Abuse of Power by Ordinary Cops

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.

For a good overview of the dirty work performed by ordinary cops, read What Cops Really Do.

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 (for a number of reasons).

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.




Subtopics:

The local police have been given too much authority
Surveillance cameras
License plate readers
Warrantless GPS tracking
The militarization of the police
Federalization 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
Distracted driving
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
Warrantless searches
SWAT teams
Cops and their dogs
Cops and your dog
Excessive force
The death of Laquan McDonald
The death of Eric Garner
The Department of Justice vs Apple Computer
Anything you have ever said can be used against you
Stingray and Dirtbox
Laptop computer searches and seizures
Radar traps
Parking tickets and other fundraising mechanisms
Cops will not stand for insults
Wasted money
Incompetence
Selective enforcement
Other objectionable traits
Property seizures
The War on Little Kids with Lemonade Stands
Video recordings of the police
Video recordings made by the police
The use of Traffic Signals as Fundraisers
The use and abuse of Tasers
The use and abuse of pepper spray



Related pages:

The Road to Tyranny is All Downhill From Here
Abuse of Power
The Use of 9-1-1 as a Weapon
Snitch on your neighbor
Zero-Tolerance Laws
Cases in which guns saved lives
The Police State on the Subway
Gun Control
Abusive and Invasive Searches at the Airport
The Homeland Security report on right wingers
Waco
Waco II
The case of Steven Hatfill
Ruby Ridge
FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Invasion of the Food Police
Carnivore, Einstein, Tempest, and Echelon
Domestic surveillance
Hate Crime Laws
The Proposed National ID Card



"There is not a truth existing which I fear
or would wish unknown to the whole world.
"

Thomas Jefferson             


The local police have been given too much authority

Police use TEN different types of checkpoints, with more on the way.  Police and the Border Patrol are using 'general crime control checkpoints' to harass and detain motorists across the country. [...] Sixteen years ago, the Supreme Court held that checkpoints established for general crime control purposes are unconstitutional.  So why are police and the Border Patrol stopping innocent motorists?  DHS admits DUI checkpoints are REALLY about checking a person's immigration status.

Watched.  Police forces across the United States are stockpiling massive databases with personal information from millions of Americans who crossed paths with officers but were not charged with a crime.  A person can end up in one of these databases by doing nothing more than sitting on a public park bench or chatting with an officer on the street.  Once there, these records can linger forever and be used by police agencies to track movements, habits, acquaintances and associations — even a person's marital and job status, The Post and Courier found in an investigation of police practices around the nation.  What began as a method for linking suspicious behavior to crime has morphed into a practice that threatens to turn local police departments into miniature versions of the National Security Agency.  In the process, critics contend, police risk trampling constitutional rights, tarnishing innocent people and further eroding public trust.

'Pre-Search' Is Coming to U.S. Policing.  News that the city of Baltimore has been under surreptitious, mass-scale camera surveillance will have ramifications across the criminal justice world.  When it comes to constitutional criminal procedure, privacy, and the Fourth Amendment, it's time to get ready for the concept of "pre-search." [...] Since January, police in Baltimore have been testing an aerial surveillance system developed for military use in Iraq.  The system records visible activity across an area as wide as thirty square miles for as much as ten hours at a time.  Police can use it to work backward from an event, watching the comings and goings of people and cars to develop leads about who was involved. [...] But the technology collects images of everyone and everything.  From people in their backyards to anyone going from home to work, to the psychologist's or marriage counselor's office, to meetings with lawyers or advocacy groups, and to public protests.

Supreme Court OKs warrant-less breathalyzer tests in drunk driving arrests.  The Supreme Court on Thursday [6/23/2016] issued a split ruling on a trio of drunk driving cases, deciding that while law enforcement may require a breathalyzer for suspected drunk drivers without a warrant after an arrest, a warrant is required for a blood test in the same circumstances.  The consolidated cases, referred to as Birchfield v.  North Dakota, came from three separate drunk driving arrests where the men arrested were prosecuted or threatened with prosecution for refusing a blood or breath test.

The Editor says...
The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution clearly states that "No person [...] shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself."

Supreme Court gives police more power to stop and question people.  The Supreme Court on Monday [6/20/2016] gave police more power to stop people on the streets and question them, even when it is not clear they have done anything wrong.  In a 5-3 ruling, the justices relaxed the so-called exclusionary rule and upheld the use of drug evidence found on a Utah man who was stopped illegally by a police officer in Salt Lake City.  The court, in an opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas, said that because the man had an outstanding arrest warrant for a traffic violation, the illegal stop could be ignored.

Opposing viewpoint:
The Fourth Amendment wasn't created to protect the guilty.  The Libertarians are up in arms over yet another Supreme Court decision this week which involves the question of when police are allowed to use evidence of a crime in the prosecution of a suspect.  In a five to three ruling which crossed the normal ideological battle lines of the SCOTUS justices, the court found in the case of Utah v.  Strieff that evidence of a crime discovered during a traffic stop could be used if the suspect has an outstanding warrant for an unrelated offense. [...] The protests against this decision are simply making my head spin.

Oklahoma governor suspends use of controversial card readers.  Oklahoma state police have suspended a program that uses scanner technology to detect counterfeit credit cards amid growing concerns that it could allow cops to empty the bank accounts of law-abiding citizens.  The decision was ordered by Gov.  Mary Fallin hours after FoxNews.com published a report Friday about concerns that the scanners could make civil forfeiture too easy.  "The Department of Public Safety needs to formulate a clear policy for using this new technology," said Fallin.  "It can be a viable tool for law enforcement only if authorities are able to ensure Oklahoma motorists and others driving through our state that it will be used appropriately."

Pot breathalyzers and saliva tests:
Police ask motorists to "volunteer" to submit to drug tests.  Just when you think you've seen it all, police state America invents a new way to destroy our rights.  Two years have passed since, police were forced to stop using 'voluntary' DNA checkpoints across the country. [...] Since January of this year, the Colorado State Police has been pilot-testing drug saliva kits for private corporations!  Colorado troopers have been using five different untested drug saliva test kits on suspected drugged drivers.  There are currently only a handful of manufacturers making saliva test kits and the state police are pilot-testing them all on motorists.

Indiana High Court Rules People Cannot Resist Illegal Entry by Police Into Homes.  People have no right to resist if police officers illegally enter their home, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in a decision that overturns centuries of common law.

Drone owners are warned that their aircraft will be SHOT DOWN if they fly within 32 miles of the Super Bowl.  Drone owners have been warned to leave their aircraft at home during the Super Bowl.  The FAA has released a statement insisting any unmanned planes flying within 32 miles of Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on Sunday [2/7/2016] will be shot down.  The government agency produced a 20-second video that tells people to bring their lucky jerseys, face paint and team spirit to the game — but leave the gadgets as it is a 'No Drone Zone'.

The Editor says...
I suppose they've got to draw the line somewhere, but... 36 miles?  Why not 136 miles?  Most battery-powered drones are barely able to lift a TV camera.  How much damage could such a device possibly do?  If the cops shoot down a drone someplace just inside the 36-mile radius, isn't that (falling debris) a threat to public safety?  Does that not deprive the drone's owner of his property without due process?

The FAA says it will shoot down your drone if you fly within 36 miles of the Super Bowl.  The Federal Aviation Administration is taking a tough stance on drones at the Super Bowl this year:  bring them, and we'll shoot them down.  The "no-drone-zone" spans much further than just the stadium itself too, extending out 36 miles from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.  The no-fly zone encompasses nearly all of San Francisco to the north and west, Santa Cruz, Morgan Hill and Gilroy to the south, and San Jose and Pleasanton to the north and east.

The new way police are surveilling you: Calculating your threat 'score'.  As a national debate has played out over mass surveillance by the National Security Agency, a new generation of technology such as the Beware software being used in Fresno has given local law enforcement officers unprecedented power to peer into the lives of citizens.  Police officials say such tools can provide critical information that can help uncover terrorists or thwart mass shootings, ensure the safety of officers and the public, find suspects, and crack open cases. [...] But the powerful systems also have become flash points for civil libertarians and activists, who say they represent a troubling intrusion on privacy, have been deployed with little public oversight and have potential for abuse or error.

Supreme Court says police officers can be ignorant about the law, but you and I can't.  The protests sweeping across the country in the wake of Ferguson, Mo., and the death of Eric Garner were sparked, in part, by the notion that police can get away with things no other person can.  On Monday [12/15/2014], the Supreme Court added fuel to the fire when it ruled, for the first time, that police are allowed to make "mistakes of law" during the course of enforcing the law.  If that doesn't make much sense, you've gotten a taste of how the Supreme Court works.

Gun owners fear Maryland cops target them for traffic stops.  A year ago this New Year's Eve, John Filippidis of Florida was driving south with his family on Interstate 95 when the Maryland Transportation Authority Police pulled over his black Ford Expedition and proceeded to raid it while his twins, wife and daughter looked on — separated in the back seats of different police cruisers.  The officers were searching for Mr. Filippidis' Florida-licensed, palm-size Kel-Tec .38 semi-automatic handgun, which he left at home locked in his safe.

Supreme Court Erodes Key Check On Government Power.  Briefly, the facts in Heien v. North Carolina are that a North Carolina police officer pulled over Nicholas Heien because one of his car's brake lights was out.  The state's law requires only one light to be working, so the stop was based on a mistake of law.  After Heien was pulled over, he gave consent for the officer to search his car.  The officer found cocaine in the car, then placed Heien under arrest.  Heien later claimed the initial stop was not legal under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  The Supreme Court ruled that the mistake for the initial stop, which was a seizure under the Fourth Amendment, was reasonable and therefore lawful.

Residents criticize roadblocks in search for Pennsylvania ambush suspect.  Last week, troopers issued a "shelter-in-place" order that kept some residents from leaving their houses for more than a day; those who weren't already at home could not go back.  Residents contend the directive left elderly relatives unattended and pets unfed, and resulted in lost wages for workers who couldn't leave their houses.  The American Red Cross opened a shelter for displaced residents from two townships late Monday [9/22/2014].

Suspect in Pennsylvania trooper slaying planned for months, police say.  "Based on our investigations, we know Frein has prepared and planned extensively for months or maybe years," State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said Sunday [9/21/2014].  He planned his attack and retreat.  However, we believe we are closing in on him." [...] Frein is on the run and possibly armed, but there is no indication that he is a danger to anyone other than law enforcement, Bivens said.

[Italics added.]

The Editor says...
If the suspect at large is no danger "to anyone other than law enforcement," why are the neighborhood residents being kept out of their own homes?

An Open Letter To My Friends In Law Enforcement.  Let me just be blunt: ever since Ronald Reagan left office, both Republican and Democrat presidential administrations — along with both Republican and Democrat congresses — in Washington, D.C. are turning the United States of America into a giant Police State. [...] The totalitarian regimes of history could not have succeeded in implementing their enslavements over the people without the submission and cooperation of the citizen-policemen within their countries.  Nor can a Police State be constructed in America without your submission and cooperation.  My concern is, the Police State is already being constructed in this country; and most of you don't seem to even realize it — or don't want to realize it.  In fact, some of you become angry with people like me when we try to warn the American people about it.  This shows that you have already become acclimated and accepting of it.  Here is the problem:  in today's America, virtually every police agency and sheriff's office is being dictated to, intimidated by, and bribed by the federal government.  Much of the policies you operate under — and training you receive — comes straight out of the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Justice Department.

America's expanding police state.  Keep in mind, people in the political class constantly reveal their contempt for regular citizens.  That contempt is the inevitable result of a group of people who have convinced themselves that big government is necessary because the little people can't control their own lives.  These same politicians and bureaucrats then begin to see themselves a genuinely better than everyone else.  After all, if they were just like us, then they'd be part of the rabble, and they can't have that.  The solution to their dilemma is a police state.

Supreme Court: Pennsylvania cops no longer need a warrant to search citizens' vehicles.  Pennsylvania police officers no longer need a warrant to search a citizen's vehicle, according to a recent state Supreme Court opinion.  The high court's opinion, released Tuesday [4/29/2014], is being called a drastic change in citizens' rights and police powers.  Previously, citizens could refuse an officer's request to search a vehicle.  In most cases, the officer would then need a warrant — signed by a judge — to conduct the search.  That's no longer the case, according to the opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery.  The ruling, passed on a 4-2 vote, was made in regard to an appeal from a 2010 vehicle stop in Philadelphia.

Checkpoint Charlie:
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 secreted therein.

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.

E-ZPasses 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.

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.

Supreme 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.

Law enforcement 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.

Court: 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...
Off-duty 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.

Why 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.

Red 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.

NTSB 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 explanation.

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 device.

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.

Could Martial 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.

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.

HB 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.

When Government 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.

Court: 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.

Supreme Court 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.

Department 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 blood boiling.

Indiana 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.

Giving 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.

Rally 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.

Tennessee 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.
Walled-Off 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.

Busting 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 Base website.

Police Turn 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.

Random 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 David] McClintock.

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.

Cops must 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 or drugs.

Supreme 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 virtually assured.

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.

Can 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.

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?




Surveillance cameras

Philly cops try to illegally disguise powerful surveillance SUV as Google Street View car... and fail badly.  A Philadelphia police surveillance SUV crudely disguised as the Google Maps car has left local residents baffled after it was spotted Wednesday [5/11/2016] — and triggered an internal investigation.  The large silver SUV, which has chunky black cameras on its roof that can photograph thousands of license plates in a minute, looks nothing like the colorful cars that Google uses to create its 360-degree interactive Street View maps.  But that didn't stop someone — presumably within the police — sticking a pair of large, unconvincing Google Maps decals on its back windows in an apparent attempt to disguise the vehicle's true purpose.

BART killing exposes security gap — many train cameras are decoys.  BART police investigating the weekend killing of a passenger on a train in Oakland have no onboard video of the crime, even though the transit agency had what appear to be surveillance cameras just feet from where the suspect shot the victim at close range, The [San Francisco] Chronicle has learned.  Although all BART cars have what look like cameras mounted to their ceilings, the vast majority of the devices are decoys incapable of capturing footage, BART officials conceded Wednesday.  And some of the actual cameras are broken, two police sources said.

The Editor says...
This is what's know as security theater.  They sure look like security cameras!  But they are only there to make you think you're safe.  In reality, even if all the cameras work and they're all well-positioned, they cannot prevent crime.  They can only provide clues about the identity of the suspects — and then only if the suspects aren't completely covered up with a hoodie (in July) and sunglasses (at night).

Hidden cactus cameras are freaking out the residents of a small Arizona town.  In a small Arizona town, about half an hour drive from Phoenix, the hills don't have eyes, but the cacti do.  Residents of Paradise Valley told Fox 10 that cameras have started appearing in fake cactus plants on the sides of roads throughout the town. [...] In fact, neither town police nor City Hall were eager to speak about the cameras, with city officials saying they were waiting until every camera was installed before making an announcement.

Anti-Surveillance Camouflage for Your Face.  I had slathered the paint on my face in order to hide from computers.  The patterns in which I applied the paint were important:  To the pixel-calculating machinations of facial recognition algorithms, they transformed my face into a mess of unremarkable pixels.  In the computer's vision, my face caused a momentary burst of confusion.  That's why the patterns are called computer vision dazzle (or CV dazzle).  When it works, CV dazzle keeps facial-recognition algorithms from seeing a face.

Cameras coming to monitor St. Petersburg trail.  Police will soon have a new tool to protect cyclists and joggers on a crime-ridden stretch of the Pinellas Trail:  camera surveillance. [...] The cameras are unlikely to be monitored 24 hours a day, but police officers would be able to view camera footage from police headquarters and in patrol cars using from laptops and smart phones.

Has the Dept. of Homeland Security become America's standing army?  As Charlie Savage reports for the Boston Globe, the DHS has funneled "millions of dollars to local governments nationwide for purchasing high-tech video camera networks, accelerating the rise of a 'surveillance society' in which the sense of freedom that stems from being anonymous in public will be lost."  These camera systems, installed on city streets, in parks and transit systems, operating in conjunction with sophisticated computer systems that boast intelligent video analytics, digital biometric identification, military-pedigree software for analyzing and predicting crime and facial recognition software, create a vast surveillance network that can target millions of innocent individuals.

New Chicago traffic cams hit as way to track innocent people.  A new traffic camera that gives Chicago police a 360-degree view of an area is being hit as a way to potentially track people with no ties to criminal activity.  The Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday that the American Civil Liberties Union in the state raised concern about using cameras from Xerox State & Local Solutions, while city officials insist they are not abusing citizens' rights.

Court 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.

Federal 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.

GOP 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 [sic] 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.

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.




License plate readers

Automatic Number Plate Recognition: ANPR/ALPR.  Number plate recognition cameras have been mis-sold to the public.  Back in the 1980s it was claimed that the cameras were developed only to find stolen vehicles.  Then as a nationwide network of thousands of cameras was quietly constructed in the early 2000's it was said to be for finding incorrectly registered, untaxed or uninsured vehicles.  However another little noticed use was stated in the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) ANPR Strategy documents, that of tracking vehicle movements.  Not just vehicles linked to ongoing criminal investigations but all vehicles, with the information to be stored in national and local databases for two years.  This is a mass surveillance tool which was constructed without any public debate.

Smile! Your Car's on Camera.  It's an automatic license-plate reader, based on technology conceived in the U.K. in the late '70s.  It comprises two external fender-mounted cameras that resemble Cyclops eyes, plus a breadbox-sized processing unit in the trunk.  The cameras are essentially optical-character scanners similar to those that read bar codes at the grocery store.  "They search for a defined pattern of numbers and letters," says Elsag's VP of marketing and communication, Nate Maloney, "and when they find that pattern, they take a picture of it."  In August alone, the MPH-900 in [Officer Brian] Walczak's cruiser photographed 32,710 plates.

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.

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.

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.

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.

New 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.

Red Light 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.

California License Plates May Go Digital.  California drivers may soon come bumper to bumper with the latest product of the digital age: ad-blaring license plates.  State lawmakers are considering a bill allowing the state to begin researching the use of electronic license plates for vehicles.

At Newark Airport, the Lights Are On, and They're Watching You.  Visitors to Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport may notice the bright, clean lighting that now blankets the cavernous interior, courtesy of 171 recently installed LED fixtures.  But they probably will not realize that the light fixtures are the backbone of a system that is watching them.  Using an array of sensors and eight video cameras around the terminal, the light fixtures are part of a new wireless network that collects and feeds data into software that can spot long lines, recognize license plates and even identify suspicious activity, sending alerts to the appropriate staff.

License plate recognition tools led to abduction arrest.  The swift arrest of a San Jose man in the abduction of a 12-year-old girl this week was aided by an eye-opening gadget that can scan the license plates of a street full of cars and instantly alert police to which vehicles have been reported stolen.  It was a breakthrough moment for license plate recognition, a technology that is spreading to law enforcement around the Bay Area — and is prompting privacy concerns.

License reader company offers trove of info to Texas cops, for a cut.  The long arm of the law in Texas is getting a controversial boost from a tech company's people-tracking database, in what one critic called a "huge invasion of privacy."  Vigilant Solutions, which operates license plate readers around the state, has given at least two Lone Star law-enforcement agencies access to its massive automated database.  Information culled from plate readers in police cars and affeixed to traffic signals, as well as software programs that analyze it, is used to help cops track down deadbeats and scofflaws.  And Vigilant, which in one case even collects the debt on behalf of the public agency, get a 25-percent cut.

License Plate Readers in Texas Are Now Also Debt Collectors.  Vehicle surveillance broker Vigilant Solutions has offered Texas law enforcement agencies "free" access to its massive automated license plate reader databases and analytical tools — but only if the police give Vigilant access to all of their data on outstanding court fees and hand the company a 25 percent surcharge from money collected from drivers with outstanding court fines.  Vigilant also gets to keep a copy of any license-plate data collected by the police, even after the contract ends, and can retain it indefinitely.  The EFF warns that it turns police into debt collectors and data miners.  Neither policymakers nor the public have evaluated the technology, it contains a non-disparagement clause, and it uploads everyone's driving patterns into a private system without any ways for these individuals to control how their data is used or shared.

An Unprecedented Threat to Privacy.  A private company has captured 2.2 billion photos of license plates in cities throughout America.  It stores them in a database, tagged with the location where they were taken.  And it is selling that data.

License Plate Readers Exposed!  ALPR systems are a form of mass surveillance, plain and simple.  This technology captures information on every driver, regardless of whether they are under suspicion.  In fact, when EFF and the ACLU sent a public records request for ALPR data to the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office, the agencies refused to hand over the data, citing a provision in California law that allows them to withhold investigative records.  Who are they investigating?  The answer:  all cars in California.

Reality TV: Live feeds from police license plate readers posted online, claims report.  It was technology, not shoe leather, that brought to justice the killer of Walter Bailey, a 49-year-old grandfather who was gunned down for $10 on a Kenner, La., street five years ago this week.  But now, automatic license plate readers — like the one that helped crack the Bailey murder case and send his killer to prison for life — and the company that manufactures them are under fire from a tech watchdog that found more than 100 of the systems streaming live on the web, potentially compromising personal information of countless Americans.

Manhunt for TV shooter ended on the side of a Virginia highway after a license plate reader found his rental car.  [Scroll down]  Overton said they tracked the vehicle as it traveled along Interstate 81 for hundreds of miles after the shooting.  A license plate reader was able to pick up the Sonic's location on Interstate 66 in Fauquier County, Virginia traveling east, where Virginia State Police Trooper Pamela Neff began to follow him until backup arrived to assist.

More about Vester Lee Flanagan II a/k/a Bryce Williams.

Woman goes to doctor for X-rays after hitting her head ... then her phone turns off.  Connie Ditto hit her head when she fell last week.  She texted her husband Mark that she was going to the doctor to get it checked out with X-rays.  That was the last he ever heard from her. [...] Connie was eventually found by a police license plate reader, hiding out in an Extended Stay hotel.

WSJ Report: "U.S. Spies on Millions of Cars" — Aligns With Our 2013/2014 Maryland MCAC Hub Research.  Over a year ago we brought you the story of Mr. Filippidis and his family, a Florida Driver who was pulled over by law enforcement in Maryland.  The traffic stop would have been typical except for the fact the responding officer demanded, at random, Mr. Filippidis's firearm.  [...] Sensing more to the story, we began an official public records request inquiry to get to the bottom of the issue(s).  What we found was a network of federally funded, but state operated, Maryland APLR (automatic license plate readers) which were tied into an intelligence hub (ie database) called MCAC (Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center).

8News Investigates: Mobile Plate Hunters.  An increasing number of police forces throughout Central Virginia are using infrared cameras mounted on their patrol cars to snap photos of every license plate they pass.  But many fear the revolutionary crime-fighting tool is a massive invasion of privacy.

Spying On Every Car Entering And Leaving Town Ruled Disproportionate.  The UK is famous for its abundant CCTV cameras, but it's also pretty keen on the equally intrusive Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras that can identify cars and hence their owners as they pass.  Here, for example, is what's been going on in the town of Royston, whose local police force has just had its knuckles rapped by the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for the over-enthusiastic deployment of such ANPR systems there: [...]

License plate camera
Would License Plate Reader Jammers Work And Be Legal?  The news that the police departments in California routinely scan and record license plates to create a database that can be used to retroactively track any driver's motions and activities broke at political and civil liberty websites and is now percolating through the autoblogosphere. [...] Like the current issue over NSA monitoring of electronic communication involves balancing national security with Americans' privacy from government intrusion, recording and tracking license plates can be a useful tool in solving crime but it also seems contrary to American values and rights like freedom of motion and freedom from random surveillance without probable cause.  Still, if I had a vote on the matter, since law enforcement in this country hasn't exactly had a sterling record in protecting civil liberties, I wouldn't trust them with this technology.


Mobile Plate Hunter-900.  Operations Center User's Manual [PDF]

U.S. Spies on Millions of Drivers.  The primary goal of the license-plate tracking program, run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is to seize cars, cash and other assets to combat drug trafficking, according to one government document.  But the database's use has expanded to hunt for vehicles associated with numerous other potential crimes, from kidnappings to killings to rape suspects, say people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. Homeland Security Role in the Mexican War Against Drug Cartels.  The purpose of the LPR Initiative is to combine existing DEA and other law enforcement database capabilities with new technology to identify and interdict conveyances being utilized to transport bulk cash, drugs, weapons, as well as other illegal contraband.  Almost 100 percent of the effort and cost associated with monitoring southbound traffic is directed at the identification, seizure, and forfeiture of bulk cash and weapons, while the effort and cost of monitoring northbound traffic is both enforcement and forfeiture related, in that suspect conveyances can be identified for later southbound monitoring.  DEA components have the ability to query and input alerts on license plates via an existing DEA database, and other law enforcement agencies can do the same via EPIC.

ACLU sues Fairfax County police over license-plate data.  The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia is suing Fairfax County police over a policy in which they store data collected on thousands of drivers through the use of license-plate readers.

Documents reveal that FBI lawyers were worried about invasive license plate readers.  Privacy advocates have long raised the alarm about government use of license plate readers.  But it appears the FBI itself has had serious concerns over their use and, at one time, was "wrestling over" their impact on privacy.  Internal documents obtained by the ACLU reveal that, in 2012, the FBI's lawyers recommended that they no longer buy license readers.

DHS, IRS, Debt Collectors Fight to Expand Use of License Plate Tracking Devices.  Despite the objections of millions of Americans and civil liberties advocates, the Department of Homeland Security refuses completely to abandon its license plate tracking program.  And now, other government and industry agencies are joining in the surveillance.  While there has been some slight scaling back of the scope of the surveillance, DHS will continue using the controversial technology in almost half of the United States, comprising most of the largest population centers.  "The LPR [License Plate Reader] data service shall compile LPR from at least 25 states and 24 of the top 30 most populous metropolitan statistical areas to the extent authorized by law in those locations," a contract issued by DHS Immigration and Customs officials reports.

The end of the license plate.  Public and private entities are scanning license plates, snapping photos of our cars, and storing the times and locations where they appear.  Close correlation between license plate numbers and particular drivers means that databases of mundane information about auto movements also reveal quite sensitive information about doctor and psychologist visits, business meetings, trysts, gatherings of legal advice and participation in political advocacy.

The DHS isn't backing down on tracking your license plate.  A year ago, the Department of Homeland Security began a new initiative to track license plates nationwide.  Luckily it was abandoned due to overwhelming opposition over privacy concerns.  Organizations such as the ACLU warned that license plate databases could be used to track the locations of all American drivers, criminal and non-criminal.  The ACLU even released a report — "You Are Being Tracked" — which detailed the issues with several localities that allow license plate readers.  Authorities can keep tabs on people's movements with little regard for privacy.

Georgia bill would regulate license plate readers used by police.  Citing privacy concerns, House Republican leaders filed legislation this week that would regulate the license plate readers police use.  House Bill 93 — Sponsored by Deputy Majority Whip John Pezold of Columbus — would require police to delete images captured by the devices after 30 days.  Mounted on police cars, road signs or traffic lights, the readers capture images of license plates as well as the date, time and location of each scan.  Police use that data to help spot stolen cars or suspects wanted on criminal charges.

Why are a bunch of "3 letter agencies" gathering intel on gun owners?  The NSA is monitoring phone calls and data, the Internet is an open book to the government and recently we learned that Uncle Sam has been tracking our vehicles.  According to the Wall Street Journal, "The Justice Department has been building a national database to track in real time the movement of vehicles around the U.S., a secret domestic intelligence-gathering program that scans and stores hundreds of millions of records about motorists."  We are continually assured this is for own safety; the government is not opposed to the citizens' rights, it is only looking to protect us with the data.

License-plate readers violate our principles.  In 2008, the Drug Enforcement Agency created a program to read and monitor vehicle license plates near border crossings in California, Arizona, and Texas.  Seeking cooperation from local officials, federal authorities explained that the system would be used strictly to track the movement of contraband and money by Mexican drug cartels.  Today, however, the federal government gathers information from hundreds of cameras and scanners from California to New Jersey to Florida.  The resulting database tracks the movement of millions of vehicles — maybe yours — throughout the United States.

Georgia bill would regulate license plate readers used by police.  Citing privacy concerns, House Republican leaders filed legislation this week that would regulate the license plate readers police use. [...] Mounted on police cars, road signs or traffic lights, the readers capture images of license plates as well as the date, time and location of each scan.  Police use that data to help spot stolen cars or suspects wanted on criminal charges.

ACLU Report: Feds Using Mobile License Plate Readers To Scan Gun Show Vehicles For Database.  According to emails obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, federal authorities planned to monitor gun show parking lots with automatic license plate readers.  The insight comes from a damning report released by the ACLU this week on a secretive program by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to build a massive database of license plates['] images collected by automated license plate reader devices.

DEA and ATF cooperated to record gun show attendee license plates.  According to emails obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, federal authorities planned to monitor gun show parking lots with automatic license plate readers.  The insight comes from a damning report released by the ACLU this week on a secretive program by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to build a massive database of license plates images collected by automated license plate reader devices.  As part of this investigation, emails released through the Freedom of Information Act detailed a planned cooperation between the DEA's National License Plate Recognition initiative and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to scan and record the plates and vehicle images of gun show attendees.

FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American's Whereabouts With License Plate Readers.  The DEA is currently operating a National License Plate Recognition initiative that connects DEA license plate readers with those of other law enforcement agencies around the country.  A Washington Post headline proclaimed in February 2014 that the Department of Homeland Security had cancelled its "national license-plate tracking plan," but all that was ended was one Immigrations and Customs Enforcement solicitation for proposals.  In fact, a government-run national license plate tracking program already exists, housed within the DEA.  (That's in addition to the corporate license plate tracking database run by Vigilant Solutions, holding billions of records about our movements.)  Since its inception in 2008, the DEA has provided limited information to the public on the program's goals, capabilities and policies.  Information has trickled out over the years, in testimony here or there.  But far too little is still known about this program.

U.S. Spies on Millions of Drivers.  The Justice Department has been building a national database to track in real time the movement of vehicles around the U.S., a secret domestic intelligence-gathering program that scans and stores hundreds of millions of records about motorists, according to current and former officials and government documents.  The primary goal of the license-plate tracking program, run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is to seize cars, cash and other assets to combat drug trafficking, according to one government document.  But the database's use has expanded to hunt for vehicles associated with numerous other potential crimes, from kidnappings to killings to rape suspects, say people familiar with the matter.

DEA Has Abandoned Plans to Track Cars at Gun Shows.  The head of the Drug Enforcement Agency announced yesterday [1/28/2015] that the agency had abandoned plans to use surveillance cameras to photograph license plates appearing in the vicinity of gun shows. [...] Why would the government even think it should "keep track" of law-abiding citizens participating in a purely legal social activity?  Cameras are everywhere now, on police cruisers, utility polls, traffic lights and mounted in front of private businesses.  Does the government have the right to catalog and monitor innocent comings and goings?

As You Drive, So You Are Watched.  Simply put, I am quite happy to live in a world in which, in the course of acting locally and in response to a discrete threat, the state is able to thwart the plans of those who would harm the innocent people.  At the same time, I do not want to live in a world in which the state films everybody in public as a matter of unprovoked routine.  As so often, the key here is necessity.  Can the security forces intrude upon my liberties in a genuine emergency?  Absolutely.  Should they be watching or recording the movements of private citizens absent a specific, time-limited, and easily explicable reason to do so?  No, they should not.

DEA chief: US abandoned plan to track cars near gun shows.  The Drug Enforcement Administration abandoned an internal proposal to use surveillance cameras for photographing vehicle license plates near gun shows in the United States to investigate gun-trafficking, the agency's chief said Wednesday [3/25/2015].

The next NSA? Police departments under scrutiny for phone, license plate surveillance.  The NSA isn't the only government agency raising concerns about electronic privacy.  Local police departments are coming under similar scrutiny — not only for using spying technology, but for hiding their use from the public.  At least 25 police departments now use what is known as "Stingray," a briefcase-sized box that swallows up cell phone data within a mile radius.  More than one in three large police departments are also using license-plate readers, which can record every plate — even on a four-lane highway — from vehicles going at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour.

Justice Department Reportedly Spies on Millions of Cars to Build National Database.  The U.S. Department of Justice secretly spies on millions of cars by gathering and storing information about motorists in order to build a national database to track movements, according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal.  The database was originally used by the Drug Enforcement Administration to hunt vehicles involved in drug crimes by tracking license plates, but according to the WSJ, the program expanded to hunt for criminals sought for crimes that were non-drug related.

California man arrested, accused of duct-taping license plate to beat GW Bridge tolls.  Ashwin Kumar, 28, of Pittburgh, Calif., was charged with theft of services and tampering with public documents, meaning his license plates, said Al Della Fave, a PAPD spokesman.  The cash toll for six-axle vehicles, including tractor trailers, is $78 at all times.

Surveillance For Hire: Would You Take Money to Record Fellow Drivers?  If you could mount a camera on your car that simply scanned license plates as you drove — and earned you $200 to $400 each time it registered a stolen or repossessed car — would you do it?  That's the gig several repo men have lined up across the country:  selling location information they gather to companies like Texas-based Digital Recognition Network.

Private Companies Are Scanning Your License Plate And Location, Selling The Data.  When you hear the phrase "vast hidden network of cameras that scan license plates," what do you think of?  The police?  The Department of Homeland Security?  While the government and privacy advocates argue over government use of plate-scanning data, private companies are already collecting and selling that data with little regulation.  The Boston Globe's BetaBoston brought this industry to our attention.  There happens to be a bill up for discussion right now that would ban private-sector license plate data collection and scanning in Massachusetts.

Fort Worth firm creates high-tech aid for a repo man.  On the streets of Laredo, repo man Rey Martinez bags three or four cars a week using license plate recognition cameras and software that instantly alert him to targets.  Sometimes he gets a ping for a vehicle while cruising a Wal-Mart parking lot.  Occasionally he snags a car that pulls in front of him on the road.  "We follow them and eventually they stop and we explain to them what's happening and we take the vehicle," said Martinez, who owns Home Chasers Auto Recovery.

Repo Scan: License Plate Readers Fuel Private Surveillance Industry.  The privacy issues surrounding the use of license plate scanners isn't exactly a new story. [...] But The Boston Globe presents a troubling picture of how far and fast license plate scanning has come, and how the combination of super-efficient scanning with cloud based applications and Big Data analytics are empowering private companies to surveil law abiding citizens across much of the country.

New East Palo Alto license plate readers will run plates through crime databases.  By the new year, the East Palo Alto Police Department will be using automatic license plate readers to identify law breakers.  The City Council has agreed to pay for the new devices — including two sets of high-speed cameras and sophisticated computers — with a $37,540 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Has the Dept. of Homeland Security become America's standing army?  DHS has already distributed more than $50 million in grants to enable local police agencies to acquire license plate readers, which rely on mobile cameras to photograph and identify cars, match them against a national database, and track their movements.  Relying on private contractors to maintain a license plate database allows the DHS and its affiliates to access millions of records without much in the way of oversight.

Use of license plate photo databases is raising privacy concerns.  A growing number of cameras — hundreds around Los Angeles, thousands nationwide — are engaged in a simple pursuit:  Taking pictures of license plates. [...] Law enforcement officials say the data collection is invaluable for tracking down stolen cars and catching fugitives.  But such databases are also being built by private firms, which can sell access to anyone willing to pay, such as lenders, repo workers and private investigators.  That is raising worries among privacy advocates and lawmakers, who say the fast-growing industry is not only ripe for conflicts of interest but downright invasive.

Homeland Security is seeking a national license plate tracking system.  The Department of Homeland Security wants a private company to provide a national license-plate tracking system that would give the agency access to vast amounts of information from commercial and law enforcement tag readers, according to a government proposal that does not specify what privacy safeguards would be put in place.  The national license-plate recognition database, which would draw data from readers that scan the tags of every vehicle crossing their paths, would help catch fugitive illegal immigrants, according to a DHS solicitation.  But the database could easily contain more than 1 billion records and could be shared with other law enforcement agencies, raising concerns that the movements of ordinary citizens who are under no criminal suspicion could be scrutinized.

Lawmakers kill bill to spy on motorists with license plate scanners.  Touting the privacy rights of New Hampshire citizens, House members Wednesday voted overwhelmingly — 250-97 — to kill a bill that would have allowed police to use license plate scanners, and then banned the issue for the rest of the session.  With the House vote, New Hampshire continues to be the only state in the country to prohibit the use of license plate scanners.  Collecting license plate information at toll booths and bridges is allowed.  Recording license plate data is the same as Big Brother watching citizens in George Orwell's novel "1984" opponents said — or at least a big step down that slippery slope.

Chips Could Track Car Plates.  A controversial plan to embed RFID chips in license plates in the United Kingdom also may be coming to the United States, experts told UPI's Wireless World.

Malaysia to embed car license plates with microchips to combat theft.  Malaysia's government, hoping to thwart car thieves, will embed license plates with microchips containing information about the vehicle and its owner, a news report said Saturday [12/2/2006].  With the chips in use, officials can scan cars at roadblocks and identify stolen vehicles, the New Straits Times reported.  The "e-plate" chip system is the latest strategy to prevent car thieves from getting away with their crimes by merely changing the plates, the report said.

The Editor asks...
[Why would they need roadblocks?  Why not scan every car at every major intersection?]

