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.

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Rodeo Boys kill yet another in unnecessary high-speed chase over minor traffic infraction

[ The idea that a living, breathing human being can be effectively assassinated over a traffic code violation, stinks in a most vile fashion.  Mr. Grossich's Facebook memorial page address is http://www.facebook.com/people/Gary-Grossich/100001806082821 Search "high-speed chases" on this site for stats and other info. ]

A 22-year-old Bloomington motorcyclist who was killed last night in a Fontana crash is believed to be the rider who twice evaded police shortly before the wreck, investigators say.

Gary Grossich died at the scene of the 8:29 p.m. Monday accident along Jurupa Avenue east of Pacific, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deputy coroners.

Five minutes earlier, an officer had spotted a motorcyclist driving with his headlight off — a traffic violation — along Tamarind Avenue near Jurupa Avenue and made a U-turn to chase him, but the biker sped away, said Sgt. Billy Green.

A few minutes later, a second officer radioed that he was chasing a motorcyclist west along Jurupa Avenue, Green said. That officer, too, lost sight of the bike.

Soon afterward, a third officer found the wreckage of a black 1998 Suzuki GSXR and Grossich’s body, Green said.

In memory of Gary Grossich

Calilfornia marijuana Legalization debate gets interesting

Two Norfolk teachers put on leave over material about police

Two Norview High School teachers were placed on paid administrative leave this week after a parent complained that they distributed classroom materials that gave advice on how to deal with police if stopped.

The materials – a one-page handout and a video distributed and aired in a 12th-grade government class – are sponsored by two organizations, one a nonprofit that supports legalization of marijuana and one that calls itself a “decentralized anarchist collective.”

The last paragraph of the flier, titled “When Dealing with Police” states, “Remember You have legal rights, but many police will not respect your rights. Be careful – Be Street Smart.”

Schools spokeswoman Elizabeth Thiel Mather said division leaders are investigating the incident over concerns that the materials were unauthorized.

The parent, who asked not to be named out of fear that her daughter could be ostracized or get a lower class grade, told The Pilot that she contacted the division and police after her daughter described the leaflet and video.

“She came home recently and said, ‘You won’t believe what we are learning in Government. They are teaching us how to hide our drugs,’ ” the parent recounted.

Last week, an Oakwood Elementary School employee was placed on leave with pay in connection with the distribution of plastic fetus models to children, which division leaders also considered unauthorized material. Oakwood’s principal was also put on leave in connection with the incident, and an investigation is continuing.

Mather said it is uncommon to have to put staff on leave for using inappropriate materials. The division typically gets no more than two parent complaints a year about the suitability of textbooks or library materials, she said.

The leaflet handed out at Norview describes the rights citizens have if they are stopped or arrested by police or witness police activity. It is posted on the Web here.

A credit on the leaflet reads, “Assembled by the Crimethinc Police Unwelcoming Committee.” On its website, Crimethinc.com calls itself a “decentralized anarchist collective.”

The video, “Busted: Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters,” is posted online here.  It opens with a portrayal of young adults stopped by a traffic officer who searches their car and arrests them for marijuana possession. Other scenes depict police questioning a young man at a bus stop and patrol officers who visit a home where loud partiers are smoking marijuana.

A commentator on the video states, “Whether or not you break the law, this video is designed to explain what the law is and how you can legally and properly assert your constitutional rights through even the most stressful police encounters.”

For each scene, the commentator explains how legal rights apply to police searches of vehicles, homes or individuals and how people can cite those rights during encounters with police.

The video was created by Flex Your Rights, a nonprofit that advocates educating the public about how constitutional protections apply during encounters with law enforcement. The production has gotten 2.3 million viewings on YouTube since November 2006.

The video’s end credits cite funding from the MPP Foundation, which is part of the Marijuana Policy Project. On the Web, the group advocates legal regulation for marijuana and noncoercive treatment for problem marijuana users.

Pilot writers Hattie Brown Garrow, Lauren Roth and Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer contributed to this report.

Steven G. Vegh, (757) 446-2417, steven.vegh@pilotonline.com

The Gun is Civilization

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

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VicPD Officer Ordered to Stay Quiet

Local opposition to Arizona law sought

At Tuesday’s Beaumont Unified School District board meeting, trustee Mark Orozco called on his fellow board members to consider a resolution opposing Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law, which he pointed out gives police in that state the right to detain anyone who is suspected of being in this country illegally, or for failing to provide proper documentation of citizenship.

“Under the new law, Arizona police now are required to stop and question anyone they reasonably suspect of being undocumented,” said Orozco, who is a history teacher at Marshall School in Pomona. “I am deeply troubled, and as an educator, I am disturbed by the lessons this law teaches our children about democracy, inclusion and nondiscrimination.”

Orozco called Arizona’s law an attack on civil rights of Arizona’s Latino population, and likened the situation to the way Jews were treated in Germany prior to World War II, when they were required to carry documentation with them at all times.

