Televised Brutality: Cops Raid Man’s Home For Benefit of TV Cameras

Televised Brutality: Cops Raid Man’s Home For Benefit of TV Cameras

The controversial reality TV show “Live PD” was recently taken off the air, as the country is beginning to rethink its relationship with police, and how they are being portrayed in the media. Just like the show’s predecessor “COPS,” Live PD has been accused of crossing ethical boundaries in order to get their footage.

In one case, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office in Texas is being accused of intentionally passing up an opportunity to arrest their suspect, Asher Watsky, while he was in court, just so they could raid his home for the television cameras a few hours later. The court appearance and raid happened in May of 2019, but is just now getting new attention after the cancellation of the show.

“The second I saw the cameras, I’m aware of the Live PD program, I figured out right then, I had a feeling what was going on,” Asher said.

Gary Watsky, one of the occupants of the home, says that the SWAT raid was “all for show.”

“It was all for TV,” he said.

Watsky was wanted on a warrant relating to an assault charge that he faced from a fight that he got into with his roommate. He was fulfilling all of his court requirements for the initial charge, but for some reason, the police filed an additional charge against him, but didn’t activate it until after he appeared in court.

Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick was among many people involved with the case who felt that Watsky could have been arrested peacefully when he was in court less than four hours before the raid.

According to KVUE, Dick said that officials with the sheriff’s office admitted that they removed Watsky’s warrant from the record system so no one in the court would see it that day and try to arrest him.

They reportedly claimed that a SWAT raid on his home would be safer than arresting him after he passed through security in a courthouse. Dick has also identified at least five other cases where the Williamson County sheriff’s office used excessive force while cameras were rolling for Live PD.

Three former officers with the department have said that it was common for supervisors to push for arrests to happen during Live PD recordings, instead of off-camera where more peaceful interactions might be possible. One former officer, Gil Unger, complained to his supervisors but says that no one listened to him.

Law enforcement officials and legal experts insist that the tactics used in the Watsky raid are highly unusual.

National law enforcement consultant Jeff Noble said that this raid may not have been necessary, and he fears, “That this was staged for the value of live television.”

“That is not the type of situation to take lightly but, at the same time, it is not the type of situation I would expect a SWAT team to enter a home to make an arrest,” Noble said.

Both Live PD and Cops were taken off the air earlier this year in response to the growing protests against police brutality—when they encourage cops to do things like this, only good can come from it.

In June, TFTP reported on a similar instance with a much more tragic ending. Javier Ambler, a 40-year-old postal worker, was on his way home from a friendly poker game when he allegedly made the mistake of failing to turn off his brights when passing another vehicle.

Ambler’s last moments alive were captured on police body camera footage as well as footage from the crew from A&E’s reality show “Live PD.” He never resisted, posed a threat to cops, or attempted to attack them, yet he was thrown to the ground, repeatedly tasered, and the air squeezed from his body until he fell unconscious and died.

John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Twitter.John just won a 3-year-long battle with cancer, and will be working to help others through his experience, if you wish to contribute to his treatments consider subscribing to his podcast to support. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Man Shoots Intruder, Turns Out to Be Cop — Gets 13.5 Years

Man Shoots Intruder, Turns Out to Be Cop — Gets 13.5 Years

Tyler Harrell was found guilty of a charge of aggravated assault today in a case that should concern anyone who cares about the right to self-defense.
Back in 2016, Harrell grabbed his AK-47 after being awaken by a loud bang.  With him and his mom believing his house was being broken in to, he went on to shoot one of the intruders in the knee. Unfortunately for Harrell, the people that broke down his door had government badges. The Austin SWAT team, allegedly responding to Snapchat photos of Harrell with drugs, guns, and cash, were conducting a no-knock raid on the house. Their search found no drugs, but Harrell faced the assault charge as well as an even more ludicrous charge of attempted capital murder, of which he was found not guilty. He now faces thirteen-and-a-half years in prison.
While it’s a shame that someone was hurt during the police raid, Harrell is the clear victim in this situation. After all, what is a reasonable person supposed to do when armed men knock down your front door without any sort of announcement? Anyone who favors gun rights must concede that the natural reaction is to defend yourself and everyone else in the home. Unfortunately, the overlap between the Blue Lives Matter and NRA crowds mean we are unlikely to hear many national voices come to Harrell’s defense.
Unfortunately situations like Harrell’s are not all the uncommon, as the government continues to wage its absurd war on drugs. As Tate Fegley noted following the disastrous Utah vs Streiff Supreme Court case:

To read the decisions of the Court regarding the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits the government from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures, is to read of its slow death, with drug prohibition playing a role almost every step of the way.

