In today’s episode, Pat appears on the Actual Anarchy Podcast (http://tinyurl.com/y2wkx7dv) with old friends Dan and Rob. It was astounding how many references were made to various legal and philosophical writings and previous episodes of both of our shows so check out the show notes page from Actual Anarchy as well for anything we might have missed.
“We boldly go where no man has gone before, on this show at least, and discuss an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation with our pal, Patrick MacFarlane of the Liberty Weekly Podcast. You can find his show at: http://www.libertyweekly.net Season 1, Episode 7: Justice When Wesley is sentenced to death for innocently violating an alien planet’s custom, Captain Picard is forced to choose between negotiating for Wesley’s life or adhering to the Federation’s prime directive which prohibits interfering with another civilization’s way of life.”
“By demonizing the police,” right-wing commentator Tomi Lahren screeched this week while scolding celebrities for raising awareness about police violence, “you’re putting the communities you claim to care about at risk because it’s our officers who protect those communities and all communities.”
As it turns out, cops are putting communities at risks all by themselves. Here are ten instances just from the last few weeks that show cops are earning their bad reputations:
1. A New Jersey police officer was arrested Friday amid charges of selling narcotics out of his police car. While the entire premise of the drug war and prohibition is highly questionable, so is a sworn officer of “the law” directly breaking it. This is not an uncommon occurrence, as officers around the country have made a habit of dealing substances they throw people behind bars for possessing or selling.
2. Late last week, an LAPD officer was arrested on suspicion of three counts of murder and three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and drunk driving causing injury after he drove drunk and caused a fiery crash that killed an entire family. This, too, is a pattern among officers, and while this particular officer was fired, some are allowed to return to their jobs despite flagrantly endangering the public.
According to Forbes, which spoke with sources close to local and federal investigations, it’s becoming standard operating procedure for cops to use dead people’s fingerprints to unlock their Apple iPhones.
FBI forensic specialist Bob Moledor detailed for Forbes the first known instance of law enforcement making such an attempt, during an investigation into the motives of an attacker killed by Ohio police back in 2016.
Seven hours after Abdul Razak Ali Artan was shot to death by officers, Moledor says, an FBI agent applied Artan’s index finger to his iPhone screen. The attempt to bypass security failed, and the device had to be sent to a forensics lab.
But other attempts have been successful, sources told Forbes. In fact, the outlet reports that these sources say it’s “now relatively common for fingerprints of the deceased to be depressed on the scanner of Apple iPhones.”
One source gave the example of police using the tactic to unlock an overdose victim’s phone in the hopes it contained information about the dead person’s dealer.
And it’s all perfectly legal. Marina Medvin, who owns a law firm, told Forbes that once a person dies they no longer have a privacy interest in their corpse. Friends and family of the deceased are also out of luck, Medvin says:
“Once you share information with someone, you lose control over how that information is protected and used. You cannot assert your privacy rights when your friend’s phone is searched and the police see the messages that you sent to your friend. Same goes for sharing information with the deceased — after you released information to the deceased, you have lost control of privacy.”
It seems this fact is very much known to law enforcement. “We do not need a search warrant to get into a victim’s phone, unless it’s shared owned,” homicide detective Robert Cutshall, who worked on the Artan case, toldForbes.
But that doesn’t mean everyone is fine with the practice. Greg Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told the outlet that in many of these cases there exists “valid concern” over cops using the tactic without probable cause.
“That’s why the idea of requiring a warrant isn’t out of bounds,” Nojeim said.
Indeed, the legality of such methods is an issue that might soon need to be more directly examined, as it’s being shown that newer Apple iPhones’ facial recognition software can be fooled without the use of a living person.
The FBI’s Moledor toldForbes he doesn’t think law enforcement has tried this on a corpse yet, but that if and when it does, then legally “it’s probably going to be same as using the fingerprint.”
