Tag Archives: Police Abuse

DOJ: We Don’t Need Warrants For E-mail, Facebook chats…

The new threat to Americans is the government itself.  The DOJ thinks that it is above the law and the Constitution that rules this land.  The United States Department of Justice and FBI believe they don’t need a search warrant to review Americans, emails, Facebook chats, twitter, direct messages and other private files.  I will say it again.  Enough is enough.  We the ‘People’ need to take a stand against the government that no longer serves the people, but is more out to rule and dictate the people by illegal means.

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The headlines in today’s news are very frightening.  In this day and age where the government is trying to take our guns, police are violating our rights and the government fails to obey and adhere to the Constitution itself.  These are scary times my friend.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI believe they don’t need a search warrant to review Americans’ e-mails, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and other private files, internal documents reveal.

Government documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to CNET show a split over electronic privacy rights within the Obama administration, with Justice Department prosecutors and investigators privately insisting they’re not legally required to obtain search warrants for e-mail. The IRS, on the other hand, publicly said last month that it would abandon a controversial policy that claimed it could get warrantless access to e-mail correspondence.

The U.S. attorney for Manhattan circulated internal instructions, for instance, saying a subpoena — a piece of paper signed by a prosecutor, not a judge — is sufficient to obtain nearly “all records from an ISP.” And the U.S. attorney in Houston recently obtained the “contents of stored communications” from an unnamed Internet service provider without securing a warrant signed by a judge first.

“We really can’t have this patchwork system anymore, where agencies get to decide on an ad hoc basis how privacy-protective they’re going to be,” says Nathan Wessler, an ACLU staff attorney specializing in privacy topics who obtained the documents through open government laws. “Courts and Congress need to step in.”

The Justice Department’s disinclination to seek warrants for private files stored on the servers of companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft continued even after a federal appeals court in 2010 ruled that warrantless access to e-mail violates the Fourth Amendment. A previously unreleased version of an FBI manual (PDF), last updated two-and-a-half years after the appellate ruling, says field agents “may subpoena” e-mail records from companies “without running afoul of” the Fourth Amendment.

The department did not respond to queries from CNET Tuesday. The FBI said in a statement that:

 

 In all investigations, the FBI obtains evidence in accordance with the laws and Constitution of the United States, and consistent with Attorney General guidelines. Our field offices work closely with U.S. Attorney’s Office to adhere to the legal requirements of their particular districts as set forth in case law or court decisions/precedent.

 

Not all U.S. attorneys have attempted to obtain Americans’ stored e-mail correspondence without a warrant. The ACLU persuaded a judge to ask whether warrantless e-mail access has taken place in six of the 93 U.S. Attorneys’ offices — including the northern California office that’s prosecuted an outsize share of Internet cases. The answer, according to assistant U.S. attorney Christopher Hardwood, was “no.”

Still, the position taken by other officials — including the authors of the FBI’s official surveillance manual — puts the department at odds with a growing sentiment among legislators who insist that Americans’ private files should be protected from warrantless search and seizure. They say the same Fourth Amendment privacy standards that require police to obtain search warrants before examining hard drives in someone’s living room, or a physical letter stored in a filing cabinet, should apply.

After the IRS’s warrantless e-mail access policy came to light last month, a dozen Republican and Democratic senators rebuked the agency. Their letter (PDF) opposing warrantless searches by the IRS and signed by senators including Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said: “We believe these actions are a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Steven Miller, the IRS’ acting commissioner, said during a Senate hearing that the policy would be changed for e-mail. But he left open the possibility that non-email data — Google Drive and Dropbox files, private Facebook and Twitter messages, and so on — could be accessed without a warrant.

Albert Gidari, a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm who represents technology companies, said since the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2010 ruling in U.S. v. Warshak, the Justice Department has generally sought court warrants for the content of e-mail messages, but is far less inclined to take that step for non-email files.

Before the Warshak decision, the general rule since 1986 had been that police could obtain Americans’ e-mail messages that were more than 180 days old with an administrative subpoena or what’s known as a 2703(d) order, both of which lack a warrant’s probable cause requirement and are less privacy protective. Some e-mail providers, including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook, but not all, have taken the position after Warshak that the Fourth Amendment mandates warrants for e-mail all over the country.

The 180-day rule stems from the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which was adopted in the era of telephone modems, BBSs, and UUCP links, and long before gigabytes of e-mail stored in the cloud was ever envisioned. Since then, the appeals court ruled in Warshak, technology had changed dramatically: “Since the advent of e-mail, the telephone call and the letter have waned in importance, and an explosion of Internet-based communication has taken place. People are now able to send sensitive and intimate information, instantaneously, to friends, family, and colleagues half a world away… By obtaining access to someone’s e-mail, government agents gain the ability to peer deeply into his activities.”

A phalanx of companies, including Amazon, Apple, AT&T, eBay, Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Twitter, as well as liberal, conservative, and libertarian advocacy groups, have asked Congressto update ECPA to make it clear that law enforcement needs a warrant to access private communications and the locations of mobile devices.

In November, a Senate panel approved the e-mail warrant requirement, and acted again last month. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat whose district includes the heart of Silicon Valley,introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

The political pressure, coupled with public petitions and increased adoption of cloud-based services, has had an effect. In 2011, James Baker, the associate deputy attorney general,warned that requiring search warrants to obtain stored e-mail could have an “adverse impact” on criminal investigations. By March 2013, however, Elana Tyrangiel, an acting assistant attorney general, indicated that the department would acquiesce on some privacy reforms.

“They dropped their opposition in Congress, but they’re going to try to wiggle out from under the Fourth Amendment whenever possible,” says the ACLU’s Wessler. “They probably realize that they couldn’t figure out a way to respond to hard questions from Congress anymore.”

Separately, the New York Times reported Tuesday evening that the Obama administration may embrace the FBI’s proposal for a federal law mandating that tech companies build in backdoors for surveillance. CNET reported last year that the FBI has asked the companies not to oppose such legislation, and that the FBI has been building a case for a new law by collecting examples of how communications companies have stymied government agencies.

Last week, FBI former counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente told CNN that, in national security investigations, the bureau can access records of a previously-made telephone call. “All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not,” he said. Clementeadded in an appearance the next day that, thanks to the “intelligence community” — a likely reference to the National Security Agency — “there’s a way to look at digital communications in the past.”

