Criminal Justice

Federal Police Beat Veteran, Supreme Court May Hear Case

Federal Police Beat Veteran, Supreme Court May Hear Case

José Oliva survived the bloodiest year in Vietnam, but he most feared for his life when he was brutally beaten in an unprovoked attack by federal officers in a Veterans Affairs hospital in his hometown of El Paso, Texas that left him with several injuries, two of which required surgery. On January 29, 2021, the Institute for Justice filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to reverse the 5th Circuit decision that ruled federal officers—such as those in a VA hospital—may act with impunity and not be held accountable for their actions, no matter how unconstitutional.

“I feared for my life,” José said. “I survived the bloodiest year in Vietnam, and here I was fearing for my life as these officers beat and choked me in a VA hospital in my own hometown. It was three against one, and they had guns. I knew better than to resist.”

José is a native of El Paso, Texas and a Vietnam War vet, who served nearly three decades in law enforcement, and advocated on behalf of veterans in his hometown and nationwide.

In February 2016, federal police working as security at an El Paso VA hospital assaulted José as he was entering the hospital for a dentist appointment. As a result of the assault, José suffered an injured shoulder and neck, each of which required surgery, along with a ruptured ear drum. The officers charged José with disorderly conduct—a charge that was dismissed.

When José sued the officers, a predictable thing happened. The officers invoked qualified immunity—a controversial doctrine that the Supreme Court invented in 1982 to protect government workers from being sued for unconstitutional conduct. The district court denied the officers qualified immunity. The 5th Circuit, however, agreed with the officers and reversed the district court, holding that even if qualified immunity were not available, José still can’t sue because he was assaulted by federal—and not state—officers.

“This decision is wrong,” said IJ Attorney Anya Bidwell. “Federal officials are not above the Constitution. The 5th Circuit’s decision disregards Supreme Court precedent and departs from the consensus of other courts of appeals that have considered this same issue. As a result, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi are now constitution-free zones, as far as federal police are concerned. And there are more than 17,000 federal police who work within the jurisdiction of the 5th Circuit.”

The Institute for Justice is asking the Supreme Court to reverse the 5th Circuit’s decision and let the case proceed to trial.

“If the Fourth Amendment doesn’t protect a 70-year-old veteran beaten by federal police inside a veterans’ hospital for no reason, it doesn’t protect anyone,” said Patrick Jaicomo, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represents José.

IJ President Scott Bullock said, “IJ, through our Project on Immunity and Accountability, seeks to ensure that the Constitution serves to limit the government in fact, not just in theory, and that promises enshrined in its Bill of Rights are not empty words but enforced guarantees.”

Jaicomo said, “The Supreme Court will have to decide which court was right in José Oliva’s case: the trial court that ruled the officers should have known they couldn’t beat and choke a veteran in an unprovoked attack, or the 5th Circuit, that ruled that it didn’t matter and the officers cannot be held to account for their actions, thus fully immunizing the federal officers. For the sake of every veteran who goes into a VA facility, José hopes the Supreme Court accepts his case and finds in his favor.”

José’s petition further asks the Court to call for the view of the U.S. Solicitor General. With the new administration in office, it will be important for the Court, as well as the rest of the nation, to know where the chief appellate lawyer for the federal government stands on the issue of accountability for federal police.

As a former law enforcement officer, José’s goal in bringing this lawsuit is to ensure that other law enforcement officers respect the Constitution. When rogue law enforcement agents are allowed to violate the Constitution without consequence, the reputations of good law enforcement officers suffer.

This article was originally featured at the Institute for Justice and is republished with permission.

The Prosecutors Are Coming

The Prosecutors Are Coming

The violent protest at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 has long been over, but the upcoming Biden administration’s response to it is likely to do greater violence to the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law than anything the worst of the protesters could have accomplished. Thanks to the response of the George W. Bush administration and Congress to the 9/11 attacks almost two decades ago, Joe Biden’s prosecutors will have plenty of legal ammunition to go after their political enemies. It won’t stop with prosecuting people who broke into the Capitol.

J.D. Tuccille writes:

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, horrified Americans were ready to embrace virtually any proposal that promised to keep them safe. Government officials, for their part, were eager to curry favor with the fearful public and saw an opportunity to promote legislation and policies that had failed to win support in the past. The result was a surge of authoritarianism from which the U.S. has yet to recover. Now—with the public understandably concerned after the January 6 storming of the Capitol—we should brace ourselves for another wave of political responses that would, again, erode our liberty.

We are in very uncertain and certainly perilous waters. In the post-Trump era, Democrats want revenge and they want it now. I fear for my friends that worked in the Trump government, with Democrats calling for them to be blacklisted, harassed, and ultimately “canceled.” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who continues to shed any perception that she wants anything less than a soft totalitarian country, has publicly called for a “media literacy” initiative that reminds one of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.