Brit License Plates Get Chipped.  The British government is preparing to test new high-tech license plates containing microchips capable of transmitting unique vehicle identification numbers and other data to readers more than 300 feet away.

RFID-enabled license plates to identify UK vehicles.  The UK-based vehicle licence plate manufacturer, Hills Numberplates Ltd, has chosen long-range RFID tags and readers from Identec Solutions to be embedded in licence plates that will automatically and reliably identify vehicles in the UK.

Car tag scanners would track Tybee, Ga., tourists.  City officials on Tybee Island want to know more about the tourists who visit Georgia's largest public beach, and they plan to spend nearly $29,000 on a pair of computer-linked cameras designed to read and record the license plate of every car and truck that comes and goes on the island.  But the officials in this town may have inadvertently thrust it into a national privacy debate by approving the use of scanners to track cars entering and leaving their community.

DHS Building National License Plate Reader Database.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking to build a national license plate reader database, according to a recent job posting for government contractors.  The posting, first reported by Ars Technica, seeks a contractor to build a national license plate recognition database for DHS and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.  Automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technology uses cameras to identify cars, alert police departments if they match a license plate on a "hot list," and track their movements.

The Editor says...
This sounds like a cover story planted in the malleable news media, to announce the formation of something that already exists.  I would be very surprised if such a system hasn't been in place for several years already.

License plate readers: A useful tool for police comes with privacy concerns.  Scores of cameras across [Washington, DC] capture 1,800 images a minute and download the information into a rapidly expanding archive that can pinpoint people's movements all over town. ... More than 250 cameras in the District and its suburbs scan license plates in real time, helping police pinpoint stolen cars and fleeing killers.  But the program quietly has expanded beyond what anyone had imagined even a few years ago.

National RFid Center General Newsletter 09/02/2006:  The roadway, known as the "Golden Corridor" is the first in the country to install all-video toll collection.  Using license plate information photographed by cameras, money will be deducted from customer accounts.  Those without toll accounts will have bills sent to their address, based on information from their license plates.

Video eye to scan for Newton parking lapses.  Automatic license plate recognition — a kind of RoboCop of the parking world that uses a panoramic video camera, laptop computer, and sophisticated software — detects cars that have been parked too long and sounds an alert to write a ticket.  The city bought three systems for $50,000 and plans to install them in parking enforcement vehicles this month.

Police partner with license plate readers.  A growing number of police departments are turning to mobile camera systems to fight motor vehicle theft and identify unregistered cars.  The cameras read license plates of parked and moving cars — hundreds per minute — and check them against vehicle databases, said Lance Clem, a spokesman for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which purchased several systems for its police vehicles last fall.

This license plate-scanning technology has been around for a few years already, and is in use on side streets as well as freeways.  The following commentary was written in 2004:

License Plate "Guns" and Privacy:  New Haven police have a new law enforcement tool:  a license-plate scanner.  Similar to a radar gun, it reads the license plates of moving or parked cars and links with remote police databases, immediately providing information about the car and owner.  Right now the police check if there are any taxes owed on the car, if the car or license plate is stolen, and if the car is unregistered or uninsured.  A car that comes up positive is towed.

Lawyer: Cop scanner 'crosses line'.  Civil libertarians are raising the alarm over the state's plans to create a Big Brother database that could map drivers' whereabouts with police cruiser-mounted scanners that capture thousands of license plates per hour — storing that information indefinitely where local cops, staties, feds and prosecutors could access it as they choose.

In England:
CCTV at petrol stations will automatically stop uninsured cars being filled with fuel.  Cameras at petrol stations will automatically stop uninsured or untaxed vehicles from being filled with fuel, under new government plans.  Downing Street officials hope the hi-tech system will crack down on the 1.4 million motorists who drive without insurance.  Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras are already fitted in thousands of petrol station forecourts.

A stalker's dream come true.
New Service Allows People to Text Strangers Using License Plate Number.  A new service allows individuals in San Francisco to anonymously send text messages to strangers through their license tag numbers.

Arkansas police 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.

DHS cancels national license plate tracking plan.  Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Wednesday [2/19/2014] ordered the cancellation of a plan by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to develop a national license-plate tracking system after privacy advocates raised concern about the initiative.  The order came just days after ICE solicited proposals from companies to compile a database of license-plate information from commercial and law enforcement tag readers.  Officials said the database was intended to help apprehend fugitive illegal immigrants, but the plan raised concerns that the movements of ordinary citizens under no criminal suspicion could be scrutinized.

The Editor says...
The system is only there to catch illegal immigrants!  How could you possibly object to that?  Think ahead:  Suppose the system works perfectly and every illegal immigrant is captured and deported (Ha!).  Their surveillance system will still be in place, and the bureaucrats will need to think of something to do with it — probably hunting for "deadbeat dads," and people with outstanding warrants.

Testing the license plate readers:
Car hits 220 MPH on new Texas highway.  Hennessey Performance, builders of some of the fastest custom cars on the planet, including the 275 mph Venom GT, offered up one of their 1,200 hp Cadillac coupes to test the cameras fitted to the automated toll system on the brand new SH-130 toll road, which boasts the highest speed limit in the nation at 85 mph.

IRS, other federal agencies reportedly used license plate-tracking technology.  The Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies reportedly awarded contracts to a license plate-tracking company to provide access to license-plate recognition databases or technology used to collect plate information.  Bloomberg News reported that the IRS and other government agencies awarded about $415,000 in contracts to Livermore, Calif.-based Vigilant Solutions before the Department of Homeland Security dropped a plan for similar work after privacy concerns were raised.

IRS Among agencies that hired license plate-tracking vendor.  The Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies awarded about $415,000 in contracts to a license plate-tracking company before Homeland Security leaders dropped a plan for similar work amid privacy complaints.  Federal offices such as the Forest Service and the U.S. Air Force's Air Combat Command chose Livermore, Calif.-based Vigilant Solutions to provide access to license plate databases or tools used to collect plate information, according to government procurement records compiled by Bloomberg.

Toll road cameras looking beyond scofflaw drivers.  Harris County Toll Road Authority cameras are now on the lookout for more than just those drivers who blow through EZ Tag lanes without paying.  County authorities promise new, upgraded cameras can help catch murderers and other violent criminals.  The cameras have the capability to search their databases and issue alerts to county dispatchers when a wanted criminal crosses their lenses. ... The system, which has been operating for about a month, has proved so promising that the Houston Police Department wants a piece of the action.

Big Brother? — Area cameras would record all license plates.  If recent grant applications win approval, all vehicles traveling on certain local traffic arteries would have their license plates automatically recorded and checked against a U.S. criminal records database.  A surveillance system would run every plate number through the National Crime Information Center, a computerized index maintained by the FBI.  If the number matches someone with an outstanding warrant, or a criminal record, or perhaps just a person of interest in a local investigation, police would be alerted.




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."

Obama 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.

After 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.

Groups 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 residence.

High 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.

Supreme 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.

Supreme 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.

Justice 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.

Supreme 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.

All 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.

FBI 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.

New York City police upgrade gear after Texas, Louisiana shootings.  "You name it, we're buying it," Police Commissioner William Bratton told a news conference.  "There's not a police department in America that is spending as much money, as much thought and interest on this issue of officer safety."  Bratton said the NYPD has purchased 20,000 military-style helmets, 6,000 heavy duty bullet-proof vests, trauma kits and ballistic doors and windows for patrol cars.  He said the new bullet-proof vests are capable of stopping rounds fired from the type of weapon used in the Baton Rouge shooting that killed three officers and the Dallas shooting that left five officers dead and seven wounded.

Do your local police have banned military equipment?  Today, the Obama administration announced an immediate ban on certain types of military equipment transfers to local police, including grenade launchers and some armored vehicles.  However, it's unclear what that means for ordnance the police may already posses — thanks to an earlier collaboration with The Marshall Project, you can find out if your local law enforcement agencies have any of the restricted gear.

From the Pentagon to the Police:  The 1033 Project.  As we saw in Ferguson, and most recently in Dallas and Baton Rouge, every day American police look less like a neighborhood watch and more like a paramilitary force.  Here's how and why that happened.

In California, the officer driving a 18-ton MRAP could have as much as 20 hours of training time -- or as little as 15 minutes.  Much like our previous audit of Texas police departments' proposals to train officers in the operation of military-grade armored vehicles, similar documents from Californian law enforcement agencies revealed that there is no clear qualification standard when it comes to use of 18-ton Mine-Resistant vehicles.  The biggest discrepancy between these proposals is the number of hours police departments are allotting to learn how to properly deploy and operate an MRAP.

The Editor says...
I wasn't aware that mines had been used against police officers, or that it was such a widespread problem, especially in urban areas.  Do the police needed Mine-Resistant vehicles, really?

Cleveland seeking to buy 2,000 sets of extra riot gear for Republican National Convention.  Cleveland is advertising for thousands of sets of riot suits and batons ahead of the Republican National Convention later this year.  The Ohio city is stepping up it's [sic] preparations for security during the July event, including spending some of its' [sic] $50 million security budget on 2,000 sets of riot gear.  This comes just months after an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department found that the Cleveland Police Department systematically engages in excessive use of force against civilians.

Some Officers Bristle at Recall of Military Equipment.  On the day a heavily armed couple fatally shot 14 people and wounded more than 20 others in San Bernardino, Calif., last month, Michael J. Bouchard, a sheriff here in the Detroit area, got an order to return his department's 14-ton armored personnel carrier to the federal government.  It was one of hundreds of similar notifications from the Obama administration to law enforcement agencies across the country — from Los Angeles to rural areas like Calhoun County, Ala. — to give back an array of federal surplus military equipment by April 1, in response to concerns that the equipment was unnecessary and misused.  The items to be returned:  armored vehicles that run on tracks, .50-caliber machine guns, grenade launchers, bayonets and camouflage clothing.

Government Seizes Sheriff's Armored Vehicle At Behest Of Obama.  The federal government, under orders from President Obama, seized military surplus vehicles from Calhoun County, Alabama Sheriff Larry Amerson Wednesday [11/19/2015].  For over 20 years, under the federal government's 10-33 program, the Defense Department distributed military surplus equipment and vehicles to local law enforcement, such as the Calhoun County sheriff's department.

Outrage as military vehicles, equipment taken from officers in wake of Obama order.  Valuable vehicles and equipment are being yanked from law enforcement agencies across the country by the Obama administration in the wake of the president's post-Ferguson order — as sheriffs and lawmakers tell FoxNews.com the equipment is needed, and losing it could put officers and the communities they serve in danger.  "These things are useful tools and the president taking them away will put more officers in jeopardy and at risk of harm or even death.  I don't know how he can sleep at night knowing his actions will have those repercussions," Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., told FoxNews.com.

Sheriff: Obama's 'Meddling,' Making Cops 'Less Prepared'.  The sheriff of Oakland County, Michigan, Mike Bouchard, says the Obama administration's decision to ban armored tracked vehicles and bayonets for cops is "micromanaging police departments all across America" and "meddling in really something that's not their affairs." [...] Armored tracked vehicles are not the only tools being banned.  Weaponized aircraft and vehicles, .50 caliber firearms and ammo, camouflage and bayonets, are also banned.

Resistance To Militarized Cops Begins.  [Scroll down]  But now resistance to such militarization of local police has been enacted with a bill signed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie that bans local law-enforcement agencies from obtaining such equipment without authorization from their local government.  According to the Tenth Amendment Center, which monitors and reports on issues of state and federal authority, it's "an important first step toward blocking federal programs that militarize local police."  The bill, S2364, by state Sen. Nia Gill, a Democrat, puts local government officials directly between the federal government and local law enforcers.

Obama bans police from using certain types of military gear.  Thanks to military surplus programs and federal funding, in recent years local police forces have snatched up a bevy of heavy-duty military equipment — from armored tanks to grenade launchers.  Ferguson threw this new, militarized law enforcement into the spotlight, as police in camouflage and armored vehicles faced down citizens.

Obama blocks sale to police of paramilitary hardware in effort to halt decline in public trust.  In a surprise announcement coming nine months after police in riot gear dispelled racially charged protests in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama is banning the federal government from providing some military-style equipment to some local departments.

U.S. Cracking Down on 'Militarization' of Local Police.  The federal government will no longer provide heavy military equipment like tanks and grenade launchers to local cops following weeks of backlash against officers who confronted protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, in armored vehicles and camouflage last year, President Barack Obama said Monday [5/18/2015].  And if they want other, less-imposing military equipment, local law enforcement agencies will have to submit to stringent federal oversight and restrictions, according to the White House.

Obama orders review of police militarization.  President Obama on Friday [1/16/2015] took steps to curb a federal program that arms local police with surplus military equipment.  Through an executive order, the president created a working group — composed of top Cabinet officials — to examine the Pentagon's 1033 program and recommend reforms to ensure that the law officers receiving the equipment are trained both in its use and in "the protection of civil rights and civil liberties" of local communities.

Obama Wants to Avoid 'Militarized' Police Culture.  President Barack Obama said Monday [12/1/2014] he wants to ensure the U.S. isn't building a "militarized culture" within police departments, while maintaining federal programs that provide the type of military-style equipment that were used to dispel racially charged protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

The Editor says...
Another problem solved by our fearless leader!  Don't build a "militarized culture" in local police departments, he says, but let's keep sending them grenade launchers, in case the need arises.

Fishing without a license in NJ? The game warden has a machine gun, aimed at you.  Why does a New Jersey game warden need an M-14?  Because, shut up.

Obama to issue executive order on military weapons for cops.  Obama, hosting a trio of meetings at the White House on Monday devoted to the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, will instruct his staff to draft an executive order improving safeguards of a federal government program that allows local police departments to claim unused military weapons, senior administration officials said.  The images of heavily armed officers in combat gear patrolling the streets in Ferguson invited comparisons to war settings, with some lawmakers suggesting that such equipment should not be used to break up violent protests.

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.

Dozens of police agencies report loss of Pentagon-supplied military weapons.  The Daytona Beach Police Department was suspended after reporting a lost M-16 in January.  "We still have not been able to find it," Daytona Beach Police spokesman Jimmie Flynt told Cox.  The Napa County Sheriff's Office was banned after someone stole a rifle from an employee's personal vehicle.  "If I knew where it was, I'd go get it," Undersheriff Jean Donaldson told Cox.  "It's equipment we can obtain at no cost to our budget, so the taxpayers don't get taxed twice."

The truth about libertarians, police and Ferguson's fury:  Libertarians warned for years that government is force, that government always grows and that America's police have become too much like an occupying army.  We get accused of being paranoid, but we look less paranoid after heavily armed police in Ferguson, Missouri, tear gassed peaceful protesters, arrested journalists and stopped some journalists from entering the town. [...] If authorities arm cops like soldiers, they may begin to think like soldiers — and see the public as the enemy.  That makes violent confrontations more likely.

Missouri Governor Helped Ferguson Get Surplus Military Equipment.  Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who yesterday said he was "thunderstruck" to learn how militarized police in Ferguson had become, signed off as recently as January on statewide participation in a Pentagon program providing local police departments with surplus equipment. [...] Should Nixon, a Democrat elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012, have been surprised?  Participating jurisdictions, including agencies in St. Louis County, received weapons and equipment as early as 2010 and again in 2012, 2013 and this summer.  Ferguson is a St. Louis suburb.

Jake Tapper compares the police presence in Ferguson to a U.S. base in Afghanistan.  CNN's Jake Tapper called out police in Ferguson, Mo., on Monday night [8/18/2014], comparing the weapons and body armor employed by the police to Bagram, the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan.  The clip above shows Tapper pointing at the protesters, showing them moving away from the police.  Tapper then turns the camera on the police.

Jake Tapper In Ferguson: "This Doesn't Make Any Sense".  ["]Absolutely there have been looters, absolutely over the last nine days there's been violence, but there is nothing going on on this street right now that merits this scene out of Bagram.  Nothing.["]

Tanks? Grenade launchers? Police stocking up on military's gear giveaway.  From California to Connecticut and several states in between, local police departments have been steadily arming themselves over the years with billions of dollars' worth of military-grade equipment — including grenade launchers, helicopters and machine guns.  The materiel comes from a U.S. military program that, until this week, received little public attention.

Colorado Law Enforcement Agencies Obtain Unwanted Military Equipment.  The conflict in Ferguson, Mo., where an unarmed teen was shot by police has raised the issue whether police agencies are becoming too militarized.  And records show several Colorado law enforcement agencies have an array of equipment that the military no longer needs.  CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger looked at what local agencies have gotten and how they're using it.

Playing Soldier in the Suburbs.  In the name of local preparedness, Washington has been bestowing antiterror grants and Pentagon surplus on communities barely touched by major crime, let alone by terrorism.  Tanks and aircraft, helmets and armor, guns and grenade launchers have flowed to police departments from Des Moines (home of two $180,000 bomb-disarming robots) to Keene, N.H. (population 23,000, murder rate infinitesimal and the proud custodian of an armored BearCat).  Last week, The New Republic's Alec MacGillis ran the numbers for Missouri and found that the state's Department of Public Safety received about $69 million from the Department of Homeland Security in the past five years alone.  Which helps explain why the streets of a St. Louis suburb flooded so quickly with cops in gas masks and camouflage, driving armored cars and brandishing rifles like an occupying army.

Pentagon program put $4.3 Billion worth of equipment in the hands of American police forces.  The U.S. Defense Department has been contributing to the militarization of local police forces since at least 2007, handing over heavy armaments, battle helicopters and armored vehicles for use in urban policing scenarios.  'I think it's probably useful for us to review how the funding was done, how local law enforcement has used grant dollars,' [President] Obama told reporters at the White House [8/18/2014], 'to make sure that what they're purchasing is stuff that they actually need.'  'There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don't want those lines blurred.  That would be contrary to our tradition,' he said.

Ferguson Is Not Binary.  No conservative is saying police do not need to be able to outshoot and out arm the bad guys.  But many of us are saying police are more quickly than ever before resorting to playing soldier when they could accomplish the same as just a policeman.  One can view the events of Ferguson, MO and decide it was a good call to, before rioting even began, suit up the police as soldiers.  But the world is not binary.  Regardless of how one views the events of Ferguson, we should all be troubled by the over-militarization of routine police activity.  We should all be troubled at the growing number of well documented cases of heavy handed local and state police.

Ron Paul: Local police not 'warriors'.  Former Rep. Ron Paul on Monday [8/18/2014] called for the elimination of the Defense Department program that has transferred billions of dollars in surplus military equipment to local and state agencies.  "It should be gotten rid of," the Texas Republican said on MSNBC of the Pentagon 1033 program, which has come under increased scrutiny because of the equipment used by St. Louis County police forces in Ferguson, Missouri.  "Police are supposed to be local people, and they're supposed to be peace officers," he added.  "They're not supposed to be warriors."

America has a 'militarization moment'.  We have seen something like Ferguson, Mo., before. A police officer shoots and kills a young black man, which touches off protests and looting. Which prompts headlong rushes to judgment about the actions of everyone involved — the cops, elected officials, activists and the media. Which causes us to question our progress on race, our politics and our national character.  We saw it with the beating of Rodney King in 1992 in Los Angeles.  We saw it again with the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012 in Sanford, Fla.  What's different this time is police officers armed with equipment and weaponry normally associated with overseas military operations.  And a lot of Americans don't like what they see.

Ferguson: A Fire Alarm in the Night.  [Scroll down]  It is sadly true that in the contemporary world we do have to worry about large-scale acts of violence associated with international (and sometimes homegrown) terrorism, and so law enforcement agencies, as first responders, probably need to be better equipped than they were before 9/11.  However, it is also true that for normal police work, armored personnel carriers and the like normally do more harm than good. [...] Equipping local police forces like the 82nd Airborne is not the road to lower crime or to better relations between the forces of order and the communities they are supposed to serve.

I can support Democrat Hank Johnson 100 percent on his latest bill.  Under President Obama — who famously claimed (twice) that America needed a "civilian national security force just as powerful as the military" — law enforcement agencies around the country have become the paramilitary wings of local governments.  Nowhere has this fact become more obvious than in Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of the shooting of a young black man.  Now, Democrat Hank Johnson is calling for a demilitarization of law enforcement.

Must We Have a Dead White Kid?  Conservatives have long lamented the buildup of armaments and stockpiling of bullets by the Department of Homeland Security.  The media has mostly treated these conservative concerns with derision.  Suddenly, last week, when reporters were detained by the police in Ferguson, MO, the media had to pay attention to the militarization of the police and overkill by local police forces.  Given what happened in Ferguson, the community had every right to be angry.  The police bungled their handling of the matter, became very defensive, and behaved more like a paramilitary unit than a police force.  Property damage and violence by the citizenry cannot be excused, but is also the result of a community seeing those who are to protect and serve instead suiting up and playing soldier.

Opposing viewpoint:
The "militarization" of police was not only inevitable, but necessary.  Before you're too quick to demand the "demilitarization" of the police, you might want to remember who it is that stands between the neighborhood you have now and South Central L.A circa 1992.  And Ferguson has shown us that you don't need a huge metropolitan area for it to happen.

Congress goes after police.  Lawmakers are targeting police with new and old pieces of legislation in the wake of riots in a St. Louis suburb sparked by the killing by a police officer of an unarmed black teenager.  Much of the focus has been on the heavy military equipment many local police agencies have received from the Pentagon under a 1991 law meant to combat drug dealers.  Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Friday [8/15/2014] that program will not get a rubber stamp when it comes up for reauthorization later this year.

How to Eliminate Almost Every Federal Agency.  Since 2006, the Pentagon has distributed 432 mine-resistant armored vehicles to local police departments.  It has also doled out more than 400 other armored vehicles, 500 aircraft, and 93,000 assault rifles.  As The New York Times reported in June, the Defense Department has been making use of unused military equipment by giving it to local precincts.  This is despite the fact that violent crime in the U.S. has steadily plummeted since 1993.  Between 1993 and 2012, the violent-crime rate dropped by nearly 50 percent.  Yet today, local police — in cities and small towns across the country — are increasingly loaded for bear.  How did this militarization of the police force come about?  It all seems to have started with an obscure section in a defense bill passed more than 20 years ago.

How America's Police Became an Army: The 1033 Program.  America has been quietly arming its police for battle since the early 1990s.  Faced with a bloated military and what it perceived as a worsening drug crisis, the 101st Congress in 1990 enacted the National Defense Authorization Act. Section 1208 of the NDAA allowed the Secretary of Defense to "transfer to Federal and State agencies personal property of the Department of Defense, including small arms and ammunition, that the Secretary determines is — (A) suitable for use by such agencies in counter-drug activities; and (B) excess to the needs of the Department of Defense." [...] By providing law enforcement agencies with surplus military equipment free of charge, the NDAA encourages police to employ military weapons and military tactics.

The Pentagon Equipped Ferguson's Police Dept..  This week, the Midwestern town of Ferguson, Mo., was transformed into a war zone — occupied by heavily armed police officers wearing Kevlar helmets, driving armored trucks and spraying tear gas at protestors and journalists. [...] Images emerging from the St. Louis suburb have alarmed the rest of the country.  Most people don't expect to see Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs) intended for the deserts of Afghanistan driving down the same roads normally occupied by school busses and minivans.  "We rolled lighter than that in Afghanistan," Paul Szoldra, a Marine veteran-turned-journalist noted in Business Insider.

Military surplus
Mapping the Spread of the Military's Surplus Gear.  State and local police departments obtain some of their military-style equipment through a free Defense Department program created in the early 1990s.  While the portion of their gear coming from the program is relatively small (most of it is paid for through department budgets and federal grants), detailed data from the Pentagon illustrates how ubiquitous such equipment has become.

The Editor says...
The map shows Pecos County, Texas, (population 15,619) received 24 assault rifles, one MRAP, and 20 pieces of body armor.


Cheyenne police get armored vehicle.  As America's overseas wars have wound down, much of the military equipment used there has come home.  But rather than sit unused, it is going to law enforcement agencies across the country, including right here in Laramie County.  While the scope of police work in Wyoming is different from that of Iraq or Afghanistan, law agencies say they have found value in surplus military equipment like weapons, armor and vehicles.  Even small departments have benefitted.

Has the Dept. of Homeland Security become America's standing army?  The DHS routinely hands out six-figure grants to enable local municipalities to purchase military-style vehicles, as well as a veritable war chest of weaponry, ranging from tactical vests, bomb-disarming robots, assault weapons and combat uniforms.  This rise in military equipment purchases funded by the DHS has, according to analysts Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz, "paralleled an apparent increase in local SWAT teams."  The end result?  An explosive growth in the use of SWAT teams for otherwise routine police matters, an increased tendency on the part of police to shoot first and ask questions later, and an overall mindset within police forces that they are at war — and the citizenry are the enemy combatants.

War Gear Flows to Police Departments.  During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.  The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units.  Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs.  Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection.  In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of "barbering without a license."

Cops, MRAPs and the Heartbreak of Police Operator Syndrome.  I shake my head every time I see a cop dressed in modern Army camouflage; we soldiers hate that camouflage because it doesn't work anywhere, so why are cops wearing it? [...] I imagine many street cops aren't too excited about MRAPs either.  They're bulky, slow, impractical and not likely to ever be needed.  And based on what we see online and on TV, way too many cops seem to fall under a magical spell and think they have to dress and act like operators when their police department gets an MRAP.

The 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.

How 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.

Troubling 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.

Boston police state
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 citizen.

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.

Salinas CA armored vehicle
Let's start with a little Police State this morning... .

Defense 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 high-scale activity.

Will 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.

Will 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?

Their Constitutional 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?

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.

State 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.

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 policy.

Super 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.

World 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.



"When 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.

Watch out, Yogi!
Assault Rifles, Flash Bang Grenades Bought for Park Rangers, Report Finds.  A supervisor at the Mojave National Preserve in California violated policy by buying fully automatic assault rifles and dozens of flash-bang grenades, according to a federal study released Thursday [1/14/2016].  A supervisory park ranger at the immense desert park northeast of Los Angeles bought nine Colt M-4 fully automatic rifles between 2008 and 2010, and 24 grenades some years later, according to a report from the inspector general's office from the U.S. Department of the Interior.  The purchases violated park service policy, which specifies semi-automatic rifles and requires prior approval for defensive equipment, although the policy doesn't specifically mention flash-bang grenades, the report said.

Less-lethal weapons get new interest amid police shootings.  Police in more than 20 North American cities are testing the latest in less-lethal alternatives to bullets — "blunt impact projectiles" that cause suspects excruciating pain but stop short of killing them.  Or at least that's the goal.

The latest in non-lethals: A stink bomb for crowd control.  You may have heard of non-lethal weapons like Tasers, plastic bullets, flash bangs and smoke grenades.  But there's a new kid on the block that has taken the playground concept of stink bombs to the next level.  Skunk is like a grown-up stink bomb on steroids.  It's been used in Israel, but it's now coming to the U.S.  Both the Israeli police and the Israel Defense Forces began deploying the technology several years ago and it is now available in the U.S. through Bethesda, Md.-based Mistral Security.

Blinded by laser-armed cops — scared yet?  Last summer's riots in Ferguson, Missouri, prompted much talk by President Obama and certain members of Congress about the need to demilitarize local police forces.  Nearly a year later, the opposite is happening.  New and more powerful weapons are flowing into local police departments daily, and still others are new to the marketplace.  One weapon about to make its debut is the "Z-Ro Retinal Obfuscation" gun.  When fired, the gun allows an officer to temporarily blind his targeted subject for up to 15 minutes.  The new "compliance weapon" made a splash at the Urban Shield trade show last October in Boston.

Pinellas schools add M16 rifles to police cache.  The Pinellas County School District has purchased 28 M16 rifles for its internal police department, according to Law Enforcement Support Office documents.  The guns aren't currently in use, but school police officers will begin training to use and store the weapons, school district spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra said.

Bring it back with a full tank of gas, and I don't want to see any scratches on it.
San Diego school district to return armored military vehicle.  The San Diego school district will return its armored military vehicle to the Department of Defense, school officials announced Thursday night [9/18/2014].  The district joins a list of agencies returning excess military equipment amid a national controversy over local law enforcement agencies using such equipment.

The Kampus Kops get grenade launchers.  What could go wrong?
Pentagon gives guns, grenade-launchers, armoured vehicles to US schools.  The US Defence Department program accused of fuelling the militarisation of local law enforcement is stirring controversy again, this time for providing equipment and weapons to school police.  Law enforcement agencies affiliated with at least 120 schools, colleges and universities have received gear through the program, according to a Washington Post review of data from 33 states.  The items received include at least five grenade launchers, hundreds of rifles and eight mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles, the hulking machines designed to withstand the kind of roadside attacks seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

13 Ways The American Police State Squanders Your Tax Dollars.  [#1]  $4.2 billion for militarized police.  Almost 13,000 agencies in all 50 states and four U.S. territories participate in a military "recycling" program that allows the Defense Department to transfer surplus military hardware to local and state police.  In 2012 alone, $546 million worth of military equipment was distributed to law enforcement agencies throughout the country.  [#2]  $34 billion for police departments to add to their arsenals of weapons and equipment.  Since President Obama took office, police departments across the country "have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft."

Surplus US military gear, including MRAPs, going to local police.  But the program also has its critics, who say arming police with military-grade equipment blurs the lines between cops and soldiers and encourages unnecessary confrontations and injuries.  "The military is trained to search and destroy — to go find the enemy and subdue them," said Tim Lynch, director of the Project on Criminal Justice with the Cato Institute, a libertarian think thank [sic].  "What we want from our civilian police departments is to use the absolute minimum amount of force that may be necessary in some cases to bring a suspect into a court of law, where disputes can be resolved peacefully."

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!

On the other hand ...
Why one cop carries 145 rounds of ammo on the job.  Before the call that changed Sergeant Timothy Gramins' life forever, he typically carried 47 rounds of handgun ammunition on his person while on duty.  Today, he carries 145, "every day, without fail."  He detailed the gunfight that caused the difference in a gripping presentation at the annual conference of the Assn. of SWAT Personnel-Wisconsin.  At the core of his desperate firefight was a murderous attacker who simply would not go down, even though he was shot 14 times with .45-cal. ammunition — six of those hits in supposedly fatal locations.

New 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.

Police in 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.

ACLU 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.

NYPD's 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.

Bossier 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.

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.

Court 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 law enforcement.

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.

SWAT tank: Associated Press Photograph
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 Performance ammunition.

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 ammunition.

It's illegal for passengers to ride in a trailer — unless you're a cop.
Passaic 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 Response Team.

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.

Somewhat related...
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:

Introduction:
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).

Six ways to disable a drone.  Civilian drone activity has increased exponentially as drones become more easily accessible and affordable.  With more drones in the sky every day, there have been some creative and sometimes dangerous attempts to disable drones.  The reasons for disabling a drone can vary from boredom and curiosity to privacy and safety concerns.  To be clear, the Center for Technology Innovation does not condone or promote the act of harming drones.

Pentagon admits it has deployed military spy drones over the U.S..  The Pentagon has deployed drones to spy over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the past decade, but the flights have been rare and lawful, according to a new report.  The report by a Pentagon inspector general, made public under a Freedom of Information Act request, said spy drones on non-military missions have occurred fewer than 20 times between 2006 and 2015 and always in compliance with existing law.  The report, which did not provide details on any of the domestic spying missions, said the Pentagon takes the issue of military drones used on American soil "very seriously."

Pentagon admits operating military drone flights over U.S..  The Pentagon has deployed spy drones to fly over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the past decade, but the flights were few and lawful, according to a new report.  The domestic drone flights have occurred less than 20 times between 2006 and 2015 and were always conducted in compliance with existing laws, according to the report by the Pentagon Inspector General which was made public under a Freedom of Information Act request, according to USA [T]oday.  The Pentagon did not provide details of the domestic spy missions, but said it takes the issue of military drone flights over America soil "very seriously."

American Police Start Pushing to Weaponize Domestic Drones.  Police are now voicing their concerns about domestic drone use — specifically, they want the option to be able to employ weaponized drones in the future, should the need arise.  As if police brutality and aggression weren't already an epidemic in the United States, police departments in Connecticut oppose a bill to outlaw the weaponization of drones.  The bill also address unmanned aerial vehicles fitted with cameras, and their potential to violate the privacy rights of individuals.  But law enforcement departments in the state appear far more concerned with being deprived of the possibility of arming them with weapons, rather than cameras.

Can Police Drones Save Money for Ohio?  Law-enforcement official in Ohio hope that drone deployment may make their jobs more effective and trim down their aerial budgets.  Several departments across the Buckeye State are reporting successful uses of UAV tech to complement or even replace more expensive helicopters.  WSYX reports:  "If departments are successful in establishing drone projects, the unmanned aircraft will be whizzing 400 feet above neighborhoods."

North Dakota just made it perfectly legal for cops to arm drones with weapons.  Just when you think you've seen the wildest story about drones (like that kid who strapped a handgun to one), something even crazier always seems to be just around the corner.  Well today we've reached that corner, as a recent bill amendment in North Dakota officially legalized police use of armed drones anywhere within the state.  This is no joke.  Cops in North Dakota now have the legal ability to tase lawbreakers with unmanned aircrafts.

The First Legal, Armed Police Drones Are Here!  It is a small start.  The first armed police drones only have taser weapons.  But it is still a start.  Where will it end?  The most disturbing element in this is the role of technology businesses in taking sides in the legislative process.  Much of the Daily Beast article is taken up with the debate in the legislature about whether to require a warrant for drone surveillance over private property.  I tend to favor a warrant but I can also see why law enforcement would claim they have a right to public space.  It isn't a straightforward Constitutional issue because human flight was not reality when the Constitution was written.

North Dakota cops will be first in nation to use weaponized drones.  North Dakota's Bill 1328 was supposed to be cut and dry.  "In my opinion there should be a nice, red line:  drones should not be weaponized.  Period," Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck), the bill's original sponsor, told a committee hearing back in March, per The Daily Beast.  That was going to happen too, at least until an industry lobbying firm got involved.  Now, law enforcement agencies in North Dakota are legally allowed to arm their UAVs with any manner of weapons, so long as they aren't "lethal".

Illinois State Police will fly "unmanned aircraft" not "drones".  The Illinois State Police recently received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to add "unmanned aircraft" to its list of tools for the next two years.  In a statement released to the Sun-Times Media Wire, the police department said that it was intentionally avoiding the word "drone" because "it carries the perception of pre-programmed or automatic flight patterns and random, indiscriminate collection of images and information."  The state police said they worked with legal professionals and civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union to minimize the privacy impact on average citizens.

Homeland Security's Drone Program a Waste of Money, Audit Finds.  Homeland Security's drone program has been a waste of money so far, according to the department's inspector general, who on Tuesday told the department to cancel plans to spend nearly half a billion dollars on more of the aircraft.  The department paid more than $12,000 an hour to fly its drones, kept them in the air far less than it had promised and chiefly used them over just 170 miles of the 1,993-mile border.

Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Drones.  [Scroll down]  The Governor of Virginia said in 2012 that he thought it would be "great" to have drones flying over his State.  The Miami-Dade Police Department in Florida used Federal grant money to purchase a small drone vehicle.  Reports dating back to 2008 explain that Miami was seeking to use a small drone known as a Micro-Air Vehicle, "to gather real time information in situations which may be too dangerous for officers."  However, police have admitted that the drone can be used to look into houses.  As of December 2010, the FAA was reporting that they were cooperating with urban police departments in Houston and Miami on test programs involving unmanned aircraft.  One drone manufacturer advertises on its webpage that police offices that want to own a drone should seek funding from the Department of Homeland Security.

Defense Department Launches Surveillance Blimps.  On Friday, December 19, 2014, the US army will deploy drone surveillance blimps just north of the nation's capital.  The surveillance blimp system, known as "JLENS," is comprised of two 250' blimps.  As deployed in Iraq, one blimp contains aerial and ground surveillance technology that covers a 340-mile range, while the other has targeting capability including HELLFIRE missiles.  The surveillance blimps fly as high as 10,000 feet and can remain operational for up to 30 days straight.  The JLENS system is manufactured by defense contractor Raytheon.  Raytheon has tested the JLENS system with the company's MTS-B Multi-Spectral Targeting System.  The MTS-B offers long-range video surveillance that allows the real-time tracking of moving targets, including vehicles and persons, on the ground.

Speaking of JLENS...
Report: Army's runaway blimp flew for hours due to missing batteries.  An Army blimp that broke loose in Maryland in October stayed airborne for hours because someone failed to put batteries in its automatic-deflation device, The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday [2/14/2016].  The blimp escaped from Aberdeen Proving Ground and its dangling tether caused power outages in Pennsylvania.  The mishap led to widespread ridicule of the Pentagon's blimp surveillance program, known as JLENS for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, which has cost taxpayers $2.7 billion since 1998.

Missing batteries among issues that caused Army's runaway blimp.  The blimp that broke loose from an Army facility in Maryland last fall, wreaking havoc with its milelong tether, flew uncontrolled for hours because someone neglected to put batteries in its automatic-deflation device, Pentagon investigators have found.  The pilotless, radar-carrying blimp was part of the troubled JLENS missile-defense system, which has failed to perform as promised while costing taxpayers more than $2.7 billion since 1998.

Police 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.

Is 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. [...]"

A 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.

Despite 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 Compliance.