Source

 

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TESTILYING: COPS ARE LIARS WHO GET AWAY WITH PERJURY

So, I just got done with a briefing from my attorney, I’m going to say this and I don’t care if you are offended, but cops, especially gang task force are liars. And if you are one those cops who thinks I am wrong, when was the last time to spoke up against an injustice by a cop? We all know they happen. There’s something seriously wrong with the country and the law enforcement that is in place, which is sworn to protect and serve the people. Nobody really wants to address the issue about cops, who are liars, who hurt and kill people, who are negligent in their jobs and duties, and cause pain and suffering. We as a country are so naïve and stupid when it comes to the subject, that we are willing to overlook the facts that are stated in a straight face. Just because someone wears a uniform, carries a badge and a gun does not make him above reproach. It is this type of thinking and mentality that has cost many people their lives, years spent in prison, and so much more. And these cops who choose to live and be deceitful and hurt people get away with violating people’s constitutional rights.

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If you find yourself on a jury. Do not be full by these perpetrators in uniform, they do live in, they will line to protect themselves, their institution of lies and their brotherhood of lies. Don’t be fooled.

You are a police officer, patrolling your route in East New York. You see someone walking down the street; they are carrying a bag. You are bored and not really doing anything else and have been thinking for a while that you’d like to get noticed by your boss, make him proud. So you stop this guy, just to see what will happen.

Maybe he starts to get a little nervous and you start thinking that he’s actually up to something. Why would he be nervous just talking to you? So you take his bag and open it up despite his protests, and maybe there are 15 kilos of cocaine inside and $50,000 in cash. This is suddenly a heck of an arrest.

You call into your sergeant, and he arrives, asking you how it was that you came to make this great collar. You tell him, and he waits quietly until you are through. He tells you there is just one problem: The search was illegal, you violated the guy’s rights, and you cannot bring this story to the district attorney’s office to prosecute the arrest.

You and the sergeant have one legal option: Take the drugs and cash into custody, and let the guy walk. But it’s a big arrest, and you don’t want to let him go. So Sarge leads you through a new scenario. Now you saw the man kneeling down, opening the bag near the wheel well of a car. As you approached you saw inside the bag what looked to be, according to your training, a brick of cocaine. The guy looks up at you, and the drugs fall out into the street. You stop to talk to him, and he offers you the $50,000 as a bribe not to arrest him. Your supervisor concludes by saying, “You didn’t hear it from me.”

While the specific circumstances of this hypothetical are perhaps a bit flashy, the routine is typical in the life of a street cop, according to former NYPD Detective Carlton Berkley. An even more ordinary case would involve possession of a small amount of marijuana, the most common arrest in New York City.

“At the district attorney’s, you can tell them that story,” Berkley explains. “It’s not even necessarily a believable story. No one in their right mind would examine drugs like that in the street. When you step out into the street with 15 kilos of cocaine and $50,000, you already know what you have in the bag. But the pressure is put on the arresting officer, because you always want an airtight case, you are supposed to win, and the cop is supposed to come out looking like the good guy.”

Misrepresentation, deception, and outright lying appear to be part of a police officer’s job description, so much so that the term “testilying,” now common vernacular for police falsifications, was actually coined by NYPD officers as something of an inside joke.

Even done in the interest of public order, or some imagined ideal of keeping the bad guys off the streets, this practice has wretched results. Today there are 7.5 million people under the control of the US criminal justice system and countless more impacted by the kidnapping and caging of their family members, loved ones, employers, employees, coworkers, neighbors, etc. The disparate impact on demographic groups with darker skin—primarily people perceived to be Black, Latino/a or Muslim—has been well documented.

It is the exception, not the rule, that these lies are exposed by judges or prosecutors in the courtroom for the public to consider (for the defendants the lies are quite apparent), and the results, when it happens, are twisted.

On November 17, 2012, a 40-year-old father from Harlem, Greg Allen, defending himself pro se (Latin, he says, for when you fire your attorney), won acquittal in a case brought against him by the Brooklyn District Attorney and the New York City Police Department. The Judge determined that the witnesses, two officers from Brooklyn’s notorious 73rd precinct, had lied.

The police officers, William Gardner and John Blanco, had accused him of disorderly conduct and obstructing government administration (crimes he did not commit), and the cop’s own video evidence showed his innocence. The police and the district attorney prosecuted the case anyway even though their own videotapes exposed the police testimony as a fabrication. They refused to back down from their original story. The judge didn’t buy it.

“It’s like you’re sitting there in the courtroom watching a video with the judge and the cops, and the cops are just saying something totally different than what the video shows,” Allen says.

So used to this absurd process was the young prosecutor, Seth Zuckerman, that he never flinched as the cops went through the charade. Perhaps more tellingly, the district attorney’s office, Zuckerman’s bosses, didn’t drop the case even after learning that their only physical evidence contradicted the officer’s story of the arrest.

A few weeks later, US District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin upheld claims of NYPD misconduct in another case, finding the testimony made by police officers Miguel Santiago and Kieron Ramdeen not credible. Scheindlin sort of piled it on. The officers’ account “makes no…sense,” it was “implausible,” she said. She noted that Santiago had previously lied in the scope of his police work, issuing summonses to an innocent person to help a friend of his in a bizarre revenge scheme.

Scheindlin’s ruling hinged on the fact that officers in the Bronx, Santiago and Ramdeen among them, routinely invented justifications for stopping people outside certain buildings in the borough and at times made arrests without cause. People doing nothing wrong were stopped, harassed, illegally searched, and arrested at the whim of the officers who then created legal justifications for their actions after the fact.

First- and second-degree perjury is a felony, and yet none of these cops will face any charges for straight up lying in a courtroom under oath. The rules are different for cops. As infuriating as that might seem, this pattern of behavior has been known fact for decades.

A 1987 study from Chicago found that 76 percent of officers agreed that that they frequently bent the facts to establish probable cause; 48 percent said that judges were right in tossing police testimony as untrustworthy.

Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, publicly stated in the 1990s:

“It is an open secret long shared by prosecutors, defense lawyers, and judges that perjury is widespread among law enforcement officers … police lie to avoid letting someone they think is guilty, or they know is guilty, go free.”