In an interview with MSNBC (surprised?), former CIA head John Brennan declared that the Biden administration agencies

“are moving in laser-like fashion to try to uncover as much as they can about” the pro-Trump “insurgency” that harbors “religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians.”

Not surprisingly, there was zero pushback on his statement from the mainstream media, and one suspects that probably most mainstream journalists today would not mind seeing large numbers of people they dislike being hauled off to prison or just plain disappearing at the hands of the authorities.

For that matter, the Trump presidency was hardly the Libertarian Moment, and Trump gave one the sense that if he could control the flow of news, he would gladly do so. Whether or not one believes he was cheated out of office in the last election, for him to claim he “won in a landslide” and to call for official election results to be overturned can hardly leave one surprised that the DC “rally” turned into an out-and-out donnybrook.

Unfortunately, the violence that followed has given the Biden people the fig leaf they need to move against the Constitution and rule of law on many fronts—all the while claiming they are “restoring democracy.” The United States could well be at a tipping point at which whatever pretenses we had toward constitutional government are cast aside for a “pragmatic” state that addresses the so-called needs at hand and is not bound by legal niceties. For now, my guess is that Biden will unleash federal prosecutors who will face no constraints whatsoever, and that means a lot of innocent people are going to have their lives ruined.

Before going into more detail, I explain why the Bush administration nearly twenty years ago made Biden’s job much easier for him than it ever should be under the rule of law. In the early 2000s, I began to write about the abuses that accompanied the expansion of federal criminal law and published (often with Candice E. Jackson) in a number of outlets including Regulation, Reason, the Independent Review, and the Mises page. Because of what Jackson and I called the “highly derivative” nature of federal criminal law (the actual charges are compiled from actions that usually are only prosecuted under state law), it is easy for federal prosecutors to draw up a list of charges that are hard to fight, have draconian penalties, but often involve criminalizing actions that harmed no one, and certainly did not do harm that is up to standards of criminal conduct.

In the hysterical aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Congress rushed through the PATRIOT Act (which Joe Biden claimed to have written almost single-handedly—probably an exaggeration), a law that even at the time legal experts doubted would be effective in preventing acts of political terrorism but that allowed federal prosecutors to throw other “crimes” under the umbrella of “terrorism,” thus permitting them to box in defendants and force them to plead out to lesser charges and receive substantial prison time.

At the time, civil liberties groups like the American Civil Liberties Union along with media entities such as the New York Times served at least a semieffective role in blunting the more outrageous attempts by prosecutors to expand their powers. (The NYT had not shown the same restraint during the 1980s when Rudy Giuliani abused his powers in the infamous Wall Street prosecutions, instead allowing Giuliani to break numerous federal statutes in the paper’s crusade to “fight capitalism.”)

This time, however, it is highly doubtful that either the ACLU or the media will do anything but be cheerleaders for the Biden DOJ, given that the government says it will specifically target what it sees as threats from the right, something the NYT recently praised. A couple of recent incidents regarding the media and the so-called conservative threat are instructive.

Shortly after the January 6 Capitol riots, a number of mainstream news outlets breathlessly reported that the leaders of the protests actually were planning on kidnapping and assassinating a number of political figures. Not one mainstream news outlet questioned the feds’ claims. Shortly thereafter, however, CNN (which gave the original charges massive coverage) reported that the Department of Justice was walking back its original statements.

Not to be outdone, the Associated Press on January 11 presented the specter of armed uprisings all over the country:

The FBI is warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, stoking fears of more bloodshed after last week’s deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol.

The dispatch continues:

An internal FBI bulletin warned, as of Sunday, that the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, according to two law enforcement officials who read details of the memo to The Associated Press. Investigators believe some of the people are members of extremist groups, the officials said.

As we know, there were no armed uprisings, no right-wing armed mobs storming capitols and no massive protests. Now, on Inauguration Day, there was mob political violence and lots of it, but the mobs were leftist and the cities were Portland and Seattle and the national media saw little reason to publicize the protests, as they did not fit The Narrative.

Even the January 6 riots, as bad as they were, did not fall into the category of a coup, no matter what journalists and other political pundits were claiming. David French went even so far as to claim it was a “Christian insurrection” because some of the protesters said they were Christians and someone played Christian music on a loudspeaker. While it was an ugly scene nonetheless, does anyone (at least besides David French) really believe that the vast government regime known as The United States of America was in danger of being overthrown by a mob led by someone in a buffalo costume?

Yet, the same journalistic and political elites who excoriated Donald Trump for sending some agents to protect the federal courthouses in Seattle and Portland from Antifa mobs apparently had no problem with Biden dispatching thousands of federal troops to turn Washington, DC, into an armed camp. It is the same kind of overreaction that leads the media and political elites to demand that the government engage in massive surveillance of half the country.

