crack cocaine that police later
found on the teenager — that landed Officer Robert Elliott and the juvenile in a rare but important
case before the D.C. Court of Appeals.
Don't insult a police dog.
Woman Arrested for Making Faces
at a Dog. A prosecutor has dropped charges against a woman who was arrested for staring at and
making faces at a police dog.
Don't flip the finger.
acquits woman who gave middle finger to police chief on basis of First Amendment. An Ohio woman who gave the middle finger to an
off-duty police chief trying to merge into her traffic lane was acquitted Monday [6/18/2012] on the basis of the First Amendment. Chief
Roger Moore, of Chillicothe, was driving his personal car last month when he tried to pull into a lane of stopped traffic on Bridge St., the
Chillicothe Gazette reports. The unidentified woman reportedly honked and made the gesture, and Moore pulled her over and charged her
with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
The Editor says...
It remains to be explained how the police chief "pulled her over" while "driving his personal car".
Gold Finger. An upstate New York
man "gave the finger" to a cop using a radar gun and now may get paid for it. After the incident, the police officer followed the
man, a passenger in a car driven by his wife, to their destination and arrested him. Here's where the stories diverge. The
cop said he called for backup police and said he followed the man because he thought the extended middle finger was a sign of
distress — that a domestic dispute was perhaps underway.
The Editor says...
Oh, I feel awful now. For years, I've seen lots of people sending out distress signals on the highway and I've just been
Driver gets false 'revenge' ticket
for telling-off parking officer. A Denver parking enforcement officer took revenge on a driver
who called him a "meter maid" by asking a co-worker to write the driver a false parking ticket, [KUSA-TV] has
learned. The parking officers then mailed the $150 handicapped parking ticket to the driver late, so by
the time he received it, the fine had doubled. "This was a $300 ticket," Joshua Miscles of Denver said.
"People get criticized every day and it doesn't give them the right to just write a ticket and a fake ticket
The Erik Scott Case, Update 11.2:
[Scroll down] Contempt of cop also applies to the worst instincts some police officers develop. In
those cases, officers become "badge-heavy," they begin to take matters personally. They become hypersensitive
to any insult, real or imagined. They don't consider the elements of the law, they take offense, act first
and make up the rest later. Such officers are unpredictable and dangerous, not only to the public, but to
their fellow officers who know that the bad will of the public is cumulative.
A Familiar Pattern of Futility in the International Drug War.
Strenuous efforts to dampen the supply of illicit drugs in one locale simply cause traffickers to move their production to other locations where the pressure
is weaker for the moment.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig on DPD inefficiencies.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig came to Detroit as a department outsider and has in his first month tallied an unhealthy number of baffling observations. "I wish I could
make this stuff up," said Craig Thursday [8/8/2013] after sharing some of those findings with media. The city received a nearly $400,000 federal grant to purchase a new Special Response
Team BearCat, an armored personnel carrier. "But for whatever reason we decide and let the grant lapse and at the last minute a local law enforcement partner took advantage
of it and now has this SRT vehicle," said Craig.
Cut role of feds in
local police, fire and education. The federal government had almost no role in funding before President Clinton created the Community Oriented
Policing Services, or COPS, in 1994. COPS was supposed to give temporary grants to local governments to hire police officers until they could secure
their own permanent funding. Of course, local governments just got hooked on the federal cash, and some even used it to replace local funding.
Worse, a 2006 study found COPS grants were completely ineffective at actually reducing crime.
Retiring Parsippany police chief to
get $132K a year, state says. The township police chief will soon retire with an annual benefit of $131,951.76, according
to state Department of Treasury spokesman William Quinn. Anthony DeZenzo filed a retirement application with the New Jersey Police
and Firemen's Retirement System on Feb. 8, according to Quinn.
Federal Support For and Involvement In State and Local Fusion Centers.
[Scroll down to page 85] In 2011, the San Diego area's fusion center, known as the Law Enforcement Coordination Center (SD-LECC), spent $25,000 on
high-tech surveillance equipment, most of which was so sophisticated it eventually returned it for simpler devices. This purchase was made,
despite the fact that federal guidelines for fusion center key capabilities do not include covert or surreptitious intelligence gathering.
Spending money just for the sake of spending it:
the DHS. Many of the contracts that DHS considers a success have funded a growing federal
assault on privacy. The fishing village of Dillingham, AK (pop. 2,400), is too small for a streetlight,
but thanks to a homeland security grant, it now has 80 surveillance cameras. The town of Ridgely, MD
(pop. 1,400), got a grant for cameras as well. "It was difficult to be able to find something to use the
money for," said Ridgely's police chief, but "if you don't ask, you aren't going to get a thing."
in Body Armor. I may have to revise my old line about the British police being "the most monumentally
useless in the developed world". For the G20 summit, the Toronto coppers ordered up a ton of new body
armor, weaponry, gas masks, etc — and then stood around in their state-of-the-art riot gear
watching as a bunch of middle-class "anarchists" trashed the city.
find failures in Cook Co. homeland security project. Project Shield was supposed to make citizens
safer. But in the end, the $45-million Homeland Security program more resembled a disaster, wasting taxpayers'
dollars and failing to make a single citizen more secure. The failed Cook County initiative was replete with
equipment that failed to work, missing records and untrained first responders according to a report by the inspector
general of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ... Under Project Shield, two police squad cars in all 128 Cook
County suburbs were to be fitted with cameras capable of feeding live video to a central command.
police stations to close to the public for 16 hours a day. The latest downsizing plan is already
reigniting criticism of the police department. 'I was a police officer in Detroit for 35 years and
I can tell you they have wasted money for 35 years," John Barr, a representative for the Police Officers
Association of Michigan, said in a telephone interview. 'It's pathetic, just pathetic.'
Oakland police radios fail during Obama
visit. The year-old system has been plagued by breakdowns and dead zones that have left officers' digital radios prone to blackouts
across the city and in most commercial buildings, including the basement of police headquarters. A city-hired consultant said last week that
the system was not up to urban standards. [...] Oakland paid $18 million for the radio system when it became operational last year, largely
using grant money.
Gun tattoo in Maine prompts
heavy police response. Police armed with assault rifles descended on a Maine man's home after members of a tree removal
crew he'd told to clear off his property reported that he had a gun. Turns out the "gun" the tree crew had seen on Michael Smith
of Norridgewock was just a life-sized tattoo of a handgun on his stomach.
The Editor says...
If the gun wasn't being brandished about or pointed at people, there's no reason to respond to a call like that, at least in some parts
of the country. But in New England, where anti-gun hysteria has taken root, even the rumor of a gun sighting brings out
a massive over-reaction by the cops who watch too much television.
Man suing NYPD after candy leads to arrest on
drug charges. A New York City man reportedly has filed suit in federal court after the NYPD arrested him for possession of methamphetamine that
lab tests subsequently revealed to be Jolly Rancher candies.
Photo source: LA Times.
The Dorner Manhunt. The two terrified women huddled up as over 100 rounds
riddled their vehicle; popping the tires, shattering the windows, mangling the steel, and hitting both of their bodies. Miraculously, both women survived their
wounds. The incident was a breathtaking display of incompetence and unprovoked aggression. Police had absolutely no idea who they were shooting at.
They were seeking a suspect driving a black Nissan Titan. The victims were in a blue Toyota Tacoma. The fugitive was a large, muscular black man with a
shaved head. The victims were two Hispanic women; one of them 71-years-old. A total of 102 rounds struck the truck, not counting the other stray
shots that whizzed through the residential neighborhood.
Police smell meth, raid home, kill
80-year-old man, find no meth. The widow of an 80-year-old man who was shot dead by police during a drug raid on their home is suing for
$50 million. On the night of June 27th, Los Angeles County deputies raided the home of Eugene Mallory and Tonya Pate. [...] Mallory
was asleep in bed when police entered his home. Pate said her husband has bad eyesight, and couldn't tell that the men entering the house were
police officers without his glasses.
Officer shot unarmed man
10 times, police say. Investigators say an unarmed man was shot 10 times by a Charlotte police officer. Police said
Monday that officer Randall Kerrick fired 12 times at 24-year-old Jonathan A. Ferrell early Saturday while responding to a breaking
and entering call. [...] Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter. He is out on bond and expected in court Tuesday [9/17/2013].
Young Deputy Sheriff Guns Down Air Force
Vet in His Own Garage. [68-year-old] Henry C. Taylor was inspecting his garage late at night after it had been robbed multiple
times in the past week, according to WATE. Outside, Deputy Ernest Ragland, 22, peeked through the window and spotted Taylor with his
handgun. That's when Ragland yelled at Taylor before shooting him multiple times, instantly killing the homeowner and veteran.
officer not indicted for May shooting incident. The officer told investigators he feared for his life when Barton got out of his
truck and walked toward his patrol car. While the officer told him to get back in his vehicle, Barton pulled out something black from his
pocket. That's when Officer Boehm fired his gun one time, missing Barton. The object in his hand turned out to be his wallet.
The Editor says...
In the old days (the 1970's) it was my understanding that the polite thing to do during a traffic stop was to meet the officer at the left rear
corner of your car, with your driver's license in your hand. These days, the cops have apparently been told that everybody is a threat,
and they should shoot anyone who does anything they don't expect. (Also, I think the cops watch too many movies.) The result is a
dangerously volatile police state.
Navy Yard: Swat team 'stood down' at mass shooting scene. One of the first teams of
heavily armed police to respond to Monday's shooting in Washington DC was ordered to stand down by superiors, the BBC can reveal. A tactical
response team of the Capitol Police, a force that guards the US Capitol complex, was told to leave the scene by a supervisor instead of aiding municipal
officers. The Capitol Police department has launched a review into the matter.
Report: Armed Emergency Response Team Ordered to Stand
Down at Navy Yard as Shooting Started. On Wednesday [9/18/2013], BBC News reported that an armed emergency response team arrived on site at the
Washington Navy Yard within minutes of Aaron Alexis beginning his shooting spree, but was forced to stand down and was instead ordered back to Capitol Hill.
over claim that elite Capitol Police unit blocked from Navy Yard massacre. The board that oversees the U.S. Capitol Police has opened an
investigation into whether a tactical team of officers that was one of the first on the scene during the Washington Navy Yard shooting was ordered to
stand down. Several sources confirmed the probe to Fox News. The investigation follows reports that a highly trained and specialized
Capitol Police team arrived soon after the shooting started, but was told by a supervisor to leave the scene.
Navy Yard shooting: Swat team awaits answers. Members of a Washington DC Swat
team who the BBC has learned were ordered not to respond to Monday's Navy Yard shootings have yet to be contacted by the authorities. The Capitol Police
tactical response team was told by a supervisor to leave the scene instead of aiding municipal officers, sources told the BBC. Meanwhile, the department
has installed a new leader of the elite unit. No reason has been given for the decision.
The Editor says...
When the SWAT team is actually needed, they are turned away. But if the cops hear about a guy growing marijuana in his
basement, the SWAT team will be all over it.
Claim: CERT unit at Navy Yard told to stand down as shooter raged. If this Capitol Police CERT unit is trained to even a fraction of a
degree one would expect, then they would have greatly over-matched mass-murdering Alexis, a glorified electrician with the infantry combat experience
of a Cub Scout. If it is determined that the Capitol Police CERT team were forced to stand down by a supervisor because of some petty jurisdictional
turf war, then heads should roll.
Congressman confirms 'stand down' order at Navy
Yard. A congressman has confirmed a "stand down" order was given to a rescue team that could have responded almost immediately to
the shooter running amok at the Washington Navy Yard more than a week ago. In an interview with Jake Tapper of CNN, Rep. Michael McCaul,
R-Texas, said his information came from a member of the rescue team.
Calls for Capitol Police Navy Yard Congressional inquiry.
The union representing officers with the US Capitol Police (USCP) has called for a congressional inquiry into the decision to pull a Swat
team from the scene of a mass shooting in September.
Campus Shut Down for Almost an Hour Over Cardboard Gun. A student taking place in a criminal justice exercise as part of class
was carrying a cardboard cutout gun. This sparked calls to police who responded as if an active shooter was on campus, once again, even
though campus carry is technically legal in California. Police responded, and after 45 minutes, they finally made contact with the
student, who was making no effort to hide.
Only the finest!
Court OKs Barring High IQs for Cops. A man whose bid to
become a police officer was rejected after he scored too high on an intelligence test has lost an appeal in his federal lawsuit against the city. The
2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court's decision that the city did not discriminate against Robert Jordan because the same standards
were applied to everyone who took the test.
Cleveland Police Engage in a
Shootout with Unarmed Suspects. A November car chase ended in a "full blown-out" firefight, with glass and bullets flying,
according to Cleveland police officers who described for investigators the chaotic scene at the end of the deadly 25-minute pursuit.
But when the smoky haze — caused by rapid fire of nearly 140 bullets in less than 30 seconds — dissipated,
it soon became clear that more than a dozen officers had been firing at one another across a middle school parking lot in East Cleveland.
Massive Police Shootout in Cleveland Despite Lack of Criminals.
This would have turned out very differently if the officers had assumed that, as is almost always true, the two people in the car were just
two people in a car.
Union Made Camden Police Expensive,
Ineffective. Camden, N.J., is replacing its current 230-officer police force with a new, cheaper force of 400 in order
to combat rising crime, according to NPR. The city currently spends 75 percent of its budget on police and fire departments but
it remains one of the nation's most dangerous cities. The police cannot keep up with crime and the city cannot afford to hire more
Can't tell the difference between Apartment A and Apartment C:
Miss Nevada says L.A. deputies bust into apartment by mistake, kicked her out of bed naked. The Los Angeles Sheriff's
Department broke into a beauty queen's apartment by mistake, kicked her out of bed and then ogled her naked body while keeping their
pistols trained on her, the woman and her fiancé claimed in a lawsuit. Caleche Manos, who was Miss Nevada 2007, said she
was in bed with her fiancé in their Santa Monica apartment on the morning of Nov. 15 2011, when sheriff's officers busted
in with weapons and a search warrant. The warrant was for apartment C, but Manos and her fiancé, Eric Otto Ryder, live
in apartment A, the suit said.
sued by deaf man held 25 days. A Denver-area sheriff has been sued by a deaf couple who claim
deputies failed to provide a sign-language interpreter for 25 days — from the moment the two were approached
over an alleged disturbance to the day the man appeared in court on domestic assault charges. "There were
25 days of his life that he had access to nothing — no information on why he was being held, no information
about his case or what was going to happen to him," attorney Kevin Williams said of his client Timothy Siaki in
an interview with The Denver Post.
The Creation of South Park Nation. Once again, we see how Hollywood
fantasy collides with reality. The "superdetective" who uses deduction and intelligence to solve a crime simply does not exist, anymore,
or if in existence, is a very rare species. Instead, police today depend heavily upon preconceived "narratives" in which they decide at the
beginning who is "guilty," and how to construct "evidence" to prove that guilt. If the evidence does not fit the narrative, then police
either ignore it or get prosecutors to do the legal version of pounding square pegs into round holes. [...] Modern criminal "investigations
are not something out of "Bones" or "Law and Order." Instead, they are something out of South Park.
Man Tells Police Dispatcher His Mentally
Disturbed Brother Is Carrying a Fake Gun, Police Kill Him Anyway. Shortly before 8 a.m. on June 28,
police in Broomfield, Colorado, shot and killed Kyle Miller after he brandished a gun at them. Miller was mentally ill.
The gun was fake. Miller's younger brother told the police dispatcher both of these facts. For some unknown reason,
reports the Denver Post, Broomfield police shot Miller anyway.
shoot dangerous looking alligator, only to find it's a lawn ornament. Officers responding to a
rare sighting in the [Kansas City] suburb of Independence, Missouri, left nothing to chance. Seeing the
alligator's head lurking menacingly in the weeds leading down to a pond they fired off one shot with perfect
precision. Noting that the beast hadn't moved, they fired again.
away with murder is the norm in Detroit. [Detroit Police Chief Warren] Evans said that during
his brief tenure as police chief, he has discovered:
· An evidence property room in chaos.
· A crime lab shut down due to incompetence.
· Computers in squad cars that don't work.
· A new $2.5 million camera system in patrol cars that does not function.
The department cannot recoup the loss on the cameras because it never purchased a warranty,
police have said. The system known as Compstat, a crime data and computer mapping system
used by most major cities to identify crime hot spots, was discarded.
Authorities make changes
after first responders watch man drown. Alameda, California, has immediately changed its policies
after first responders watched a man drown in San Francisco Bay and did nothing to rescue him.
Subway Stabbing Victim Can't Sue NYPD For Failing To Save Him.
A man who was brutally stabbed by Brooklyn subway slasher Maksim Gelman two years ago had his negligence case against the city dismissed in court yesterday [7/25/2013],
despite the fact that two transit officers had locked themselves in a motorman's car only a few feet from him at the time of the attack. Gelman stabbed Joseph
Lozito in the face, neck, hands and head on an uptown 3 train in February 2011, after fatally stabbing four people and injuring three others in a 28-hour period.
have six-hour standoff with unconscious suspect. A suspect in a Massachusetts armed robbery was
taken into custody and hospitalized for a drug overdose after a state Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team
was called to a Nichols Road residence. Jeremy Q. Curtis, 40, of Hanover, Mass., was taken into
custody and then brought to Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro following a six-hour incident during which Curtis
NY Car Ticketed Repeatedly With Dead Body Inside.
Police made a gruesome discovery earlier this week while getting ready to tow a heavily-ticketed van — a
decomposed body in the back seat. It was that of a missing man, and now his family wants to know to how officers
could ticket the vehicle numerous times — and never notice what was inside.
away with murder is the norm in Detroit. At least 7 in 10 people who committed murder
in this city last year have gotten away with it. The most generous interpretation of 2008 homicide
warrants and convictions supplied by local law enforcement officials shows that in more than 70 percent
of homicide cases no suspect has been identified, arrested, charged or convicted of a killing.
When Cops Can't Use Lights and
Sirens. Sometimes police officers need to get from one place to another more quickly than traffic
conditions will allow, which is why the cars they drive are equipped with sirens and bright flashing lights.
"But, Dunphy," you say, "why write about something so patently obvious? Any fool knows that." No, there
are in fact some fools who do not know that. Strangely enough, one such fool is a former chief of the Los Angeles
Police Department who now sits on the Los Angeles City Council.
Fake Teen Cop Fools Police, Patrols Chicago
for 5 Hours. A 14-year-old aspiring police officer donned a uniform, walked into a Chicago
police station and managed to get an assignment — patroling in a squad car for five hours before
he was detected, police said Sunday [1/25/2009].
1st time boy was caught wearing cop gear. A 14-year-old boy charged with impersonating a Chicago
police officer over the weekend had been caught twice before donned in a police uniform and pretending to be
a cop. Prosecutors said he currently is on probation on a similar charge of impersonating an officer
from December 2007. His pastor, Rev. Roosevelt Watkins, said the boy had also been stopped by officers
just last month at the Ford City Mall for wearing a police uniform.
Acting as if laws don't apply to cops:
N.J. Governor's SUV Went 91 Mph Before Crash. The SUV
carrying Gov. Jon S. Corzine was traveling about 91 mph moments before it crashed, Superintendent of State Police
Col. Rick Fuentes said Tuesday [4/17/2007]. The governor was critically injured when the vehicle crashed into a guardrail
on the Garden State Parkway just north of Atlantic City last week. He apparently was not wearing his seat belt
as he rode in the front passenger's seat.