By not acknowledging rampant police misconduct, by not demanding that criminal justice is meted out in a fair way, what are we giving up? Are we sacrificing a moral claim to justice by sanctioning the police—and thus the state—the freedom to circumvent the rule of law in the pursuit of a particular type of social order?

“That is assuming that the justice system ever had any moral claim, which I would not assume,” former NYPD officer and Queens county prosecutor Eugene O’Donnell says. “There is dishonesty in court, prosecutorial dishonesty. It’s legislative dishonesty that sets up this system and by no means are cops exempt from a system that is dishonest and fundamentally flawed.”

***

The course of a legal proceeding provides law enforcement officers with several opportunities to perjure themselves. Immediately following an arrest, the officer and a prosecutor fashion a “complaint” – the legal document that officially charges the defendant with a crime. The officer swears that the document is truthful.

Then there is an indictment, which typically includes a grand jury that again calls on the officer to testify to the events that led up to the arrest. If the defendant challenges aspects of the arrest, for example by arguing that the officers had searched him and his belongings without his consent, then a “suppression hearing” is convened to determine what evidence can be used at a subsequent trial. During the hearing the officer will again testify to the events of the arrest.

Cops didn’t always have to lie to square away their arrests. The historical irony is that a Supreme Court ruling barring evidence obtained illegally gave birth to today’s practice.

The art of testilying seems to have developed in response to the so-called exclusionary rule, which bars evidence acquired by the police in an unlawful manner: the fruit of the poisonous tree. The US Supreme Court, through landmark Fourth Amendment rulings in Mapp v. Ohio (1961) and Terry v. Ohio (1968), limited the methods by which police could gather evidence to be presented at trial.

Prior to Mapp, police had little incentive to lie in court because there was nothing wrong with truthfully detailing the many ways in which they broke the law. Instead they could openly testify that they had stopped a man for no reason, found drugs, and arrested him. While the search was technically illegal, the evidence was admissible and could be used at trial. After Mapp, these sorts of cases were challenged, and police started making up justifications for illegal stops and seizures.

Writing in The Nation in 1967, in the wake of the new Mapp rules, Irving Younger explained the routine:

“Then the police made the great discovery that if the defendant drops the narcotics on the ground, after which the policeman arrests him, then the search is reasonable and the evidence is admissible. Spend a few hours in New York City Criminal Court nowadays, and you will hear case after case in which a policeman testifies that the defendant dropped the narcotics on the ground.”

And thusly “the dropsies” entered the police lexicon.

Although judges and juries are not supposed to consider the word of an officer above that of a defendant, most typically do. Most people have been socialized to see the police officer as a generally good person and the accused as generally bad. Upon closer inspection, this assumption doesn’t make much sense, but nevertheless it empowers law enforcement to stretch the truth. They can count on getting the benefit of the doubt.

“Everyone assumes that the defendant is self-interested and is motivated to lie, and that the officer is there just to say what happened,” said former New York City assistant district attorney Bennett Capers, now a professor at Brooklyn Law School.

But this is not really true.

Officers may gain some tangible benefits from seeing that their arrests turn into convictions—such as promotions or preferential assignments—but more powerful still is the culture of law enforcement that degrades any type of perceived weakness and indoctrinates an us-against-the-world mentality that provides rationalization for almost any activity, legal or not.

***

“Police see the world in black and white, there are not a lot of shades of gray. There is us, on the job, and our families and people who are sympathetic to our worldview and everybody else is an asshole…. Anything that I, as one of the good guys, that I can do to get the bad guys in jail is justifiable,” former Boston Police Department Lieutenant Thomas Nolan says.

It’s this mindset that makes a police officer feel he is entitled to lie, justified to do whatever it takes and even, in a way, obligated to violate people’s rights if he deems it necessary to his purpose of getting the “scum” off the streets.

“The thin blue line and all those bullshit rhetorical phrases are thrown out there, telling them they are the only thing between order and anarchy,” Nolan says.

The police are a fraternity built upon a false reality. Officers see themselves in a dangerous, noble cause against the underworld, and this is further instilled through the same types of bonding, secrecy, and war metaphors that have historically been part of the languages of those engaged in the practices of exterminating the “other.” Psychologically the police are indoctrinated into something akin to genocidal project: the forced removal of a class of people from their homes to prison.

There is a deep-seated disregard for what they consider to be silly little laws made by a silly little Supreme Court in a backroom far removed from the dangerous streets they are trying to bring into order.

Beyond the sociology, it is also embarrassing for an officer when a defendant walks—when cops lose a case. Now his fellow officer brothers are telling him he doesn’t know how to testify, they can’t believe he lost such an easy case. Part of this is just making sure you save face.

“Winning is what counts with the NYPD and the district attorney’s office,” Berkley said. When the cop wins, he gets a pat on the back, even when everyone knows that it was a bullshit case.

But it’s not all on the officers. Former NYPD commissioner William Bratton, laid the blame for testilying on prosecutors, suggesting that through their efforts to win cases, they sometimes “coerced” young, well-meaning officers into perjury.

The district attorneys do whatever they can to keep you as an officer sticking with your story. If you start changing it up, the district attorney will get you back in line, according to Berkley.

An Capers agrees. The prosecutors don’t want to be embarrassed and lose the case either. As a prosecutor, it’s tempting to explain to an officer-witness what he would need to say in order to make the conviction, and then ask him what it was that he saw.

Prosecutors and judges tend to look the other way, even though sometimes the lies are quite apparent. This is partly due to prejudging the defendant as guilty.

But political implications also play a role. The district attorneys rely on the gravy train of arrests to make their cases. A world without criminalization would mean the obsolescence of the police, the prosecutors, the judges, the court staff—and no one already in the mix wants that.

If the district attorney were to accuse an officer of perjury, it’s basically a declaration of war, Berkley said. All of a sudden you will have a lot of DWI check points outside those office holiday parties.

“At the Southern District of New York, if we really thought that an officer had lied, and we had evidence or a judge had made a finding on the record that the officer had lied, our response was to keep using that officer,” Capers said. “We’d avoid bringing him to the stand, we’d call his partner rather than him, but we’d never take the next step of filing a perjury case because that might mean he’d lose his job.”

Meanwhile, officers can rely on further protection from each other.

