Criminal Justice

TGIF: Abortion Rights v. Abortion Permissions

Even if you cringe at last week’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, it would be wrong to say that the five Supreme Court justices took away women’s right to have abortions.

I say this because the Supreme Court, unfortunately, never actually recognized a women’s right to terminate a pregnancy. Instead, what the Court did in 1973 in Roe v. Wade (and reaffirmed in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey) was to grant women permission to have abortions up to a judge-defined moment. (Such court permission-granting is not unique to abortion.)

A permission is obviously not a right; it is the opposite. Individual rights are commonly understood as principles that morally and legally protect activities that individuals by their nature are entitled to engage in free from aggression by others, even the people regarded as government officials. (“I know my rights!”) Contractual rights are conditioned on the terms of the contract, but those are not the kind of rights we’re talking about here.

Yes, the Roe and Casey opinions used rights language. And in their dissent in Dobbs, Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor write, “Roe held, and Casey reaffirmed, that the Constitution safeguards a woman’s right to decide for herself whether to bear a child.”

But we shouldn’t be misled by that language because their dissent also states, in defending Roe and Casey, “Respecting a woman as an autonomous being, and granting her full equality, meant giving her substantial choice over this most personal and most consequential of all life decisions.” (Emphasis added.) Not full choice — just “substantial choice.” Why not full choice? Because, write the dissenters, “the State had, as Roe had held, an exceptionally significant interest in disallowing abortions in the later phase of a pregnancy.” Permission granted; permission revoked.

Specifically, the Roe Court said that women have a constitutionally protected right to privacy with respect to their pregnancies — but only until the state’s “compelling interest in the potentiality of human life” kicks in after the second trimester or (in Casey) when the fetus becomes viable outside the womb. This doesn’t sound like a matter of rights, but rather an exercise in the Court’s subjective balancing of competing interests. What the Court calls “constitutional rights” sound like something else. This take on the Court’s views will please anyone who conscientiously objects to abortion as murder. But it ought to dismay those who believe with equal conviction that women do possess a right to end their pregnancies. The Roe Court misled them.

So what now? Everyone understands that the Court did not outlaw abortion. Instead, it sent the matter, to use conventional political language, to the people and their elected representatives in the several states. Who could object to that?

Well, lots of people could. Those who believe that individuals have a natural right to life, liberty, and property should be concerned about leaving the question of rights to majority rule. Majorities can be and often are wrong: they can call something a right that isn’t, and they can deny that something is a right that is.

On top of that, the flaws intrinsic to representative democracy are well documented, starting with the perverse incentives and irresponsibility generated by the fact that a single vote is almost never decisive. (George Bush’s remarkably close 2000 victory in Florida had a margin of 537 votes. But no individual voter had more than one vote.) If any voter doubts his electoral impotence, he should compare how he would prepare for an election in these two scenarios: the first in which, as normal, he has only one vote; the second in which he also has only one vote but has been assured by divine intervention that whomever he votes for is guaranteed to win.

Democracy also falls short of the textbook ideal because, in light of the impotence of a single vote, most people have better things to do than invest the time, money, and effort required to properly educate themselves about the consequences of what the candidates say they would do if elected. (That would require studying economics, among other things.)

Moreover, no single voter will incur more than a tiny fraction of the full social cost of his making a bad decision at the polls. (This assumes that candidates, who represent a shopping cart of positions on diverse issues, will even keep their campaign promises.) And we also have the problem that highly motivated and concentrated single-issue interest groups will often prevail over the far larger but unorganized mass of citizens. This is the plague of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs. (For an elaboration of these flaws, see Bryan Caplan’s The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies. Ilya Somin and Jason Brennan have also written books on this subject. See also my “Is ‘Free Election’ an Oxymoron?” and “The Crazy Arithmetic of Voting.”)

I join those who worry about having our rights determined by majority rule in the state legislatures. But what’s the alternative? Until a free market in rights protection and conflict resolution is a live option, it seems the only alternative is what we now have: the U.S. Supreme Court.