“The right of undocumented immigrant children to a K-12 public education has long been protected,” Orozco said. “This legislation may be the start of a very slippery slope. What’s next? Will lawmakers require teachers, education-support professionals and school employees to act as immigration agents?”

Orozco said that he feared the impact that potentially oppressive measures could “impede on the mission of teaching and learning.”

“I understand that my peers and some members of the community will probably criticize me … but it needs to be said,” Orozco said during board comments at the end of the meeting. “I am speaking not just as a board member or public official, but also as a leader of our community and a concerned American citizen who cannot sit by and be silent.”

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Former DA investigator sentenced to probation

A former investigator in the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office was sentenced to probation Thursday for accessing criminal rap sheets in a law enforcement database for his personal benefit and that of his friends and colleagues.

Christopher Cardoza, 46, was sentenced to three years probation and 420 hours of community service by Judge Kyle Brodie in San Bernardino Superior Court. He is also responsible for $7,762 in restitution.

Defense lawyer James Vincent Reiss said the case brought against Cardoza had political overtones and that prosecutors sought to make an example out of his client.

“I think it’s an appropriate resolution for a case that in our mind is being brought out of spite,” Reiss said.

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Maryland Citizens Face Felony Charges for Recording Cops

In Maryland, it is a felony to record thuggish cops as they push around skateboarding teenagers, beat sports patrons, and pull guns on motorists for speeding.

“Several Marylanders face felony charges for recording their arrests on camera, and others have been intimidated to shut their cameras off,” reports WJZ 23 in Baltimore.

Maryland cops are using a Maryland law that states conversations in private cannot be recorded without the consent of both people involved in order to go about their business of harassing, intimidating, and assaulting citizens.

It is legal according to Maryland’s attorney general for cops to videotape citizens with dashcams but illegal for citizens to do the same.

State authorities are upset after a video appeared on the internet showing the merciless beating of a university student by thug cops at the University of Maryland in April.

In 2009, a video surfaced showing a Baltimore cop pushing around and verbally assaulting a teenager. Numerous videos in other states show cops beating and even murdering citizens.

Click “read more” for videos.

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Radley Balko on the Militarization of Police

Congress Coaxes States to Collect DNA

Federal lawmakers are using the purse strings to coax more states into adopting rules that require suspects who are arrested for various crimes — but not charged — to submit to DNA sampling for inclusion into a nationwide database.

It doesn’t matter if the suspect was charged or even acquitted.

Sponsored by Harry Teague (D-New Mexico), the measure provides $75 million to the nation’s financially broken states — all in a bid to coax the 11 states with such DNA-testing laws to keep them on the books, and to entice others to follow suit. The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary received the package Wednesday, a day after the House passed the bill on a 357 to 32 vote.

All Democrats voting approved the bill, CNET’s Declan McCullagh points out. And it’s likely to sail through the Senate. President Barack Obama, who supports DNA collection upon arrest, is expected to sign it.

The House’s passage of the so-called “Katie’s Law,” or HR 4614, comes as the states and federal government are slashing budgets in response to record-setting financial shortfalls.

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2010 National Drug Control Strategy

President Obama’s 2010 National Drug Control Strategy uses a multifaceted approach to combat drug abuse and drug use in America’s communities.

This Strategy “provides a collaborative and balanced approach that emphasizes community-based prevention, integration of evidence-based treatment into the health care system, innovations in the criminal justice system, and international partnerships to disrupt drug trafficking organizations. Because nearly all Americans are impacted by the consequences of drug use, the Strategy is designed to be relevant at the local level. Whether you are a parent looking for information, a community member interested in treatment resources, a police officer or local elected official searching for new approaches to drug-related crimes, or someone who wants to know more about the Administration’s drug policy, the National Drug Control Strategy will serve as a useful resource.”

News videographer at center of media battle after shooting video of abusive cops

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A freelance news videographer in Seattle lost his gig with a television station over a police abuse video they rejected after he posted the video on Youtube.

The video showed the customary abuse we expect from the Seattle Police Department; a cop kicking a detained suspect in the head after threatening to beat the “fucking Mexican piss” out of him.

It turned out, the suspect was completely innocent of armed robbery that got him detained.

Police then picked him up, brushed him off and sent him on his way.

The videographer, Jud Morris, ended up getting a video interview with the man, who had a fresh wound on his face from being face down on the ground, possibly from the kick that was caught on video.

The video also shows a female cop stomping on the suspect’s leg.

Morris, who was working for Q13 Fox news at the time, first approached them with the video, but they rejected it, telling him it was not newsworthy to see a cop kick an unarmed suspect in the head who later turns out to be innocent.

Morris, who as a freelancer owns all his work, then posted the video on Youtube.

He was fired the following day.