“You’ve been brainwashed into this way of thinking it’s us against them. You are spending more time with these guys than with your wife and kids; they might save your life in a shoot out. You do whatever you can for your brother,” Berkley said.

If you go against this code, you are labeled a “rat” and there are real repercussions, he added. All of sudden your tires are flat at the end of a shift, you have urine or feces on your locker, your wife is getting phone calls, you’re getting a type of supervision where you can’t really breathe.

“It’s not worth it, because these guys are capable of really carrying out their threats, because who are they? They are the police,” Berkley said. Meanwhile, if you play by the rules you are beloved by everyone.

This code, the Blue Wall of Silence, has been one reason that holding police accountable is so difficult. In 1995 Boston Police officers beat one of their own, a Black undercover officer named Michael Cox, nearly to death after mistaking him for a homicide suspect. As he lay intubated in a hospital, the 21 officers at the scene each denied having any idea what had happened to their “brother.”

In November 2012, a federal judge in Chicago held the city responsible for the pervasive deception of its police department after its officers refused to properly investigate the complaint of a bartender who was severely beaten by a drunk off-duty cop to whom she had denied service. The arresting officers went to great lengths to protect their coworker, and another city employee attempted to bribe the victim into silence. The city is appealing the ruling and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel filed legal papers suggesting that there should be a code of silence about the code of silence.

***

The public’s reverence for law enforcement is also to blame for the impunity that police officers enjoy when they break the law and violate the most basic of human rights. There is a shared social understanding that police officers have a tough job to do, that we should cut them a little bit of slack, and really, protect them, Capers said.

Even in New York City people seem to approve of the NYPD. Ray Kelly has a 70 percent approval rating, O’Donnell notes, explaining that every New Yorker is complicit in sanctioning the practices of the city’s police force just as every American is responsible for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Ordinary people are more hardnosed about crime than is generally acknowledged,” he said.

Capers finds there are distinctions on this issue along racial, class and neighborhood lines. There is a particular disparity between how mainstream America views police officers and how the residents of poor urban communities do, he said.

“For a lot of minority communities, they see evidence of police abuses and manipulating the evidence all the time. They show up in the courthouse and say ‘That’s not what happened!” In poor communities we’ve seen officers harassing people on the street, using excessive force and then claiming they did not, and so how can we take any officers seriously?” Capers said.

The continued surveillance of the police by civilians has been critical, both to the protection of people’s lives, liberty, and rights, and to the creation of a culture that might become more amenable to acknowledging the abuse of police officers and its corrosive impact.

“With people monitoring the police on their cell phones, evidence of police lying is much more common. Now we can prove it,” Capers said. “We really only prosecute officers when we can prove it, and I mean prove it by it’s on tape or we have several preachers up there to say this is what happened.”

As more of mainstream America sees this type of footage, the political will to make institutional changes will grow, perhaps supporting a higher level of disobedience to law enforcement.

People do not have to tolerate police abuse, but you have to be willing and able to get arrested and maybe go to jail if you are going to stand up for yourself, Berkley said. Filming the police and organizing community support for the purpose of combating police abuse are some of the only ways to protect ourselves and to win these types of cases at trial, he said.

We know that people are more likely to follow laws that they think are just, and more likely to support a legal system that treats them fairly. By giving law enforcement a free pass to break the law, by bending over backwards to ensure that there is no accountability for police officers except in the most unavoidable circumstances (i.e. alleged cannibalism), we are making illegitimate our entire system of justice and thus likely creating more so-called crime than we are eliminating by doing whatever it takes to get convictions on a handful of cases.

If we started taking police lies more seriously—prosecuting them as we would civilian perjurers—people in the communities most negatively impacted by police abuses (also typically communities with high levels of violence) would get the message that they are being protected by the law not persecuted by the law. People might even develop faith in the system. Until then, it’s hard to argue against the old saying that this is not a broken system but one functioning just as it was created to.

It’s not a problem of a few bad apples, as some people suggest, but instead a matter of irresponsible leadership, a pathological law enforcement culture, and a public ready and willing to sacrifice notions of justice, fairness and humanity for… what exactly?

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Should Foreign Hells Angels Be Allowed in the United States?

How Much More Do We Have To Take?

The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has filed a lawsuit against several federal agency heads — including Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — claiming the group’s foreign members have been wrongfully banned from entering the United States.

The federal lawsuit contends that several foreign Hells Angels members applied for visas last year to attend one of the club’s major events in New Hampshire, and they were denied, based on their membership with the Hells Angels.

The lawsuit recognizes that Homeland Security and the Department of State made an agreement to define the Hells Angels as a “known criminal organization” in the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Manual — thus making them ineligible to obtain a visa.

But, according to the lawsuit, “[m]any members” of the Hells Angels don’t have criminal records, and the club says it’s not a “criminal organization.”

Well, they are a “street gang” in Maricopa County — at least, according to disbarred and disgraced ex-County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

The Hells Angels are ultimately seeking a permanent injunction against the rules that are keeping its members from getting visas — which would likely apply to other biker gangs listed by the State Department, like the Outlaws, Bandidos, and Mongols, as well as street gangs like MS 13 and the 18th Street gang.

That said, should the feds let the Angels in?

Cast your vote below:

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Another Blant Act Of Profiling Motorcycle Club Members As Gang Members and Terroist

Should Foreign Hells Angels Be Allowed in the United States?

The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has filed a lawsuit against several federal agency heads, claiming the group’s foreign members have been wrongfully banned from entering the United States.

Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas are named as defendants in the lawsuit, as the lawsuit claims their executive rules could be violating the Hells Angels’ constitutional rights.

The federal lawsuit contends that several foreign Hells Angels members applied for visas last year to attend one of the club’s major events in New Hampshire, and they were denied, based on their membership with the Hells Angels.

According to the lawsuit, “[m]any members” of the Hells Angels don’t have criminal records, and the club says it’s not a “criminal organization.”

On the other hand, the lawsuit recognizes that Homeland Security and the Department of State made an agreement to define the Hells Angels as a “known criminal organization” in the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Manual — thus making them ineligible to obtain a visa.

But the Hells Angels’ lawsuit claims this rule flies in the face of the congressional immigration legislation that allows immigration officials to deny visas for security reasons.