According to Forbes, which spoke with sources close to local and federal investigations, it’s becoming standard operating procedure for cops to use dead people’s fingerprints to unlock their Apple iPhones. FBI forensic specialist Bob Moledor detailed for Forbes the first known instance of law enforcement making such an attempt, during an investigation into the motives of an attacker killed by Ohio police back in 2016. Seven hours after Abdul Razak Ali Artan was shot to death by officers, Moledor says, an FBI agent applied Artan’s index finger to his iPhone screen. The attempt to bypass security failed, and the device had to be sent to a forensics lab. But other attempts have been successful, sources told Forbes. In fact, the outlet reports that these sources say it’s “now relatively common for fingerprints of the deceased to be depressed on the scanner of Apple iPhones.” One source gave the example of police using the tactic to unlock an overdose victim’s phone in the hopes it contained information about the dead person’s dealer. And it’s all perfectly legal. Marina Medvin, who owns a law firm, told Forbes that once a person dies they no longer have a privacy interest in their corpse. Friends and family of the deceased are also out of luck, Medvin says: “Once you share information with someone, you lose control over how that information is protected and used. You cannot assert your privacy rights when your friend’s phone is searched and the police see the messages that you sent to your friend. Same goes for sharing information with the deceased — after you released information to the deceased, you have lost control of privacy.” It seems this fact is very much known to law enforcement. “We do not need a search warrant to get into a victim’s phone, unless it’s shared owned,” homicide detective Robert Cutshall, who worked on the Artan case, toldForbes. But that doesn’t mean everyone is fine with the practice. Greg Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told the outlet that in many of these cases there exists “valid concern” over cops using the tactic without probable cause. “That’s why the idea of requiring a warrant isn’t out of bounds,” Nojeim said. Indeed, the legality of such methods is an issue that might soon need to be more directly examined, as it’s being shown that newer Apple iPhones’ facial recognition software can be fooled without the use of a living person. The FBI’s Moledor toldForbes he doesn’t think law enforcement has tried this on a corpse yet, but that if and when it does, then legally “it’s probably going to be same as using the fingerprint.”
Police say they saw an object in Stephan Clark’s hand before firing 20 bullets that killed him in his own yard Sunday night in Sacramento, with the disturbing moment made public through body camera footage released Wednesday night.
The two officers were responding to a 911 call about a man breaking vehicle windows.
Body camera video released by the Sacramento Police Department depicts a frantic foot pursuit through darkened streets pierced by white slivers of police flashlight. The officers spot Clark approaching a house.
“Show me your hands. Stop! Stop!” He runs. The two officers round the corner of the house and find Clark under a covered patio.
An infrared camera on an overhead helicopter briefly loses the sightline of Clark at this moment.
“Show me your hands! Gun!” an officer shouts, and ducks back behind the wall in a fraction of a second.
The helicopter footage shows one of the officers appearing to grab his partner to pull him to cover.
Clark, who is black, is shown taking a step or two toward the officers. Behind the wall, an officer issues another command. “Show me your hands!” And then instantly: “Gun, gun, gun!”
Both officers engaged in rapid fire. Sparks from the impact of the bullets light up the helicopter’s infrared camera in sharp white pops.
The sequence, from first glimpse of Clark on the patio to the first gunshot, is about six seconds. The officers never identify themselves as police. Clark died at the scene.
Sacramento, CA —Three anti-fascist activists are accusing California police and prosecutors of a “cover-up and collusion” with white supremacists during their investigation of a rally that turned violent back in 2016, the Guardianreported Friday.
The activists, who attended the Sacramento rally to counter-protest the message of the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP), the neo-Nazi group that organized the original event, were arrested and charged with felonies for their participation.
But the activists fired back this week, presenting documents to the judge they say provide evidence that the California Highway Patrol (CHP) worked hand-in-hand with the neo-Nazis in an effort to identify the counter-protesters.
Further, the defendants allege, the records reveal that investigators actually showed sympathy toward the white supremacists and worked to try to protect the identity of the TWP member who obtained the permit for the event.
“It is shocking and really angering to see the level of collusion and the amount to which the police covered up for the Nazis,” Yvette Felarca, a teacher and one of the anti-fascist organizers, told the Guardian.
Felarca says during the clash that day in Sacramento she was stabbed in the arm and bludgeoned in the head, a wound that required more than 20 stitches. She says it took her weeks to fully recover.
