New Evidence Indicates Police Provoked Violence In Kenosha

New Evidence Indicates Police Provoked Violence In Kenosha

Serious violence unfolded in Kenosha Tuesday night during protests over the shooting of Jacob Blake. The violence mentioned below, however, was not between police and protesters. It was captured on video and it was between citizens. Two people were killed and a third victim was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries after shooting began in a residential area of the city. Some of it was captured on video.

Much of the violence took place in the area of 63rd Street and Sheridan Road in the city, where eyewitness video purports to show heavily armed civilians defending local businesses from suspected looters and arsonists.

Police say they have no details about the shootings, but videos of some of the shootings and the aftermath were all over Twitter Wednesday morning.

Many of the individuals who were heavily armed were claiming to be there to protect private property from those who have been laying waste to the city over the past several days. This is a theme that plays out time and again during protests, up to and including the LA riots when the Korean neighborhoods defended themselves with gunman on rooftops.

The gunman in the video above was filmed before that shooting, describing himself as one of these folks. Prior to shooting, the gunman said he was there to protect the property of citizens.

We do not know what happened prior to the video above, so we will reserve judgement. We do see several people chasing him down and then jumping on top of him before he opens fire. However, we do not know if he provoked the attack.

As the following video shows, however, several BLM activists and other militia-style citizens were discussing what could’ve set this off and their answer was shocking—the cops.

As the video below shows, BLM activists and several armed men who were their protecting property are having a cordial discussion about what unfolded that night.

These two groups, who the media says are supposed to be enemies, were not at war with one another. Instead, they were figuring out why things became so violent.

“We fully support what you all are doing out here tonight,” the militiaman says to the BLM acivtist.

The BLM activist who was confirmed to be filming was telling the militiaman that they “left the city open,” in an apparent attempt to criticize the job they were doing “protecting private property.”

But the militiaman answered back, telling the man filming that this was extremely difficult, considering a business is on fire behind them.

“You know what the cops told us today, we’re gonna push em down by you, and you’re gonna deal with them, and we (the police) are gonna leave,” the AR-15 toting young man said.

Another AR-15 carrying man chimes in saying, “the second the shots were fired, I had to tell like six people it wasn’t from you guys (BLM).”

According to the people having the discussion in the video above, there may be some bad actors out there attempting to provoke violence among the protesters and the people protecting property. And, according to the people having the discussion in the video above, those doing the provoking, are the police.

The video above is a brief clip of the much longer one below in which BLM activists and militiamen peacefully gather together to discuss what caused the violence and how to prevent it further. The interaction begins at the 20:00 mark.

With all the hatred and violence being doled out by all sides of the political and racial spectrum, videos like this one are quite heartening to see.

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Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Video: Cops Kill Six Year Old While Attempting To Shoot Unarmed Woman

Video: Cops Kill Six Year Old While Attempting To Shoot Unarmed Woman

In December 2017, the Free Thought Project reported on the tragic death of 6-year-old Kameron Prescott whose life was stolen from him when police opened fire on an unarmed woman suspected of stealing a car. In June of 2018, the family of the little boy who was gunned down by police found out that the cops who killed their son all went back to work. Then, in March of last year, the family found out that none of the officers responsible for the death of her son would face charges. After the system refused to hold itself accountable, the family filed a lawsuit against Bexar County [Texas] and have been getting the run-around ever since.

This month, the family announced in a letter that it is now calling on Bexar County to settle the lawsuit. According to KENS5, in a 16-page letter sent to county commissioners, attorneys for Prescott’s father and mother, Christopher and Rubi Prescott, laid out what they had discovered since filing suit against the county, writing that while they are “confident in our case,” the Prescott family is “willing to accept, at this time, a fraction of what a jury would likely award as damages.”

The letter reveals new details of Prescott’s killing, including the release of a video which proves a DPS trooper informed the officer that the woman police were shooting at, had no weapons. Also, the letter states that police falsely claimed the suspect, Amanda Jones, was involved in a vehicle burglary which they claim prompted the chase. In reality, according to the letter, a bounty hunter had tipped off police that Jones was in the area.

“What we had was a case where a call from a bounty hunter led to a two-hour police chase of a non-violent suspect, and it resulted in that suspect fleeing and standing in front of a mobile home where there was a child’s bicycle on the porch and a car in the driveway and a 6-year-old boy playing inside that had nothing to do with this police chase,” said Tom Crosley, an attorney for Kameron Prescott’s father, Christopher Prescott. “And deputies in this case fired 20 rounds from assault rifles. And one of those rounds killed this innocent young child.”

In December 2017, the incident received widespread coverage as the mainstream media reported that Kameron was hit with a “stray bullet.” However, this bullet was anything but “stray.” The shot that killed young Kameron was deliberately fired at an unarmed woman. In fact, he was hit twice.

The officers’ guns did not accidentally go off. Deputies John Aguillon, George Herrera, Jesse Arias and Johnny Longoria all deliberately shot at an unarmed woman, and their fear, poor judgment, and carelessness led to the death of an innocent child.

Court documents state Jones walked into Christopher Prescott’s home and that he immediately told Jones to leave the house, to which she responded, “you have kids and I do not want trouble.”

When Jones turned around to leave the home, cops opened fire on the unarmed woman with AR-15s, dumping 20 rounds into the occupied home, killing Jones and little Kameron.

The newly released video shows a DPS helicopter informing the deputies below that Jones was unarmed, just before they opened fire on her.

Although Kameron didn’t live in the home in which he was gunned down by police, it was his father’s house and he was visiting him after getting out of school early on that fateful Thursday for Christmas break.

According to KENS5, Christopher Prescott told them the last words he heard his son utter were “ouch daddy, ouch.” After they killed his child, deputies, he said, placed him in handcuffs and hauled his son off to a hospital where he later died. The letter states the toy Kameron Prescott was toting prior to the gunfire was found near his blood, still blinking.

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Had a regular citizen opened fire on an unarmed woman and killed an innocent child in the process, rest assured that they would be sitting in a jail cell right this moment. However, because the people who killed this unarmed woman and child are police officers, there will be no #JusticeForKameron.

Naturally, the sheriff’s department claimed the officers acted appropriately—by opening fire on an unarmed woman—and killing her and a child in the process. Longoria swore under oath that he saw Jones’ pistol smoking—but there was no pistol. Police then claimed she was holding an object when she walked out of the trailer—which was never recovered.

Herrera was wearing a body camera during the shooting, but police claimed it wasn’t turned on.

In a disturbing move, the county has been acting behind the scenes to dismiss the Prescotts’ lawsuit, claiming they didn’t mean to do it.

“They’re taking the position that because they didn’t mean to shoot Kameron, they really meant to shoot this woman, and that because he was an innocent bystander, they shouldn’t be held responsible for causing his death,” Crosley said. “We think that’s a ridiculous position for the county to take.”

It is not only ridiculous but it speaks to the nature of the state which can kill with impunity and face no consequences.

“Why did it escalate to this?” the letter states “Why did a bounty-hunter-initiated event result in the death of a child in an entirely different neighborhood? Why did our deputies (who were the only people that actually had guns) end up firing twenty rounds at an unarmed person and an obviously-occupied mobile home—a structure that would provide no meaningful resistance to gunfire? Does the County really believe almost twenty rounds fired at an occupied home was ‘only the amount of deadly force necessary?’”