“Defendants will deny visas to all aliens based solely on their membership in a Hells Angels charter without further analysis into whether or not that individual seeks to enter the United States to engage solely, principally, or incidentally in unlawful activity,” the lawsuit states.

The Hells Angels are ultimately seeking a permanent injunction against the rules that are keeping its members from getting visas — which would likely apply to other biker gangs listed by the State Department, like the Outlaws, Bandidos, and Mongols, as well as street gangs like MS 13 and the 18th Street gang.

Source: Valley Fever
Hells Angels Napolitano

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Off The Path – Cop Block

Trial Starts Today for Cop Block Founder Facing 21 Years in Prison for Wiretapping Charges

In the age of citizen journalism where any citizen can pick up a camera and hold officials accountable, there are not many who have pushed the envelope are far as Adam “Ademo Freeman” Mueller.

The co-founder of Cop Block has found himself incarcerated numerous times over the years for his insistence on recording public officials in their public capacities.

He is incarcerated right now, serving 60 days on a resisting arrest charge, which actually is a result of a clerical screw-up.

But none of those stints in jail come close to his latest legal case in which he is facing up to 21 years in prison for felony wiretapping.

His trial, which begins today in Manchester, New Hampshire, has the potential to establish case law for years to come.

An acquittal will send the message that public officials do not have an expectation of privacy when they are speaking as public officials to a citizen on a telephone call.

A guilty verdict will send the message that police can record us without our consent but we can’t record them.

That, after all, is what law enforcement officials from all levels have been vying for all along.

We’ve seen so many wiretapping cases over the years, only for them to get thrown out of court because they usually consist of a citizen recording a cop in public where police have no expectation of privacy.

In fact, Mueller was acquitted on wiretapping charges last year in an incident where he was video recording cops in public in Massachusetts.

But this case is a little different in that he recorded a public official over the phone without specifically informing them that he was recording.

It wasn’t as if he recorded anything confidential, embarrassing or even that revealing. They basically gave him little or no comment and hung up the phone.

But in this age of citizen journalism, public officials will do all they can to keep citizens in check if it helps them from being kept in check.

The case stems from an incident at a New Hampshire high school where a student video recorded a police officer beating up another student.

School officials ordered the student to delete the footage and he acted as if he did, but kept the clip showing the beating and gave it Cop Block, who turned it into a national story.

Mueller than recorded a video of himself calling the Manchester Police Department and the West High School in the same city, seeking comment about the incident from officials.

He didn’t inform them that he was recording, but he did identify himself from Cop Block and it was clear that he was seeking official comment because he didn’t beat around the bush with informalities.

The cop hung up the phone on him in a matter of seconds and it is believed police record all incoming calls into the station.

And the school official answered a few questions in a manner that it was clear she was speaking on the record before hanging up the phone.

The New Hampshire wiretapping law, which specifically states that police can record citizens without their consent, states the following:

A person is guilty of a class B felony if, except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter or without the consent of all parties to the communication, the person:

(a) Willfully intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any telecommunication or oral communication;

To fully interpret the law, we must read the legal definitions of the terms used.

I. “Telecommunication” means the transfer of any form of information in whole or in part through the facilities of a communications common carrier. “Telecommunication” does not include any communication made through a tone-only paging system or from a tracking device.

II. “Oral communication” means any oral communication uttered by a person exhibiting in expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation.

III. “Intercept” means the aural or other acquisition of, or the recording of, the contents of any telecommunication or oral communication through the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device.

In layman’s terms, a person is guilty of wiretapping if he records a conversation with a person who is under the impression that the call is not being recorded.

It was clear from the conversation that Mueller was seeking on-the-record comments and it was clear from the responses of both police and the school official that they were well aware of that.

We’ve seen how cops act when they don’t believe they are being recorded and when they are aware they are being recorded. It’s the difference between night and day.

Furthermore, these are all tax-funded public officials who were called at their tax-funded public institutions while working for their tax-funded salaries.

It may have been a little different if Mueller had called them at home after hours.

Mueller, who is representing himself, plans to use the Glik vs Boston landmark decision as one of his arguments, even though that stemmed from a case in which a man was openly video recording cops in a public park.

But if you read through the decision, you can see where it can apply in his case.

Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting “the free discussion of governmental affairs.” Mills v. Alabama, 384 U.S. 214, 218 (1966).

Moreover, as the Court has noted, “[f]reedom of expression has particular significance with respect to government because ‘[i]t is here that the state has a special incentive to repress opposition and often wields a more effective power of suppression.'” First Nat’l Bank, 435 U.S. at 777 n.11 (alteration in original) (quoting Thomas Emerson, Toward a General Theory of the First Amendment (1966)). This is particularly true of law enforcement officials, who are granted substantial discretion that may be misused to deprive individuals of their liberties.

It was obvious from Mueller’s questions that he was seeking information to disseminate to the public.

And while some may argue that he conducted himself unethically by not informing them he was recording, the fact that he publicized his conversations shows that he was acting as transparent as possible. Nobody can accuse him of twisting their statements to his advantage.

Perhaps prosecutors are aware of this, which is why have already offered him several plea deals, which he has refused.

In fact, prosecutor Michael Valentine visited Mueller in jail and told him that if the jury found him guilty, he would ask the judge for a six-month sentence to be following by a two-year probationary “good behavior” period that could land Mueller in prison for up to two years if violated, the same conditions that he offered in the plea deal which shows Mueller had nothing to lose by rejecting the plea deals.

Don’t be surprised if they offer him even a better deal before the trial even starts.

Another fact that could possibly work in Mueller’s favor is the fact that New Hampshire passed a jury nullification law in June, which would allow defense attorneys to inform juries that they have the right to acquit citizens who violate laws that they find objectionable.

This would be a perfect case for jury nullification, especially in a libertarian-minded state like New Hampshire.

The only problem is that the law doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2013.

But that didn’t stop Mueller’s supporters from standing outside the courthouse last week to hand out jury nullification pamphlets to potential jurors.

And court officials didn’t seem to have a problem with that, according to the Union Leader.

The pamphlets provided information about jury nullification, and a hung jury, which is when a jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict and the defendant is either retried, or the case is dropped.

Clerk of Court John Safford said some of the people called for jury duty had been handed the pamphlets, but nothing was made of it by court officials.