On the other hand, cops sometimes get in trouble if
they stop the Governor's speeding car.
Iowa fires agent who pursued
gov's speeding SUV. A veteran Iowa criminal investigator said he was fired Wednesday in retaliation for complaining
about the governor's vehicle speeding through highway traffic, an assertion state officials rejected.
The TSA Is Coming To a Highway
Near You. In order to help rein in the TSA I introduced H.R. 3608, the Stop TSA's Reach in Policy Act aka the
STRIP Act. This bill will simply overturn the TSA's administrative decision by prohibiting any TSA employee who has not
received federal law enforcement training from using the title "officer," wearing a police like uniform or a metal police badge.
At its most basic level the STRIP Act is about truth in advertising. As TSOs continue to expand their presence beyond our nation's
airports and onto our highways, every American citizen has the right to know that they are not dealing with actual federal law
From the Files of Police Squad: No CCWs Allowed? [A] Florida resident and
CCW holder named John Filippidis was traveling down I-95 on the way home from New Jersey, when he was pulled over and his car was rifled
through by Maryland law enforcement officers looking for the gun in his safe in Florida. [...] His wife made one of the classic mistakes.
Never, ever volunteer information to the police, especially when you're just guessing.
Driving Through Maryland — How The Lawful Florida Gun Owner Was Targeted.
What would prompt the Maryland Transportation Authority Police (MTAP) to randomly select their vehicle? Because the first question to
Mr. Filippidis was about his gun ownership, and the police search for the gun was based on his gun ownership, the Florida CCW permit that
Filippidis holds was identified as the most likely impetus for the stop, questioning and search. [His firearm was locked in a safe
in his Florida home.] This strikes us as highly alarming — so we contacted MTAP and we immediately filed public records
requests to research what took place.
New York cops call
video taped 'Knockout' attack harassment, not assault. Rochester New York police are characterizing the brazen attack of an
elderly woman as harassment rather than what it appears to be — another example of the hotly-debated "knockout game." The
attacker, a young black male who operated a Facebook account under the name "True Goon Tocool Sneekey", narrated his plan for the camera.
Smoking gun exposed — D.C. police covers up
giving Feinstein illegal 'assault weapons'. Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier seems to think that gun-control laws don't apply to
the liberal elite. The police chief helped Sen. Dianne Feinstein acquire "assault weapons," which are illegal to possess in the District, for a news conference
early this year to promote a ban on these firearms, then tried to cover up the police involvement. Now, a response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request
reveals Chief Lanier's shocking willingness to bend the rules for partisan and ideological purposes.
It's the law: Washington state lawmakers
don't get speeding tickets. A spokesman for WSP says Washington lawmakers are constitutionally protected from receiving noncriminal traffic tickets
during a legislative session, as well as 15 days before.
Capitol Hill Police Block
Tea Party Activists from Immigration Rally. Capitol Hill police left a voicemail for Kevin Mooneyhan, Deputy Executive Director of Tea Party
Patriots, saying that "your people" only are permitted to assemble for the event on the west side of the Capitol. The activists' presence at the immigration
event on the east side supposedly violates the terms of the Tea Party's permit. Mooneyhan was instructed to move any activists who planned on attending
the Tea Party rally away from the immigration event. Keep in mind, the immigration event is hosted by sitting members of Congress. The notion that
citizens can't attend an event featuring duly elected Representatives in a public space is absurd. "The Capitol police are violating our rights to assembly
and association," Mooneyhan told Breitbart News. "How does our permit limit the rights of individuals to attend public events? It's intimidation."
Report: D.C. police
fail to investigate sexual assaults. The D.C. police department does not adequately investigate sexual assaults and should
have outside oversight to improve its detectives' sometimes inappropriate handling of such cases, according to Human Rights Watch, which
on Thursday released the results of a 22-month investigation on the department's practices. Human Rights Watch was also critical of
the police department's response to its investigation, saying in its report that the reaction of department officials to its findings was
"extremely hostile and defensive in tone."
No Speeding Ticket for
Councilwoman Driving 105 mph. Prince George's County in Maryland has been a dangerous place for drivers and pedestrians. ...
Karen Toles sits on the Prince George's County Council. On February 22, the councilwoman was clocked by the Prince George's
County Police Department as traveling at more than 105 mph on the Capital Beltway which was 50 mph over the legal speed limit.
Police originally would not state how fast she was driving, but that information was later released.
Calling Out the Mobile Police
Department. As I reported yesterday [4/25/2012], the Mobile Police Department is ludicrously
claiming that it is likely that no more than three people will be arrested for the now-infamous mob beating
of a man in Mobile because the other 17 or so people were supposedly just "onlookers."
A Censored Race War? In Milwaukee, for example,
an attack on whites at a public park a few years ago left many of the victims battered to the ground and bloody. But, when the police arrived on
the scene, it became clear that the authorities wanted to keep this quiet. One 22-year-old woman, who had been robbed of her cell phone and debit
card, and had blood streaming down her face said: "About 20 of us stayed to give statements and make sure everyone was accounted for.
The police wouldn't listen to us, they wouldn't take our names or statements. They told us to leave. It was completely infuriating."
N.J. state troopers face probe
for 'Death Race 2012' down Parkway to AC. The State Police are investigating complaints that two troopers
escorted a caravan of luxury sports cars at speeds in excess of 100 mph down the Garden State Parkway to Atlantic City
last month. The occupants included former Giants running back and sports car enthusiast Brandon Jacobs, according to
a source with knowledge of the trip.
New Jersey State Police Officers
Suspended For High Speed Escort, Lawyer Plans Investigation. The lawyer for a New Jersey state trooper who was
suspended for escorting a high speed caravan of exotic cars to Atlantic City said today that such escorts "happen all the time."
Sgt. 1st Class Nadir Nassry, 47, and trooper Joseph Ventrella, 28, were suspended without pay on Monday while the New Jersey
Attorney General and state police investigate the March 30 incident.
White Victim: We 'Don't Mess' with Black Gang. Most of us have heard about how the media won't report on
black-on-white crime. We also may know that authorities sometimes sweep it under the rug due to political pressure,
usually with a wink and a nod. But not so in rural Alabama, where the police actually told a white crime victim that
they "don't mess" with a local black motorcycle gang. The tragic event that led to this shocking admission occurred
on March 28, as truck driver Nick Stokes and neighbor Johnathan Cooper were heading out of Birmingham hauling a portable
Hacks behaving badly? Shocking!
First time I heard this story, I was confused. I thought it was an old story. But then I realized I
was getting it confused with a Boston firefighter being charged with threatening a Boston police officer.
Or maybe I was getting it mixed up with the other statie in Essex County, Capt. Thomas McCarthy, who last month
allegedly refused to get out of his car when cops smelled beer on his breath. He said, "You've got to be
kidding me," and made a run for it down Route 1. Even though they found beer cans in his car, the
Saugus cops didn't give him a Breathalyzer test. Capt. McCarthy made $213,474 last year. But no,
this was a different state cop behind the eight ball.
anarcho-fascists post own video of themselves destroying SF neighborhood. The amazing part? The San Francisco
police were monitoring the whole thing, and followed behind the Occupy rioters in police vans, and yet did nothing to stop them,
even after the mob attacked an officer inside a parked police car.
Other objectionable traits
calls 911 when intruder tries to enter home, waits hours before police show up. [Terri] Bice
believes it wasn't the door, but barking from Molly that stopped the intruder in their tracks. So,
she did what anyone would do. Grabbed her phone and dialed 9-1-1. She got no answer. "We
all know about first responders and what their importance is that's not going to happen if no one
answers," said Bice. She documented her calls for help: two to 911; two to the NOPD's non-emergency
line; and one to NOPD's Second District. The final call was answered and Bice confirms an officer
showed up two hours after the attempted home invasion.
law allows undercover police officers to have sex with prostitutes. Honolulu police officers have
urged lawmakers to keep an exemption in state law that allows undercover officers to have sex with prostitutes
during investigations, touching off a heated debate.
arrives at traffic accident, shoots Air Force airman, chief calls it "appropriate force'. [Scroll down] Eventually, Officer
Phillip Hancock arrived on scene. Accounts differ as to what happened next. Davidson's father claimed that Hancock shot his son almost
immediately. "They couldn't have been there three or four seconds when I was shot," said Davidson, according to his father's account.
Police Chief John McEachern, on the other hand, said that Hancock did not not fire until coming to the erroneous conclusion that Davidson was
a threat. Hancock ordered Davidson to put his hands on his head, and then fired, according to McEachern.
Connecticut Officer Under Investigation for
Desire to "kick your door in and take your guns". Every officer is taught that "following orders" is not an excuse for violating
Cop: I'd Love to 'Bang down Your
Door and Come for Your Gun'. How would you feel if a police officer you knew for 20 years told you that if an order were
issued to confiscate your guns, he wouldn't hesitate to "kick your door in"? This was the precisely the experience Connecticut resident,
Navy veteran and former firefighter John Cinque had after commenting on his state's 2013 violation of the Second Amendment.
Corruption in the City of Brotherly
Love. Philadelphia Daily News reporters Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker have written two powerful series of articles
on abuse, corruption, and intimidation within the city, state, and federal government. These stories read like something out of a
political thriller. [...] The authors found that some police were as corrupt as the criminals they targeted. These detectives
terrorized hardworking legal immigrant shop owners, sexually assaulted women, and fabricated search warrants.
18 Los Angeles sheriff's
deputies arrested in federal jail investigation. One federal indictment filed Nov. 20 named seven deputies charged with
conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
Third of California Town's Officers Tied to
Scheme. One-third of a central California town's police force was taken off duty after several officers were arrested in
a scheme to take for themselves the impounded cars of some poor Hispanic residents, authorities said.
Fla. Trooper Who Stopped Cop Sues After
Harassment. Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Donna Jane Watts [...] is suing those police agencies and the individual officers
under the federal Driver Privacy Protection Act, a 1994 law that provides for a penalty of $2,500 for each violation if the information was
Participating in a political vendetta:
terrorism in Wisconsin: The American Police state begins. Cops are bursting into homes, seizing computers and other "evidence" while
groups are being hit with subpoenas that require them to turn over voluminous and sensitive information — including the names of political
donors. [...] In Wisconsin, special prosecutor Francis Schmitz is going after conservative groups that were involved in the fight over the
recall of Governor Scott Walker and Walker's union reforms. Subpoenas are requesting "all records of income received, including fundraising
information and the identity of persons contributing to the corporation." They are seeking lists of conservative donors.
Do as I say, whatever that may be.
Oregon Man Wins Lawsuit
After Being Unlawfully Detained While On His Front Lawn Getting His Mail. Kevin Hall of Corvallis, OR brought a suit against the city
for the unlawful detention he experienced last October. While walking to his mailbox to retrieve his mail, while also open carrying a firearm,
Hall was approached by Corvallis Police Officer James Dodge. When Dodge approached, Hall asked him if he was being detained, Dodge replied
no but would like to talk to Hall. Since he wasn't being detained and wasn't doing anything wrong Hall started to return to his house when
he was stopped by Dodge and told him NOW he was being detained. I guess, according to Officer Dodge, you are free to leave until you
actually try to leave, then you are detained.
Sheriff Believes in Right to Bear Arms,
Unless you Actually do. The vast majority of murders are committed by a small minority of violent individuals who have a long
history of violence and criminal convictions.
Cops are everywhere.
Undercover Police, Just About Everywhere. The unrestrained surveillance in New York
public life is the physical embodiment of what has been taking place online over the last decade under operations of the National Security Agency revealed by Edward J. Snowden.
To borrow the title of a 1918 novel about nosy Irish villagers, we have become The Valley of the Squinting Windows. But it was all O.K. because the mayor and the police commissioner
said so, though from the outside, no one could really say what they were up to.
The cop is the "victim" after his wholesale use of pepper spray:
UC Davis pepper-spray officer
awarded $38,000. A former UC Davis police officer whose pepper-spraying of protesters gained worldwide notice thanks to a viral video has been
awarded more than $38,000 in workers' compensation from the university for suffering he experienced after the incident. Former police Lt. John Pike, who
gained a degree of infamy for his role in the incident, was awarded the settlement Oct. 16 by the state Division of Workers' Compensation Appeals Board.
Harvesting data from government agencies:
Marketplace: Personal Data Can Be Used For 'Law Enforcement and Audit Activities'. Maryland's Health Connection, the state's Obamacare marketplace,
has been plagued by delays in the first days of open enrollment. If users are able to endure long page-loading delays, they are presented with the
they agree to the terms.
Data Can Be Used For 'Law Enforcement, Audit Activities'. Maryland's Health Connection, the state's Obamacare marketplace, has been plagued by delays
ubiquitous fine-print feature on websites that often go unread. Nevertheless, users are asked to check off a box that they agree to the terms.
Exchange Confirms: 'We Are Required to Respond to Certain Requests from Law Enforcement'. An email had been sent to the MHC on October 3
requesting clarification of the policy, and included these inquires: Does that include both federal and state authorities? What type of
information from the application might be of interest to law enforcement and/or state/federal auditors? However, no response was received before
the story was published.
An unnecessary show of force:
Police presence inside a showing of 'The Butler'
causes outrage. [Tiffany Flowers] said that after waiting in line and having their tickets double validated, with the second ticket taker just ten feet
from the first employee to tear their stubs, she and Hanson approached the theater entrance, only to find a police officer directing people's movements. Flowers
told theGrio the officer "herded everybody to the right, and then around the corner there's another police officer, then we round the corner and there's a third police
officer." She said the police who remained inside the theater throughout the show were not in uniform, but dressed in all black with their badges exposed, and
wearing bullet-proof vests, and that she later learned they were contracted by the Montgomery County Police Department.
"They Kidnapped our Child": Why CPS Needs Transparency Now.
In April 2013, police officers and a social worker from Sacramento County's Child Protective Services entered the home of Anna and Alex Nikolayev and took their baby,
Sammy, away from them. They had no warrant. "What they'd done was, basically, kidnapped our child with the help of police," says Alex Nikolayev.
The young, first-time parents were not notified of where Sammy was being taken and wouldn't find out for a full 24 hours.
Collusion with Big Brother:
NSA tips off law enforcement, asks them to keep the practice secret.
Just days after the NYT wrote about the NSA denying other federal intelligence agencies access to their surveillance tools comes the disclosure that
a US Drug Enforcement Administration unit called Special Operations Division (SOD) has been channeling information collected by the NSA to law
enforcement agencies in order to help them start investigations of suspected criminals. The SOD, whose existence is little known to the
greater public, is a sort of middleman that receives information regarding traditional criminal activities and suspected perpetrators gathered
by the NSA via wiretaps, informants, intelligence intercepts, and decides how much of it to share with which field offices and agents.
NEW Spying Scandal — Is This One the Last Straw?
The NSA is spying on you and sharing this information with the DEA. The DEA is then sharing this information with local law enforcement.
If you get arrested because of this, abandon all hope because [#1] Law enforcement is hiding where the evidence came from[, and #2] This means
you cannot effectively challenge the evidence in court. But it gets worse... The DEA unit responsible for this program — the ominous
sounding Special Operations Division — is a secret organization. It cannot be investigated by defense attorneys or called into court.
Even the location of the Special Operations Division is classified.
The NSA-DEA police state tango. In the latest post-Snowden bombshell
about the extent and consequences of government spying, we learned from Reuters reporters this week that a secret branch of the DEA called the Special Operations
Division — so secret that nearly everything about it is classified, including the size of its budget and the location of its office — has
been using the immense pools of data collected by the NSA, CIA, FBI and other intelligence agencies to go after American citizens for ordinary drug crimes.
Law enforcement agencies, meanwhile, have been coached to conceal the existence of the program and the source of the information by creating what's called a
"parallel construction," a fake or misleading trail of evidence. So no one in the court system — not the defendant or the defense attorney,
not even the prosecutor or the judge — can ever trace the case back to its true origins.
This kind of behavior is frowned upon.
Pigeon Forge police chief fires 3 officers who
discussed killing other officers. Pigeon Forge Police Chief Jack Baldwin said today [7/2/2013] that he fired three officers who were caught
on an in-cruiser video discussing the killing of other officers. [...] Baldwin said they were fired for conduct incompatible with continued employment.
Only the finest:
Cop Arrested Four Times in Seven Years Still Working, Makes $80K. Chicago Police Officer Richard A. Rizzo has been
arrested four times in the past seven years, but that's not enough to get him fired from the department. Rizzo has been arrested
for domestic battery, child endangerment and aggravated assault with a gun.
Gun buy-back programs are the latest cash cow for the cops:
Police Selling Guns from Buyback Program.
St. Charles Police Chief James Lamkin said about 20 firearms obtained through a gun buyback program and seized by courts will be sold to
the dealers, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday [5/31/2013]. "There's value in these guns," Lamkin said. "They're not illegal guns.
Quite honestly, it's a bottom line for us."
Making up laws on the spot:
Harassed by Police and Charged with Crimes for Legal Possession and Sale of Knives.
On April 13th, 2013, three police officers entered the weekend market and told me that my knives "looked to be prohibited." They had no search
warrant but removed me from the booth and proceeded to search from one end to the other. I was patted down and my SA pocket knife (legal) was
taken. I told them I use it to open packages, boxes, and such.
Letting personal politics interfere:
Woman threatened with arrest because of a bumper sticker.
A Denver police sergeant is under investigation for allegedly threatening to arrest a woman Monday [1/24/2005] for
displaying on her truck a derogatory bumper sticker about President Bush. "He told her that this was a warning
and that the next time he saw her truck, she was going to be arrested if she didn't remove the sticker," said Alinna
Figueroa, 25, assistant manager of The UPS Store where the confrontation took place. "I couldn't believe it."
Former Oklahoma Undersheriff Jason
Bone Pocketed Thousands in Drug Money. Former Love County Oklahoma undersheriff Jason Bone was recently arrested and charged on four
felony counts of embezzlement. Jason Bone resigned amid an O.S.B.I. investigation into missing funds.
Hired despite disqualifications:
Culpeper Cop Who Shot and Killed Patricia Cook Sentenced to
Three Years in Prison. [Scroll down] As I've written before, this could've been avoided if Harmon-Wright had been properly screened
for the job: ["]Soon after Harmon-Wright was arrested, it was revealed that he had a tarnished military record, a drinking problem, and a history
of harassing Culpeper residents. The first two problems nearly kept him from getting the job, and no one at the Culpeper Police Department
will say why they didn't.["]
Officer faces lawsuit over warrantless entry and arrest:
Lawsuit accuses Lexington officer of wrongful arrest.
A man has filed a federal lawsuit against a Lexington police officer alleging that the officer forced his way into the man's home without a warrant and
charged him with several offenses that were later dismissed. [...] In a lawsuit filed April 26 in U.S. District Court, Richard Alex Vidal said he
was at his home on Park Avenue between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. on April 28, 2012, when officer Ronald Kornrumpf came to the back door without
an arrest warrant or search warrant. The officer allegedly demanded that Vidal disclose his name.
Trouble inside the city's
prisons. We're talking about sex between officers and inmates, between correctional staffers and each other, between
underlings and superiors. Drug use. Securing contraband for inmates. Rampant lateness and doctoring of time cards.
Officers leaving posts unattended while they take long lunches or socialize with prisoners, who wander freely in areas that are supposed
to be restricted or locked down. Oh, and napping — lots and lots of napping. Worse, the letters allege, the
offenders are in favored cliques, which means their supervisors overlook their behavior. Unconnected workers get written up
for piddling offenses.