But shouldn’t advocates of liberty be concerned about that too? As many have pointed out, the Court resembles an unelected, life-tenured supreme legislature that allows no easy appeal. We may like the Court when it agrees with us, but what about when it doesn’t? Even a court that seems committed to individual rights could have a different notion of rights than you or I have. It might sanction pseudo-rights, such as taxpayer-financed abortion, that conflict with authentic rights. Or it might refuse to sanction an authentic right. What do we do in those cases? Do we need a Supremer Court to correct the Supreme Court? And a Supremerer Court to correct the Supremer Court, ad infinitum?

Libertarians who don’t want rights left to state legislatures should beware of the Nirvana fallacy, comparing real-world legislatures to an idealized Supreme Court. State legislatures are fraught with danger, but we won’t soon see a Supreme Court full of justices who embrace the rights theory of Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, or [insert name of favorite libertarian]. The question, then, is: what is the least-bad alternative in the meantime.

Contrary to what many want to believe, the Constitution does not instruct us in how it is to be interpreted or direct us to someone’s — Madison’s? Hamilton’s? — interpretation. But even if it did, an internal or external interpretation would also be subject to interpretation. “Any interpretation still hangs in the air along with what it interprets, and cannot give it any support,” Wittgenstein wrote about rule-following.

There could be no correct reading of the Constitution. One might say that a particular reading is more reasonable (here’s one perhaps) and another less reasonable, but we have no way to pronounce a reading the correct one. A reading could be clearly wrong, but not clearly right.

It is not as if we could have a computer that could infallibly decide constitutional questions. To qualify, that computer could not be programmed by a human being, or else it would be vulnerable to the criticism above. It’s human beings all the way down. (See Roderick Long’s “Rule-Following, Praxeology, and Anarchy.”)

The alternatives — courts or state legislatures — pose a threat to freedom. We can weigh the relative risks, but the threat won’t disappear. For example, compared to a national supreme court, legislative decentralization would at least reduce the cost of voting with one’s feet, that is, relocating. However, that is not always possible, especially for low-income people, and states can perpetrate what has been called “grassroots tyranny.” (See Jacob T. Levy’s Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom and my review of that book.)

Bottom line: regardless of institutions, liberty is never secure. Hence, the need for eternal vigilance and persistent efforts to teach people to cherish liberty.

During Response Training for Civilian Unrests, Cops Beat Fellow Officer to Death

The mother of a Los Angeles police officer is coming forward this week alleging that her son 32-year-old officer Houston Tipping, was beaten to death by fellow cops during department training last month. Tipping was playing the role of a civilian and was beaten by fellow officers and suffered fatal head and neck injuries.

Shirley Huffman, Tipping’s mother filed a notice of claim against the city this month as part of a wrongful death lawsuit. Her son suffered a massive spinal cord injury during the event on May 26 and died three days later. He was buried last week.

Huffman stated in her lawsuit that the training exercise “had already been questioned” before her son was killed as other officers had previously suffered injuries during the training.

In a statement after Tipping’s death, police claimed that Tipping was injured while “grappling” with another officer in a tragic “accident.”

 At the time of the accident Officer Tipping was a bike instructor engaged in a training scenario involving grappling with another officer. During the scenario Officer Tipping fell to the floor and suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury. Officers immediately began CPR and summoned a LA Fire rescue who transported Officer Tipping to USCMC.

This is a point with which Huffman disagrees. Huffman alleged her son was “repeatedly struck in the head severely enough that he bled,” and that the beating resulted in injuries requiring stitches. He also suffered multiple breaks in his neck, which caused his death, the claim said, according to the LA Times

Bradley Gage, an attorney for Huffman, said Tipping suffered injuries to two parts of his head and to four vertebrae.

“Chief Moore stated that Officer Tipping impressed his peers with a ‘willingness to go the extra mile to make the world a better place,’” her claim stated. “Yet, that wasn’t enough to avoid other officers paralyzing him and eventually killing him in violation of law, and his civil rights.”

