Category Archives: Don’t Talk To Police

Gang Members Arrested After Friending Cop on Facebook

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Do you know who your friends are?

Your parents probably told you never to talk to strangers. Fourteen Brooklyn gang members learned that lesson the hard way—and now they’re facing hard time in prison.

New York City Police Officer Michael Rodrigues got a tip that the Brower Boys gang members might be responsible for a year-long rash of burglaries in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood. As the saying goes, you have to think like a criminal to catch a criminal. These criminals included a bunch of 18-year-old boys, so Officer Rodrigues turned to every teen’s favorite online hangout—Facebook—and sent friend requests to many of the suspects.

Fortunately for Officer Rodrigues, some of the suspects were dumb enough to accept the request, granting him access to their online world. And what a world it was: One where they talked about the next break in, divvied up the loot and posted pictures with their weapons.

Brooklyn police quietly gathered information then staked out potential crime scenes they identified through Facebook chatter. Writes the New York Post: “In one police surveillance video from March, alleged gang member Olurabu ‘Sleepy’ Henry can be seen in broad daylight as he carries a backpack out a window and onto a rooftop, where cops were waiting for him — having been alerted through the Facebook posts.”

In all, the police nabbed 14 gang members thanks to information gleaned from Facebook postings.

“They signed off on their messages with LOL—laughing out loud,” New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said when announcing the arrests. “Well, there was a person who was laughing out loud. That was Police Officer Michael Rodrigues of the 77th Precinct.”

It may be dumb, but what happened to the Brower Boys isn’t unique. Illinois criminal defense lawyer David L. Freidberg says he’s represented clients whose online comments have also gotten them in trouble.

“Making an admission of any sort is a bad move,” Freidberg says. “I’ve had clients recently who have done just this, making admissions, bragging to their other Facebook friends about their conquests. ‘Hey man, just pulled a lick over on 95th Street!’ And even though they’re using their street name, people know who they are.”

Freidberg says it’s tough—but not impossible—to represent clients who have admitted to crimes online.

“It’s not easy for the state to get Facebook posts admitted as evidence in court,” Freidberg says. “It’s very difficult to authenticate a Facebook post, and unless it’s authenticated, it’s hearsay in most if not all jurisdictions.”

That said, Freidberg still advises his clients against bragging about their crimes online.

“Don’t be fooled by your alleged anonymity on Facebook,” he says. “People know who you are and your ‘friends’ on Facebook might be contacted by a cop to take a statement or find out who you really are. Also, Facebook posts are possibly subject to discovery by the state, so you should avoid posting anything on Facebook that could be used against you in any forum. The same rule of thumb applies to Twitter or any social networking site.”

Source: Lawyers.com

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Facedeals: New App Uses Facial Recognition To ID You

Facedeals: New app uses facial recognition to ID you for discounts

Red Pepper — an advertising agency specializing in marketing technologies — has announced that it is finalizing testing for Facedeals, a facial recognition-marketing app. Still in its preliminary stages, the software has generated criticism from those who think this technology crosses the line. For others, however, Facedeals represents the next exciting step in customizable marketing.

If you opt into this service, Facedeals cameras will recognize your face when you pass by a store. The service will simultaneously check you into that location on Facebook and offer you customized deals based upon your Facebook history, including products you “like.”

Samara Andreson, business director at Red Pepper, said the company is always looking for new ways to connect seamlessly with the lives of consumers. “At Red Pepper, we explore technologies that can create relevant ways for marketing to intersect with consumers and their lives, as provide some added values,” she told the Daily News.

Facedeal Facedeals is an app that uses facial recognition to offer personalized marketing at participating stores.

Red Pepper discovered that only six businesses in its home city of Nashville, Tenn., were using Facebook check-ins to create consumer loyalty. They see this as a missed opportunity to enhance the lives of consumers and businesses. By using facial recognition, the company hopes to increase Facebook check-ins. But for that to happen, the consumer will need to grant Red Pepper access.

“The idea is not to invade privacy, which is a big issue right now,” Anderson said. “Your face wouldn’t be in any sort of database unless you opt into it.”

To make use of Facedeals, users activate it on their Facebook accounts and verify their recent photographs for Facedeals to identify them. This allows the app to recognize them in each participating store to offer deals customized to fit their interests.