Not all who are considered to be on the left are good with Biden’s internal spying plan, including Tulsi Gabbard, the former member of Congress who angered fellow Democrats with her appeals to civil liberties during her appearance in the presidential primary last year. National Review reports:

“What characteristics are we looking for as we are building this profile of a potential extremist, what are we talking about? Religious extremists, are we talking about Christians, evangelical Christians, what is a religious extremist? Is it somebody who is pro-life? Where do you take this?” Gabbard said.

She said the proposed legislation could create “a very dangerous undermining of our civil liberties, our freedoms in our Constitution, and a targeting of almost half of the country.”

“You start looking at obviously, have to be a white person, obviously likely male, libertarians, anyone who loves freedom, liberty, maybe has an American flag outside their house, or people who, you know, attended a Trump rally,” Gabbard said.

Even more eye-opening is the missive that the hard-left publication Jacobin has launched against this round of surveillance. Now, the publication that is openly nostalgic about the former East Germany hardly is going to champion civil liberties or even basic freedoms, but the people there are politically astute enough to know that a government with vast surveillance powers isn’t going to stop at going after political conservatives:

However such legislation may be justified with liberal-sounding language, there’s absolutely no reason to believe authorities wouldn’t use new powers to target groups that have nothing to do with Donald Trump or Trumpism. Police almost certainly infiltrated Black Lives Matter protests last summer, and American law enforcement has a long and ignominious history of targeting progressive groups—not to mention socialists, trade unions, and civil rights activists. As this history suggests, the premise behind any new anti-terrorism law will also be wrong on its face: the American state hardly faces excessive restrictions on its capacity to surveil, discipline, and punish. (The FBI, to take an obvious example, already possesses considerable power to investigate groups suspected of extremist activity.)

The problem is that the traditional gatekeepers of civil liberties that we once had in the media and in political and academic circles has disappeared into the maw of political tribalism. Matt Taibbi, a former writer for Rolling Stone and now an independent journalist, sees mainstream journalism as little more than an echo chamber for progressive politicians in which journalists seem to pretend they are players in a version of The West Wing:

West Wing was General Hospital for rich white liberals, a seven-season love letter to the enlightened attitudes of the Bobo-in-Paradise demographic. If that’s the self-image of the national press, it’s no wonder they make people want to vomit. The coverage of Biden’s inauguration, another celebration of those attitudes, was an almost perfect mathematical inverse of late-stage Trump reporting, a monument to groveling sycophancy.

John Heileman at MSNBC compared Biden’s speech to Abe Lincoln’s second inaugural, and suggested that the sight of “the Clintons, the Bushes, and the Obamas” gathered for the event was like “the Marvel superheroes all back in one place” (this was not the first post-election Avengers comparison to be heard on cable). Rachel Maddow talked about going through “half a box of Kleenex” as she watched the proceedings. Chris Wallace on Fox said Biden’s lumbering speech was “the best inaugural address I ever heard,” John Kennedy’s “Ask Not” speech included. The joyful tone was set the night before by CNN’s David Challen, who said lights along the Washington Mall were like “extensions of Joe Biden’s arms embracing America.”

Journalists who are going to claim that a bunch of lights in paper bags symbolize a Joe Biden group hug are not going to be intellectually or professionally capable of taking a hard look at the government’s attempt to arrest and imprison political and religious conservatives and libertarians, since they already have convinced themselves that these people constitute a dire threat to what is left of the republic. They more likely will serve as the publicity arm for the DOJ—as long as prosecutors stick to going after men in buffalo suits waving Trump flags.

To be depressingly honest, the only barrier to the Biden administration’s launching of an American version of the Stasi against dissenters on the right would be the individual consciences of those in charge of the spying and making arrests. Much of the Democratic Party and most of mainstream journalists seem to have no problem with criminalizing speech and launching a regime of mass arrest and imprisonment.

As I see it, we no longer are looking at threats to our liberty in the abstract. For years, I have launched missive after missive at federal (and sometimes state) prosecutors and not feared for my own safety and liberty, save a few death threats I received when I aggressively wrote against Michael Nifong, the dishonest prosecutor in the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case, and I didn’t take those seriously.

This situation is different because those who were the gatekeepers of liberty now have decided that liberty itself is a threat to our well-being. When the New York Times comes out against free speech and when journalists call for the power of the state to be used against other journalists they don’t like, we have turned the corner and are headed for the abyss.

No, I don’t expect to be hauled off to a concentration camp because I have written articles critical of federal prosecutors, but this country now is building a critical mass of journalists, college professors and administrators, and political figures that well might see concentration camps and other “reeducation” devices as being legitimate political tools. We are not as far away from such a dystopian future as one might think.

Federal criminal law provides these antiliberty groups the kinds of devices that can be used to criminalize speech and turn garden-variety dissenters into criminals. We should not be surprised if ambitious US attorneys in the Biden administration, cheered on by the likes of the New York Times and MSNBC, decide it is time to do just that.

This article was originally featured at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and is republished with permission.