U.S. 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.

Sen. 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.

U.S. 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.

Drone 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 in 2013.

Somewhat related:
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."

Police 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 privacy."

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.

At 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.

The 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.

Incredible 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.

City in 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.

Like 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.

DHS re-designs 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.

Will 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.

Homeland 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.

The Other 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 speeding tickets.

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 Times [...]

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.

Somewhat related:
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?

Glenn 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 the measure.

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.

Colorado 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."

FAA 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 supremacy?
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.

Drone Surveillance 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.

Prepare 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.

L.A. drones: LAPD gets new UAVs to combat crime.  The Los Angeles Police Department announced Friday [5/30/2014] it had added two "unmanned aerial vehicles" to it's arsenal on Friday.  The department received the two Draganflyer X6 aircraft as gifts from the Seattle Police Department, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday [5/30/2014].  Both drones are equipped with a camera, video recording and infrared night-vision capabilities, the newspaper reported.  LAPD officials were hesitant to refer to the gifts as drones, avoiding negative connotations the word has taken on alluding to privacy concerns.

Somewhat related:
BP allowed commercial drones by US regulators in unprecedented decision.  The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday it has granted the first permission for commercial drone flights over US land to the BP energy corporation, the latest effort by the agency to show it is loosening restrictions on commercial uses of the unmanned aircraft.

Has the Dept. of Homeland Security become America's standing army?  The DHS has been at the forefront of funding and deploying surveillance robots and drones for land, sea and air, including robots that resemble fish and tunnel-bots that can travel underground.  Despite repeated concerns over the danger surveillance drones used domestically pose to Americans' privacy rights, the DHS has continued to expand its fleet of Predator drones, which come equipped with video cameras, infrared cameras, heat sensors, and radar.  DHS also loans its drones out to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies for a variety of tasks, although the agency refuses to divulge any details as to how, why and in what capacity these drones are being used by police.

Military Blimps Will Float In Aberdeen, Tracking Potential Threats.  As Mike Schuh reports, two large blimps will soon rise over Harford County and stay put.  Radar blimps like these have been used on the battlefield to track the enemy, and in the Caribbeanto intercept drug runners.  Testing in Utah is complete.  Now they're being packed up and sent to Maryland.

The cops like their drones, but they don't like YOUR drones.
2 arrested after drones nearly take out NYPD chopper.  Two drones nearly took out an NYPD chopper over the George Washington Bridge on Monday, and cops arrested the wayward devices' operators, law-enforcement sources told The [New York] Post.  The Aviation Unit helicopter was on patrol around 12:15 a.m. when it had to swerve to avoid the small, unmanned aircraft, the sources said.  The NYPD pilots "observed flying object[s] at 2,000 feet in vicinity of the George Washington Bridge, then circling heading toward the helicopter," a police report said.




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.

How Can We Lose?  Thirty years ago I suffered my first infringement of reasonable liberty.  It was a little thing, it was the passage of a seat belt law, that few thought meant very much at all.  To me, it was the state laying claim to my body, determining that it was their role in my life to tell me when I should put Tab A into Slot B.  Now, I have studied the statistics and I have never claimed that seat belts are not good ideas, or that they don't save lives, because it is and they do, but a law claiming that the state has a greater interest in my life than I do is absurd.  It didn't take much digging to uncover the real factors involved, which were insurance company lobbyists and the statists teaming up to pass a law that instantly achieved two goals:  1) save money for the insurance companies; 2) establish a precedent that the state has the right and the role to dictate the actions of its citizens.

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.

Facts 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. ... 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.

Big Brother 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. ... 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.

Seat 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.

The 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 one direction.

Not 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.

Obama and Biden don't use seatbelts
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.

Playing with water guns is now deemed 'suspicious activity' by police.  DHS must be throwing office parties nationwide, as Americans call police to report kids playing the "Assassin" water gun game.  NH police, said the game poses a threat to public safety and has resulted in a rise in suspicious person calls.  Neighbors are calling police to report 'suspicious activity'.  DHS's "See Something Say Something" program is out of control, it's created a nation of spies.

How One Missouri Town Generates Revenue By Treating Its Residents Like Criminals.  One March day in 2013, Valarie Whitner received a rude welcome when she came home to Pagedale, Missouri:  A police officer spotted Valarie, arrested her and threw her in the back of a squad car, before driving her to city hall.  Only after Pagedale's chief of police became involved was Valarie free to go.  Incredibly, an unspecified "building code violation" caused Valarie to get handcuffed.

When everything is a crime.  What began as a trickle has become a stream that could become a cleansing torrent.  Criticisms of the overcriminalization of American life might catalyze an appreciation of the toll the administrative state is taking on the criminal justice system, and liberty generally.

Kick Open the Doorway to Liberty: What Are We Waiting For?  Just consider some of the First Amendment battles that have taken place in recent years, and you too will find yourself wondering what country you're living in:
  •   Harold Hodge was arrested for standing silently in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building, holding a sign in protest of police tactics.
  •   Marine Brandon Raub was arrested for criticizing the government on Facebook.
  •   Pastor Michael Salman was arrested for holding Bible studies in his home.
  •   Steven Howards was arrested for being too close to a government official when he voiced his disapproval of the war in Iraq.
  •   Kenneth Webber was fired from his job as a schoolbus driver for displaying a Confederate flag on the truck he uses to drive from home to school and back.
  •   Fred Marlow was arrested for filming a SWAT team raid that took place across from his apartment.

NY Deputy Attacks Man For Refusing Search Over Legal Gun.  Saratoga County, NY Deputy Sgt. Shawn Glans can likely kiss his law enforcement career goodbye after assaulting a young man who refused to consent to the search of his vehicle after deputies spotted an otherwise legal rifle in the back seat of the vehicle.  The stunning example of law enforcement abuse of power was caught on video.

Connecticut Supreme Court Says State Cops Can Detain You Simply For Being In The Vicinity Of Someone They're Arresting.  Gideon, the pseudonymous public defender who blogs at A Public Defender, has a thorough rundown of a very disturbing ruling recently issued by the Connecticut Supreme Court. It involves every Connecticut citizens' civil liberties, which have now been thrown under a bus bearing the name "officer safety."  The court's decision basically makes everyone a suspect, even if they're suspected of nothing else than being in the relative proximity of someone a police officer suspects of committing a crime, or someone simply "matching the description."

Cop beats up model Air Force captain in his own home, issues arrest weeks later.  An Air Force captain discovered he was banned from Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California, due to pending charges against him from a previous encounter with a cop who had tried to arrest him for entering his own home.  The charges — resisting arrest and obstructing an officer — have infuriated Captain Nicolas Aquino, a first-generation immigrant whose parents came to the United States from Paraguay as political exiles.  Last December, an officer paid a visit to Aquino's Monterey residence.  Apparently, a neighbor had seen a man entering Aquino's home, and reported a possible burglary to the authorities.  The "burglar" was Aquino himself.  No one else was in the house.

Lawsuit: Cops found nothing in raid, so they planted drugs to frame innocent woman.  California cops planted drugs in a woman's home to frame her after finding nothing in their illegal search of her home, a lawsuit alleges.  Allison Ross has filed a federal lawsuit against against the Santa Clara sheriff's department, crime lab and 12 officers that she claims participated in a conspiracy to plant drugs in her house and frame her for a crime she did not commit.  Ross was initially charged with being under the influence of methamphetamine, but the case against her was thrown out after the district attorney determined that the police made false statements about Ross's arrest.

Annie 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 trafficker.

Paying 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 Internet cafés.

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.

Did 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 unfortunate Texans.

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.

A 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.

Top 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 the public.

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.

10,000 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":
[1996] [1999] [2001] [2002] [2003] [2004] [2005] [2006] [2007] [2008] [2009]

Law 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?

Why the 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.

6 Laws 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.

California's 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.

The 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.

IRS 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.





Distracted driving

Driver's Alleged Crime: Drinking Coffee.  There's a good chance you broke the law on your way to work today — at least in the eyes of Minnesota police.  The offense:  drinking coffee while driving.  Lindsey Krieger tells KMSP she was "dumbfounded" when an officer told her she'd been pulled over for the apparent crime in St. Paul on Wednesday [10/21/2015].  "It's against the law to drink coffee while you're driving,'" she quotes the officer as telling her.  As it turns out, the cop let her off with a warning for the coffee but gave her a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt (which Krieger says she unbuckled only after being pulled over).  So was the officer right?  Well, "kind of," a post at Munchies explains, because drinking coffee would fall under rules against distracted driving.

Text a driver in New Jersey, and you could see your day in court.  [Scroll down]  On Tuesday [8/27/2013], three appeals court judges agreed with it — in principle.  They ruled that if the sender of text messages knows that the recipient is driving and texting at the same time, a court may hold the sender responsible for distraction and hold him or her liable for the accident.  "We hold that the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted," the court said.

Study:  Distraction Behind Most Car Crashes.  Those sleep-deprived, multitasking drivers — clutching cell phones, fiddling with their radios or applying lipstick — apparently are involved in an awful lot of crashes.  Distracted drivers were involved in nearly eight out of 10 collisions or near-crashes, says a study released Thursday [4/20/2006] by the government.

Statistics disprove the "study" cited above.
Cellphones and Distracted Drivers:  Cellphones have gone from a rare luxury to ubiquitous in the last ten years.  Yet over the same time period, automobile accidents have declined steadily:  from 1994 to 2004 the fatality rate per 100 million miles has gone from 1.73 to 1.44, and the injury rate from 139 to 94.  For cars (which are the most common vehicles) the numbers for fatal crashes went from 2.07 to 1.57, injury crashes from 191 to 123, and property-only crashes from 351 to 260 over the same period.

This is a distracted driver The Editor says...
Obviously this "study" was published to generate popular demand for a new law against driving while distracted.

Every new car in America is marketed with distracting features, like GPS navigation systems, OnStar, satellite radio, and Pandora compatibility, whatever that is.  The illustration (left) comes from the front cover of a recent issue of QST, which is a magazine about the ham radio hobby.  The picture shows the inside of a vehicle (a lot bigger than my car!) in which the ham operator has mounted a shortwave radio, a VHF/UHF radio and two or three GPS devices.  He also has a laptop computer, a large camera, a smart phone, and wires going everywhere, as they tend to do in a ham radio station.  This fellow is one of the most distracted drivers in the country, yet his setup is being hailed on the front cover of ham radio's most prestigious magazine, presumably set forth as an example we should all hope to follow someday.  If he is distracted, that's okay because he's providing mobile communications for a public event — in this case, the MS Bike Tour in Alberta, Canada.  Perhaps in bad weather he serves as a "storm spotter."  (With hailstones bouncing off the windshield, wouldn't that driver be distracted?)  As long as you're assisting the government, as a public service, all these distractions will be forgiven.

I'm not putting down ham radio, really.  (Why do you suppose I have a fresh copy of QST on hand?)  Ham radio operators can and do provide valuable services in actual emergencies, when no other communications are available.  Events like the charity bike ride (in the photo) are used as drills, so the hams will be ready if needed.

This leads to another point:  Have you seen the inside of a police car lately?  Besides the lights and sirens, guns, and multi-channel two-way radios, they have computer terminals through which they receive almost all their instructions from headquarters.  (Not to mention car-to-car text messages about where they're going to eat lunch.)  Some have GPS maps that show the location of other police cars as well as their own.  Occasionally there's a rowdy drunk in the back seat.  So you see, the cops are in no position to judge others as distracted drivers.

Talking on a cell phone or sending text messages while driving are serious concerns.  And if that's what the distracted driving laws address, they have my support.  But if the purpose of this campaign against distracted drivers is to establish another technicality and a very broad and fuzzy law that will allow the police to stop random cars and look for drugs, weapons, large amounts of cash, I'm opposed to it.


Police forced to get creative in battle to make drivers to put down their phones.  In Bethesda, Maryland, a police officer disguised himself as a homeless man, stood near a busy intersection and radioed ahead to officers down the road about texting drivers.  In two hours last October, police gave out 56 tickets.

The Editor says...
"Distracted drivers" are about to become the biggest cash cow since the invention of the radar gun.

Oregon school district scrutinized after memo ordered bus drivers to stop playing rap music.  An Oregon school district has discussed reversing its ban on rap music on buses after allegations of racism.  The Oregonian reported Wednesday [8/24/2016] that Portland Public Schools had ordered its bus drivers to stop playing hip-hop music after it deemed rap "inappropriate."  Teri Brady, the senior director of transportation in the district, sent a memo to bus drivers in March ordering them to stop playing "religious, rap music or talk show programs."  The only acceptable music to play was pop, country and jazz, according to The Oregonian.

The Editor says...
Why are school bus drivers listening to the radio at all?  Isn't that "distracted driving?"

Rise of Selfies Adds to Distracted Driving Problems Across the U.S..  Over the weekend, a driver in Maine injured several of his passengers after he attempted to take a selfie while behind the wheel.  He now faces a distracted driving summons.  On Saturday, August 29th, 29-year-old Jordan Toner of Hampden was driving himself and several friends through Orient, Maine, when one of his friends leaned in to take a selfie.  Toner reportedly leaned into the frame for the picture, and ended up crashing into the tree.

Indiana driver distracted by GPS, food in fatal crash is charged with misdemeanor.  A warrant was issued Tuesday, Sept. 22, against Travis Fox, 40, for one count of moving violation causing death, a one-year misdemeanor, according to court records.  He has yet to be arraigned.  The crash, which occurred Aug. 3, was caused by Fox, who told police he was distracted while eating a sandwich and checking his GPS.  He didn't notice the traffic in front of him had slowed due to construction.

Driver in I-93 rollover accident charged with distracted driving under Hands-Free Law.  A rollover accident on Interstate 93 in Canterbury on Monday night was caused by a distracted driver using a mobile device, police said.  Two vehicles, a Honda Civic and a Toyota Tacoma, were involved in the crash on I-93 southbound about 9:30 p.m. Monday, said state police Trooper Micah Jones.  The accident was caused by the driver of the Honda, he said, who was cited under the state's Hands-Free Law.

Woman Charged in OC Distracted Driving Case Appears in Court.  Jorene Nicholas' first trial ended in 2014 with a deadlocked jury.  In court Wednesday, prosecutors showed jurors photos of a mangled Hyundai that belonged to 23-year-old Deanna Mauer.  Nicholas is accused of killing Mauer in 2011.  Prosecutors say Nicholas was using her cellphone while driving 85 miles per hour on the 405 Freeway.  Traffic had stopped and she ploughed into Mauer's car in Westminster.





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.

Ohio Man Acquitted For Making Parody Police Department Facebook Page that Led to SWAT Raid.  An Ohio man facing criminal charges for making a satire Facebook page mocking the Parma Police Department got the last laugh last week after he was acquitted by a jury that unanimously decided the page did not violate the state's felony disrupting public services law.  Anthony Novak made international headlines after he created the satire page on March 2 and posted jokes like suggesting helping the homeless was illegal for three months, encouraging minorities not to apply to the department and announcing a police-sponsored 'Pedophile Reform' event that offered sex offenders a chance to become an "honorary police officer of the Parma Police Department."

Vietnam Vet Arrested for Hanging US Flag Upside Down to Protest Eminent Domain.  Homer Martz is a 63-year-old Vietnam veteran who's never committed a crime.  He is so dedicated to protecting and practicing his rights that he stood up for the rights of people to protest the Vietnam war — even after they spat on him.  So, when Homer Martz is arrested for do nothing other than practicing the very rights he stands to protect, and the flag that ostensibly represents them — something has gone awry.  Last week Martz attempted to practice the very rights that the United States government claims its military protects, and for this, he was arrested.

Cops Force Activist to Stop Cleaning Up Neighborhood Trash Left To Rot by City.  Government intrusion into the lives of private citizens knows no bounds.  Reports of citizens living off the grid, camping on their own land, and collecting rainwater, for example, have pushed local and state governments to write, rewrite and re-interpret laws to punish those who have sought to diminish dependence on the existing social hierarchy and seize control of their own lives.  Yet another example comes from the city of Fairfield, Alabama, where local activist Mercutio Southall Sr. — whom readers might remember as the first in a long line of people of color none too gently escorted from Trump rallies across the nation — stepped out onto the streets of Fairfield to visit family and noticed garbage was piling up.  House after house had rotting piles of garbage possibly infested with rats, roaches, ants, and maggots in residential neighborhoods throughout the city.

13-Year-Old Strip Searched Then Thrown in Jail for Burping in Class.  Because of his loud burps, his teacher, Margaret Mines-Hornbeck, reported the boy to Officer Arthur Acosta.  The seventh grader was then taken to an administrative office after being searched for drugs, as the assistant principal accused the 13-year-old of participating in a marijuana transaction.  During the search, the boy was asked to remove his jeans and shoes, then flip the waistband of the shorts he had been wearing underneath.  This was all in vain considering no drugs were found.  After the traumatizing experience, the boy was suspended for the remainder of the year, all because he burped too loud.  But sure enough, that wasn't the end of it.

Court rules for middle school, officer in teen's burp arrest.  A federal appeals court has upheld the petty misdemeanor arrest of an Albuquerque student accused of repeatedly disrupting his middle-school class with loud burps [8/1/2016].

Michigan Family Arrested for Overdue Library Book.  After receiving four notices from the library asking them to return the books and pay the resulting late fees, the Duren family did indeed return The Rome Prophecy.  However, they did not return A Hatful of Seuss, as their son had lost it.  Because the Durens did not return the Dr.  Seuss book, the library contacted the Economic Crimes Unit (ECU) of the Lenawee County Prosecutor's Office.  A detective by the name of Robert Kellogg became involved, demanding the family pay the library late fees; the amount owed has not been disclosed.  However, local reporting by The Tecumseh Herald found that between 2013 and 2014, library patrons had a total of 248 overdue items, and those overdue items generated $3,061 in late fees.  That equals, on average, around $12 in fees per item.  The actual amount the Durens owed to the library remains unknown, but the Dr.  Seuss book can be acquired on Amazon for as little as 63 cents.

Man Asks Girls If They Are Selling Girl Scout Cookies.  It Was Plausible.  Cops Were Called.  Let's hear it for the Caledonia, Wisconsin police, who are alerting neighbors in the proximity of something truly terrifying:  A man who spoke to two girls without getting out of his car.  Perhaps the best thing about this story is the headline, from WDJT in Milwaukee:  "Potentially Suspicious Man Asks Girls about Buying Girl Scout Cookies.  Is "potentially suspicious" even a thing?  Aren't we all potentially suspicious?

Parents to face charges if they approach school to pick up child under new policy.  Texas parents have had enough of an elementary school's new pick up policy that reportedly could have them face trespassing charges if they try to get their child after the school day is over.  Bear Branch Elementary in Magnolia implemented the policy at the beginning of the school year.  Under the new rules, if a student does not take the bus, parents must wait in the mile-long car pick up line to get their child, according to Fox 26 Houston.  Now, some parents have pulled their kids from the school.  "She's threatening to arrest people," Wendy Jarman said about Principal Holly Ray to the Fox station.

School's new policy bans parents from walking children to school.  Pick your child up from school and you could be charged with trespassing.  That's the threat against parents at Bear Branch Elementary School in Magnolia ISD.  This is the school's tactic to keep parents who live close to the school from walking on school grounds.  Bear Branch is losing students over this pick up policy, that's been in place since the beginning of this school year.  The principal has decided that no matter how close the student lives to the school, the student must either take the bus, or the parent must wait in a long car pickup line.  Try to walk your student off the campus and you could face criminal charges.

The Editor says...

The Editor says...
No matter how close you live, you can't walk to that school.  Is the school not on public property?  Can pedestrians with no connection to the school walk by?  Why are the schools centrally located in neighborhoods if the kids can't go there on foot?  And aren't these the same nanny-state bureaucrats who preach about childhood obesity?  Maybe walking to school would be good for them.  And if walking to school is prohibited, what does the parent do who does not own a car, or the car's in the repair shop?

Ohio Cops Think This Guy Should Go to Jail for Making Fun of Them.  Anthony Novak's parody of the Parma Police Department's Facebook page included what the Cleveland Plain Dealer describes as "obviously fake news posts," but this is not one of them:  The Parma Police Department wants to charge the 27-year-old with a felony for creating the page.  The felony, disrupting public services, is punishable by up to 18 months in prison — a pretty steep penalty for irking local police officials.  "We believe the material that Novak posted on the fake account crossed the line from satire to an actual risk to public safety," Lt. Kevin Riley told The Plain Dealer.  "We presented the facts of this case and the investigation to our law department, and they agreed that Novak's actions were criminal in nature."  It is hard to see how.  Novak's page is no longer online, but there is nothing in The Plain Dealer's description of of it that sounds like a crime.

Charleston's storied history is off-limits to the unlicensed.  [Scroll down]  And of course there's more antebellum mansions than you can shake a stick at.  And if I were telling you all of this while standing on a street in Charleston, there's at least a small chance I'd be arrested for doing it.  That's because anyone who wants to talk about Charleston's history must first obtain a license from the city.  Getting that license means passing a 200-question written exam — a passing grade is 80 percent or higher — and then passing an oral exam conducted by taxpayer-funded city officials.  To pass both exams, would-be tour guides have to memorize pretty much the entire history of Charleston.

In advance of big storm, New Jersey lifts licensing laws for shoveling snow.  Just days ahead of an expected blizzard on the East Coast, New Jersey has officially repealed a nonsensical rule banning the shoveling of snow without a license.  Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday signed a bill making it legal for New Jersey residents to offer snow shoveling services without first registering with their town.  Last year, two entrepreneurial teens going door-to-door and offering to shovel snow for a small fee were stopped by local police in Bound Brook.

Man charged with felony for passing out jury rights fliers in front of courthouse.  A Mecosta man is charged with a felony for obstruction of justice and misdemeanor of tampering with a jury for passing out fliers about jury nullification rights on the sidewalk of the Mecosta County courthouse.  Keith Wood, 39, faces these charges after handing out about 50 fliers on Nov. 24, which the Fully Informed Jury Association wrote, that describe juror rights that are typically not given by judges during jury instructions before a trial.

Florida Woman Arrested, Accused of Riding Sea Turtle.  Multiple media outlets report that 20-year-old Stephanie Marie Moore was arrested by Melbourne police early Saturday [9/26/2015] on the felony charge of trying to "possess, sell, molest marine turtle."

Student Arrested For 'Impeach Obama' Sign Sues the Police.  I live on Long Island and am fairly sure no one ever got arrested for hanging an "Impeach Bush" sign anywhere, which there were a lot of. [...] The judge tossed the charges against him because it was a violation of his free speech.

Marine Vet Charged for Painting Picnic Table.  Charges are expected to be dropped against a disabled Marine veteran who painted a deteriorating picnic table at his Virginia apartment complex.  Mickey Triplett was charged with destruction of property for painting a picnic table at the Potomac Ridge Apartments.

Woman who lifted baton during fatal Los Angeles police shooting could receive long prison term.  An officer dropped a nightstick during a struggle with a homeless man who was shot to death by police on Los Angeles' Skid Row, and the woman who picked it up now faces an assault charge that could send her to prison for 25 years to life.

The Editor says...
Stealing a nightstick is a serious offense — but not serious enough to send someone to the penitentiary.

Woman Jailed For Not Renewing Dog License.  This is just stupid.  I can see charging her a fine for being late with getting the dog license, but this is way out of line.  She is 3½ months late on renewing the dog license, gets repeated calls, emails and threats on it, with the last one being a threat of a warrant being issued.  She renewed the license and went down the next day to prove it.  Instead of accepting the proof, they left her 14 year-old daughter in the car, frisked her, printed her and threw her in jail.

Since when are offensive signs illegal?
Colorado Springs man arrested on suspicion of posting offensive signs.  A 44-year-old man was arrested Tuesday [6/30/2015] on suspicion of posting offensive signs in the city, Colorado Springs police said.  Vincent Broughton of Colorado Springs is accused of posting signs near a church at the 200 block of East Platte Avenue earlier this month, according to a police news release. [...] One said "Black men be aware, you are the target."

Black Suspect Arrested After Racist Message Discovered Outside Predominately Black Church.  A Colorado Springs man was arrested after police believe he left racist messages outside a church.  Vincent Broughton, 44, who is black, is facing charges for committed a bias-motivated crime and disorderly conduct.

Florida Town to Make it Illegal for Homeowners to Back Into Own Driveway So it's Easier for City to Fine Them.  The city bosses in Jacksonville, Florida are floating a new ordinance that would make it illegal for homeowners to park their cars with the front end pointing toward the street.  The new rule is meant to help city cops and government officials to more easily fine homeowners if they have a disabled car on their property.

Federal Court Says It's 100% Legal To Give Cops The Finger.  It's now perfectly legal to flip off a cop.  A police officer can't simply pull you over because you gave them the "finger," according to a federal appeals court ruling from 2013.

State Rep Wants to Make it Illegal to Taunt Police.  Before he was elected to the House in 2009, Democratic Pennsylvania State Representative Dom Costa was the Chief of Police in Pittsburgh.  In total, he spent nearly three decades as a member of the force. He was even shot in the line of duty in 2002.  He is no stranger to what police have to go through on a daily basis.  He knows that it's one of the toughest jobs there is.  But it's more than a little troubling that Costa wants to take a permanent marker to the Constitution, drawing a big old line through that little thing we like to call the First Amendment.  You see, Costa has decided that it should be against the law to taunt a police officer.  Yes, taunt.

Let 'free range' kids roam home.  Two Sundays ago, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv of Montgomery County, Md., got a call from Child Protective Services.  Police had taken their two children, ages 10 and 6, into custody three hours earlier and were holding them at the crisis center.  Had the children been abused?  No.  Were they lost?  No.  So what prompted this extraordinary intervention?  A concerned pedestrian had seen the children walking alone and called 911.  It was the second time in four months that the Meitivs' children were reported to authorities as they walked home from parks about a mile away.

'Free range kids' and the dangers of an overprotective society.  [Scroll down]  In Sunday's event, the police lured the children into their car by telling them they would take them home from the park.  Instead, they were, in their mother's words, "confined to the back of a police car for almost three hours without any explanation of why they were being detained."  They were not fed and were unable to call or speak with their parents who were growing frantic with worry.

'Free-range' kids and our parenting police state.  They were coming home from a park, on this gorgeous, blossoming weekend, after playing.  And for this, a 10-year-old and his 6-year-old sister ended up in the back of a squad car.  Again.  For hours this time.  In the bizarre nationwide culture war over how much freedom children should have to play outside alone, the youngest combatants — Rafi and Dvora Meitiv — are the ones being damaged the most.  This is getting pretty ridiculous.  Somehow we've morphed from being a village that helps raise children to a parenting police state.

'Free-Range' Parents Will Sue CPS for Grabbing Their Kids.  The Meitivs are lawyering up, and will file some kind of lawsuit against Montgomery County, Maryland, officials who took their children while the youngsters were walking outside by themselves. [...] Aren't prisoners allowed one phone call, or is that just on TV?  Because the Meitiv kids weren't able to contact their parents in the six hours they were held by the authorities.

You are probably breaking the law right now.  If you walk down the sidewalk, pick up a pretty feather, and take it home, you could be a felon — if it happens to be a bald eagle feather.  Bald eagles are plentiful now, and were taken off the endangered species list years ago, but the federal law making possession of them a crime for most people is still on the books, and federal agents are even infiltrating some Native-American powwows in order to find and arrest people.  (And feathers from lesser-known birds, like the red-tailed hawk are also covered).  Other examples abound, from getting lost in a storm and snowmobiling on the wrong bit of federal land, to diverting storm sewer water around a building.

Atlanta-area garbage collector jailed for going to work too early: 7 Online.  A sanitation worker in an Atlanta suburb is behind bars for getting to work too early.  Kevin McGill was sentenced to 30 days in jail for violating a Sandy Springs ordinance that says workers can only haul trash between the hours of 7am and 7pm.  McGill was cited for picking up the trash just after 5am one morning.

72-Year-Old-Man Facing 10 Years In Prison Over Antique Pistol.  Gordon van Gilder, a retired teacher and self-proclaimed history buff, is facing 10 years in prison and the loss of his pension over his possession of an unloaded antique flintlock pistol.  The day after van Gilder told a deputy during a routine traffic stop about his antique gun, four law enforcement officers showed up at his house to arrest him, because New Jersey state law classifies antique firearms the same way it classifies regular guns.

New Jersey man facing ten years in prison for possession of 300 yr old flintlock pistol.  There's trouble brewing in New Jersey, as reported by our Townhall colleague Matt Vespa.  72 year old retired teacher Gordon VanGilder was arrested and now faces trial on weapons possession charges.  That's a sad, but not terribly unusual story in the Garden State which remains fairly unfriendly to Second Amendment rights.  What gives this story a seriously tragic twist is that the weapon VanGilder was "caught" with is nearly 300 years old.

When letting your kids out of your sight becomes a crime.  One recent Saturday afternoon, six police officers and five patrol cars came to my home in Silver Spring.  They demanded identification from my husband and entered our home despite not having a warrant to do so.  The reason for this show of force?  We had allowed our children to walk home from a neighborhood park by themselves.  A few hours later, a Montgomery County Child Protective Services (CPS) social worker coerced my husband into signing a "temporary safety plan" for our children by threatening to take the children "right now" — a threat she backed up with a call to the police.

NYPD Has a Plan to Magically Turn Anyone It Wants Into a Felon.  On Wednesday [2/4/2015], NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton urged state legislators to consider increasing the penalty for resisting arrest from a misdemeanor to a felony.  The change, he argued, would help New Yorkers "get around this idea that you can resist arrest.  You can't."  It would also give cops an easy way to turn victims of their own worst impulses into the worst class of criminal.  In theory, a resisting arrest charge allows the state to further punish suspects who endanger the safety of police officers as they're being apprehended; in practice, it gives tautological justification to cops who enjoy roughing people up.

Police stop teens seeking snow shoveling work.  School was closed for the blizzard that wasn't, but there was still enough snow on the ground that two high school seniors thought they could make a few extra bucks.  In the process, Matt Molinari and Eric Schnepf, both 18, also learned a valuable lesson about one of the costs of doing business:  government regulations.  The two friends were canvasing a neighborhood near this borough's border with Bridgewater early Monday evening, handing out fliers promoting their service, when they were pulled over by police and told to stop.

This is a lot like the zero-tolerance nonsense in the public schools.
Eagle-Eyed Detective Thwarts Inmate's Theft Of Jail Spork Valued At Two Cents.  After completing a jail sentence, a Florida woman left the Manatee County lockup last month with a smuggled memento of her time behind bars.  In a Facebook post, the woman wrote, "just a pic of a souvenir I picked up on my 6 month vacation."  Next to that caption was a photo of a spork, the spoon/fork hybrid used by inmates during jail meals.  In a subsequent message, the inmate noted that, "it wasn't easy to get out with me... that's for sure!!!"  What the inmate, whose last name is Jones, did not anticipate was that her Facebook page was being monitored by Detective Todd Zink of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

George Zimmerman Police Report.  Apparently the Lake Mary Police Department made the decision to charge George Zimmerman despite the non-existence of an actual cooperating victim.  The LMPD went to rather extraordinary lengths in order to generate an arrest. [...] Six investigators, body cameras, squad car cameras, DVD's, neighbors questioned, and eight pages of investigative testimonials later — you discover the Lake Mary Police must have a lot of free time on their hands.

Tea Party mom wins lawsuit after being arrested for her beliefs.  The situation that landed 58-year-old Nancy Genovese in jail for four days in 2010 was subject to quite a bit of interpretation on the part of her arresting officer.  The Long Island native might have been taking a picture of a decorative helicopter in the hopes of using it as a feature on a "Support our Troops" website after leaving a rifle range with her legally owned and registered weapon.  Or she might have been taking surveillance photographs of the Gabreski Airport at the Westhampton Beach Air National Guard base with a deadly weapon in her car.  Guess which of these interpretations won the day?

Man From Fruitvale Arrested For Pointing Banana at Officer Bunch.  Nathen Channing, a 27-year-old resident of Fruitvale, Colorado, was taken into custody on Sunday night for pointing a banana at a pair of Mesa County Sheriff's deputies, both of whom initially believed the piece of fruit was a handgun.  The two involved Mesa County deputies were identified as Joshua Bunch and Donald Love, both of whom were identified as victims in the case against Channing, who was arrested on two counts of felony menacing.

Man arrested after pointing banana at police.  A man is facing a felony menacing charge, because two Colorado sheriff's deputies say they thought a banana he pointed at them was a gun. [...] According to an arrest affidavit, Mesa County deputies Joshua Bunch and Donald Love said Channing pointed the fruit at them while crossing a street.  The deputies said they feared for their lives even though they saw that the object was yellow.  Bunch wrote in the affidavit that he has seen handguns in many shapes and colors.

Jail Time for Feeding The Homeless?  Fort Lauderdale, Florida Police charged two pastors and a 90-year-old man, for feeding the homeless in public.  The charges were made on Sunday [11/2/2014], following a new ordinance effectively banning feeding the homeless in public that took effect Friday.

Is this the worst person in America?  Somewhere out there, possibly in Rockaway, N.J., is a person who enjoys making senior citizens suffer.  This hater of the aged decided to rain on their parade by reporting their 10-cent bingo game to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs this past May, according to the Asbury Park Press.  But don't place all the blame on that Grinch.  For instead of laughing off the complaint — because come on, it's 10-cent bingo at a senior home — New Jersey's Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission made the decision to drop the hammer.

Nanny-State Mindset Leads to Police Brutality.  In Florida recently, police pulled up to a young boy playing in the park and asked where his mother lived.  According to a report on WPTV, the mom was then arrested for "allowing her son to go to the park alone."  Her son had a cellphone, and she would check in with him along the way.  The mom believes "he's old enough, but Port St. Lucie Police disagree."  There is a tendency to dismiss stories such as this as a silly mistake by an overzealous police officer, but sadly it's part of a larger problem.

Md. police investigate 'No undocumented Democrats' graffiti as hate crime.  Maryland state police are investigating as a hate crime graffiti that protested illegal immigration on the wall of a former Army Reserve Center that was mulled for use as a shelter for unaccompanied alien children.  "No illeagles [sic] here.  No undocumented Democrats," the graffiti said in capital letters, according to the Carroll County Times.  Lt. Patrick McCrory, commander of the state police Westminster barracks, said the message likely went up Saturday night or early Sunday [7/13/2014].  He said he considered the message to be a hate crime.  "This is definitely a racial, religious, ethnic incident," he told the paper.

The Black Market For Dinosaurs.  On the morning of October 17, 2012, a cadre of federal agents and sheriff's deputies in Gainesville, Florida, went to the home of a suspected fossil smuggler named Eric Prokopi and arrested him.  As I reported in The New Yorker in January, 2013, the case against Prokopi was unusual and aggressive:  it included several counts of felonious smuggling, and characterizations of the defendant as a "one-man black market."  Two months after his arrest, Prokopi pleaded guilty to smuggling the bones of a Tarbosaurus bataar, a Tyrannosaurus rex cousin that lived seventy million years ago in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, which prohibits the commercialization of natural history.

Texas man faces possible life sentence for selling pot brownies.  A couple of weeks ago, I put up a post about the absurd method in which the drug laws allow law enforcement officials to determine the quantity of an illicit drug for which a suspect can be charged.  The laws aren't written to punish offenders for the amount of a given drug they have made available to the public (or, put another way, for the amount of harm they have done).  They're written to inflict the maximum possible amount of punishment.

Diabetic pastor sues after being arrested, denied food and water for holding pro-life sign.  On March 30, 2011, Pastor Stephen Joiner was driving through the streets of Columbus, Mississippi, when he saw dozens of members of Pro-Life Mississippi peacefully holding signs supporting the unborn child's right to life.  He pulled over and learned they were trying to build support for the state's Personhood Amendment, which failed to pass the following November.  Joiner, the pastor of the city's Church of the Nazarene, supported the cause, so he picked up a sign and stood alongside them. [...] Joiner says that Police Captain Frederick Shelton told him to move, because he was blocking traffic, although he was several feet from the road.

Young children could face bullying charges in city.  The Carson City Council gave preliminary approval this week to an ordinance that would target anyone from kindergarten to age 25 who makes another person feel "terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested" with no legitimate purpose.

ACLU backs Nebraska man arrested for handing out religious fliers.  The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska said Wednesday [4/16/2014] that Larry Ball was on a public sidewalk and exercising his First Amendment rights when he handed out the fliers.

Rappers selling CDs in Times Square file joint suits against city.  Eight rappers say the NYPD treats them differently than other vendors and argues that their music sales are protected free speech.  The most common charges are for disorderly conduct and aggressive begging, but the rappers say the allegations are phony and their cases are ultimately dismissed.

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.

Boy, 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 one, herself.

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.

Woman Says Duke Police Opened Investigation [of her] After She Called To Complain About Muslim Chant.  An Ohio woman who says she called Duke University — to speak her mind about a plan to allow a Muslim student group to issue a weekly call-to-prayer on campus — claims she was contacted by a member of the Duke University Police Department who said she was conducting an investigation about the phone call.  The woman, who asked to be identified only by her first name, Pam, said she called the office of the Duke men's basketball team early Thursday [1/15/2015] after she read that the school was planning to allow the Muslim Students Association to chant a call-to-prayer, the "adhan," over a microphone from the Duke Chapel bell tower each Friday.