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

How the U.S. Government Gave $200 Million to the Protectors of Pedophile Priests

How the U.S. Government Gave $200 Million to the Protectors of Pedophile Priests

Over the past week, a conspiracy theory about Wayfair selling children in cabinets took the internet by storm. Sadly, without giving it much thought, people took this unfounded claim and ran with it—distracting from actual, provable conspiracies. Selling expensive cabinets and shower curtains online does not mean one is trafficking children. What’s more, with the dark web available, who in their right mind would openly sell children—to the public—on the internet in storage cabinets. There is definitely something fishy going on with the $10,000 shower curtains—but it probably has more to do with a money laundering scheme, an internet joke by someone inside Wayfair, or something else besides openly selling children online. In the meantime, as Wayfair filled the digital airwaves, your taxpayer dollars went to bailing out churches, dozens of which covered up real and provable child sex abuse for decades, and barely anyone noticed.

Despite being tax exempt—meaning they are not required to pay the same taxes other businesses must—the Catholic church has received more than $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid. According to a scathing report out of the Associated Press, the total payout could be as high as $3.5 billion, making this tax exempt organization one of the largest recipients in the country of the taxpayer-funded pandemic bail out.

Adding to the already corrupt nature of a tax-exempt organization received billions in taxpayer funds is the fact that according to the analysis of federal data, hundreds of millions of dollars are “going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups.”

Because they do not pay taxes, institutions of faith are not usually eligible for programs such as these. However, the Catholic Church’s lobbying efforts were unprecedented, according to the report. They lobbied for an exemption to federal rules and amassed what could amount to nearly 4 billion dollars.

Typically, because the church has over 500 employees, they are disqualified from applying for this SBA bailout. However, as small businesses failed to receive minuscule loans for tens of thousands of dollars to keep their doors open, one of the richest organizations in the world persuaded this administration to grant them a waiver for the 500 employee cap.

“The government grants special dispensation, and that creates a kind of structural favoritism,” said Micah Schwartzman, a University of Virginia law professor specializing in constitutional issues and religion who has studied the Paycheck Protection Program. “And that favoritism was worth billions of dollars.”

The report found that extremely rich dioceses, who have recently built churches that cost $70 million, received funds. Others, like the diocese covering Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia—where an investigation found that then-Bishop Michael Bransfield embezzled funds and made sexual advances toward young priests—received millions.

But that’s not the worst of it. Dozens of dioceses who have paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements for decades of child rape—some going into bankruptcy over it—received over $200 million in taxpayer funds.

According to the AP:

As the church again reckoned with its longtime crisis, abuse reports tripled during the year ending June 2019 to a total of nearly 4,500 nationally. Meanwhile, dioceses and religious orders shelled out $282 million that year — up from $106 million just five years earlier. Most of that went to settlements, in addition to legal fees and support for offending clergy.

Loan recipients included about 40 dioceses that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the past few years paying victims through compensation funds or bankruptcy proceedings. AP’s review found that these dioceseswere approved for about $200 million, though the value is likely much higher.

But it gets worse. The Saint Luke Institute, which is the Catholic treatment center for priests accused of sexual abuse received upwards of a million dollars. This “institute” is essentially a holding station for child raping priests, many of whom are put right back out into churches and abuse again.

Taxpayer dollars are literally funding child raping priests and it is shameful.

The child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church erupted in 2018 in Pennsylvania and quickly reverberated throughout the world. Some of those dioceses in Pennsylvania and other states are on the receiving end of these taxpayer funds—despite a damning grand jury report that revealed widespread child sex abuse that had been covered up by the church’s top brass.

Many have been wondering how it was allowed to go on for so long without anyone getting charged or arrested. It appears that we have the answer—the separation of church and state is a farce and the state has no problem stealing money from the citizens and doling it out to organizations who protected child rapists for decades.

This should come as no surprise given the fact that police were also complicit in the cover-up.

“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all,” according to the report of the Pennsylvania grand jury. And police went along with it.

During a grand jury report into the child sex abuse by priests in Pennsylvania in 2018, the state Attorney General, Josh Shapiro provided insight into how priests were allowed to go on for decades preying on children. He singled out the two groups responsible for covering up the crimes of the church.

One of the groups named by the AG was the Catholic Church hierarchy like the archbishops and cardinals who reacted to allegations of child rape by simply transferring the priest to a new church or failing to act at all. The other group Shapiro named was law enforcement, who he says acted in tandem with the abusive priests to keep their horrific habits from ever reaching the public eye.

“The abuse scarred every diocese,” he said. “The cover-up was sophisticated. The church protected the institution at all costs.”

It should be noted that not all Catholic institutions sought to suckle from the taxpayer teat. According to the AP, the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy based in Stamford, Connecticut, told AP that even though its parishes experienced a decline in donations, none of the organizations in its five-state territory submitted applications.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Qualified Immunity Saves Police Who Laughed After Killing a Handcuffed Man

Qualified Immunity Saves Police Who Laughed After Killing a Handcuffed Man

As The Free Thought Project previously reported, on the night of Aug. 10, 2016, Tony Timpa called 911 asking police to help him because he had a history of mental illness and he was off his medication. When police arrived, Timpa was already handcuffed by a private security guard and was sitting peacefully on the sidewalk, asking police to help him. Instead of receiving help, however, police would mock Timpa and joke as they squeezed the life from him. For years the family has been fighting for justice and this week they found out it will not come.

According to a report in the Dallas News, in a 27-page ruling, U.S. District Judge David Godbey granted the officers’ motion for summary judgment in the case of Tony Timpa. The unarmed Rockwall man died in 2016 from “sudden cardiac death due to the toxic effects of cocaine and physiological stress associated with physical restraint,” court records show.

The court granted the officers, four of whom remain on the force, qualified immunity for their role in his death.

Because there had not been a “clearly established” incident ruled unconstitutional of cops squeezing the life from a man as they mocked him, qualified immunity was the easy way for the cops to get a pass.

“This is exactly why qualified immunity must be abolished or at least modified,” Geoff J. Henley, lead attorney for the Timpa family said as he vowed to appeal. “It allows officers to continue to use force that we all see and know to be excessive simply because there is no previous ruling prohibiting precisely the same kind of force. It’s squeezing a football through the eye of a needle.”

Henley said no specific decision from the Fifth Circuit prohibited the officers from “smothering Timpa for 14 minutes” in a prone restraint and that as a result it didn’t matter if the officers violated Timpa’s rights, according to Dallas News.

“One of the more unnerving features of qualified immunity is that courts are free to disregard rulings against officers from other circuits,” Henley said. “There will be more unnecessary deaths unless there is real legal change.”

As TFTP reported, the details from the internal investigation were released highlighting a disturbing practice by Dallas police which includes an apparent strategy of joking and mocking mentally ill people and ignoring signs of distress.

On that fateful night, Timpa, 32, predicted his own death.

“You’re gonna kill me! You’re gonna kill me! You’re gonna kill me!” Timpa screamed as the officers surrounded him.

After kneeling on his back, shoving his face into the ground, and literally squeezing the air out of him for 14 minutes, Timpa could no longer hold on to life and he suffocated to death. His death would be ruled a homicide and the three officers involved would be charged.

The case would garner national attention after the Dallas News released the body camera footage in 2018.

“I had a strategy in mind, of course looking back at everything it was the completely wrong way to approach it,” one officer said during the hearing, according to a report from FOX 4.

“If I could apologize to him, I would apologize to him for it. Cause um, it’s incorrect, looking at it back, what I said shouldn’t have been said,” an officer said at the hearing.

While the officers may seem apologetic now, their “strategy” that night killed an otherwise entirely innocent man who needed their help.

As the video shows, Timpa is compliant, in handcuffs and sitting on the ground when police arrive. As officers begin to surround him though, the diagnosed schizophrenic became extremely scared. Still, he never once attempted to harm the officers, he simply begged for them to let him go.