Louis Farrakhan got a police escort for his 'unofficial motorcade'. Wouldn't it be great if you could get a police car to
accompany you for "traffic control" when you drive somewhere? It would be sort of like the president, except for the bulletproof
limo and Secret Service. Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, despite lacking any public office, has enjoyed such convenience,
courtesy of his son Mustapha, whose arrangements to drive a police car for escorting his father's "unofficial motorcade" are currently
under investigation by a police agency in Illinois.
The City of Chicago Declared War on Cop Bloggers!
The Chicago Police Department just promulgated a new General Order to its membership regarding blogging or posting on Social Media.
It effectively outlaws posting anything not officially approved by the department. The penalty for disobedience is termination from
How the LAPD Lost my Trust. I am a certified firearms instructor who has
taught CCW classes in Arizona since the beginning of the CCW program there in 1994. As we are on the border with California, I watch the developments there with
some interest. Unfortunately, nearly everything that I have read and heard about the LAPD and guns has lead me to distrust them.
The Monsters that Walk Among Us. Not every
criminal — or even every murderer — sinks to the level of depravity occupied by the likes of the Tsarnaev brothers and
Ariel Castro. But consider: The Boston Globe reported that police solved 43 percent of the city's murders in
2012, leaving 57 percent of the killers out and about and free to kill again. In Ariel Castro's Cleveland the police
do a better job of things, with a 2012 murder clearance rate of 69 percent, but that still leaves 31 percent of its
killers on the loose. And in Chicago, a mere 132 of the city's 507 murders that occurred in 2012 were solved, for a
clearance rate of just 26 percent.
trooper accused of making false DUI arrests. During her 10 years as a Utah state trooper, Lisa Steed built a
reputation as an officer with a knack for nabbing drunken motorists in a state with a long tradition of teetotaling and some of the
nation's strictest liquor laws.
Chicago Police Want 12% Raise. Days after the
Chicago Police Department announced it will no longer respond to 911 calls for criminal damage to property, vehicle thefts, garage burglaries, or other crimes
in which the suspect is no longer on the scene, the Fraternal Order of Police (Chicago police union) is demanding a 12 percent raise.
Corruption scandal shocks, saddens metro law
enforcement. All eight Forest Park police sergeants were called to the department Tuesday for routine training. Victor Middlebrook
and Andrew Monroe, two solid officers recently promoted to sergeant, were teamed up and told to head to their training station. They then walked
into a room filled with federal agents and their boss, Chief Dwayne Hobbs, who was having one of the worst days of his 40-year career. The two
sergeants were being arrested, accused of being part of a group of Atlanta area officers who allegedly served as bodyguards for agents posing as drug dealers.
Obama executive order expands Homeland
Security reach into local law enforcement. President Barack Obama signed an executive order Friday that expanded the Department of Homeland Security's
ties to local law enforcement. The executive order creates a White House Homeland Security Partnership Council and Steering Committee, aimed at fostering local
partnerships between federal and private institutions "to address homeland security challenges."
Martial Law in One City. "The fear is what's given us the reason to do
this," insisted Todd Stovall, the head functionary of the paramilitary occupation force afflicting Paragould, Arkansas, as he announced that the city
would be placed under martial law for the supposed purpose of deterring crime. "Once I have stats and people are saying they're scared, we can
do this. It allows us to do what we're fixing to do." What Stovall and his fellow tax-feeders are "fixing to do" is to leave the city's
streets clotted with SWAT operators toting AR-15s and official permission to harass anybody who comes within eyeshot.
A Clear Case of Armed Robbery (and More). If a private citizen were to
have done what this officer allegedly did, I can assure you that he or she would be arrested and held on a very high bond. There is no way
around the fact that this would constitute an armed robbery, and a district attorney easily could — and would — make that
case. However, in this situation, the police officer is on paid leave and the other officer still is working his regular job at
Denver's International Airport.
Want Some Fries With That Felony, Officer?
Two of Denver's "Finest" placed an order at a McDonald's drive-through in the early morning hours of May 21 . Distressed
over what they perceived to be unsatisfactory service, the officers became agitated, and one of them "flashed his police badge and pointed a
pistol through the drive through window in a threatening manner, before driving off without paying," reports the local CBS affiliate.
90-plus arrests of D.C. cops in
under 4 years. In the past three and a half years, more than 90 D.C. police officers — from detectives to captains
to the rank-and-file cops on the street — have been arrested, a Washington Examiner analysis of police data has revealed.
Metropolitan Police Department officers have been nabbed within the District and as far away as Florida. They've been arrested on
charges ranging from to child pornography to murder. The majority are DUI and domestic violence arrests, though some cases
Citizen-Journalist Confronts Militarized Cops.
Students were not told that militarized cops would be conducting a "live shooter" drill at Chaminade University in Cincinnati on Wednesday
[9/12/2012]. A citizen journalist concerned about the brazen in-your-face "training" confronted the cops and demanded answers.
Tempers flaring as gas lines continue to
frustrate drivers. [Scroll down] Cops, trying to keep order, threatened to close down the station after customers screamed at
officers who were allowing first responders cut into hours-long lines. The police-sanctioned line cutters showed their official IDs but were
almost always in unmarked cars and not in uniform. Civilian customers complained that cops were clearly allowing colleagues, not on the job,
to fuel up for personal use.
Black's Law Dictionary,
Sixth Edition, page 266.
The Nifonging of George Zimmerman.
No civilized society can tolerate a sheep dog that turns on the sheep, or a police officer or prosecutor who uses his or her authority against
innocent people for personal or political gain.
Feds in Kalispell taking Drivers Photos as they passed by the Fire Truck
road barriers. Heading west on Hwy 2 we approached what we thought was an accident, fire trucks, a sign that said
accident ahead and fireman with signs saying slow, the fire trucks were blocking the right lane which made you go around them and when
you followed their directions, they placed us in front of two officers holding digital/face recognition cameras! I recognized
the cameras from when I had to go to Homeland security for my TWIC card in Florida. There was no accident!
Choose your Poison, Communism or Other Dictatorship?
We no longer live in a free country; we just have an illusion of freedom. When I first came to the United States, I recoiled in fear
every time I saw a cop. [...] It took me a good three years to get over the fear of police, the sheriff, and the highway patrol. [...] I see
America moving in that direction. [...] I see police everywhere, most are in unmarked cars, different types of vehicle, and hard to detect.
If they are here to serve us and receive taxpayer dollars, if I do not know who they are, how will I be able to ask for help in case of an
emergency? They are here to harass, catch and ticket speeders, control us, stop us, and cameras are everywhere.
Fabrication of evidence:
The Supreme Court
Again Upholds Your Right to Be Framed. In 2009, Elena Kagan, then-solicitor general, argued before the Supreme Court
that prior to trial, a defendant has no right not to be framed, because false evidence does no real harm until it is actually used
in court. "Fabrication Of Evidence During An Investigation Does Not, By Itself, Violate The Constitution" read one
of the subject headings of her brief. [...] How does this play out in the real world? The vast majority of criminal cases
never go to trial at all; they are settled with plea bargains.
The Border Conspiracy: Exclusive Videos Show How One Texas County Fakes Crime
Statistics to Make the Border Look Safe. PJ Media has obtained exclusive hidden camera video that shows federal grant money creates an incentive
for local law enforcement to falsify their crime statistics. The fake stats tell a story that ends up benefiting the local agencies that clamor for the
grants, while helping Washington sell its story that the border is safer than it really is.
Abuse of power:
Police Officer Loses It — Threatens Citizen and Suggests Street Justice of Execution. Police abuse stories are probably
becoming more numerous not because they really are, but because modern technology makes it more difficult for rogue officers to get away with it.
Case in point, a recent stop in Ohio resulted in video footage of terrible abuse of power by a police officer who discovers the driver of the car
was legally carrying a firearm.
Not Being a Felon Is Not Enough to Avoid Going to Federal
Prison for Being a Felon in Possession of a Gun. Following some lengthy, in-depth investigative work, USA Today has discovered more
than 60 North Carolina men serving federal sentences for violating gun laws it turns out they didn't actually violate.
The Arrival of The Police
State. How many times have you seen a police officer and been afraid? Have you ever been worried
just by the mere act of speaking to an officer of the law, that you might get in trouble? Police officers are
public servants, with their original intent to be "Serve and Protect" the citizens. Somehow we have moved far
away from that purpose.
Police shoot dead a woman standing
inside her front door defending against government intrusion! This family was just fine living in peace
until the Census-taker knocked at their door, was turned away and called police.
Public has almost
no access to new police radios. A new police and fire communications system designed to help
emergency crews stay in touch also means the news media has less access to information about incidents
affecting the public. Abilene police and fire departments recently ditched an 18-year-old dispatch
system for a new $14 million system that has better encryption capabilities and keeps many of the
conversations people using police scanners are accustomed to hearing off the air.
Seattle Sues to
Suppress Dash-Cam Disclosure. The Seattle Police Department has an image problem: It doesn't
want you to see dashboard camera (dash-cam) videos of its officers behaving badly. The SPD is so adamant about
preventing the public from seeing videos of on-duty SPD officers, the City of Seattle sued civil-rights attorney
James Egan for requesting disclosure of SPD dash-cam footage. Egan says he considers the dash-cam footage
essential to his clients' defense because each case involved officer misconduct.
Cops Raid Blogger Critical of Police. In what should send a frightening chill down the spine of every
blogger, writer, journalist and First Amendment advocate in the United States, Phoenix police raided the home of a
blogger who has been highly critical of the department. Jeff Pataky, who runs Bad Phoenix Cops, said the
officers confiscated three computers, routers, modems, hard drives, memory cards and everything necessary to
continue blogging. The 41-year-old software engineer said they also confiscated numerous personal files
and documents relating to a pending lawsuit he has against the department alleging harassment — which
he says makes it obvious the raid was an act of retaliation.
Dropped Due to Alleged Police Corruption. What is going on in the Bay Area? Prosecutors
there have been forced to dismiss over 800 (800!) criminal cases there in the past year because of allegations
of police corruption, including selling drug evidence, conducting unlawful searches and conspiring to get men
drunk and then arrest them on drunk-driving charges, WSJ reports. There are two pending federal
investigations into the allegations.
the jail cells empty? Detroit has lost hundreds of sworn officers in recent years. The Police Department
didn't respond to repeated requests for interviews with its top leaders, but it released preliminary statistics showing an
overall decline in criminal activity this year, despite a 24% increase in homicides. East-sider Joyce Betty, 56, isn't
buying it. Last February, a young assailant snatched Betty's purse, which contained $300 in cash, while she pumped gas
at a Mack Avenue filling station. Surveillance cameras captured the crime on videotape, but police never responded.
Detroit police routinely underreport
homicides. The Detroit Police Department is systematically undercounting homicides, leading to a falsely
low murder rate in a city that regularly ranks among the nation's deadliest, a Detroit News review of police and medical
examiner records shows. The police department incorrectly reclassified 22 of its 368 slayings last year as
"justifiable" and did not report them as homicides to the FBI as required by federal guidelines.
You must obey and instantly submit.
lights, sirens on I-94, lots of questions. A state trooper rammed a Hudson, Wis., man's van on
New Year's Eve and arrested him for fleeing a traffic stop because he did not quickly pull over. The
driver, who had his kids along, says he was looking for a safe place to stop.
The Sacred Cause of 'Officer Safety'. In the sacred cause of "officer
safety," no precaution is excessive, no imposition unjustified — and no constitutional "guarantee" of individual rights is binding.
Bypassing due process:
Cops Raid Home Without Warrant.
While the details surrounding this case are unclear, according to the law, in some states, "bail enforcement
agents," or bounty hunters, can enter a home without a warrant, but only if it's the home of the fugitive they
are trying to apprehend. Under the 4th amendment, police need probable cause and a search warrant to enter
private homes. Only in police states and fascist dictatorships is this not the case.
South Euclid police
stop 277 drivers at a sobriety checkpoint, find no drunken drivers. Police operated a sobriety
checkpoint Friday night [7/30/2010] and did not encounter any drunken drivers. But five drivers were
cited for talking on their cell phones; seven were cited for driving with a suspended license; eight were
cited for not having their license with them; and six were cited for not wearing their seat belts.
The Editor says...
Something tells me this was never intended as a "sobriety" checkpoint at all.
Another fishing expedition:
Can Leave Any Time You Want. TSA agents interrogated [Steve] Bierfeldt for over a half hour and
would not allow him to continue to his gate until he answered some very directed questions: "Where do you
work?" "What are you planning to do with the money?" "Where did you acquire the money?" Although
having nothing to hide, Bierfeldt, in an effort to maintain his privacy, refused to answer the questions.
The officers retaliated by further detaining him and asking viciously demeaning questions. As far as they
were concerned, Bierfeldt could be prevented from moving freely so long as he refused to answer every prying
inquiry they might conjure up. To them, if he wished to keep his privacy, then he should have wallowed in
the safety of his own home. Bierfeldt never answered their questions, and they eventually let him go in
time to catch his flight.
TSA Agents Harass Man Over Silver
Coins. A traveler flying into Los Angeles was questioned by the TSA about his small collection
of silver coins, another example of how the federal agency is acting more like a secret police unit than an
airport security outfit, routinely interrogating Americans about their financial affairs.
The Editor says...
TSA cops really are the dregs of the law enforcement
industry. They are only a little better than the rent-a-cops found in shopping malls. The writers
of the next two items apparently agree.
A Grope A Day Keeps Osama
Away. Compare [an airport screening] with a traffic stop. A motorist has the name and badge number of the officer and local
number to call if there's a complaint. If worse comes to worst, often you have the video from the dashboard camera to
review. TSA has none of this. TSA employees have assumed the trappings of law enforcement without any of the
training or responsibility. Consider the evolution of TSA uniforms. From the original white shirt with no badge
we now have a blue uniform with a shiny gold badge, indistinguishable from that of a real police officer. Yet TSA
guards lack the training of even a rural policeman.
10 of the Most Outrageous
TSA Horror Stories: The people employed by the Transportation Security Administration, commonly
referred to as "agents," as though they were educated professionals such as the men and women deployed by the
FBI, are all-too-often little more than minimum-wage thugs. They frequently harass innocent travelers,
leaving them feeling insulted, molested, humiliated and degraded past the point that any law-abiding citizen
should have to endure.
by and against police will only escalate. There was a time when police officers were integrated
members of their community. Squad cars all over America bore the slogan "To Protect and Serve" on their
fenders. No more. The men and women in blue are no longer police officers. They're Law
Enforcers. They don't exist to protect or serve their fellow citizens; they look down on everyone who
isn't a cop as "mere civilians." Their job is to protect themselves and to serve the interests of their
Cop used ticket to try for date. A Chicagoland cop may find himself on the wrong side of the
law after a woman says he used his badge to try to score a date. Evangelina Paredes filed court papers
last week accusing Stickney police Officer Chris Collins of violating her privacy when he used Department of
Motor Vehicle records to locate her address — after he gave her a ticket for speeding, The
Associated Press reported.
Former detective testifies:
fabricated drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas. A former NYPD narcotics
detective snared in a corruption scandal testified it was common practice to fabricate drug charges against innocent
people to meet arrest quotas. The bombshell testimony from Stephen Anderson is the first public account
of the twisted culture behind the false arrests in the Brooklyn South and Queens narc squads, which led to
the arrests of eight cops and a massive shakeup.
Burritos a Big Hit in LA County Jail. The latest food trend to strike California would be burritos
stuffed with heroin and refried beans and cheese that can be found in the Los Angeles County Jail served by
allegedly corrupt sheriff's deputies.
In Florida, You're Presumed Guilty. Florida is one of two states (the
other is Washington) afflicted with drug possession statutes that don't require the government to prove criminal intent. The statute
permits defendants to offer an affirmative defense of "unwitting possession" — which means that the defendant, not the state, has
the burden of proof. The state Supreme Court, ruling the recent case of Florida v. Adkins, has rejected a challenge to that statute
filed on behalf of dozens of defendants awaiting trial on drug possession charges.
How Facebook Helped a Small Town Fight Back Against a Crooked
Cop. [Scroll down] It's fair to say the town would still be shrouded in silence if Jennings hadn't spoken up in support of the Cook
family, including Gary Cook, Patricia's devastated husband. "There is a fear of speaking up or speaking out against authority," says Jennings, who
isn't done making noise. Now he wants the chief of police in Culpeper to hold a public post-mortem explaining why Harmon-Wright was hired despite
objections from within the department.
The Editor says...
Apparently "Harmon-Wright" refers to one of the central figures in this story, altough the writer offers no antecedent for this hyphenated surname.
Injustice Everywhere: The National Police
Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project.
So much for credibility...
Teachers Defend Tactics in Hoax DWI Program.
On a Monday morning last month, highway patrol officers visited 20 classrooms at El Camino High School to announce some
horrible news: Several students had been killed in car wrecks over the weekend. Classmates wept. Some
became hysterical. A few hours and many tears later, though, the pain turned to fury when the teenagers learned that
it was all a hoax — a scared-straight exercise designed by school officials to dramatize the consequences of
drinking and driving.
The Editor asks...
How much respect does a student give to the police after the cops are shown to be liars?
corrections officer, 5 NYPD officers arrested in gun-smuggling sting. A sting operation
resulted in the arrests of 12 people, including five New York Police Department officers, on charges
that they smuggled $1 million worth of firearms, cigarettes and slot machines they thought were
stolen, authorities said Tuesday [10/25/2011].
Two Chicago cops took orders from Latin Kings. A bistate crackdown on the Latin Kings street gang
on Friday [11/18/2011] snared two Chicago Police officers accused of using their badges to rob people in Northwest
Indiana and Illinois. Their arrests were part of a broader crackdown against gang members and associates
accused of taking part in 19 murders, attempted murder, drug trafficking, kidnapping and weapons violations,
mostly in Chicago and Indiana but stretching down to Texas, said U.S. Attorney David Capp of the Northern District
charged in 3 rapes. A Boston bailiff turned the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse into his personal
sex den where he forced shackled inmates to perform sex acts on him, prosecutors said. Michael Rubino, 35, of
Braintree was released on $2,000 bail yesterday after being arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on charges he
raped two female prisoners a total of three times — twice in a courtroom and once in an elevator.
chase statie eyed in a sex act. The fed-up commander of the state police lashed out at the latest
trooper to be arrested — this time on charges he was caught in an unmarked pickup in the midst of a
sex act with an alleged hooker — saying the officer tarnished the badge.
tickets bought with bags of coins lead to bust in massive Metro theft. A long-running scam to steal
thousands of Metro riders' fares unraveled this week after a man in a police uniform driving a Jaguar bought thousands
of Virginia lottery tickets with bags and bags of apparently stolen coins. A tip about the odd purchases
led authorities to an extensive investigation involving GPS-tracked cars, surveillance videos from Woodbridge
gas stations and money drops by an Alexandria underpass.
FBI investigating drug
bust by New Orleans area police officers. The FBI has opened an investigation into the recent arrest
of a 25-year-old New Orleans man by a multi-jurisdictional police task force, after the man's attorneys claimed
that officers ordered him to take them to his French Quarter apartment where they stole $3,500.
Detroit citizens no longer rely on police as
self-defense killings skyrocket.
911 is a Joke.