“The people who were victimized by the Nazis were then victimized by the police and the district attorneys,” she said.
Shanta Driver, one of Felarca’s attorneys, told the Guardian that the documents presented before the judge show a “textbook case of a political witch-hunt and selective prosecution.”
In one instance, the records reveal that in a phone call, CHP investigator Donovan Ayres warned Doug McCormack — the TWP member who obtained the rally permit — that the cops may have to release his name due to a public records request.
“I’m gonna suggest that we hold that or redact your name or something until this gets resolved,” Ayres told McCormack, adding that he wasn’t sure who had requested records of the permit. “If I did, I would tell you,” Ayres said.
Additionally, Ayres’ write-up about an African American activist — one who was stabbed in the chest, abdomen, and hand during the rally — raised alarms in the minds of the defendants and their attorneys.
Records show the man was treated more like a suspect than a victim, with Ayres recommending he be charged with 11 offenses, including unlawful assembly, conspiracy, assault, and wearing a mask to evade police.
To support his recommendation, Ayres provided Facebook photos of the man holding up his fist. Ayres claimed the man’s “Black Power salute” and his “support for anti-racist activism” demonstrated his “intent and motivation to violate the civil rights” of the neo-Nazis.
Documents also show that cops worked with TWP member Derik Punneo while trying to identify the anti-fascist activists. Audio recordings reveal that investigators brought photos to Punneo in jail after he was arrested on unrelated charges.
“We’re pretty much going after them,” officers told Punneo, assuring him that “we’re looking at you as a victim.”
Neither Punneo nor McCormack, as well as several other TWP-affiliated individuals who were involved with the rally, have been charged with any crimes.
In a response filed Thursday, prosecutors in the case state “every assertion” in the defendants’ motion to dismiss is “inaccurate or fabricated” and further accused the activists’ lawyers of using the filing to “make a political statement.”
As for the white supremacists themselves, prosecutors stated that “no one is beneath the protection of the law, no matter how repugnant his or her rhetoric or misguided his or her ideals.”
Dallas, TX —A Dallas man was arrested over the weekend after he allegedly walked into a downtown police station parking lot and smashed the windows and windshields of a dozen patrol cars with a sledgehammer.
Police say 58-year-old Gregory Simpson entered the lot of the Dallas Marshal’s Office at around 5 a.m. Sunday morning, proceeding to inflict thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to the squad cars.
According to local reports, an unnamed officer was alerted to Simpson’s actions and made the arrest. Simpson is being charged with criminal mischief, and his bond has been set at $50,000.
While a motive for the incident remains unknown, the Dallas Police Department says the sledgehammering of official property represents the latest in a series of attacks against officers and facilities in the city.
In June of 2015, a man opened fire on Dallas Police headquarters from an armored van, ramming the vehicle into a squad car before leading officers on a chase that ultimately resulted in his death.
In 2016, the city of Dallas made national headlines when a sniper killed five officers and wounded nine others during a rally against police violence. The subsequent standoff marked the first time in U.S. law enforcement history that a robot was used to kill a suspect.
Last year, the city’s bomb squad unit had to be called in after a suspicious package was left at the entrance of police headquarters, prompting an evacuation of the building. The package turned out to be harmless — just a bottle containing water.
However, these events, including this latest incident over the weekend, have Dallas police on edge. They say what’s needed for the protection of both officers and civilians is tighter security at department facilities.
Speaking of the Simpson incident, Dallas Police Association president Mike Mata told local FOX 4 the situation could’ve easily ended worse:
“We’re seeing this time and time again. An individual, who either has the onset or the mindset to either injure officers or injure property shows up…and we roll the dice. And we are lucky that he didn’t try to kill an officer or an officer didn’t have to kill him.”
Such a result, Mata toldCBS DFW, would only exacerbate the community’s troubles further:
“We’re unfortunately gonna have to hurt somebody, injure them or possibly kill them. And who are they gonna blame? They’re gonna blame the police officer for having to do his duty.”
Last year, Dallas voters approved a nearly $7 million bond package to be used for security upgrades at department facilities. The projects are set to begin this spring but the rollout will take place over several years.