The Union Leader, which is Manchester’s main newspaper, also reported on the new law last month, which means there is a decent chance the jurors will already know about their right to acquit a defendant of a law that allows public officials to remain unaccountable.

And that’s what this case is all about. There was no invasion of privacy, which is what the wiretapping laws were created to protect.

This was simply a journalist seeking statements from public officials at a public institution on the public’s dime.

That is not only protected by recent case law. It is protected by the First Amendment.

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Guidelines for Saying No to Police Searches

One of the main powers that law enforcement officers carry is the power to intimidate citizens into voluntarily giving up their rights. Police are trained to believe in their authority and trained to perform their interactions with private citizens with confidence. It is their job to deal with problems and they learn to manage uncomfortable situations through strength. Most people, when confronted by police get a mild panic reaction, become anxious, and try to do whatever they can to minimize the time spent with the officer. Because of the imbalance of power between citizen and officer, when a law enforcement officer makes a strongly worded request, most people consent without realizing that they are giving up constitutional protections against improper meddling by the State in the private affairs of citizens.

A common situation is that of the traffic stop. A person is pulled over for a real or perceived vehicle violation and, after checking the driver’s license and registration, the officer asks the driver if they have any weapons or illegal drugs in their car. When the citizen answers “no”, the police officer asks (in the strongest language he can without demanding) to check that for himself. “Then you wouldn’t mind if I took a look in your trunk.” or “Why don’t you step out of your car.” Most people acquiesce to the ‘requests’ because they don’t realize they have the right to say no.

WHY YOU HAVE TO SAY “NO” CLEARLY

The Federal Supreme Court has ruled that as long as the police do not force an individual to do something, the individual is acting voluntarily, even if a normal person would feel very intimidated and would not reasonably feel they could say no. (see Florida v. Bostick, 1991) If you do what a policeman tells you to do before you are arrested, you are ‘voluntarily’ complying with their ‘requests’.

Unfortunately police will often try to push citizens to accept a search, to the point of ignoring when you say “no”. Its important to say very clearly “I do not consent to a warrantless search.” Or “This is a private event/home/place, you may not enter without a warrant.” Don’t simply answer questions about searches with a simple “yes” or “no”. See this case where drug police asked a confusing question and claimed they misunderstand the answer “yes” to mean they could search (October 24, 2000. Gregg County CODE officers, defendant Dockens, judge Steger, federal court, east district Texas).

Until you say “No, I don’t think I’d like to do that.” you are cooperating as a peer with the law enforcement officer who is trying to make the world safer. When you say “no” to a request by a police officer, you are asserting your lawful rights as a private citizen. If the officer demands you comply, then in most cases you have little choice. Usually, however, the officer is likely to try to convince you to comply voluntarily. Until and unless you say “no” and stick to it, the police don’t even need any real authority to tell you what to do.

WHAT A POLICEMAN CAN MAKE YOU DO

What a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) can demand of a citizen depends heavily on the context of the order. Most generally, police are allowed by the courts to act as any reasonable private citizen would. They may ask questions, look through windows that they happen to be near, walk or drive in public areas, etc. Without a warrant or any suspicion of illegal activity, they are allowed to interact with other citizens, but they have a limited amount of authority to demand compliance, search, or detain people or things.

In highly volatile or dangerous situations, a LEO’s authority to require compliance is much higher than in non-threatening contexts. The Supreme Court has ruled (with Terry v. Ohio being one of the primary cases) that the police are allowed to protect themselves from potentially dangerous people or situations. Under the umbrella of “concern for safety” or “search for weapons” the police have wide latitude to do what they want and to order citizens to comply with their demands.

The Terry v. Ohio case created the “weapons search”, “terry search”, or “terry pat” exception to the 4th Amendment ‘probable cause requirement’ for searches. The court ruled that if a police officer “[has] reasonable cause to believe that [someone] might be armed” they can require they submit to a quick patdown. What this has meant is that it is now standard practice to pat down anyone that a LEO wants to, without the need for arrest, probable cause, or even suspicion of a crime.

Many police use weapons pats as a way to intimidate and harass citizens, since it is a power the courts have allowed them to use with little justification. Often a LEO will find something during their patdown which is clearly not a weapon which they would like to see, but this is beyond their Court-approved authority ( see below ).

Also under the ‘concern for safety’ umbrella, police are given wide latitude by courts to ask individuals to comply with simple non-intrusive commands such as “stand over there” or “wait here for a moment”, but the line between order and request becomes very fuzzy when an officer starts telling people where to go unless the situation is volatile / dangerous. There are many stories of two (or more) individuals confronted by police ( one example ) whom the police intentionally separate to try to intimidate or to compare stories. This is generally a ‘fishing’ maneuver which would not fall under the ‘concern for safety’ umbrella. ( see below )

During a stop for a traffic violation, police have the power to demand a proper driver’s license and other state-required documentation (registration, insurance). In most [ed-all?] states they also have the power to demand sobriety tests [ed – do they need reasonable suspicion of intoxication ?]. The courts have also given police the power to frisk a driver based on the Terry v. Ohio decision (the police should have some reason to think there is danger) and some decisions have even allowed an officer (with no suspicion or cause) to search the area around the driver’s seat. [ed-citation for this?]

When a private, law abiding citizen encounters police, the amount of intrusion a Law Enforcement Officer is allowed to demand is limited. Some areas have laws against “disobeying a police officer” or “obstructing an officer from their duties”, but the bounds of what officers can reasonably require someone not suspected of any other criminal activity in a peaceful situation have not been clearly drawn by the courts. If someone interferes with a police officer engaged in an arrest or investigation, police tend to have very little patience and will quickly threaten or implement detainment or arrest. Generally, courts give police wide latitude in executing their duties and disobeying a “reasonable” direct order from an officer could be prosecuted in most jurisdictions.

As an encounter proceeds, the police gather data that they can use to formulate ‘reasonable, articulable suspicion’ or (stronger) ‘probable cause’ that the individual has contraband or is involved in a crime. As the level of suspicion rises, so does the LEO’s authority to intrude into a person’s affairs. Once the level rises to ‘probable cause’ to believe that there is contraband in a vehicle, the Supreme Court has made some very disturbing decisions allowing the police broad power to search in certain cases, including the power to search closed containers without a warrant. (see United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798 (1982) )

In a recent decision (Wyoming v. Houghton, April 1999), the Supreme Court ruled that even passengers’ belongings, if left in the car, may be searched thoroughly if the driver is suspected of a crime.