Facedeal Facedeals offers discounts to users through facial recognition. Once you sign up for the app, it uses your Facebook photos to identify you with cameras placed in participating stores.

Not everyone is so enthused about facial recognition spreading to the retail level — PolicyMic and The Globe and Mail likened the technology to that found in the movie “Minority Report.”

Anderson says that unlike such dystopian views, the app requires voluntary acceptence and is not forced on anyone. “We’ve been pleased with the response from people who really do their homework on both sides of the argument,” she said. “I think people are certainly giving it some good thought and it’s causing some good discussion.”

Facedeals is maintaining a bit of privacy, itself. The name is just a working name. The app will come to market with a different one.

Source: Daily News

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Traffic Stops and Roadblocks

Traffic stops and roadblocks fall under the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures because they limit our liberty of movement. A traffic stop or roadblock is valid when reasonable, and improperly obtained evidence may be suppressed from use in court against you.

Traffic Stops

A traffic stop normally occurs when a law enforcement officer signals a motorist to move to the side of the roadway and stop. The stop constitutes a seizure under the Fourth Amendment because it interferes with the motorist’s freedom of movement. In order for the stop to be valid under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, the officer must point to specific and articulated facts to support a reasonable suspicion or probable cause of criminal conduct.

Reasonable Suspicion Requirement

Although an officer may randomly stop a pedestrian to check for identification or purpose in the area, a random vehicle stop to check for a driver’s license or vehicle registration is not justified unless the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the driver does not have a license or that the vehicle is not registered. The officer must have a lawful reason or justification for stopping a motorist. A traffic stop that is not justified will not be valid and any evidence obtained by the officer from such a stop will not be admissible in court. Common justifications for traffic or investigative stops include:

  • Traffic violations
  • Defective equipment or equipment violations
  • Missing or defective license plates
  • Erratic driving behavior, such as reckless or drunk driving
  • Emergency response calls
  • Suspicious criminal activity

Pretext Stops

A pretextual traffic stop occurs when an officer uses the suspicion of a traffic violation as an excuse to stop a vehicle for another reason. Pretext stops may still be valid even if a reasonable officer would not have made the stop. Thus, the officer’s ulterior motive for making the stop may not be relevant in determining the validity of the stop. Still, many state courts will not blindly accept the officer’s pretextual traffic violation justification. For example, weaving and improper lane changes may not be sufficient to show the pretext of a traffic violation unless it is also shown that the motorist’s driving posed a safety issue to another vehicle.

Specific and Articulated Facts from Others

Normally, an officer’s own observations are accepted as sufficient to justify the stop. But what if the officer did not observe the traffic violation or the suspected criminal activity? What if the officer received the information from another person? An investigatory stop that is based upon facts obtained from a citizen informer rather than an anonymous tipster will more likely be found to justify the stop. Justification for the investigative stop increases if the facts from an anonymous tipster are corroborated.

Roadblocks

Roadblocks or sobriety checkpoints are permitted under the Fourth Amendment so long as they are conducted in a neutral or non-arbitrary manner, their intrusion on motorists is limited, and they further an important governmental or public purpose. There is no requirement that an officer have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to justify a stop at a roadblock. Factors that determine whether a roadblock is neutral and does not overly intrude on motorists include whether:

  • Supervisory personnel or field officers make the decision to set up a roadblock
  • The roadblock is conducted according to neutral plans or guidelines
  • Cars are stopped randomly or are selected at the discretion of officers
  • The roadblock causes an unreasonable delay to motorists
  • The roadblock is clearly marked as a checkpoint
  • Officers conducting the checkpoint are properly trained and experienced
  • Advance notice is given to the public
  • Safe conditions are maintained

Roadblocks have been found to further a governmental interest in the following instances:

  • Catching and deterring drunk driving
  • Checking for vehicle or license registration
  • Addressing highway safety concerns, such as seatbelt law enforcement
  • Policing the border
  • Acquiring information on a recent violent crime in the area

A roadblock is not justified to obtain evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing or of drug crimes. Some state constitutions prohibit roadblocks and require officers to have an individualized suspicion to justify a vehicle stop.

Source: Lawyers.com

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10 Things to Remember When Confronted By The Police – Avoid the “Bro, Don’t Tase Me” Moment!