Justifiable homicide in the city [of Detroit] shot up 79 percent in 2011 from the previous year, as citizens in
the long-suffering city armed themselves and took matters into their own hands. The local rate of self-defense
killings now stands 2,200 percent above the national average. Residents, unable to rely on a dwindling
police force to keep them safe, are fighting back against the criminal scourge on their own. And they're
offering no apologies. ... The last time [Detroit resident Julia] Brown, 73, called the Detroit police, they
didn't show up until the next day.
Metro transit police: Not quite the
region's finest. While police in Maryland, Virginia and the District work to keep the region safe, also among the
mix is the Metro transit system's lesser-known 600-member force, which uniquely has law enforcement authority across all three
jurisdictions. But records suggest that the agency has conducted little enforcement of the transit system's everyday rules and
that the department also counts among its ranks people who have been arrested for violent and predatory crimes.
If it had been a Christian event, we'd be hearing howls
about Separation of Church and State.
Creeping Sharia on the Tulsa PD? The Tulsa PD is punishing a
police captain for refusing to attend an Islamic "cultural event" at a local mosque.
See also Gun seizures in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
you ever had a Gun or Knife Stolen by the "Authorities"? Has an authority figure ever
used their power to steal something from you? I have seen it most commonly with guns and knives,
where people often do not know the precise law, and allow the theft as a form of low level extortion.
The trade off is clear: the authority figure ends up with your item, and they do not charge you with a
crime. My first experience with this occurred at about age 14.
Driver Who Had $50,000 Seized By A Nevada Cop Is Getting His Money Back.
After Tan Nguyen was pulled over for driving three miles above the speed limit, he had $50,000 confiscated by a Nevada deputy.
According to Nguyen, that money was casino winnings. As reported last week at Forbes, Nguyen "was not arrested or
charged with a crime — not even a traffic citation." He filed a lawsuit in federal court, arguing his civil rights were
violated by an "unconstitutional search and seizure." In that lawsuit, Nguyen claimed Deputy Lee Dove, who had pulled him
over for speeding, threatened to seize and tow his car unless he "got in his car and drove off and forgot this ever happened."
Give Us Cash or Lose Your Kids and Face Felony
Charges. Imagine getting pulled over while on a family vacation and having small-town cops accuse you and your family of being drug
couriers. Then imagine hearing that you have two options: Fork over your cash and continue on your vacation or face felony charges for
money laundering and child endangerment, in which case you go to jail and your kids get handed over to foster care. That's what happened to
Ron Henderson and Jennifer Boatright while traveling through Tenaha, Texas, a town that regards piracy as just another way to raise revenue.
Pennsylvania Court Strikes Blow Against Asset Forfeiture Regime.
A Commonwealth Court ruling is being hailed as a victory for property rights and a small blow against civil asset forfeiture laws, which allow the state to seize
private property that may be connected to a crime. In a decision filed last month, Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini called the state's civil asset
forfeiture law "state-sanctioned theft" and ordered a lower court to re-examine a recent forfeiture case in Centre County.
Taken. The basic principle behind asset forfeiture is
appealing. It enables authorities to confiscate cash or property obtained through illicit means, and, in many states, funnel the proceeds directly
into the fight against crime. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, cops drive a Cadillac Escalade stencilled with the words "This Used To Be a Drug Dealer's Car,
Now It's Ours!" In Monroe, North Carolina, police recently proposed using forty-four thousand dollars in confiscated drug money to buy a
surveillance drone, which might be deployed to catch fleeing suspects, conduct rescue missions, and, perhaps, seize more drug money.
ATF's latest gun grab. The
Obama administration is making it easier for bureaucrats to take away guns without offering the accused any realistic due process.
[...] That means government can grab firearms and other property from someone who has never been convicted or even charged with any
Giving Cops Bad Incentives to Harass
Victimless Behavior. The Washington Post has an interesting report about the huge amount of money that Fairfax County spends to go after
gambling. The story cites critics who ask "why law enforcement spends valuable time and money on combating sports gambling. The answer is
obvious — and explicit in the story: "...police in Virginia are allowed to keep 100 percent of the assets they seize in state gambling
cases." In other words, harassing the gambling business is a profit-making endeavor for police.
Officials Confiscate Cash
and Property — for No Reason. A battle over civil asset forfeiture is raging in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, where a
motel is being seized because, according to the local police and the DEA, it "facilitated" some drug related activity. The owners,
Russ and Pat Caswell, are mystified and frightened. The motel has been in the family for two generations and has rented out its rooms
more than 125,000 times since 1994, with about 30 drug-related arrests taking place there over that 18-year period. If the taking
is successful, it will essentially render the Caswells penniless as they were depending upon the property for their retirement.
Report Documents the
Nationwide Abuse of Civil Forfeiture. It's called policing for profit and it's happening all across America. Police and
prosecutors' offices seize private property — often without ever charging the owners with a crime, much less convicting them of
one — then keep or sell what they've taken and use the profits to fund their budgets. And considering law enforcement officials in
most states don't report the value of what they collect or how that bounty is spent, the issue raises serious questions about both government
transparency and accountability.
The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture.
Civil forfeiture laws represent one of the most serious assaults on private property rights in the nation today. Under civil forfeiture,
police and prosecutors can seize your car or other property, sell it and use the proceeds to fund agency budgets — all without so much
as charging you with a crime. Unlike criminal forfeiture, where property is taken after its owner has been found guilty in a court
of law, with civil forfeiture, owners need not be charged with or convicted of a crime to lose homes, cars, cash or other property.
Americans are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but civil forfeiture turns that principle on its head. With civil
forfeiture, your property is guilty until you prove it innocent.
Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset
Forfeiture. Civil forfeiture encourages policing for profit according to an analysis of national data by Williams, Holcomb and
Kovandzic. Specifically, they find that when state laws make forfeiture more difficult and less rewarding, law enforcement instead
takes advantage of easier and more generous federal forfeiture laws through equitable sharing. The researchers tested three elements
of state law and found that all three, either independently or in combination, affect equitable sharing proceeds. As state laws
improve for property owners, use of the equitable sharing loophole rises.
When cops become robbers.
Something is desperately wrong with our legal system when the government can take property from innocent people who have
never been charged with a crime. It's happening all over the country thanks to the surreal doctrine of civil forfeiture,
through which courts hold inanimate objects guilty of crimes, instead of going after the actual owners who -- as actual
people -- would be entitled to the presumption of innocence.
Guilty Property, Innocent Owners. Technically, civil asset forfeiture
proceedings are brought against the property itself, not the owner. Hence they often have odd case titles, such as U.S. v. Eight Thousand Eight Hundred
and Fifty Dollars or U.S. v. One 1987 Jeep Wrangler. The government need only demonstrate that the seized property is somehow related to a crime,
generally either by showing that it was used in the commission of the act (as with a car driven to and from a drug transaction, or a house from which drugs are
sold) or that it was purchased with the proceeds. Because the property itself is on trial, the owner has the status of a third-party claimant. Once the
government has shown probable cause of a property's "guilt," the onus is on the owner to prove his innocence.
Police Tell Woman to Pay Son's Bail in Cash, Then Steal it.
The good news: The Greers eventually got their money back. The bad news: This kind of organized police theft of property from people who are
not even charged with a crime is common nationwide.
When the looter is the government.
In the lawsuit titled United States of America v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury, Massachusetts, the government is suing an inanimate object, the motel
[Russ] Caswell's father built in 1955. The U.S. Department of Justice intends to seize it, sell it for perhaps $1.5 million and give up to 80 percent
of that to the Tewksbury Police Department, whose budget is just $5.5 million. The Caswells have not been charged with, let alone convicted of, a crime.
They are being persecuted by two governments eager to profit from what is antiseptically called the "equitable sharing" of the fruits of civil forfeiture, a process of
government enrichment that often is indistinguishable from robbery.
Man Loses $22,000 In New 'Policing For Profit' Case.
It was a routine trip to Nashville for a New Jersey insurance adjuster. That is, until he got stopped for speeding on Interstate 40 through the small
town of Monterey, Tennessee. Before the traffic stop was over, the officer would take $22,000 cash that the man had been planning to use to buy a car — without
charging him with a crime.
owner faces asset forfeiture despite innocence. The Motel Caswell, a modest motel just outside of
Boston, has been owned by proprietor Russell H. Caswell's family for 60 years. Now he may lose it,
if the Justice Department gets its way. The motel is the target of an asset forfeiture proceeding that
entitles the federal government to seize property that has been used in the commission of a crime. This is
true even if the owner is not accused of criminal wrongdoing. Local law enforcement groups that team up
with the federal government may be awarded up to 80 percent of the proceeds from such seizures.
keep $2,000 found by honest teen. Dallas will keep $2,000 found by a teenager in a parking
lot last February. The money will go into the city's general fund — not back to Plano high
school student Ashley Donaldson, who found the cash in an envelope at the Pavillion Shopping Center in North
Boiled Frog Alert ...
High Court Rules on Illegal Searches.
The Supreme Court affirmed Wednesday [4/23/2008] that police have the power to conduct searches and seize evidence, even when
done during an arrest that turns out to have violated state law.
The Editor says...
The way I see it, this ruling opens the door for the police to make "traffic stops" for no reason at all,
hoping to find drugs, firearms or cash in someone's car. This ruling effectively drains the life out of the
Enjoys Fruits of Forfeitures. The sheriff's office in Douglas County, Neb., just finished a new
$4.2 million crime lab and police-dog center thanks to money seized from people driving by on Interstate 80.
That money is a small part of a large and controversial asset-forfeiture program known as "equitable sharing."
Bandits with Badges:
Society has no problem with law enforcement fighting crime or even confiscating property used in a criminal
enterprise but, as with any law, the good intent for which the law was created, has been immensely abused to
the point that innocent citizens are losing everything they ever worked for without even being charged or
convicted of a crime. Clearly, states need to pass laws to safeguard the rights of the innocent from
zealot law enforcement agencies run amuck from the smell of greed.
The War on
Crime: Today, more than 200 different kinds of forfeiture laws exist in
America, and items are often seized on mere suspicion. Some 80% of people who have
their property seized are never formally charged with a crime. Attempts to recover
seized property is a legal nightmare for private citizens.
Highway "forfeiture traps" are apparently still alive and
flourishing. A few years ago these forfeiture traps on interstate highways were getting a lot of
media attention. Television news shows such as 20/20 and 60 Minutes aired exposes on forfeiture
traps in Volusia County, Florida, and Sulphur, Louisiana. Local police in these small towns made millions
of dollars in profits by trolling the interstate highways and stopping travelers with out of state tags.
The police typically claimed some traffic infraction, asked permission to search the car and got it, found no
drugs but some cash, then brought in a drug sniffing dog, and after getting it to "alert," seized all the
train: "Amtrak is providing federal drug police in Albuquerque with
ticketing information about passengers," writes Jeff Jones in the April 11 
Albuquerque Journal, "and Amtrak police get 10 percent of any cash seized from
suspected drug couriers at the Downtown station."
Property Seizures out of Control: Across America, the Drug Enforcement
Administration is seizing the luggage, cash and cars of hapless travelers. And the
government is keeping the property of people who have committed no crime.
Amtrak manages to lose money on 39 of its 41 routes, but that doesn't stop it from making a
killing off some of its customers. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Amtrak officials cut a
deal with the Drug Enforcement Administration: In exchange for giving the drug police
access to its booking system, Amtrak gets 10 percent of any money the cops take from
America is a police
state. We actually had a U.S. senator introduce legislation that, if it had become law, would have
permitted any local or federal law enforcement officer to seize your cash if he happened to find you carrying
more than 10 grand in an airport, bus station, interstate highway or most other public places.
No arrest, no questions, no charges É just take the money. The legislation failed, but
police agencies seize cash from hapless citizens just the same.
Supreme Court Says Police May "Impound" House: The
Supreme Court ruled 8-1 Tuesday (02/20/2001) that Illinois police acted constitutionally when they kept a man from entering his trailer
home while they spent two hours getting a search warrant.
Public Official Takes
Civilian's Car for Joyride While He's Incarcerated. Rashad Lewis, 25, claims that whoever busted his car out
of a police impound lot in Queens added insult to injury by not only racking up a $50 ticket for flying through a red light
but also left the $50,000 car a lot worse for wear. "My back window was broken, my driver's-side door was keyed, and
my bumper was scratched up," the college student said. "They were driving my car with the windows down and having a
ball joy riding my vehicle."
Taking a bite out of crime:
The War on Little Kids with Lemonade Stands
This country has no shortage of power-crazed bureaucratic control freaks.
The nationwide crackdown on lemonade stands is not about health concerns or standing
too close to the street. It is all about control. No transaction
can be allowed to take place without a stack of permits and, most importantly,
Almost all these stories have the same ending: The news media get involved and the
public officials back down. They don't lose their pencil-pushing jobs, but they
do back down when embarrassed by the local newspapers.
25 Reasons To Dislike
Liberals. [#1] Only liberals would be cruel enough to pick on kids running lemonade stands with a permit,
children putting on Christmas plays at school and the Boy Scouts.
Food Freedom Fighters Organize
Lemonade Freedom Day. The Lemonade Freedom Day organization is drawing attention to the increasing number of incidents in which local
officials have shut down children's lemonade stands because the kids hadn't obtained the proper permits or were otherwise violating ordinances known
only to the bureaucrats. "Police in Midway, Georgia shut down a lemonade stand run by three girls trying to make money for a trip to a water park
in Savannah because the youngsters didn't have the license and permits required for their fledgling enterprise," The New American reported last
summer. "City ordinances require a business license, a peddler's permit, and a food permit for the vending of food or beverages, even on
Why Lemonade Freedom? The lemonade stand is one of the great
symbols of entrepreneurialism. When a child opens a lemonade stand, that child is learning how to operate a business, how to provide a product,
and how to be a productive member of society all while having fun. In the recent past, bureaucrats and law enforcers have shut down lemonade
stands for not having permits or licenses. Last year thousands of people across the world participated in Lemonade Freedom Day to show these
bureaucrats and law enforcers that they could not shut down kids' lemonade stands. It was a great success.
Stands Find Government Hurts, Rather Than Helps, Business. Lemonade stands are an iconic American example of children opening
businesses. No government program helps them and these businesses seek no special favors from the state. That does not mean, however,
that the relationship between lemonade stands and government is nonexistent. As Reason magazine noted in an article one year ago,
police have cracked down on unregulated lemonade stands.
I Tried to Open a Lemonade Stand.
In Midway, Ga., a 14-year-old girl and her 10-year-old sister sold lemonade from their front yard. Two
police officers bought some. But the next day, different officers ordered them to close their stand.
Their father went to city hall to try to find out why. The clerk laughed and said she didn't know.
Eventually, Police Chief Kelly Morningstar explained, "We were not aware of how the lemonade was made, who
made the lemonade and of what the lemonade was made with."
Is this still America?
Police officers in Midway, Ga., closed down three girls' front-yard lemonade stand. Why? "We were not
aware of how the lemonade was made, who made the lemonade, of what the lemonade was made with, so we acted accordingly
by city ordinance." Well, at least the enterprise-crushing control freaks can't be accused of age discrimination.
Wars: The State Battles Entrepreneurialism. Governments are targeting neighborhood lemonade
stands throughout the land of the free. The reasons behind these "lemonade raids" are similar no
matter their location. Young businessmen and businesswomen, like their mature counterparts, are
running afoul of local codes and health ordinances, lacking required permits and licenses, or tripping
over bureaucratic red tape.
The Inexplicable War on
Lemonade Stands. I'm beginning to think that there's a nation-wide government conspiracy against either lemonade or
children, because these lemonade stand shutdowns seem to be getting more and more common. If you set up a stand for your
kids, just be prepared for a visit from the cops.
The Government War On Kid-Run
Concession Stands. Map shows cities where authorities have shut down kid-run concession stands.
Map of the Government War on Lemonade
Stands. What's next, a "lemonade czar"?
Appleton police shut down lemonade
stand. It's a summer tradition, especially for two Appleton neighbors. "The kids have been setting it
up for six or seven years now," said Margi Mann. Two young girls sell lemonade and cookies every year near their
house during Appleton's Old Car Show. But this year that changed.
The War on Lemonade Stands.
In localities around the country this summer, cops have raided and shut down lemonade stands. The incidents
get — and deserve — national attention as telling collisions between classic Americana
and the senseless pettifogging that is increasingly the American Way. There should be an easy rule of thumb for
when enforcement of a regulation has gone too far: When it makes kids cry.
The War on Lemonade.
America is a country founded on entrepreneurship and free enterprise. That's why one of its most enduring childhood
traditions is the lemonade stand. It teaches children initiative, about the value of money and how to earn it.
Recently, however, children have been learning entirely different lessons — that bureaucrats are in charge
and you cross them at your peril.
Government Declares War On
Lemonade Stands. It is the startling fact that all across the country, children are being told that their
lemonade stands are against the law. And not just lemonade stands, but sales of Girl Scout cookies and Japanese
green tea have also been declared enemies of the State. I kid you not. In community after community, these
budding entrepreneurs are being told to pack it up and scoot before they're charged with various violations. In
some instances, in fact, fines have been levied.
Georgia cops bust
10-year-old's lemonade stand. When three girls in Midway, Georgia set up their lemonade stand, they intended
to raise enough money to go to the water park. But the ever-vigilant local police quickly identified the girls'
effort as criminal enterprise and shut them down.
War on Lemonade Stands! Nanny of the Month, June 2011. This month's lineup of busybodies includes two
regulars: the FDA, which is slapping new, more graphic, possibly counterproductive, warning labels on cigarette
packs and the goldfish grabbers on San Francisco's Animal Control and Welfare Commission. But top dishonors go
to the sour bureaucrat who put the squeeze on a group of kids for running a lemonade stand.
State Police Shutdown Twelve-Year-Old's Green Tea Stand. Christopher Carr's twelve-year-old stepson had
set up a smoothie and green-tea stand near their house when they moved back to the States after the earthquake in
Japan. After they'd set up shop, Christopher took his daughter back inside to get some lunch, leaving his son to
manage things at the stand.
Girl's lemonade stand shut down.
Police closed down a lemonade stand in Coralville last week, telling its 4-year-old operator and her dad
that she didn't have a permit.
stand wins fight with city. The St. Louis Health Department
closed a curbside lemonade stand run by two little girls, ages 10 and 12. A
Health Department inspector told them they didn't have the proper business licenses and were
selling unsafe ice cubes. The girls were using powdered lemonade mix with ice
cubes bought from a store.
Lemonade Kid $lapped. Three sourpuss Parks Department agents put the squeeze on a 10-year-old girl
in Riverside Park yesterday, slapping the tyke with a $50 ticket for hawking lemonade without a permit.
Clementine Lee, who lives just blocks from the Upper West Side park, had dreamed of opening a lemonade stand
since last year and took advantage of yesterday's beautiful weather to set up shop.
lemonade stand runs into health inspectors, needs $120 license to operate. Turns out that kids'
lemonade stands — those constants of summertime — are supposed to get a permit in Oregon,
particularly at big events that happen to be patrolled regularly by county health inspectors.
Apologizes for Closing Girl's Lemonade Stand. The Food and Drug Administration apparently has only
enough food investigators to check out about 2 percent of the questionable seafood coming into West
Coast ports from the Far East and India. ... But not every jurisdiction has dropped the ball. Just ask
Girl With 'Illegal' Lemonade
Stand Earns $1,838. The 7-year-old Oregon girl who found herself at the center of a national flap
about childhood lemonade stands versus government bureaucrats is going to Disneyland.