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Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirements in Federal Law

The Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have just released a new report which provides the results of a joint study of the federal legislative process for all studied non-violent criminal offenses introduced in the 109th Congress in 2005 and 2006.

Sponsored by Representatives Robert Cortez “Bobby” Scott and Louis Buller Gohmert, Jr., Chairman and Ranking Member of the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, the study reveals that “offenses with inadequate mens rea [guilty mind] requirements are ubiquitous at all stages of the legislative process: Over 57 percent of the offenses introduced, and 64 percent of those enacted into law, contained inadequate mens rea requirements, putting the innocent at risk of criminal punishment. Compounding the problem, this study also found consistently poor legislative drafting and broad delegation of Congress’s authority to make criminal law to unaccountable regulators.”

Another fascist pig home invasion

TSA worker assaults colleague who made crack at genitalia after walk through machine

Perhaps the new airport body scanners are a bit too revealing.

A Transportation Security Administration worker in Miami was arrested for aggravated battery after police say he attacked a colleague who’d made fun of his small genitalia after he walked through one of the new high-tech security scanners during a recent training session.

Rolando Negrin, 44, was busted for assault after things got ugly at Miami International Airport between Negrin and some of his fellow Transportation Security Administration workers on Tuesday.

Sources say Negrin stepped into the machine during the training session and became embarrassed and angry when a supervisor started cracking jokes about his manhood, made visible by the new machine.

According to the police report, Negron confronted one of his co-workers in an employee parking lot, where he hit him with a police baton on the arm and back.

“[Negron] then told victim to kneel down and say ‘your sorry,’” the report reads. “Victim stated he was in fear and complied with [Negron].”

Negron was arrested the next day when he arrived for work. He told police he had been made fun of by coworkers on a daily basis.

“[Negron] stated he could not take the jokes anymore and lost his mind,” the report reads.

Negrin was arrested and booked into Miami-Dade County Jail. His arrest photo (above) shows him wearing his blue TSA shirt at the time of the arrest.

The attack may be the first piece of proof that the new scanners may be leaving too little to the imagination.

The $170,000 machines, which were introduced last year, took some heat from fliers who weren’t quite ready to show their bod to government employees.

But if this latest incident is any indication, the scanners sound like good news for anti-terrorism and bad news for less-than-average men.

Couple Arrested For Asking For Directions

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Forty years since the Kent State massacre

May 4 marks the 40th anniversary of the shootings of unarmed student protesters at Kent State University in northeast Ohio. The Ohio National Guard killed four students and wounded nine others at a rally against the Nixon administration’s decision to escalate the Vietnam War by invading neighboring Cambodia.

The four students who died were Allison B. Krause and Jeffrey Glenn Miller, who had participated in the antiwar protest, and two bystanders, Sandra Lee Scheuer and William Know Schroeder, who were walking between classes when the troops opened fire. Miller was killed instantly, Scheuer died within minutes, while Krause and Schroeder succumbed to their wounds after several hours.

One of the students wounded, Dean Kahler, 20, was a first-semester freshman who was a curious onlooker to the protest. A bullet cut his spinal column, leaving him in a wheelchair to this day.

At least 67 bullets were fired during the 13-second fusillade, and students were hit over a wide area. The closest of the victims, one of the wounded, was 71 feet from where the troops formed a firing line. The furthest, wounded in the neck, was 750 feet away. The four dead students were between 265 and 345 feet distant. None of the victims was armed or could have posed a physical threat to the guardsmen.

The Kent State Massacre was part of a wave of violent state repression that swept the United States in the aftermath of the April 30 television announcement by President Richard Nixon that US forces had crossed the border from Vietnam and invaded Cambodia.

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New Study: Drug law enforcement contributes to gun violence and high homicide rates and increasingly sophisticated methods of disrupting organizations involved in drug distribution could unintentionally increase violence

See also: Study links drug enforcement to more violence

Today, the newly formed International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP) released their first report: Effect of Drug Law Enforcement on Drug-Related Violence: Evidence from a Scientific Review.

“Given the growing emphasis on evidence-based policy-making and the ongoing severe violence attributable to drug gangs in many countries around the world, a systematic review of the available English language scientific literature was conducted to examine the impacts of drug law enforcement interventions on drug market violence.”

The results of the review found that “an increase in drug law enforcement interventions to disrupt drug markets is unlikely to reduce violence attributable to drug gangs. Instead, from an evidence-based public policy perspective and based on several decades of available data, the existing evidence strongly suggests that drug law enforcement contributes to gun violence and high homicide rates and that increasingly sophisticated methods of disrupting organizations involved in drug distribution could unintentionally increase violence. In this context, and since drug prohibition has not achieved its stated goal of reducing drug supply, alternative models for drug control may need to be considered if drug-related violence is to be meaningfully reduced.”

San Francisco City workers banned from official travel to Arizona

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced today a moratorium on official city travel to Arizona after the state enacted a controversial new immigration law that directs local police to arrest those suspected of being in the country illegally.