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 ammunition receipts."

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.

CO Rescue Pilot Issued Parking Ticket for His Helicopter.  So ridiculous it's funny... and sadly idiotic.

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.

Mamas, Don't 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.

Philly Activists Arrested and Cuffed at Independence Hall for Handing Out Fliers.  Mark Passio wrote about his experience last Saturday [5/25/2013].

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.

Dad 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.

Pitchfork Protest Farmer Confronts Government Corruption and RetributionAmerican 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.

Connecticut 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.

Business 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.

Woman 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.

D.C. 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.

Vertical 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 photographed.

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:
Just for 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 Williams' bill.

$185 fine 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.

Boston 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.

It's 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.

Woman 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.

Criminal 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.

Pennsylvania 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.
Texas 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.

DC 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.

Milledgeville 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

Peninsula 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.

Elderly 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.

Wyoming 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.

Computer 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.

Fraudster escapes from one of Britain's most secure prisons by forging letter granting him bail.  Neil Moore, 28, crafted an elaborate ruse to dupe wardens into believing he had been given bail by the court before brazenly walking out of Wandsworth jail in south London where he was being held for a £1.8 million fraud.




Cops believe their polygraph machines, no matter what they say

How to Beat a Polygraph Test.  "A polygraph is nothing more than a psychological billy club used to coerce and intimidate people," says Doug Williams, a former Oklahoma City police detective and polygraph examiner who for 36 years has trained people to pass the lie-detector test.  The first step is not to be intimidated.

The Polygraph Has Been Lying for 80 Years.  Eighty years ago, Leonarde Keeler's lie detector made its debut in court. Decades later, we're still paying the price for his con job.

DEA settles suit alleging government lie-detector abuses.  The Drug Enforcement Administration has agreed to pay 14 contractors $500,000 to settle a lawsuit that accuses the agency of illegally requiring them to undergo highly intrusive lie detector tests to keep their jobs as translators.  The settlement appears to be the first time that a federal government agency has settled allegations involving contractors' lie detector tests since a 1988 law banned the use of polygraph screening for most private employees, said a lawyer for the group.

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 exams.

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

Army officer dealing with terror threats denied concealed carry permit in N.J..  The state of New Jersey told an Army officer dealing with terror threats at Picatinny Arsenal in Wharton that there is no "justifiable need" for him to have a concealed carry permit.  Lt. Col.  Terry S. Russell, the product manager for the Army's Individual Weapons and Small Arms program, requires a Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance for his job.  The base where he works was chosen as a terrorist "dry run" for a a Vehicle Borne Improved Explosive Device, and hackers have tried to obtain information on personnel.  Regardless, Oceanport Police Chief Daniel W. Barcus still denied the solider a permit, a decision ultimately backed last month by Superior Court Judge Joseph Oxley.

Guns found at TSA checkpoints could mean fine, jail time for travelers.  Starting June 1, anyone who forgets they have a gun in their carry-on luggage will be looking at up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine if the firearm is caught at the security check point at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  Until Georgia law was changed two years ago, "we didn't really have any issues here," Britt Johnson, who is head of the Atlanta FBI office, said of the "Guns Everywhere Law" that expanded the list of places guns were allowed.  The law said gun owners with a permit could take guns discovered in their carry-on luggage back to their cars or give them to someone for safe keeping, and they would not face criminal charges.

Brooklyn teen tries to steal Air Jordans, loses arm in Craigslist robbery gone wrong: police.  A robbery victim, who decided to take the law into his own hands by mowing down an armed teen thief, severing his right arm, is now in handcuffs himself, police said.  Police arrested the robbery victim, Philip Pierre, 39, of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and charged him with attempted murder.  The alleged teen thief, Zachary Sam, 17, also of Canarsie, Brooklyn, was charged with robbery and criminal possession of a weapon in the Craigslist robbery gone wrong.  Both were charged on Friday [2/12/2016].  Police sources say the teenager connected with Pierre on Craigslist on Friday.  Pierre was selling a pair of Air Jordan sneakers.

The Editor says...
Craigslist would work as intended only among moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the transactions of any other.

NJ Man who Shoots Three Problem Bears gets $4,000+ Fines and Fees.  In October, 2014, a 76-year-old New Jersey resident shot three problem bears on his property.  One was an adult sow that was on his deck and looking in through his sliding glass door.  The location of the two juvenile bears when they were shot, is disputed, but was either on the deck or close to it.  Bears are more dangerous as they are larding up for the winter hibernation.  Bears that display this level of familiarity with humans, who associate humans with food, are a severe problems waiting to happen.  It is why the conservation community has come up with a well used phrase:  A fed bear is a dead bear.  Judge James G. Devine handed down the fines against Robert Ehling on the 28th of January, 2016.  I found the judges attitude a bit disturbing in one particular sense.  He thought that Robert C. Ehling acted as a "vigilante".

Colorado homeowner robbed at gunpoint may face charges for killing suspect.  A Colorado homeowner who was tied up and robbed at gunpoint Sunday [1/24/2016] may face charges for shooting and killing the suspect who was fleeing in a stolen car, Fox 31 reported.  The unidentified homeowner, who managed somehow to untie himself after the robbery, reportedly went outside his home in Littleton and fired shots into the car at the fleeing suspect.  The man in the car was reportedly identified as David Martinez, 38, who has a long criminal history of burglary, theft and drugs.  Martinez crashed the car about a block later and died.  The Denver Channel reported that under the state's Make My Day law, a homeowner is able to shoot an intruder who enters the home, but, according to one legal analyst, the law does not protect a homeowner if the shooting occurs from the porch, yard or driveway.

Sacramento Democrats Made Students Sitting Ducks for Criminals/Terrorists.  If you carry a gun on a California campus you are breaking the law.  If you use your gun to stop a massacre or a terrorist event, YOU are in trouble for having a gun.  The great news for wannabee terrorists is that they can shoot up a California campus and not worry about the teachers, professor's staff or students shooting back or trying to stop you.  The Sacramento Democrats have students and professor's ducks in a shooting arcade, like at a Fair. [...] Think about this when you send your children off to a California college — they are not allowed to protect themselves from predators.  This, in a so-called free nation.

There aren't many cops near your house.
Don't count on the police.  Of the just under 800,000 combined full time, sworn law enforcement officers in the U.S., in 2000, only about 150,000 were on duty on the streets at any given moment to protect a population of roughly 281 million, at that time.  That means that there was one policeman to protect almost 1900 civilians in 2000.  That ratio has not changed significantly in many years.  But, it's worse than even that sounds.  In 2000, over 43,000 of the listed law enforcement officers were classified by the Bureau of Justice statistics as "Special Jurisdiction".  More than 88,000 are federal officers, who do not respond to 911 calls.  They are the officers whose job is certainly not to protect you, as an individual.  So that means that a rather significant number of the 150,000 on-duty officers, mentioned above, are not dedicated to general police work, but to "special tasks".  But, even those numbers are inflated.  Many cities, like Houston, have large, dedicated traffic task forces, that do not fall into that "Special Jurisdiction" category, yet who are dedicated to special tasks.  Not only are such groups dedicated to special tasks, but they most often operate on a different radio frequency than regular patrol officers, so they won't even hear your emergency call.

South Carolina Pastor Defies Cop's Orders, Rescues Casket From Historic Flood.  A South Carolina pastor defied police orders to save an unearthed casket from historic floodwaters.  Pastor Wayne Reeves witnessed two caskets surface and began walking towards the water, but a police officer ordered him not to go.

11 Year Old Thwarts Home Invasion With A Gun, Cops Criticize Mother.  An 11-year-old boy shoots an almost 17-year-old who had broken into his home, saving his 4-year-old sister and scaring away another burglar.  The burglars repeatedly tried to break into the home, finally succeeding on their third attempt.  The mother apparently purchased the handgun because of several previous attempted break-ins of her home.  One can only imagine the relief that the mother had that her children were safe.  Yet, the reaction from police and authorities was to question why the gun was so easily accessible.

Police union wants more exemptions from L.A. proposal to lock up handguns.  Los Angeles lawmakers have been mulling new rules that would require residents to lock up their handguns or disable them with a trigger lock when they are not being used.  But the plan, championed by Councilman Paul Krekorian as a way to spare children from deadly accidents, spurred opposition from the city police officers' union, which argues that current and former officers shouldn't be held to those rules.

The Attack on Self-Defense.  Some years back, a public service TV ad depicted patients being told by a doctor that they had a tobacco-related illness:  lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, etc.  It asked, "If you're not planning to quit smoking, then what are you planning?"  So let me ask:  If you're not planning to use a firearm to defend your home against invasion, what are you planning to do?

Homeowner is handcuffed after being gunned down by police after she shot estranged husband.  This is the dramatic moment a homeowner was gunned down and handcuffed by police after she blasted her estranged husband who allegedly broke into her house and tried to kill her.  Lisa Skinner, 52, shot the male home invader, who has now been identified as her estranged husband Bradley Skinner, 59, after he broke into the house she shared with her mother around 6 p.m.  Police said Mr Skinner was armed with both a pistol and a large knife.

Not Guilty, and Handcuffed; Woman Forced to Shoot Attacking Ex.  If you are in a defensive shooting, do not be surprised if you are treated as a criminal as the police sort things out.  This is especially likely in large city police departments, where crime is common, such as in Houston.  Expect it.  In some cases you will be held in jail for a period without seeing a lawyer or a judge.  The police are allowed up to 24 hours to process your case.  If they forget or make mistakes, it can take much longer.

911 dispatcher tells grandmother to 'put the gun down' during break-in.  A Florida grandmother whose home was broken into says a 911 dispatcher ordered her to put her gun down in the middle of the invasion.  NJ Logan, 80, was recovering from hip replacement surgery upstairs in her Holmes Beach home when she heard noises coming from downstairs, EAG News reported.  "I kept hearing a commotion, like there were people walking around down there," she said.  "Once I realized it wasn't my husband, you have no idea how fast you can go. ... Honestly, all I wanted was my gun."

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.

Son 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.

Man Charged 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 reality-TV lifestyle.

Clyde man 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.

Update:
DA says 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.

Millionaire 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.

The 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.

California 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."

Utah 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.
Homeland Security: 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.

Rep. 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.

Cops: 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.

80-year-old 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 unregistered gun.

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 protect themselves.

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.

The Best 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 national survey.*

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.

Milwaukee 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.

Police 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.

Huge cop 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.

911 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.

Call 911, 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.





Warrantless searches

Smartphone passcodes are protected by the Fifth Amendment, says US court.  If someone wants to view your photos or contacts on your passcode-protected iPhone they may be able to gain access to the device with Siri.  But if the federal authorities in the US want to see the contents of your phone in the old fashioned way — by asking you your password — they won't get any help from the judicial system.  So says Judge Mark Kearney of the federal district court in Eastern Pennsylvania who recently ruled that passcodes on all such smartphones are protected by the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.

WSJ Report: "U.S. Spies on Millions of Cars".  Over a year ago we brought you the story of Mr. Filippidis and his family, a Florida Driver who was pulled over by law enforcement in Maryland.  The traffic stop would have been typical except for the fact the responding officer demanded, at random, Mr. Filippidis's firearm.  Mr. Filippidis did not have his legally owned — CCW permitted — hand gun, it was home in Florida.  Nor did Mr. Filippidis ever say he had a firearm — yet the officer was insistent Mr. Filippidis owned one, handcuffed Mr. Filippidis, and strip searched his vehicle on the side of the road.  Numerous Maryland state police arrived to assist in the search.  They found nothing, because Mr. F was telling the truth.  After two hours Mr. Filippidis and his family were allowed to continue their travels, but the entire process was unnerving.

New police radars can 'see' inside homes.  At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.  Those agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, began deploying the radar systems more than two years ago with little notice to the courts and no public disclosure of when or how they would be used.  The technology raises legal and privacy issues because the U.S. Supreme Court has said officers generally cannot use high-tech sensors to tell them about the inside of a person's house without first obtaining a search warrant.

Chris Johnson: an Example of why you Do not Consent to a Search of your Car.  It has become a hallmark of advice from lawyers.  Do not give consent to police to search your vehicle or your home.  If they had probable cause to search, they do not need to ask.  Politely refuse to give consent.  Believing that you "have nothing to hide" is escapist fantasy in today's world of overlapping amd vague laws.

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.

Suit Against 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 [2010] 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.

Local Government 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.

Editor's note:
Additional information about warrantless searches can be found in the cell phones subsection.




SWAT teams

Map of Botched Paramilitary Police Raids.

FBI Alaska SWAT Team Failed Breach.  Did they leave an M4 or AR-15 leaning up against the garage door while they tried to break into the house?  What was that dude in the truck doing with his time?  Eating doughnuts?  I think it might have been easier and done with greater tactical fidelity if they had gone up to the door and knocked.  I hope they didn't just go in and shoot the dog, leave the door all broken and walk away like most other SWAT raids.  Or confiscate an ounce of marijuana and call it a success.  [Video clip]

Keywords:  trigger happy, urban gunslinger, oops.
For man, 76, shot by NJ trooper in 911 mixup, 'whole thing is just unbelievable'.  Gerald Sykes, his wife, and their Miniature Pinscher, Sarah, never heard police knock outside their rural South Jersey home, according to the family, before a state trooper shot him Friday night [7/29/2016] while responding to a disconnected 911 call.  Authorities mistakenly believed the call, in which the person hung up before speaking, had come from Sykes' house.  It had not.  In the dark, Sykes and his wife believed the two troopers outside were intruders. [...] [The family's attorney, Rich] Kaser said Sykes' family is "aggressively exploring" the possibility of legal action, but has not taken steps yet. [...] Kaser said Sykes' wife got out of bed just before 11:30 p.m. because she saw shadowy figures on the back deck.  She then awakened her husband, who walked to the living room, also saw the figures, then walked to the bedroom to grab a shotgun from the closet.  Upon walking into the living room with the shotgun, Sykes was hit by three bullets through the glass, Kaser said.

Judge Napolitano:  FBI Transcript Shows Nobody Died in Orlando Shooting Until SWAT Teams entered the Building.  What should have been front page news everywhere, somehow got buried amid the official narrative we were given about the Orlando shooting.  Judge Andrew Napolitano told FOX News that an FBI transcript indicated that no one died until 05:13am Sunday morning when the police SWAT teams entered the building.  "Here's what is news in the summary — nobody died until 05:13 in the morning, when the SWAT team entered.  Prior to that no one had been killed.  The 53 that were injured, and the 49 that were murdered all met their fates at the time of, and during, the police entry into the building," Judge Napolitano said.

Militarized USDA and EPA using SWAT teams to terrorize innocent people including lemon growers and small farmers.  The federal government is becoming increasingly militarized, with numerous agencies now employing their own SWAT teams to conduct raids on raw milk producers, beekeepers, lemon growers — or anyone else who runs afoul of agency policies.  The trend has increased during Obama's presidency and is not only costing taxpayers enormous amounts of money, but also terrorizing citizens who could hardly be considered dangerous criminals by any sane estimation.  The USDA is just one example.

Empty home destroyed in 4-hour SWAT siege, innocent woman left with $100,000 in damages.  A SWAT team spent hours firing "mortars, grenades, and teargas canisters" at an empty home.  The 4-hour siege destroyed windows, doors, and walls and left the home in ruin.  The suspect didn't even live at the address, and the innocent homeowner was left homeless for months and ultimately was stuck with over $100,000 in repair bills, which the responsible parties have refused to pay.

Kids traumatized after SWAT team ransacks wrong home.  A family was terrorized and accosted when a masked paramilitary outfit unexpectedly broke through their back door.  Frightened children hid in a closet as the masked invaders spent hours tearing apart all the possessions in the home.  The family assumed they were being attacked by robbers, but it turned out to be a SWAT team sent from the local "Department of Public Safety."

Armed EPA Agents? The Truth Is Way Out There.  According to a report released last week by a watchdog group called Open the Books, the EPA has spent millions of dollars recently on guns, ammo, body armor, camouflage equipment, and even night-vision goggles to arm its agents in the war on polluters.  The Illinois-based investigative group examined thousands of checks totaling more than $93 billion from 2000 to 2014 by the EPA, and its auditors indicate that about $75 million is authorized each year for "criminal enforcement" of America's clean air and water laws.  This includes cash for a cadre of 200 "special agents" that engage in SWAT-style ops.

USDA and Submachine Guns: Latest Example of Mission Creep as Federal Policing Expands.  Why does the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) need submachine guns?  The agency's Office of Inspector General (OIG) is seeking .40 Caliber semiautomatic submachine guns.  But while many may wonder why USDA agents need semiautomatic weapons, the OIG's request is not unusual for other similar and seemingly unlikely federal agencies that are rapidly becoming armed and equipped with police units of their very own.

Why Do the Postal Service, USDA, EPA, And Department of Agriculture Need SWAT Teams?  All throughout the United States there are government agencies who have no association with national security acquiring military-like equipment, according to news talk KFLD.  Many agencies are also receiving SWAT teams including the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Education Department.  In almost prophetic fashion Ron Paul in a 1997 warned about the militarization of federal bureaucrats; including the BLM, which was not yet armed.

Turning police into soldiers has made America into a war zone.  The raid that wounded Bou Bou [Phonesavanh] has much in common with police SWAT deployments around the country, according to a new ACLU report on the militarization of America's police forces.  Increasingly, police departments choose SWAT to handle relatively low-stakes and low-risk tasks in low-income communities of color.  We found that police often opt for the SWAT team, with its 10-or-more officers armed with assault rifles, to do routine police work in black and Latino neighborhoods.  We reviewed multiple cases in which SWAT teams held children at gunpoint, killed family pets, and destroyed property simply because the cops believed they would find drugs.  In the process, they have brought terror into people's homes, eroded public trust in law enforcement, and undermined civil liberties.

How to serve a warrant: 1972 versus today, by Lt. Harry Thomas.  Since the early 80's, the use of SWAT teams in civilian law enforcement has increased about 1500%.  No, those two zeros are not a typo.  At least FORTY completely innocent American citizens have been shot to death by rogue police, either because incompetent law enforcement officials hit the wrong address, or because startled homeowners attempted to defend themselves against the masked strangers violently entering their homes and were gunned down.  One of them, Kathryn Johnston of Atlanta, was 92 years old.

The United States of SWAT?  Dozens of federal agencies now have Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to further an expanding definition of their missions.  It's not controversial that the Secret Service and the Bureau of Prisons have them.  But what about the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?  All of these have their own SWAT units and are part of a worrying trend towards the militarization of federal agencies — not to mention local police forces.

Dept. of Education SWAT Raid Update: Not for a Student Loan, DoE Says.  This will certainly come as a relief to Millenial deadbeats, but the notion that "bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds" is all it takes to get a paramilitary squad to bang down your door at 6 a.m, handcuff you in your boxers, and throw your three pre-teen children into the back seat of a squad car, all in the service of a warrant aimed at someone who no longer lives in your home, is frankly every bit as terrifying.  Unless and until we hear that this "criminal investigation" involves some kind of imminent threat of violence, there will be no margin of excuse for it, only new opportunities for bureaucrats and commentators to demonstrate that they are perfectly content living in and even contributing to a police state.

The Department of Education's S.W.A.T. Team.  Since when does the US Department of Education have a SWAT team at their disposal?  Official answer:  they borrowed it from the Inspector General.  Okay.  Now, let's rephrase the question.  Since when does the US Department of Education's Inspector General have a SWAT team at its disposal?  The short answer?  Since the enactment of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.  President Jimmy Carter and a social progressive Democratic Congress created the Department of Education with Public Law 96-88 on Oct. 17, 1979, and George W. Bush and a Republican Congress armed them in 2002 with an extension of the Patriot Act in what can only be described as the silent creation of the Bully State.  And, finally — why?  When the other questions are pondered and answered, one nagging question remains.  Since the Office of the Inspector General was specifically created to investigate waste and fraud by individual employees in the federal government, why would the IG for any federal agency need a SWAT team?

Congressman on mission to disarm federal agencies.  Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, introduced HR 4934, also called the Regulatory Agency De-militarization Act or RAD, in late June, and it has since gained more than 30 co-sponsors in the House. [...] In recent years, nearly every federal regulatory agency — from the U.S. Department of Education, to the Food and Drug Administration and the Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — has deployed some kind of SWAT-type unit with high-powered assault rifles, helmets, menacing black uniforms with faces covered, body armor and militarized armored vehicles.  Stewart said it's disturbing for Americans to read stories of federal regulators armed to the teeth and breaking into homes and businesses with no reason to think there would be resistance.

The Trivialization of SWAT.  A couple of things going on in America are dramatically increasing the possibility of violence in these situations, which in the process undermines public support for legitimate law-enforcement tools.  The first is the use of SWAT teams to serve search warrants on nonviolent offenders, enforce evictions, and otherwise get involved in cases where the use of force is unlikely to be necessary.  The second is the growing use of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics by government agencies that have no business employing such methods.  As mentioned, these include the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the National Fish and Wild Life Service, the National Park Service, and, perhaps the worst of all, the hated Internal Revenue Service.

Bill seeks to disarm federal SWAT teams.  Does the Department of Education really need SWAT teams?  How about the Department of Agriculture or HUD?  Finally, legislation has been introduced to reverse the militarization of the federal bureaucracy.  Representative Cynthia Loomis (R-WY) has introduced lefgislation that would reverse the dangerous madness.

Why does NASA need a SWAT team?  A strong trend of militarizing law enforcement has been occurring for some time, and if this is a surprise to you, its time to catch up.  Yes, even NASA has a SWAT team, and you may be surprised with some of their assignments, which include militarized perimeter security and robbing grandmothers of heirloom decorative paperweights.  NASA's recent purchase of Armalite AR-15 rifles, documented on FedBizOpps.gov, is only the tip of the iceberg regarding NASA's equipment and capabilities.  The space agency also has its own police department and round-the-clock SWAT team.

The United States of SWAT — Federal Agencies.  Many veteran law-enforcement figures have severe qualms about the turn police work is taking.  One retired veteran of a large metropolitan police force told me:  "I was recently down at police headquarters for a meeting.  Coincidently, there was a promotion ceremony going on and the SWAT guys looked just like members of the Army, except for the police shoulder patches.  Not an image I would cultivate.  It leads to a bad mindset."  Indeed, the U.S. Constitution's Third Amendment, against the quartering of troops in private homes, was part of an overall reaction against the excesses of Britain's colonial law enforcement.  "It wasn't the stationing of British troops in the colonies that irked patriots in Boston and Virginia," Balko writes.  "It was England's decision to use the troops for everyday law enforcement."  There are things that can be done to curb the abuses without taking on the politically impossible job of disbanding SWAT units.

Military-style units from government agencies are wreaking havoc on non-violent citizens.  Our police forces have become dangerously militarized. We need cops, not soldiers on the streets of America.  In fact it is pretty much against the American tradition to have what are essentially soldiers on patrol in our country.  Most cities don't need Bradley Fighting Vehicles.  But they are getting them.  Most cities don't need SWAT teams, but they are expanding them.  Much of this militarization has come from an influx of federal money aimed at fighting "terrorism."  But Iowa City Iowa doesn't have much of a terrorism issue.  Nor does 98% of the United States.  But the cops in places outside of New York, DC, Chicago, LA, and San Francisco want their piece of the pie.  And they've gotten it — to the overall detriment of civil society in the United States.

Depth of federal arms race should surprise, shock citizenry.  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.  Here's a partial list:
  •   The U.S. Department of Education
  •   The Bureau of Land Management (200 uniformed law enforcement rangers and 70 special agents)
  •   The U.S. Department of the Interior
  •   The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (with an armed uniformed division of 1.000)
  •   The National Park Service (made up of NPS protection park rangers and U.S. Park Police officers that operate independently)
  •   The Environmental Protection Agency (200 special agents)
  •   The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (224 special agents)
  •   The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
That's right, NOAA — the folks who forecast the weather, monitor the atmosphere and keep tabs on the oceans and waterways — has its own law enforcement division. It has a budget of $65 million and consists of 191 employees, including 96 special agents and 28 enforcement officers who carry weapons.

FBI reportedly to pay after botched raid destroyed family's Christmas tree.  After a botched FBI raid in Kansas nearly destroyed a family's home, the bureau vowed to pay for damages including a ruined Christmas tree and lost toys, The Joplin Globe reported Wednesday [12/16/2015].  Law enforcement officers reportedly surrounded the home Monday night [12/14/2015] in Galena believing an armed gang member was holed up in the attic.  He was wanted on charges including failing to appear in court on a misdemeanor assault charge.  The FBI joined in Tuesday after a federal warrant accused the man of hopping state lines to avoid prosecution, the Globe reports.

Peace Officer  is a feature documentary about the increasingly militarized state of American police as told through the story of William "Dub" Lawrence, a former sheriff who established and trained his rural state's first SWAT team only to see that same unit kill his son-in-law in a controversial standoff 30 years later.  Driven by an obsessed sense of mission, Dub uses his own investigative skills to uncover the truth in this and other recent officer-involved shootings in his community while tackling larger questions about the changing face of peace officers nationwide.

Gov. Walker Supporters Claim Police Raided Their Homes Over Politics.  Megyn Kelly shared new information tonight [4/23/2015] about a series of terrifying raids which were reportedly a form of political retribution against supporters of Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI).  She explained that a few of the people who were raided came forward and spoke to the National Review about what they experienced.  Kelly reported that Cindy Archer had a raid conducted on her home when she was sound asleep one night.  Archer claims that more than a dozen police officers were yelling and pounding on her door.  She said that police would not tell her why they were there as they ransacked her home, Kelly reported.

Wisconsin's Shame: 'I Thought it Was a Home Invasion'.  Wisconsin, the cradle of the progressive movement and home of the "Wisconsin idea" — the marriage of state governments and state universities to govern through technocratic reform — was giving birth to a new progressive idea, the use of law enforcement as a political instrument, as a weapon to attempt to undo election results, shame opponents, and ruin lives.  Most Americans have never heard of these raids, or of the lengthy criminal investigations of Wisconsin conservatives.  For good reason.  Bound by comprehensive secrecy orders, conservatives were left to suffer in silence as leaks ruined their reputations, as neighbors, looking through windows and dismayed at the massive police presence, the lights shining down on targets' homes, wondered, no doubt, What on earth did that family do?

50 Real Numbers From 2014 That Almost Defy Belief.  80,000 — Back in 1980, there were only about 3,000 SWAT raids conducted in the United States.  But today, there are more than 80,000 SWAT raids per year in this country.

Bureaucrats With Berettas.  It's a morning Kenneth Wright will never forget:  15 armed agents break in his front door and grab him by the neck, still in the boxer shorts he slept in.  For six hours, a handcuffed Wright sat in a cruiser parked outside with his three children, ages 3, 7, and 11, while agents searched his house.  "They put me in handcuffs in that hot patrol car for six hours, traumatizing my kids," the Stockton, Calif., resident told a local news outlet at the time.  Drugs?  Weapons?  Domestic violence?  No.  As Wright later found out, his gun-toting visitors were from the Department of Education's Office of Inspector General (OIG).  What the neighbors mistook as a S.W.A.T. team raid was really the execution of a search warrant in a student loan fraud case involving Wright's wife, who wasn't even there at the time.

Ft. Bend Police, Prosecutors Accused of Abuse in SWAT Incident.  "While I had my hands up naked in the shower they shot me with a 40 millimeter non-lethal round," said [Chad] Chadwick.  A second stun grenade soon followed.  "I turned away, the explosion went off, I opened my eyes the lights are out and here comes a shield with four or five guys behind it.  They pinned me against the wall and proceeded to beat the crap out of me," said Chadwick.

Sex, Spice, and Small-Town Texas Justice: The Purple Zone Raid.  On the morning of May 7, 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) launched Project Synergy Phase II, a national "day of raids" in 29 states, with the goal of taking down purveyors of synthetic drugs who funnel their proceeds to Middle Eastern terrorist organizations.  The Purple Zone, a smoke shop in Alpine, Texas, owned by 29-year-old Ilana Lipsen, was the target of one of these raids.  This particular raid was so heavy handed and its aftermath so clumsily handled by law enforcement that it drew national attention as a symbol of police militarization and the vagaries of laws pertaining to drug "analogues."  Analogues are chemicals that are not prohibited but are similar enough to controlled substances that they become illegal depending on who interprets the data.

Meet the New Serfs: You.  The New Haven SWAT team must have been pretty amped up:  It was midnight, and they were getting ready to bust down the door of a man wanted on charges involving weapons violations, robbery — and murder.  They were not sure how many people were in the house, or how they'd react.  After a volley of flash grenades that set fire to the carpet and a sofa, they moved in, guns drawn.  A minute later, they had their man zip-tied on the floor.  If only they'd double-checked the address first.

Police raid roundup.  [For example,] The grandson of a New Hampshire woman who was shot by police during a drug raid says she was reaching for her 18-month-old grandchild when the police fired at her.  The bullet ripped through her arm and lodged in her abdomen.  Two of the woman's daughters were arrested on drug charges during simultaneous raids, but neither lived with the woman.  According to the grandson, the police then tore the woman's home apart but did not find any contraband.

The militarization of America's police.  Are SWAT tactics an overreaction?  In many cases, yes.  Of the 124 SWAT raids conducted daily, only 7 percent meet the original LAPD criteria.  About 62 percent of the raids are mounted to conduct drug searches — many of them based on tips from unreliable informants.  Most are undertaken to investigate nonviolent offenses.  In Orlando in 2010, for example, heavily armed SWAT teams raided nine barbershops and arrested 34 people for "barbering without a license."  Adrenalin-fueled SWAT teams have often been accused of overexuberance:  In 2011, an Arizona paramilitary police unit riding in military vehicles — including a tank driven by special deputy and action movie star Steven Seagal — drove straight into the living room of an unarmed man suspected of staging cockfights.  Such "no-knock" operations are now commonplace — often with tragic consequences.

The nastiest political tactic this year.  The early-morning paramilitary-style raids on citizens' homes were conducted by law enforcement officers, sometimes wearing bulletproof vests and lugging battering rams, pounding on doors and issuing threats.  Spouses were separated as the police seized computers, including those of children still in pajamas.  Clothes drawers, including the children's, were ransacked, cellphones were confiscated and the citizens were told that it would be a crime to tell anyone of the raids.  Some raids were precursors of, others were parts of, the nastiest episode of this unlovely political season, an episode that has occurred in an unlikely place.  This attempted criminalization of politics to silence people occupying just one portion of the political spectrum has happened in Wisconsin, which often has conducted robust political arguments with Midwestern civility.

Massachusetts SWAT teams claim they're private corporations, immune from open records laws.  These agencies oversee police activities.  They employ cops who carry guns, wear badges, collect paychecks provided by taxpayers and have the power to detain, arrest, injure and kill.  They operate SWAT teams, which conduct raids on private residences.  And yet they say that because they've incorporated, they're immune to Massachusetts open records laws.

Barney Fife Meets Delta Force.  Historians looking back at this period in America's development will consider it to be profoundly odd that at the exact moment when violent crime hit a 50-year low, the nation's police departments began to gear up as if the country were expecting invasion — and, on occasion, to behave as if one were underway.  The ACLU reported recently that SWAT teams in the United States conduct around 45,000 raids each year, only 7 percent of which have anything whatsoever to do with the hostage situations with which those teams were assembled to contend.  Paramilitary operations, the ACLU concluded, are "happening in about 124 homes every day — or more likely every night" — and four in five of those are performed in order that authorities might "search homes, usually for drugs."  Such raids routinely involve "armored personnel carriers," "military equipment like battering rams," and "flashbang grenades."

Have police departments gone too far with SWAT units?  At the end of the 1960s, the Los Angeles Police Department decided it needed a better way to handle situations, such as confrontations with barricaded gunmen or hostage takers, that presented a high risk of deadly violence.  So it created Special Weapons and Tactics units, known thereafter as SWAT.  In the decades since, these units have spread nationwide, contributing to a startling militarization of local police agencies.  The American Civil Liberties Union now raises troubling questions about the blurred lines that come with arming and training domestic law enforcement officers as though they are an extension of the U.S. military.

The Age of Mafia Government: People Wind Up Mysteriously Dead.  The ultimate way to earn power over other people is to threaten not just their livelihood, but also their lives, and the lives of those they love.  On that note, perhaps it's appropriate to mention that the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Department of Education each have their own SWAT teams. [...] When black-helmeted men circle your home, break down your door, throw your children from their sleeping beds onto the dew-ridden lawn, and shoot you 22 times because some meathead mistook your house for a drug dealer's, it's clear government has gone from protecting you from threats to becoming a threat itself.

Nanny-State Mindset Leads to Police Brutality.  In Georgia, a SWAT team broke into a house searching for drugs and threw a flash-bang grenade inside a child's crib.  The excessive force was disgusting to begin with.  Even worse is the fact that the police had the wrong house and there were no drugs.  The child is in critical condition.  Amazingly, the local sherriff and other Georgia authorities said the officers didn't do anything wrong.  That's ludicrous.  They deployed a grenade developed for war in a private home and sent a child to the hospital fighting for his life.  Something is terribly wrong.

Baby in Coma After Police 'Grenade' Dropped in Crib During Drug Raid.  A Georgia toddler has been put into a medically induced coma after he was badly burned by a police "flash bang" grenade that landed in the crib where the boy was sleeping during a drug raid, his mother told ABC News today.  The raid occurred before dawn Wednesday night [5/28/2014] in Habersham County while the Phonesavanh family was sleeping.  "It was a big flash, a loud bang, a bunch of yelling, and my son screaming," the boy's mom, Alecia Phonesavanh, 27, told ABC News.

How Cops Became Baby Burners.  The cops were looking for the Phonesavanhs' 30-year-old nephew, Wanis Thonetheva, who a few hours before had allegedly sold methamphetamine to a confidential informant from the same doorway through which the SWAT team entered.  They had obtained a "no knock" warrant by claiming Thonetheva was apt to be armed and dangerous.  Thonetheva was not there, and police did not find any drugs, cash, or guns either.  When they arrested him later that morning at a different location, he had about an ounce of meth but no weapons.

The Editor says...
You would think there would be somebody in charge of such an operation who had made sure they had their facts straight, before charging in and using potentially lethal weapons.

Amateur SWAT is Worse Than Regular SWAT.  Here's a few fun facts about the incident that wounded "Bou-bou" Phonesavanh.
  •   The individual who threw the grenade in Georgia had no [...] flash-bang certification.  Neither did any of the SWAT members.
  •   The thrower had not had any formal training on how to use the grenade, or its capabilities.
  •   He'd never thrown one before.
  •   The individual never looked in the room, but threw the grenade blind into the toddler's crib.
  •   The SWAT members didn't just lie to the child's stressed-out mother, Alecia Phonesavanh.  They also lied to their superiors about the incident.  Many departments will countenance the former, but not many have much toleration for the latter.
  •   The SWAT team was all new and had conducted almost no individual and collective training.
  •   They claimed they "knew" there were no children in the house, but no policeman had been in the house, and even their informant had not been inside.  They actually had to move a baby stroller and walk past a minivan with four child seats to stack up on the house.  Four child seats and a stroller are what an intelligence officer might call "indicators."
  •   News stories say the target of the raid was arrested "later," but supposedly the investigation has uncovered that he was already in custody when the raid initiated.  So the raid took place to grab a guy who was already in the back of a cruiser elsewhere.

Update:
Parents left with $1 million in hospital bills after toddler son was disfigured in botched SWAT drug raid.  The parents of a toddler who was left disfigured after being hit with a stun-gun grenade in a botched drug raid while he slept in his crib are speaking out after a grand jury decided not to bring up charges in the heartbreaking case.  Alecia and Bounkham Phonesavanh's youngest son Bounkham Jr, called 'Bou Bou', was just 18-months-old when a SWAT team burst through his bedroom and threw a flash-bang device at his sleeper crib, in the hunt to find a drug-dealing cousin who didn't even live there.  Now, after several surgeries to address the boy's serious injuries, the family is left with over $1million in medical bills that the county has refused to pay.

Police Militarization, Abuses of Power, and the Road to Impeachment.  Mountain Pure Water, LLC is headquartered on Interstate 30 just outside the town of Little Rock, Arkansas.  The company manufactures and distributes beverage containers, spring water, fruit drinks, and teas.  In January 2012, about 50 federal agents, led by Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Special Agent Cynthia Roberts and IRS Special Agent Bobbi Spradlin, swooped in, guns drawn.  Without explanation they shut down plant operations, herded employees into the cafeteria, and confined them to the room for hours.  They could not so much as use the bathroom without police escort.  Cell phones were confiscated and all Internet and company phones were disabled.  Plant Manager Court Stacks was at his desk when police burst through his office door, guns drawn and pointed at him — a thoroughly unprofessional violation of basic firearms discipline in this circumstance, and the cause of numerous accidental SWAT killings.

Wisconsin prosecutors abuse the law for partisan ends.  Eric O'Keefe's refusal to be intimidated by lawless law enforcement officials produced [U.S. District Judge Rudolph T.] Randa's remarkably emphatic ruling against an especially egregious example of Democrats using government power to suppress conservatives' political speech.  Wisconsin's sordid episode began, appropriately, with a sound of tyranny — fists pounding on the doors of private citizens in pre-dawn raids.  While sheriff's deputies used floodlights to illuminate the citizens' homes, armed raiders seized documents, computers, cellphones and other devices.