But police did not let him go. Instead, they would force him down on the ground, face first, and squeeze the air from his body. The more Timpa squirmed in an effort to breathe, the harder the officers pushed back down on him. Timpa was then hog tied for trying to breathe.

The entire time they are killing him, the officers are cracking jokes and laughing about their actions. Even after Timpa’s body went limp and he was no longer breathing, police continued to crack jokes.

“It’s time for school. Wake up!” one officer says as Timpa lies face down in the grass, unresponsive.

“I don’t want to go to school! Five more minutes, Mom!” another officer jokes.

Despite Timpa going completely limp and not responding to anything, the officers continue to smash down on him, all the while joking. For good measure, an EMT responder shoots Timpa up with a powerful sedative, despite Timpa being completely unconscious at the time.

Moments later, Timpa’s lifeless body is strapped to a gurney as cops continue joking—apparently for strategical purposes.

“He didn’t just die down there, did he?” an officer asks.

“Did we kill him?” an officer says as another jokes, “what’s this ‘we’ stuff about?”

Moments later, the EMT tells the officers that Timpa is dead.

“Sorry, we tried,” an officer says, as he turns off his body camera.

“It’s just basic science: People can be essentially suffocated to death when they’re lying on their stomachs in a prone position and there’s weight on their backs compressing their chest and diaphragm,”  Erik Heipt, a Seattle lawyer who specializes in cases of in-custody deaths, said.

“As soon as [police] have someone handcuffed, they’ve got to know to turn them on their sides and be on the lookout for any compromised breathing issues.”

As the person struggles to breath, like Timpa, they will wiggle and shake. This is almost always interpreted by cops as “resisting,” and then even more pressure is applied, leading to an extremely dangerous and deadly scenario.

“It’s a lethal cycle that happens,” Heipt said.

As the Dallas News reports, those three officers—Kevin Mansell, Danny Vasquez and Dustin Dillard—were indicted by a grand jury in 2017 on charges of misdemeanor deadly conduct, three months after The News published its investigation into Timpa’s death. Following two days of testimony, the grand jury’s indictment stated that the “officers engaged in reckless conduct that placed Timpa in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.”

However, thanks to a corrupt system that sets out to protect cops who kill people, in March 2018, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot dismissed all the charges.

For killing Timpa and laughing about it, none of the cops received so much as a slap on the wrist.

“There were several lines of demarcation where they absolutely did not do what they’re supposed to do,” said Geoff Henley, Timpa family attorney.

“The best thing that can happen to my son right now is for these police men to lose their badge,” mom Vickie Timpa said.

Sadly, however, it appears that this will not happen and the officers’ excuse of strategically mocking a man as they squeezed the life from him was good enough to get them all off scot free.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at The Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Colorado Takes Action, Ends Qualified Immunity For Police

Colorado Takes Action, Ends Qualified Immunity For Police

When George Floyd was killed last month, the nation was shaken out of its slumber in regard to police brutality in this country. Cities quite literally burned over the anger that has been boiling up over decades as cops kill people—who are often innocent, unarmed, and even children—and get away with it. Sadly, however, the organized groups behind the protests only appear to be pushing a single, partial solution of “defunding” the police. While this is certainly something to be considered, it is a bandaid on sucking chest wound. To strike the root of the problem, we need bad cops held accountable. One major way to do this is by ending Qualified Immunity. Luckily, this idea is now picking up steam.

This month, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed an omnibus reform bill into law to end qualified immunity for police officers in the state.

“This is a long overdue moment of national reflection,” Polis said at the signing ceremony. “This is a meaningful, substantial reform bill.”

A summary of the sea change from the Colorado legislature notes:

The bill allows a person who has a constitutional right secured by the bill of rights of the Colorado constitution that is infringed upon by a peace officer to bring a civil action for the violation. A plaintiff who prevails in the lawsuit is entitled to reasonable attorney fees, and a defendant in an individual suit is entitled to reasonable attorney fees for defending any frivolous claims. Qualified immunity and a defendant’s good faith but erroneous belief in the lawfulness of his or her conduct are not defenses is not a defense to the civil action. The bill requires a political subdivision of the state to indemnify its employees for such a claim; except that if the peace officer’s employer determines the officer did not act upon a good faith and reasonable belief that the action was lawful, then the peace officer is personally liable for 5 percent of the judgment or $25,000, whichever is less, unless the judgment is uncollectible from the officer, then the officer’s employer satisfies the whole judgment .

The precedent setting law reads in part:

A peace officer…employed by a local government who, under color of law, subjects or causes to be subjected, including failing to intervene, any other person to the deprivation of any individual rights that create binding obligations on government actors secured by the bill of rights, Article II of the State Constitution, is liable to the injured party for legal or equitable relief or any other appropriate relief…

qualified immunity is not a defense to liability pursuant to this section.

“Colorado has passed historic civil rights legislation, which both allows citizens to bring civil rights claims against police officers who violate their rights under the Colorado Constitution, and also clarifies that qualified immunity will not be a defense to any such claims,” the Cato Institute’s Project on Criminal Justice policy analyst Jay Schweikert, and expert on qualified immunity, told Law&Crime. “While this law doesn’t affect the availability of qualified immunity in federal cases, it does ensure that Coloradans who are the victims of police misconduct will have a meaningful remedy in state court.”

As TFTP has reported, when it comes to police accountability, one overarching question remains. ‘Do we want to live in a society whereby law enforcement officials can completely violate a person’s constitutional rights and get away with it?’ For our society to be free, the answer to that question must be a resounding, powerful, unwavering, ‘Hell No!’

Unfortunately, however, this is the case most of the time thanks to law enforcement personnel’s use and abuse of Qualified Immunity.

Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine in United States federal law that shields government officials from being sued for discretionary actions performed within their official capacity, unless their actions violated “clearly established” federal law or constitutional rights.

The Supreme Court created qualified immunity in 1982. With that novel invention, the court granted all government officials immunity for violating constitutional and civil rights unless the victims of those violations can show that the rights were “clearly established.”

As Anya Bidwell points out, although innocuous sounding, the clearly established test is a legal obstacle nearly impossible to overcome. It requires a victim to identify an earlier decision by the Supreme Court, or a federal appeals court in the same jurisdiction holding that precisely the same conduct under the same circumstances is illegal or unconstitutional. If none exists, the official is immune. Whether the official’s actions are unconstitutional, intentional or malicious is irrelevant to the test.

An example of this would be the family of George Floyd attempting to seek compensation for his death. Because there has never been a “clearly established” case of a cop kneeling on a man’s neck until he dies being declared unconstitutional, a judge in Minnesota could easily dismiss their case.

It is essentially a get out of jail free card for cops and it perpetuates the problem of police violence by giving bad cops a free pass.

Steps like this in Colorado are essential to reining in the terror of bad cops. This is why everyone needs to call their representatives and tell them to support the bill proposed by Libertarian Congressman Justin Amash (L-Michigan), H.R. 7085 which will end Qualified Immunity on a national level.

“Qualified immunity protects police and other officials from consequences even for horrific rights abuses,” said Amash. “It prevents accountability for the ‘bad apples’ and undermines the public’s faith in law enforcement. It’s at odds with the text of the law and the intent of Congress, and it ultimately leaves Americans’ rights without appropriate protection. Members of Congress have a duty to ensure government officials can be held accountable for violating Americans’ rights, and ending qualified immunity is a crucial part of that.