Tulsi Gabbard: Don’t Bring the ‘War on Terror’ Home

Tulsi Gabbard: Don’t Bring the ‘War on Terror’ Home

The January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol shocked the nation. Now, as so often occurs in the wake of tragedy, some Washington politicians are using the opportunity to push for an expansion of their power—hoping Americans are too shell-shocked to object.

A bipartisan group in Congress has introduced the so-called “Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act Of 2021.” It would expand the surveillance and police powers of the national security state in the name of combatting dangerous extremism.

“America must be vigilant to combat those radicalized to violence, and the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act gives our government the tools to identify, monitor and thwart their illegal activities,” Congressman Brad Schneider, one of the bill’s lead sponsors, said. “Combatting the threat of domestic terrorism and white supremacy is not a Democratic or Republican issue, not left versus right or urban versus rural. Domestic Terrorism is an American issue, a serious threat that we can and must address together.”

We all surely agree that true domestic terrorism is reprehensible. But many progressive lawmakers are speaking out against the hasty push to expand government power and warning of the threat it poses to civil liberties. They warn these powers will undoubtedly be used against many more people and disfavored groups than just violent radicals like those who attacked the Capitol.

Former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a progressive Democrat, called this push “so dangerous” in a Fox News interview.

“We don’t have to guess about where this goes or where it ends,” Gabbard argues, “When you have people like former CIA Director John Brennan openly talking about how he’s spoken with appointees and nominees in the Biden administration who are already starting to look across our country for these types of movements… that in his words make up this ‘unholy alliance’ of ‘religious extremists,’ ‘racists,’ ‘bigots’ … even ‘libertarians.’”

“So, when you look at their process as they’re building this profile of a potential ‘extremist,’ what are we talking about?” she asked. “Are we talking about evangelical Christians? Somebody who is pro-life? Libertarians? People who attended a Trump rally?”

“[This would] lead to a very dangerous undermining of our civil liberties… and a targeting of almost half the country,” Gabbard concluded.

The concern is that government powers authorized ostensibly for use against “domestic terrorists” would wind up being wielded against much broader swaths of society.

letter signed by 10 progressive House Democrats, including Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Ro Khanna, calls on leadership to “reject reactionary demands to further erode the rights and liberties of the American people.”

“History is littered with examples of initiatives sold as being necessary to fight extremism that quickly devolve into tools used for the mass violation of the human and civil rights of the American people,” the letter warns.

There is simply no need to expand the government’s police powers. According to New York University’s law school, “existing statutes have long provided substantial authority for the federal government to investigate and prosecute acts of domestic terrorism.”

Indeed, at least 150 people have been charged with crimes related to the attack on the Capitol. The government already has vast powers to surveil, pursue, and prosecute Americans who commit crimes or plot violence. After all, law enforcement already knew from intelligence that the planned demonstration at the Capitol could turn violent. Their failure to adequately prepare for it was not due to a lack of information or authority.

Some might wonder, well, how could it hurt to give them more tools? Better safe than sorry, right?

This is an understandable impulse but deeply naive as a permanent conclusion. There’s good reason to think that “domestic terrorism” government powers would wind up targeting many Americans—because we’ve seen the same dynamic play out before, time and time again.

Passed in the wake of the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Patriot Act gave the federal government enormous surveillance powers.

For example, it authorized “sneak and peek” searches, allowing government officials to search someone’s home or office, take pictures, and even sometimes confiscate property, yet only inform them after-the-fact. According to the ACLU, 76 percent of sneak-and-peak searches have occurred in drug enforcement cases, with less than 1 percent actually happening in terrorism-related-cases.

The Patriot Act also created a new pathway for FBI agents to access Americans’ personal information, such as phone records, computer records, credit history, and banking information. Per the ACLU, of the 192,500 such records examinations the FBI made from 2003 to 2006, only one led to a terrorism conviction. (And the ACLU says that conviction would have been obtained without Patriot Act.)

All of this doesn’t even touch on the way post-Patriot-Act mass surveillance caught up millions of innocent Americans, as exposed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

There’s plenty of precedent that suggests these abuses can be explicitly political, too.

“Government agencies—including the FBI and the Department of Defense—have conducted their own spying on innocent and law-abiding Americans,” the ACLU reports. “Through the Freedom of Information Act, the ACLU learned the FBI had been consistently monitoring peaceful groups such Quakers, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Greenpeace, the Arab American Anti-Defamation Committee and, indeed, the ACLU itself.”

We might give the government vast new powers to fight “domestic terrorism.” But it’s inevitable that these same powers will eventually be used against millions of Americans who have nothing to do with such extremism.

There’s a lesson here that extends beyond the specific debate over surveillance powers and the War on Terror. In times of crisis and emergency, enterprising politicians will always seek to exploit the situation to expand their own power. Too often, scared citizens go along with these power grabs.