According to the Times, Capt. Kelly Muniz, an LAPD spokeswoman, said Friday that the department could not comment on the claim or the nature of the training exercise. But, she said, the department is taking the matter seriously and has launched its own investigation into the incident—in part to determine whether “there are any changes that need to be made” or lessons that may be learned.

Police in Los Angeles are notoriously corrupt and while this case may be unrelated, rogue cops in precinct gangs have doled out violent punishments like this one before. As TFTP reported, many whistleblowers have come forward with allegations that gang members—who are also cops—control different precincts in the county.

In July of 2019, the FBI was investigating the East LA branch of the LA County Sheriff’s Department whereby Bandito gang members had full control of “station operations.” The report states the Bandito gang member/police officers “put others’ lives at risk by not sending backup to help on dangerous calls, enforced illegal arrest quotas and carried out other forms of harassment.”

The culmination of scandals resulted with several deputies claiming they were beaten, choked and nearly killed by fellow officers who were also tattoo wearing members of the Bandito gang.

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

A Coverup in Uvalde? Cops Refuse to Release Body Cam Footage

21 people, including 19 children aged nine to eleven, were murdered by a mentally unstable 18-year-old at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24. The brutality of the incident, and conflicting and contradictory reports on the fumbled the police response, sparked outrage in the Lone Star State and across the country.

Uvalde officials’ use of a legal loophole to avoid releasing police records, including footage from officers’ body cams, 911 calls from students, emails, criminal records and other information has sparked concerns from Texans and others that authorities are engaged in a cover-up.
On Monday, the Austin American-Statesman and Austin KVUE-TV revealed, citing documents and security footage, that officers with high-powered weapons and at least one ballistic shield reached Robb Elementary within 19 minutes of the gunman’s arrival on the scene – challenging earlier accounts by police officials about their response time and the resources they had at their disposal.

On Tuesday, Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said in Senate testimony that the police had enough body armor-equipped officers to “isolate, distract and neutralize” the gunman just three minutes after he entered the school, but instead waited in the hallway for nearly an hour as he carried out his attack.

“There is compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure, and antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine Massacre,” McCraw said, blaming on-scene commander Pete Arredondo for putting armed officers’ lives above those of unarmed children.
The revelations have sparked new questions among parents of the victims and members of the public about why police didn’t confront or try to neutralize the gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, who was killed by a tactical team unit nearly 80 minutes after he arrived at the school and began shooting.
Last week, the San Antonio Express-News reported that the school’s security cam footage showed that officers did not even attempt to open the door to the classrooms where Ramos was situated.
However, apart from security cam still images shown by KVUE-TV, the media and the public have not been given access to or allowed to share other footage and data, with the Texas Tribune and ProPublica, a New York-based investigative journalism nonprofit, saying none of the roughly 70 public information requests they submitted over the past month have been granted.
Last week, Vice reported that Uvalde’s city administration and police department had hired a law firm to stop the potentially “highly embarrassing” records from being released.
On Monday, the release of a clip showing a fire marshal asking reporters to leave Uvalde City Hall during a hearing between city officials and officers responding to the shooting sparked claims of a cover-up, with the hashtag #UvaldeCoverUp trending on Twitter for two straight days.
“58 minutes of blood shed an[d] massacre as officers stood idly outside the classroom. Armed and shielded. The ineptitude and cowardice alone warrants disclosure of the bodycam. Produce the goods! #UvaldeCoverUP,” criminal defense attorney and media personality Sara Azari wrote.
“This will go down as one of the worst law enforcement responses in the history of law enforcement,” another user using the hashtag wrote. “Haven’t the feds taken this over? Uvalde leaders are incompetent,” a third asked.
The hashtag was also turned into a soapbox for politicians and partisan theatrics, with Democratic Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke asking authorities to stop their “stonewalling” and “lies” and “release the facts.” On the other side of the aisle, conservative New York trial lawyer Matthew Kolken used the issue to push his views about gun control. “[NY governor] Kathy Hochul and New York Democrats want you unarmed and helpless under the guise of safety while the #UvaldeCoverUp evidences that the police will not protect you against evil individuals who intend to do you harm,” he wrote.
This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Cops Wake Up Unarmed, Sleeping Man Just to Kill Him As He Raises His Hands