Life Hands You Lemons, Don't Make Lemonade without a Permit. I know you all grew up watching
movies about the Wild West and think everybody can just strap a shootin' iron to his hip and sell unlicensed
lemonade willy-nilly, but this is reality. In a society facing threats like bird flu, obesity, and
Glenn Beck, we can't let people just run around doing whatever they want.
run a lemonade stand. The Obama administration has mindlessly flooded the country with hundreds
and hundreds of billions of federal tax dollars. ... Just as you would not pour gas on a fire in hopes of
putting it out, infusing more than a trillion taxpayer dollars into the economy has not and will not work
to put the economy on the path to prosperity. An artificial economy cannot be repaired with more
artificiality. Who doesn't know this?
Lemonade Stand At U.S. Open Fined $500 And Shut Down By Montgomery County. You can make a fortune
selling parking spots outside the US Open, but don't even dream of setting up a lemonade stand.
Era Economic Stagnation Explained by Lemonade and Cookies. In Bethesda, Maryland parents were
fined 500 dollars when their kids had the temerity to run an "un-authorized" lemonade (and other cold
drinks) stand. In fact, the venture was in part a fundraising effort to boot. ... The bureaucratic
mindset regarding lemonade in blue-state Maryland stands as a microcosm of the Obama administration.
dropped against lemonade protesters. The Superior Court of the District of Columbia dropped all
charges Monday [10/24/2011] against three activists arrested in August for selling 10-cent cups of lemonade on
the lawn of the Capitol building. Will Duffield, Meg McLain and Kathryn Dill were arrested on Aug. 20
for selling the lemonade as part of National Lemonade Freedom Day — a nationwide protest formed in
response to a recent rash of children's lemonade stands being shut down by police.
And it's not just lemonade they're after...
shuts down 11-year-old's cupcake business. The government has pulled the plug on an 11-year-old Illinois baker's oven.
A day after a local newspaper ran a story about the young and ambitious Chloe Stirling, who operated a cupcake business out of her parents'
kitchen, the local health department came calling. "They called and said they were shutting us down," Heather Stirling, Chloe's mother,
told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Boy, 12, fined for selling food to help
vets. A twelve-year-old boy who raised more than $25,000 for World War II veterans faced the threat of substantial
fines from a local health department in the small town of Chewelah, Washington last weekend.
Chewelah boy fined for Honor
Flight fundraiser. A Chewelah student who has raised more than $25,000 dollars for World War II Veterans is facing a hefty
fine for his good deeds. 12-year-old Justin Peterson holds fundraisers year round for the Honor Flight Program. Last
Saturday [8/4/2012], he held another fundraiser at the Chewelah City Park. While selling hamburgers, a health inspector stopped by
Peterson's booth and fined him $170 for not having the proper food permit.
Health Department fines Honor Flight
fundraiser. While selling hamburgers for a fundraiser, a health inspector from the Tri-County Health Department stopped by
[Justin] Peterson's booth and fined him $170 for not having a Temporary Food permit. Both Peterson's parents have food handler's permits.
salsa business gets visit from health department. Diego Bartolome just wanted to start a salsa
business to help his mom after she lost her job. What the El Dorado County fourth-grader didn't expect
was a crash course in red tape.
Worm Sales Squished by Connecticut Town. For the last three summers, 13-year-old Joey Cadieux
has headed outside with his flashlight on rainy nights to collect nightcrawlers from his yard. Purchased
by passing fishermen for $2.50 a dozen, the wriggling worms brought him $7 to $10 in a good month, just enough
for bike trips to his favorite neighborhood pizza joint. But when a town official recently objected to
his stenciled black-and-white "nite crawlers" yard sign, Joey's business got the hook.
Feds Target School Bake Sales.
On December 3, the lame-duck House passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, previously approved by the Senate.
President Obama, doubtless preoccupied with such trivia as taxes, unemployment, Korea, and China, has yet to
sign it into law. A mere two hundred and twenty pages long, it has lots of provisions for allocation of
funds, demonstration projects, and the like. Many may be worthwhile. However, included in the
legislation is a provision authorizing the secretary of Agriculture to regulate school fundraising bake sales to
ensure that they are infrequent and that the goodies sold are nutritionally acceptable. Far from innocuous,
that is yet another distasteful and unnecessary intrusion of the federal government into our daily lives.
Taking a bite out of crime...
Pennsylvania Pie Fight: State Cracks Down on
Baked Goods. On the first Friday of Lent, an elderly female parishioner of St. Cecilia Catholic Church
began unwrapping pies at the church. That's when the trouble started. A state inspector, there for an annual
checkup on the church's kitchen, spied the desserts. After it was determined that the pies were home-baked, the
inspector decreed they couldn't be sold.
Armed environmental police shut down ice cream stand.
Armed environmental police officers shut down a popular long-running ice cream stand in Massachusetts over the weekend and stood guard to make sure potential customers
were turned away. The officers claimed that the operator had failed to secure construction permits to make improvements to the stand. But operator Mark
Duffy, who has leased the property from the state for 26 years, says that he has never been required to get permits to make improvements.
sale ban in Massachusetts sparks outcries over 'food police'. A bake-sale ban in Massachusetts schools, designed
to combat youth obesity, has spawned a sort of nationwide food fight. The crackdown on cookies is being met with a
widespread criticism from bloggers, parents, and students who see it as a case of government gone too far. Turning
brownies into contraband, they say, is the latest sign of a burgeoning "nanny state" that doesn't know its proper limits.
Teenager not allowed to sell hot dogs
now homeless. Nathan Duszynski, a 13-year-old whose hot dog cart was shut down by city officials in Holland, Mich., is now
homeless, along with his disabled parents. Nathan had saved up money for a hot dog cart to help his parents pay their bills.
His mother suffers from epilepsy and his father suffers from multiple sclerosis, limiting their ability to work.
Videotaping the police
The cops have surveillance cameras all
over town, pointed (for the most part) at law-abiding citizens. But if you dare to point
your own camera at the police, there's gonna be trouble.
Ex Cop: Everyone Behaves
Better When They're on Video. Civilians shoot and upload police encounters to the Internet everyday
using tiny cameras on their cell phones and other mobile devices. In fact it may be easier than ever to
keep the police accountable with the technology we all carry around in our pockets. But police are
looking to keep civilians accountable too by wearing cameras of their own.
Cop tells student
filming him: 'You just lost your free speech rights!' A chilling video of Maryland police silencing an innocent student who
was recording the arrests of two other people has civil libertarians outraged. The arrests were made at night on the streets of Towson,
Maryland. A University of Maryland-Baltimore County student who witnessed the arrests decided to record them using his cell phone.
The student, 21-year-old Sergio Gutierrez, was soon approached by officers who objected — wrongly — to his actions.
Gutierrez repeatedly told the officers that he knew he had the right to film them, but the cops were prepared to use any excuse to shut him down.
Recording Traffic Stop Lands Davie
Woman In Jail. A Davie woman plans to sue the Broward Sheriff's Office after she was forced to spend the night in jail for
using her cellphone to record a deputy during a traffic stop. Last March, 33-year old Brandy Berning was pulled over by Lt. William
O'Brien after she reportedly drove in the HOV lane at the wrong time, according to The Sun-Sentinel. As O'Brien approached her
vehicle, Berning hit the record button on her phone. She recorded about 15 seconds of the conversation before telling O'Brien
that he was being recorded. That's when the deputy told her she had just committed a felony and demanded that she hand over her phone.
Massachusetts Cop Threatens to
Smash Camera into Man's Face. A Massachusetts cop threatened to smash a camera into a man's face if he dared take one more photograph
of her. Instead, he started video recording her. The video shows Barnstable police officer Gretchen Allen walking away from Robert
Bastille, who runs a local news site called Hyannis News.
Is it Legal to Film Police in London? Cameras
are everywhere: in our pockets and on our streets. But what happens when we turn those cameras on members of law enforcement?
In 2009, filmmakers Fred Grace and Gemma Atkinson were returning from a meeting in London. As they exited a subway ('Tube') station, Fred was
stopped by officers from London's Metropolitan Police and searched for drugs — a procedure called 'stop and search' that's become common
in the city. Grace had no drugs in his possession. Atkinson, Grace's partner, filmed the encounter on her smartphone. What happened
next led Atkinson and Grace to challenge the way British law was being interpreted, and — now — an animated film about their
Police Officer Doesn't Want to Be Filmed, Gets Aggressive.
There isn't much context as to what is going on in this video, but the officer's reaction to being filmed is pretty standard — unwarranted
suspicion, aggression, and violation of rights. [Video clip]
Cop Refuses Kid's Request to See
Badge Number, Asks 12 Year old Kid for ID. So what do you do when you see a police officer breaking those same laws you would get a ticket
for? You get video evidence and ask for his badge number. At least that is what 12-year-old Jeremy Drew did when he saw a cop parked illegally
and called him out on it. [Video clip]
TSA Confiscates Camera, Deletes Footage of Checkpoint.
Despite the TSA admitting on its own website that there is no law which prevents people from filming TSA checkpoints, a man traveling through San Juan
airport in Puerto Rico had his camera confiscated and footage deleted. [...] Tom McCormack explains how he was repeatedly harassed by TSA officers and
then police simply for filming at a body scanner checkpoint, before TSA agents violently grabbed his camera from him and disappeared, a concerning
development given the fact that TSA workers are routinely caught stealing expensive personal items belonging to travelers.
about TSA goons.
Streets Founder Snatched-up for Filming Austin PD Stop. Austin activist and Peaceful Streets Project founder
Antonio Buehler was kidnapped and caged last night [8/25/2012].
Gross Abuse of Police Power. A cop arrested a woman for
the supposed crime of not getting off her own front porch. Apparently, the cop didn't like the fact that she was observing — and perhaps even
filming on her cell phone camera — a traffic stop. If there is any justification for what the cop did, it certainly is not apparent from the
full story. What's particularly disturbing is not just that the cop made a seemingly abusive arrest, but that a judge then convicted the woman.
Austin, Texas Man Faces 10 Years in Prison for Recording
Cops. An Iraq War veteran faces ten years in prison after snapping photos of police making an arrest. Antonio Buehler was pumping
gas last New Year's Eve when he caught sight of two Austin, TX cops "manhandling a woman" during a DUI investigation. Buehler, a resident of
Austin, pulled out his cell phone and began taking pictures of the arrest. This is where the trouble began.
Pa. Student Charged After Taking
Traffic Stop Pics. Philadelphia police violated a college student's First Amendment rights by arresting him as he took
photos of a traffic stop outside his house, a journalism advocacy group said Monday [3/26/2012].
rules eavesdropping law unconstitutional. A Cook County judge today [3/2/2012] ruled the state's
controversial eavesdropping law unconstitutional. The law makes it a felony offense to make audio recordings
of police officers without their consent even when they're performing their public duties. Judge Stanley
Sacks, who is assigned to the Criminal Courts Building, found the eavesdropping law unconstitutional because
it potentially criminalizes "wholly innocent conduct."
and Dept of Justice Agree: Videotaping Police is OK. Ken Paulsen, president and CEO of the First
Amendment Center, wrote in USA Today that "just as police officers use technology to watch citizens, including
patrol car cameras, traffic light cameras and radar to track speeding, the public [also] has a right to monitor
the work of officers on the public payroll."
Right to record: It's yours, people.
In abusing its authority, the Weare Police Department has inadvertently done every Granite Stater a favor.
In July of last year, a Weare officer executed a traffic stop on William Alleman of 140 Helen Dearborn
Road, Weare. ... Alleman recorded the police stop by calling a voice mail system with his cell phone and letting
it run during the encounter. Seven months after the traffic stop, the Weare PD charged Alleman with
wiretapping for recording the stop. He was never charged with any other violation.
on Photography' tramples rights. A simple Google search reveals countless incidents of
overzealous law enforcement officials detaining or arresting photographers, and in many cases confiscating
their cameras and memory cards, despite the fact that these individuals were in lawful places at lawful
times, partaking in lawful activities. Often, law enforcement officials cite blanket notions of
"national security" as their source of authority. Other times, they cite broadly worded criminal
statues such as "obstruction of justice" or "interfering with a police officer." My personal
favorite is "It's against the 9/11 law."
War on Photography.
We all know what happened that day. Many of us watched in person or on TV the events that start the War on Terrorism.
So why do I mention this? Because, since the advent of Homeland Security and the heightened sense of vulnerability to
terrorism, many LEOs have quote the 9/11 Law as reasons to ask photographers from making images in public places in
completely legal venues. There is no such 9/11 Law that prevents a photographer from taking images. There are
certain places where photography may be limited for national security (certain areas of military bases, certain areas of nuclear
facilities) but trains, bridges and buildings are not on the list. But photographers have been arrested for taking
images of all of these. Almost all the charges have eventually been dropped and some of the people are bringing suit
for false arrest.
right to take pictures at security checkpoint is debated. Mind your camera when you're traveling
this summer. Taking an innocent snapshot in a public area may get you in trouble, even if photography is
allowed. It almost landed Ryan Miklus behind bars when he flew from Phoenix to Reno, Nev., with his
parents recently. When Miklus tried to videotape an altercation between his mother and a TSA agent,
another officer tried to stop him. "You are not allowed to film," the officer says on the video.
"You need to go. You cannot film us."
Another Marylander Arrested
for Recording the Police. The city of Annapolis, Maryland recently received a Homeland Security
grant for 20 new surveillance cameras in the downtown area. The city of Baltimore already has nearly
500. According to the watchdog site PhotoEnforced, the state of Maryland has at least 375 red light
cameras and 80 speed cameras. Your government is watching you, Marylanders. But don't think
for a second that it's going to tolerate you watching back.
Another Illinois Resident
Charged for Recording Police. The New York Times reports on the Illinois eavesdropping law,
which allows for a felony charge and up to 15 years of prison for people who record police officers
on the job. In addition to artist Christopher Drew ... the article finds another person currently
being charged under the law. Tiawanda Moore, 20, goes to trial next month.
The War on Cameras. As
citizens increase their scrutiny of law enforcement officials through technologies such as cell phones,
miniature cameras, and devices that wirelessly connect to video-sharing sites such as YouTube and LiveLeak,
the cops are increasingly fighting back with force and even jail time — and not just in Illinois.
Police across the country are using decades-old wiretapping statutes that did not anticipate iPhones or
Droids, combined with broadly written laws against obstructing or interfering with law enforcement, to arrest
people who point microphones or video cameras at them.
It shouldn't be a crime to record
the cops. I believe in the right to privacy. Yet I can think of someone who deserves
very little privacy — a policeman making an arrest. Unfortunately, in some states it's a
crime to make a video of a policeman doing just that. People recording police have been threatened,
detained, or arrested. Some were jailed overnight. That's wrong. Police work for the
public, they're paid with tax money, and most importantly, they have tremendous power. They've got
the legal right to pull guns, detain us, lock us up and, in some cases, shoot us. The potential for
abuse is great. So it's a good thing that modern video cameras are now so commonplace. Any
abuse of police power in a public place is likely to be recorded. Why should that be a crime in
Las Vegas Man Beaten for Filming a Cop.
[Scroll down] There's a strange history here, too. Crooks is also the man who videotaped the
2002 police beating of Inglewood, California teen Donovan Jackson. The officers in that case were
suspended, fired, criminally charged (but not convicted), then later sued for racial discrimination, and
were awarded $2.4 million in damages. One is back on the force.
The "War on Cops" That Isn't.
[Scroll down] It may well be true that the public is growing increasingly skeptical of law enforcement officers.
The Internet, cell phone cameras, and other technologies are making it easier for citizens to hold bad cops accountable.
Citizen-shot video is increasingly being used to show that officers lied on police reports. There has
also been some controversy during the last few years about police officers who arrest, threaten, and intimidate
citizens who record them (see "The War on Cameras," January). A bevy of watchdog websites has sprung up
in recent years to document police abuses.
The Government's War on Cameras!
Police everywhere are cracking down on citizens using cameras to capture breaking news and law enforcement in
action. In 2009, police arrested blogger and freelance photographer Antonio Musumeci on the steps of a
New York federal courthouse. His alleged crime? Unauthorized photography on federal property.
Big Brother Is Watching You.
In 1991, George Holliday filmed the LAPD's arrest and beating of Rodney King. The videotape provoked
national controversy. If a similar incident happened today, it might provoke something else: the
arrest of George Holliday. Cell phones and cameras with video-recording capability have become
ubiquitous. This has led to an increase in the filming of police officers, which has led to a backlash:
Cops have begun arresting those who film them, on charges such as interfering with an investigation — even
when the filmer is not interfering and the officer is not investigating.
Reporter Gets Arrested For Recording At A Public Meeting. Reason.tv producer Jim Epstein was
arrested for filming a fellow journalist's arrest at a Washington, D.C. Taxi Commission meeting Wednesday.
According to Epstein's account, he witnessed journalist Pete Tucker take a still photo of the proceedings with
his camera phone. When Tucker was placed under arrest for taking the picture, the crowd reacted, Epstein
broke out his iPhone and recorded Tucker getting hand-cuffed.
Emily Good stunned by fallout from video. Rochester activist Emily Good says she had no idea she
would set off a firestorm when she stood on her lawn videotaping a police traffic stop on May 12.
She never expected to be arrested, handcuffed for nearly an hour, or taken to jail in her pajamas, either.
Against Emily Good Dropped. Her video has been seen by people across the country, now the
Rochester woman who was arrested while shooting that video has her name cleared. "People recognize me
going down the street and they say 'wow, thank you for standing up to this,'" said Emily Good. "Because
this is happening everyday and people just don't pay attention." It took less than a minute for a judge
to dismiss an obstructing governmental administration charge against Good, saying there was no legal basis
to move forward.
Arrested For Filming Public D.C. City Meeting. Earlier this week, a shocking report from Reason
Magazine revealed how one of its online producers had been arrested for filming the arrest of another
reporter filming a public meeting of the D.C. Taxicab commission. That reporter, Jim Epstein, appeared
earlier this week on Fox Business's Freedom Watch and told host Judge Andrew Napolitano that, now released,
he had still not been given adequate explanation from police as to why he was arrested.
See also The
Photographer's Right - A Downloadable Flyer. An explanation of your
rights when stopped or confronted for photography.
Legal Rights of
Photographers: A clear explanation of what is legal to shoot and publish.
Police Chief Confirms Detaining Photographers
Within Departmental Policy. Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining
photographers for taking pictures "with no apparent esthetic value" is within Long Beach Police
Department policy. McDonnell spoke for a follow-up story on a June 30 incident in which
Sander Roscoe Wolff, a Long Beach resident and regular contributor to Long Beach Post, was detained
by Officer Asif Kahn for taking pictures of a North Long Beach refinery.
Circuit Upholds Right To Videotape Arresting Officers. The First Circuit on Friday
[8/26/2011] issued an interesting opinion we thought worth mentioning. The court ruled that
the Constitution protects the right to videotape police officers making an arrest.
Denies Police Immunity in Video Arrest. Declaring a First Amendment right to videotape
police making an arrest in public, the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has denied a
police claim of immunity and allowed a civil rights suit against three Boston police officers to go
forward. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Boston on behalf of Simon Glik, a Boston
attorney who was arrested on the evening of October 1, 2007 for using his cellphone to record
police officers making an arrest on the Boston Common. Glik's suit claims police violated his
First Amendment rights by stopping him from recording and his Fourth Amendment rights by arresting
him without probable cause.
