Four Queens men sue NYPD after being held for 30 hours, busted for laughing at cops

Four Queens men claim they were locked up for more than 30 hours by cops seeking revenge on a crowd of men who laughed at an officer who couldn’t catch a fleeing drug suspect.

The men insist they didn’t even laugh, says their lawyer Gabriel P. Harvis, who filed suit against the NYPD and 10 unidentified officers in Brooklyn Federal Court. They believe they were arrested because cops wanted to take their frustration out on them, he said.

“The cops knew my clients had done nothing wrong, but they didn’t care,” said Harvis, who represents Abdul Kabba, Isaiah Barnes, Hasan Allen and Ishmial Deas. Police “were embarrassed, so they abused their power by locking them up anyway.”

The four were held for 27 hours in the 103rd Precinct stationhouse before the Queens district attorney’s office dropped the charges.

Continue reading

Fort Drum Army scum faces child porn charges

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Federal prosecutors say an Army officer at Fort Drum who served in Iraq has been charged with possessing child pornography.

Prosecutors say Lt. Col. Christopher Butler used the screen name “daddyformommies” and sent images of child pornography over the Internet to an undercover federal agent in October 2008. The complaint unsealed Friday also claims Butler offered to share four child pornography videos and kept more than 200 images depicting child pornography on his computer.

The 43-year-old officer was arrested Friday and made his initial appearance in federal court in Syracuse. He has not yet entered a plea. His lawyer did not immediately return a call.

Fort Drum officials say Butler had been deployed to Iraq twice, most recently from May 2008 through May 2009.

Efforts to silence Aafia Siddiqui continue

Efforts to silence Pakistani citizen Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who is charged with attempted murder of US military and Federal Bureau of Investigation personnel, are continuing during her trial.

In a letter to the New York Federal judge presiding over her trial, Siddiqui’s defense team said that she is not mentally fit to testify.

In the letter, the lawyers said that they believe she suffers from “diminished capacity,” the NY Daily News reported on Tuesday.

“We feel it is our duty under relevant ethical rules to take protective action to safeguard her interests,” the letter read.

Siddiqui’s trial started on January 19, 2010.

See also:

Case against Aafia Siddiqui begins to unravel

My children were tortured, this trial is a sham: Aafia

‘US torturing females in Afghan prisons’

Rights groups seek Siddiqui extradition

Continue reading

Prisons too expensive

The Extravagance of Imprisonment Revisited

How much could the government save by cutting prison costs?

According to a new report issued by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, billions of dollars could be saved through reforming the United States prison system. California alone could save an estimated $1.4 billion.

As of 2006, the United States has imprisoned over 1.6 million people. The United States also has the highest incarceration rates in the world. This rate is predicted to rise as “get tough on crime” laws continue to be issued.

This report “analyzes prison and jail populations in the United States as a whole and in four key states–California, Florida, New York, and Texas–to determine 1) how many prisoners are non-serious offenders and what it costs to lock them up, 2) what proven effective alternatives are in use and what they cost, and 3) what savings could be realized if a portion of the non-serious offenders were sentenced to alternatives instead of prison and jail.”

NYC Government Releases Guide To Heroin Use

The New York City Health Department and Mental Hygiene has released a 16-page pamphlet that, among other things, teaches the city’s citizens how to shoot heroin. Also useful for tourists who need to learn these things fast during their visit. From the New York Post:

The city spent $32,000 on 70,000 fliers that tell you how to shoot heroin, complete with detailed tips on prepping the dope and injecting it into your arm.

The 16-page pamphlet features seven comics-like illustrations and offers dope fiends such useful advice as “Warm your body (jump up and down) to show your veins.”

The manual does have some sound advice. It stresses the importance of kicking the habit, seeking professional help and not sharing needles. The Health Department defended its brochure, saying it was helpful and necessary, and has been distributed only to addicts or those at risk of becoming abusers.

Code That Protects Most Cellphone Calls Is Divulged

BERLIN — A German computer engineer said Monday that he had deciphered and published the secret code used to encrypt most of the world’s digital mobile phone calls, in what he called an attempt to expose weaknesses in the security of global wireless systems.

The action by the encryption expert, Karsten Nohl, aimed to question the effectiveness of the 21-year-old Global System for Mobile Communications (GMS –  Groupe Spécial Mobile), a code developed in 1988 and still used to protect the privacy of 80 percent of mobile calls worldwide.

Continue reading

NYPD Must Give NYCLU Data on Race of People Shot at by Police

A Supreme Court of the State of New York judge has ordered the New York City Police Department to turn over to the New York Civil Liberties Union data concerning the race of all people who were shot at by police officers between 1997 and 2006.

The NYCLU sued the NYPD in August 2008 for access to racial data about police shooting victims. In response to the lawsuit, the NYPD agreed to disclose the race of people who were shot by police officers between 1997 and 2006. It refused to release racial data about people who had been shot at by police officers but not struck by the bullets.

In an opinion dated Dec. 15, Supreme Court Judge Joan A. Madden ruled that the NYPD had not met its burden under the state’s Freedom of Information Law to withhold the data.