The United States of SWAT?  Regardless of how people feel about Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's standoff with the federal Bureau of Land Management over his cattle's grazing rights, a lot of Americans were surprised to see TV images of an armed-to-the-teeth paramilitary wing of the BLM deployed around Bundy's ranch.  They shouldn't have been.  Dozens of federal agencies now have Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to further an expanding definition of their missions.  It's not controversial that the Secret Service and the Bureau of Prisons have them.  But what about the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?  All of these have their own SWAT units and are part of a worrying trend towards the militarization of federal agencies — not to mention local police forces.

Aggressive 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.

Licensed 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).

Armed EPA 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 Water Act.

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.

Boston SWAT team
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.

Second 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 quasi-military toys.

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 alone!*

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, answered  while armed  with gun drawn, they immediately opened fire and killed Scott in his own doorway.  His girlfriend was present in the apartment.

The 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...

DOE '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?

SWAT 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:
Computer 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.

Wrong house:
Wrong 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.

FBI 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.

Mother, Children, Terrorized by Police by Mistake.  Does this report sound like citizens encountering the police their taxes support?  Or does this sound like the kind of treatment people get from troops in an occupying army?

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 and arrested.

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.

Guilty 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.

Former 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 originally intended.

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.

Stockton 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.

More 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."

Radley Balko       


Criminalizing everyone.  "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.

The 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.

More about the George Norris case.

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 son themselves.

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.

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.

SWAT 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 acitivists.

Brothers 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.

Deadly Force.  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?
NASA 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.

Detroit 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 or injured.





Cops and their dogs


Man Who Killed Police Dog Sentenced to 45-Years in Prison.  A 23-year-old Ohio man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison after exchanging gunfire with Canton police in January.  This week, a judge sentenced Kelontre Barefield to be incarcerated for 11 years on multiple burglary charges and 34 years for the death of Jethro, a three-year-old German Shepherd who served as a member of the department's K-9 unit.  Both sentences are to be served consecutively.

Police shoot and kill suspect who fatally stabbed K9 officer.  Police in western Pensylvania shot and killed a man who allegedly stabbed a Port Authority of Alleghany County police dog to death Sunday afternoon [1/31/2016].  Port Authority Police Chief Matt Porter told reporters that the K-9 officer, Aren, had been on the job for four years, working patrol and explosives details. [...] Aren suffered multiple stab wounds and was rushed to a local animal hospital, but died after being transported.  The Tribune-Review reported that officers removed Aren's body, draped in an American flag, from the hospital hours later.

Ready for duty: Pup sworn in as K9 in adorable ceremony.  Labrador sworn in as victim assistance dog by Douglas County Sheriff in Colorado.  [Video clip]

Retiring officer forced to raise funds to buy his K-9 partner at auction.  A just-retired Ohio police officer who sought to purchase his K-9 partner of four years from the city of Marietta received an unexpected reply:  You're barking up the wrong tree.  "I had the money for the dog and was ready to hand it to the chief of police, and the chief of police said he couldn't take it," Matthew Hickey told WCMH.  At issue is a state code.  Officers can purchase their K-9 partners for $1 when the dog retires.  But, in this case, Hickey is retiring, not Ajax.

Update:
Heartbroken Retired Ohio Cop Will Get to Keep His K-9 Buddy.  The tear-jerking tale of a retired Ohio cop who feared his beloved K-9 would be auctioned off to a stranger ended with some barking — but no bite.  Matthew Hickey was told Monday [2/1/2016] he could keep Ajax by simply signing-up to be an auxiliary cop in Marietta, Ohio.  "I am prepared to do everything I can so that dog, which I know you love, stays with you," Police Chief Rodney Hupp said.

The Editor says...
Naturally I like stories about a man and his loyal dog, just like everybody else.  My only objection comes when dogs are treated as equivalent to human police officers.

Suspect tried to drown dog, fought with officer before being shot, cops say.  A suspected car thief who allegedly tried to drown a police dog and fight with an officer was shot by Tampa cops on Monday morning [10/26/2015], FOX13 reported.

Supremes Slap Leash on Drug-Sniffing Dogs.  Police aren't allowed to hold suspects absent probable cause while waiting for the drug-sniffing dogs to arrive, the Supreme Court ruled, in a 6-3 decision that spoke to the fate of the Fourth Amendment.  The Fourth Amendment reins in government against unwarranted searches and seizures.  The justices stipulated police can't detain suspects even for 10 minutes while the drug-sniffing dogs are en route, the Hill reported.

Was funeral motorcade for slain K-9 officer excessive?  A funeral that drew more than 1,000 people in Pittsburgh for a slain police dog has sparked a debate among some residents over whether the city went too far in its soldierlike salute to the animal.  Friday's [2/7/2014] 45-minute memorial for Rocco, an 8-year-old German shepherd K-9 officer who was fatally stabbed while trying to apprehend a fugitive, featured a motorcade, bagpipers, barking canines and a procession of officers holding Rocco's photo, urn and a flag.

"In Dog We Trust" printed within Pinellas County Sheriff's emblem on new rugs.  Two newly rolled out rugs at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office administration building sure looked nice while they lasted.  They were placed at the front entrance — bright green with the sheriff's bold, yellow emblem.  But there's one major problem.  If you look closely, you'll see a major typo within one of the crests — "In Dog We Trust."

The Editor says...
I don't think it was a mistake at all, considering how cops personify their dogs.  Not your dog, of course — your dog doesn't have a badge.  It would be interesting to find the purchase order for these rugs to see where the alleged typo developed.

Update:
Sheriff's office rug with 'In Dog We Trust' typo sells for nearly $10,000.  A Florida sheriff's office has turned a $500 mistake into a $9,650 windfall for charity.  The Pinellas County Sheriff's office ordered a new rug, which turned up last week with a typo.  The large green rug with the black and yellow Pinellas County Sheriff's Office logo included the phrase "In Dog We Trust" within one of its crests.

Drug Smuggler Sues U.S. Over Dog Bite.  A man transporting marijuana over the border with Mexico says a Border Patrol dog mauled him — and the U.S. needs to pay.

Tarrant County man stabs police dog; shot dead by cop.  Police said Tuesday [8/26/2014] that 22-year-old Mark Salazar of Blue Mound, Texas, stabbed a police dog named Kye, then was shot to death Sunday by the dog's handler.

AP photograph by Sue Ogrocki
Kye the K-9 police dog is buried with full honors.  An Oklahoma City police dog named Kye was laid to rest Thursday [8/28/2014] with full honors after dying in the line of duty.  During a funeral service, Kye's human partner, Sgt. Ryan Stark, leaned over the 3-year-old dog's flag-draped casket to give his four-legged friend a final pat.

Police Dog Killed in Line of Duty, Receives Funeral with Full Honors.  On Sunday, August 24, 2014, Kye, a three-year-old German shepherd K-9 officer for the Oklahoma City Police Department was killed in the line of duty when chasing down a burglary suspect.  The dog was put to rest with full honors four days later, and hundreds of police officers and animals lovers were present to show their respect for the four-legged officer.

K-9 buried with full police honors after dying in line of duty.  More than 1,000 people and dozens of service dogs attended the funeral service last week for Kye, a 3-year-old Belgian German Shepherd that was stabbed to death by the suspect.  Kye's partner since serving on the police department's K-9 unit, Sgt. Ryan Stark, shed tears and expressed a final farewell to the dog before his flag-draped coffin was buried and the canine was given out a 21-gun salute.

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."

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.

The cops are always looking for drugs.
Drug-sniffing 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.

AP photograph
Decorated K-9 laid to rest with full ceremonial honors as his emotional handler proudly looks on.  The trained bomb detection specialist was also employed as a tracker — and one of his final duties as a police dog was to track a hit and run suspect in Eastern Oklahoma County.

Under 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.

'Racist' LA 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, [...]

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.

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.

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.

County Sheriff 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."

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 travelers' money.




Cops and your dog


Editor's comment:
As you see in the subsection above, when a police dog is killed in the line of duty, the dog sometimes gets a funeral with a casket and a flag and so on.  This is because the local government portrays the police dog as equivalent to a police officer, which makes it more difficult to dispute the veracity of the dog's "testimony" about the drugs he smelled in your car.  On the other hand, when the police raid someone's house — even the wrong house — the first casualty is the family dog.  (Somehow the animal rights activists are all completely silent about this.)  This is similar to the double standard for video recordings of police activity:  If you record the police with your camera, you could get arrested for interfering with them, but if they record your activity with a dash cam, the video can and will be used against you.

Idaho Cop Murders Dog In Own Yard, Demands Cash from Owner for Remains.  An Idaho cop murdered a dog in its own front yard while serving an arrest warrant on a compliant citizen after officers took advantage of a door left ajar.  The arrest warrant turned into a death warrant for the beloved family pet named Targaryan.  Now Caldwell police are threatening to charge an innocent woman with "having a vicious animal at large."  And they sent her a $200 bill before they'll release the remains of her deceased beloved pet dog.  Police claim the dog "lunged."  But the body camera videos released today [9/16/2016] show a very different story.

Ohio Cops to Pay $780,000 for Shooting 4-year-old Girl While Trying to Kill Family Dog.  Ohio cops are expected to pay $780,000 in a settlement deal pending1 Columbus City Council's approval after an officer shot a 4-year-old in the leg while trying to shoot her dog that her family says was retreating from the porch when the officer unnecessarily fired his gun.  He then fled the scene.  Instead of rendering aid and making sure the child was OK, officer Jonathan Thomas1 then walked down the driveway, got in his patrol car and left the scene without administering aid or making sure an ambulance was on the way.

Madonna Dancer's Dog Shot, Killed by Police in Brooklyn.  A dog belonging to a professional dancer touring with Madonna was shot and killed by police officers while they were issuing an arrest warrant in Brooklyn Tuesday [7/12/2016], police and friends say.  The officers went to a home on Montauk Avenue in East New York in the early evening to serve a warrant to a 29-year-old man wanted in an open complaint, police said.

Family dog shot and killed by California deputies who went to wrong home.  A California family's dog was mistakenly shot and killed by law enforcement officers who went to the wrong home Monday while responding to a domestic violence call, The Los Angeles Times reported.  The deputies reportedly arrived at the wrong home and rattled the fence to see if there were any dogs outside the home.  Once inside the gate, two small dogs approached them and a larger Husky mix, the report said.

SWAT Team Kills Restrained Dog for Barking. In front of Child.  [Video clip.]

Cops shoot therapy dog during raid on wrong address over expired vehicle registration.  Leander Police went to the home of James and Renata Simmons acting on a warrant for unpaid vehicle registration on June 17, 2013.  The warrant, however, was for a completely different town — Cedar Park, TX, and was for a person named Bradly Neal Simpson, someone the Simmons family, who have lived at this address for the past nine years, have never even heard of.  Officers walking around the rear of the property saw Vinny, a German Shepherd therapy dog, running free within his fence along with another German Shepherd.  Police fired at Vinny, firing 3 times with one bullet hitting him in the back of his neck.

Family Raided by SWAT and their Dog Shot, for Being Unable to Pay Utility Bill.  Nothing says Police State USA quite like a SWAT team raiding a family home and killing their dog because they are unable to pay their natural gas bill.

Officers Open Fire on Small Dog as it Runs Away From Them, Shoot it to Death.  The argument escalated and one of the neighbors threatened to fight the other.  At that point it is believed that a nearby witness called the police to calm the neighbors down.  But when police arrived, the situation escalated far more than anyone could have predicted. [...] Unfortunately, however, a small dog was outside while the SWAT officers had their guns drawn.  In the video, the small dog can be seen literally running away from the SWAT team, posing no threat at all, when the SWAT team opened fire and shot the dog to death.

How often do SWAT teams kill dogs during their raid.  I googled it and found more than I could possibly count.  One poster said "If you don't want your dog shot, then don't call the police."

Dog shot dead by SWAT team during alleged dispute over neighborhood dog waste.  A SWAT team sent to handle an alleged neighborhood dispute over dog waste ended up killing the dog, and igniting a firestorm of criticism against the local police force.  In dramatic video capturing the end of Saturday's hours-long standoff involving Racine, Wisc. police, a small dog is seen being shot dead by a line of approaching officers moments after set loose.

St. Louis County SWAT Team Killed Family Dog Over Code Violation, Suit Says.  On Tuesday [6/2/2015], a South County woman filed a federal lawsuit that dog lovers should read with caution — the allegations are pretty disturbing.  In the lawsuit, Angela Zorich claims that St. Louis County Police tactical officers — aka the department's SWAT team — raided her house in April 2014 and killed Kiya, her four-year-old pit bull.

Officer fatally shoots woman, dog at end of high-speed chase.  Police in El Cajon said an officer has fatally shot a woman and a dog in a stolen car after the driver tried to run over the officer.

Mystery shrouds shooting of cop outside Atlanta.  A police officer was shot and critically wounded Monday when he responded to a call of a suspicious person and showed up at the wrong house, authorities said.  The homeowner was also shot in the leg and his dog was killed in what DeKalb County police Chief Cedric Alexander is calling a complicated shooting.

Why are police shooting so many family dogs?  A rash of animal shootings by police officers nationwide has law-enforcement agencies running for cover amid growing public outrage that could force state legislatures to require greater accountability from men and women in uniform.  Police in Utah shot a family's dog while searching for a lost boy, prompting hundreds of pet owners to protest June 28 in front of the Salt Lake City Police Department headquarters.  They carried signs demanding "justice for Geist," a 110-pound Weimaraner shot by a city cop within the dog's fenced-in back yard.  The "missing" boy was later found sleeping in his home.

Utah rally: End police shootings of dogs.  To the Guerreros, dogs are part of the family.  So on Saturday [10/25/2014], the family — mother, two daughters, a grandson, a granddaughter, a great-grandson and a few four-legged members of the clan — joined a rally on the steps of the Utah Capitol calling for an end to police shooting dogs.  They hope their show of force, along with about 50 other people and a dozen canines who joined the rally, will lead to change.  "It shows them we're not going to let it go," Wendi Guerrero said of the campaign to change how police react when they encounter a family pet.

Dog owners dispute officer's account of shooting pit bull to death.  Video of a Cleburne couple's dog being shot to death is making the rounds on Facebook, and Cleburne police say one of their officers pulled the trigger.  The department also says the short, edited video clip of the dog being killed doesn't give the full picture of what happened and why the officer fired his weapon.  The video was captured by the officer's body cam.

The militarization of America's police.  [Scroll down]  Perhaps the most common victim of police militarization is the family dog.  About 250 to 300 cop-shoots-dog cases are now recorded in the U.S. media every year, according to Randall Lockwood of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and he estimates that another 1,000 aren't reported.  Some of the shot dogs are dangerous breeds trained to attack, but many are family pets that simply get excited and fearful during raids and bark at police officers.  The dead dogs include such breeds as Chihuahuas and golden retrievers, and even a miniature dachshund that made the mistake of growling at a police officer during one SWAT operation.  "These guys think that the only solution to a dog that's yapping or charging is shooting and killing it," says former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper.  "It goes with the notion that police officers have to control every situation."

Family 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 about this?

Woman issued citation by authorities for Facebook comment.  Christine Adamski said she was surprised last week when she received a citation in the mail for a comment she made on Facebook, but she also knew immediately she wasn't going to pay it.  Adamski, 25, opened the $50 ticket from the Will County Forest Preserve District last week and read the letter alleging she had used a dog park without a proper permit.  The citation arrived at her Bolingbrook home with a letter explaining the ticket, an application for a dog park permit as well as a copy of her social media post "admitting her guilt."  "I laughed," Adamski said Thursday.  "I was like, this is totally untrue.  Obviously I'm not going to pay this."

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.

Family 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.
Synopsis provided by Reason.com.

Austin 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.

N. Texas deputy accused of shooting man's dog to death gets fired.  A Rains County, TX sheriff's deputy accused of shooting and killing a farmer's dog for no reason has been fired, officials with the county sheriff's office confirmed Thursday.  The deputy argued that the dog, Candy, threatened his safety.  Candy's owner, Cole Middleton, is a third generation dairy farmer.  After Candy died, Middleton began a campaign on Facebook that is getting national attention and said she was killed for no good reason.

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.




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. ... 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 package.

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.

Update:
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."

Another update:
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 of Maryland.

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 intended.





Excessive force

Never Mind.  He Was White.  [Scroll down]  Then there was this case in North Carolina.  The man sat despondently in his white truck in the parking lot.  He didn't want to put the gun in his hand down, even after being told to do so repeatedly by North Carolina law enforcement officers.  When he finally opened the door, brandishing a firearm, an eyewitness with a cell phone camera recorded officers fired in excess of 100 rounds over the course of a minute, striking him 14 times. [...] The man involved in this incident was John Mark Coffey.  He was shot at by seven Clinton, NC officers and a State Trooper in May.  We didn't riot.  We didn't threaten the police, or people of other races.  We didn't commit arson, or murder each other.  We are still patiently waiting for the investigation to conclude, instead of manufacturing fictional narratives and rushing to judgement.  We acted like sane people, and let the criminal justice system work.

2 ex-officers charged in beating of Ohio defendant at park.  Authorities say the officers followed up on a robbery report and were supposed to be taking two suspects to the police station but diverted to a park after verbal sparring with one of them.

California Cop Caught in Chaotic Video Wrestling with Teen for Jaywalking.  A California cop, who tried to detain a high school student for jaywalking, ended up wrestling with him for more than two minutes as the teen's friend recorded, landing both of them in jail.  The incident took place Wednesday [8/17/2016] in Fresno near First and Barstow outside Hoover High School when a student known on Facebook as "KC" tried to cross a street, only for a cop to grab him and accuse him of jaywalking.  The video, posted to Facebook where it is quickly going viral, begins as the Fresno police officer is struggling with the teen, grabbing him by his backpack, spinning him around and ordering him to sit down.

VIDEO: Cop Loses It, Tackles School Kid, Chokes Him to the Ground — for Jaywalking.  On his first day as a senior at Hoover High School, Keyshawn found himself in a struggle with a Fresno Police officer who put his hands around the student's neck, slammed him to the ground, and then employed a controversial chokehold — similar to that which killed Eric Garner — while his friend Johnny recorded the incident.  His 'crime' was jaywalking.  Although video uploaded to Facebook shows no evidence of weapons, much less violence or significant resistance against the cop who choked Keyshawn or other officers arriving on scene, both were arrested.  What precipitated this scuffle and the arrests of two juveniles?  Jaywalking and filming the police — two nonviolent, victimless acts.

California Cops Shoot Man, but Don't Explain Why he was Detained in the First Place.  California police shot a homeless man Monday after claiming he tried to grab one of their guns.  The actual shooting, so far, has not surfaced on video, but the immediate aftermath was recorded and posted on YouTube, showing two Santa Ana police officers detaining a handcuffed man, who is shirtless and on the ground screaming in pain as witnesses yell at the officers to get off him.  A Santa Ana police spokesperson said he was not sure why police tried to detain the 32-year-old man in the first place, but he was sure to mention the officers were in fear for their lives.

Police shoot caretaker of autistic man as he lies in street.  An unarmed man was shot by police in North Miami while assisting an autistic man and during the police press conference, the newly-appointed police chief announced that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is taking over the investigation.  New video released reportedly shows the man, 47-year-old Charles Kinsey, lying in the street with his hands up.

Update:
Therapist shot by police has emotional reunion with autistic client he was trying to protect.  An unarmed black therapist who was shot in the leg by police last week while protecting his severely autistic client said he had a joyful reunion Thursday [7/28/2016] with the man, who remains hospitalized because of emotional trauma.

The whole story on the Miami cop who shot the guy laying down with his hands up.  According to a police union spokesperson "The cop was actually trying to kill the autistic man holding the toy truck in order to prevent him from killing his caretaker with the toy truck.  At the time, the cop was still under the impression that the toy truck was a gun, so he wasn't taking any chances.  This despite the fact that caretaker Charles Kinsey had repeatedly told officers that it was a toy truck.  "The movement of the white individual looked like he was getting ready to discharge a firearm into Mr. Kinsey," said Miami-Dade police union boss John Rivera in a press conference today, attended by WSVN.  And the officer discharged trying to strike and stop the white male and unfortunately, he missed."  Rivera went on to slam the media for reporting on this story.

Charles Kinsey
Don't call the cops, seriously.  Charles Kinsey works as a caregiver to the disabled at a group home in North Miami.  An autistic man living at the home escaped with a toy truck Monday [7/18/2016], and Kinsey attempted to retrieve him.  The situation abruptly escalated when police arrived, apparently responding to an emergency call that a man was roaming around with a gun.  Cell phone footage obtained and released by WSVN7 News shows Kinsey laying on the ground next to a heavy-set autistic man playing with a toy truck.  Kinsey has his hands in the air and is trying to explain the situation to wary police at a distance.  "All he has is a toy truck," Kinsey shouts.  "A toy truck.  I am a behavior therapist at a group home."  The first cell phone video doesn't show what happens next, but according to Kinsey, he was then shot by the police, even though his hands were still in the air.


The Editor says...
Shouldn't the police maintain a directory of all the presumably harmless local citizens who are autistic, deaf or otherwise unlikely to understand their peril when the cops are shouting at them?

Florida Security Guard Smashes Phone, Opens Fire on Two Men for Peeing in Parking Garage.  A Florida security guard opened fire after smashing a man's cellphone, when he recorded a disagreement over his friend peeing in a City of Tampa parking garage.  After separating the witness from his camera, Everoy Farqharson opened fire on the both men.  Luckily, neither was injured.  The security guard fired his handgun four times, missing both men.  Now, the Florida security guard is facing serious charges for the battery, the assault and his failed attempt to cover up the incident too.

This Is Why Police Beat People:  Two Police Academies Caught on Video Teaching Excessive Force.  Not one, but two police training academies have now been suspended for what appears to be teaching the use of excessive force — as the norm — captured on video.  After an investigation by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), the Lower Rio Grande Development Council (LRGVDC) Regional Police Academy and the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office Training Academy have been suspended until two further investigations are concluded.

School sends sheriff to order child to stop sharing Bible verses.  A public school in California ordered a 7-year-old boy to stop handing out Bible verses during lunch — and they dispatched a deputy sheriff to the child's home to enforce the directive.  "This is a clear, gross violation of the rights of a child," said Horatio Mihet, a Liberty Counsel attorney representing the first-grader who attends Desert Rose Elementary School in Palmdale.  They are also representing his parents, Christina and Jaime Zavala.

Cops Arrest, Attack Mom Who Let 11-Year-Old Son Drive Golf Cart.  A North Carolina mom who let her 11-year-old son drive a golf cart on a vacation island for about 30 seconds was arrested, wrestled to the ground, handcuffed, and frog-marched onto a ferry to the police station, where she was jailed in leg irons and charged with child abuse.  The mom, Julie Mall, was on vacation with her husband, son, 9-year-old daughter, 22-year-old niece, and their golden retriever, staying at a $1000/night cottage on Bald Head Island.  On the evening in question, last July 26, they were riding on a paved path at dusk when the cart was pulled over by an officer.  According to Mark Washburn in The Charlotte Observer, "Mall says there is no question she was wrong."  No one is allowed to drive a golf cart without a drivers' license.  But what happened next is in dispute.

Was it Police Abuse or an Unruly Criminal?  [Scroll down]  The officer then radioed for backup.  Backup — really?  After "backup" arrived the officer told Julie to go back her cart or he would cuff her.  That's when things got ugly and when her husband pulled out his phone and started recording.  "He lunged across at me, twisting my arm behind my back.  I'm hysterical.  I've never been that scared of anything in my life," she said.  She then fell to ground kicking and screaming as her husband filmed, all the while shouted "what is going on," at now the three cops atop his wife and one standing to the side.  Yes, four cops dispatched to subdue this maybe 110 lb woman who claimed she had one glass of wine hours earlier.  They never gave an explanation to the husband.  After her arms and legs where shackled, she was lifted and placed in the back of an awaiting cruiser.  All this is on video.  After Julie was charged with resisting a public officer, intoxicated and disruptive behavior and misdemeanor child abuse, she was then taken by ferry to the mainland.  She then had to appear twice in court later in 2015, where all charges were eventually dropped being that the arresting officer never showed either time.

NYPD police officer guilty of stomping on suspect's head.  Finding him guilty of misdemeanor assault, a judge said a New York City police officer "gratuitously" stomped on a suspect's head as fellow officers tried to handcuff the man.

Man Beaten Then Jailed 3 Days for NOT Stealing a Tomato from Walmart.  Tyrone Carnegay was leaving Walmart in October of 2014 when an off-duty police officer working as a security guard approached.  Video footage of the incident shows Carnegay attempting to exit the store when Atlanta police officer Trevor King begins questioning him.  After no more than a few seconds, King begins beating Carnegay with his baton.

School officer fired after video showed him body-slamming a 12-year-old girl.  A Texas school police officer who became enmeshed in controversy after he was captured on video seemingly body-slamming a sixth-grade girl has been fired from the San Antonio Independent School District.  District officials said officer Joshua Kehm was terminated Monday amid an investigation into an incident last month at Rhodes Middle School, in which he appeared to restrain and then throw down 12-year-old Janissa Valdez.  [Video clip]

Jurors need to take the law into their own hands.  Nationally, most of the people locked up for drug crimes are African American, in spite of studies that demonstrate blacks don't use or sell drugs more than any other group.  We make up 13 percent of the country's population but nearly 60 percent of the people doing time for drug offenses.  And an endless series of videos have shown how black people get policed:  the mailman arrested in Brooklyn for yelling at the cops who almost ran him down; the teenage girl tackled by the cop at a pool party in McKinney, Tex.; Eric Garner, arrested for selling a cigarette in Staten Island and then put in a chokehold that killed him.  Like a lot of African Americans, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I encourage any juror who thinks the police or prosecutors have crossed the line in a particular case to refuse to convict.

The Editor says...
The Editor does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the article immediately above.  Some of them, perhaps, but not all of them.

Florida Deputy Caught on Camera Beating Handcuffed Man in Back of Cruiser.  A Florida deputy is facing charges after his abuse of a handcuffed suspect was caught on camera inside of a patrol car.  Michael O'Connor is the Seminole County sheriff's deputy and ex-Navy serviceman charged with misdemeanor battery.  Supervisors learned about video of him beating the handcuffed suspect, eventually bringing charges.

Ham-Handed Arrest at Pediatric Clinic Highlights Official War on the Powerless.  The cops raided my wife's pediatric practice looking for a fugitive, last week.  Actually, let's put the word "fugitive" in quotes.  The story is an eye-opening tale in itself.  It's also a glimpse at how business-as-usual in courts and cop shops around the country screws with people's lives and alienates the public from those who are allegedly their protectors.  My wife, Dr. Wendy Tuccille, was on her way to the office in Cottonwood, Arizona, when her phone rang. Frantic staff called to tell her that the clinic's parking lot was full of cops, there to arrest one of her employees, C.H. (it's a small town so we'll stick with her initials), on an outstanding warrant.  When my wife arrived she found a gaggle of cops — 12 to 15 she told me, some in battle jammies — in plain view at the rear corner of the building.  The parking lot was full of police vehicles, in sight of families and children arriving to be seen and treated.

SWAT team ambushes innocent man as he works on tractor in his driveway.  A man says that while he was working on his tractor in his driveway, a van pulled up and a dozen men with rifles piled out and assaulted him.  As they bashed his head in, breaking bones in his face, he believed they were there to kill him.  It was later determined that police had attacked a completely innocent man due to a false police report, drawing questions about why police acted so brutally against a man who did not resist and made no threats.

Police shot unarmed man, drove armored truck through door when he didn't exit on command.  A paramilitary force was dispatched to a townhouse after a woman reported a domestic dispute between her and her boyfriend.  When her boyfriend stubbornly chose to stay inside his home, police shot him and drove an armored truck through his front door.

If You Are Anti Police Brutality Does That Mean You Are Anti Police?  Police should be objective, regardless of their personal beliefs or affiliation once a man puts on that blue uniform he is no longer representing himself but is representing the idea of liberty and justice for all.  So if Police no longer represent objective and blind justice as the enforcement arm of the law then the contract between the people and the government is broken.  In order for a lawful society to exist a majority if not all the people must trust that everyone is equal under the law once the perception of fairness is broken that is the end of a civil society.

San Francisco police shot man 20 times, including 6 in back.  An autopsy report shows a young black man shot dead by San Francisco police suffered 20 gunshot wounds, including six in the back, and had drugs in his system when he died in the shooting that sparked protests and calls for the chief's removal.

Video, 911 call detail cops firing 33 times at man who refused to drop gun.  The first 911 caller reported seeing a man walking down a street shooting a gun in the air.  Authorities said they received five more similar calls from witnesses alarmed by what they saw.  Responding Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies told the man to drop the weapon, investigators said.  When he refused and started toward a gas station where a family was pumping gas, they opened fire, killing the man.

Woman says Southlake PD overstepped powers.  Constance Westfall is a partner at the Strausberger and Price law firm, but now, after what happened at her Southlake home in January of last year, she has filed a wrongful arrest, excessive force lawsuit against the Southlake Police Department. [...] "He had no basis to put his hands on her body, much less to slam her to the ground, and so the false arrest precedes everything," said Geoff Henley, Westfall's attorney.  "I don't know they live with what they do, because not only did that officer do what he did, but the other officers covered for him," said Westfall.

Police Brutality Cover Up.  [The good cops] do their jobs and keep their noses clean while they do it.  These are the cops who are never the news story.  But for others, it is just too hard to do their jobs without hurting someone.  But that's ok because when they hurt someone, there is a system in place to cover it up.  That's the way it is in Baltimore, Maryland, where the City has been paying hush money to citizens who have been mistreated by their police.

Video purportedly shows Texas officer grabbing student's throat.  A 14-year-old high school student says a school resource officer used excessive force when he grabbed the teen by the throat after the student and another boy were involved in a scuffle at a Texas high school cafeteria.

NYPD Releases Video Showing Moment Tennis Star James Blake Was Grabbed By Officer, Thrown to Ground.  The New York Police Department released video Friday [9/11/2015] showing the moment an unsuspecting James Blake, 35, was grabbed outside a hotel and thrown to the ground by an undercover officer.  The former tennis star could be seen in the footage casually waiting for a car when the officer rushed in and slammed him to the pavement, accidentally placing him under arrest before realizing he was not the suspect authorities wanted.

Family Wants Answers — 30-Year-Old Arrested, Restrained and DOA At Hospital.  After attending a concert on July 18, Troy Goode was arrested.  He was hogtied by Southaven police and later died at Baptist Memorial Hospital.  His family has been hoping an autopsy report would shed some light as to why Troy died that night.  But after receiving that document, questions remain unanswered.  "What really stands out to us is that there is not really a cause of death on there."  Kevin McCormack, the Goode family attorney, told FOX13.

Report: 33 cops fired 600 shots to stop Stockton bank robbers.  Thirty-three Stockton police officers fired more than 600 shots last year at the getaway car used by three bank robbers, who took three women hostage and entered into a rolling gunbattle with cops that killed one of the hostages after she was struck by 10 police bullets, according to a report released Monday [8/17/2015].  The review by the Police Foundation, titled "A Heist Gone Bad," said officers made "a great many smart and courageous decisions."  But it said 600 shots were "excessive and unnecessary," with some officers firing only because they saw their colleagues firing, and many officers shooting "after the threat had been eliminated."

Could black people in the U.S. qualify as refugees?  Suppose a client walked into my office and told me that police officers in his country had choked a man to death over a petty crime.  Suppose he said police fatally shot another man in the back as he ran away.  That they arrested a woman during a traffic stop and placed her in jail, where she died three days later.  That a 12-year-old boy in his country was shot and killed by the police as he played in the park.  Suppose he told me that all of those victims were from the same ethnic community — a community whose members fear being harmed, tortured or killed by police or prison guards.  And that this is true in cities and towns across his nation.  At that point, as an immigration lawyer, I'd tell him he had a strong claim for asylum protection under U.S. law.

'Black Lives Matter' Crowd Resists Truth About Resisting Arrest.  South Carolina teen was sitting in his car on a date last month when a white cop pulled up and fatally shot him with his .45 caliber handgun.  The 19-year-old was unarmed, parked outside a Hardee's restaurant.  Police say that the cop was responding to a drug deal and fired in self-defense.  But the victim's family isn't buying it and has demanded a civil rights investigation.  Another unarmed black man shot to death by police?  Actually, no.  In this case, the suspect is white.  The only racial element is the lack of national outrage.

Ferguson police 'denied Michael Brown protesters civil rights as they used dogs to incite fear and deployed tear gas without warning', DOJ finds.  Police trying to control the Ferguson protests wound up the crowds and violated free-speech rights, the Department of Justice has claimed.  The report by the DOJ found that officers used dogs to incite fear and deployed tear gas without warning on people who could not safely retreat.

More about Ferguson.

McKinney: Of Pool Parties, Police Brutality, and Institutional Racism.  Was the police response to the pool party incident in McKinney, Texas, a clear case of law enforcement overreacting — once again — to a trivial dispute, or a necessary response to the antics of delinquent teenagers?  Did racial animus play a role, as one bystander claims, or were the black kids the ones who were misbehaving, as a neighborhood resident claims?  The video evidence and eyewitness testimony suggests the former (although the latter may possess miniscule kernel of truth).  Police responded to a fight that had broken out between a girl and a mother.  A video of the encounter establishes that the fight did indeed take place, but it only involved a couple people — not the large swath of teenagers who were later detained by officers.

McKinney officer resigns due to video of pulling gun on teens.  McKinney Police Cpl. Eric Casebolt has resigned after video showed him pushing a 15-year-old girl in a swimsuit to the ground and pointing his firearm at other teens.  Casebolt's lawyer informed FOX4 of Casebolt's decision on Tuesday afternoon [6/9/2015].  McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley said Casebolt's actions were "indefensible" during a Tuesday evening news conference.

Activists Want Black Host Who Blamed Teens For McKinney Pool Fight Fired.  Dozens of activists are calling on a Dallas-based video broadcast station to fire a black talk show host for blaming a group of mostly black teenagers for starting a fracas at a private swimming pool in McKinney, Tex. on Friday [6/5/2015]. [...] The outrage began with a seven-and-a-half minute video released over the weekend showing McKinney police officer Eric Casebolt throwing a 15-year-old black girl on the ground and pulling out his gun as he tried to detain a group of teenagers allegedly involved in the fracas.

The Editor says...
In this case, both sides are at fault:  One one side, there was a flash mob of black troublemakers, jumping over the fence into a private pool party, and (in at least one case) fighting in the street.  On the other side, the police department showed up to take charge, and (in the inevitably viral video) wrestled a girl in a bikini down to the ground, as if she might be a threat to the body-armored officers if allowed to stand.

Officers who sat on handcuffed man not indicted.  Lafayette Parish law enforcement officers who held a Scott man face down until he was unresponsive were not indicted by a grand jury Wednesday [5/27/2015].  Robert Minjarez Jr., 30, died five days after officers with the Carencro and Scott police departments and deputies with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office arrested him on March 2, 2014, outside a gas station on North University Avenue.  Initial police reports indicated Minjarez died from drug-inflected brain damage.  The Lafayette Parish coroner's report listed the cause of death as "compressional asphyxia due to face-down physical restraint by law enforcement officers with contribution of rhabdomyolysis and cocaine toxicity."

When They Come for the Smaller Groups....  Everywhere, totalitarian governments do the same:  one group after another, singled out, marginalized, demonized, and then safely destroyed or brutalized.  And the rest of the population remains silent.  Why?  Because "I am not a Jew, or a Ukrainian, or a Menshevik, or a kulak, or a person with glasses."  The massacre in Waco of a few days ago bears all the marks of this tactics.  A group is picked so small and marginal that most people won't associate with them.  The group is then marginalized and demonized, and all kinds of false accusations are said about them — violence, illegal drugs, illegal weapons, etc.  Then, when the group is so marginalized that the majority of the population won't trust them, and won't take their word for anything, the government ambushes them and guns them down. [...] It was that same Waco that saw an earlier version of the same tactics, with the Branch Davidians.

14 members of Waco PD involved in bloodbath.  Video shows zero shots were fired inside the restaurant.  Video shows only one biker fire only one round from the restaurant's patio.  The officers present included a full uniformed SWAT team with fully automatic assault rifles and an MRAP.  The police affidavit says a fight broke out in the parking lot involving as few as six people.  This fight escalated to shooting.  Police have not explained how a fight involving as few as six people led to over twenty people being shot, nine fatally.

Update:
Four Weeks Later: Waco Police Narrative Unravels.  Four weeks after the deadly May 17th shooting incident outside a Waco Twin Peaks restaurant, more details have come out concerning the incident, but significant questions still remain about the actions taken by law enforcement and the police's account of what transpired.  Although the national mainstream media has largely moved on from the Waco story, if critics of the police are correct, the incident represents an unprecedented civil rights violation and media cover-up campaign by the Waco authorities.