If you are interested in the other paradigm shifting solutions into quelling police brutality and Americans’ deprivation of rights, we propose five major solutions, including Qualified Immunity, that will have drastic changes. You can read that here.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at The Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Senator Rand Paul Proposes National Ban on No-Knock Police Raids

Senator Rand Paul Proposes National Ban on No-Knock Police Raids

On Thursday, in a historical move, all 26 members of the Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council voted to pass a ban on no-knock warrants, a measure known as “Breonna’s Law.” The law was named after the former EMT who was gunned down as she slept in her bed by cops raiding the wrong home. The move still needs to be approved by the mayor, but it is revolutionary in precedent.

Image1“This is one of many critical steps on police reform that we’ve taken to create a more peaceful, just, compassionate and equitable community,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said, vowing to sign the bill “soon as it hits my desk.”

While this move is certainly noteworthy and will lead to a massive shift in law enforcement procedure that will undoubtedly save lives, it is reserved solely for the people of Louisville, Kentucky.

So, after this move, Sen. Rand Paul (R) Kentucky, proposed to make this a nationwide ban in one of the most unprecedented anti-police state moves we’ve ever seen.

“After talking with Breonna Taylor’s family, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s long past time to get rid of no-knock warrants. This bill will effectively end no-knock raids in the United States,” Paul said.

As Axios reports, Paul introduced a bill on Thursday that would prohibit federal law enforcement and local police that receive federal funding from entering homes without warning through a “no-knock” warrant, which was reportedly obtained by the officers that shot Louisville resident Breonna Taylor in her home on March 13.

Why it matters: In the wake of nationwide protests against the killing of George Floyd, there’s now a bipartisan consensus that police reform is necessary.

  • Senate Republicans led by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) are planning a package that would require states to provide data on the use of no-knock warrants, but Paul’s proposal goes even further.
  • House Democrats, meanwhile, have proposed their own bill that would reform police training, make lynching a federal crime, and ban chokeholds and the use of no-knock warrants in drug cases.

As many have pointed out, however, the bill proposed by Democrats is full of questionable language which could end up hindering the already difficult process of seeking transparency in policing. Rand Paul’s proposal we be far more effective at curbing police violence.

Image1 (1)The idea of ceasing the use of no-knock raids is revolutionary when it comes to policing in the United States and its importance cannot be overstated.

Across the country—largely due to the failed drug war—police conduct more than 20,000 no-knock raids a year.

Breonna was murdered during one of them. Countless others are beaten, terrorized, and killed as well, and just like Breonna, cops often act on bad information.

“In theory, no-knock raids are supposed to be used in only the most dangerous situations … In reality, though, no-knock raids are a common tactic, even in less-than-dangerous circumstances,” Vox wrote in an revealing investigation in 2015. Case in point, Breonna Taylor.

A whopping 79 percent of these raids — like the one used to murder Dennis and Rhogena Tuttle in Houston, TX in 2019 — are for search warrants only, mostly for drugs. Just seven percent of no-knock raids are for crisis situations like hostages, barricaded suspects, or active shooters, according to an investigation by the ACLU.

What’s more, the study by the ACLU found that in 36 percent of SWAT deployments for drug searches, and possibly in as many as 65 percent of such deployments, no contraband of any sort was found.

Not only do these raids appear to be mostly unproductive, but they are often carried out on entirely innocent people based on lies, wrong information, or corruption, laying waste to the rights—and lives—of unsuspecting men, women, children, and their pets.

As we’ve seen in the case of Roderick Talley, drug task forces routinely conspire together to raid the homes of innocent people as a means of justifying themselves.

Cops have been routinely caught planting evidence, lying on warrants, and raiding wrong homes, and when we attempt to question this madness, we’re accused of hating cops.

Raiding homes with no-knock warrants was proven so horrifyingly ineffective last year in Houston with the murder Dennis and Rhogena Tuttle, that Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo vowed to end them.

However, unlike the aforementioned bans at the federal and city level, this was the chief simply promising not to do them.

As we reported at the time, in a move TFTP has never seen, the Houston police department is claiming they are taking steps to prevent future scenarios like this from happening—by ceasing the use of no-knock raids.

“The no-knock warrants are going to go away like leaded gasoline in this city,” Acevedo said during a heated town hall meeting on Monday.

“I’m 99.9 percent sure we won’t be using them,” he continued.

Hopefully, this bill receives the bipartisan support it needs to pass and end this violent and destructive practice. It will take us one step closer to one of the most important solutions to ending police brutality, by chipping away at the war on drugs.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at The Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission. 

The Solutions To Police Brutality Politicians Aren’t Giving You

The Solutions To Police Brutality Politicians Aren’t Giving You

Since the George Floyd protests began last week, they have since morphed into a much broader movement which is now exposing a problem this country has suffered from for a long time. The system of law enforcement in this country has morphed into a militarized standing army, preying on the poor, and rife with corruption. Naturally, people are pissed.

As we have stated from the beginning of the riots, this reaction was inevitable. Minorities and the poor have been pushed into a corner and ignored as the state preyed on them through a system of extortion and violence. One can only be ignored for so long before they eventually lash out.

Remember when football players were peacefully protesting by taking a knee, and the country—including the Commander in Chief—collectively lost their minds telling them to shut up and sit down? Trump even called for them to be fired for this. Now, because these folks were ignored and told to shut up during their peaceful protests, the inevitable non-peaceful protests have begun.

For decades there has been a perfect storm brewing in this country as minorities and poor people have their doors kicked in and are terrorized by cops during botched raids for substances deemed illegal by the state and watch helplessly as their family members die in video after video at the hands of cops. Now, we have record unemployment, lockdowns, cops murdering people on video and facing no immediate charges, and those in charge sit at the top and point fingers.

Because the system will always refuse to accept responsibility for the situation it has forced onto the people, the blame game always comes next. Instead of realizing the error of their ways, government is now blaming the riots on Antifa, White Nationalists, the Alt-right, “thugs,” and any other scapegoat they can find to blame besides taking responsibility. They are even blaming Russia now. You cannot make this up.

Naturally, this will never lead to any positive change. It will only prolong suffering, create more divide, and perpetuate a system of injustice for decades to come. Those who want to incite peaceful change, however, have been pushing these ideas out for a long time. Now, people may finally listen.

To lower the likelihood of future chaos, America’s system of law enforcement needs radical change. Instead of threatening to execute suspected looters with no due process—the discussion we should be having right now is how to fix this broken system. It is not difficult, it is based in logic and reason, and its effects would be significantly felt almost overnight.

Over the years, TFTP has been proposing these solutions and below we have compiled a list of five main actions that could affect this much needed change, right now.

The first and most significant solution to this pain and suffering would be to end the war on drugs—today. Legalize every substance out there.

Richard Nixon, in his effort to silence black people and antiwar activists, brought the War on Drugs into full force in 1973. He then signed Reorganization Plan No. 2, which established the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Over the course of five decades, this senseless war has waged on. At a cost of over $1 trillion—ruining and ending countless lives in the process—America’s drug war failed, miserably, and has created a drug problem that is worse now than ever before.

This is no coincidence.

For years, those of us who’ve been paying attention have seen who profits from this inhumane war—the police state and cartels.

The reason why the drug war actually creates a drug and violence problem is simple. And those who profit most from the drug war—drug war enforcers and cartels—all know it. When the government makes certain substances illegal, it does not remove the demand. Instead, the state creates crime by pushing the sale and control of these substances into the illegal black markets. All the while, demand remains constant.

We can look at the prohibition of alcohol and the subsequent mafia crime wave that ensued as a result as an example. The year 1930, at the peak of prohibition, happened to be the deadliest year for police in American history. 300 police officers were killed, and innumerable poor people slaughtered as the state cracked down on drinkers.

Outlawing substances does not work.

Criminal gangs form to protect sales territory and supply lines. They then monopolize the control of the constant demand. Their entire operation is dependent upon police arresting people for drugs because this grants them a monopoly on their sale.