In most states, you are not required to identify yourself or show the police your ID (unless you are in a vehicle). We have been unable to confirm that in Nevada that police try to charge people with obstruction of justice for people who refuse to identify themselves to police. However, if you choose to identify yourself, you are required to tell the truth. It is a crime to lie to federal police agents and it is a crime to give false identification to police in many areas [ed- find a cite for this?].

The Supreme Court has said: “A brief stop of a suspicious individual, in order to determine his identity or to maintain the status quo momentarily while obtaining more information, may be most reasonable in light of the facts known to the officer at the time.” Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S. 143, 146 (1972).

If you want to avoid long and unpleasant interactions with police, do not give them any reasons to suspect you of criminal activity. Courteously decline to participate in ‘fishing expeditions’ or any other actions you do not wish to perform.

Police may search you ‘incident to arrest’: after or while arresting someone, police are allowed to search the body of the person being arrested. Recent decisions by the Supreme Court have also allowed the police to do exhaustive searches of any vehicle the arrestee was in and any containers therein. The Supreme Court held “that the police may examine the contents of any open or closed container found within the passenger compartment, ‘for if the passenger compartment is within the reach of the arrestee, so will containers in it be within his reach.'” 453 U.S., at 460 (footnote omitted). See also Michigan v. Summers, 452 U.S. 692, 702 (1981).

In Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106 (1977), the Supreme Court “held that police Officers may order persons out of [463 U.S. 1032, 1048] an automobile during a stop for a traffic violation, and may frisk those persons for weapons if there is a reasonable belief that they are armed and dangerous.”

WHAT A POLICEMAN CAN NOT MAKE YOU DO

  • Police are not allowed to frisk for anything except weapons. If, during a weapons pat, an officer discovers something ‘suspicious’ you don’t have to show it to them.Although the police have been given a lot of leeway to ‘check for weapons’, the Supreme Court has ruled (in the key decision Minnesota v Dickerson, 1993) that a weapons search may not be used as a pretext for a more general search. In Minnesota v Dickerson, a man was stopped coming out of a ‘notorious crack house’ and was patted down in a ‘Terry Stop’. The officer noticed something in the man’s pocket which he said ‘felt to be a lump of crack cocaine in cellophane’. He reached in the defendant’s pocket and found some crack-cocaine. The Supreme Court ruled that in order to determine whether the item was crack or not required a further, unwarranted search was necessary which was not acceptable by 4th Amendment standards.
  • Police are not allowed to search everyone (see Ybarra v. Illinois, 444 U.S. 85 (1979).In Ybarra v. Illinois, a man was patted down in a bar where the police were arresting a bar owner for selling heroin. An officer identified “a cigarette pack with objects in it” in the man’s pocket during the pat down and decided to search Ybarra. The High Court ruled that the officer overstepped his authority by searching everyone in the bar, even though they had a warrant to arrest the bartender and search the bar for evidence of drug sales.A common situation where police attempt to search many individuals without probable cause is a raided party. Sometimes police tell people to ’empty your pockets’ or they pat everyone down as they are leaving or they target a few people based on appearance for a full blown search. Most raids on parties are done without a judge-issued warrant and are based on noise complaints, city ordainances about event sizes, etc. In these cases, most searches will be citizens ‘voluntarily’ complying with requests except in the case of violence, extreme intoxication, or obvious criminal activity. Be polite and considerate of the difficult job the LEO’s have, but do not consent to any warrantless search and do not offer information to the police regarding any criminal activity they suspect you of.

HOW TO SAY NO

So, when a policeman says “Empty your pockets for me?” or “Why don’t you step over here for a moment?” What does a reasonable, law abiding citizen say if s/he doesn’t want to? Unfortunately there may be no simple answer to this. Because of the nature of most police-citizen interactions, tensions can be high and LEO’s may interpret any dissent as hostility or ‘suspicious behaviour’.

  1. Stay Calm. Speak calmly and slowly and don’t be surprised if the officer becomes irritated, angry, or belligerent. Move slowly.
  2. Ask Questions. One way to Say No is to ask questions in return: “Is that a request or an order?” “Am I under arrest?” “Am I free to go?” “Why do you want me to *whatever*?” “Am I a suspect in a crime?”
  3. Say No. Another way to Say No is to very clearly say no: “No, I would like to leave.” “No, I do not consent to any warrantless searches.” “You do not have my permission to search me / my car / my belongings.”
  4. Defuse Tensions. Do everything you can to defuse the tensions and seem peaceful. If an LEO thinks you might be dangerous, the courts have ruled that they have a greater authority to force you to comply.
  5. Do not Resist. Do not Argue with a Cop. Do not Touch a cop. Don’t Run. Don’t complain or threaten an officer legally.
  6. Comply when Required. Knowing when you are required to comply can be difficult (see What You Must Do and What You Don’t Have to Do ) The moment an LEO pulls a gun, do what they say. If they make you do something through force, your Constitutional Rights are not as important as staying healthy and alive. You can challenge the arrest in court if your rights are violated.
  7. Give the Cop a Break. Remember that police have a very difficult job to do and most cops are doing their best to try to keep their communities safe. When it comes to dealing with unusual or strange individuals or confronting drug issues, officers (and many people in the world) make some bad snap judgements. But most cops think of themselves as the Good Guys, so try to let em know you’re on their side.
  8. Ask for a Lawyer. As soon as its clear you will be arrested, ask for a lawyer and then keep quiet. Police will try to get you to talk. Don’t.

CAN SAYING NO GET ME IN MORE TROUBLE?

The short answer to this is, of course, yes and no. A lot is dependent on your rapport with the individual officer(s). Saying No to a police officer should be done gently to avoid enraging them so you don’t get beaten up. Saying No to a warrantless search may cause a police officer to harass you further to try to get you to comply. Saying No, however, is always the best idea when it gets to the point of arrest and prosecution. It is never in your interest to cooperate with the police in helping them collect evidence against you. If you do say No and a policeman searches anyway, evidence can sometimes be suppressed (thrown out). If you agree to a search, you have no grounds to dispute the evidence.