This is the danger economist Robert Higgs identified in his seminal work Crisis and Leviathan as “the Ratchet Effect.”

Higgs showed how throughout history, crises have been used to excuse government power grabs. After each crisis, the government lets go of some of the power, but never all of it. As a result, the federal government’s power (the Leviathan) has “ratcheted up,” crisis after crisis, throughout the last hundred years.

Progressives, conservatives, and libertarians alike must stand firm against the latest push to infringe on civil liberties in the name of combating “domestic terror.” Otherwise, sweeping powers granted amid crisis will undoubtedly be used against millions of Americans who did nothing wrong on January 6.

This article was originally featured at the Foundation for Economic Education and is republished with permission.

Cop Restrains Teenager, Proceeds to Slam Her Unconscious Into Concrete

Cop Restrains Teenager, Proceeds to Slam Her Unconscious Into Concrete

School resource officers, particularly in Florida, always seem to be in the news for abusing or otherwise causing grave harm to the children they are allegedly sworn to protect. In case after infuriating case we’ve seen Florida cops cower behind a wall while children were murdered in a school to sexually assaulting the children they are tasked with protecting, to beating up small girls and even handcuffing and arresting 6-year-old children. Another one of these incident unfolded this week as a school resource officer was seen body-slamming a high school girl in an attempt to break up a fight—knocking the girl unconscious in the process.

The incident took place at liberty high school in Osceola County. The video was posted to Twitter with the following description:

This is liberty high school in Osceola county and I’ve seen my share of body slams from that school not only by officers but from Deans as well. I’ve seen grown ass man hop on top of girls to hold them down while they are clearly in distress.

The video is hard to watch as it shows the massive officer grab the girl in a full nelson before violently smashing her head into the pavement, putting all his weight on top of her. The girl hits head first and is immediately knocked out. Her head hit the pavement which such force that it made an audible thud that was picked up on the video.

According to the sheriff’s office, the incident took place between classes as the officer was attempting to stop the student from fighting another student.

Two videos were posted with one of them showing that the “fight” the officer was breaking up, appeared to be over or not happening at all by the time he arrived.

Demeatra Bodie, whose son is a Liberty High School Student who witnessed the incident, told WFTV that the video left her speechless.

“I was like, What in the world? I have to do something…I can’t just let this go,” adding that she thinks the cop who did this should be in jail.

“If we were to do something like that to our kids, we will be in jail,” Bodie says. “No questions asked…we’re going to jail until they figure it out.”

We agree.

The video has gotten so much attention that even Hollywood actor Jamie Foxx weighed in.

“What in the absolute phuck?!! Slam a girl to the concrete after you’ve already subdued her??!! What kind of heartless shit is that??!! Someone s daughter??! WTF? cowards,” Foxx tweeted. 

The department has been tight-lipped so far and has only released the following information about the incident at the school, saying they are “investigating” it.

Today the sheriff’s office received information from school officials at Liberty High School about a video posted on social media depicting one of our School Resource Officers in a confrontation with a student. The incident appeared to take place between classes in the hallway. In the video, it shows the deputy taking the student to the ground and placing handcuffs on her.

Our office is in the initial stages of our investigation. We are collecting video, witness statements, and relevant information related to the incident. We know that the School Resource Officer was in the process of trying to stop the student from fighting another student in the hallway when the deputy took her into custody. Once we receive more information related to the incident, we will provide an updated press release.

The officer has not been named either.

Below are the two videos. Warning, they are graphic.

This article was originally featured at the Tenth Amendment Center and is republished with permission.

VIDEO: Cop Tortures Pregnant Mother With Taser

VIDEO: Cop Tortures Pregnant Mother With Taser

For four months, Officer Leon Davis with the Springfield [Massachusetts] police department escaped accountability for a most disturbing act of using his taser on a pregnant woman—repeatedly—in a sickening attempt to inflict punishment. However, the actions by Davis were too much for the department to sweep under the rug, and this week Davis was arrested and charged for torturing a pregnant woman with his taser.

Luckily for Davis’ victim, 27-year-old Bryonna Parrillo, Springfield officers were recently fitted with body cameras. Had Davis not recorded himself repeatedly tasering a pregnant woman, it would have been Parrillo’s word against his, and we know how that ends up.

The incident unfolded on September 29, after Parrillo made the poor decision to text her boyfriend’s boss threatening messages for firing him.

Police arrived on the eighth floor of the hotel and attempted to get into the room where Parrillo and her boyfriend were staying, per an agreement for out-of-state workers refurbishing the hotel. Instead of immediately letting the officer in, Parrillo attempted to hold the door shut with her hand, so Davis pulled out his taser and shocked her hand.

After he shocked her hand, Parrillo realizes her actions are futile and then lets him in, cowers behind the door and immediately starts apologizing. She is not resisting and poses no threat whatsoever. Despite the pregnant woman completely submitting to the officer, Davis decided it was time to dole out punishment for not immediately opening the door.