You have a right
to record the police. All over America, police have been arresting people for taking video or
making sound recordings of them, even though such arrests are pretty clearly illegal. Usually, the
charges are dropped once the case becomes public, and usually that's the end of it. But sometimes
things go farther, and in two recent cases, they've gone far enough to bite back at the police and prosecutors
Cell Phone Video Contradicts Police,
Leads to Acquittal. A Compton, California, jury recently acquitted David Gipson, a 19-year-old
charged with illegal gun possession, after cell-phone video cast doubt on the official version of his arrest
at a South L.A. party last May.
videotapes his killing of suspect. In a Bay Area first, a fatal shooting by police in East
Oakland was captured on video — not by a bystander with a camcorder or a smart phone but by the officer
himself, who wore a city-issued camera on his chest.
ACLU sues over man's arrest for videotaping
police. The ACLU of Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Hill District man who was arrested for
recording an incident between his friend and police. The suit, filed today [8/13/2009], stems from an April 29
incident between a friend of Elijah Matheny, 29, and University of Pittsburgh police officers. ... Matheny took out his
cell phone and began recording the incident. ... Matheny was also charged with "possession of an instrument of crime" in
regards to his cell phone, Walczak said.
The Editor says...
That's an interesting concept: A cell phone can become an "instrument of crime" at any moment, whenever
the cops decide to make it so. Until they make that decision, it's just a telephone. Do they also
have the same discretion in regard to a shotgun or a stick of dynamite? If you use a cell phone as
an "instrument of crime," does that make all cell phones within some (arbitrary) radius "instruments
of crime" as well?
Man Threatened with Arrest After
Taking Photos of Police. After taking several snapshots and without talking to the police, Parker
said he left. After driving three blocks, he realized he was being followed by six squad cars. "I
thought they were all just trying to pass me, so I pulled over. They come running out of their cars at
me," he said.
Convicted: Woman 'disobeyed' illegal
order. An appeal is challenging a Christian activist's conviction for failing to obey a police
officer's order to shut down her camera while she was filming fellow Christian missionaries at last year's
Dearborn Arab Festival because the command apparently wasn't legal. According to the Thomas More Law
Center, whose attorneys have filed the appeal with the Circuit Court for Wayne County, Mich., the city
ordinances in Dearborn require that if a police officer wants his orders followed he or she has to be acting
"in the lawful performance of his duty."
Growing Number of
Prosecutions for Videotaping the Police. That Anthony Graber broke the law in early March
is indisputable. He raced his Honda motorcycle down Interstate 95 in Maryland at 80 mph,
popping a wheelie, roaring past cars and swerving across traffic lanes. But it wasn't his daredevil
stunt that has the 25-year-old staff sergeant for the Maryland Air National Guard facing the possibility of
16 years in prison. For that, he was issued a speeding ticket. It was the video that Graber
posted on YouTube one week later — taken with his helmet camera — of a plainclothes
state trooper cutting him off and drawing a gun during the traffic stop near Baltimore.
wins taping case against state police. A Harford County Circuit Court judge ruled this afternoon
[9/28/2010] that a motorcyclist who was arrested for videotaping his traffic stop by a Maryland State Trooper
was within his rights to record the confrontation. Judge Emory A Plitt Jr. tossed all the
charges filed against Anthony Graber, leaving only speeding and other traffic violations, and most likely
sparing him a trial that had been scheduled for Oct. 12.
Photos erased from phone. The attorney representing businessman James Adkins yesterday said an
off-island expert has determined all photographs on Adkins' camera phone were completely erased, either through
damage or by a master reset of the device. Adkins has sued the police department for $3 million in
federal court, alleging his civil rights were violated after Guam police arrested him for taking photos of an
accident from inside his car on a public road. They detained him and confiscated his phone.
AG: Photos not free speech.
The government wants the federal court to dismiss the lawsuit of a local man who has accused police of violating his
constitutional rights when they arrested him for taking photos of a traffic accident while on a public road.
In Australia, don't take pictures of the police.
Mobile phone seizure an 'abuse of police
powers'. A man detained and threatened with arrest under the Terrorism Act for filming police on his mobile
phone says police abused their powers. Nick Holmes a Court ... said police forcibly took his BlackBerry phone and
threatened him with arrest both under the Australian Anti-Terrorism Act and for allegedly disobeying a police directive.
who clashed with cops over legal gun was also armed with audio recorder. On a mild February
afternoon, Fiorino, 25, decided to walk to an AutoZone on Frankford Avenue in Northeast Philly with the
.40-caliber Glock he legally owns holstered in plain view on his left hip. His stroll ended when
someone called out from behind: "Yo, Junior, what are you doing?" Fiorino wheeled and saw
Sgt. Michael Dougherty aiming a handgun at him.
Photography is Not a Crime.
Carlos Miller has an excellent collection of news items about videotaping the police.
Cop Tickets Driver After Passenger Video Records Out Window. A New Jersey state trooper pulled a
driver over after his passenger was video recording out the window. The cop told the occupants that it
was illegal to video record on the Garden State Parkway because it was a "private roadway" or "semi-private
roadway." The driver ended up receiving a ticket for "videotaping on authority property."
Cops Arrest Women For Videotaping Traffic Stop. Ridgefield Park police hate cameras so much that
they refuse to place them in their squad cars or anywhere within the police department, including interrogation
rooms, jail cells or the general lobby. So it's not surprising that they are accused of assaulting a pair
of female passengers who attempted to video record them conducting a sobriety test.
Order GOP Blogger To Stop Video Recording Town Hall Meeting. Maggi Cook, a republican blogger
from Ohio was video recording a woman who appears to be Alicia Reece, a democratic state representative.
I say appears because Cook didn't bother identifying the woman at the podium in her Youtube description.
However, the woman who confronted her, ordering her to stop recording identified herself as Bernadette Watson,
a former Cincinnati councilwoman who became Reece's campaign manager last year.
Man Arrested After Photographing Traffic Accident. All John Fearing wanted was test out his new
camera when he decided to photograph a traffic accident a couple of blocks from his Indiana home last July.
It ended up getting him arrested. Although the above video clearly shows he was not breaking the law, the
judge denied his motion to dismiss the case.
Woman Arrested After
Taking Photos Of Atlanta Police Beating Man Files Lawsuit. When Felecia Anderson saw Atlanta
police officers drag her neighbor out of his house in handcuffs, then kick him while he was down on the ground,
she began taking photos. The officers threatened to arrest her if she did not stop, so she began walking
back into her house. But one of the officers chased her down, demanding she hand over the camera.
How Big is
Big Government? I have family that lives up in Alaska. They have told me that government
rangers keep people out of plenty of public places all over Alaska. They don't allow people on public
lands. But then, they either take friends and family there, or take payoffs to guide people to the places
that they prohibit the public from in the name of the law. If we are going to have public land, shouldn't
the public be allowed on it? So it doesn't surprise me when either big government, or companies try
to stop photographers from snapping pictures of things they deem inappropriate.
the Law Say About Photographing Police? Hearing a helicopter circling his neighborhood at low
altitude, Mitchell Crooks noticed the Las Vegas Metro Police dealing with several suspects near his home.
Taking up his new, expensive video camera, Crooks stood in his driveway and filmed what appeared to be a completely
unremarkable police action. Officer Derek Colling, transporting two prisoners in the back of his car, saw
Crooks and spotlighted him. He stopped and approached Crooks, demanding that he stop filming. When
Crooks refused, Colling attacked, knocking his camera to the ground — it kept recording. He hit,
kicked, and taunted and threatened Crooks even as he lay bloody and unresisting, crying out for help.
The Erik Scott Case, Update 10.2:
Absent a specific statute, it is perfectly legal to video and audiotape the police as they go about their public,
taxpayer paid business. As long as the person filming is not obstructing the officers, or endangering them
or others, officers may not prevent such filming, nor may they seize cameras, film, tape or similar items.
Case law is quite clear on this matter across the nation. Officers working in their official capacity in
view of the public have no reasonable expectation of privacy. Indeed, professional, honest officers have
absolutely nothing to fear and much to gain from such videotaping which should reveal reasonable, professional
officers doing exactly what they are hired to do.
Police Delete Photographer's Cell Phone Pictures. If you are on a public street and take pictures
or video of Memphis Police with your cell phone, you could end up in the back of a squad car and your pictures
could be deleted. ABC 24 News photographer Casey Monroe said that's what happened to him Sunday morning
[1/29/2012]. Police never charged Monroe with a crime, but this could happen to anyone with a cell phone camera.
Don't take pictures of the cops, and don't listen to their radios.
on radio scanner apps: That's not a 10-4. If you're one of the millions of smartphone users
who've downloaded scanner apps with names like iScanner, PoliceStream and 5-0 Radio Police Scanner, pay
attention: You might be breaking the law.
The use and abuse of Tasers:
America needs cops, but America does not need self-important trigger-happy goons.
Traffic stop spirals out of control in
Ohio. 'Stun gun' cop on paid leave. [Video clip]
LAPD officer used Taser on handcuffed woman.
A Los Angeles police officer shocked a handcuffed woman with a Taser stun gun while joking with other officers at the scene, according to interviews and law
enforcement records, adding to a series of controversial use-of-force incidents at the LAPD. Officer Jorge Santander then appeared to lie about the
December 2010 incident repeatedly in written reports.
Blind stroke victim shot in the back with 50,000-volt taser by police.
Police were accused last night of behaving like 'thugs with weapons' after firing a 50,000-volt Taser into the back of a
blind man. An officer mistook stroke victim Colin Farmer's white stick for a samurai sword and discharged the stun
gun — leaving the retired architect writhing in agony on the ground.
McAlester Police Officer
Uses a Taser on Woman in Custody. A McAlester police officer is now facing disciplinary action after using a
Taser on a woman in custody.
Police review wider Taser roll out. ACT Policing are reviewing a
further rollout of Tasers, as they welcome the Commonwealth Ombudsman's report about the use of the stun guns. The stun devices were rolled out to frontline
police sergeants in August 2011. Acting Chief Police Officer David McLean says he and other officials are considering how Tasers are used overseas and around
The Taser's Edge. Argue
with a cop — indeed, do anything other than submit immediately to his any and every command — and
you risk being shot through with 50,000 volts of "non-lethal" (but sometimes not) Attitude Adjuster.
It's happening all around the country, to people who likely never saw it coming or even conceived that such a
thing could happen to them.
County man dies after deputies use Taser to subdue him. A 43-year-old man died after San
Bernardino County sheriff's deputies used a Taser gun to subdue him after a traffic stop, authorities said
Wednesday [5/11/2011]. A deputy attempted to stop Allen Kephart, a disc jockey and teacher's assistant
from Crest Park, after he allegedly ran a stop sign about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday on California 189 in
Blue Jay, said Cindy Bachman, a Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.
Astro's arrest leads to Galveston PD
internal probe. Police have begun an internal investigation of a weekend confrontation between
police and members of a wedding party that led to the arrest of Astros pitcher Brandon Backe. Witnesses
said Monday [10/6/2008] that police needlessly beat, Tasered and pepper-sprayed wedding guests who were trying
to comply with police commands during an incident in which officers arrested 10 people, including Backe,
at an outdoor bar at the San Luis Hotel on Seawall Boulevard.
Americans drop dead as police get
Taser-happy. Even though the news is inundated with stories of people dying after being
stunned by Tasers, police departments all over the nation are adding the electric-shock weapons to their
arsenals, convinced the benefits outweigh the risks.
County man dies after deputies use Taser to subdue him. A 43-year-old man died after San
Bernardino County sheriff's deputies used a Taser gun to subdue him after a traffic stop, authorities said
Wednesday [5/11/2011]. A deputy attempted to stop Allen Kephart, a disc jockey and teacher's assistant
from Crest Park, after he allegedly ran a stop sign about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday on California 189 in
Blue Jay, said Cindy Bachman, a Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.
Police Hit Grandmother With Taser Gun
Five Times. Beverly Kidwell, 68, was in the waiting room of the police department in
suburban Dayton when the incident occurred. … Kidwell said she waited a long time in the lobby
and, when she got up to leave, the officer hit her with the Taser gun.
[That sounds like a one-sided story, but what could the other side
Police Use a Taser on a 75 Year Old Woman. A Rock
Hill [SC] police officer received a verbal warning and was required to attend a Taser retraining course after using a stun gun on an elderly woman.
victim wins settlement over police abuse. When the film of this ugly incident was
put on Youtube an "official" investigation began. Of course, such investigations are always
shams. They always turn out the same way. People are [angry] so the cops announce they
will investigate to calm everyone down. Then once people have forgotten that our "finest"
were once again acting like mentally-disturbed bullies the police announce that the thug in
uniform was "cleared" of all wrongdoing. [Expletive], the abuse can be blatant and filmed
and they still go through the routine cover-up for a bad cop. And that is what happened in
Utah. The police officer was cleared and the victim of his attack was forced to pay a
traffic fine even though he didn't break the law.
To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Police Zap Wandering Cow With Taser, Owner Furious. Pelham police say they were justified in
using a Taser several times on a cow, despite a complaint from its owner. Last Saturday [6/4/2011],
one of Wendy Bordeleau's two cows got loose from her 30-acre farm. About a dozen people were trying to
coral [sic] 800-pound Houdini across busy Mammoth Road when police showed up with their tasers.
Cops Just Love Those Tasers.
Dayton police "mistook" a mentally handicapped teenager's speech impediment for "disrespect," so they Tasered,
pepper-sprayed and beat him and called for backup from "upward of 20 police officers" after the boy rode his
bicycle home to ask his mother for help, the boy's mom says.
The Editor says...
Since when is "disrespect" punishable by pepper spray and a taser? Every one of those
cops should be fired today.
sues Wilmington for info on police stun-gun use, phone tracking. The ACLU of Delaware on Friday
sued the city of Wilmington to gain access to information about how the police department uses stun guns and
cellphone-tracking records. Citing an anti-terrorism exemption in the Freedom of Information Act, the
city has denied the local ACLU chapter access to both records.
The Editor says...
Oh, I see. They only use stun guns against terrorists.
Why Talk When You Can Shock?
Tasers are not a replacement for guns; they're a replacement for talking, said author Naomi Klein at a town-hall
meeting last night. "If it happened in a cell, we would call it torture and if it happens on the street
we should not be afraid to call it torture," said Klein, who is the author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of
Disaster Capitalism. The discussion on the police use of shock and stun guns was held at the University
of Toronto in response to Toronto police Chief Bill Blair's request that 3,000 officers be armed with electroshock
Video: Police use Taser to Torture an Ohio Woman.
Video: Driver gets the Taser for producing his license too slowly.
Video: Are the police too trigger happy with tasers?
Brief History of the Taser:
Death by Taser: The Killer Alternative to Guns.
In 1974, a NASA scientist named Jack Cover invented the first stun gun, which he named the TASER,
or "Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle," after Tom Swift, a fictional young inventor who was the hero
of a series of early 20th century adventure novels. Because it relied on gunpowder, the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms classified Tasers as registered firearms. That changed in the early
'90s. According to Taser's corporate creation story, co-founder Rick Smith became interested in the
device after friends of his "were brutally murdered by an angry motorist." Smith contacted Cover in
the hopes of bringing the Taser as a self-defense weapon to a larger market. In 1993, with money
from Smith's brother Tom, they created Air Taser Inc., which would later become Taser International
Inc. When Tasers were re-engineered to work with a nitrogen propellant rather than gunpowder, the
weapon was no longer categorized as a firearm.
Other Taser news:
New Taser made to take down angry
bears, moose. Electric stungun manufacturer Taser International has brought out yet another new
weapon, one which could perhaps eclipse even its existing technologies in terms of controversy and media brouhaha.
The new Taser X3W (Wildlife) model is intended to take down, comparatively harmlessly, such adversaries as charging
bears or moose as opposed to humans.
The Stun Gun: an all-purpose tool for every occasion.
use stun gun on woman blocking McD's drive-thru. North Carolina authorities say they used a stun
gun on a woman motorist who blocked a McDonald's drive-thru for 20 minutes after employees refused to serve
her because she cut in line.
"When the government fears the people, that is liberty.
people fear the government, that is tyranny."
– Thomas Jefferson
The use of Traffic Signals as Fundraisers:
This is an issue that has very little to do with public safety and a lot to do with capitalizing on
other people's bad habits. When red light cameras were first deployed, there was a steep learning
curve and apparently a lot of accidents were caused by people stopping as quickly as possible in order to
avoid a ticket. In such cases, the cars without anti-lock brakes are at a disadvantage. This
would all be a lot easier to swallow were it not for the anecdotes about cities shortening the durations
of the yellow light at the intersections where cameras are installed.
Personally, if I appear to have done something wrong, I would prefer to hear about it (immediately)
from a bona fide police officer rather than from a robot (weeks later).
want to put brakes on red light cameras. Angry motorists are fed up with having to shell out big bucks
to pay fines generated by red light cameras and speed cameras. Take Jim Mehlhaff, an elected municipal official
in Pierre, S.D. He got a speed camera ticket on busy I-29 in Sioux City, Iowa. He was fined $168.
Complaints from Mehlhaff and others recently prompted South Dakota lawmakers to act. They passed a bill to put
the brakes on red light cameras in the state and to bar red light vendors from going after South Dakotans for citations
from other states. Republican South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed the bill into law last week.
light camera at Florida hospital ticketing those seeking emergency help. Authorities installed red-light cameras near the
emergency room entrance at University Hospital in Tamarac to nail traffic violators, but those rushing to the facility for medical
attention are getting ensnared.
cash grab and bag the cameras. In the South Florida city of Tamarac, officials placed a red-light camera at
an intersection by the local hospital's emergency room. According to the website Florida Watchdog, a man who thought
he was having a heart attack was rushing for treatment at that hospital when he was stopped by a traffic light.
He said he waited several minutes at the intersection but the light didn't change. He told Florida Watchdog he
was feeling "desperate," so he ran through the intersection. The Big Brother eye in the sky, pointed only in his
direction, captured it all. A few weeks later, the man received notice of a $158 fine, the standard under the
state's red-light camera law. He contested the fine and even showed his hospital discharge papers, but was told
by the magistrate that a medical emergency didn't constitute a "sufficient excuse."
The Editor says...
It appears that the city set up an unusually long red light at the emergency entrance to the hospital, daring
anyone to run the light, and from those who do, the city collects a hefty fine. Once again, this has
nothing whatsoever to do with public safety; it's all about fleecing the public.
red-light camera executive: Company bribed officials in 13 states, including NJ. A fired executive from one of New Jersey's red-light
camera vendors contends in a lawsuit filed in Arizona that the company provided lavish gifts and bribes to government officials in
13 states — including New Jersey — to secure new contracts. The brief but bombshell reference to New Jersey and other
states in a 13-page counterclaim was made by Aaron Rosenberg, former nationwide lead salesman for Redflex Traffic Systems of Phoenix. He did not
mention specific municipalities from any of the states.
Speeding in Philly Changes Traffic Light to
Red. If you drive too fast on one particular street in Philadelphia, the light at the intersection ahead will turn red. [...] The
city has put a series of sensors in the pavement to measure how fast a car is going, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Tuesday [11/19/2013].
Jail Man For Protesting Red Light Cameras. Police in Apopka, Florida arrested a man on Saturday morning for distributing a petition
that would put the issue of ending red light camera use to a public vote. Mark E. Schmidter, a 66-year-old commercial roofing
contractor, stood on the side of the road waiting for the light to turn red at the corner of East Main Street and South Park Avenue. Once
traffic came to a stop, he would walk in between cars and distribute a double-sided sheet of paper.