It is incredibly racist too. The illegality of drug possession and use is what keeps the low-level users and dealers in and out of the court systems, and most of these people are poor black men. As Dr. Ron Paul has pointed out, black people are more likely to receive a harsher punishment for the same drug crime as a white person.

This revolving door of creating and processing criminals fosters the phenomenon known as Recidivism. Recidivism is a fundamental concept of criminal justice that shows the tendency of those who are processed into the system and the likelihood of future criminal behavior.

The War on Drugs takes good people and turns them into criminals every single minute of every single day. The system is set up in such a way that it fans the flames of violent crime by essentially building a factory that turns out violent criminals.

It also creates unnecessary police interactions—disproportionately carried out on black people—which leads to resentment, harassment, civil rights violations, and even death. When drugs are legal, there are far fewer doors to kick in, fines to collect, profit prisons to fill, and money to steal.

Secondly, we need to end qualified immunity for police.

When it comes to police accountability, one overarching question remains. ‘Do we want to live in a society whereby law enforcement officials can completely violate a person’s constitutional rights and get away with it?’ For our society to be free, the answer to that question must be a resounding, powerful, unwavering, ‘Hell No!’

Unfortunately, however, this is the case most of the time thanks to law enforcement personnel’s use and abuse of Qualified Immunity.

For those who may be unaware, qualified immunity is a legal doctrine in United States federal law that shields government officials from being sued for discretionary actions performed within their official capacity, unless their actions violated “clearly established” federal law or constitutional rights.

The Supreme Court created qualified immunity in 1982. With that novel invention, the court granted all government officials immunity for violating constitutional and civil rights unless the victims of those violations can show that the rights were “clearly established.”

As Anya Bidwell points out, although innocuous sounding, the clearly established test is a legal obstacle nearly impossible to overcome. It requires a victim to identify an earlier decision by the Supreme Court, or a federal appeals court in the same jurisdiction holding that precisely the same conduct under the same circumstances is illegal or unconstitutional. If none exists, the official is immune. Whether the official’s actions are unconstitutional, intentional or malicious is irrelevant to the test.

An example of this would be the family of George Floyd attempting to seek compensation for his death. Because there has never been a “clearly established” case of a cop kneeling on a man’s neck until he dies being declared unconstitutional, a judge in Minnesota could easily dismiss their case.

It is essentially a get out of jail free card for cops and it perpetuates the problem of police violence by giving bad cops a free pass.

After removing a cop’s ability to trample rights without consequence, it is time to hold them liable. That’s where personal liability insurance comes in.

As the Free Thought Project has reported extensively, police officers, even when found at fault for their abusive actions, are almost never held personally liable. It is the taxpayers who foot the bill. However, all that can change overnight by requiring cops to carry personal liability insurance.

Imagine, for a moment, the result of all police officers being held personally liable for their actions and forced to pay their victims. In nearly every other profession on the planet, if someone hurts someone else while on the job, they are held liable — personally. Why can’t cops carry personal liability insurance just like doctors?

As instances of police brutality and police killings continue to be exposed, there is no doubt that the US is in dire need of reform. The simple requirement for police to be insured for personal liability is an easy fix—especially to remove repeat offenders from the force.

All too often, when a tragic death such as George Floyd occurs, later—as was the case with Derek Chauvin—we find out that the officer should have never been given a badge and a gun in the first place because of their past. However, insurance companies, who can’t fleece the taxpayers to pay for problem cops, would have to come out of pocket to pay for them and would make sure that these officers are uninsurable.

If the officer becomes uninsurable, the officer becomes unhirable—simple as that.

There are likely many cops out there right now who would be denied insurance coverage by any company, due to their track records. A requirement for personal liability insurance would, quite literally, weed out problem officers—almost overnight.

The fourth solution to preventing police brutality and violence would be to bring predatory policing to a halt.

All too often we hear the ridiculous statement from the police apologist crowd saying, “If you don’t break the law, you have nothing to worry about.”

However, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

Former NSA official William Binney sums this myth up quite accurately, “The problem is, if they think they’re not doing anything that’s wrong, they don’t get to define that. The central government does.”

Attorney Harvey Silverglate argues that the average American commits three felonies a day without even knowing it. Most of these crimes have no victim either—like possessing marijuana, driving a car with dark windows, or a burned out license plate light.

While most everyone in America commits these same infractions designed for revenue collection instead of safety, most of the people targeted by police for these crimes are the poor, minorities, and the mentally ill.

As the 2014 death of Mike Brown in Ferguson exposed, in 2013, African-Americans accounted for 86 percent of traffic stops, while making up only 63 percent of Ferguson’s population.

For those too poor to pay their tickets, routine traffic stops in Ferguson ended up in repeated imprisonment due to mounting fines. Ferguson was running a de facto debtors’ prison.

Revenue collection, persecution of the poor, and debtor’s prisons take place in every county, in every city, across every state. This institutionalized cruelty is little more than a day’s work for the millions of bureaucrats involved in the racket.

Sadly, until this system of wealth extraction is defunded or brought to a halt through radical policy changes, cases of cops preying on the poor will continue at an ever increasing rate until the whole country is one big prison—or, burned to the ground.

Lastly, we should end the monopoly that American police have on law enforcement.

Simply put, police officers can be corrupt, kill with impunity, and are rarely held accountable because Americans have no other choice. We are stuck with them. In any other job market on the planet, if they had a death toll of 1,000 Americans a year, they would be out of business overnight. However, because cops have a monopoly on law enforcement in America, the death toll keeps rising.

By allowing competition in law enforcement, the incentives for policing would drastically shift. Violent police departments would be fired and replaced with less violent ones. Cops would have an incentive to serve their communities by solving real crimes like rape and murder instead of kidnapping and caging people for victimless crimes.

If this sounds like a pipe dream to you, then you’ve probably never heard of Dale Brown.

Dale Brown of Detroit’s “threat management center” has shown that crime can be stopped and lives can be saved by independent people using nonlethal tactics.

In areas of Detroit where police don’t answer 911 calls, Dale Brown took matters into his own hands and started taking those calls himself, and because Dale was not “above the law” as police officers claim to be, he had to solve these crimes without hurting people, because he would actually be held accountable for his actions.

Yes, businesses pay for these services. However, as a side effect of providing businesses with security, Dale has also been able to provideservice in poor neighborhoods for free, by financing his business through providing security for high-income areas.

Instead of policing from a place of fear, self-preservation, and extortion, Brown polices through love. He offers of some timeless advice that we could all use right now. “The cornerstone for protection is love, not violence, not guns, not laws, you cannot truly protect anything that you do not love.”

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Beyond George Floyd: A Look at the 400 Americans Killed By Police in 2020

Beyond George Floyd: A Look at the 400 Americans Killed By Police in 2020

As the nation reels from the horrifying murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, it is important to remember that there were more than 400 others who’ve lost their lives at the hands of America’s police force. Like many of the folks who had their last moments alive captured on video as they were gunned down or beaten to death, their lives mattered. Sadly, however, their deaths—which were no less or more significant than Floyd’s—spark no protests and are swept under the rug.

Earlier this month, TFTP reported on the story of 42-year-old Michael Ramos whose death was caught on video. Just before he was shot, Ramos had his hands in the air and showed police he was unarmed. Riots never ensued.

“We went back and searched the area, we brought in K-9s that are trained to find firearms and searched the area, but there was no firearm located,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley confirmed earlier this month.

“Mike Ramos does not appear to threaten but ends up dead. There’s got to be a better way,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in a statement at the time. “I’m very disturbed.”