The city of Mesa, Arizona settled a lawsuit with the family of a young man who was killed by police in September of 2020. As TFTP previously reported, Angel Benitez was found asleep in a car which was reported stolen.

Benitez, for whatever reason, drove away from officers and stopped at an apartment complex in Mesa near the cross streets of University and Evergreen. Upon exiting the vehicle, bystanders reported Benitez had his hands raised when cops opened fire, killing the 21-year-old. The City of Mesa recently settled a civil lawsuit with the family for $250,000.

Benjamin Taylor, the attorney representing the family, told reporters, “No amount of money will bring back the life of Angel Benitez…However, we are glad this settlement brings a sense of justice to his family who have suffered tremendously since Angel’s tragic death.”

The settlement comes on the heels of another settlement in 2021, with the City of Mesa, for the unjustified killing of Matthew Shaver. As TFTP reported, Shaver, a contracted exterminator working with Walmart was gunned down inside Mesa’s La Quinta Inn as he was begging for his life, and crawling on his hands and his knees like a submissive puppy dog. The killer cop in Shaver’s case is now former Mesa PD officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford.

Brailsford was arrested and charged in Shaver’s murder but a jury of his peers found him not guilty. The unfortunate “not guilty” verdict was rendered, even though the body camera footage proved beyond a shadow of a doubt Shaver was unarmed, compliant, and obeying all of the officer’s commands. Brailsford took the opportunity to kill Shaver as the married father of two reached back to pull up his shorts which were falling down. The whole incident was disturbing for many, to say the least, and led to an International outcry amid calls for justice.

Brailsford never had to spend one day behind bars as a convicted killer cop and later went on to retire with full benefits from the police department. In fact, he is eligible to be rehired as a cop almost anywhere in the country. Rumors are he left police work and was working security at a local golf driving range but those cannot be confirmed.

Shaver’s widow and his family combined their lawsuits into one seeking in excess of $75 million dollars. Certainly there are non-disclosure agreements in place which are keeping the families from reporting precisely how much the City of Mesa had to pay out for one more of its rogue cops killing innocent citizens.

Unlike Benitez, Shaver did have a weapon in his room, an air rifle, the same one he used to kill birds, rats and other pests in his work with Walmart stores. But Shaver was nowhere near his rifle when his life was taken from him. A resident at the La Quinta where Shaver was murdered reportedly called police to say there was a man in the hotel with a gun. If that call had not been placed, Shaver would likely still be alive, providing for his family as an exterminator.

Unfortunately, incidents such as Benitez’ and Shaver’s are not uncommon, cross all racial lines, and often end up with grieving families left to pick up the pieces.

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

No Charges for Cop Who Ran Over and Killed Wounded, 911 Caller

A year ago, on June 13, 2021, 42-year-old Eric Cole called 911 for help, like he was supposed to do, after he was shot in the arm. However, police were the first to show up on the scene and help was the last thing Cole received. In fact, he received the exact opposite—and it killed him.

Police Chief Lee Graf referred to the negligence of one of his officers—Amanda Rosales—as an “accident,” which left Cole dead. While it may not have been on purpose, dashcam video shows it was completely avoidable. Eric Cole lie bleeding on the ground from a gunshot wound to the forearm when officer Rosales drove her cruiser on top of the man in need.

“This was an accident,” Graf said. “Doesn’t mean it is okay.”

Apparently, a grand jury bought the narrative hook, line, and sinker, and this week, following an “investigation,” criminal charges were thrown out.