The ban on city employee travel to Arizona takes effect immediately, although there are some exceptions, including for law enforcement officials investigating a crime, officials said. It’s unclear how many planned trips by city workers will be curtailed.

The move comes amid a cascade of criticism of Arizona’s law, which has been denounced by civil rights groups, some police officials and President Obama, who said it threatens to “undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans.” Legal challenges are being weighed to overturn it.

San Francisco’s move comes as the Board of Supervisors introduced non-binding resolutions calling for comprehensive immigration reform and a boycott of Arizona because of the new law, which requires police to try to determine the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect of being in the country illegally. There are also online boycott campaigns calling for everything from a boycott of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team to the Grand Canyon.

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Mexico warns citizens in Arizona

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The Mexican government warned its citizens Tuesday to use extreme caution if visiting Arizona because of a tough new law that requires all immigrants and visitors to carry U.S.-issued documents or risk arrest.

And a government-affiliated agency that supports Mexicans living and working in the United States called for boycotts of Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Phoenix Suns until those organizations rebuke the law.

“We are making a strong call to the Arizona government to retract this regressive and racist law that’s impacting not only residents of Arizona, but people in all 50 states and in Mexico as well,” said Raul Murillo, who works with the Institute for Mexicans Abroad, an autonomous agency of Mexico’s Foreign Ministry.

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Sarkozy proposes total ban on the burqa in France

F

At the April 21 meeting of the French cabinet, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that a bill banning the wearing of the burqa or niqab full-face veil in public would be put before the cabinet in May. The bill is a blatant attack on democratic rights, moving France towards extra-legal rule.

Prime Minister François Fillon stated that the government would fast-track this legislation, even though such a law could be ruled unconstitutional and contrary to the European Convention of Human Rights. “We are ready to take legal risks because we think that the stakes are worth it”, he said, adding. “We cannot encumber ourselves with prudence in relation to legislation that is unsuited to today’s society…. If we have to shift the jurisprudence of the [French] Constitutional Council and that of the European Court of Human Rights, we think that it is our public duty to do so”.

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Lawmakers want military in Chicago to fight crime

Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis today spoke out against a request for the Illinois National Guard to be to deployed on Chicago’s streets to help tackle gun violence.

Stopping just short of outright rejecting the request from state lawmakers Rep. John Alden Fritchey IV and Rep. LaShawn K. Ford, Weis said “I don’t think the National Guard is the solution.”

At a press conference earlier Sunday, Fritchey and Ford had called on Gov. Patrick Joseph “Pat” Quinn III and Mayor Richard M. Daley to deploy troops. The action, in coordination with Weis, should be taken as soon as possible to help get guns and criminals off the street, they said.

The two Chicago Democrats noted National Guard members are now working side-by-side with U.S. troops to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while another deadly war is taking place in Chicago neighborhoods.

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Amazon files lawsuit to block North Carolina’s data request

Online retailer Amazon.com has filed a lawsuit in a federal court to block the North Carolina state government’s demand it disclose all transaction details, including names and addresses, involving state residents, court documents show.

In the complaint, Amazon said that North Carolina Department of Revenue (DOR) is demanding that the retailer turn over the name and address of virtually every North Carolina resident who has purchased anything from Amazon since 2003.

Amazon also said in the court filing that DOR also demanded the company furnish records of what each customer purchased and how much they paid.

The company said the disclosure of such information will invade privacy of its customers.

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Anti-Facial Recognition Makeup

Now that facial recognition software is being implemented in more and more security systems worldwide, in such places as airport security lines, law enforcement agencies, and the Superbowl, it’s obviously time for the average forward thinking person to consider when and where this technology will be used to create an Orwellian police state.

Or, when it will inevitably be used to target advertising, keep tabs on consumers, and otherwise just be really annoying.  Graduate student Adam Harvey has devoted his master’s thesis to finding ways to trick facial recognition into false negatives as stylishly as possible, using makeup and hair.

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Deportation’s Harmful Effect on Children

This brief from the International Human Rights Law Clinic University of California, Berkeley School of Law , In the Child’s Best Interest? The Consequences of Losing a Lawful Immigrant Parent to Deportation states “Congress is considering a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws more than a decade after the enactment of strict immigration measures. Lawmakers should take this opportunity to reaffirm the nation’s historic commitment to family unity by addressing the discrete provisions that currently undermine it. Current U.S. immigration laws mandate deportation of lawful permanent resident (LPR) parents of thousands of U.S. citizen children, without providing these parents an opportunity to challenge their forced separations. Through a multi-disciplinary analysis, this policy brief examines the experiences of U.S. citizen children impacted by the forced deportation of their LPR parents and proposes ways to reform U.S. law consistent with domestic and international standards aimed to improve the lives of children.”