If you have a confrontation with the police – know your rights and know what you should or should not do to give them up. Just follow these 10 rules:

1. Don’t Talk.
Do not say a word to the officer. Just shut up! I cannot stress to you the importance of this rule. Do not talk! Do not attempt to convince the officer of your innocence. Everyone is innocent, no one should be arrested and no one should be in jail and that is all the officer hears all day every day. He / she does not care generally whether you are innocent or guilty and there is nothing that he / she can do at this point. Most times, when people speak to officers they say something that makes their situation far worse. Keep your mouth shut, there will be plenty of time to talk later.

2. Don’t Run.
I said above to listen to the officer and follow his / her instructions. Do not be scared and do not let the liquid courage, aka alcohol, convince you that you can outrun the twelve officers and helicopter that will track you down. Also, police become highly suspicious that someone running has a weapon and may be quick to draw their weapon. Additionally, when they do run you down expect much stronger force used to subdue a fleeing suspect.

3. Never Resist Arrest.
Perhaps the most important thing not to do is touch the police officer at all! Again, sober up quick and follow what the officer says. Many people attempt to bump the officer or swat an officers hands away. This often falls under the assault statutes and now a minor misdemeanor arrest becomes a FELONY. Thus a reckless driving charge leads to a year or more in state prison. Additionally, touching the officer in any way can lead to a baton in the mouth.

4. Don’t Believe the Police.
It is perfectly legal for the police to lie to get you to make an admission. The police frequently separate two friends and tell one the other one ratted him / her out. Because of the lie, the other friend now rats the first friend out. Police and detectives also state that “it will be easier” to talk now…LIES!!! DON’T BELIEVE THIS BS! It will only be easier for the police to prove their case!

5. No Searching.
Do not allow the police to search anywhere! If the police officer asks, they do not have the right to search and must have your consent. If you are asked make sure you proclaim to any witnesses that “You (the police) do not have consent to search.” If they perform the search anyway, that evidence may be thrown out later. Also, if you consent to a search, the officers may find something that you had no idea you had placed somewhere, ie: marijuana left by a friend. Remember, that denying the police consent to search DOES NOT give them the probable cause they would need to conduct a search.

6. Don’t Look At Places Where You Don’t Want Police to Search.
Police are trained to watch you and react to you. They know that you are nervous and scared and many people look to the areas that they don’t want the police to search. Do not react to the search and do not answer any questions. LOOK DOWN AND KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!!!

7. Do Not Talk Shit to the Police.
I don’t care if you have been wrongly arrested and the true culprit is standing in front of you. Don’t talk shit! Police hear all day that my dad is the the Governor’s Assistant’s Intern and I will have your badge for this! Police have a lot of discretion in the upcoming charges brought. Police can add charges, change a misdemeanor to a felony, or even talk to the prosecutor that is ultimately prosecuting you.

8. If Police Come to Your Home, Do not Let Them In and Do Not Step Outside Your Home.
If the police are confident you have committed a felony, they are coming in anyway, because they generally don’t need an arrest warrant. Make it clear to the police by stating: “No you may not come in”, or “I am comfortable talking right here”, or “You need a search warrant to enter my home.” If they return, your attorney can arrange for you to turn yourself in should that be necessary and you will spend no time in jail between the hearings.

9. Outside Your Home Arrested, Do Not Accept Offer to Go In Your Home for Anything.
The officer may say to you, how about you go inside and change, freshen up, talk to your wife, husband, get a jacket, or any other reason. The police will graciously escort you in and then tear your home apart searching through it. Also, do not let them secure your car. Your car is fine. Remember they are lying to you. They don’t give a damn if you are really cold or if you need to talk to your wife or husband.

10. Don’t say a word.
It’s incredible how many people feel that they can convince the officer, the booking officer or a detective (if your case reaches that stature) that they are not guilty. YOUR CASE IS NOT DECIDED BY THESE PEOPLE. They have no affect on your records. Wait to speak to your lawyer! The courts give enormous weight to “confessions” during this stage. A suspect is almost NEVER released after being arrested.

Follow these ten simply rules religiously and many of your rights will remain intact. I don’t care how nervous, scared or drunk you are, THESE RULES ARE VERY IMPORTANT, and will help you tremendously in the short and long run. And remember – we are not your lawyer!

Keep this in your wallet – OR – Memorize it.

Source: Government Dirt

 

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Don’t Talk To Police

A law school professor and former criminal defense attorney tells you why you should never agree to be interviewed by the police.

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