“The grand jury determined that the incident surrounding Mr. Cole’s death was tragic, but not criminal,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said.

“The lead officer was trying to catch addresses on the house, Eric was lying in the street, as you can see in the videos and the officer did not see him,” said Graf at the time, paving the way for what happened this week.

Though Graf calls Cole’s death an accident, the family says it was not.

“There’s no way in hell that she did not freaking see him,” said Lekesha Bradford, Cole’s sister, according to Dayton Now.

“I want the officer held accountable, just like if they get the suspect, they’re going to hold them accountable,” said Regina Wilson, Cole’s mom.

“There’s no excuse for what’s happened,” said John Moore, Cole’s best friend. “We’ve seen all it. My eyes don’t lie. You can’t lie to me I’ve seen what went on.”

“We will get justice, I will guarantee you,” said a representative of the family with Springfield NAACP Division last year. “We will definitely get justice.”

Unfortunately, all their calls for justice fell on deaf ears.

Illustrating the nature of police to circle the wagons to conceal the negligence of one of their own, immediately after Cole’s death, they issued a statement saying they didn’t know whether the police cruiser or the bullet killed Cole.

Cole was shot in his left forearm—hardly a deadly situation. However, when a 6,000 pound police cruiser runs over you, it is often deadly and according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office autopsy report, it was the cruiser that killed Cole, not the bullet in his arm.

“He was shot in the arm,” said Moore. “A shot in the arm isn’t going to kill somebody, somebody is going to bounce back from that. But we hide this (a police cruiser hitting him). Why did we hide this?”

What’s more, Cole was on the phone with 911 when he was struck by the police cruiser.

Cole can be heard in the recording saying, “I’m about to die,” and “I’m in the middle of the street.” He said he had been shot but didn’t know who had shot him.

Soon after, the sirens of multiple police units can be heard approaching before Cole says, “They just hit me.”

When the dispatcher asks who hit him, Cole responds, “the police.”

Moments later, he said, “somebody run me over.”

Shortly after, Cole would die and the cover up would begin.

“I am particularly concerned about the information that was conveyed to the dispatcher that was not conveyed to the responding officer. And there may well be additional proceedings in civil court. But as of right now, there are no criminal charges in this tragic case,” Yost said.

“I lost my best friend and people don’t know when you lose your number one dude, who you are with every day, and they got your back on everything, it’s different,” Moore said.

Below is the video.

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

Decorated Cop Pleads Guilty to Distributing 12,000 Files of Child Porn (Including Infants)

When residents of Rockville, Maryland saw Daniel Morozewicz, 38, patrol their neighborhoods, they likely felt protected. But they were not. Morozewicz is a child predator of the worst kind and has since admitted to running a horrifying child sexual abuse material distribution ring.

Morozewicz was working at his position in the National Guard where he was distributing COVID-19 vaccines at Six Flags in Bowie when feds raided the clinic and arrested him in March 2021.

This week, Morozewicz pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing over 12,000 files of child pornography. The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron.

According to his guilty plea, from September 2020 to January 2021, while employed as a Rockville Police Officer and an Army National Guardsman, Morozewicz received, possessed, and distributed child pornography on the BitTorrent file sharing network. Morozewicz also used multiple electronic devices to download and distribute child pornography involving prepubescent minors and infants.

During that time, Morozewicz repeatedly distributed child pornography to undercover law enforcement officers.  On at least four instances in 2020, investigators determined that the devices associated with Morozewicz’s IP address downloaded and shared child pornographic files on the BitTorrent, including massive compressed files of images and videos.

According to the DoJ much of this material involved horrifying images of infant sexual abuse as well as toddlers:

As stated in his guilty plea, on March 4, 2021, Morozewicz received a tip that federal law enforcement wished to conduct an in-person interview with him.  The next day, on March 5, 2021, law enforcement executed a series of search and seizure warrants on Morozewicz’s residence, vehicle, and his person.  As a result of the search of Morozewicz’s person, law enforcement seized a smartphone which had been recently factory reset and erased in light of the impending visit from federal law enforcement.  He also admitted that he discarded his computer in anticipation of a visit from law enforcement.  Morozewicz’s actions were viewed as an attempt to impede the investigation and prosecution of his child pornography offenses.