Before Ramos, a friend of the family of 20-year-old Jesse Cedillo shared a hard to watch video with the Free Thought Project showing his last moments alive. While being pursued by police, Cedillo appeared to have his hands in the air before a Pueblo Police officer opened fire on him, shooting a total of 13 rounds, including several after he had fallen to the ground and was not moving. Cedillo was no angel, but he did not deserve to be executed.

In January, William Green, 43, of Washington, D.C., was shot seven times by Cpl. Michael Owen Jr., a 10-year Prince George’s County Police force veteran. Green was in handcuffs and seat belted into the officer’s cruiser, posing no threat whatsoever, when Owen opened fire on him, murdering Green in cold blood.

Before Green there was Randall Goodale, also murdered in January, who was killed in his own home and his death covered up by cops. As TFTP reported at the time, on Jan. 13 police were serving Goodale with an arrest warrant for felon in possession of a handgun. Police claimed that when officers pulled up, Goodale “started ramming into occupied police vehicles.”

At an interview on the scene of the crime that day, SAPD Chief William McManus did not stutter when he said, “Well, he was ramming the cars, for one. And there were officers in the vehicles whose lives were being threatened by that.”

But this simply wasn’t true at all. Goodale’s vehicle never rammed the cars until after cops killed him and he either fell on the gear shift or the accelerator. Also, the cops weren’t even in the vehicles.

What actually happened is clear from the video. Police are seen rolling up to Goodale, who was reportedly working on his truck in the driveway. Within seconds of arriving, police open fire on him—executing him in broad daylight.

The cases are endless and the victims are often innocent—even children.

While some of the citizens who’ve been killed by cops were armed and dangerous and likely deserved it, others were innocent, unarmed, and include small children. Daniel Shaver—who was killed by police in 2016—was one of these people whose life was brought to a screeching halt as he begged on his knees for police not to shoot him. Despite being innocent and unarmed, this father of three was murdered in cold blood by Philip Brailsford who was never held accountable and allowed to retire from the police force with his pension.

Jeremy Mardis was another one of these citizens who was gunned down in cold blood by two killer cops. Mardis was just 6-years-old when he was murdered by these killer cops—one of whom was released last year after serving less than two years for his role in this innocent child’s death—that included putting bullet holes in him.

The list goes on. Yet despite its increasing length, most American citizens think that reining in America’s deadly police problem is somehow “unpatriotic” or “un-American.” Instead of the right realizing the threat to freedom caused by cops who can kill thousands with impunity, they blame the left. Instead of the left realizing the threat to freedom caused by cops who kill with impunity, most of them blame guns.

The result of this complacency and failure to address the actual problem has been less freedom and more killing.

Thanks to independent watchdog groups who have decided to document this number on their own, we have a total number of citizens killed by police and its total is staggering. Given that America has roughly 765,000 sworn police officers, that means the police-against-citizen kill rate is more than 145 per 100,000.

Pew StatsThe police kill rate is nearly 30 times that of the average citizen, yet somehow people still call for disarming citizens and say nothing about the police. And no, the citizens are not becoming more violent. In fact, humanity is at its safest time in history—ever—and, in spite of the lunatic terrorists shooting up public places, violent crimes as well as all crime continues to drop, significantly.

The bottom line is that George Floyd’s life mattered. The outrage over his death is justified and people should be in the streets. This is a natural reaction to watching agents of the state murder a handcuffed unarmed man in broad daylight and the only consequence they faced was losing their jobs. But the 400 other folks whose lives came to an abrupt halt in the first five months of 2020 also mattered.

Every unnecessary killing by police should outrage you. Floyd’s, Ramos’, Goodale’s, Green’s, and the countless others who have lost their lives to senseless acts of police violence all had lives that mattered. We need to start acting like it. If we want to truly want to change this paradigm of police officers shooting first and asking questions later, we need to start talking solutions.

Imagine for a moment, the result of all police officers being held personally liable for their actions and forced to pay their victims. In nearly every other profession on the planet, if someone hurts someone else while on the job, they are held liable — personally. Why can’t cops carry personal liability insurance just like doctors?

As instances of police brutality and police killings continue to be exposed, like Floyd’s, there is no doubt that the US is in dire need of reform. The simple requirement for police to be insured for personal liability is an easy fix — especially to remove repeat offenders from the force.

All too often, when a tragic death such as Tamir Rice occurs, months later we find out that the officer should have never been given a badge and a gun in the first place because of their past. However, insurance companies, who can’t fleece the taxpayers to pay for problem cops, would have to come out of pocket to pay for them and would make sure that these officers are uninsurable.

If the officer becomes uninsurable, the officer becomes unhirable—simple as that.

101308772 2588051481513227 5089621071364096000 NThere are likely many cops out there right now who would be denied insurance coverage by any company, due to their track records. In fact, the cop who put his knee on George Floyd’s neck until he died, Derek Chauvin, was one of these cops. Throughout his career, he had a sustained record of misconduct and multiple deadly force incidents. Yet his department gave him a pass…until he killed Floyd.

A requirement for personal liability insurance would, quite literally, weed out problem officers — almost overnight. And, had it been in place in Minneapolis, George Floyd may still be alive today.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at The Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission. 

Less Driving Amid Outbreak is Hurting Red Light Camera Revenue — Which is Great

Less Driving Amid Outbreak is Hurting Red Light Camera Revenue — Which is Great

Since states began locking down in mid-March, unemployment has skyrocketed, businesses have shuttered their doors, and these uncertain times have grown more worrisome by the day. There is one industry that is hurting, however, that shouldn’t bother many of us and that is the Red Light Camera industry.

Anyone whose been self-quarantining over the last few weeks likely knows that their trips to the gas station have been minimal simply because they are driving less. When people drive less, predatory and unconstitutional Red Light Camera companies like Redflex — who stalk unwitting drivers on the roads — make less money. This is a good thing.

As Business Insider points out, fewer drivers on the road is good for everyone: air pollution is falling, crashes are down, and there’s no blood-pressure inducing congestion.

But one industry in particular is feeling the pain in their bottom line. According to the report:

Redflex, an Australian company that operates “traffic safety programs” in roughly 100 US and Canadian cities, warned that less traffic and suspended construction amid the pandemic will be a stress on its balance sheet.

“Approximately 15% of group revenue is dependent on volume-based contracts,” the company said in a regulatory filing Monday first spotted by The Wall Street Journal, hinting at its business line that includes enforcement cameras. “We anticipate our revenue from these contracts will be impacted broadly in line with the reduction in traffic volumes as well as the duration of the disruption.”

Can I get a “Woooohoooo!!!”?

Shares of the unconstitutional predatory company’s stock have been in free fall since the beginning of the year, toppling near 50%. The company’s CEO, Mark Talbot told investors that travel restrictions are hurting plans for future installations and therefore impact the ability of the company to profit off due process-removing red light camera tickets.

“So far, there have been no terminations to contracts,” he said, according to a transcript compiled by Sentieo. “We are, of course, undertaking cost initiatives where possible to mitigate the impact of reductions or risk of delay. In addition, the Board and executive team will be taking a reduction in compensation effective April 1 for the duration of the disruption.”

For those who don’t recall, Talbot’s predecessor, Karen Finley was sent to prison in 2016 after being found guilty of bribing politicians to implement her due process-removing red light cameras.

After her sentencing, Finley described the company perfectly when attempting to deflect blame for her bribery scandal. “Redflex was a toxic and soul-sucking place to work. I worked over ten hours a day, almost every weekend and never saw my family,” she said — completely ignoring the fact that her job as the CEO was probably the largest contributing factor to the ‘soul-sucking place.’

However, the problem goes much deeper than Redflex, it is industry wide.