Atlanta — Astory about an Atlanta gym owner, Jim Chambers, who refuses to serve police officers and members of the military is having aripple effect in the community. Now, local media isreporting that a cop has challenged Chambers to a boxing match at an upcoming event.
It all began when a military veteran saw a sign posted outside Chambers’ EAV Barbell Gym thatread:
“Rules: Do whatever the fuck you want, correctly, except crossfit cultism — no fucking cops.”
The veteran was offended and sent a photo of the sign to Atlanta’s 11Alive News, who proceeded to publish astory with the following opening:
“A shocking and vulgar sign about police officers has been posted in front of a local business in Atlanta. The sign could be seen from the street with the curse word blurred out, but the message is clear: It says no cops allowed.”
In speaking to 11Alive News for the story, Chambers not only defended his policy, but also expanded it.
“We’ve had an explicitly stated ‘No Cop’ policy since we opened, and we also don’t open membership to active members of the military,” hesaid.
Chambers has since taken the sign down, but as he told 11Alive News, the move was about shielding members of his gym from criticism and not about any faltering of his stance:
“I didn’t want the other folks there to take the heat that I’m willing to take.”
Chambers, a lifelong political activist, explained that most of the people who work out at his gym are minorities who feel uncomfortable around law enforcement. Hesays his gym, which also doubles as a meeting place for other local activists, simply isn’t an appropriate place for cops to come and burn off energy:
“We wanted one space that was just a little different. It’s not an aggressive, hetero-jock space that’s dominated by cops and soldiers. It’s a place where you’re safe from that.
“And we don’t want to make police stronger so that they can hurt people more efficiently. It’s not a personal thing, but if you put that uniform on, and quite honestly I view that as an occupying enemy army.”
To be clear, the atmosphere at EAV Barbell Gym isdescribed on its website for anyone to view beforehand:
“We require no one to agree with any set of politics, but if you are hostile to the fringe, you ought to look elsewhere. We wanted to create a gym that wouldn’t be prohibitive due to cost, or overly aggressive, exclusionary jock culture. We want elite athletes and total newbs, anyone looking to pick up a bar. Meatheads welcome, too, so long as tolerance abounds.”
Unsurprisingly, Chambers’ story evoked a strong reaction in the community, and by Thursday, 11Alive News wasreporting that a local cop was challenging the gym owner to a fight.
“He seems like he might enjoy getting the opportunity to punch a cop in the face and I’d be happy to oblige him and give him that opportunity,” seven-year police veteran Tommy Lefevertold the news outlet.
Lefever explained that the idea is about gaining Chambers’ respect:
“I found, you sweat, you bleed with somebody, you exchange punches with somebody in a sport like boxing, it’s hard not to respect the guy for getting in there with you afterwards.”
Continuing, the officer says that first step could begin a path toward changing Chambers’ mind:
“Gaining mutual respect for one another in the boxing ring might be the start of something that can help overcome differences in world view, ideology, what have you.”
When told of Lefever’s challenge by 11Alive News, Chambers laughed and wanted to know if it would be fair fight before he accepted.
In a statement, the Atlanta Police Department didn’t comment on the “no cops” policy but said it wouldn’t prevent officers from responding to an emergency at the gym. Chamberssays he never has and never will require assistance from cops, and in the meantime his policy breaks no laws.
To Vincent Champion, Atlanta cop and southeastern director for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, it all sounds suspect.
“I don’t understand why you’d put a sign like that up at all,” hetold11Alive News. “Without talking to the man, this appears to be hate for law enforcement and for what reason? Are you doing something illegal?”
The strong reaction to the story from the community has evenpulled another Atlanta gym into the fray. Google search confusion has caused Village Fitness, which is around the corner from Chambers’ gym, to receive phone calls and walk-ins from people regarding the controversial policy.
Tara Perry of Village Fitness told 11Alive News she does not agree with Chambers’ position. People’s mistaking her establishment for Chambers’ has even prompted Perry to put a sign of her own out front, one expressing her support for cops and soldiers.
“We’ve been here so long, we’re established with the community,” shesaid. “We support our local police and military. We offer discounts for them.”
Jim Chambers says he’ll be putting up a new version of his sign, this one without the profanity.