Multiple electronic devices were seized in connection the warrants executed at Morozewicz’s residence and in his vehicle.  A forensic examination of Morozewicz’s devices revealed that he possessed over 12,300 depictions of child pornography and erotica, including over 200 depicts involving the sexual abuse of infants and toddlers, and over 90 child pornographic images involving sado-masochistic conduct.

The type of person who desires to abuse toddlers and babies should not be loose in society much less possess a badge but for years this monster was out their patrolling the streets.  In June of 2016, Morozewicz was honored with the department’s officer achievement award for his exemplary service. No word on whether or not the Rockville police will be retracting it.

Morozewicz now faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by up to lifetime of supervised release. Hopefully this monster receives every bit of it when he is sentenced in September.

As TFTP has reported, a study exposed the startling fact that police officers are arrested about 1,100 times a year, or roughly three officers charged every day. Many of these arrests are over unspeakable sex crimes.

“Police crimes are not uncommon,” the study’s lead researcher Philip M. Stinson concluded. “Our data directly contradicts some of the prevailing assumptions and the proposition that only a small group of rotten apples perpetrate the vast majority of police crime.” Although nearly 60 percent of the crimes “occurred when the officer was technically off-duty,” Stinson wrote, “a significant portion of these so-called off-duty crimes also lies within the context of police work and the perpetrator’s role as a police officer, including instances where off-duty officers flash a badge, an official weapon, or otherwise use their power, authority, and the respect afforded to them as a means to commit crime.”

According to a report from WaPo, in cases involving allegations of sexual abuse, 72 percent of the officers were fired, and more than 80 percent resulted in convictions, the study found. There were 422 reported cases of forcible and statutory rape, 352 cases of forcible fondling and 94 sodomy cases over the seven years of the study, which Stinson called “larger than expected based on the existing research.” The data search turned up 174 examples of male officers arrested in cases of “Driving While Female,” in which women drivers were harassed or assaulted. About 82 percent of those cases ended in convictions.

A separate study as reported by the AP in 2015 found similarly shocking numbers.

The probe revealed that 550 officers were decertified for various sexual assaults, including rape. Some were dismissed for sodomy or sexual shakedowns, where victims were forced to perform sexual acts to avoid arrest.

A further 440 officers lost their jobs for other sex-related offenses, such as possessing child pornography, being a peeping Tom, sending sexually charged messages to underage teens or having sex while on duty.

About one-third of the officers lost their jobs for committing sexual offenses against children. Even more shocking is the fact that every one of these studies indicates that most of the cases go unreported because the victims are scared to report the officers to their own departments.

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

Cop Receives No Jail Time After Gunning Down Innocent Couple, Confusing Them for Robbers

As TFTP reported in 2019, citizens of New Haven protested for several days after April 16 when police blocked in a couple in their vehicle and opened fire on them for no reason. The entire incident was captured on video and showed the utter cowardice and ridiculous violence carried out by New Haven’s best.

Stephanie Washington, 22, was hospitalized after the two trigger-happy cops opened fire on her and her boyfriend Paul Witherspoon, 21. According to police, Hamden officer Devon Eaton and Yale police officer Terrance Pollock were responding to reports of a robbery at a nearby gas station when they stopped the vehicle in which Washington was a passenger.

Neither Washington nor Witherspoon committed a robbery and they were entirely innocent.

As the body camera footage shows, there was no reason for the officers to start shooting as it appeared the couple was trying to comply and exit the vehicle. But they simply weren’t given any time before these trigger happy cops opened fire.