Take away the political corruption, bribery scandals, increased accidents, and police state issues with Red Light Cameras and we are still left with a system that is rooted in the removal of due process. The good news is that after the corporatist red light camera industry spread through the nation like a cancer for more than a decade, people are finally beginning to realize their inherently despotic nature.

As a result, people have been fighting back.

As the Newspaper reported, a group of three lawyers had filed suit in 2013, arguing that New Miami, Ohio’s automated ticketing ordinance gave vehicle owners no realistic opportunity to defend themselves against the demand for a payment of up to $180 that arrived in the mail. Optotraffic, a private vendor, sent the tickets to motorists passing through the less-than-one-square-mile town on US 127, a major highway that links Cincinnati with points north.

During that period of Optotraffic extortion, the city robbed drivers of $3,066,523.00. After Butler County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael A. Oster Jr.’s ruling, the city was forced to pay back all of it in 2017.

On top of the unconstitutional nature of Red Light Cameras is the safety factor. These companies and the corrupt and greedy politicians who accept them know that they are about revenue generation — not safety — as these cameras increase the likelihood of an accident or death.

In February, TFTP talked to Stephen Ruth, aka, Red Light Robin Hood, who risked his very freedom to expose this madness..

Ruth was arrested and was facing years in prison for exposing the deaths of several people, including children who were killed as a result of these shortened yellow lights, through disabling the cameras.

In May 2015, sixteen-year-old John Luke was killed crossing the street when an SUV hit him. Less than a year later, a 64-year-old legally blind man named Warren Karstendick was killed in a hit-and-run when an SUV struck him. After visiting the scenes of their deaths and several others, Ruth concluded that these innocent pedestrians were losing their lives due to cars speeding up to avoid red light tickets.

Although the New York City’s Department of Transportation claims that all of its traffic signals provide a minimum of three seconds per yellow light, the AAA of New York released a 2012 report that found every tested traffic camera had a yellow light shorter than three seconds. Despite the fact that governments claim red light cameras are solely used to prevent accidents while modifying driver behavior, the revenue generated from traffic cameras can grow exponentially if yellow lights are shortened. As a result of the government’s greed for red light revenue, the safety of the driver took second priority.

While the Free Thought Project would never celebrate the decline of a legitimate business, the corporatism-rife red light camera industry is anything but legitimate. During at time when Americans are having to choose between paying rent and eating, the fact that a corrupt and unconstitutional company like Redflex is unable to financially prey on them is comforting.

Police, Military Begin Door to Door Searches to Hunt Down New Yorkers Seeking Refuge

Police, Military Begin Door to Door Searches to Hunt Down New Yorkers Seeking Refuge

Rhode Island — In perhaps the most unprecedented attack on the Constitution on which the Free Thought Project has ever has ever reported, the governor of Rhode Island has announced that the National Guard will begin conducting house-to-house searches to hunt down New Yorkers seeking refuge in their state.

Not only will cops be violating the 4th Amendment rights of citizens in their homes, the governor also announced that Rhode Island cops have already begun puling over every vehicle they see with a New York license plate.

In a move that is reminiscent to that of Nazi Germany, the governor labeled an entire state a threat. Checkpoints have been set up along the interstate and vehicles with New York plates were being stopped without probable cause on Friday.

“Right now we have a pinpointed risk,” Governor Gina Raimondo said. “That risk is called New York City.”

It is no question that New York is the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak and their citizens should remain self-quarantined to prevent the spread of the virus. The state has over 46,000 reported cases and 450 deaths reported as of Saturday morning.

However, police officers and the National Guard have no idea if the person they are stopping or searching has been in the state for weeks or days.

As Bloomberg reports:

Rhode Island has just over 200, and it has begun an aggressive campaign to keep the virus out and New Yorkers contained, over objections from civil liberties advocates.

Raimondo, a Democrat, said she had consulted lawyers and said while she couldn’t close the border, she felt confident she could enforce a quarantine.

This draconian police state action comes in spite of the fact that many New Yorkers own summer houses in Rhode Island and have every right to be there. But the governor could not care less. According to Bloomberg, “many New Yorkers have summer houses in Rhode Island, especially in tony Newport, and the governor said the authorities would be checking there.”

“Yesterday I announced and today I reiterated: Anyone coming to Rhode Island in any way from New York must be quarantined,” the governor said. “By order. Will be enforced. Enforceable by law.”

Those caught seeking refuge, even in property that they own, will be subject to hefty fines and even jail time.

National Guard members will be stationed at the T.F. Green airport, Amtrak train stations and at bus stops. The citizen-soldiers will be following up with people at local residences. The maximum penalty for not complying: a fine of $500 and 90 days in prison.

Naturally, this has advocates of civil rights up in arms, and rightfully so. On Friday, the ACLU lambasted the governor’s unconstitutional measure, accurately pointing out that she has no right to “suspend the constitution.”

“While the Governor may have the power to suspend some state laws and regulations to address this medical emergency, she cannot suspend the Constitution,” Rhode Island ACLU executive director Steven Brown said in a statement. “Under the Fourth Amendment, having a New York state license plate simply does not, and cannot, constitute ‘probable cause’ to allow police to stop a car and interrogate the driver, no matter how laudable the goal of the stop may be.”

This move comes after other Orwellian steps by officials across the country. Earlier this week, TFTP reported that cops were raiding sleeping truckers trying to get some shut eye as they delivered essential supplies to those in need.

Because many rest stops are closed across the country, Truckers have been forced to stop on the side of the road to sleep while hauling these supplies. Instead of realizing this, NYPD cops raided the sleeping truckers, issued them fines and impounded their vehicles — for sleeping on the side of the road.

Completely oblivious to the heinous nature of preying on people trying to keep the nation from falling into chaos, the officers who conducted the raid took to Twitter to brag about it.

What’s more, New York and California are deploying drones to spy on their citizens and ensure they are complying with shelter in place orders. Other states have implemented hotlines for citizens to snitch on their neighbor if they think they are violating a shelter in place order.

Make no mistake, the threat of COVID-19 is real and people should take proper measures to protect themselves. However, as states across the country continue to roll out such tyrannical measures, we are inching closer to the idea of creating a cure far worse than the disease itself.

This is not okay.

Reprinted from The Free Thought Project.

Amid COVID-19 Outbreak, Arrests Plummet, Departments Close and Chaos Does NOT Ensue

Amid COVID-19 Outbreak, Arrests Plummet, Departments Close and Chaos Does NOT Ensue

As TFTP reported last week, prisons across the country are facing potential massive outbreaks inside their walls and are being forced to make the decision to release non-violent offenders to stave off catastrophe. Thousands of non-violent prisoners have been released and there has not been an uptick in criminal activity. What’s more, according to multiple reports, arrests are plummeting, and a department in Illinois has entirely shut down.

While the typical fearful citizen might read the above actions and lose their mind, thinking it is the end of the world and crime will run rampant, the reality is much different. Crime is in free fall. According to a recent report out of Buffalo, NY, the number of daily arrests before the pandemic typically exceeded 20 a day, including a recent high of 37 on March 6. Arrests since Thursday have ranged from two to eight a day.

The drop in arrests comes as people are told to stay home and businesses are closed. While the crime drop is attributed in part to the stoppage of commerce, police are also changing their roles during this crisis from kicking in doors to arrest people for a plant to patrolling the streets for safety.

What’s more, Buffalo Police department Captain Jeff Rinaldo pointed to the New York State bail reform that went into effect at the beginning of the year. As a result of the reform, police now issue appearance tickets for most minor crimes, resulting in them taking fewer people into custody.

