Oppressed Majority

Here is a French short film that reverses the roles of men and women.  It is worth 10 minutes of your time.  Thanks to RH Reality Check for highlighting it.

 

“It’s a Fair Cop”

So have you heard the one about the police chief in Pennsylvania who hates the U.N., carries a M-16 while on patrol, makes Youtube videos of himself shooting assault rifles while threatening “libtards,” claims that the founding fathers would have started executing liberals years ago, refers to Democrats as “un-American,” “vile,” “scum,” who “hate their country,” and calls his critics “communist cocksuckers”?

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Cop Uses Career Day to Show 10 Year Old Who’s the Boss

From the Salon:

Officer Chris Webb was attending “career day” at Tularosa New Mexico Intermediate School when he sent 50,000 volts of electricity into the child’s chest on the playground. The young boy blacked out and has, according to his legal representative, been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder ever since; the officer faces a civil suit.

According to the complaint, Webb shot his Taser at the child (referred to only as “R.D.”) after he said he did not want to join fellow classmates in cleaning the officer’s patrol car.

Well in Officer Webb’s defense, the little brat wouldn’t help wash his car.  From Courthouse News:

“Defendant Webb asked the boy, R.D., in a group of boys, who would like to clean his patrol unit,” the complaint states. “A number of boys said that they would. R.D., joking, said that he did not want to clean the patrol unit.
“Defendant Webb responded by pointing his Taser at R.D. and saying, ‘Let me show you what happens to people who do not listen to the police.'”
Webb then shot “two barbs into R.D.’s chest,” the complaint states.
“Both barbs penetrated the boy’s shirt, causing the device to deliver 50,000 volts into the boy’s body.
“Defendant Webb pulled the barbs out [of] the boy’s chest, causing scarring where the barbs had entered the boy’s skin that look like cigarette burns on the boy’s chest.
“The boy, who weighed less than 100 lbs., blacked out.
“Instead of calling emergency medical personnel, Officer Webb pulled out the barbs and took the boy to the school principal’s office,” the complaint states.

Officer Webb sure showed that kid!  No better way to get children to respect the police than by shooting them with 50k volts.  At least we can rest safe knowing that Officer Webb is out of a job, right?  Suspended without pay until a full investigation is completed?  Hell, suspended with pay until the civil suit is taken care of?  Nope, but don’t worry.  It was an accident!

Following the May 4 incident, Webb, who claims he accidentally discharged the Taser, was given only a three-day suspension.

Giving Officer Webb every single possible benefit of the doubt and assuming that it was indeed an accidental discharge, he still pointed a taser at a 10 year old boy!  But hey, the boys in blue protect their own and everything turns out for the best.  New Mexico keeps an officer on the force, the boy deals with PTSD from the incident, and Officer Webb learns the valuable lesson that his badge allows him to get away with anything short of murder.  What a system!

 

 

Two Important 4th Amendment Cases Upcoming for the Supreme Court

Two cases involving drug dogs are on the Supreme Court docket which could either further shred the 4th Amendment or help in reestablishing some of its safeguards to American citizens.  The 4th Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable search and seizure.  Mainly thanks to the war on drugs, the 4th Amendment has been shredded beyond recognition by the courts.  The police basically act as if it no longer exists.

Florida V. Jardines concerns the police bringing a drug dog up to the front door of a single family private residence to check for illegal activity, without a warrant.  This is basically a pretty cut and dry case.  Either you see it as the police being free to go wherever the public can go, or you see it as the police using the dog to conduct an illegal search of the private residence.  Precedent is mixed in this case and the court could go either way.

Florida V. Harris is probably the more important case, concerning whether an alert by a trained drug dog is sufficient probable cause to search a vehicle.  Recent studies have raised serious question into the accuracy of drug dogs. If 7 of 8 drug dogs give false positives during a double blind trial, is it reasonable to claim their alerts are always probable cause?

Ed Brayton over at Dispatches from the Culture War has a post looking at these cases, and there is a preview of both over at The Volokh Conspiracy.  Just a few cases to keep your eye on.

And yes, Obama is a joke on 4th Amendment issues.

Spain Considers Ban on Filming Police; People Ask Obvious Question…

As PressTV reports, Spain is considering a ban on filming and photographing the police while they are on duty.