Eaton was charged after a lengthy, use of force investigation by the New Haven State’s Attorney and the Connecticut State Police. The investigation report cleared Pollock of “any criminal wrongdoing.” It concluded that Pollock fired three times at the red Honda, but didn’t hit anything, The report also said that Pollock suffered a minor graze wound from one of Eaton’s shots and that Eaton also hit Pollock’s police car.

Eaton fired 13 times, shooting Washington and his fellow cop in a clearly reckless manner and this week, we learned that he will not be going to jail. In January, Eaton pleaded no contest in Superior Court to a charge of first-degree assault for the shooting. He was set to be sentenced for five years, suspended after 18 months and three years of probation. That did not happen.

Instead, he received probation only. What’s more, Eaton was never fired and has been on the payroll since the shooting three years ago. He only just resigned in January as part of his plea agreement.

“As a binding part of his plea agreement with the state, Eaton has agreed that he will not now, nor ever in his lifetime, seek or accept employment or reemployment as a sworn law enforcement officer in the State of Connecticut, or any other state or territory of the United States,” state prosecutors said.

As the video shows, in only seconds, both officers jumped out of the vehicles and began shooting at this innocent couple. After they shot Washington, they realized the couple was unarmed.

“I was trying to take cover from the gunshots, so I was leaning in between the driver and passenger seats, towards the back seat,” Washington said, according to the report. “It was like being in a nightmare. I thought I was going to die. As the gunfire was going on, I started to feel a tingling, burning pain and numbness in my legs, looked down and saw blood and glass, and I remember thinking that I was shot.”

Police claim that Witherspoon had a weapon so they had no other option but to begin dumping rounds into the car. However, a search of the vehicle, video footage from surveillance cameras as well as the officer’s own body camera footage, shows that no such weapon existed.

What’s more, police claim that they opened fire because Witherspoon “exited the vehicle in an abrupt manner” and turned toward them. However, as the video shows, that never happened.

As the video shows, the officers were the only ones who jumped out of a vehicle and they immediately opened fire for absolutely no reason.

Witherspoon’s uncle told reporters that there was an argument at the gas station, but no attempted robbery. His comments were backed up by the fact that no charges were filed against either of the vehicle’s occupants.

The 911 caller claimed Witherspoon had a gun and tried to rob a newspaper delivery driver. However, no such gun was found and after an investigation, no such attempted robbery took place.

An innocent couple was almost slaughtered because of two trigger happy cops and no one is going to jail.

Below are the videos from that night.

Officer Hamden’s body camera:

Argyle street surveillance camera:

Dixwell street surveillance camera:

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

FBI Claims It Foiled ISIS Plot Against George W. Bush

The FBI claims to have foiled an assassination attempt against former President George W. Bush, alleging the infamous Islamic State terrorist group hatched a globe-spanning plot to kill the ex-commander in chief.

Since Forbes first reported the story on Tuesday, the suspect has been identified as 52-year old Iraqi national Shihab Ahmed Shihab. He is said to have arrived in the United States in 2020 on a visitor visa pending an asylum application.

Investigators claim to have caught the would-be assassination organizer in the act as a result of his interactions, beginning last year, with two undercover informants. The FBI also conducted electronic surveillance on his communications via the messaging application WhatsApp.

Pete Williams, NBC News Justice Correspondent, said Bush faced “zero” threat because the FBI was “constantly all over this man.” CNN reported the court documents show Bush was never in danger.

The Forbes report portrays this operation as an example of how the FBI, “despite its claims of being prevented from investigating major crimes because of Meta and other tech providers’ use of encryption, has been able to work around WhatsApp security by using old-school policing with sourcing of informants and tracking the metadata they can get from the messaging company.”

The source for the Forbes report is an FBI search warrant filed on March 23 that Meet the Press says was “accidentally” unsealed this week. According to the document, Shihab claimed to work for a group named “Al-Raed,” which he said was based in Qatar and led by a former Iraqi pilot for Saddam Hussein until his recent death. Shihab allegedly told one informant that the group whose name means “Thunder” is not connected to ISIS, but he hoped ISIS would support this plot.