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Widely publicized 4/20 poll actually shows majority support for drug reforms

As most media parroted claim that 55 percent oppose marijuana legalization, contradictory polling figures buried, ignored

As with many instances in politics, actuality can often be obscured behind the wrong frame: ask a question just the right way and results can be wildly tilted, one way or another.

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Paul Schrader: Community Responsibility- San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

My name is Paul Schrader, and I am running for the position of Sheriff-Coroner of San Bernardino County. My campaign is based on what we call the Fresh Start Initiative. My goal is to bring a Fresh Start to San Bernardino County that the citizens can be proud of, participate in, and see concrete, forward-looking solutions to the problems we face.

Community Responsibility- A Sheriff’s Department that accepts its responsibility to the community, and works with the community to improve
conditions for all.

The other day I was in Chino Hills. I was talking with a guy by the name of John. He said he would like to see the Department executives reaching out to the community, finding out what needs and concerns they have.  He said when he has tried to reach anyone of any rank, he is directed to a patrol deputy.  He is frustrated.

While in Victor Valley I talked to Helen. She had a few of her friends with her. She said she wanted a group to help bring the Department and community together. She said the Department said she could volunteer. She tried to call the Sheriff’s Office and was redirected to a patrol deputy. She does not want to be a volunteer, she would love to be part of a community group that could partner with the Department. She is frustrated.

I hear this throughout the county. Deputies are being utilized to answer questions that should go through Department executives. Our deputies are trying to provide law enforcement services and need tools to do the job even better.

I will have community groups in every area of the county. We will meet and work together, ensuring they are getting service needed in their area. I will be available to citizens. This is being done in Departments all over the State.

CNN poll confirms: Most Americans believe their government is a threat to their welfare

A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.

According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the U.S. government is broken – though the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what’s broken can be fixed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

Idaho Bill Would Remove Personal Information of Law Enforcement Officials from Public Record

Idaho law enforcement officials support legislation that would remove personal information, such as home addresses and phone numbers, from the public record. Proponents say the measure is designed to promote the safety of law enforcement. The Idaho Press Club opposes the bill as it does goes against the presumption of openness in government.

Read more here.

Report to Congress about the USA PATRIOT Act

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, released a new report Report to Congress on Implementation of Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

This report details “Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act (Patriot Act), Public Law 107-56, directs the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ or Department) to undertake a series of actions related to claims of civil rights or civil liberties violations allegedly committed by DOJ employees. It also requires the OIG to provide semiannual reports to Congress on the implementation of the OIG’s responsibilities under Section 1001.”

12-year-old American arrested for doodling on desk

A 12-year-old girl from New York has been handcuffed and arrested by the police for doodling on the classroom desk, an incident that has shaken the US education system to its core.

Alexa Gonzales, a seventh grader at the Junior High School in Forest Hills, had written the words “I love my friends Abby and Faith. Lex was here 2/1/10 :)” on the classroom desk with a green marker when the school principal decided to have her arrested by the New York City Police Department.

Consequently, Alexa’s hands was cuffed behind her back while she was escorted from school to the police precinct across the street in front of her teachers and her classmates.

“They put the handcuffs on me, and I couldn’t believe it,” Alexa told CNN. “I didn’t want them to see me being handcuffed, thinking I’m a bad person.”

Alexa missed three days of school because of the psychological ordeal she faced. Her mother said she spent those days throwing up, and she found it difficult to catch up on homework when she eventually returned to school.

The case has cast a dark shadow over the use of so-called zero tolerance policies adopted in schools in the US.

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U.S. Senators Seek Changes to Plan Colombia

WASHINGTON – Three influential Democratic senators have urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to review the U.S. contribution to the counter-narcotics initiative known as Plan Colombia in light of Bogota’s scant progress in reducing cocaine production or curbing human rights abuses.

“Given U.S. record budget deficits, we cannot afford to continue assistance that is not achieving sufficient results,” Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Vermont’s Patrick Leahy and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut said.

Feingold sits on the Senate Foreign Relations, Budget and Intelligence Committees, Leahy chairs the Judiciary Committee and Dodd is chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Narcotics Affairs.

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Mexicans Say U.S. Drug Crackdown Feeds Violence

Washington, DC, United States (AHN) – A Mexican law enforcement agency is blaming recent violence along the border in large part to a U.S. crackdown on drug traffickers, prompting skepticism from American government agencies.

Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Security (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública) reported that in the past six months the value of cocaine in Mexico has escalated from $431 million to $811 million because fewer of the illegal shipments are making their way into the United States since Barack Obama assumed the presidency.

Obama administration anti-drug efforts have included sending an additional 400 Department of Homeland Security agents to the border, which included specialists from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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BART to pay $1.5 million to daughter of man shot by transit cop

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Officials have agreed to pay $1.5 million to the daughter of a man fatally shot in the back by a transit police officer on New Year’s Day 2009 in Oakland, California.