“What’s up? You want to play those games? You want to play games?” Davis says as he prods the pregnant Parrillo with his taser all over her body.

The situation looked like the school bully going after the smallest child in school, holding them down and torturing them. Unfortunately, the school bully was a cop and the smallest kid in school was a 27-year-old mother to be.

“I know. I know. I know. I’m sorry…we just have to get our stuff,” Parrillo says as she curls up and attempts to defend herself from the multiple taser strikes doled out by Davis.

Parrillo is curled up on the floor, begging for Davis to stop—not posing a threat at all—yet Davis continues to shock the pregnant woman.

Even after Parrillo tells Davis she is pregnant, this sadistic cop hits her with another zap.

“I’m sorry, please, I’m pregnant, no, I’m pregnant. Please, I’m pregnant. Please, stop. Please stop, I’m pregnant, please, please,” she says just before Davis deploys the taser again—in the longest zap yet. Apparently, hearing that his victim was pregnant made him want to give it a little more effort.

“No!” Parrillo screams.

After being unnecessarily tortured, a pregnant Parrillo is then dragged to her feet and arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct.

As MassLive reports, Davis has been charged with one count each of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a pregnant woman. Documents show he not only faces the two felony criminal charges, but that he also blatantly violated department policy, according to a report by a supervisor.

Apparently it is against department policy to taser pregnant women in any situation.

Those violations included “deployment of the device in a punitive or coercive manner; use on a handcuffed or secured prisoner, absent overtly assaultive behavior” and “use of electronic control weapons against…women believed to be pregnant.”

Despite the charges and clear violations, Davis remains employed with the department on administrative leave. They department has not released a statement as to why it took them four months to charge the officer or why he wasn’t put on leave immediately after the incident.

“The evidence shows that this officer’s actions are clearly outside of his training, as they were punitive and grossly excessive, and therefore criminal,” Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said after announcing charges. “This type of conduct has no place in policing and police officers who engage in abusive and excessive uses of force must be identified and immediately re-trained or fired.”

He continued, “As we have seen here and across the country, this kind of misconduct undermines the trust that the community must have in its police departments and serves to sully and frustrate the work and reputation of the many good police officers who make up the vast majority of those departments.”

We agree. Sadly, it is an all too common occurrence. 

“This incident should not be a surprise to anyone. While it might be a shock to the conscience for some, to many of us it is merely a culmination of poor leadership that is too stubborn to realize that they cannot change this police department from the inside out,” said Springfield City Councilor Justin Hurst.

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Cop Kills Unarmed Pastor as Family Watches in Horror

Cop Kills Unarmed Pastor as Family Watches in Horror

Patrick Warren Sr. was a loving father, husband, and pastor in his community whose life was taken from him on Sunday after his family called police for help. The family asked for a mental health expert, but according to their attorney, one was not available, so a Killeen cop showed up instead. Less than two minutes after showing up, the officer would kill Warren in his own front yard as Warren was unarmed.

The shooting was captured on the family’s Ring doorbell camera as well as cellphone footage and it is causing quite the uproar online.

Lee Merritt, a national civil rights attorney who represents victims of police brutality across the country said that Warren’s family called police to ask for a mental health professional when they noticed changes in Warren’s behavior.

Merritt said the family was told a mental health deputy was not available, so a police officer was sent.

Merritt explained how the incident unfolded in a post to Twitter.

As the video shows, the officer rings the doorbell, then enters the home. Merritt explained that Warren then asked the officer to leave his home, which he does.

After the officer backs up into the yard, Warren walks outside as the officer pulls his taser. Remember, Warren had not committed a crime and his family had only called police for help. Nevertheless, the officer escalates the situation when he could have simply gotten back in his car, walked away, or left.

When the officer tells Warren to get on the ground, Warren refuses and the officer tasers him. Warren then keeps walking as the video changes to a cellphone. Warren’s children and wife are on the porch begging Warren to “sit down” but he does not.

Just as the family asks the officer not to shoot him, the cop fires multiple rounds into the unarmed man — killing him in his own front yard.

According to Merritt, the officer shot Warren once, then pointed the gun at Warren’s wife, telling her to get back. Merritt said the officer then fired his weapon at Warren again.

“The family of Patrick Warren Sr. demands the immediate firing and arrest of the officer responsible for his death,” Merritt said in a press release. “Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza must be prepared to conduct an independent investigation and prosecution of this officer.”

According to the Killeen police department, the officer has been placed on administrative leave — which is standard procedure — as the Texas Rangers investigate.

Warren’s son, Patrick Jr., created a GoFundMe account to pay for his father’s funeral expenses and as of the writing of this article, it has far exceeded its original goal of $20,000, showing the support from the community.