Another update:
Grand jury clears 3 Waco officers in Twin Peaks shootout.  Three Waco police officers were cleared Wednesday [9/14/2016] of wrongdoing in the May 17, 2015, Twin Peaks shootout that left nine people dead and 18 wounded.  "Our department, along with numerous local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, has worked tirelessly on the still-ongoing investigation of Twin Peaks," Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said in a statement.  "We have completed an exhaustive internal investigation on the officer-involved portion of the incident, which was reviewed by the Texas Rangers.  The three officers have been cleared by the investigation, and the action of the grand jury affirms those findings."

The Reality of the Police State.  The conspiracy that the US law enforcement would become much like Soviet Russia, Red China, and Cuba, has been around for quite awhile, and even speaking about it now can cause some to lower their expectations about you.  With the rise of the Internet, video technology, and libertarian social pressure, police activity, or more clearly brutality, has become a clear, undeniable reality right here in the US.  We've all probably seen the images of one man being held up by 10 police officers, or the SWAT team wearing full body armor with assault rifles.  That may seem like enough to give you a scare and at least push you in the direction to consider this a problem, but it gets worse.

'Good Cop' Physically Stops Bad Cop From Abusing Handcuffed Man.  As the nation has been torn apart by police violence and abuse, many citizens have begun to wonder whether there are any good cops at all.  Critics have suggested that if there are "good cops," they should be out there stopping the bad cops from abusing their power.  So where are these legendary "good cops"?

Horseman beaten by California county lawmen to be paid $650,000.  Officials in a Southern California county said on Tuesday [4/21/2015] they would pay $650,000 to a man whose beating by sheriff's deputies following a failed getaway by horseback was caught on videotape, prompting an FBI investigation.

Thousands Dead, Few Prosecuted.  Among the thousands of fatal shootings at the hands of police since 2005, only 54 officers have been charged, a Post analysis found.  Most were cleared or acquitted in the cases that have been resolved.

10 California deputies placed on leave following violent arrest.  A Southern California sheriff placed 10 deputies on paid administrative leave Friday [4/10/2015] after a local TV station recorded several of them beating a man following a 2½-hour chase during which the suspect rode away on a stolen horse.  San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said the video "disturbed and troubled" him and appeared to show an excessive use of force.

Cops Slam Unarmed Woman On The Pavement, Killing Her In Front of Family.  Cleveland police officers recently killed a 37-year-old African American woman who died after police slammed her head on the concrete, just outside of her family's home.  Her brother explained that Tanisha Anderson was pronounced dead at Cleveland Clinic after the assault by the Ohio cops.  The pronouncement came early Thursday [11/13/2014] about two hours after the police "take down" caused Anderson to bash her head on the concrete outside of her home.

Denver police fire officer after videotaped struggle with woman in cell.  A video of the incident appears to show Officer James Medina struggling with Seryina Trujillo in the cell and then putting his knee on her neck until she goes limp and collapses onto the floor, KCNC-TV in Denver reported Tuesday [3/10/2015].

Expert says cop justified to use lethal force, surely beanbag rounds.  In a PowerPoint presentation, prosecutors listed other options Park Forest police could have taken short of firing the beanbag rounds from the shotgun.  In large white text, "Wait it out!" first appeared on the computer monitor.  Prosecutors also suggested officers could have used their ballistic shield or pepper spray to disarm Wrana — or even knocked him over with the shotgun instead of shooting him.  "John Wrana, a 95-year-old man, was absolutely not an imminent threat," Mescall said.  "Absolutely not.  Common sense dictates that."

Albuquerque police officers to face murder charges in death of homeless man.  A New Mexico prosecutor bypassed the state grand jury process on Monday [1/12/2015] and filed papers asking a judge to bring murder charges against two Albuquerque police officers who shot and killed a homeless man at his illegal campsite last March.

Inspector general: Some NY police use chokehold as first response.  A new inspector general blasted the New York City Police Department on Monday [1/12/2015] for failing to punish officers who used banned chokeholds on citizens, sometimes as a first response in a confrontation.

Sheriff's deputy knocked out teen girl while trying to break up high school fight, and made the brawl even worse.  A lunchtime fight at a Central California high school Wednesday ended with police swarming onto campus, closing the school and putting six students under arrest, authorities said.  However, Ernest Righetti High School students say the initial fight was relatively minor, and that it was a Sheriff's deputy striking one of the girls involved in the brawl that sparked the mass violence on campus.

Cops pummel bicyclist at Taco Bell drive-thru.  A New Smyrna Beach woman who was refused service at a Taco Bell drive-through window because she and her husband rode up on bicycles said Wednesday [11/19/2014] she feels discriminated against by the business and that police used excessive force during her spouse's arrest.

Kansas cops fatally shoot unarmed teen 16 times, media and DoJ silent.  You probably haven't heard about the case of Joseph Jennings, the unarmed Ottawa, Kansas 18 year old who was shot 16 times by police on August 23.  Eric Holder is not outraged, nor is Al Sharpton.  The town of Ottawa has experienced no riots or even protest marches.  After all, Jennings is only a Caucasian, and there is no profit to be had for the left in hyping an injustice done to a "white boy."

U.S. Police Have Killed Over 5,000 Civilians Since 9/11.  Statistically speaking, Americans should be more fearful of the local cops than "terrorists."  Though Americans commonly believe law enforcement's role in society is to protect them and ensure peace and stability within the community, the sad reality is that police departments are often more focused on enforcing laws, making arrests and issuing citations.  As a result of this as well as an increase in militarized policing techniques, Americans are eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist, estimates a Washington's Blog report based on official statistical data.

The Editor says...
The one-dimensional statistic in the title of the article immediately above should not be too alarming, in my opinion.  In most cases, people are shot by the cops because they put themselves in danger of being shot.  There have been a few cases where the police have opened fire without provocation, but those cases have been rare, and video footage of such incidents is even rarer.

Family of Bloomfield man shot by police claims shooting was unprovoked.  The family of a man fatally shot by Bloomfield police said on Thursday [8/28/2014] that the officers rushed onto the property without knocking on the door and did not immediately provide medical assistance to the wounded man, who was unarmed.  Police said they were responding to a domestic dispute call on Wednesday morning and were confronted by a man with a deadly weapon.  John J. Rogers, of Bloomfield, was pronounced dead late Wednesday morning in the San Juan Regional Medical Center emergency room.

Oh, the Things We Choose Not to See!  You may believe the [Michael Brown] shooting was an act of fatal racism or the justified elimination of a garden-variety criminal whose race was irrelevant.  Only one thing is certain and now obvious to nearly everybody now:  Policing in the U.S. has gone completely wrong.  Ferguson and St. Louis County police teamed up to turn a tense aftermath into a disaster.  They tear-gassed and shot rubber bullets at non-violent protestors.  They arrested reporters for the non-crime of taking video.  They strong-armed innocent people more thuggishly than the robber of that Ferguson convenience store ever did.  They acted in ways George Orwell warned about, informing protestors that "Your right to assembly is not being denied" — even as they denied it.  They incited rage by witholding the shooter's name for nearly a week — something they would never have done had he not been a cop.

16 Reasons Why the United States is Going to Hell in a Handbasket.  [#6]  It seems that just about everyday I get emails from readers and read news reports of police abuse of power — everything from shooting and killing an unarmed and handcuffed man, to shooting a suspect in the back while running away, or a man executed by police for camping on public land (did you hear the "officer" yell, Booyah after shooting the man 6 times?), all justified of course, to police shooting and killing chained and caged dogs.  Even puppies and a 5 pound Chihuahua aren't safe from thugs in uniform.

Texas officer who shot armed 93-year-old fired.  Officials in a small Central Texas town voted Saturday [5/10/2014] to fire a police officer who shot and killed an armed 93-year-old woman during a confrontation at her home.

Supreme Court: Police Can't Brutalize Your Elderly Mother.  Today's hypothetical:  Police officers come to your home at 2 a.m., insist (as a result of their own clerical error) that the car you're driving is stolen property, order you to lie on your belly, slam your mother against a garage door, and then shoot you three times from 15 feet away when you protest.  Is there some chance — some very slight chance — that their conduct violates a "clearly established" constitutional right?  The Supreme Court on Monday [5/5/2014] said "yes."  All nine justices agreed that a lower court that blew off the claim needs to go back and take a fresh look at the issue.

Objections raised to handcuffing of 9-year-old in Portland.  A year ago, two Portland police officers investigating a fight at a youth club came to the home of a 9-year-old Portland girl, handcuffed her as she stood in a blue and white bathing suit, and led her away to be processed downtown on an assault charge.

Elderly man calls for ambulance, violent cops beat him instead.  An elderly Missouri man dialed 911 and asked for an ambulance to come and help his ailing wife.  Instead, the police showed up, threw him to the ground, sat on his head and handcuffed him.  He later received stitches for his injuries.  "I never had anybody jump on me for doing nothing," said the man, Elbert Breshears of Humansville, Missouri, in a statement to KSPR 33.

Woman 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.

Tucson 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.

Suburban [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, authorities said.

Protesters 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].

Was 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.

Bottled-water 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 incident.

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.

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.

California 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.

Woman 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.

97-year-old 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 themselves...).

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.

Misconduct 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.

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.




"Where 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         





The Death of Laquan McDonald

Introduction by The Editor:
This case comprises an interesting combination of factors, some of which have their own subsections on this page:  Video recordings of the police, abuse of power, excessive force, and a systematic cover-up of street-level malfeasance.  It also has a lot to do with Chicago itself.

Black Lives Matter group is pressured to expand the scope of its outrage.  Video released last month that shows a police officer killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald with 16 bullets ignited passion on the streets of Chicago.  Protesters disrupted shoppers along the famed Magnificent Mile, the city's police chief was fired, and the Justice Department launched an investigation into racial disparities in officers' use of force.

Wagging the dog in Chicago.  The [Laquan McDonald] incident was captured on police dash cam when it happened, so authorities knew right away what the truth was (the public, meanwhile, had to wait over a year for the truth).  Not to mention multiple officers witnessed their colleague shoot a 17 year old in the back while he was walking away, and continued to pump him full of lead after he had collapsed to the pavement, convulsing as the bullets tore into his body.  Nevertheless, the union wasted no time cranking up its PR machine in protection of the shooter.

Republicans Must Save the Cities.  A Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was wielding a knife and who had PCP in his system.  Chicago authorities apparently went to some trouble to sweep the case under the rug:  A $5 million settlement to his family already had been approved; the officer wasn't charged until nearly a year after the fact; a police-camera video of the shooting was suppressed for more than a year, until an FOIA lawsuit forced its release.

Chicago Deserves Riots Over The Laquan McDonald Shooting And Coverup.  Chicago is bracing for riots after the release of a video of a black teenager, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, being shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer. [...] From what we know, McDonald was hopped up on hallucinogenic drugs and in his addled state had attacked a police car and slashed its tires with a knife, so he was definitely a danger to himself and others and needed to be apprehended.  But when he was shot, he was trying to walk away from police and did not pose an immediate danger to them, so the hail of bullets that took him down — and kept pumping into him after he was on the ground — was grotesquely excessive.  But that's not the real grievance.  The real grievance is the total contempt the city government of Chicago has always shown for its citizens.

President Cop-Basher Strangely Mute on Laquan McDonald Case.  You would think this one is right in his wheelhouse.  A cop acted stupidly, it happened in his hometown and the mayor is his former Chief of Staff, so it's not as if he can't get the facts, right?  By now Obama would have normally unleashed his Justice Department to get to the bottom of this obvious political cover-up.  Strange.  We just can't put out finger on why a guy with verbal diarrhea isn't expressing his outrage.  Unless maybe, just maybe the fact Chicago is a Democrat cesspool of corruption.  Could that be it?

Chicago paid $5 million to shooting victim's family, keeping them quiet and video secret while Rahm re-elected.  As Chicago is convulsed over video of Office James McDonald emptying his gun into 17 year old Laquan McDonald with 16 shots, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is so far escaping scrutiny over the city's successful effort to suppress the shooting as an issue in his re-election campaign.  The shooting took place on October 20, 2014, and Mayor Emanuel was facing a nonpartisan election 4 months later, on February 24, 2015.  Since no one received a majority of the vote (Emanuel received 46% to runner-up Democratic Cook County Commissioner Jesús "Chuy" García's 34%, a run-off election was held on April 7, with Emanuel winning 55.7% of the vote and a second term.

Chicago's police scandal fueled by decades of one-party rule.  Last year, police officer Jason Van Dyke killed Laquan McDonald, a black teenager.  Van Dyke put 16 bullets in him.  Five other officers claimed McDonald had lunged at them menacingly with a knife.  But that's not what happened.  A police dashcam video shows that although McDonald was carrying a knife, he was walking away from Van Dyke when the cop fired the first bullet.  McDonald was lying on the pavement, motionless, for the next 15.  The officer was out of his car for just seconds before he started shooting.  Perhaps reasonable people — or at least Van Dyke's lawyers — can disagree about the first bullet, though I can't see what that argument would be.  But the next 15?

Alleging Cover-Up In Laquan McDonald Shooting, Rev. Jackson Planning Protest On State Street Sunday.  Reverend Jesse Jackson plans to lead yet another protest of the city's handling of the Laquan McDonald case Sunday [12/6/2015] on State Street in the Loop, reports WBBM's Mike Krauser.  The point of the protest, says Jackson, is the cover-up.  There are written reports from officers at the scene when Jason Van Dyke shot Laquan McDonald 16 times that don't fit the dashcam video.

DOJ launches investigation into Chicago police.  Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Monday [12/7/2015] the launching of an investigation into the Chicago Police Department for possible civil rights and other violations.  The investigation comes as the police force is under intense scrutiny since the recent release of a video showing white police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times.  The announcement also comes just ahead of the expected release of similar footage in another young black man's death at the hands of an officer.




The Death of Eric Garner

Introduction by The Editor:
Eric Garner was a man in poor health who was selling loose cigarettes on the streets of New York City.  Ordinarily, that would not be a profitable business, but the taxes imposed on cigarette sales in New York are so astronomically high that a pack of cigarettes costs $12 to $14. [Source]  Most cigarette smokers, I would say, are hopelessly addicted and not too concerned with the long-term consequences of smoking.  So the high price of cigarettes is not a deterrent to smoking, it's just a way to soak the smoker for tax revenue, and any attempt to bypass a tax is perceived as a threat to big government.  So that's why Mr. Garner was out on the street in the first place.  Along came the New York City police.  I've never had a conversation with a cop in New York, but I've heard that the NYC police are the very best — until the moment you refuse to do as they tell you, and then they're the world's worst.  Apparently Mr. Garner was told to cease and desist his unlicensed, unregulated ad hoc sales, and was probably ordered to relinquish his inventory, to which he verbally objected.  He was already outnumbered and was quickly dropped to the ground by a cop who sneaked up on him from behind while the other cops kept his attention in the other direction.  Mr. Garner was a large fellow, but he was no wrestler, and his pre-existing health issues caught up with him moments later.  (We would never have known about any of this were it not for some bystander with a cell phone camera, which is an argument in favor of photographing the police.)  Mr. Garner died, and there is plenty of blame on both sides.  He shouldn't have been selling loose cigarettes, but he only did so because high taxes affected the balance of supply and demand.  The cops probably shouldn't have jumped on him with so little provocation, but his own poor health cased his death.  Only after his death did anyone inject race into this story, but unfortunately that is now the only part of the story most people know.

Summary:
The Left's War Against Justice and Peace.  Most conservatives realize that the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" slogan, which pretends that the Ferguson criminal, Michael Brown, was innocent and the white police officer Darren Wilson guilty is false.  But the Eric Garner slogan "I Can't Breathe," which suggests Garner was choked to death because he was black, is equally a lie.  Garner wasn't choked to death, and he didn't die because of the color of his skin.  The police sergeant on the scene directing the arrest was an African-American woman.  Garner was not choked or strangled to death.  He died in the ambulance from a heart attack, a consequence of his morbid obesity, asthma, heart disease, diabetes and resisting arrest.

Judge won't release grand jury testimony from Eric Garner case.  A Staten Island judge ruled that testimony heard by the grand jury that declined to indict a cop in the Eric Garner chokehold death should not be made public.  In his ruling, State Supreme Court Justice William Garnett said such a disclosure would threaten the independence of the secret deliberations and he notes that the U.S. Department of Justice is still investigating the proceedings for potential civil rights violations.

FBI agents take 'fresh look' at Eric Garner case.  A team of senior-level FBI agents with decades of experience in long-term criminal and public corruption cases are handling the federal civil rights investigation into the controversial chokehold death of an unarmed black man by a white police officer, two law enforcement sources said Tuesday [1/20/2015].

OCME: Police chokehold caused Eric Garner's death.  The New York City medical examiner ruled Friday [8/1/2014] that a police officer's chokehold caused the death of a man whose videotaped arrest and final pleas of "I can't breathe!" sparked outrage and led to the announcement of a complete overhaul of use-of-force training for the nation's largest police force.

Cop cleared in chokehold death of Eric Garner.  A Staten Island grand jury cleared an NYPD cop in the chokehold death of Eric Garner during his caught-on-video arrest for peddling loose cigarettes, the Staten Island district attorney confirmed Wednesday [12/3/2014].  The panel voted a "no-bill" and dismissed all potential charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

The Actual Facts of the Eric Garner Case.  The autopsy from the medical examiner attributed his death to homicide — meaning death at the hands of another party, not murder, in medical parlance — and stated that he died thanks to "Compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police."  But the autopsy further noted that Garner died thanks to acute and chronic bronchial asthma, obesity, and heart disease.

Blame only the man who tragically decided to resist.  Eric Garner was a career petty criminal who'd experienced dozens of arrests, but had learned nothing from them.  He was on the street July 17, selling untaxed cigarettes one at a time — which, as inconsequential as it seems, happens to be a crime.  Yet another arrest was under way when, suddenly, Garner balked.  "This ends here," he shouted — as it turned out, tragically prophetic words — as he began struggling with the arresting officer.  Again, this was a bad decision.  Garner suffered from a range of medical ailments — advanced diabetes, plus heart disease and asthma so severe that either malady might have killed him, it was said at the time.  Still, he fought — and at one point during the struggle, a cop wrapped his arm around Garner's neck.

Eric Garner's America.  It is obvious from the video of the Garner incident that it was a feat of monstrous negligence by the New York Police Department.  They had no excuse to take him into custody and did it brutally, and ignored his claims that he couldn't breathe.  It was an even more outrageous performance by a gang of gonzo American police than the infamous Rodney King beating, which King, at least, survived, and in which he had apparently committed some traffic violations late at night.  Garner had not apparently done anything seriously wrong (or perhaps anything wrong at all) and was harassed and baited in broad daylight by a group of policemen, some of whom were dressed like lager louts.  There is no reason to believe that the policeman who applied the chokehold intended to kill Garner, but the whole group is guilty of criminal negligence resulting in involuntary manslaughter, and a serious investigation and legal process could establish levels of guilt and appropriate penalties.

A Medical Perspective on the Garner Tragedy.  Having reviewed the video several times now, and being a physician who specialized in the surgery of the very obese, I believe that the cause of Mr. Garner's death was not "police brutality" or negligence, but rather the unfortunate synergy between his disease of morbid obesity and actions most police perform countless times with only transient discomfort to the arrestee.  The decision of the Grand Jury was reasonable.  Mr. Garner's demise was the consequence of a confluence of many factors, most of which were beyond the ken of a policeman, and which occurred in devastatingly rapid sequence.

The Role that Obama's Runaway Bureaucracy Played in the Death of Eric Garner.  Garner starts off in the video showing anger that the police have confronted him repeatedly, over time, not just that day.  He does not appear to be threatening anyone, and according to reports had in fact just stopped a fight between other people.  So it's not clear why the police elected to use force on him.  A citation would probably have sufficed.  But a citation for what?  Garner was reportedly selling "loosies," individual cigarettes taken out of their original packaging.  That's a crime?  Yep.  Since 2010, that's a crime, sayeth the unaccountable bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration.

More about cigarette taxes and nanny state restrictions on smoking.




The Department of Justice vs Apple Computer

This subsection has moved to this page.




Anything you have ever said can be used against you

Introduction by The Editor:
The Supreme Court ruled on June 25, 2014, that the police need a warrant to search your cell phone.  The first few articles in this section refer to that decision.  The rest of the articles are older, and may give you an idea of the conditions that led to this appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.

Canadian man fined $500 for refusing to give cellphone password to customs officials.  A Canadian man who was arrested and charged last year for failing to give authorities the password to his cellphone pleaded guilty Monday [8/15/2016] to violating the federal Customs Act and was ordered to pay a $500 fine.  Alain Philippon of Montreal risked the possibility of prison time and upwards of $25,000 in penalties had he been convicted of "hindering" under section 153.1 of the Customs Act.  Mr. Philippon, 39, was arrested in March 2015 after returning to Canada from the Dominican Republic.  He was approached by officers with the Canada Border Services Agency upon arriving at Halifax Stanfield International Airport and was asked to provide authorities with access to his personal Blackberry.  When he refused to give up the password needed to unlock the device, officials charged him with hindering, or preventing an officer from doing his job.

Woman Accuses Cop of Texting Himself Her Naked Selfie During Traffic Stop.  A federal judge is allowing a Virginia woman to move forward with part of her lawsuit against a D.C. police officer, who reportedly took her cell phone during a traffic stop and then proceeded to text himself a 'naked selfie' of the young lady.  Officer Terrence Richardson took Natalia Argota's phone while another officer conducted a field sobriety test on her back in 2012, according to court records.  He began perusing the images on it, until he came to a "naked photo of [Ms.  Argote] that she had taken for her boyfriend." Without Ms.  Agote's knowledge or consent, according to court records, Officer Richardson attached a copy of the photo to a text that he sent himself from Ms.  Argote's phone.

Court Says Police Don't Need Warrants to Get Your Phone's Location Info.  After two robbers were tracked down by police who used data obtained from their phone companies, the question arose of whether they can get that sort of information without a warrant.  Aaron Graham and Eric Jordan were convicted after officers obtained data from Sprint that let them determine their location.  Police used roughly 29,000 location records covering 221 days, obtained without warrant.  Whether or not they should have had access to the records was an issue that went before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The Fourth Circuit had already upheld the convictions of Graham and Jordan.  On Tuesday [5/31/2016], the court ruled after an en banc review (meaning all 15 judges looked at the case instead of the three-judge panel who first heard it) that police do not need a warrant for that information.

State To Allow Cops To Snatch Your Phone After Being Stopped And Search It Using A "Textalyzer".  New York was the first state to place restrictions on cell phone use while driving, which has prompted 46 other states to ban texting while driving over the last seven years.  The issue of driving while distracted — especially texting — has undoubtedly become a huge problem. [...] New York legislators are seeking to expand the state's involvement in the issue, and this time with dire consequences for privacy rights.  The proposed bill would allow cops to take a person's cell phone and connect it to a machine called the Textalyzer.

Justice Department gets access to iPhone linked to Brooklyn drug case.  The Justice Department said Friday [4/22/2016] it has withdrawn a request that sought a court order forcing Apple to assist in opening a locked iPhone 5s linked to a drug case in New York.  According to a court filing, the Justice Department no longer needs Apple's assistance in unlocking the device because an individual provided investigators with the correct passcode Thursday [4/21/2016].  This ends months of litigation that has been unfolding in the Eastern District of New York tied to a locked iPhone 5s running iOS7 that belong to a convicted drug kingpin.

Apple iPhone unlocking maneuver likely to remain secret.  The company that helped the FBI unlock a San Bernardino shooter's iPhone to get data has sole legal ownership of the method, making it highly unlikely the technique will be disclosed by the government to Apple or any other entity, Obama administration sources said this week.  The White House has a procedure for reviewing technology security flaws and deciding which ones should be made public.  But it is not set up to handle or reveal flaws that are discovered and owned by private companies, the sources said, raising questions about the effectiveness of the so-called Vulnerabilities Equities Process.

First came the Breathalyzer, now meet the roadside police "textalyzer".  We're all familiar with the Breathalyzer, the brand name for a roadside device that measures a suspected drunken driver's blood-alcohol level.  It has been in use for decades.  Now there's a so-called "textalyzer" device to help the authorities determine whether someone involved in a motor vehicle accident was unlawfully driving while distracted.  The roadside technology is being developed by Cellebrite, the Israeli firm that many believe assisted the Federal Bureau of Investigation in cracking the iPhone at the center of a heated decryption battle with Apple.  Under the first-of-its-kind legislation proposed in New York, drivers involved in accidents would have to submit their phone to roadside testing from a textalyzer to determine whether the driver was using a mobile phone ahead of a crash.

L.I. woman gets $45G over Queens cop's racy picture, video grab.  A woman who accused a Queens cop of invading her privacy by texting himself racy pictures and videos from her cell phone has settled her suit with the city for $45,000, the [New York] Daily News has learned.  The settlement is the latest bad news for 12-year NYPD veteran Sean Christian.  He pleaded guilty last year to departmental charges, was docked 45 vacation days and placed on dismissal probation.  He was also told the city would not indemnify him, exposing him to civil liability.

Facebook Monitors Your Private Messages and Photos For Criminal Activity, Reports them to Police.  Facebook has a new little known software that monitors your profile chat and pictures for criminal activity.  The software will proceed to alert an employee at the company who will then decide whether to call authorities or not.  The software will monitor individuals who have a 'loose' relationship on social media networks, according to an interview with Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan.

Be careful what you say to 911.  What you say on 911 is recorded.  It can and will be used against you in a court of law.  My friend and publisher of numerous books on gun laws, Alan Korwin, says that in the vast majority of cases where people involved in self defense scenarios end up in serious legal difficulties, it is what they said on 911 that got them into trouble.

Investigators studying cellphone of engineer in fatal Amtrak crash.  Investigators trying to determine why an Amtrak train barreled into a curve at more than twice the speed limit are studying the engineer's cellphone to see if he was distracted before the fatal crash, officials said Wednesday [5/20/2015].  The National Transportation Safety Board said the Federal Railroad Administration had obtained the cellphone records of Brandon Bostian, who was at the train's controls on May 12 when it derailed in Philadelphia.

When Cops Check Facebook.  For the past several years, police and prosecutors across the country have been quietly using social media to track criminal networks.  Their methods have become more sophisticated:  by combining social media APIs, databases, and network analysis tools, police can keep tabs on gang activity.  In New York's Harlem neighborhood, at-risk teens are identified as members of gangs based on their affiliations and are monitored on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Risks of committing a crime while carrying a cell phone.  Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez is currently on trial for murder.  The investigation and trial testimony was largely based on evidence that was derived from cell phone records.  Authorities created a detailed time line of Hernandez leaving his suburban home, driving to Boston where he picked up the victim, driving to a deserted industrial park where the murder occurred and then returning home.  This was based on text messages and cell tower pings from both Hernandez and the victim.

FBI says search warrants not needed to use "stingrays" in public places.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking the position that court warrants are not required when deploying cell-site simulators in public places. Nicknamed "stingrays," the devices are decoy cell towers that capture locations and identities of mobile phone users and can intercept calls and texts.  The FBI made its position known during private briefings with staff members of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).  In response, the two lawmakers wrote Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson, maintaining they were "concerned about whether the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have adequately considered the privacy interests" of Americans.

DHS Funds Installation of White Boxes That Can Track Population of Entire City.  Strange new off-white boxes popping up in downtown Seattle use wi-fi networks that can record the last 1,000 locations of a person using their cellphone's MAC address, but the Department of Homeland Security — which funded the network to the tune of $2.7 million dollars — has refused to address the nightmare privacy implications of a system that could lead to the permanent tracking of an entire city's population.

Justice Dept. Caught Scooping Up Civilian Data From Fake Cell Phone Towers.  The Justice Department is using fake cellphone towers on planes to collect metadata from thousands of innocent Americans without a warrant.  The program is meant to target criminals, but the broad nature of the surveillance means that any phone that happens to automatically lock on to the tower's signal will have its data collected, without any suspicion of criminal activity.

Cell Phone Tracking Methods.  Cell phones, smartphones, and other mobile devices (e.g. laptops and tablets) can be located whenever they are turned on.  Current location-tracking technologies can be used to pinpoint users of mobile devices in several ways.  First, service providers have access to network-based and handset-based technologies that can locate a phone for emergency purposes.  Second, historical location can frequently be discerned from service provider records.  Finally, third party devices such as Wi-Fi hotspots or IMSI catchers can be used to track nearby mobile devices in real time.

Americans' Cellphones Targeted in Secret U.S. Spy Program.  The Justice Department is scooping up data from thousands of mobile phones through devices deployed on airplanes that mimic cellphone towers, a high-tech hunt for criminal suspects that is snagging a large number of innocent Americans, according to people familiar with the operations.

Virginia judge: Police can demand a suspect unlock a phone with a fingerprint.  A Virginia Circuit Court judge ruled on Thursday that a person does not need to provide a passcode to unlock their phone for the police.  The court also ruled that demanding a suspect to provide a fingerprint to unlock a phone would be constitutional.  The ruling calls into question the privacy of some iPhone 5S, 6, and 6 Plus users who have models equipped with TouchID, the fingerprint sensor that allows the user — and ideally only the user — to unlock the phone.

Virginia Police Have Been Secretively Stockpiling Private Phone Records.  The database, which affects unknown numbers of people, contains phone records that at least five police agencies in southeast Virginia have been collecting since 2012 and sharing with one another with little oversight.  Some of the data appears to have been obtained by police from telecoms using only a subpoena, rather than a court order or probable-cause warrant.  Other information in the database comes from mobile phones seized from suspects during an arrest.

Cop charged with stealing nude pics from women's phones.  Prosecutors in Contra Costa County, directly across the bay from San Francisco, have filed criminal felony charges against a former California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer, Sean Harrington, who is accused of seizing and distributing racy photos copied from arrestees' phones.

Florida rules police can't track cellphones without warrant.  Florida's Supreme Court has barred police from track suspects via cellphone signals without a warrant.  "Because cellphones are indispensable to so many people are normally carried on one's person, cellphone tracking can easily invade the right to privacy in on'e home or other private ares," Chief Justice Jorge Labarga wrote Thursday [10/16/2014] in the 5-2 ruling, Reuters reported.

FBI Chief: Citizens Should Be 'Deeply Skeptical' of Government.  [James] Comey, 53, who became FBI chief in September 2013, cautioned that courts must grant law-enforcement agencies permission to telephones if the information is deemed to be critical to a criminal case or national security.  His comments come in light of numerous leaks since last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealing that agency's extensive telephone and Internet surveillance programs and cell phones introduced last month by Apple Inc. that were designed to avoid surveillance by law enforcement.

Government Set Up A Fake Facebook Page In This Woman's Name.  The Justice Department is claiming, in a little-noticed court filing, that a federal agent had the right to impersonate a young woman online by creating a Facebook page in her name without her knowledge.  Government lawyers also are defending the agent's right to scour the woman's seized cell phone and to post photographs — including racy pictures of her and even one of her young son and niece — to the phony social media account, which the agent was using to communicate with suspected criminals.

FBI Questions Apple and Google Over Privacy Features.  The FBI director criticized Apple and Google Thursday [9/25/2014] for adopting new policies that will block police from accessing private data on phones and tablet computers.  Director James Comey told reporters he is "very concerned" that the new features could thwart critical police investigations.  The bureau has contacted both companies to learn more, he said.  "What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law," Comey said, according to a transcript of the conversation provided by the FBI.

FBI blasts Apple, Google for locking police out of phones.  FBI Director James B. Comey sharply criticized Apple and Google on Thursday [9/25/2014] for developing forms of smartphone encryption so secure that law enforcement officials cannot easily gain access to information stored on the devices — even when they have valid search warrants.  His comments were the most forceful yet from a top government official but echo a chorus of denunciation from law enforcement officials nationwide.  Police have said that the ability to search photos, messages and Web histories on smartphones is essential to solving a range of serious crimes, including murder, child pornography and attempted terrorist attacks.

The Editor says...
The FBI director's claims would be more credible if the cops heretofore had been using cell phone searches exclusively against pedophiles and murderers.  My perception is that the cops go fishing in every cell phone they can get their hands on.  (See "You're guilty of something, we just need to figure out what it is.")

I thought he resigned last week.
Holder urges tech companies to leave device backdoors open for police.  Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said on Tuesday that new forms of encryption capable of locking law enforcement officials out of popular electronic devices imperil investigations of kidnappers and sexual predators, putting children at increased risk.

The Editor says...
This appears to be Holder's half-baked logic:  If you don't leave your company's products wide open to police snooping, warrantless or otherwise, then you are abetting criminals.

FBI gags state and local police on capabilities of cellphone spy gear.  The FBI requires state and local police to keep quiet about the capabilities of a controversial type of surveillance gear that allows law enforcement to eavesdrop on cellphone calls and track individual people based on the signals emitted by their mobile devices, according to a bureau document released recently under a Freedom of Information Act request.  The December 2012 document is a heavily redacted letter between the FBI and police in Tacoma, Wash., as the local department sought to acquire an IMSI catcher, sometimes described as a "fake cellphone tower" because it tricks individual phones into routing their calls and other data through the surveillance equipment.

The unintended consequences of unsearchable smartphones.  The idea of these new systems is that once the owner of the phone enters a passcode, there will be no technical way for Apple or Google to get at certain of its data.  They won't be able to answer a search warrant for data on even if they want to.  "It's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data," Apple's website says.

Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police.  Apple said Wednesday night [9/17/2014] that it is making it impossible for the company to turn over data from most iPhones or iPads to police — even when they have a search warrant — taking a hard new line as tech companies attempt to blunt allegations that they have too readily participated in government efforts to collect user information.  The move, announced with the publication of a new privacy policy tied to the release of Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, amounts to an engineering solution to a legal quandary:  Rather than comply with binding court orders, Apple has reworked its latest encryption in a way that prevents the company — or anyone but the device's owner — from gaining access to the vast troves of user data typically stored on smartphones or tablet computers.

Apple: We can't, won't unlock devices for police.  Even cops with a warrant to pull private user data off of someone's fancy new iPhone or iPad might be out of luck — Apple says that with the release of iOS 8, it's now not physically possible for even the company itself to access that info, reports the Washington Post.

Supreme Court: No Cell Phone Searches Without a Warrant.  The Supreme Court just ruled that police officers must obtain a warrant before searching through an arrestee's cell phone.  This unanimous decision has huge implications as 12 million Americans are arrested every single year and most carry cell phones with vast amounts of personal information.  Of course, this issue should be a no brainer.  The Fourth Amendment, which clearly prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, should still apply in today's digital age.  Up until now, however, the law has been unclear about smart phones.

Supreme Court Says Phones Can't Be Searched Without a Warrant.  In a sweeping victory for privacy rights in the digital age, the Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled that the police need warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest.  While the decision will offer protection to the 12 million people arrested every year, many for minor crimes, its impact will most likely be much broader.  The ruling almost certainly also applies to searches of tablet and laptop computers, and its reasoning may apply to searches of homes and businesses and of information held by third parties like phone companies.

Supreme Court bans warrantless cell phone searches, updates privacy laws.  The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police must obtain warrants before snooping through people's cellphones, delivering a unanimous decision that begins to update legal understanding of privacy rules to accommodate 21st-century technology.  Police agencies argued that searching through data on cellphones was no different from asking someone to turn out his pockets, but the justices rejected that, saying a cellphone holds the most personal and intimate details of someone's life and falls squarely within the Fourth Amendment's privacy protections.

Supreme Court rules cell phones cannot be searched without a warrant.  Police need a warrant to search the cell phone of a person who has been arrested, absent special circumstances, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled Wednesday [6/25/2014].  "Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience.  With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans 'the privacies of life,'" Chief Justice John Roberts wrote.  "The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.  Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple — get a warrant."

Supreme Court requires warrants for cell phone searches on arrest.  The Supreme Court has decided the cell phone search cases together in Riley v. California, and the result is a big win for digital privacy:  In a unanimous opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court holds that searching a cell phone incident to arrest requires a warrant.  In 1973, the Supreme Court had held in United States v. Robinson that the government can conduct a complete search of the person incident to arrest.  But cell phones present a different situation, the Court rules.

Cellphones Can't Be Searched Without a Warrant, Supreme Court Rules.  In a major statement on privacy rights in the digital age, the Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled that the police need warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest.  Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the court, said the vast amount of data contained on modern cellphones must be protected from routine inspection.  The old rules, Chief Justice Roberts said, cannot be applied to "modern cellphones, which are now such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy."

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Warrantless Cellphone Tracking.  A federal court ruled for the first time that cell phone location data enjoys the same reasonable expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment as other information already included under that provision of the Bill of Rights.  On June 11 the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals held in the case of U.S. v. Davis that although the defendant, Quartavious Davis, will still be subject to nearly the entire 162-year sentence imposed by a lower court, the evidence against him that was obtained from a warrantless search of his cellphone location data was invalid as it violated the rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.  "In short, we hold that cell site location information is within the subscriber's reasonable expectation of privacy.  The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation," the decision reads.

How the NSA Could Bug Your Powered-Off iPhone, and How to Stop Them.  Just because you turned off your phone doesn't mean the NSA isn't using it to spy on you.  Edward Snowden's latest revelation about the NSA's snooping inspired an extra dose of shock and disbelief when he said the agency's hackers can use a mobile phone as a bug even after it's been turned off.

The Editor says...
You might wonder why I mention the NSA on a web page about "ordinary cops."  But if the NSA has this technology, it won't be long before the technology is passed around, at least to the big city police departments.