A bystander’s cell-phone video of the shooting on a transit platform was widely circulated on the Internet and on news shows.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit train system late Wednesday announced the settlement over the killing of Oscar Grant, 22.

“It’s been a little over a year since we experienced the tragic death of Oscar Grant,” BART Board President James Fang said. “No matter what anyone’s opinion of the case may be, the sad fact remains this incident has left Tatiana without a father. The $1.5 million settlement will provide financial support for her.” Grant’s daughter, Tatiana, is 5.

The video showed then-Officer Johannes Mehserle, 27, pulling his gun and shooting Grant in the back as another officer kneeled on Grant.

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A little brain food for the perpetually Recovering City of Big Bear Lake Council and other prostitutes of the Prison-Industrial Complex

Student: ‘Beating So Bad Thought I Was Going To Die’

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Chief Nate Harper said three plainclothes officers have been reassigned during an internal investigation into the beating of an 18-year-old student violinist from the city’s Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts 6–12.

Police charged Jordan Miles, 18, with assault and resisting arrest Jan. 11 because, they said, he fought with the officers who thought a “heavy object” in his coat was a gun. It turned out to be a bottle of Mountain Dew.

Miles said he resisted because he thought the men were trying to abduct him and didn’t identify themselves as police

Miles’s family and attorney said he was hit with a stun gun and hospitalized after the violent Homewood struggle during which a chunk of his hair was yanked out and a tree branch went through his gums.

“I was accused for something I never had anything to do with,” said Miles, an honor student at CAPA. “I was completely innocent. They couldn’t find anything.”

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Walter McKay on Police Accountability and Reform

I’m pleased to share a new blog with LEAP supporters. Walter McKay‘s blog is titled Police Accountability and Reform. It’s been around for a while, but recently he started posting on it more regularly. He lives in Mexico and so much of his writing focuses on the violence of the drug cartels in that country. He keeps a close tab on the latest developments, especially in terms of the daily killings, the weaponry used, the police corruption, the methods of intimidation, etc.

I was first introduced to McKay’s work sometime around 2004 when I watched a documentary called Through a Blue Lens. This movie is certainly one of most powerful films I have ever watched about the horrors of drug abuse. It was produced by a group of Vancouver police officers who were part of a non-profit society called Odd Squad Productions. McKay was one of the founding members of this group. And I didn’t know it at the time – I wasn’t even a police officer back then – but we would eventually end up working together as members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

After twelve years in policing, McKay left the Vancouver Police Department to pursue his interests in criminal justice reform. He received an M.A. from Simon Fraser University and then began his PhD studies with a focus on police ethics. He now lives in Mexico City where he is project director for the Instituto para la Seguridad y la Democracia (INSYDE), a non-profit organization focused on police reform.

I’m reasonably certain that Walt is qualified to talk about the War on Drugs. Please take a moment to visit his blog and say hello.

Police increasingly use false wiretapping charges to prevent video recordings

A South Florida model films a cop who is threatening to arrest her son and she gets arrested on felony charges.

An Oregon man films a cop who is roughing up his mentally ill friend and he gets arrested on felony charges.

And a Boston man films a cop arresting a drug suspect and he gets arrested on felony charges.

These are only a handful of people in this country who have been arrested in recent years on felony charges after doing something that is protected under the First Amendment.

Their charges? Illegal wiretapping or eavesdropping, a charge that never fails to get thrown out before reaching court. But by then, the damage is done. Their rights have been trampled on and police rarely get punished for making such unlawful arrests.

An article this week in the Boston Globe highlighted such arrests in the Boston area, but anybody who reads this blog knows these types of arrests occur on too much of a frequent basis around the country.

There are no hard statistics for video recording arrests. But the experiences of Surmacz and Glik highlight what civil libertarians call a troubling misuse of the state’s wiretapping law to stifle the kind of street-level oversight that cell phone and video technology make possible.

“The police apparently do not want witnesses to what they do in public,’’ said Sarah Wunsch, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, who helped to get the criminal charges against Surmacz dismissed.

The laws on illegal wiretapping vary from state to state, but one thing is clear in all states. A person must have had an expectation of privacy in order to become a victim.

In other words, if you are filming a cop in public, that cop does not have an expectation of privacy. Especially if that cop sees your camera.

For more information, check out the Field Guide to Secret Audio and Video Recordings.

DOJ Finds FBI Violations Over Phone Conversation Requests

A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Use of Exigent Letters and Other Informal Requests for Telephone Records

The U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General has just released a report which concludes that the Federal Bureau of Investigation violated U.S. laws by claiming terrorism emergencies which allowed it to collect more than 2,000 records on U.S. telephone calls between 2002 and 2006. This report follows two previous DOJ OIG reports on the matter, commonly referred to as ‘National Security Letters‘, which are also available at the Justice Inspector General website.

The Washington Post first broke this story yesterday and DOJ has now made the unclassified version available to the public.