Memphis Red Light Camera Has Southaven Family
Seeing Red. Mississippi has issued two tags (and probably many more) with the same numbers. The one photographed by the red
light camera in Memphis, TN was a handicapped tag with the prefix DB and the number 8699. The person who received the automated citation
has a normal usage tag of DB8-699.
[Synopsis provided by
the RISKS forum.]
Afraid of refunds, Washington, DC and Salisbury, Maryland
conceal evidence that could reveal camera inaccuracy.
DC, Maryland: Speed Camera Firms Move To Hide Evidence.
The firms operating red light cameras and speed cameras in the District of Columbia and Maryland are working to suppress evidence
that could be used to prove the innocence of a photo enforcement ticket recipient. In Washington, the Arizona-based vendor
American Traffic Solutions has repositioned cameras and cropped photos so that it is impossible to determine whether another object or
vehicle happens to be within the radar unit's field of view.
red-light cameras ensnaring motorists with quick yellow lights, lawmaker says. A forensic video analysis of red-light traffic cameras
in New Jersey has found what many ticketed motorists have long contended: The yellow lights are too quick. Working with an expert in video
timing, state Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon (R-Monmouth) said today the yellow light times were shorter than what is required by law, causing drivers to be
New York City Gets Legislature's Nod to Install
Speed Cameras. New York State lawmakers voted on Saturday [6/22/2013] to allow New York City to install cameras to catch speeding motorists near
schools. The measure was one of many bills approved in the middle of the night just before the Legislature ended its annual session.
Does the Road to Hell Have
Red Light Cameras? Longtime Weekly Standard contributor Steven Hayward, in an item at the Powerline blog, draws
our attention to a report by the Federal Highway Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on "Red Light Camera
Operational Systems." As is typical with government reports, the soporific wording of the title seems designed to deter anyone
from finding the fascinating information inside. The report looked at red light cameras around the country — justified
in the name of safety — and found that they are actually hazardous to drivers.
cameras bring Ohio town to screeching halt. Those traffic cameras drivers hate and municipal bean counters love
have brought a small village in Ohio to a grinding halt. Elmwood Place (pop. 2,188) has seen four of its six Village
Council members resign amid public outrage over a flurry of fines issued by the cameras. The devices have raised nearly
$2 million for the tiny Cincinnati suburb, but angry drivers and shopkeepers complain the ticket blitz from above could
turn downtown Elmwood Place into a ghost town.
light camera law could raise cost of appeals. Appealing a red-light camera citation in Florida could be getting a whole lot
more expensive. Drivers who challenge camera citations and lose could pay as much as $408 under a new state law passed last week.
reversal? Lawmakers push to rein in traffic cameras. It's the technology that, for years, local officials
embraced and drivers loathed. Red-light cameras have steadily popped up across the country, snagging supposed
scofflaws and generating untold numbers of traffic tickets. But despite the revenue boost, some state and local
lawmakers are beginning to fall out of love with these electronic tattle-tales. In Florida, a push to force the
state to ditch its red-light cameras is gaining momentum in the legislature.
Baltimore issues speed
camera ticket to motionless car. An automatic speed camera citation was issued to a car owned by Daniel Doty for going 38 in a 25.
But there was a problem, as his car was standing still. The Baltimore City speed camera ticket alleged that the four-door Mazda wagon was going
38 miles per hour in a 25-mph zone — and that owner Daniel Doty owed $40 for the infraction.
Residents who paid tickets want
full audit of speed cameras. It's a quandary that affects drivers throughout the city and the surrounding area. Baltimore officials
have acknowledged issuing at least 350 tickets in error, while the cameras' professed error rates suggest that many more have not been identified.
Legal experts say motorists like [Matthias] Manz can ask the courts to reopen their speed camera cases, even if they've already paid.
State Highway speed camera tickets spike overnight. More than 40 percent of all speed camera tickets issued to drivers in Maryland
highway work zones have been doled out between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., times when crews often aren't on the job.
Counties skirt intent of state
speed camera law. Some state lawmakers who authorized speed cameras in Maryland are calling that limitation a clear violation of
the law's intent, while others think it's so egregious that they want each of the million-plus tickets issued by those jurisdictions to be refunded
or dismissed. "You have to prove guilt, and it sounds like the jurisdictions other than Baltimore City aren't doing anything to do it," said
State Sen. James Brochin, a Baltimore County Democrat. "When we wrote the law, the assumption was they were going to do it the proper way.
I guess you can't assume."
Drivers adapt to red-light cameras.
"A pilot program for red-light cameras in New Jersey appears to be changing drivers' behavior, state officials said, noting an overall
decline in traffic citations and right-angle crashes. The Department of Transportation also said, however, that rear-end crashes
have risen by 20% and total crashes are up by 0.9% at intersections where cameras have operated for at least a year."
Red light cameras more
of a 'Go' sign for state license plate re-do. The economic future of Florida apparently relies on the redesign of our license plates.
I had no idea what a problem the current license plates have been. But it turns out that they're wreaking havoc on what was supposed to be a
lucrative business of photographing red-light violators at traffic intersections across the state.
The Editor says...
Maybe that explains why Texas has recently switched to plain black-and-white license plates with larger characters. The previous series of plates
had smaller black letters and numbers on an artistic background that looked nice but was completely illegible at night.
Whenever a tax proves to be unpopular, politicians always find a way to say, "It's for the children."
revenues figure in Emanuel's 'children first' budget. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday [12/10/2012] he's counting
on up to $30 million in fines from speed cameras installed at roughly 40 schools and parks to help bankroll his "children
first" budget. The fast roll-out of a speed camera plan delayed by legal and technical complications helps to explain how Emanuel
was able to keep his hands out of taxpayers' pockets for 2013 and still make a big investment in kids. During a meeting with the
Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, the mayor denied that the $30 million figure contradicts his longstanding claim that speed
cameras are about saving lives — not about raising revenue.
Traffic Cameras in
Chicago — For Safety or Money? The experience of red-light enforcement cameras lends credence to the
idea that Illinois municipalities are motivated by traffic cameras' revenue rather than safety. The cameras are
manufactured and installed by private companies such as RedSpeed Illinois, based in the Chicago suburb of Lombard, and
the international safety camera conglomerate Redflex Group. In a typical arrangement, the camera company monitors
the cameras and mails tickets to those caught in an intersection on red, taking up to half the ticket revenue in the
slams traffic cameras. New cameras snap hundreds of photos a day at red lights across the Tampa
area. Motorists are paying millions in fines. But University of South Florida researchers say the
devices do nothing to make the roads safer.
Red-Lighting Photo Traffic
Enforcement. Colorado State Senator Scott Renfroe is introducing a bill to ban photo traffic enforcement,
including both speed and red light cameras, statewide. Sen. Renfroe frames it properly: "People need to be
held accountable for their actions, but government should be about safety not revenue."
The speed-camera lie.
Traditional law-enforcement duties are best performed by men, not machines. This is the case in Maryland,
where speed cameras continue to pronounce the innocent guilty, regardless of mounting evidence that the measuring
devices are faulty. ... "Not only are the cameras still not functioning properly, they are now producing violations
for invisible vehicles going 76 miles per hour (violation #79) and bicycles going 38 and 57 miles
per hour (violation #2790 & #2783)," Town Administrator David Warrington wrote in a July 26
letter to Optotraffic, the operator of the dodgy equipment.
violators will pay starting Tuesday. Red-light cameras became operational Oct. 1 at 19 Tampa
intersections, but the city agreed to issue only warnings for the first month instead of fines. Since then,
police have sent out nearly 4,000 warnings for drivers caught running red lights by cameras positioned at the
intersections. And because there's a delay between when the images are captured and reviewed, police so
far only have analyzed potential violations through Oct. 11.
Overturns Red-Light Camera Ban. Houston residents have learned their vote may not matter after
all. A federal judge has overturned on a technicality the results of a ballot measure held last November
that would have banned the City of Houston's use of red-light traffic enforcement cameras. Camera opponents
vow to continue the fight.
District's spy network. Washington's speed and red-light cameras, once ostensibly
installed for safety, have a new purpose. They're watching you. ... While mobile photo-radar
vans and intersection cameras are known for their blinding flash when issuing citations, the
devices don't just take Polaroid-style snapshots. They're rolling digital video 24 hours
Light Cameras, Highway Robbery. Thankfully, people are fighting back against this
legalized robbery of the citizenry. Lawsuits have been filed in several cities not only
claiming, but proving that some cameras have shorter yellow-light durations than state law
requirements in order to catch drivers running red lights and boost ticket revenue. The
implications of those findings are frightening when you realize that a city can increase revenue
enormously simply by tweaking the time frame by a split-second, thereby making violators
out of lawful citizens and ripping them off with impunity.
Bloomberg pushes for traffic light cameras 'on every corner'. Mayor Bloomberg wants to blanket
the city with red light cameras — and maybe even publish the names of scofflaws who blow through intersections.
"I think we should have 'em on every corner if we could," the mayor said of the controversial cameras that
trigger tickets to drivers caught running red lights.
Run a red light,
win $1,000. The lure of easy money can't be resisted. It tempts the defenders of
red-light cameras to say whatever it takes to keep the money-making machines running. ... Local
governments around the country have been eager to hand over law-enforcement responsibilities to
private companies that only care about exploiting public fears to make big money.
The traffic-camera industry must be getting desperate. The Los Angeles Police Commission unanimously voted
on June 7 to end the use of red-light cameras in America's second-largest city. Voters in Houston
last year amended the city charter to compel a reluctant city council to unplug the devices, which had been
generating $10 million in annual revenue. Faced with the prospect of losing generous revenue
streams in other major cities, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) on Thursday released a
purportedly scientific study of public opinion on the matter.
red-light cameras in L.A.. The traffic cameras cost the city of Los Angeles money while having
dubious safety benefits. A civilian board has voted to eliminate them, and that makes sense.
cameras may get the red light. The Los Angeles Police Commission has voted to kill the city's
controversial red-light camera program, rejecting claims that the system makes streets safer while costing
the city nothing. Tuesday's vote means that the red-light cameras installed at 32 intersections
throughout the city could stop operating within a few weeks unless the City Council takes the unusual step
of stripping the Police Commission of its authority over the issue.
Red-light cash grab
accelerates. In 2009, Fairfax struck a midnight bargain with an Australian company, Redflex Traffic
Systems, that will issue tickets in return for a cut of the profit. Although officials insist "saving lives"
is their sole motivation, data obtained from VDOT indicate their true interest lies elsewhere. Cameras will
be installed at Fairfax Circle and at the intersection of University Drive and North Street, where there was a
combined total of 73 accidents between 2007 and 2009. None of the incidents were fatal and only
10 were bad enough to have caused an injury.
Do Red Light Cameras Make Green
(Money) Or Red (Blood)? There is a fervor in many state legislatures and in regional referendums
to ban "red light cameras". The reason is that in some cases the devices seem to cause an increase in
accidents at intersections. How's that? Most of the cars ticketed by the "red light cameras" are
those that entered the intersection when the light was yellow and on the verge of turning red, many state
legislators from Washington state to Florida have discovered. When motorists fear a photo ticket in
these intersections, they tend to slam on their brakes, increasing the number of rear-end collisions, and
cameras switched on in Falls Church. Commuters passing through Falls Church be warned:
Tuesday [1/18/2011] marks the first day that cameras along Route 7 (Broad Street) will stick red-light
runners with a $50 ticket, delivered to mailboxes. While the effectiveness of red-light cameras in
deterring accidents remains up for debate, Robin Gardner, a Falls Church city councilmember for 11 years,
said she's confident the city made the right decision to use them again after removing them several years ago.
Conducts 'Drive-by' Surveillance. What's Next? It was Adolf Hitler who first used science
and technology to monitor people, places, and things. Closed-circuit television, or CCTV, was developed
for the Third Reich by Siemens AG to observe V-2 rocket launches and operators at the Peenemünde
Research Center in Germany. ... Flash forward 70 years and surveillance systems have, like it or
not, become broadly accepted as part of 21st century life — from traffic cameras, to nanny
cams, to business cameras.
Worst Speed Traps. If you've ever been pulled over for speeding, you know it feels like you're a
gazelle that just got taken down by a lion. And, while this recession, and the gaping budget holes that
resulted, have turned most cities into a jungle for motorists, there are some cities that have far more speed
traps than others. And automated traffic cams have only egged them on. Now, they can snag just as
many motorists for speeding, if not more, with less manpower.
the Surveillance Society. The District of Columbia, like other metropolitan areas, has been
using traffic cameras to catch motorists who speed or run red lights. It has even deployed surveillance
cameras in neighborhoods. Moreover, if security officials have their way, both the number of cameras and
the uses to which those cameras are put in the nation's capital will be ramped up.
Freedom 15, Big Brother
0. It's time for elected officials to park the photo-radar vans and pull down the intersection
spy cameras. Aside from a gullible minority, you're not fooling anyone. Republicans, Democrats and
independents rarely agree on issues of public policy, but on this they speak with one voice. State legislatures
in Arkansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin
have listened to the people and adopted statewide laws prohibiting automated enforcement. It's time for
the rest of the states to give Big Brother his walking papers.
The Stop Sign Mystery:
It turns out that the streets in the town of Cranston, Rhode Island, have 692 stop signs that the city government never
approved. The signs are there because the state government of Rhode Island wanted them there. And that's only
the beginning, because there seem to be even more signs on state roads in Cranston. We are told that the "city's legal
staff was researching the legality and enforceability of those signs installed by the state without city approval."
Traffic Camera Checks Taxes, Insurance. Cities increasingly rely on traffic cameras as moneymakers,
even though the evidence suggests they increase accidents. But there's so much more traffic cams could
do. Finland is testing a camera system that can scan the license plate to see if taxes and insurance
are paid up.
scam. Proponents claim that traffic cameras enhance public safety, but two Georgia state
Republican lawmakers are calling the safety bluff. Last year, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, District 14
state House Republican, and Sen. Jack Murphy, District 27 state Senate Republican, introduced a bill to
add a few restrictions on the use of traffic cameras. One provision requires the addition of one extra
second to the duration of the yellow warning period at any intersection where red-light cameras are used.
The law took effect three months ago, and the results underscore the revenue-orientation of photo-enforcement
In Praise Of
Inefficiency: A Manifesto. Huzzahs could be heard across the country this week when
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jerald Bagley ruled that Florida law doesn't allow cities to use red-light
cameras. The case involved the city of Aventura, but it has other Florida cities wondering whether
their traffic cameras are legal. Cash-starved municipalities are pushing the state legislature to
change the law so that they can continue to use motorists as rolling ATMs.
Red Light Cameras Unconstitutional.
The Minnesota Supreme Court today [6/19/2007]delivered the highest-level court rebuke to photo enforcement to date
with a unanimous decision against the Minneapolis red light camera program. The high court upheld last
September's Court of Appeals decision that found the city's program had violated state law. The supreme
court found that Minneapolis had disregarded a state law imposing uniformity of traffic laws across the state.
weeks, 10,000 traffic tickets. City officials say they were shocked by the number of violations recorded
during the first month of traffic-camera enforcement and decided to make it cheaper to protest multiple tickets.
More than 10,000 violations had been recorded by Heath traffic cameras through Tuesday [7/28/2009]. At $100 apiece,
that would net the city a little more than $830,000 after paying the vendor, Redflex, its share.
Get the Feeling You're Being Watched?
Once a rarity, traffic cameras are filming away across the country. ... Cities and states say the devices can
improve safety. They also have the added bonus of bringing in revenue in tight times. But critics
point to research showing cameras can actually lead to more rear-end accidents because drivers often slam their
brakes when they see signs warning them of cameras in the area. Others are angry that the cameras are
operated by for-profit companies that typically make around $5,000 per camera each month.
violators are a significant source of funding for Chicago. [Alderman] Burke threw off any pretense
that the cameras' primary purpose is to reduce the number of traffic accidents at dangerous spots where motorists
run reds. Revenue from the $90 fines at camera-guarded intersections "is budgeted in our annual appropriation
ordinance," the alderman said. "That is why all these cameras are being installed. … The reality is that
people blow through these intersections and they are going to be caught and they are going to be fined. It
has become a big revenue source, absolutely."
Red Bank Red Light Cameras Make More Money Than
Expected. Since Red Bank [Chattanooga] installed cameras to catch drivers speeding through red
lights last year, it expected to make $95,000. Instead, the city made $450,000 from sending out tickets
for $50 from red light cameras on Ashland Terrace and Signal Mountain Boulevard.
Traffic cameras blossom in Texas. Red light cameras, and the through-the-mail citations they generate,
have caught on in cities and hamlets across the state. More than a dozen municipalities, including Dallas and
Houston, have them in place to catch red light runners. And more than 60 cities joined an informal
"red light camera coalition" that hovered over the Legislature this spring as it considered how to regulate
the emerging trend.
Red-light cameras' revenue falls sharply.
Revenue from the District's red-light camera program fell steadily during the same period that many of the automated
enforcement devices were broken, according to statistics from the Metropolitan Police Department. About
half of the city's 50 red-light cameras were reported out of service — some for as long as six
months — before a new contractor began administering the program in March.
Red-light cameras cause more accidents. Red-light
cameras save lives but result in more crashes that cause property damage, a new study says, as drivers slam on their brakes
at camera intersections to avoid tickets, causing chain-reaction crashes from behind. Researchers at the University of
Florida College of Public Health say the findings, based partially on statistics from Toronto's red-light cameras, show the
program is flawed.
Woman's Lawsuit Threatens To Remove Red-Light
Cameras. In November 2005, [Kelly] Mendenhall got a ticket from a red-light camera. It
stated she was going 39 mph in a 25 mph zone on Copley Road in Akron. ... [Her husband]
Warner Mendenhall is now representing his wife in the case before the Ohio Supreme Court, challenging
all red-light cameras in the state of Ohio. "It is big brother absolutely," Mendenhall said.
Read the "Cop in the Box" Complaint.
Light Cameras: Public Safety Tool or Cash Cow? The 2007 [Dallas] budget amendment that got
the nod Monday morning includes the addition of $8.2 million in projected revenues from the city's
soon-to-be-installed red light cameras. This reliance on red light tickets, however, raises the question
about whether the red light cameras are more a public safety tool or more a revenue generating tool….
State Wants a Share of Red Light Revenue. If you're caught running a red light, you get a ticket
and pay a fine to the city. But now, the city owes the state, because half of the red light-running
revenue won't stay local. "It's a shame the legislature saw it fit to take half of it away," said Plano [Texas]
mayor Pat Evans. "We're very disappointed."
The Editor asks...
If the red light cameras are only there to make the streets safer, why do the cities
care where the money goes? The state's interest in the revenue proves that the cameras are
mainly intended to raise money. If this is allowed to happen, the state will eventually
demand a share of every municipal and county fine.
Bill's aim: camera
tickets. Knoxville's use of cameras to ticket motorists who run red lights has come under attack
in the [Tennessee] Legislature, with some lawmakers contending the system is designed to raise money rather
than promote safety.
May Share Revenue From Red-Light Cameras. Sen. John Carona's (R-Dallas) legislation on the
controversial use of red-light cameras took an unusual twist Feb. 21 at the Senate Transportation and
Homeland Security committee meeting. Carona, who told LSR last month that he wanted to take the profit
motive out of the use of automated red-light cameras, has struck a compromise with cities and towns. He
has offered legislation that would allow the state and municipalities to share in the excess revenue generated
from the use of photo radar cameras at intersections that catch red-light runners.