It is entirely possible that this officer will not face charges as Killeen cops are notoriously corrupt. Disturbing video of from Killeen was published in 2017 by the Free Thought Project of a man being murdered in broad daylight. The Free Thought Project reported on this video to help seek justice for Curtis E. Shelley after police refused to arrest his killer.

After two years of doing nothing, the killer — who is the son of a Killeen police officer — found out that he would face no charges for the murder of an unarmed man that was captured on video.

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

If You Care About Ashli Babbitt, You Should Care About George Floyd

If You Care About Ashli Babbitt, You Should Care About George Floyd

As she breached multiple doors in the U.S. Capitol, while accompanied by dozens of other rioters, Ashli Babbitt’s last moments alive were spent attempting to break into a heavily barricaded area, climbing through a window before being shot in the chest by a police officer. Though she was breaking the law, she was unarmed when she was killed.

Babbitt was a wife and a veteran and despite her royally screwed up mistakes and disregard for the law on January 6, her life mattered. That is undeniable.

Sadly, however, her death is being used to further stoke divide between the left and the right. Many on the right are hailing her as a hero and a martyr who died fighting for freedom. But is that really the case?

Babbitt was shot by a Capitol police officer, after “multiple individuals forced entry into the Capitol building, and attempted to gain access to the house and attempted to gain access to the house, room, which was still in session,” Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said last week.

Babbitt’s special treatment by police on the way into the capitol undoubtedly gave her extra confidence as she continued down her path into the back rooms of the capitol. Literally, right up to the moment she was shot, police showed her special treatment and, in fact, moved out of the way to allow Babbit to climb through the window where she would be shot.

Sadly, though Babbitt thought she was a patriot fighting for freedom, in reality, she was there to make sure Donald Trump stayed in power. She was there to support a man who advocated for a policy which ultimately led to her death. In May, Trump famously advocated for the extrajudicial execution of people for doing exactly what Babbitt died doing. Remember, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”?

Because the right didn’t speak out against their ruler when he called for the extrajudicial murder of people for misdemeanors in May, it was ultimately used against them. This is the case 100 percent of the time and why standing up to tyranny should never take a back seat to party politics.

Sadly, many on the right continue to remain oblivious to these facts. At the same time, however, the left is calling her a thug terrorist who deserved it and praising her death which is just as dangerous and repugnant.

Amazingly enough, when Twitter banned tens of thousands of pro-Trump and anti-establishment voices on Friday, the person above, who is literally advocating for the genocide of his political enemies, came through it unscathed and their tweet remains active. But that is another point entirely.

Perhaps Babbitt should have been arrested and charged under a domestic terrorism charge, but she never got that chance because she was gunned down while unarmed. It is not up police or to Twitter or anyone else to decide who lives and who dies for their alleged crimes. In America we are guaranteed due process and no one has the right to remove that, even for the most vile of criminals.

In May, after George Floyd was killed, he became a martyr for the left who said that his life mattered and he should not have been killed. They were entirely correct in this assertion. However, just like left is calling Babbitt a thug and a terrorist, at the time of his murder, the right called Floyd a thug and a criminal and repeated the phrase of “if you don’t want to get killed by police, don’t break the law.”

Now that the right is experiencing the same police state that the left has experienced, instead of finding common ground and standing against tyranny, both sides are holding onto their contradictory ideologies in hopes that they can one day point the police state back at their political rivals.

This is how freedom dies—political power is wielded over and over by both sides until there is nothing left by the police state, who then silences ALL dissent, regardless of party.

Unjustified police killings of unarmed individuals is not some weapon to be pointed at your political enemies. Either you support due process and equal justice for all or you support despotism.

There is no picking sides when it comes to the state playing judge, jury, and executioner. When you support extrajudicial murder and removal of due process because it benefits you politically, you are not only a hypocrite but you are a cog in the wheel that is the police state and you deserve the hellish technocracy and violence you so adamantly supported when it inevitably comes back to be pointed at you.

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Your Permanent Record: Police Are Labeling Children With Bad Grades as “Potential Criminals”

Your Permanent Record: Police Are Labeling Children With Bad Grades as “Potential Criminals”

In the ostensible land of the free, we are told that all people are presumed innocent until proven guilty by their peers. To those who’ve been paying attention however, we know that “innocent until proven guilty” is a farce into today’s police state. If you doubt this assertion, you need only look at the data to see that a whopping 74% of people in jails across the country — have not been convicted of a crime. 

While it is true that many of these folks are awaiting trial for crimes they did commit, there are innocent people behind bars for the sole reason that they cannot afford bail. A free country — who claims to protect the rights of citizens — should not be keeping hundreds of thousands of presumed innocent people in cages, yet this is the status quo.

A recent report from the Tampa Bay Times shows just how determined the American police state is to guarantee an assembly line of otherwise entirely innocent people to continue this process. Police in Florida are targeting children in an attempt to label them as criminals at a young age — despite the children being entirely innocent.