Shihab is accused of attempting to recruit a team of four Iraqi nationals located in Iraq, Denmark, Egypt and Turkey. The group was to be smuggled via Brazil across the Mexican border to assist him in the plot to kill the former president.

The FBI claims, in November 2021, Shihab revealed the plan to one of the informants, asking him if he knew how to “obtain replica or fraudulent police and/or FBI identifications and badges” for use in the assassination scheme.

A New York Times report citing the same warrant says one of the FBI informants told the suspect he could put him in contact with organizations to facilitate his operation, offering to help smuggle the undocumented men into the country with false identification and immigration documents.

In a conversation with one federal informant, Shihab said he believed the men he was attempting to recruit were ISIS members, describing them as “former Baath Party members in Iraq who did not agree with the current Iraqi government and were political exiles.” He told another FBI source that one of the men was “the secretary of an ISIS financial minister,” and later noted that he planned to charge each $15,000 to be brought into the United States.

Court documents say Shihab also claimed to have ISIS connection as well as a history of helping terrorist groups kill occupying American soldiers during the Iraq war’s early years.

Though Shihab discussed helping to smuggle four individuals from overseas, he indicated that as many as seven men would be involved in the assassination plot, according to communications with informants.

In addition to helping the men enter the country, Shihab was also allegedly asked “to locate and conduct surveillance on former president Bush’s residences and/or offices and obtain firearms and vehicles to use in the assassination.”

CNN reports that in February, “during in-person meetings in Dallas that the documents say were recorded, Shihab and the informant drove to the neighborhood of Bush’s residence in Dallas, as Shihab allegedly took videos of the neighborhood’s access gate and the surrounding area, according to the documents…Shihab and the informant also traveled to the George W. Bush Institute, where they walked around on foot. Shihab took video recordings of the institute’s library and office area, the court documents said.”

The following month, in Columbus, the informant met again with Shihab to inspect firearms and a Border Patrol uniform. Court documents say the FBI provided the informant with these items.

The Forbes article indicates the FBI exploited pressure points to convince Shihab to continue pursuing the scheme, saying agents “used two different confidential sources to investigate the plot, one who claimed to offer assistance obtaining false immigration and identification documents, the second a purported customer of the alleged people smuggler, who was willing to pay thousands of dollars to bring his family into the country.”

The informants secretly recorded their in-person conversations with Shihab, as well as discussions on the WhatsApp chat program, and began forwarding information to the FBI last year. Beyond their assistance with Shihab’s plans to bring the undocumented immigrants into the U.S., the informants provided cell phones and cell phone data cards to develop those plans. Two months ago, the FBI obtained the warrant for Shihab’s phone records. One informant turned a cell phone over to the FBI that Shihab requested be destroyed.

Shihab was arrested later on Tuesday by FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force agents and appeared before an Ohio federal court in the afternoon. A DOJ statement says he faces 10 years in prison for attempting to illegally bring somebody into the United States, and possibly another 20 year sentence for aiding and abetting the attempted murder of a former U.S. official.

Undercover federal agents and confidential informants have played major roles in a number of high-profile cases, including the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. For the DOJ, that case ended in disaster. The actions of FBI agents and a high number of informants helped defense lawyers argue successfully that their clients were pressured to take part in a plot they otherwise would not have pursued. This led to two acquittals, two mistrials, and no convictions. The Times described this Bush assassination case as an opportunity to “reset” the DOJ’s damaged reputation.

Shihab allegedly told the informant “they wished to kill former President Bush because they felt that he was responsible for killing many Iraqis and breaking apart the entire country of Iraq.”

Bush’s illegal and unconstitutional war in Iraq, launched in 2003, was estimated after only five years to have killed more than one million people. Brown University’s Costs of War project has collected data showing, since Bush’s invasion, over nine million Iraqis have been either displaced internally or forced to flee the country as refugees.

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