Continue reading

America’s Secret ICE Castles

“If you don’t have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he’s illegal, we can make him disappear.” Those chilling words were spoken by James Pendergraph, then executive director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement‘s (ICE) Office of State and Local Coordination, at a conference of police and sheriffs in August 2008. Also present was Amnesty International‘s Sarnata Reynolds, who wrote about the incident in the 2009 report “Jailed Without Justice” and said in an interview, “It was almost surreal being there, particularly being someone from an organization that has worked on disappearances for decades in other countries. I couldn’t believe he would say it so boldly, as though it weren’t anything wrong.”

ICE agents regularly impersonate civilians–Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors, insurance agents, religious workers–in order to arrest longtime US residents who have no criminal history. Jacqueline Stevens has reported a web-exclusive companion piece on ICE agents’ ruse operations.

Pendergraph knew that ICE could disappear people, because he knew that in addition to the publicly listed field offices and detention sites, ICE is also confining people in 186 unlisted and unmarked subfield offices, many in suburban office parks or commercial spaces revealing no information about their ICE tenants–nary a sign, a marked car or even a US flag. (Presumably there is a flag at the Department of Veterans Affairs Complex in Castle Point, New York, but no one would associate it with the Criminal Alien Program ICE is running out of Building 7.) Designed for confining individuals in transit, with no beds or showers, subfield offices are not subject to ICE Detention Standards. The subfield office network was mentioned in an October report by Dora Schriro, then special adviser to Janet Ann Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, but no locations were provided.

Continue reading

Mumbai terror suspect David Headley was ‘rogue US secret agent’

A key terror suspect who allegedly helped to plan last year’s attacks in Mumbai and plotted to strike Europe was an American secret agent who went rogue, Indian officials believe.

David Coleman Headley (aka Daood Sayed Gilani), 49, who was born in Washington to a Pakistan diplomat father and an American mother, was arrested in Chicago in October. He is accused of reconnoitering targets in India and Europe for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Pakistan-based terror group behind the Mumbai attacks and of having links to al-Qaeda. He has denied the charges.

He came to the attention of the US security services in 1997 when he was arrested in New York for heroin smuggling. He earned a reduced sentence by working for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) infiltrating Pakistan-linked narcotics gangs.

Indian investigators, who have been denied access to Mr. Headley, suspect that he remained on the payroll of the US security services — possibly working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) — but switched his allegiance to LeT.

“India is looking into whether Headley worked as a double agent,” an Indian Ministry of Home Affairs official said yesterday.

Continue reading

Lil Wayne detained in Texas for marijuana

Rapper Lil Wayne was detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents in Texas on Friday after authorities found marijuana on two of his tour buses.

The marijuana on the buses was detected by a drug dog, said Agent Joe Trevino. The rapper, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., was among a dozen being detained from his group. They were later released.

Trevino said the buses were en route to Laredo, Texas, from a concert stop in Hidalgo.

The case has been referred to the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office.

Calls to Carter’s representatives were not immediately returned Friday.

The Louisiana native was the 2008 best-selling artist, with 2.8 million records sold, and is signed to Cash Money Records.

The rapper is scheduled to begin a prison sentence in February stemming from gun charges in New York.

Western federal courts can now videotape some trials

The body that oversees 15 western federal trial courts announced a pilot program yesterday that will allow the videotaping of some civil trials.

The Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit – the governing body for all federal courts in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands unanimously voted to allow the trial courts in those states to experiment with taping in civil cases tried without a jury.

Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski explained the Council hoped “that being able to see and hear what transpires in the courtroom will lead to a better public understanding of our judicial processes and enhanced confidence in the rule of law.”

Continue reading

Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom

Social Change Project, Mercatus, State and Local Policy Project
Research Papers/Studies

Download Document

This paper presents the first-ever comprehensive ranking of the American states on their public policies affecting individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres. We develop and justify our ratings and aggregation procedure on explicitly normative criteria, defining individual freedom as the ability to dispose of one’s own life, liberty, and justly acquired property however one sees fit, so long as one does not coercively infringe on another individual’s ability to do the same.

This study improves on prior attempts to score economic freedom for American states in three primary ways: (1) it includes measures of social and personal freedoms such as peaceable citizens’ rights to educate their own children, own and carry firearms, and be free from unreasonable search and seizure; (2) it includes far more variables, even on economic policies alone, than prior studies, and there are no missing data on any variable; and (3) it uses new, more accurate measurements of key variables, particularly state fiscal policies.

We find that the freest states in the country are New Hampshire, Colorado, and South Dakota, which together achieve a virtual tie for first place. All three states feature low taxes and government spending and middling levels of regulation and paternalism. New York is the least free by a considerable margin, followed by New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, and Maryland. On personal freedom alone, Alaska is the clear winner, while Maryland brings up the rear. As for freedom in the different regions of the country, the Mountain and West North Central regions are the freest overall while the Middle Atlantic lags far behind on both economic and personal freedom. Regression analysis demonstrates that states enjoying more economic and personal freedom tend to attract substantially higher rates of internal net migration.

The data used to create the rankings are publicly available online at www.statepolicyindex.com, and we invite others to adopt their own weights to see how the overall state freedom rankings change.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 50 other followers