On Thursday, the Associated Pressreported that lawmakers in Connecticut are currently considering allowing police to use weaponized drones.
“Connecticut lawmakers are considering whether the state should become the first in the country to allow police to use drones outfitted with deadly weapons,”AP writes, “a proposal immediately met with concern by civil rights and liberties advocates.”
The proposed bill, which overwhelmingly passed in the state’s Judiciary Committee and will now head to the House floor, would ban the use of weaponized drones for everyone but police. Rules on how and when cops could use armed drones would be established by the state Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POSTC).
The conclusion of POSTC’s mission statement on its government website reads:
“The Police Officer Standards and Training Council conducts its activities, for the most part, at its Meriden, Connecticut facility known as THE CONNECTICUT POLICE ACADEMY.”
So the rules of engagement regarding the police’s use of deadly drones would be written by the police themselves. That’s a fact worthy of consideration when rolled up with the rest of what ACLU’s David McGuire calls a potentially “dangerous precedent.”
“It is really concerning and outrageous that that’s being considered in our state legislature,” he told AP. “Lethal force raises this to a level of real heightened concern.”
Unsurprisingly, supporters of the bill claim cops would use these armed machines in a limited capacity and only in specialized situations.
“Obviously this is for very limited circumstances,”said state senator John Kissel, co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee. “We can certainly envision some incident on some campus or someplace where someone was a rogue shooter or someone was kidnapped and you try to blow out a tire.”
Another state senator, however, calls bunk on the notion of cops only using a weaponized drone to do things like blow out tires.
“I think that police are taught one thing,”says Edwin Gomes. “You put a weapon in their hand, they shoot center mass, they shoot to kill. If it’s going to be used, you’re going to use it to kill somebody.”
Last year, in Dallas, Texas, much was made of the police force’s use of an armed robot to kill a suspect who had just murdered five cops. That incident was widely considered to be the first time a civilian police force had used robotics to kill someone.
Indeed, that a state body is considering such a bill in the first place is truly a sign of the times. On Wednesday, for instance, Bloomberg ran a piece titled “Fears Grow of Terror in U.S. With Weaponized Civilian Drones.” From that article:
“As millions of light-weight drones flood the consumer market and the federal government struggles with monitoring the devices, counter-terror agencies now see a possibility that they could be used in the U.S. to carry explosives, or as surveillance platforms, according to officials at a security conference in Washington on Wednesday.”
No doubt, in the coming days — regardless of whether the bill in Connecticut survives — police forces and legislative bodies around the nation will use news items such as this to justify moves like the one now being made in Connecticut. Police in North Dakota are already allowed to use armed drones, though the use is limited to supposedly “less than lethal” weapons such as stun guns and rubber bullets.
At the end of the day, though, it was really only a matter of time until the American people would have to deal with the prospect of armed drones of the State circling overhead.
Using SWAT officers to storm into homes to execute search warrants has led time and again to avoidable deaths, gruesome injuries, and costly legal settlements.
By Kevin Sack
From the lengthy article:
As policing has militarized to fight a faltering war on drugs, few tactics have proved as dangerous as the use of forcible-entry raids to serve narcotics search warrants, which regularly introduce staggering levels of violence into missions that might be accomplished through patient stakeouts or simple knocks at the door.
Thousands of times a year, these “dynamic entry” raids exploit the element of surprise to effect seizures and arrests of neighborhood drug dealers. But they have also led time and again to avoidable deaths, gruesome injuries, demolished property, enduring trauma, blackened reputations and multimillion-dollar legal settlements at taxpayer expense, an investigation by The New York Times found.
For the most part, governments at all levels have chosen not to quantify the toll by requiring reporting on SWAT operations. But The Times’s investigation, which relied on dozens of open-record requests and thousands of pages from police and court files, found that at least 81 civilians and 13 law enforcement officers died in such raids from 2010 through 2016. Scores of others were maimed or wounded.
The casualties have occurred in the execution of no-knock warrants, which give the police prior judicial authority to force entry without notice, as well as warrants that require the police to knock and announce themselves before breaking down doors. Often, there is little difference.
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