Consider, for example, one of the most odious developments in modern American policing: the no-knock SWAT raid. There are, on average, over 100 raids per day and the majority of them are to serve low-level drug warrants. Such a dangerous procedure inevitably has led to a huge number of botched raids, resulting in unnecessary property damage and death. It is a common law principle that officers of the law “knock-and-announce” themselves prior to the search of a dwelling in order to give the occupant time to compose himself and answer the door. The Supreme Court has created exceptions to this principle, such as the possibility that suspects could destroy drug evidence, thus providing a necessary condition to the environment that allows a raid-happy style of policing to exist. In consideration of this, it is not hard to imagine how the Strieff decision could lead to widespread pretext stops and ID-checking in order to go on fishing expeditions for evidence.

Retrieved from Mises.org.

Man Shoots Intruder, Turns Out to Be Cop — Gets 13.5 Years

Iran Sanctions a Reminder of How America Militarized the Financial System

Only CNN was surprised by Donald Trump’s recent announcement that he was pulling the United States out of the Iran Deal negotiated by his predecessor. Following the same failed approach of the last Republican administration, the President opted for confrontation with the Iranian regime rather than uplifting more moderate factions within the country through trade. The decision has already increased tensions in the volatile region, with Iran and Israel exchanging fire in Syria.
Meanwhile European leaders are meeting Iranian officials to try to design a way to bypass new American sanctions. Others have vocally attacked Trump’s actions and attacked the US playing the role of “economic policeman.”
As French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said after the decision:

Do we want to be vassals who obey decisions taken by the United States while clinging to the hem of their trousers? Or do we want to say we have our economic interests, we consider we will continue to do trade with Iran?

According to reports, European officials are looking at a few different options to help salvage their economic relationship with Iran.
One is by reviving “blocking statutes” such as the ones the EU threatened in response to sanctions on Cuba, Libya, and Iran in the 1990s. The mechanism works similar to the anti-commandeering doctrine, ordering European officials to refuse to comply with US sanctions. As Reuters notes, blocking statutes have “never been used and is seen by European governments more as a political weapon.” They were successful in the past because the Clinton Administration simply backed down, something that seems unlikely with President Trump.
The other is to establish new financial institutions with no connection to the US financial system. Iran has already made the euro the official reporting currency for foreign exchange, so on the surface this seems like a viable alternative.
The problem European decision makers face, however, is that the US has gone to great lengths to militarize the banking industry in recent years.

As Richard Goldberg noted at Foreign Policy:

[In 2010] Congress passed a new law leveraging America’s greatest strength against the fulcrum of global commerce with Iran: financial transactions.

After years of blacklisting most financial institutions in Iran for their involvement in various illicit activities, Congress recognized that it also needed to punish third parties for doing business with these criminal enterprises. Thus, it declared that any foreign bank that maintained a correspondent banking relationship with a designated Iranian bank would forfeit its banking relationships in the United States.

In 2011, the United States extended this prohibition to transactions conducted with the Central Bank of Iran and, in 2012, to transactions conducted in connection with a wide range of Iranian economic sectors and activities.

No financial institution is going to want to risk being blackballed from the US banking system, no matter how firmly worded a blocking statute is. As such, the first proposed policy tool has little chance of success.
Meanwhile, US lawmakers are already devising ways to go after European Central Banks should they seek to establish special financial institutions for Iranian trade. As the Weekly Standard reported, a memo is being passed around Capitol Hill stating that US policy makers should:

Remind European governments that U.S. financial sanctions apply to all “foreign financial institutions,” which the Treasury Department has previously interpreted to include “central banks or foreign state-owned or -controlled banks,” not just private banks. Countries that consider shifting their payment processing from private institutions to central banks will put their financial systems at serious risk.

Ironically the lack of real options in checking Trump actually vindicates the worldview Trump espoused as a presidential candidate. Just as Trump articulated an “America First” approach to foreign relations that prioritized “national interest” ahead of the schemes of “globalists,” Europe must identify ways to limit their dependence on the US financial system – or else indeed be reduced to de facto-vassal status to Washington. Just as political decentralization is the best way to achieve true self-determination, financial decentralization is the best way for nations to protect their own sovereign interests.
Of course to really do so requires resetting the global monetary order.
So long as the dollar enjoys its privileged position established by Bretton-Woods, the rest of the world is vulnerable to the US leveraging that against them.
Retrieved from Mises.org.

Denver Police Caught On Video Stealing Blankets From Homeless People

Denver Police Caught On Video Stealing Blankets From Homeless People

The homeless population of the United States is constantly under attack by law enforcement, for the crime of being poor and living on the streets. For people who are down on their luck and out in the cold, the police are sadly more of a concern than the elements or common criminals.

In Denver, for example, local police have sparked national controversy after video of them stealing blankets from homeless people went viral this week. The police confiscated the blankets and camping gear claiming that the property was being held as “evidence.” The officers were enforcing a city-wide ban on “urban camping,” a measure that is popping up in cities across the country. These “urban camping” bans are an obvious assault on the homeless population who does not have a choice but to camp on the streets.

Read the rest at TheFreeThoughtProject.com.

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