Spain’s Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said that the government is considering the ban on capturing, playing back and processing of images, sounds or data of Spanish security forces who are “in the exercise of their functions.”

The government’s plan which was unveiled on Friday comes amid a crackdown on protests against harsh austerity measures and spending cuts across the debt-wracked country.

Critics consider the measure as a violation of the freedom of speech in the country, but the Spanish officials insist that it is needed to uphold “dignity of police and security forces.”

The “dignity of police and security forces”?  Really?  Is that the best you can do?

The ability to film the police is one of the only safeguards citizens have against police brutality/police misconduct.  Without video and audio evidence, most accusations would become “he said/he said” affairs, with one of the “he’s” being a respected member of law enforcement.  I’d like to think that the majority of law enforcement personnel are honest people who want to do the best job they can serving and protecting the citizens in their jurisdiction.  But anyone who reads Dispatches from the Culture Wars, or follows the issue at all realizes that some cops are more than willing to lie on police reports, plant drugs on suspects, and use unnecessary force in the process of “protecting” the public.  Personally, I think that all police officers should have a camera filming as part of their uniform; like dash cameras on police cruisers, except for the officer themselves.

The obvious question is this:  What do you have to hide?

Honest cops should love having a record of their actions.  It can serve as protection against false accusations of misconduct/brutality.  Bad cops, not so much.  This isn’t about “the dignity of police and security forces.”  It’s about protecting them when their actions cross over the line of legality and it is a ticket to rampant abuse of authority.

With Spain in economic crisis and with protesters taking to the streets all over the nation, enacting this into law would be a clear signal to law enforcement; “We don’t care how you do it, but take care of the protesters.”

The police are public servants.  They are supposed to exist to protect and serve the public and the public interest.  More and more it seems that they are now only protecting and serving the ruling class.

Are they there to protect us or control us?  If Spain passes this law it is one more piece of evidence for the latter.

Just a quick note on this story:  Looking for a source online for this article (I read it originally in my local paper, who didn’t put it on their web page) took forever.  First web search I did turned up countless links but the first four pages were all from conspiracy theory websites.  I have no idea how reliable PressTV is as a source, this is the first time I’ve visited their site, but it is the first source I found that didn’t kill me with pop-up while proclaiming batshit theories.

Women Who Go to Bars Get What They Deserve

You got to love victim blaming.  Why did you get sexually assaulted?  Because you went to a bar, silly girl.  Sigh.

From Dispatches from the Culture Wars:

Here’s a troubling story. A police officer uses his badge to get in to a bar free, then gropes a woman, putting his hand up her skirt and grabbing her genitals. Bouncers threw him out, a jury convicted him of sexual assault and the police department, in a very rare move, actually fired him after an internal investigation supported the criminal conviction. So the judge, naturally, tells the woman she should never have put herself in that position by going to a bar.

Bad things can happen in bars, Hatch told the victim, adding that other people might be more intoxicated than she was.

“If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you,” Hatch said.

And if Kennedy wouldn’t have been in Texas, Oswald wouldn’t have shot him.  Judge Hatch, do you have a point?

“When you blame others, you give up your power to change,” Hatch said that her mother used to say.

Wait….  Last time I checked, it was perfectly legal to go to a bar.  So the victim, who was participating in a legal recreational activity for adults, apparently shouldn’t blame the cop who assaulted her for assaulting her?  Why?  Because she was asking for it?  Because she was in a bar, and everyone knows all women who go to bars are alcoholics and sluts?

Well, at least the sexual abusing cop was convicted and fired.  Not only did he lose his badge, but his jail time will protect other women who may have made the horrible decision of going to a bar he happened to be at, right?

Hatch told the victim and the defendant that no one would be happy with the sentence she gave, but that finding an appropriate sentence was her duty.

The appropriate sentence?

Probation.

 

 

What Have They Got To Hide Anyway….Oh, Nevermind…..

If you do as I often recommend and read Ed Brayton’s blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars, you’ve no doubt seen multiple posts detailing the arrest and harassment of citizens for the horrid “crime” of filming police officers doing their job.  You’d think that the police would welcome being filmed; the footage documenting their work could then be used to disprove any allegations of improper behavior or police brutality.  And even if they don’t welcome it, what’s the harm?  They are public servants after all, and if they are obeying the law while carrying out their duties, they have nothing to worry about.