The Pasco sheriff’s office has a secret list of students it believes could “fall into a life of crime” based on ridiculous standards like their grades.

By these standards, people like Thomas Edison, one of the most successful inventors in human history, could’ve been labeled a criminal after he was kicked out of school at age 12 for being poor at math and unable to concentrate.

Steven Spielburg, the famous movie producer, may have been labelled a criminal as well after he temporarily dropped out of high school only to return to be put in a “special ed” class.

Kids often make poor choices when they are younger and these choices should never put them on some police watch list or criminal database. This is nothing short of “pre-crime” tactics that ultimately lead to segregation of dystopian societies based on ratings from the state.

Nevertheless, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office uses data from the Pasco County Schools district and the state Department of Children and Families to compile this very list from middle and high schools who they think will turn out to be criminals.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the sheriff’s office defended the tactics and said its data-sharing practices with the school district goes back 20 years and are intended to keeping school campuses safe. Only a juvenile intelligence analyst and the school resource officers have access to the information, it said.

The department says they use this information to help troubled kids, but the parents of these kids have no idea that police are surveilling their children to potentially label them as future criminals.

“These programs, in conjunction with the School District’s Early Warning System, provides recommendations to community or school based programs or resources, and mentorship to those who have experienced adverse childhood experiences, something academically proven to lead the possibility of increased victimization, mental health concerns and other aspects,” a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

School officials explained that they didn’t even realize this child surveillance was happening.

School District Superintendent Kurt Browning and the principals of two high schools told the newspaper they were unaware the sheriff’s office was using school data to identify kids who might become criminals.

“We have an agreement with the Sheriff’s Office,” Browning said in a statement. “That relationship has been strengthened in the wake of the tragedy at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, and that includes processes for a two-way sharing of information that could save lives and result in timely interventions with students who are at risk.”

The program, called the Early Warning System tracks students’ grades, attendance and behavior. If a student was a victim of abuse or witnessed abuse, this increases their chances of police labelling them a criminal.

What qualifies for an “at risk” designation could be anything from getting a “D” on a report card to missing school more than three times in a quarter, according to the program’s manual. Other factors include witnessing domestic violence, having a parent in prison and being the victim of abuse or neglect.

The sheriff’s office then compiles this information—combined with grades and other data sets—and puts it into a system that scores children in 16 categories. The unwitting children are then each assigned a label: On Track, At Risk, Off-Track or Critical.

Hundreds of children are on this list.

The sheriff’s office denies that the list is used to label kids as criminals, and claims it is instead used to identify kids at risk for victimization, truancy, self-harm and substance abuse. As the Times reports, however, future criminal behavior is the only designation on the list and the office had a hard time proving anything else:

But the intelligence manual — an 82-page document that school resource officers and other deputies are required to read — doesn’t mention those other risks. Instead, in five separate places, it describes efforts to pinpoint kids who are likely to become criminals.

The office could not provide any documents instructing school resource officers to interpret the list another way.

Intelligence Led Policing ManualThe idea of cops spying on children in an effort to predict future criminal behavior is chilling. Thankfully, the Tampa Bay Times’ report has shed some much needed light on the practice.

“Can you imagine having your kid in that county and they might be on a list that says they may become a criminal?’ Linnette Attai, a consultant works with student privacy laws, told the Times. “And you have no way of finding out if they are on that list? This is a district that is sending millions of dollars to the sheriff of Pasco County to target its students as criminals.”

Indeed, this is worse than minority report.

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

News Roundup

News Roundup 2/26/21

US News Forty-one Republicans introduce a bill that will prevent Biden from lifting sanctions on Iran. [Link] USA Today gives a look at the massive US military operations around the world from 2018-2020. In those three years the US conducted counterterror operations...

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How 2021 Could Be Better Ep. 149 ft. Jose Galison

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2oCgFf2cLs&feature=youtu.be I joined Jose Galison on "No Way Jose" to finish up a belated recap of 2020. We discuss the 2020 campaign trail, allegations of election fraud, Hunter Biden, internet censorship, "trusting the experts,"...

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Reporting The Revolution w/Erik Sawyer

Erik Sawyer, formerly of the Revolution Report, joined Tommy to discuss current events, culture, and the Libertarian Party. They cover r/wallstreetbets, Doug Mackey, identity politics, the multi-front war against the cathedral, and how the culture of the LP has been...

Techno-tyranny And Subversive Technologies w/Ryan Bunting

I asked Ryan to join me on the show once again. We wanted to chat about the tech tyranny and subversive technology that helps to keep your information safe, secure, and uncensored. ryanbunting.com for any of your graphic design needs Paypal.me/tommysalmons...

Ideology And The Death Of Nations w/Coop

Tommy invited Coop onto the show to discuss the parallels between modern culture, relativity, objectivism, and how nations enter the period of their ultimate demise. https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/strangerencounterspodcast/coopfinal.mp3

Red, White, and Clear; An Interview With Me

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