How the NSA Can Get Onto Your iPhone.  The Snowden leaks have given security experts a look into the NSA's techniques in a way they could only have previously dreamed about.  But it's often difficult to understand, from their jargon-filled technical specifications pages exactly what the agency is capable of.  We asked security expert Ashkan Soltani to break down the leaked document about the NSA's DROPOUTJEEP program, which describes the agency's ability to infiltrate the Apple iPhone.

Cellphone operator reveals scale of gov't snooping.  Government snooping into phone networks is extensive worldwide, one of the world's largest cellphone companies revealed Friday [6/6/2014], saying that several countries demand direct access to its networks without warrant or prior notice.

NSA Metadata Snooping Challenged.  Metadata is transmission and billing information about whom you called, from what phone number, when, and for how long.  This can include your location, because billing records note which cell tower your mobile phone is connecting through.  George Orwell's book 1984 was meant as a warning.  But it is shocking how many people view 1984 as a "how to" manual or blueprint for expanding their power and influence over the country.  The book projects into the future how society has been heading towards a totalitarian society governed by pervasive government surveillance.

When can cops search cellphones?  The US Supreme Court on Tuesday takes up two cases testing whether the police, after placing someone under arrest, are free to examine the full contents of the arrestee's cellphone without first obtaining a search warrant.  Two statistics illustrate the broad national implications of a ruling by the high court.  [#1] Ninety percent of Americans own a cell phone.  [#2] Roughly 12 million Americans are arrested each year.

Low-level federal judges balking at law enforcement requests for electronic evidence.  Judges at the lowest levels of the federal judiciary are balking at sweeping requests by law enforcement officials for cellphone and other sensitive personal data, declaring the demands overly broad and at odds with basic constitutional rights.  This rising assertiveness by magistrate judges — the worker bees of the federal court system — has produced rulings that elate civil libertarians and frustrate investigators, forcing them to meet or challenge tighter rules for collecting electronic evidence.

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 his concerns.

Cell 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.

Obama 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 providers.

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.

Cops 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.

More 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.

Update:
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.

Judge 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 the taking.

18 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."

Finally, 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.

Is 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 lying down.

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, 2001.

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 security.

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.

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.

Court 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.

Student 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.

Wireless Technology:  They'll Know Where You AreUnder 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?

Cops' 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.

Court 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 Cell Phone.

Michigan 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.

Should 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.

Should a 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.

Michigan 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.

Law 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.

NYPD 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 solving crimes.

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 claim.

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.

Michigan 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.

List 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. Words like Cyber Command, 2600, spammer, phishing, rootkit, phreaking, dransp, dirty bomb, enriched, nuclear, chemical weapon, biological weapon, ammonium nitrate

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.

FBI 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.

The 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 all about.

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].

Ninth 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 surveillance state.

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.
iPhone 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 © 2015 by Andrew K. Dart



Stingray and Dirtbox

Stingray:

Federal Judge Rejects Evidence Gathered With "Stingray" Warrantless Surveillance Tool.  After several years of law enforcement agencies across the United States gathering evidence using a secret surveillance tool — and doing so without a warrant — a federal judge has struck down evidence collected by the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration.  U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan ruled that the defendant's rights were violated when the DEA used a cell site simulator, also known as a Stingray, without a warrant in order to find the suspects home.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation describes Stingrays as "a brand name of an IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) Catcher targeted and sold to law enforcement.  A Stingray works by masquerading as a cell phone tower — to which your mobile phone sends signals to every 7 to 15 seconds whether you are on a call or not — and tricks your phone into connecting to it."  As a result, whoever is in possession of the Stingray can figure out who, when, and to where you are calling, the precise location of every device within the range, and with some devices, even capture the content of your conversations.

Device used to trick cellphones into revealing location raises legal issue, lawmaker says.  Cellular site simulators — known as "StingRay tracking" — basically are fake cell towers that use digital signals to trick a cellphone into revealing its location and other information.  Law enforcement typically places the device near the location of a known suspect — but they also have been used at large gatherings such as rallies, where the digital information of hundreds, even thousands, is scooped up.  And while law enforcement agencies turn to the courts for permission to deploy the devices, the requests typically are generic applications called "pen register applications," which only require the agency to affirm that the device will be used in a criminal investigation, without having to name a specific individual.  That legal vagueness is what concerns lawmakers.

Police secretly track cellphones to solve routine crimes.  In one case after another, USA TODAY found police in Baltimore and other cities used the phone tracker, commonly known as a stingray, to locate the perpetrators of routine street crimes and frequently concealed that fact from the suspects, their lawyers and even judges.  In the process, they quietly transformed a form of surveillance billed as a tool to hunt terrorists and kidnappers into a staple of everyday policing.  The suitcase-size tracking systems, which can cost as much as $400,000, allow the police to pinpoint a phone's location within a few yards by posing as a cell tower.

Don't be fooled, America, your government is still lying to you.  Last week, we learned that the FBI is operating low-flying planes over 100 American cities to monitor folks on the streets and intercept their cellphone use — without any search warrants.  Earlier this week, we learned that the Drug Enforcement Administration has intercepted the telephone calls of more than 11,000 people in three years — without any search warrants.  We already know that local police have been using government surplus cell towers to intercept the cellphone signals of innocent automobile drivers for about a year — without search warrants.  How dangerous this is.  The Constitution is the supreme law of the land.  It applies in good times and in bad, in war and in peace.

Head of U.S. Marshals Service Resigns Amid Investigation Of Domestic Surveillance Programs.  An underreported story today comes amid the resignation of Stacia Hylton, the head of the U.S. Marshals Service.  The timing of the resignation could not be more transparently tied to a growing investigation into domestic surveillance programs operated without oversight, and potentially unconstitutional.  For the past several years stories have been quietly surfacing about the USMS using stealth cell phone captures via drone and fixed unit operations known as "Stingray Devices".  Stingray technology secretly captures cell phone communication, data, voice and text from users without their knowledge.

Cops must now get a warrant to use stingrays in Washington state.  Law enforcement officials in Washington state will now be required to get a warrant before deploying a stingray, according to a bill that was signed into law by the governor on Monday [5/11/2015] after unanimously passing both houses of the state legislature.  Washington's law, which takes effect immediately, is not the first in the United States, but it may impose the most stringent requirements.  A handful of states, including Virginia, Minnesota, and Utah have similar laws on the books.

Stingray
Another police agency outed for conducting warrantless Stingray surveillance.  Yet another law enforcement agency has been discovered to have spied on thousands of unsuspecting — and unsuspected — citizens via cell-site emulating devices.  The sheriff's office of San Bernardino County, California, has deployed the devices more than 300 times — presumably eavesdropping on thousands of unwitting residents' cellphones in the process — without obtaining search warrants or demonstrating probable cause, according to ArsTechnica.


FBI would rather prosecutors drop cases than disclose stingray details.  Not only is the FBI actively attempting to stop the public from knowing about stingrays, it has also forced local law enforcement agencies to stay quiet even in court and during public hearings, too.  An FBI agreement, published for the first time in unredacted form on Tuesday [4/7/2015], clearly demonstrates the full extent of the agency's attempt to quash public disclosure of information about stingrays.  The most egregious example of this is language showing that the FBI would rather have a criminal case be dropped to protect secrecy surrounding the stingray.

Are your calls being intercepted? 17 fake cell towers discovered in one month.  You wouldn't likely know if you are under cell phone surveillance, but you would if you were about to make a call and your phone displayed an unencrypted connection warning that states, "Caution: The mobile network's standard encryption has been turned off, possibly by a rogue base station ('IMSI Catcher').  Unencrypted calls not recommended."  Through notifications such as that, CryptoPhone users found and mapped 17 fake "cell towers" in the U.S. during the month of July.  While most phones can't find those interceptors, a $3,500 CryptoPhone 500 can.  The phone has a Samsung Galaxy SIII body, but unlike the Android OS that comes standard on the Galaxy SIII and "leaks data to parts unknown 80-90 times every hour," ESD America hardened the Android OS by removing 468 vulnerabilities.

When Will the UK Stop Pretending IMSI Catchers Don't Exist?  Thousands of innocent people in London have had their communications spied on and collected through the use of invasive mobile phone surveillance technology, called IMSI Catchers, according to a recent report by the Times.  IMSI Catchers are no longer, and have not been for a while, a law enforcement secret.

Stingray Tracking Devices: Who's Got Them?  Stingrays, also known as "cell site simulators" or "IMSI catchers," are invasive cell phone surveillance devices that mimic cell phone towers and send out signals to trick cell phones in the area into transmitting their locations and identifying information.  When used to track a suspect's cell phone, they also gather information about the phones of countless bystanders who happen to be nearby.  Law enforcement agencies all over the country possess Stingrays, though their use is often shrouded in secrecy.

New Eavesdropping Equipment Sucks All Data Off Your Phone.  In a Capitol Hill hearing room [in 2012], privacy activist Christopher Soghoian organized a stunning demonstration of some new police surveillance technology. [...] Since then, reports that federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are using such devices to track suspects and criminals without warrants have percolated in the national media, thanks largely to Soghoian, now the American Civil Liberties Union's top technologist on privacy issues.

Meet the machines that steal your phone's data.  The National Security Agency's spying tactics are being intensely scrutinized following the recent leaks of secret documents.  However, the NSA isn't the only US government agency using controversial surveillance methods.  Monitoring citizens' cell phones without their knowledge is a booming business.  From Arizona to California, Florida to Texas, state and federal authorities have been quietly investing millions of dollars acquiring clandestine mobile phone surveillance equipment in the past decade.

Now There's an App For Detecting Government Stingray Cell Phone Trackers.  IMSI catchers, otherwise known as stingrays, are those surveillance tools that masquerade as cell towers and trick mobile phones into connecting, spewing private data in the process.  Law-enforcement agencies have been using them for awhile, but there's never been a good way for individuals to detect them.  But that was before SnoopSnitch.  Released for Android on Monday [12/29/2015], SnoopSnitch scans for radio signals that indicate a transition to a stingray from a legitimate cell tower.

The Further Democratization of Stingray.  Stingray is the code name for an IMSI-catcher, which is basically a fake cell phone tower sold by Harris Corporation to various law enforcement agencies.  (It's actually just one of a series of devices with fish names — Amberjack is another — but it's the name used in the media.)  What is basically does is trick nearby cell phones into connecting to it.  Once that happens, the IMSI-catcher can collect identification and location information of the phones and, in some cases, eavesdrop on phone conversations, text messages, and web browsing.  The use of IMSI-catchers in the US used to be a massive police secret.

DRTBOX and the DRT surveillance systems.  A similar device (also known as IMSI Catcher, Cell-site Simulator or Digital Analyzer) used by American law enforcement agencies for tracking and intercepting cell phones is called StingRay, which is manufactured by the Harris Corp. The price of a StingRay device is between $60,000, and $175,000. Harris also provides related equipment under the nicknames AmberJack, KingFish, TriggerFish and LoggerHead.

New York Civil Liberties Group Obtains LEO Records Showing Abusive Use of Stringray Technology.  Stingray technology is a data tool for capturing cell phone communication and tracking cell phone users.  Stingray Systems mimic cell tower signals and capture the content of targeted cell phone users.  The New York ACLU went to court to force Erie County Sheriffs' to disclose details about the law enforcement use of Stingray Technology.  What they uncovered is alarming.  In 46 out of 47 examples law enforcement never sought a warrant to use Stingray intercepts, and in 46 out of 47 examples the same law enforcement used Stingray tools to track the movements of "suspects" — again without warrants or court oversight.

To locate bank robber, FBI unusually asked for warrant to use stingray.  Newly uncovered court documents in a federal armed New Jersey bank robbery case that went to trial in late February 2015 reveal an unusual back-and-forth between authorities and judges — ultimately resulting in the FBI seeking and getting a warrant to use a stingray.  The move illustrates a rare known instance where authorities met the probable cause hurdle need for a warrant in a stingray deployment.  In 2012, federal prosecutors went to a judge to ask for a "pen/trap order," a lower type of permission than a warrant.  Such an order would have effectively authorized the use of a stingray.  But the judge pushed back and imposed usage restrictions "in a private place."  In January 2015, two United States senators made public the FBI's position that the agency could use stingrays in public places without a warrant.

A Police Gadget Tracks Phones? Shhh! It's Secret.  A powerful new surveillance tool being adopted by police departments across the country comes with an unusual requirement:  To buy it, law enforcement officials must sign a nondisclosure agreement preventing them from saying almost anything about the technology.  Any disclosure about the technology, which tracks cellphones and is often called StingRay, could allow criminals and terrorists to circumvent it, the F.B.I. has said in an affidavit.  But the tool is adopted in such secrecy that communities are not always sure what they are buying or whether the technology could raise serious privacy concerns.

Secrecy around police surveillance equipment proves a case's undoing.  The case against Tadrae McKenzie looked like an easy win for prosecutors.  He and two buddies robbed a small-time pot dealer of $130 worth of weed using BB guns.  Under Florida law, that was robbery with a deadly weapon, with a sentence of at least four years in prison.  But before trial, his defense team detected investigators' use of a secret surveillance tool, one that raises significant privacy concerns.  In an unprecedented move, a state judge ordered the police to show the device — a cell-tower simulator sometimes called a StingRay — to the attorneys.  Rather than show the equipment, the state offered McKenzie a plea bargain.

'Stingray' Phone Tracker Fuels Constitutional Clash.  Stingrays are designed to locate a mobile phone even when it's not being used to make a call.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the devices to be so critical that it has a policy of deleting the data gathered in their use, mainly to keep suspects in the dark about their capabilities, an FBI official told The Wall Street Journal in response to inquiries.

Cellphone data spying: It's not just the NSA.  Local police are increasingly able to scoop up large amounts of cellphone data using new technologies, including cell tower dumps and secret mobile devices known as Stingrays.

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.

Police 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.

Pricey '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.

Has the Dept. of Homeland Security become America's standing army?  Distributed to local police agencies as a result of grants from the DHS, these Stingray devices enable police to track individuals' cell phones — and their owners — without a court warrant or court order.  The amount of information conveyed by these devices about one's activities, whereabouts and interactions is considerable.  As one attorney explained:  "Because we carry our cellphones with us virtually everywhere we go, stingrays can paint a precise picture of where we are and who we spend time with, including our location in a lover's house, in a psychologist's office or at a political protest."

U.S. Marshals Seize Cops' Spying Records to Keep Them From the ACLU.  Stingrays, also known as IMSI catchers, simulate a cellphone tower and trick nearby mobile devices into connecting with them, thereby revealing their location.  A stingray can see and record a device's unique ID number and traffic data, as well as information that points to its location.  By moving a stingray around, authorities can triangulate a device's location with greater precision than is possible using data obtained from a carrier's fixed tower location.  The records sought by the ACLU are important because the organization has learned that a Florida police detective obtained permission to use a stingray simply by filing an application with the court under Florida's "trap and trace" statute instead of obtaining a probable-cause warrant.

Why Are the US Marshals at the Center of All These Pen Registers?  [Scroll down]  While we don't yet know how many of the 9,000 requests the Marshals made in 2012 were for location data, the coincidence is mighty interesting.  The Marshals do have cause to search for suspects' location.  They claim they arrest over 300 wanted fugitives a day.  That's where stingrays would be particularly useful, as they would help to identify the location of a known suspect.  So how often are the Marshals using stingrays to do their work?  And to what degree do they do so hiding behind even more obscure local pen register laws to do so?


Dirtbox:

Operation Dirtbox.  The public reaction to Snowden and its political reflection were interesting for what they mean about America and what it portends.  Much of the public political conversation was immediately negative, with commentators, news readers, and professional politicians of both major parties attacking him as a traitor.  Democratic members of congress were no better than their Republican counterparts.  Liberal luminaries such as Al Franken tried to pacify dissenters by saying that the NSA was only acting to protect us, and Hillary Clinton lectured the fugitive about 'coming back to face the music.'  President Obama was on television, uncharacteristically awkward in reassuring the country that the NSA "isn't listening to your phone calls," which he knew to be false.  Politicians are in some ways just like everyone else:  they are uncomfortable with anything which might inconvenience them or even cost them their jobs.

Operation Dirtbox.  On Friday [11/14/2014], the Denver Post and other papers ran the story that the Justice Department is directing a massive spy operation which can suck up close to every cell phone communication in America.  They've done this by installing fake communications towers on a fleet of Cessnas, beginning in 2007.  Devices known as 'dirtboxes,' from the initials DRT of the Boeing unit which produces them, mimic cell towers of large telecom firms and trick cellphones into reporting their unique registration information.  Investigators can harvest data from tens of thousands of calls in a single flight.  The planes are said to cover most of the country.  According to the Post article by Devlin Barrett, "people with knowledge of the program wouldn't discuss the frequency or duration of such flights, but said they take place on a regular basis."

Dirtbox Devices: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know.  Americans are outraged by news of "dirtbox devices."  Under this Justice Department program, planes are scanning the cell phones of ordinary Americans.  While this program is designed to capture fugitives and criminals, many Americans feel that these dirtbox devices are an invasion of privacy.  Here's what you need to know about the dirtbox device program.

'Dirtbox' planes masquerade as cell towers to collect smartphone data in sophisticated spying ops.  It's no secret anymore that governmental agencies in the U.S. and other countries have access to sophisticated tools that allow them to track and collect data from smartphones and other devices without users knowing anything is happening, and The Wall Street Journal has uncovered yet another such operation which uses a special "dirtbox" technology installed in special planes that can mimic cell phone towers and fool smartphones into believing they're connecting to a genuine carrier tower.

US government planes collecting phone data, report claims.  Devices that gather data from millions of mobile phones are being flown over the US by the government, according to the Wall Street Journal.  The "dirtbox" devices mimic mobile phone tower transmissions, and handsets transmit back their location and unique identity data, the report claims.  While they are used to track specific suspects, all mobile devices in the area will respond to the signal.  The US Justice Department refused to confirm or deny the report.

Americans' Cellphones Targeted in Secret U.S. Spy Program.  The Justice Department is scooping up data from thousands of mobile phones through devices deployed on airplanes that mimic cellphone towers, a high-tech hunt for criminal suspects that is snagging a large number of innocent Americans, according to people familiar with the operations.




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.

Public 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 ...

Now 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.

Bush-Era 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?
DOJ: We 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.

If 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.

ACLU 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 any justification.





Radar traps:  The cop's bread and butter.

'New York Times' shows its 'gotcha' colors.  [Scroll down]  I have some firsthand experience with this phenomenon.  A few years back I was leaving the Palm Beach International Airport on a divided multilane road with interstate signage, going about 50.  I got pulled over in a radar trap, where I was informed that the speed limit was 35, though I hadn't seen any signs.

The Problem With Funding Government Through Fines.  Last week, Jim Hardesty, the chief justice of the Nevada Supreme Court, warned that the state's highest court was almost out of money.  "If this is not addressed by May 1, the court will not have sufficient cash to operate," Hardesty told lawmakers at a committee hearing last week.  "I believe the legislature has a constitutional obligation to fund the judicial branch of government.  Do you want me to close the judicial branch of government at the state level on May 1?"  Many states, including Nevada, have faced budget shortfalls since the Great Recession began.  But this one isn't caused by a decline in tax revenue, but by a decline in traffic tickets, which provide the majority of funding to the state supreme court.

Police unveil new technology to help crack down on speeding along 495.  You might want to pump the brakes if you're traveling the I-495 corridor from now on; state police are introducing new "zero tolerance" patrols, and they have a new tool at their disposal. [...] The devices placed along the highway allow the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to track the average travel speeds of drivers.  The data is then sent to state police so they can strategically put troopers in the right place at the right time to catch speeders and prevent possible accidents or fatalities.

Infamous speed trap town Waldo investigated over tickets.  The situation simmered for years until this month, when Police Chief Mike Szabo was suspended Aug. 12, apparently in response to an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into suspected improprieties in the way officers write tickets.

Speed Traps Fact Sheet.  Speed traps are often used by municipalities as a method of generating revenue to run the government.  "Safety" is given as the excuse for running a speed trap, but the real reason boils down to money.  The police department wants more money for equipment and salaries, the city wants more money to avoid raising taxes, local residents and businesses often go along with speed traps because they reduce local taxes, and besides, they're usually not the drivers who get the tickets anyway.

Ambushing drivers in speed traps must stop.  Police operating speed traps are not interdicting aggressive drivers who pass in the right-hand lane, cut people off and speed to gain a few car-lengths.  Aggressive driving behaviour is really dangerous and leads to fender-benders and cyclist injuries.  If fine collection becomes the goal, aggressive driving gets less attention, while otherwise safe and responsible drivers get ambushed by police with radar guns at their favourite speed trap locations.

People v. Goulet.  ["]Traffic rules account for most of the contact by average citizens with law enforcement and the courts.  Enforcement of laws which are widely perceived as unreasonable and unfair generates disrespect and even contempt toward those who make and enforce those laws.["]

Officials Plan Adjustments as New York City Slows to 25 M.P.H..  Mayor Bill de Blasio's traffic safety push yielded perhaps its most significant change early on Friday [6/20/2014], when the State Legislature approved a plan to reduce the default speed limit in New York City to 25 miles per hour.  Now comes the hard part:  retooling the highly choreographed traffic dance in a city of 14,000 taxis, 12,700 signalized intersections and 6,000 roadway miles.

The Editor says...
The mayor has essentially turned the whole city into a school zone, without having to put up signs to that effect.  This may not make the city any safer, but it will give the cops more excuses to search your car for drugs and look for some excuse to write you up.

Retired cop writes up small town, calls it a speed trap; state investigating.  With a population of about 320, Sportsmen Acres seems more like a neighborhood than a town.  But neighborly isn't the way David Farrow would describe it.  Based on a complaint the Stillwater resident made to state agencies, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety is investigating the Mayes County community as being an alleged speed trap, in violation of state law, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. George Brown said.

Speed Trap Spotlight: Louisiana.  Louisiana is the latest state to try to outlaw speed traps.  State Representative Regina Barrow recently proposed legislation that would define a speed trap as a stretch of road for which no valid speed study exists.  In such cases, police would be prohibited from using radar enforcement unless the driver's speed exceeds the prima facie limit by 15 mph or more.  A related bill would require municipalities that generate at least 50 percent of their revenue from speeding citations to post warning signs and flashing lights alerting motorists to upcoming speed traps.

Speed trap signs drawing attention.  The signs are set up along Springwood Road heading into Yoe borough.  The speed limit along the road changes from 40 mph to 25 mph.  Police often sit nearby and pull over people who do not slow down.  "We've seen roughly probably close to four or five hundred people pulled over here," said Kline.  He feels police should make themselves noticeable to drivers when trying to get them to slow down instead of being tucked behind cars.  You would think police wouldn't appreciate the gesture but that isn't the case.

Driverless cars could cripple law enforcement budgets.  Local government has long looked to speeding tickets to increase revenue.  What will they do when autonomous cars stick to the speed limit?

Audit: 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.

Florida lawmakers 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.

Florida 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.

Judge 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.

Texas 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.

Florida 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."

Drivers 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.

Illinois' 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.

Business 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.

California 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 before.

Report:  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].

Racism, Injustice, 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."

What 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.

Say cheese, 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 unconventional enforcement."

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.

New 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 budgets.

Bill 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.

New 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.


Mysterious roadside antennaRadar 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 here, 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.



"The 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

Washington, D.C. on track to make $148 million from traffic tickets this year.  Washington, D.C., is on track to rake in $148 million from traffic tickets in 2016, a Tuesday report from AAA concluded.  "Those drivers who were chanting 'Ding-Dong!  The Witch Is Dead' a couple of years ago are probably regretting their words now.  The speed camera program is back with a vengeance," John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic's manager of public and government affairs said in a statement.  The District's speed cameras have issued more citations in the first four and a half months of fiscal 2016 than in all of 2014, AAA learned through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Exec pleads guilty to kickback scheme with Chicago's parking meters.  A former executive for the company that runs Chicago's parking meters pleaded guilty Thursday to taking kickbacks to steer a $22 million contract to install the privately owned meters.  Philip "Felipe" Oropesa, 57, of Marietta, Ga., pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in federal court in Atlanta, where his case was transferred after he was indicted in Chicago last year, court records show.  Oropesa also agreed to forfeit $90,000 in bribe money he was paid over the course of the scheme.

The Brute Force of Government Spending on Autopilot.  My car was towed from an area near a train station in San Francisco last month.  I had parked in front of a small "No Parking" sign that I had not seen.  I spent an hour looking for my car and calling an attendant who didn't answer the phone.  When someone finally answered, she told me my car had been towed.  It cost me $350.  At least I could afford to pay to get my car back.  California is filled with people who are one traffic ticket away from losing their means of independent transportation.  They get a ticket for a busted taillight or a small-change moving violation.  On paper, the fine is $100, but with surcharges, it adds up to a lot more.  People who cannot pay often do not show up in court — which drives up the cost.  According to the Judicial Council of California, about 612,000 Californians have suspended driver's licenses because they didn't pay fines.

'All about the money': Motorists plagued by sky-high Calif. traffic ticket fines.  [Scroll down]  "I had a ticket that went to $5,000," said Adolf Barley, as he joined 100 other motorists waiting to pay their fine outside the Los Angeles Municipal Courthouse.  "You do one of three things.  You either go to jail, community service or you pay it."  Another driver in line went inside a drug store to get change to feed his meter.  He came out to find a ticket on his car.  When he missed his initial court date because of a hospital stay, the state suspended his license.  "I found out I have a warrant for my arrest.  A $2,500 warrant," he said.  "I'm a good driver, but now I don't have a license."

Public Safety Was the Last Thing on Their Minds.  [A]ccording to a report by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, 17 percent of licensed California drivers have suspended driver's licenses — not for dangerous driving but for failing to pay off citations for minor traffic offenses. [...] The report, "Not Just a Ferguson Problem — How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California," exposes how a $100 moving violation morphs into a $490 citation when surcharges are added.  Failure to show up in court or to pay the fine in a timely manner can drive up the cost to $815.  If a driver doesn't pay, courts can order the California Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend his or her license.  A broken taillight can ruin a working taxpayer who lives paycheck to paycheck.  In California, a worker without a driver's license could lose his or her job.  The punishment far outstrips the crime.

Parking-meter beaters on trial in New Hampshire.  Parking tickets are an irritating fact of life for city dwellers.  Though it's the most common contact a citizen has with the law, tickets rarely go before an actual judge, certainly not a panel of judges.  But a parking-tickets case before the New Hampshire Supreme Court last week turned on the right of free speech and the proper role of government.  The defendants call themselves "Robin Hooders," a merry band of do-gooders who roam the streets of Keene plugging quarters into parking meters showing expired time, to prevent a neighbor returning to his automobile to find bad news on the windshield.  It's nice to be a good neighbor.

New Hampshire city wants 'Robin Hood' meter feeders kept away from parking attendants.  Armed with video cameras and pockets full of change, a group of self-styled "Robin Hooders" patrols the streets of Keene, N.H., filling expired meters and relentlessly questioning parking enforcement officers whom they believe are "stealing" from citizens to fill the city's coffers.  The controversial practice is now before New Hampshire's highest court, which is deciding whether the six activists are within their First Amendment right to carry out such protests, while the parking enforcement officers claim their conduct is harassment and interferes with their ability to carry out their job.

'Robin Hood' parking meter watchers fight restraining order attempt by meter maids in state court.  A band of self-styled 'Robin Hooders' has sparked outrage in a small New Hampshire city by filling expired parking meters with coins and lambasting traffic wardens for 'stealing' from citizens.  The six activists trail parking enforcement officers around the streets of Keene with video cameras, relentlessly questioning them as they try to issue tickets.  Now, after two failed legal suits, their targets have taken the case to the state Supreme Court, calling on a judge to issue a restraining order.

Keene, New Hampshire, Continues Legal Fight Against Free Staters Paying Meters, Speaking to Their Meter Enforcement Agents.  The city of Keene, New Hampshire, continues to spend its citizens money trying to prevent local Free State Project activists from daring to pay expired meters and talk to meter enforcement officers, as reported in the New Hampshire Union-Leader: [...]

Parking meter 'Robin Hooders' facing NH Supreme Court.  According to the [U]nion [L]eader, the state Supreme Court will hear arguments next week in the case of the so-called "Robin Hooders".  They are six people accused of walking around Keene with video cameras and spare change while filling expired parking meters before city employees can issue tickets.

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.

More than just myopic legalism — this is about using traffic cops to raise money.
City 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.

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 … the officer had not mentioned those alleged violations!





Cops will not stand for insults

Man 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:
Cartoonist 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.

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.

Jury rules 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.
D.C. 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 flip the finger.
Judge 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 ignoring them!

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 to boot."

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.





Wasted money

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:
Abolish 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 Canada:
Spectators 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.

Feds 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.

Detroit 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.





Incompetence

Punta Gorda Cop who Killed Woman has Long History of Abuse.  The Punta Gorda police officer who shot and killed a 73-year-old woman during a citizen academy role playing session Tuesday [8/9/2016] has been identified as Lee Coel — the same cop who allowed his police dog to maul a man for riding his bicycle at night without lights in a video that went viral two months ago.  A cop that should have been fired long ago, according to a Florida attorney who is suing the Punta Gorda Police Department over the dog mauling incident.  "I've been saying for months that this guy was going to kill somebody and now he has killed somebody," attorney Scott Weinberg said during a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime Wednesday.

Woman fatally shot by Punta Gorda cop role-playing as 'bad guy' during citizen police academy.  At a news conference Wednesday afternoon [8/10/2016], [Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom] Lewis shared few details about how the tragedy unfolded but said his department was unaware that live ammunition "was available to the officer" during the class.  Lewis has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct an independent investigation which, the chief said, will determine how the ammunition ended up in the handgun without anyone noticing.  That same weapon has been used in previous simulation classes, which the department holds annually, Lewis said.

You would think they'd be able to instantly recognize donut crumbs!
He was arrested for meth, but the crumbs in his car were Krispy Kreme doughnut glaze.  "I recognized through my 11 years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic," the officer wrote in her report.  The driver let her search the car, and she found more chunks, which two roadside tests showed were crystal methamphetamine.  Daniel Rushing was arrested, charged with possession with a weapon, strip-searched and jailed in December.  The 64-year-old Orlando man told officers he'd never done drugs in his life, and the crumbs were from his Krispy Kreme doughnut.  Weeks later, a state crime lab proved him right.  "I kept telling them, 'That's ... glaze from a doughnut. ... They tried to say it was crack cocaine at first, then they said, 'No, it's meth, crystal meth," Rushing told the [Orlando] Sentinel.

That's right — he GOT AWAY on a motorized wheelchair.
Arizona Cops Hunt Walmart Theft Suspect Who Made His Getway On A Mobility Scooter.  Arizona cops are seeking the public's help in identifying a thief who fled Walmart on a mobility scooter after pinning a worker to the wall during his escape.  As seen in [...] store surveillance video, the suspect was confronted earlier this month by a female Walmart employee near the Tucson store's exit as he sought to leave with unpaid items in his scooter's front basket.  After some evasive driving, the suspect ran into the Walmart worker, driving her backwards into a large blue bin.  As two men came to aid the woman, the suspect drove out of the store on his gray ride.

Oops!  Wrong house.
Authorities: Police respond to wrong house, shoot homeowner.  A Georgia police officer responded to the wrong house and shot the homeowner, authorities said Wednesday [6/8/2016].  The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a news release Henry County police asked the agency to investigate the shooting early Wednesday morning at home in Stockbridge, southeast of Atlanta.  CBS affiliate WGCL reported someone called 911 shortly before midnight Tuesday to report hearing a woman yelling for help and gunshots.  The GBI said a preliminary review of the 911 call indicates the three officers who responded went to the wrong home.

Chicago police accidentally destroy daughter's final note to parents.  Chicago police say they are sorry for destroying a daughter's last message to her parents, which had been kept as evidence in the woman's death investigation, CBS Chicago reports.  "Dear Mom and Dad, I love you guys so much."  Those are some of the last words Terry Porter's daughter, Nicole, wrote before she committed suicide with a lethal dose of insulin on Feb. 27, 2015.  She was 29-years-old.

Claims advance against cops who stuffed a man in a mental hospital.  A federal appeals court has reinstated a constitutional violations damage lawsuit against several police officers who handcuffed a Waynesboro, Virginia, man and locked him up in a mental health facility for nearly week for having a chronic disease similar to multiple sclerosis.  They believed he was hallucinating, and, according to the newest ruling in the case, from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, didn't bother with the facts.

Multiple cops (with helicopter support) can't catch a 51-year-old woman:
Woman vanishes after high-speed chase in 'Scooby' van.  Sharon Kay Turman, 51, remains at large after she ditched the brightly painted teal and pea-green 1994 Chrysler.  She managed to disappear despite multiple law enforcement agencies, patrol cars and even a CHP helicopter pursuing her.

Cops Mistake Neurological Disorder for Insanity; Kidnap, Strip-Search, and Jail Man for Days.  In response to a Fourth Amendment lawsuit filed by attorneys for the Rutherford Institute, government officials insist they had "probable cause" to arrest a 37-year-old disabled man, allegedly because of his slurred speech and unsteady gait.  Gordon Goines, a resident of Waynesboro, Va., who suffers from a neurological condition similar to multiple sclerosis, was then strip searched by police, handcuffed to a table, diagnosed as having "mental health issues," and subsequently locked up for five days in a mental health facility against his will and with no access to family and friends.

Suspect with 56 prior arrests escapes NYPD custody in cuffs.  It was at least the fifth time since June that a suspect has escaped NYPD custody.  "Once again, an embarrassment for the department and something that we will deal with very severely as far as the officers involved," Police Commissioner Bill Bratton fumed to reporters. [...] "I'm very concerned when somebody with a pair of handcuffs, handcuffed behind them, can flee from three of my officers and they can't catch him.  I'm sorry — there's something wrong there when that's happening, repeatedly, over and over again."

Florida Cops Laundered Millions For Drug Cartels, Failed To Make A Single Arrest.  Posing as money launderers, police in Bal Harbour and Glades County, Fla. laundered a staggering $71.5 million for drug cartels in an undercover sting operation, according to an in-depth investigation by The Miami Herald.  With fake identities, undercover officers made deals to pick up cash from criminal organizations in cities across the country.  Agents then delivered the money to Miami-Dade storefronts and even wired cash to banks overseas in China and Panama.  After laundering the cash, police would skim a three percent commission fee, ultimately generating $2.4 million for themselves.

Ashley Gabrielle Huff Jailed After US Police Confuse Spaghetti for Crystal Meth.  Ashley Gabrielle Huff, a woman from the state of Georgia in the US, was jailed for one month after police officers confused spaghetti they found on her spoon for crystal meth.  The bizarre sequence of events started in July 2014, when Huff was pulled over by police in Gainesville, Florida.  During the routine search, officers were alerted to a spoon with a dried substance on it and concluded it was the highly addictive drug crystal meth, despite pleas from the 23-year-old that it was residue from canned pasta meal SpaghettiOs.

Cop instantly shoots, kills teen who answered door holding video game controller.  A Georgia family is in shock following the death of their 17-year-old son, who was accidentally killed by a police officer who believed the video game controller he was holding was a gun, according to the family's lawyer.  Christopher Roupe of Euharlee, Georgia heard a knock at the door of the family's home last Friday night.  Upon opening the door, he was immediately shot by a female police officer.  Roupe was pronounced dead upon arrival at a local hospital.

New York police keep raiding dead man's home, lawsuit says.  He's been dead for eight years, but try telling that to the NYPD.  Cops have barged into James Jordan Sr.'s family home looking for him more than a dozen times since he died in 2006 — prompting his exasperated relatives to finally post his death certificate on the front door.  "I tell them over and over, 'James isn't here!  He's dead!  It's that simple.  What's so difficult to understand about that?'" the Brooklyn security guard's widow, Karen, told The [New York] Post on Monday [5/5/2014].

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.

Police shot this truck 102 times without provocation in the Dorner manhunt.  (Source: LA Times)
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.

APD 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.

Probe launched 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.

Explosive BBC 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.

California College 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 officers.

Can't tell the difference between Apartment A and Apartment C:
Former 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.

Sheriff 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.

Police 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.

Getting 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.

Cowardice:
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.

When Officer Safety is Job No. 1, Citizens Die.  "I think officer safety is the number one issue," Chief Dotson explained to reporters after two of his officers reportedly fired nine rounds into an accused shoplifter who was apparently armed with a knife.  Such a statement may sound perfectly reasonable in the upside down world where allegiance to your labor union trumps allegiance to the public or allegiance to your employer.  But step back and consider:  Is a police officer's number one job really to protect himself and his partner?  Really?

Cowardice:
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.

Police 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 was unconscious.

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.

Getting 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].

Not the 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 enforcement officers.





Selective enforcement

Nancy Pelosi blows off traffic laws — to shop at shoe store!  [Scroll down]  "A large perfectly polished and gleaming black SUV is attempting a left turn from Hunt onto southbound Main (not easy).  Suddenly blue/red lights are flashing from the windshield area of the SUV (like you would see in an official fire/police vehicle)," he continued.  "I said to my friends, I've never seen that before on a 'regular' vehicle and I'd think that's illegal and dangerous.  They agreed."  That's when the large black SUV jolted across two lanes of traffic, lights flashing, to park in front of a fire hydrant at the high end shoe boutique Footcandy.  "A St. Helena police car happens to be going northbound and pulls into the center lane and the officer starts shaking his arm and hollering at the driver of the SUV.  While this goes on a man exits the SUV assisting a woman from the vehicle.  She dashes off to Footcandy while he waits by the SUV in the red zone," Smith explained.  The police officer then drove off without confronting the driver, he wrote.