“Because of bail reform and because we have so many people out of custody, they’re able to care for themselves, care for families, be nimble, flexible, respond to this pandemic,” said Kevin Stadelmaier, the chief attorney for Buffalo Legal Aid’s Criminal Defense Unit.

Imagine that!

By allowing people to remain free for committing entirely victimless crimes — instead of ruining their lives through incarceration — the government is able to stave off the potential for future crime, otherwise known as recidivism.

While Buffalo is reducing arrests, other cities, like Blue Island, Il., have disbanded their entire department. After an officer tested positive for COVID-19, Mayor Domingo Vargas made the decision to shut down the department. Naturally, the mayor is receiving backlash from other elected officials.

State Representative Bob Rita criticized Vargas’ action, saying, “At no point did the Mayor’s office contact my office, any member of the City Council or any other local leaders in making this rash decision.”

Despite the backlash, Blue Island has not seen an uptick in crime.

In New York City, crime has fallen as well. According to the NY Daily News, crime dropped 25% in the five boroughs during the coronavirus shutdown last week — with just one person murdered compared to eight the week before, authorities said Monday.

Each of the seven major crimes that determine the overall crime rate — murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny auto — declined compared to the week before, according to NYPD statistics.

This drop in crime was expected given the fact that New Yorkers are on lockdown, but as TFTP has reported before, even when cops simply refused to do make arrests and write tickets when citizens were on the streets, the city did not descend into chaos.

In September, the NYPD threw a temper tantrum after Police Commissioner James O’Neill fired the killer cop who choked the life out of Eric Garner on video in 2014. The temper tantrum resulted in a plunge in arrests, but it did not lead to a spike in crime or violence — illustrating how most of the “policing” done in the US, is little more than revenue generation.

We saw a similar reaction in December 2014 when the NYPD threw their first temper tantrum over the reaction to Eric Garner’s death and simply stopped doing their jobs.

During the work stoppage, the city set a record for the lowest numbers of murders in the history of the NYPD.

As we reported at the time, the numbers were far more drastic than the current slowdown.

Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587, during that time frame.

Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination also plunged 94 percent — from 4,831 to 300.

Even parking violations are way down, dropping by 92 percent, from 14,699 to 1,241.

Drug arrests by cops assigned to the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau — which are part of the overall number — dropped by 84 percent, from 382 to 63.

The decline in crime coinciding with the decline in police activity essentially made the case that most policing carried out in the United States is done so for the purpose of revenue collection and not to fight crime.

Drug offenses, parking violations, and traffic citations are not so much crimes, as they are streams of revenue for the city. They are also the reason for the majority of police harassment within particular communities; harassment that is being proven entirely unnecessary as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

Imagine a police force that acted more like firefighters or EMTs. Firefighters don’t have to go door to door looking for fires, in order to be effective. EMTs, just like firefighters wait for a call before reacting and their services are oft proven invaluable contrary to that of police work. Perhaps this recent chaos can be used to channel this notion to the forefront and completely revamp the idea of policing in the land of the free.

Reprinted from The Free Thought Project. 

Family Who Says They Do Not Have COVID-19 Under ‘Forced Quarantine’ by Police

Family Who Says They Do Not Have COVID-19 Under ‘Forced Quarantine’ by Police

Nelson County, KY — A family has been forcibly quarantined in their home this week with police officers keeping them under 24-hour surveillance because a man in the home is accused of having the COVID-19 virus.

According to multiple news reports and even Kentucky governor Andy Beshear, this man fled the hospital after being diagnosed with the disease and refused to self-quarantine, forcing police to be dispatched to his home.

“It’s a step I hoped that I’d never have to take,” Beshear said in a conference on Saturday. “But I can’t allow one person who we know has this virus to refuse to protect their neighbors.”

Nelson County Judge-Executive Dean Watts echoed the governor’s sentiment when he told CNN affiliate WDRB the measure was necessary to keep the community safe.

“This is about us, not about ‘I,’” Watts said. “So quarantine is a must. If we have to, we’ll do it by force.”

However, according to the family who is currently looking out of their front window at a police officer who is making sure they stay inside, the man was never diagnosed with COVID-19. According to the family, he has COPD, and checked out of the hospital freely, not against anyone’s advice.

The couple does not wish to put their names out there as they have already received countless death threats after media ran the story, so the only newspaper who actually got their side of the story, has referred to them as Jane and John.

Thanks to the Kentucky Standard, this family is able to tell their story and not look like some crazed mass murderers wishing to infect people with the COVID-19 virus, like the rest of the media and the government painted them out to be.

This case appears to have begun because John suffers from COPD and began struggling on March 4. According to the Standard:

Jane said they called his pulmonologist when he started having difficulty, and the doctor prescribed him a steroid and antibiotics after his blood oxygen levels dropped. He had suffered a bout of acute hypoxia lung failure in November, but had been in good health and off his oxygen until then.

By Sunday, March 8, his oxygen levels had dropped to dangerous levels and on Monday his pulmonologist recommended he check himself into the emergency department of University of Louisville Hospital and arranged for his admittance.

When they arrived at the ER in Louisville on Monday his blood oxygen level had dropped to 83. He had gone into acute hypoxia and was admitted to intensive care.

While in the ICU he was tested at least twice for influenza and had two chest x-rays and had blood cultures run, Jane said.

“Everything came back normal,” Jane said. “I know this because I asked the nurse.”

According to Jane, John remained in ICU until 4 p.m. last Thursday before his conditioned improved and he was transferred to an in-patient room. Showing just how unconcerned the hospital was with John’s potential for having COVID-19, he was placed in a room with another patient — not isolated.

Once John felt 100% better, the couple decided to check out of the hospital and go home. Jane explained that at no point during their stay at the hospital was John ever under quarantine.

“If there was any positive results, they would not have let us leave,” Jane said.

After they left the hospital, the next day, the Lincoln Trail District Health Department contacted John by phone and told him he tested positive for COVID-19. Having never been tested at the hospital for COVID-19, John and Jane told the health department that they must be mistaken.

“We told them we know it isn’t true,” she said. “He never even ran a fever at the hospital.”

As the Standard notes, Jane said she has access to John’s medical records online, and as of Saturday night there was nothing in his files that showed any tests for COVID-19. She said the family had obtained legal counsel, and their lawyers also told the couple there was no positive test results in John’s medical files.

“There is no record he was tested. None,” Jane said.

Despite having no record of a test, no symptoms of COVID-19, no quarantine in the hospital, and the fact that he was allowed to leave the hospital, the health department told Jane and John they were now under forced quarantine and if they leave their house before March 26, they would be arrested.

Jane remained steadfast in her insistence that John did not have COVID-19 and was never tested for it.

“We were not going to change our lifestyle, because we know it isn’t true,” she said.

The next day, they get a subpoena signed by Circuit Court Judge Jack Seay at 3:31 p.m. that restricted them from leaving their home until March 26. She said there are six adults in the home who remain under quarantine, according to the Standard.

The health department apparently informed the governor of the family’s statement about not receiving the test. The governor responded by holding a press conference inciting hatred and death threats toward the family. They are now also under 24-hour police surveillance.

Because they were forcibly quarantined with six adults who do not normally live in the home, Jane and John were unable to get enough food and supplies to last through the two-week quarantine.

The good news is that after the Standard told their side of the story, they were inundated with calls from good Samaritans trying to help. Jane also said that the officers who’ve been assigned to watch them in their home “have been sweet as pumpkin pies,” she said. “All of them have been very kind. They have helped so much.”

As for John, as he and his family wait out the quarantine, Jane tells the standard he is just fine, no COPD problems either.

“Healthy as a horse,” she said. “He’s not even on his oxygen.”

Reprinted from the Free Thought Project.

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