Court upholds ruling against traffic
cameras. The city of Minneapolis' use of unmanned traffic cameras to ticket owners of cars
that go through red lights is illegal, the Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed Friday [9/22/2006]. The
appellate judges upheld an earlier decision by Hennepin County District Judge Mark Wernick that use of the
cameras is unconstitutional. Wernick had found earlier that use of the cameras violated a state law,
the Minnesota Highway Traffic Regulation Act, with conflicting burdens of proof of guilt. People
received tickets simply because they were the registered owner of the motor vehicle.
Red-light camera critic gets ticket, not
lawsuit. A critic of the city's red-light camera system today [9/17/2006] intentionally ran a
downtown red light to get caught on camera so he could sue the city over the program — only to
get ticketed by a Houston police officer instead. That means he will have to face a criminal
misdemeanor with a maximum $200 fine instead of the civil citation and $75 fine that's
issued to violators caught on tape.
Red-Light Cameras Fail to Reduce Accidents. The District's red-light cameras have generated
more than 500,000 violations and $32 million in fines over the past six years. City officials
credit them with making busy roads safer. But a Washington Post analysis of crash statistics shows
that the number of accidents has gone up at intersections with the cameras. The increase is the same
or worse than at traffic signals without the devices.
AAA pulls its support for traffic
cameras: One of the foremost advocates of traffic safety has withdrawn support for
the District's traffic camera enforcement program after city officials conceded revenue was a
AAA names D.C. as top town for
traffic tickets. The country's largest automobile-owner group warned its 46 million
members yesterday [11/18/2005] that the District and its web of traffic-enforcement cameras is no
place for speeders and red-light runners.
Here is a five part series about red-light cameras in the District of Columbia:
District's Red Lights: Red-light cameras are all over Washington — and coming to
a city near you. The science behind them is bad and the police are using them to make money, not save
lives. It's much worse than you thought.
Menace: The police could make intersections safer with longer yellow lights. But the city
wouldn't make any money that way.
Myth: Photo-radar cameras are designed to catch speeders and save lives. Only, there's not
much evidence that the speed limit is any safer.
by the Law: Red-light cameras actually cause an increase in rear-end accidents. The
pro-camera forces know this and are trying to keep you from seeing the data.
Fighting the Good
Fight: Camera advocates claim that most people like red-light cameras, but citizens across the
country are taking to the barricades against them.
Same issue, but this is from Hawaii:
Boost Crashes: Two reports on vehicle safety suggest highly visible speed cameras could actually
contribute to road accidents and seat belts offer far more protection in crashes than air bags.
shelves speed-camera program. Pinal County supervisors Wednesday bid goodbye to photo enforcement. Their
vote to terminate their contract with Redflex, the company that operates the cameras, came at the recommendation of the
county's top law-enforcement official, new Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. "I'm against photo speed enforcement
completely," Babeu said, walking the three-member panel through a detailed PowerPoint presentation. "Here in
Pinal, it's failed miserably."
Armey takes on traffic-surveillance
cameras: Lawmaker says cities have shortened yellow lights to raise revenue.
Loophole threatens Virginia red-light
program. A loophole in Virginia's law on red-light cameras that states a summons must be
hand-delivered to a motorist threatens to "completely undermine" the program, according to a new study.
"The average citizen is probably not aware of this … but if word were widely disseminated, such knowledge
could completely undermine the effectiveness of red-light camera programs," said members of the study,
commissioned by the state's Department of Transportation.
Radar camera is just the
ticket. [Washington DC's] newest photo-radar camera, near the entrance of Gallaudet University,
has caught more than 10,000 speeding drivers in 15 days and is expected to generate millions in ticket
revenue after the one-month warning period ends.
drivers fume, see red over cameras. Red-light and speed-detection cameras have
popped up in more than 100 communities across [Canada].
find mixed success in appealing red-light citations. Amanda Mandell couldn't
believe her eyes when she opened her mail — a ticket from a red-light camera in
Northwood. … Mrs. Mandell was among nearly 43 percent of the people who have
fought and won appeals of Northwood cameras and vans used to catch
speeders since the city began issuing tickets this year.
Zero tolerance comes to two Tucson
intersections. "From what I've seen the first three days, I'm not sure we have enough cops to
take care of all the infractions," said one Tucson policeman after watching vehicle and pedestrian traffic at
one of the targeted intersections. They plan to issue citations for just about everything as part of a
"traffic safety" campaign.
Hasty Speeding Tickets: Lon
Anderson, who does public relations work for AAA Mid-Atlantic, suggests that maybe speeding-ticket cameras
should be getting tickets themselves. They are too fast on the draw. And they're too often being
used to bring in revenue rather than to improve safety.
Smile, You're on Candid (Speed) Camera! Companies
hoping to supply traffic cameras to Arizona are bidding on a variety of services, not all of them exactly
reminiscent of "the land of the free" in a general sense. And, right on cue, a company in Australia is
toying with automatic control of cars based on the speed limit.
Automotive "black box" data
used in trial. The Montreal Gazette recently reported that a man was
convicted in a recent traffic accident case based on data from an automotive "black
box". "Eric Gauthier, 26, was sentenced yesterday [4/14/2004] to 18 months...."
"...police [used] information culled from the data recorder, better known as a black box,
from Gauthier's car."
The Editor says...
Like air bags and seat belts, the black box in your new car is something you must purchase, whether you want it
or not. You can't turn it off. The manufacturer won't tell you how to erase it, defeat it, or even
read it. Additionally, I saw a report on television recently [5/13/2004] in which it was said that
there are fewer collisions these days, but more cars are being "totalled" because airbags and on-board computers
are very expensive to replace after an accident. This, they said, is driving up auto insurance rates.
Rigging traffic lights hurts
safety. The use of shorter yellow intervals along with the adoption of automated camera
enforcement has become a huge cash cow for municipalities, as well as for the private company that shares the
revenue collected. The District of Columbia, for example, estimated it will collect $16 million
via camera enforcement.
Camera: While such devices could be a useful tool in discerning traffic patterns
or dangerous intersections, right now they're little more than Orwellian cash cows. Camera
technology has been used for years in countries like England and France to catch those who speed
or run red lights. A machine-generated ticket arrives in the mail with a de facto
presumption of guilt, and in almost all cases it costs more to go to court than pay the fine.
A Different Sort of Zero
Tolerance Tale. Ambulance drivers dealing with emergencies have been known
to put on their lights and sirens, followed by occasional speeding and the running of red
lights. Police generally do not pull over the ambulances and fine the drivers who are
behaving in this fashion. But police officers have human discretion, while cameras
that automatically record speeding or red-light running offenses do not.
The risks of automated
radar guns: A Belgian motorist received a speeding ticket for traveling in his
Mini at three times the speed of sound. The ticket claimed the man had been caught
driving at 3379 kph (2,100 mph) - or about Mach 3 - in a Brussels
suburb, according to Belgian newspaper.
Cameras: Protectors of Public Safety or Unconstitutional? Red light cameras violate
constitutional privacy and due process rights if you ask the American Civil Liberties Union and U.S. House
Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Tex.). The cameras are "untrustworthy and unreliable," if you ask
California Superior Court Judge Ronald Styn. Or they're a great source of revenue and a promoter
of safe driving if you ask local governments.
crashes go up after red-light cameras go in: When the nation's No. 1 cheerleader for
red-light cameras admits there might be one teensy-weensy downside to the program, you just know it's going to
be a lulu so large it couldn't be crammed under the carpet without making a bulge the size of a circus tent.
Traffic lights con cost
drivers £5m. Four people have been arrested and dozens investigated after Italian police
smashed a doctored traffic light scam thought to have cost motorists more than £5 million in fines.
Detectives acting on a tip-off carried out a six-month operation on dozens of traffic lights on roads across Italy.
The scam involved the timing mechanism which should give a three-second delay between a green light and a red light.
The doctored lights went directly to red, triggering flash cameras which meant a 137 [Euro ?] (£107) fine for
Vigilante Drivers Disable
British Speed Cameras. A network of vigilante British motorists has vowed to continue its campaign
of destroying and disabling automatic speed cameras despite calls to stop the vandalism.
Capability creep strikes again.
Private companies in the US are hoping to use red light cameras and speed cameras as the basis for a
nationwide surveillance network similar to one that will be active next year in the UK. Redflex and
American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the top two photo enforcement providers in the US, are quietly shopping
new motorist tracking options to prospective state and local government clients.
booming for Scottsdale speed-camera firm. The Scottsdale company known for its speed-enforcement
cameras has been doing some speeding of its own, at least in terms of business growth. American Traffic
Solutions Inc. has boomed with employees and clients over the past five years, executives told a business audience
use GPS to avoid speed traps, high fines. For Washington-area motorists who live in fear of the
flash from a speed camera and the costly ticket that will surely follow, there is hope. Joe Scott has
an answer to their nervous prayers. The 39-year-old D.C. resident has invented a GPS application that
alerts motorists to speed traps and red-light cameras. He is marketing his PhantomAlert software as a
way to help motorists avoid becoming entangled in the rapidly expanding web of traffic-enforcement cameras.
chief denounces 'cowardly' iPhone users monitoring speed traps. Area drivers looking to outwit police speed
traps and traffic cameras are using an iPhone application and other global positioning system devices that pinpoint the
location of the cameras. That has irked D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier, who promised her officers would pick up
their game to counteract the devices, which can also help drivers dodge sobriety checkpoints.
The Editor says...
It is very unlikely that the D.C. police chief will be able to "counteract the devices" without violating
a number of FCC rules.
cameras raking in cash. When the very first red-light camera was planted in the suburbs at 25th Avenue
and Harrison Street in Bellwood, it instantly became more than just a traffic control device. It became a cash
machine. That one device generates $60,000 to $70,000 a month in revenue from traffic fines for the western
suburb, Bellwood Comptroller Roy McCampbell once declared as he likened the camera to "Lotto or casino type
headed toward legal dispute with stop-light camera company. Interim Jefferson Parish President
Steve Theriot said Monday he finds it curious that Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. threatened a lawsuit just two
days after the Parish Council approved his plan to audit the company's stoplight camera contract.
Graph of the Day
for April 1, 2010. Annual revenue from red-light cameras in Chicago: $59 to $64 million.
Minimum yellow light duration suggested by the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices: 3.0 seconds.
Chicago's yellow light duration: 3.0 seconds.
Red light camera pact
would need exemption from Arizona boycott. On Tuesday [6/22/2010], the City Council is scheduled to
consider — and appears likely to approve — an exception to the boycott allowing
a 10-month extension of a multimillion-dollar agreement with Scottsdale-based American Traffic Solutions.
The firm operates cameras at 32 city intersections that catch tens of thousands of red light violators each year.
City Council Makes Exemption for Lucrative Traffic Camera Contract. Los Angeles council members
voted Wednesday [6/23/2010] to make an exemption to its self-imposed boycott of Arizona, opting to extend a
contract with an Arizona-based company that operates enforcement cameras at Los Angeles
intersections — a program that earned the city $6 million last year.
Controversy Over Red
Light Cameras in Texas. The Houston Police Department says the city's red light cameras have
been effective. Since they went up in 2006, the city says red light running and traffic fatalities have
gone down. Plus they've generated 18 million dollars in revenue for HPD's traffic division and per
state law, another 15 million dollars for Texas trauma centers. "That money is now gone," says
Vicki King, HPD's assistant chief.
disregard red-light camera tickets in L.A.. City officials debating the future of the
photo-enforcement system recommend that citations stop being issued at the end of the month and that
the program be phased out.
Cameras Out, Mobile License Plate Scanners In. Arlington County, Va., tax collectors are
using the mobile scanning of license plate numbers to search for individuals who owe the county
money. Once the tax or parking fine scofflaws are discovered, treasury department personnel
are then able to take their license plates away.
Blinding Red Lights. Jay
Beeber, a San Fernando Valley writer and producer, began his uphill struggle against traffic light cameras in
Los Angeles mainly out of curiosity. "I had seen a news report that said these cameras actually increased
accidents at these intersections," he says. "I've never gotten one of these tickets. I haven't
gotten a moving violation in probably 20 years." Yet Beeber's campaign to inform the Los Angeles City
Council and L.A.'s civilian police commission about the case against traffic light cameras has come to a dramatic
pass. In June the commission voted unanimously to defund the city's cameras. At press time the city
council was split between camera defenders who are cozy with American Traffic Solutions, the city's camera
supplier, and a growing number of skeptics who have converted to Beeber's position.
Criminalizing ordinary, harmless conduct is the key to a high-volume ticketing enterprise. In Prince George's County,
parking and automated speeding tickets are handled, appropriately enough, by the Revenue Authority, which expects a total
haul of $55,698,000 by the end of the fiscal year. This reflects a doubling of income that will come from a boost
in the number of speed vans from 55 to 72 and the number of red-light cameras from 25 to 50.
Maryland motorist takes his best shot at
speed camera. Bruce May got nabbed twice in recent weeks by Howard County speed cameras. That might explain in part why the
50-year-old Ellicott City man is now facing second-degree assault, destruction of property and reckless endangerment charges. Police on Wednesday [6/25/2012]
said Mr. May used a slingshot to fire marbles from his moving minivan at a camera operator stationed alongside U.S. Route 144 near Manor Woods
Stage Two: Stop Sign Cameras
Drivers' newest nemesis — stop-sign
cameras. On top of red-light cameras and speed cameras, some jurisdictions are starting to install stop-sign cameras in their seemingly
never-ending quest to monitor drivers and catch them in the act of some ticket-able offense. California has already rolled out cameras at stop
signs. Maryland and the nation's capital could be next.
Stop-Sign Cameras Ticket 70,000 in Los Angeles Parks.
Red-light cameras have been turned off in many California cities because data showed the costly tickets didn't make streets safer. Last year, the
presiding judge of Los Angeles Superior Court questioned the constitutionality of camera tickets, which rely solely on photos to prove who was driving.
Los Angeles shut down its red-light camera program in 2011, but the stop-sign camera controversy is just warming up in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Stage Three: School Bus Cameras
green-lights school bus cameras to crack down on reckless drivers. The Dallas City Council passed an ordinance
Wednesday [5/23/2012] that clears the way for cameras to be installed on 1,700 Dallas County School buses. The ordinance,
two years in the making, will operate much like the laws that allow for red-light cameras. Footage of the violation will be
recorded and sent to law enforcement, and the vehicle's registered driver will receive a $300 ticket in the mail.
School Bus Stop Arm Cameras Up & Running.
As of Monday [8/27/2012], Dallas County Schools and the City of Dallas are now using a high-tech program to protect students getting
on or off school buses. Video cameras have been installed on the automated stop sign arm. The cameras are set up to
identify license plates. The recordings are later reviewed by a licensed police officer and offending motorist is issued a
$300 ticket by mail.
crackdown on stopped school bus violators. The Dallas City Council Wednesday [5/23/2012] approved a crack down on drivers
who pass stopped school buses. The council passed unanimously a new plan to save lives — and make some money. [...] In
a month-long study with just six camera-equipped buses, DCS found a driver illegally passed a stopped bus with its stop sign extended
at least once every trip.
Ticket Cameras on School Buses? The only difference (we have found)
between this proposed bill and current law regarding red light and speed cameras is that if you don't pay school bus tickets you won't be
able to renew your license until you do. According to Alan Jones the director of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
out of 20,000,000,000 kids loading and unloading buses there are 8-10 deaths per year, nationwide! That's a 1 in 2,000,000,000
chance that a child will be killed. Your chances of being killed by an insect bite (1 in 30,589,556) are higher than that!
The Editor says...
Are there really 20 billion kids riding school buses? The last time I checked, the population of the whole country was just over
New school bus
cameras to keep students safe. Houston Independent School District officials have installed exterior cameras on 400 of
the district's approximately 1,000 buses, all of which already were equipped with interior cameras, officials said Tuesday
[8/21/2012]. HISD spokeswoman Erica Hilliard said the exterior cameras are mounted on the front, back and side of the buses.
It costs $2,000 to equip each bus with interior cameras, and an additional $400 to add the outside cameras, she said.
Physicist Writes Mathematical Study to Avoid Traffic Ticket.
A physicist faced with a fine for running a stop sign has proved his innocence by publishing a mathematical paper, and has even won a prize for his efforts.
The ups and downs of parking
meter rates. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which developed and is overseeing
the program, is tracking demand via sensors embedded in the asphalt that shows when a vehicle is parked at a
metered space. The idea behind SFpark is to use pricing to influence where and when drivers park.
A perfect balance would be struck when there's always one parking space available on each block.
grates on state over traffic signals. David N. Cox says he was merely exercising his right
to petition the government, but a state Department of Transportation official has raised allegations that Cox
committed a misdemeanor: practicing engineering without a license. Cox and his North Raleigh
neighbors are lobbying city and state officials to add traffic signals at two intersections as part of a
planned widening of Falls of Neuse Road. After an engineering consultant hired by the city said that
the signals were not needed, Cox and the North Raleigh Coalition of Homeowners' Associations responded with
a sophisticated analysis of their own.
Citizens Must Know Their
Place. In North Carolina, some state functionaries and politicians believe citizens must be
credentialed by the state in order to be allowed to analyze and criticize certain state government plans.
Absent those credentials, citizen transgressors should be investigated and potentially face criminal penalties.
Would anyone be surprised that those politicians were Democrats? The issues have to deal with road-widening
and traffic signals in the city of Raleigh, the kind of local matter that is mundane unless it involves the
streets your children travel.
Big rigs may get
speed control. Federal transportation officials are weighing a proposal to require devices on
commercial trucks that would limit their top speeds to 68 mph. The idea is supported by many large
trucking companies and opposed by many smaller, independent carriers.
[Please keep in mind that there are some sections of Interstate highway where the speed
limit is 80 mph.]
caught. No green light for driver with traffic signal gadget.
This is a brilliant idea, except that it only works one time.
American cities try using fake speed bumps
to slow motorists. Cathy Campbell did a double-take and tapped the brakes when she spotted
what appeared to be a pointy-edged box lying in the road just ahead. She got fooled. It was a
fake speed bump, a flat piece of blue, white and orange plastic that is designed to look like a 3-D pyramid
from afar when applied to the pavement. The optical illusion is one of the latest innovations being
tested around the country to discourage speeding.
York's Video Vigilante, Scourge of Parking Enforcers. He calls himself "Jimmy Justice," a
self-styled "cop-arazzi," armed only with a video camera as he prowls the streets of New York looking for
law enforcement officers who are breaking the law. His targets are illegally parked city government
vehicles — particularly cars of traffic cops blocking bus stops, sitting in "no parking" zones
or double-parked. Cop cars blocking fire hydrants make him particularly incensed.
DC Officials park where and when they
please. Members of Congress granted themselves special parking privileges in 1925. This
allows members of Congress to park at red meters, within 45 feet of an intersection, in bus zones, in
residential parking permit areas and in business intersections — infractions that would cost a D.C.
resident a total of $165 in tickets.
Smart Traffic Lights Could Double Fuel Efficiency.
Creeping along from red light to red light on your way from a major sports event or concert, or stopped by every red light
on the way home late at night, on empty roads, you've probably wondered why traffic lights in the U.S. aren't a little more
adaptable. The short answer: they're not at all smart, and at least here in the U.S. theyre horribly outdated.
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