Wasted DA Nearly Kills Multiple Motorists — No Arrest, Cops Change Her Tire, Let Her Drive Away!  In a testament to the special privilege granted to those within government, a clearly inebriated district attorney was dangerously let loose back out on to the streets by, not one, but two separate police departments who stopped her for a DUI.  Instead of arresting the woman, who was caught on video coming dangerously close to multiple head-on collisions, and completely unable to stay in her lane, cops changed her tire and sent her on her way.

San Jose police chief who allowed mob attacks on Trump supporters is affiliated with La Raza.  San Jose, California disgraced itself last week, allowing rioters to attack people exiting a political rally for the presumptive Republican nominee for president.  Now, thanks to Aleister of Gateway Pundit, we know that the police chief of that city, Eddie Garcia, who admitted that he instructed his officers not to intervene and arrest the attackers, is aligned with an extremist race-based group, La Raza (Spanish for "The Race").

Do-Nothing San Jose Police Hammered for Allowing Thug Riot.  This Silicon Valley city and its police department are facing mounting complaints of a tepid and tardy law enforcement response to attacks of Donald Trump supporters after a political rally.

Court Requires NYPD to Purge Docs on Terrorists Inside U.S..  The New York Police Department has been directed by a U.S. court to remove from its online records an investigation pertaining to the rise of Islamic extremists in the West and the threats these individuals pose to American safety, according to legal documents.  As part of a settlement agreement reached earlier this month with Muslim community advocates in U.S. District Court, the NYPD will purge from its website an extensive report that experts say has been critical to the department's understanding of radical Islam and its efforts to police the threat.

New York Police Allow Muslims to Openly Attack Journalists, No Arrests Made.  New York police stood by and did nothing as a pack of raving Islamists physically and verbally attacked several Egyptian journalists right out in the open, on the streets, and right in front of police.  Members of the terror group the Muslim Brotherhood accosted the journalists who were in New York as part of the Egyptian media covering Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as he attends the 70th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly.

NYC Police Ignore Muslim Brotherhood Assault on the Streets of New York.  New York City residents were treated to a glimpse of their (and our!) future recently when Egyptian journalists in town to cover the visit of Egyptian president Al-Sisi to the U.N. were assaulted by Muslim Brotherhood agents — in full view of New York City police.  The journalists were assaulted verbally and physically while New York's finest looked on, deigning to intervene in much the same way a schoolteacher does with a recalcitrant student — tut-tutting and tsk-tsking — rather than apprehending and jailing the violent assaulters as one would expect on the streets of an American city.

Narcotics cops ordered to stop arresting suspects over 40.  The city's narcotics cops are being told to stop arresting suspects over the age of 40 — a major strategy shift designed to target younger dealers, who are more likely to carry guns and use them, The [New York] Post has learned.  Top brass issued a directive that makes it all but impossible for cops to bust older drug suspects, in order to combat a spike in shootings — which are up 7 percent in 2015 compared with the same period last year and 12 percent over the last four weeks, police sources said.  The new policy was laid out in a May 14 memo obtained by The Post that scolded police bosses for busting people outside the 18-40 demographic — and demanded written explanations for arrests of midlife perps.

LAPD under fire after giving escort to convicted Mexican Mafia hitman.  Los Angeles Police Department is under fire for giving an escort to a convicted Mexican Mafia hit man so he could speak to a business leaders' conference.  Rene Enriquez, 52, known as 'The Boxer', was a leader in one of the US's most notorious and violent gangs, the Mexican Mafia, and is currently serving two life sentences for murder.  But yesterday [1/28/2015] he was given a police escort from prison to downtown Los Angeles to address a group of local police chiefs and wealthy business leaders.

Los Angeles police reportedly spent $22,000 to get ex-Mexican Mafia leader to dinner.  In all, 38 LAPD employees worked about 320 hours to prepare for the January event at a downtown building and protect Rene "Boxer" Enriquez while he was there, the inspector general of the city's police commission wrote.

Tennessee cop lets Muslim drive off with dead child in trunk.  What would happen to most people if they were pulled over by the police for a traffic offense and in the course of the traffic stop, they announced there was a dead body in the trunk of the car?  At the very least, the police officer would order the driver to open the trunk so the officer could inspect the body.  It could be a lot worse than that.  Unless you are in Tennessee and you are Muslim.

Cops who closed junkyard bar told to let it reopen.  Not everyone in the NYPD got the "drunkyard" memo.  Members of the Brooklyn South Vice Squad raided two illegal nightclubs set up in junkyards this past weekend — then got told by the local precinct to let them stay open, The [New York] Post has learned.  Cops burst into the open-air watering holes in East Flatbush around 3 a.m. Saturday [8/30/2014], law enforcement sources said.  When no one could produce a liquor license, the cops prepared to bust the bartenders and close the clubs, known as Tiki Village and Soca Village.

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.

Police to 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 cabin.

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.

Occupy 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.





Federalization of the local police

Leaked Memo Reveals Soros Plan for Federally Controlled Police.  A leaked document from George Soros's Open Society Foundations exposes the billionaire's level of involvement in attempting to build what his organization describes as a "national movement" to reform local police forces across the U.S.  The reform largely consists of federal guidelines for local police forces.

UN Backs Secret Obama Takeover of Police.  Here's how it works: the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice files a lawsuit in federal court against a city, county, or state, alleging constitutional and civil rights violations by the police or at a corrections facility.  It is done under 42 U.S.C. § 14141, a section of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, granting the attorney general the power to prosecute law enforcement misconduct.  The municipality then simply agrees to the judicial finding — without contest — and the result is a wide-reaching federal court order that imposes onerous regulations on local police.  The federal court orders are designed to undo Rudy Giuliani-style policing tactics that were effective at reducing crime in big cities in the 1990s and 2000s.  In short, the much-feared nationalization of local police departments is already being initiated by the Obama administration's Justice Department.  And somehow nobody noticed.

Obama says some local police departments need more resources.  Obama said there is great interest among police departments nationwide in receiving additional training to deal with active-shooter events and to decrease tensions before violence occurs, but that more resources will be necessary.

Obama Uses Police Shootings to Push for Nationalization of Police.  Obama was quick to parlay the recent murders of five Dallas police officers into another attempt to push his agenda to turn state and local police forces into mere subsidiaries of the federal government.  "I want to start moving on constructive actions that are actually going to make a difference," he declared at a press conference in Poland, in response to a question about the killings in Dallas. [...] So, whether it is a shooting of a citizen by a police officer, or the shooting of a police officer by a citizen, everything is an excuse to increase the control of the federal government over policing, in contradiction of the 10th Amendment, which makes most law enforcement a "reserved power" of the states and local governments.

Obama Wants More Federal Oversight of Cops After Attacks on Cops.  President Barack Obama is harnessing the increasing attacks on police — and the periodic shootings of people by stressed cops — to push his agenda to federalize state and local police forces.

Obama and Hillary Exploit Murdered Cops to Federalize Police.  Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are exploiting the killing of five police officers in Dallas to push a range of assaults on the U.S. Constitution, including a decades-old plot to federalize America's local police departments without any semblance of constitutional authority.  In between subtly demonizing law-enforcement officers as racists and touting the controversial Black Lives Matter movement, the two Democrat Party standard-bearers also seized on the Dallas police shootings to promote further infringements on the constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.  Critics, though, including among America's police forces, blasted the Obama administration and its allies for fueling a "war" on law enforcement.  The establishment plan to federalize and militarize America's state and local police forces has been underway for decades.  In recent years, though, the Obama administration has pushed the agenda further and faster than ever.  Among other schemes, the White House has used "executive actions," as well as bribe money provided by Congress and threats of lawsuits, to impose a wide range of unconstitutional federal "guidelines" and controls on law enforcement.

Obama Pushes More Federal Oversight of Cops After Dallas Attack on Cops.  President Barack Obama is harnessing the increasing attacks on police in Dallas — and the periodic shootings of people by stressed cops — to push his agenda to federalize state and local police forces. [...] The report urges the federal government to federalize police training and practices, via the use of federal lawsuits, grants and threats to cut federal aid.  So far, Obama's deputies have cajoled and sued more than 30 police jurisdictions to adopt federal rules in a slow-motion creation of a national police system, similar to the slow-motion creation of a federal-run health-sector via Obamacare.

Obama's federalization of police grows nationwide.  Announced Friday [4/22/2016], 53 police departments around the country have signed on so far to the White House-pressed Police Data Initiative, a plan by President Obama to make crime-fighting more technology-driven and accountable to higher-ups, but that is seen by critics as a not-so-subtle federal takeover of community policing.  The program, which comes by way of a recommendation from the Task Force on 21st Century Policing that Obama launched in December — which was created by the White House in response to widely reported instances of police-community clashes and alleged cop discrimination against minorities — is aimed at enhancing "data transparency and analysis" among police departments around the nation.

Utah Republicans push to strip police powers from feds.  Utah's four House Republicans introduced a bill Wednesday that would strip the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service of their power to police federal lands, and give that power over to local cops.  Rep. Jason Chaffetz and his three GOP colleagues from Utah introduced the Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act.  The lawmakers say the growth of police authorities in both agencies has distracted them from their main mission of managing federal land, and has created conflicts with local authorities.  They also say federal agents are not as trusted as local police, and should be removed.

Feds returning to local crime fight.  Mounting concern over recent violent crime surges in some U.S. cities has prompted the Justice Department to call a meeting next month of more than a dozen local law enforcement officials to deal with persistent public safety threats, ranging from criminal gangs to domestic violence, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates told USA TODAY in an interview.  The Justice summit builds on an increasing federal re-engagement with local police whose forces in the past two years have been buffeted by questions over lethal force policies and flagging public trust.

Loretta Lynch Embeds Federal Agents In Baltimore To Help Control Embarrassment of Growing Crisis.  The transparency of motive is brutally obvious.  As Baltimore suffers the worst explosion of gun/homicide violence in 40 years, the race-based professional apologists have to move quickly to avoid the consequences from their own insufferable policy/agenda failures.

Feds answer Baltimore's SOS on violence.  Baltimore is turning to the federal government for help in stemming a dramatic uptick in violence over the last several months.  Ten federal agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Marshals Service will embed with the police department's homicide unit for the next 60 days, city leaders announced Monday [8/3/2015].

Loretta Lynch Embeds Federal Agents In Baltimore To Help Control Embarrassment of Growing Crisis.  The transparency of motive is brutally obvious.  As Baltimore suffers the worst explosion of gun/homicide violence in 40 years, the race-based professional apologists have to move quickly to avoid the consequences from their own insufferable policy/agenda failures.

Loretta Lynch Embeds Federal Agents In Baltimore To Help Control Embarrassment of Growing Crisis.  The transparency of motive is brutally obvious.  As Baltimore suffers the worst explosion of gun/homicide violence in 40 years, the race-based professional apologists have to move quickly to avoid the consequences from their own insufferable policy/agenda failures.

ATF To Join NYPD In Fighting New York City Gun Crimes.  Bullet-riddled windows, yellow crime scene tape, and evidence markers denoting where shell casings fell on the sidewalk are becoming all-too-familiar sights on New York City streets.  Now in an unprecedented move, a federal agency is joining the effort to get gun crimes under control, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Monday [6/15/2015].

DOJ Official: Slavery to Blame for Riots in Ferguson and Baltimore.  Vanita Gupta, head of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, has told a lawyers group in Colorado that slavery and Jim Crow helped fuel the Ferguson and Baltimore riots.  The last few days have seen a number of fanciful stories with the Obama administration seemingly questioning the authority of local police.  I've long maintained that the administration is nakedly seeking to federalize policing standards — but get rid of local police?  No way, that sounds like something broadcast from a shortwave station in Austin, Texas.  But then up steps Vanita Gupta to lend some credibility to the idea that some want to disband local police and replace police powers with the federal government.

Obama seeks to end immigration enforcement by local, state police.  The administration issued a report Monday [5/18/2015] saying that in order to rebuild trust between police and their communities, the federal government should stop enlisting state and local police in most immigration enforcement, setting up another challenge as President Obama tries to please immigrant rights advocates while carrying out deportations.

GOP Is Ready to Join Dems in Demanding Some Federalization of the Police.  The Obama regime is pretending there is a crisis in local policing throughout the country.  They have opened 21 investigations into local police departments and forced legally binding agreements on them, agreements that implement leftist ideals based on the assumption that policing is inherently racist and causes crime through escalation.  The GOP is about to join them under pressure from the Obama administration who wants them to believe they must do so or risk looking like bigots.  There are calls from within the GOP to come up with transformational legislation on policing in order to keep that minuscule 5% support from black Americans.  Obama is also threatening his own fiats if congress fails to act.

Obama's 'national civilian security force' endorsed.  Back in 2008, Barack Obama, then a presidential candidate, called for a "civilian national security force."  And he wanted it wanted it as big as all of the nation's military branches.  Combined.  Now black activist Al Sharpton is suggesting a path that probably would accomplish that:  nationalize America's police forces.

Want a lawless police force? Federalize it.  The idea behind federal supervision of local police forces is that it will make them more accountable.  Instead of a bunch of presumptively racist, violent hicks running things on a local level, we'll see the cool professionalism of the national government in charge.  There are (at least) two problems with this approach.  The first is that federal law enforcement, especially in recent years, hasn't exactly been a haven of cool professionalism.  The second is that no law enforcement agency is very good at policing itself, meaning that a national police force is likely to be less accountable, not more.

Obama and mayors planning not only to reform but to totally replace America's police forces.  Republicans, who surrendered to the Democrats even after taking over House and Senate in last Midterm elections, have no dog in the racial riots in Ferguson, Baltimore and other cities, but Mayor Stephanie Rowlings-Blake, who ordered a police stand down in Baltimore, and a bevy of other Democrat mayors, do.  With the undercover help of activist municipal mayors and councils, Obama seeks not to reform the nation's police — but to totally replace them.  While diverting public attention by snubbing senators, and overriding both Constitution and Congress, Obama is now hammering the final nail in the Fundamental Transformation of America coffin.

Proposed Federal Rules For NYPD Training Include Cop 101 Advice Like 'Don't Be Racist'.  The federal monitor overseeing reforms to the NYPD wants the current class of Police Academy recruits to be taught groundbreaking new concepts like:  Don't be racist, don't mock others, don't tell sexist jokes and don't hassle people for no reason.

Holder: I'm Prepared to Dismantle the Ferguson Police Force.  Despite a Justice Department report clearing police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, Attorney General Eric Holder says he will do everything he can to change the law enforcement culture in Ferguson, Mo.  If he feels the need to, Holder says he will seek to dismantle the Ferguson Police Department.

Obama to Ferguson: Accept the DOJ Findings — or Else.  Remember, its the agenda that matters.  Not the processes.  The Constitution, the separation of powers, the rule of law — those are quaint constructs irrelevant to the modern march toward Social Justice.

Holder: I'm Prepared To Dismantle Ferguson PD, If Necessary.  Attorney General Eric Holder is convinced that there's major problems within the Ferguson Police Department, and he's willing to dismantle the entire force if necessary.  In an interview with Friday's White House pool reporter on the Department of Justice's critical Ferguson report, Holder said, "We are prepared to use all the powers that we have... to ensure that the situation changes there.  That means everything from working with them to coming up with an entirely new structure."

The road to nationalizing the police.  Federal judges and attorneys now routinely urge the appointment of monitors and the imposition of consent decrees to permit them to assume authority over wide swaths of local policing.  In his final days as US attorney general, Eric Holder has suggested lowering the standard of proof in civil-rights cases to make it easier to bring federal charges against an accused police officer.  As Holder put it last week, "We can make the federal government a better backstop, make this more a part of the process ... to reassure the American people that decisions are made by people who are really disinterested."  Incidents that were once only of local interest are now fodder for the national news.

Obama task force: Feds should be told of all police shootings.  Police departments should take advantage of new technology such as body cameras as they seek to build trust with the public, the White House's task force on policing said Monday [2/2/2015] in a new report.  The panel also recommended that all officer-involved shootings be reported to the federal government, a step that has been demanded by community groups who want greater oversight of law enforcement.  "There's no reason for us not to have this data available," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who co-chaired the task force.

Obama Unveils National ObamaLaw Plan.  President Barack Obama today introduced his plan for a progressive takeover of state and local policing.  "We have a great opportunity... to really transform how we think about community law enforcement relations," he said Monday.  "We need to seize that opportunity... this is something that I'm going to stay very focused on in the months to come," Obama said, as he touted a new interim report from his Task Force on 21st Century Policing.  Obama also instructed his media allies to help federalize policing, and to sideline the critics of centralized policing rules.

Obama Announces His Plans to Nationalize Local and State Law Enforcement.  Dictator Barack Obama has announced plans to nationalize law enforcement like all despots like Hitler, Mao and Lenin did: [...] Like all criminal enterprises, the Obama administration wants to consolidate power.  By nationalizing the police force, liberals will be able to spare minority criminals from going to prison.  It has long been their contention that too many blacks and Hispanics are sent to prison merely because they broke the law and the fact that a proportionate amount of whites should be in prisons.  So either whites need to greatly increase the number of crimes they commit or we will be forced to only send 1 out of every 3 convicted blacks and Hispanics to prison.

Obama's Task Force Envisions Cops As Community Activists.  President Obama said his Task Force on 21st Century Policing has presented him with "a very specific set of recommendations," including the need for police officers to be "seen as enhancing the life of the community beyond law enforcement."  To build trust, Obama's task force suggests that police officers "be engaged with the community, not just in a (police) stop but also in a school, also working with children, also being seen as enhancing the life of the community beyond law enforcement."





Other objectionable traits

LA Police Union:  Police Commission Wants Cops To Run From Armed Suspects.  The Los Angeles Police Commission wants LAPD police officers to run away when a suspect confronts them with a weapon, warns the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the labor union of the city's police officers.  The organization posted a blog post critical of the commission's recent decision to find that fault lay upon an LAPD officer who used deadly force when a female suspect, Norma Guzman, came at him and his partner swinging a large knife.

San Diego Cop who Lied About Shooting Unarmed Homeless Man, then Cleared, was Never Interviewed by Internal Affairs.  A San Diego cop who was allowed to change his story after he watched surveillance footage that captured him fatally shooting an unarmed, mentally ill homeless man in an alley was never interviewed by internal affairs investigators.  Nor did the California cop have to answer to any superior officers in his department because none of them were interested in investigating the shooting.

Ohio sheriff indicted on dozens of counts, including drug charges.  An Ohio sheriff who is up for re-election this fall has been arrested on charges that he stole medications from prescription drug disposal drop boxes, deceived doctors into giving him painkillers and misused department funds.

The NYPD paid over $428 million in settlements over a five year period.  As part of an ongoing investigation, MuckRock's Todd Feathers asked the NYPD for a list of all civil rights lawsuits brought against the department.  To his surprise, what he got was every case brought against the NYPD since 2009, and how much those cases cost them.  To all of MuckRock's surprise, that amount is several hundred million dollars.

A few bad apples?  I don't think so.  Take a look at the links [in this article].  These are all from the CATO institute's police misconduct site[.]  These are the result of reports they published for part of July[.]  They are a great resource and they have been tracking police misconduct since 2012[.]  In that time they amassed 247 pages[.]

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton to resign.  NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is leaving the NYPD for a private-sector job and will be replaced by Chief of Department James O'Neill, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday [8/2/2016].  Bratton will officially leave One Police Plaza next month, with O'Neill assuming command Sept. 16, sources said.  Bratton's impending departure comes after he repeatedly helped push crime to its lowest levels in recent history — but amid an unfolding police corruption scandal that he's called the worst since the Knapp Commission revelations of the early 1970s.

Charges refiled against Reading police officer.  Charges have been refiled against against a Reading police officer, who prosecutors said punched a woman and smashed her cell phone during a traffic stop.  The Berks County District Attorney's Office made the announcement on Thursday [7/21/2016].  Officer Jesus Santiago-DeJesus faces charges of official oppression and several other charges.

Md. Officer Took Upskirt Photos of Women, Off-Duty Police Officer, Police Say.  A Prince George's County police officer is facing multiple charges after he allegedly took upskirt photos of multiple women, including an off-duty police officer, prosecutors say.  James Sims was indicted Thursday on four counts of visual surveillance with prurient interest and two counts of misconduct in office.

Unaccountable Police Unions Endanger Minorities and Everyone Else.  [Scroll down]  Conservative police apologists often dismiss this frustration, claiming that police shootings are the result not of bigotry and bias by police but greater black crime rates.  And to prove their point they have seized on a study by Harvard University's Roland G. Fryer, black himself, that found no evidence that police are more likely to use lethal force against blacks and Hispanics than whites.  But Fryer, a careful researcher with a stellar reputation, doesn't have great confidence in his own findings because comprehensive national data about police shootings doesn't exist.  His investigation was therefore limited to select areas of Texas, Florida, and Los Angeles that were willing to share their internal records.  And this, he acknowledges, introduced a massive self-selection bias in his sample.

How Many People Were Shot by Open Carriers at the RNC?  We were warned.  Prior to the Republican National Convention, multiple mainstream media outlets warned about Ohio's dangerous gun laws that allow for the open carry of firearms.  The head of the police union wanted Ohio Governor John Kasich to (unconstitutionally) suspend the state's gun laws.  "We are sending a letter to Gov.  Kasich requesting assistance from him.  He could very easily do some kind of executive order or something — I don't care if it's constitutional or not at this point," Stephen Loomis, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, told CNN.
[Emphasis added.]

Once one of the nation's most powerful cops, is ex-L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca heading to prison?  Lee Baca was never an easy man to define. [...] Baca, 74, admitted in February that he lied during a 2013 interview with investigators in which he maintained he knew little of the efforts by subordinates to thwart the FBI's probe into the county jails.  In fact, Baca conceded, he had known in advance of a plan to have deputies confront an FBI agent and threaten her with arrest.  And he did not contest other allegations, including that he was aware an inmate working as an FBI informant had been hidden from agents.  Baca retired months after the interview.

'Tens of Thousands' Wrongly Convicted Based on Unreliable Drug Tests.  ProPublica reporters Ryan Gabrielson and Topher Sanders estimate that widely used but notoriously unreliable field tests for drugs have led to "tens of thousands" of wrongful convictions in the United States.  The tests are not admissible in court, but that does not matter much, since the vast majority of drug cases — 90 percent or more — are resolved by plea deals.  Gabrielson and Sanders' story, which was published in The New York Times Magazine over the weekend, illustrates that point with the case of a Louisiana woman, Amy Albritton, whose employment prospects were ruined by a felony conviction after Houston police pulled over her car in 2010 and found a white crumb they mistakenly identified as crack cocaine.  The test that was used to incriminate Albritton involves dropping a suspected drug sample into a vial of cobalt thiocyanate, which is supposed to turn blue in the presence of cocaine.  But as Gabrielson and Sanders note, "cobalt thiocyanate also turns blue when it is exposed to more than 80 other compounds, including methadone, certain acne medications and several common household cleaners."

Due Process?  A Drone Was Used To Blow Up A US Citizen Without Trial This Week.  The Dallas shootings have ushered in a very new world for US citizens.  For the very first time, drones have been used on US soil to kill Americans without trial or charges.  The suspected shooter in yesterday's tragic killings, US Army veteran Micah Xavier Johnson, was, according to police and press reports, holed up in a parking garage and would not give himself up.  After hours of what police claimed were fruitless negotiations with Johnson, a weaponized robot was sent to where he was hiding and blown up, taking Johnson with it.

The Editor says...
If anyone else had done this, it would be called lynching.  But if the police do it, we all look the other way.

California Police Underage Sex Scandal Involves 28 Officers, 5 Departments.  The California teen at the center of a multi-agency underage sex scandal is finally speaking out about the officer who took her from a pimp and turned her into a badge bunny for 28 cops across five different police departments.  The fallout has caused two officer suicides.  Fourteen Oakland cops have resigned already.

Texas Cop Raped Prisoner, Entire Police Department Watched.  A Texas cop raped his prisoner on video, while the entire department watched.  Now the victim is suing the town of 4,000 residents for $5,000,000.  The tiny border town of La Joya only has a total of 11 police officers, and seven active officers have been named in the lawsuit including the current chief.  La Joya's former chief is also a named defendant.  Even after several high-ranking La Joya cops, now named in the complaint, knew about their officer's sexual assault of "Autumn Renee" after witnessing footage from the jail's video-surveillance cameras, the officers never transported the victim to a medical facility, they also failed to give her an on-site examination, or even a welfare check.

NYPD shows support for gay pride with new-look patrol SUV.  The NYPD is supporting gay pride with a new rainbow colored patrol vehicle.  The SUV was apparently painted for the city's gay pride parade Sunday in Manhattan and carries a message of support for Orlando in the wake of the country's largest mass shooting incident earlier this month.  The vehicle also has a heart sticker that reads "NYC Pride 2016" and the words "Pride Equality Peace" — both in rainbow colors.

High-ranking New York City police officials charged in corruption case.  Charges brought against four men arrested Monday [6/20/2016] in a widening city corruption probe include lurid claims that a top police official roomed with a prostitute during a Las Vegas trip as businessmen spent over $100,000 to ensure unformed officers were available as their private security force.

Shady businessman bribed cops to close Lincoln Tunnel lane: feds.  Cops shut down a lane in the Lincoln Tunnel so a visiting businessman could be escorted through it at the behest of a major de Blasio fundraiser, federal prosecutors charged Monday [6/20/2016].  The outrageous move was revealed as part of damning criminal indictments unveiled Monday against four NYPD officers and the shady "fixer" who allegedly arranged it.  The stunning arrests marked the first time cops have been charged in the sweeping 3½-year corruption investigation rocking the department and Mayor Bill de Blasio's office, which is being probed for its fundraising.

4 NYPD officials busted in de Blasio fundraising probe.  Four NYPD officials — including three high-ranking cops — have been busted as part of the sweeping federal corruption probe rocking the police department and Mayor Bill de Blasio's office, federal prosecutors announced Monday [6/20/2016].  "It is a heartbreaking thing," Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said.  "An officer who betrays his badge betrays every honorable officer."  Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, Deputy Inspector James Grant and Sgt.  David Villanueva were arrested at their homes at 6 a.m.  Monday by FBI agents and hauled into 26 Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan, sources said.  Officer Richard Ochetal has already pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in exchange for expediting gun permit applications, prosecutors revealed.

3 N.Y.P.D. Commanders Are Arrested on Corruption Charges.  Three New York Police Department commanders, including a deputy chief, were arrested early Monday, along with a Brooklyn businessman, on federal corruption charges stemming from one of several continuing investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign fund-raising, according to court papers.  The arrests, of a deputy chief, a deputy inspector and a sergeant, were one of the most significant roundups of police supervisors in the recent history of the department.  In striking the top ranks, the case is a particular blow to the storied — and sometimes sullied — reputation of the nation's largest municipal police force.

Oakland Police Chief Steps Down After 2 Days on the Job.  Oakland lost its third police chief in eight days Friday [6/17/2016] as it struggles with allegations that a number of officers had sex with a teenage prostitute and exchanged racist text messages.

Police Officer Arrested 5 Times in One Year, Still on the Force.  A Maui police officer who has been arrested for everything from child endangerment to a DUI to skipping court over the course of one calendar year is still employed by the Maui Police Department, according to an exclusive report by Hawaii News Now.  The troubles of Rachel Garvin, a mother and eight-year veteran of the Maui police force, began in 2014 and allegedly stem from drinking.  While picking her son up at school one day, two teachers at the school suspected Garvin of being drunk.  Allegedly, they were right.  Just a few minutes later Garvin crashed into a guardrail with her son in the car.

Police officer charged after allegedly punching woman during traffic stop.  A Pennsylvania police officer lied about the reason behind a traffic stop, then smashed the motorist's cellphone and punched her in the face after pulling her over without sufficient cause, prosecutors said.

NYPD cops accused of beating FedEx worker who gave road directions to killer.  Two New York Police Department detectives are charged with assaulting a FedEx worker who they knew had given street directions to a stranger who went on to kill two policemen minutes later.

New Jersey police officer reportedly investigated for brake-checking motorist.  A New Jersey police officer is being investigated after a dashcam video showed the officer suddenly braking in the middle of a roadway and then issuing the driver behind him multiple tickets, authorities said Friday [4/29/2016].  According to NJ.com, video of the March 19 altercation surfaced on YouTube last week.  It shows a Clifton resident, identified only as Omar B., and shows the Clifton police officer slamming on the brakes in front of the man.  There was no one in front of the officer at the time he slammed on the brakes.

One Law for the Rich, Another for the Average.  On Sunday [4/24/2016], authorities arrested Alex "Shaya" Lichtenstein on bribery and conspiracy charges relating to alleged efforts to bribe an NYPD officer in order to obtain handgun licenses, and previous successful attempts to do the same.  The arrest was part of a wide-ranging Federal probe into corruption at the NYPD.  New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told the New York Post that the unfolding scandal is the worst for the department since the period surrounding the Knapp Commission in the early 1970s; [...]

They probably had a really good reason to do this, but still...
Residents of Colorado town baffled after entire police force suddenly quits.  If you find yourself in an emergency situation in Green Mountain Falls, Colo., don't bother calling police.  In this scenic western hamlet, they no longer exist.  All four members of the 700-person town's police force — Tim Bradley, the police chief, and three volunteer reserve officers — resigned April 14 because of an alleged policy dispute with the municipality's newly elected mayor, according to Fox affiliate KXRM-TV.

The new way police are surveilling you:  Calculating your threat 'score'.  As a national debate has played out over mass surveillance by the National Security Agency, a new generation of technology such as the Beware software being used in Fresno has given local law enforcement officers unprecedented power to peer into the lives of citizens.  Police officials say such tools can provide critical information that can help uncover terrorists or thwart mass shootings, ensure the safety of officers and the public, find suspects, and crack open cases.  They say that last year's attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., have only underscored the need for such measures.  But the powerful systems also have become flash points for civil libertarians and activists, who say they represent a troubling intrusion on privacy, have been deployed with little public oversight and have potential for abuse or error.

Orthodox Jewish leader allegedly bribed NYPD cops for pistol permits.  NYPD cops pocketed cash bribes to "expedite" pistol permits for members of the Orthodox Jewish community — and a Boro Park Shomrim patrol leader offered another officer a near $1 million payday to keep the scheme going, the feds charged Monday [4/18/2016].  A cop in the NYPD's License Division allegedly confessed to the FBI that he and a supervisor accepted payments he called "lunch money" from Alex "Shaya" Lichtenstein, who was hauled into court Monday on bribery and conspiracy charges[.]  Court papers say Lichtenstein was secretly recorded last week bragging about how he had secured 150 gun licenses through his connections in the division but needed a new hookup there following a crackdown.

NYPD officers shared prostitute in private jet funded by businessman in corruption probe, reports say.  Several New York police officials have been accused of having sex with a prostitute dressed as an air hostess while travelling on a private plane paid for by a city businessman at the heart of a federal corruption probe.  The prostitute is said to have enacted a "Coffee, tea, or me?" routine during both legs of a return trip to Las Vegas, informed sources told the New York Post.  The private plane was reportedly paid for by Jona Rechnitz, one of two businessmen with ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio who is being investigated over gifts made to five high ranking police officers.

Mother: Deputies 'twisted' story of girls who drowned in stolen car.  Attorneys representing the mother of 15-year-old Laniya Miller, who died March 31 when a stolen car she was riding in crashed into a pond, accused the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office of a "rush to judgment" and "smear campaign" against the girl.  During a news conference Monday [4/11/2016] in front of the county's Justice Center, attorneys Michele Whitfield and Will Anderson said the sheriff's office misrepresented Laniya's criminal history and questioned investigators' reconstruction of events that led to the girls' deaths.  The attorneys said they are conducting an independent investigation.  "The story that law enforcement provided does not match the scene," Whitfield said.

NYPD has at least five undercover 'Cop Cabs'.  In 2010, the NYPD taxis briefly made headlines on the internet when a video of a cab pulling over a car surfaced on YouTube.  Since then, occasional sightings have led to the expansion of the myth of the undercover "cop cab," but little has been proven.  In an attempt to find out more about this elusive police tool, I made four requests to the NYPD through the state's Freedom of Information Law.

Law Enforcement Investigators Seek Out Private DNA Databases.  Investigators are broadening their DNA searches beyond government databases and demanding genetic information from companies that do ancestry research for their customers.

NYPD Blames Man Reportedly Run Over by Cop on Cellphone for [his] Own Death.  A New York Police Department legal filing asserts that a 61-year-old Spanish teacher who was run over and killed by a police van while crossing a street to which he had the legal right of way "caused or contributed, in whole or in part" to his own death, the StreetsBlog site reports.  What's more, a witness reportedly told investigators that the officer driving the van that killed Felix Coss "was holding her cell phone up to her ear" when she turned into him.

Port Authority salaries are so out of hand that the average worker makes $100K.  The average salary of the Port Authority's workforce exceeded $100,000 last year, fueled by sky-high overtime run up by the bistate agency's police officers, a report released Tuesday [3/22/2016] reveals.  One in 10 Port Authority cops — a total of 170 out of 1,649 — was paid more than $200,000, according to figures compiled by the Empire Center for Public Policy.  Of the 36 workers making more than $250,000, 25 were cops.

How Chicago racked up a $662 million police misconduct bill.  In this city's troubled history of police misconduct, Eric Caine's case may be unrivaled:  It took more than 25 years and $10 million to resolve.

Institutionalized dishonesty:
Cops are trained liars, and courts have sanctioned the practice, but if you lie to them you'll go to jail.  Part of the training that LEOs (that acronym can reference law enforcement officers, or, as I call them, legally entitled to oppress) receive is in how to lie and get away with it.  These "legal" lies can include telling a suspect that police have evidence they don't have, or have obtained confessions they have not obtained, or even posing as a prisoner in a jail cell who is simply "shooting the breeze" with a fellow prisoner with the express purpose of obtaining evidence of a crime.

Low standards:
State Police boosted academy diversity by ignoring background checks, suit says.  A veteran state trooper alleges in a whistleblower lawsuit she was retaliated against by her superiors after raising objections that police academy background checks were compromised because of pressure to increase racial diversity among State Police ranks.  Acting Sgt. Jaclyn Jiras, who spent five months working as a background investigator at a time the division was being scrutinized for its lack of black cadets, claims she was reassigned and denied a promotion when she flagged applicants with troubled legal histories and criminal backgrounds.

2 Los Angeles police officers charged with raping women on duty.  On Wednesday [2/17/2016], prosecutors announced that veteran Officers James Nichols and Luis Valenzuela had been arrested and charged with repeatedly raping the four women over a three-year period, mostly while they were on duty.

Corruption:
Ex-LA sheriff pleads guilty to lying during corruption probe.  Former Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying to federal authorities investigating corruption in the department, a probe that was gaining momentum when he abruptly retired two years ago.

Ex-L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca pleads guilty in jail scandal.  Retired Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded guilty Wednesday [2/10/2016] to lying to federal investigators, a stunning reversal for the longtime law enforcement leader who for years insisted he played no role in the misconduct that tarnished his agency.

'Staggering corruption': 46 correctional officers charged in years-long drug trafficking sting.  The FBI arrested 46 current and former correction officers in a sting at nine facilities around Georgia, as a result of a two-year undercover operation went down early Thursday [2/11/2016] with raids by FBI at the prisons.  The indictments revealed "staggering corruption within Georgia Department of Corrections institutions," said John Horn, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.  Among those arrested were five members of an elite squad aimed at busting up drug dealing in prison, called the Cobra unit.  Also rounded up in the bust were two civilians and one inmate.

Ex-Oklahoma trooper accused of rape during traffic stops due in court.  Eric Roberts is due in Creek County District Court Thursday morning [2/4/2016] for a preliminary hearing on 11 criminal counts, including second-degree rape, indecent exposure, sexual battery and embezzlement.

Ask yourself this question:  Will the government use this technology for you or against you?
Big Data on the Beat Predictive policing has arrived.  Predictive policing used to be the future," said career cop William Bratton, "and now it is the present." [...] Predictive policing, which Bratton helped develop when he headed the Los Angeles Police Department during the 2000s, seeks not just to fight crime but to anticipate and prevent it.  It uses cutting-edge technology and Big Data — some of which comes from past analysis and some of which is new, streaming in real time to an onboard computer in a patrol car — to identify high-risk areas, which precincts can then flood with police.

NYPD cop who retired with bad shoulder is now bodybuilding and collecting disability pension.  He's pumping iron — and squeezing taxpayers for $40,000 a year.  An NYPD officer who retired with a disability pension now regularly participates in bodybuilding competitions — and pension rules permit it.  Derek Huebner retired on Aug. 31, 1996 after six years on the force, according to the New York City Police Pension Fund.  He receives $40,885.20, tax-free plus benefits, every year from the fund, which has come under scrutiny following reports in th