The Universal Soldier

He’s five foot-two, and he’s six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He’s all of thirty-one, and he’s only seventeen,
Been a soldier for a thousand years.

He’a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn’t kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.

And he’s fighting for Canada,
He’s fighting for France,
He’s fighting for the USA,
And he’s fighting for the Russians,
And he’s fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we’ll put an end to war this way.

And he’s fighting for Democracy,
He’s fighting for the Reds,
He says it’s for the peace of all.
He’s the one who must decide,
Who’s to live and who’s to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He’s the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can’t go on.

He’s the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can’t you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.

Chords:- F,G7,C,Am Dm,Em

New speed cameras enrage Arizona drivers

An attempt to introduce UK-style fixed speed cameras in America has ended in a public revolt, with motorists binning speeding tickets worth $90 million (£60 million).

Many Americans regard the speed cameras as an unconstitutional tax collection method and have flatly refused to pay the fines

The Arizona scheme, which was the first statewide effort to bring speed camera enforcement to the US, is now on the verge of bankruptcy and could be dumped.

Many Americans, including judges and elected officials, regard the devices as an unconstitutional tax collection method and have flatly refused to pay the fines, the Times reports.

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Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio Investigated by Federal Grand Jury

PHOENIX —  Two officials said Thursday night they have been subpoenaed to answer questions next week before a federal grand jury about a high-profile Arizona sheriff who gained attention for aggressively cracking down on illegal immigration.

In statements read by a county spokesman, Maricopa County Manager David Smith and Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson said they met with a federal prosecutor to discuss the case and will testify Wednesday.

Wilson said the general subject of the inquiry was abuses by Sheriff Joseph M. “Joe” Arpaio‘s office. Neither Wilson nor Smith offered specifics, said county spokesman Richard de Uriarte, who spoke with the two officials Thursday night.

Arpaio is widely known for tough jail policies and pushing the bounds on local immigration efforts. He has led a dozen crime and immigration sweeps, some in heavily Latino areas.

Critics allege that some of Arpaio’s deputies racially profiled people during immigration sweeps. But Arpaio maintains that people pulled over in the sweeps were approached because deputies had probable cause to believe they had committed crimes.

Sheriff’s spokesman Brian Lee said Arpaio was declining to comment on reports of the investigation. “He has stated that we will conduct business as usual,” Lee said.

Sandy Raynor, a spokeswoman for the U.S attorney’s office in Phoenix, said she couldn’t confirm or deny a grand jury investigation.

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Just a reminder to the pig-sucking, brain-dead, flacid, perpetually-Recovering City of Big Bear Lake Council

Paul Chabot would love this commercial:

Teens Too Smart To Buy Anti-Drug Ads

A kid of about 13 wanders through a house party.  He goes outside where there are a quartet of pot smokers who offer him a joint.

He thinks for a moment, then there are all these quick flashes of him with pills, hiding stuff under his bed, getting into fights with his family, falling asleep in class and getting busted at school.

The ad implies that trying pot once will turn you into a full-on drug fiend within days.  This flies in the face of all science on the subject, but since when were facts used in anti-drug ads?

So the kid just shrugs and goes back into the party — ostensibly to eat more junk food and, quaff ‘energy drinks’, and listen to L’il Wayne and Snoop Dogg.

Does anyone really think kids will believe this fear-mongering balderdash?

In the 1980s, when I was a teen, they tried to stuff all this ‘Just Say No’ stuff down our throats and all it did was make us think that adults were morons.  If this new ad campaign is anywhere near as effective as previous government-run, anti-marijuana messages, we should see the number of teen drug users increase 10% within the next few years.


Now, instead of representing their constituents, like the pretty girl above, our mayor and council work for these guys…

Top row:  Rodney (“Baby Rod”) Hoops and Floyd Tidwell.  Bottom row: Gary Penrod and Cindy Beavers

And these guys work by preying on you.

Bob (RIP) and Mayor Liz, by the way, used to run a little back-room operation from their tourist shop.  They would purchase and re-sell meals to the Sheriff’s Department for their inmates.  They could have bought them direct, but were feeding their sheep while primping for the Master’s Work.

Liz, you’re supposed to be a psychologist.  Do you remember that little thing that Erikson called “ego integrity?”  Where will you find yours?  Tell the truth, Doc.

Officials Hid Truth of Immigrant Deaths in Jail

Silence has long shrouded the men and women who die in the nation’s immigration jails. For years, they went uncounted and unnamed in the public record. Even in 2008, when The New York Times obtained and published a federal government list of such deaths, few facts were available about who these people were and how they died.

But behind the scenes, it is now clear, the deaths had already generated thousands of pages of government documents, including scathing investigative reports that were kept under wraps, and a trail of confidential memos and BlackBerry messages that show officials working to stymie outside inquiry.

The documents, obtained over recent months by The Times and the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act, concern most of the 107 deaths in detention counted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement since October 2003, after the agency was created within the Department of Homeland Security.