But as Ed’s readers are no doubt aware, that “if” is a very big “if”.  In capital letters and bold print.  Reports of police misconduct such as planting drugs on suspects, and cases of alleged police brutality seem to spring up with disturbing regularity these days, giving private citizens all the more reason to film the police.  Which then leads to bad cops harassing more and more citizens for filming them.  And harassment it is indeed, because as far as I know, in most locations it is constitutionally legal to film police officers in action.

Well, this issue has now struck close to home, and I’m pleased to report that the ACLU of PA is on the case:

PITTSBURGH – The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit today on behalf of a Fayette County man who was arrested earlier this year for using his cell phone to audio-record a police officer. The suit alleges that the Point Marion Police Department filed retaliatory charges against Gregory Rizer after he complained to the mayor about the officer, who confiscated his cell phone and detained him for recording the officer’s aggressive questioning of his disabled friend. The charge was withdrawn by the district attorney and the cell phone was returned – without the recording.

Rizer was charged with violating the state wiretapping law, which forbids audio recording without the consent of all parties involved. According to the lawsuit, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s Wiretap Act does not apply if the person being recorded does not have a reasonable “expectation of privacy.”

“The explosion of technology that allows almost every citizen to document and record the interactions between police and civilians makes it incumbent that both the officers and those seeking to record them understand that officers cannot shield themselves from public scrutiny by invoking wiretap laws,” said Glen Downey, Healey & Hornack, P.C., counsel for Rizer and an ACLU cooperating attorney. “Police officers performing their official duties do not possess the requisite reasonable expectation of privacy necessary to be covered by the statute.”

State wiretapping law?  Really?

The details of the case seem to show a man concerned for his disabled friend, and retaliatory actions by the police department.

On January 3, 2012, Rizer was at the home of a friend, Shannon Hughes, when Point Marion police officer Kevin Lukart arrived to question Hughes about the whereabouts of Mr. Hughes’ cousin. Rizer felt that Officer Lukart’s questioning was overly aggressive and was concerned for his friend, who is quadriplegic. Rizer took out his cell phone and began recording Officer Lukart’s questioning of Hughes.

When Officer Lukart realized he was being recorded, he seized the cell phone and placed it in his patrol car. When he finished questioning Hughes, Officer Lukart arrested Rizer, placed him in handcuffs and took him to the police station. At the station, Officer Lukart told Rizer that he would release him if Rizer wrote a statement admitting that he had recorded Lukart without his consent. Rizer complied with that request, and Officer Lukart placed the statement and Rizer’s cell phone in a police evidence bag before releasing him.

Two days later, Rizer complained to Point Marion Mayor Carl Ables about Officer Lukart’s conduct and showed him news articles about an investigation into an incident in which Officer Lukart hit a handcuffed suspect, which was caught on tape by a television news crew.

The next day, Officer Lukart and Point Marion Chief of Police Jay Stutler arrested Rizer at his home and charged him with violating the wiretap law. Rizer was taken to the Point Marion police department and then transported to the Fayette County Jail. After being detained for more than five hours, he was released on a $2500 bond.

Charged and taken to jail, detained for 5 hours before finally being released on bond.  Sounds like a great day to me.  I wonder how long it will take for the judge to throw those charges out?

The Fayette County District Attorney withdrew all criminal charges against Rizer on February 22.

Or for the DA to realize there wasn’t an actual case…..  So the charges were dropped and the message from the police was delivered loud and clear; “tape us and we will fuck with your life.”  But of course, the police needed to get in one more “fuck you”.

When Rizer went to the police department a month later to retrieve his phone, he discovered that the SIM card – the external storage drive for the phone that contained the recording he had made of Officer Lukart questioning his friend – was missing.

Sigh.  Yet another reason I give to the ACLU.

“This case smacks of unconstitutional retaliation,” said Sara Rose, ACLU-PA staff attorney. “Not only did the police retaliate against Mr. Rizer for exercising his First Amendment right to record a police officer who he believed was inappropriately questioning his friend, but they filed a baseless charge against him after he complained to the mayor about police misconduct.”

Hmmm.  I guess it is coming up on membership renewal time.  Time to fetch the checkbook.