The Obama administration has vowed to overhaul immigration detention, a haphazard network of privately run jails, federal centers and county cells where the government holds noncitizens while it tries to deport them.

But as the administration moves to increase oversight within the agency, the documents show how officials — some still in key positions — used their role as overseers to cover up evidence of mistreatment, deflect scrutiny by the news media or prepare exculpatory public statements after gathering facts that pointed to substandard care or abuse.

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Time for full disclosure of DNA databases

Editorial: Time for full and frank data disclosure

WHEN a defendant’s DNA appears to match DNA found at a crime scene, the probability that this is an unfortunate coincidence can be central to whether the suspect is found guilty. The assumptions used to calculate the likelihood of such a fluke – the “random match probability” – are now being questioned by a group of 41 scientists and lawyers based in the US and the UK.

These assumptions have never been independently verified on a large sample of DNA profiles, says the group. What’s more, whether some RMPs are truly as vanishingly small as assumed has been called into question by recent insights into DNA databases in the US and Australia.

The group, led by Dan Krane of Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, is demanding access to CODIS – the US national DNA database, which contains over 7 million profiles – so that they can test the assumptions behind RMPs. They have outlined their arguments in a letter, which was published in Science in December (vol 326, p 5960). “The national US database is a truly enormous source of data,” says signatory Larry Mueller of the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

Such research could reveal if incorrect RMPs are prompting jurors and judges to attach undue weight to DNA evidence, possibly leading to miscarriages of justice. Even if these fears are not borne out, independent checks on the DNA held in large databases like CODIS are vital to maintaining confidence in DNA evidence presented in courts all over the world, the group says. Access would also allow the number of errors in CODIS to be measured.

See also:  FBI resists scrutiny of “matches.”

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First Appearance of Oscar Grant murderer in Los Angeles Court

LOS ANGELES — Protesters have gathered outside a downtown Los Angeles courthouse where a former Bay Area Rapid Transit Police officer charged with killing an unarmed man at an Oakland train station is scheduled to make his first appearance.

Dozens of demonstrators lined the street, awaiting the arrival of 27-year-old Johannes Mehserle, who was scheduled to attend a pretrial hearing. The protesters were being monitored by about two dozen Los Angeles police officers and sheriff’s deputies.

Mehserle is charged with the murder of 22-year-old Oscar Grant on an BART station platform on New Year’s Day 2009.

Witnesses captured the shooting on cell phone video. Grant was in custody at the time of the incident and was shot in the back after being ordered to lie on his stomach.

Mehserle’s lawyer has said the officer mistakenly pulled out his Taser instead of his handgun.

An Alameda County judge ruled in October that Mehserle’s trial should be moved out of Oakland because of excessive media coverage and racial tensions.

One protester who traveled to Los Angeles from the San Francisco Bay area told KTLA that they’re seeking justice not only for Grant, but for others like him across the nation.

“It’s not just an Oakland thing, it’s not just Oscar Grant. There have been many people killed in Los Angeles and in fact, police brutality is an epidemic across the country,” she said.

Mehserle has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Grant’s family is also expected to attend the hearing.

The trial is expected to begin in about six months.

Mexican Who Tried to Stop Cop from Fondling Woman May Be Deported

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – An undocumented Mexican immigrant is facing possible deportation after he was arrested for trying to defend his girlfriend from a Charlotte police officer accused of sexual assault on three women, two of them Hispanic.

Police in North Carolina’s largest city revealed on Wednesday that a third victim, a 37-year-old Mexican woman who was not identified, filed a complaint against Marcus Jackson, 25, because he had sexually assaulted her.

Jackson has been under arrest since Dec. 30 in the Mecklenburg County jail, with bail set at almost $500,000, for two previous accusations by a Latina and an African-American woman of kidnapping, extortion, assault, sexual abuse and indecent exposure.

The third victim, who is undocumented, said that on Dec. 29, when she was going home at night, Jackson stopped her in the parking lot of the apartment complex where she lives.

She also said that eight weeks earlier the same officer had fondled her breasts.

In the Dec. 29 incident, police say, the boyfriend of the victim tried to stop the abuse by calling 911 but Jackson seized his telephone and arrested him for resisting a police officer.

The Mexican man spent six days in the Charlotte jail and was subjected to the 287g program, which determined that he entered the country without the proper papers.

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THREADS Cell Phone Analysis

THREADS, the flagship product for Direct Hit Systems, combines patented techniques in cell phone forensics, phone analysis, text mining, and visualization to provide focused leads and actionable intelligence. Although THREADS software incorporates many powerful analytical tools, it’s straight-forward interface makes solving cases easier for all levels of investigators, from the trained tactical analyst down to the detective on the street. THREADS cell phone analysis is more than just ordinary phone analysis. It delivers actionable leads by uncovering hidden relationships and spotting conspiracies.

For more information, click here

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