It is common to have an officer ‘ask’ forcefully first and if the suspect gives any indication of saying No, they threaten to arrest them and take them to the station. They say things like “if you don’t open your trunk/pocket/whatever for me, I can arrest you and we can open it up down at the station”. Often officers will imply that if the suspect cooperates, the cop will go easier on them. While it is true that a police officer controls whether you are arrested or not, very few police officers will overlook anything illegal they find in a search (including very small amounts of cannabis).

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Preventing Police Abuse

SOME OPERATING ASSUMPTIONS

  THE BAD NEWS…..is that police abuse is a serious problem. It has a long history, and it seems to defy all attempts at eradication.
 The problem is national — no police department in the country is known to be completely free of misconduct — but it must be fought locally. The nation’s 19,000 law enforcement agencies are essentially independent. While some federal statutes that specify criminal penalties for willful violations of civil rights and conspiracies to violate civil rights, the United States Department of Justice has been insufficiently aggressive in prosecuting cases of police abuse.
 There are shortcomings, too, in federal law itself, which does not permit “pattern and practice” lawsuits. The battle against police abuse must, therefore, be fought primarily on the local level.
 THE GOOD NEWS…..is that the situation is not hopeless. Policing has seen much progress. Some reforms do work, and some types of abuse have been reduced. Today, among both police officials and rank and file officers it is widely recognized that police brutality hinders good law enforcement.
This is why I have made this site, if we don’t start documenting police abuse we will never win this fight against dirty cops who stop bikers or motorcyclist, violate our rights, harassment of people who wear support clothing, profiling club members wearing their vest, beat us, search our bikes & person, arrest us on fake charges; this site is for you so lets make it work for us. All information is protect and will used to show that there are dirty cops, where they are, which departments are allowing profiling. I am prepared to fight, I will fight this fight by my self if I must, I welcome all who will stand with me and we can make a difference.
To fight police abuse effectively, you must have realistic expectations. You must not expect too much of any one remedy because no single remedy will cure the problem. A “mix” of reforms is required. And even after citizen action has won reforms, your community must keep the pressure on through monitoring and oversight to ensure that the reforms are actually implemented.
 Nonetheless, even one person, or a small group of persistent people, can make a big difference. Sometimes outmoded and abusive police practices prevail largely because no one has ever questioned them. In such cases, the simple act of spotlighting a problem can have a powerful effect that leads to reform. Just by raising questions, one person or a few people — who need not be experts — can open up some corner of the all-too-secretive and insular world of policing to public scrutiny. Depending on what is revealed, their inquiries can snowball into a full blown examination by the media, the public and politicians.
II. GETTING STARTED: IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM:
 You’ve got to address specific problems. The first step, then, is to identify exactly what the police problems are in your city. What’s wrong with your police department is not necessarily the same as what’s wrong in another city. Police departments are different in size, quality of management, local traditions and the severity of problems. Some departments are gravely corrupt; others are relatively “clean” but have poor relations with community residents. Also, a city’s political environment, which affects both how the police operate and the possibilities for achieving reform, is different in every city. For example, it is often easier to reform police procedures in cities that have a tradition of “good government,” or in cities where minorities are well organized politically.
The range of police problems includes:
Excessive use of deadly force.
Excessive use of physical force.
Discriminatory patterns of arrest.
Patterns of harassment of such “undesirables” as the homeless, youth, minorities and gays, including aggressive and discriminatory use of the “stop-and-frisk” and overly harsh enforcement of petty offenses.
Chronic verbal abuse of citizens, including racist, sexist and homophobic slurs.
Discriminatory non-enforcement of the law, such as the failure to respond quickly to calls in low-income areas, and half-hearted investigations of domestic violence, rape or hate crimes.
Spying on political activists.
Employment discrimination — in hiring, promotion and assignments, and internal harassment of minority, women and gay or lesbian police personnel.
The “code of silence” and retaliation against officers who report abuse and/or support reforms.
 Overreaction to “gang” problems, which is driven by the assumption that most or all associational activity is gang-related. This includes illegal mass stops and arrests, and demanding photo IDs from young men based on their race and dress instead of their criminal conduct.
 The “war on drugs,” with its overboard searches and other tactics that endanger innocent bystanders. This “war” wastes scarce resources on unproductive “buy and bust” operations to the neglect of more promising community-based approaches.
Lack of accountability, such as the failure to discipline or prosecute abusive officers, and the failure to deter abuse by denying promotions and/or particular assignments because of prior abusive behavior.
 Crowd control tactics that infringe on free expression rights and lead to unnecessary use of physical force.
III. GATHER THE FACTS
 The first thing to bear in mind about the “homework” community residents have to do in order to build a strong case for reform is that obtaining the most relevant information on the activities of your police department can be a tough task. In answer to critics, police chiefs often cite various official data to support their claim that they are really doing a great job. “Look at the crime rate,” they say, “it’s lower than in other cities.” Or: “My department’s arrest rate is much higher than elsewhere.” The catch is that these data, though readily available to citizens, are deeply flawed, while the most telltale information is not always easy to get.
 FORGET The “Crime Rate.” The “crime rate” figures cited by government officials are based on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) system, which has several serious flaws. To name only a few: First, the UCR only measures reported crime.
Complaint form, this the most powerful tool you can against police abuse. I have made this form for you so all the incidents of police abuse can be documented.
Second, since the system is not independently audited there are no meaningful controls over how police departments use their crime data. Police officers can and do “unfounded” crimes, meaning they decide that no crime occurred. They also “downgrade” crimes — for example, by officially classifying a rape as an assault. Third, reports can get “lost,” either deliberately or inadvertently.
SIDEBAR: OPEN RECORDS LAWS

Each of the 50 states has a freedom of information act or an open records law. Virtually all such laws were enacted post-Watergate, in the mid-1970’s. Under these laws, community groups can request and obtain access to police reports, investigations, policies and tape recordings regarding a controversial incident, such as a beating, shooting, or false arrest. If the police refuse to disclose information to representatives of your community, that refusal in itself should become the focus of organizing and public attention. Ultimately, your community can sue to compel disclosure, unless the records you seek are specifically exempted.

STRATEGY #4: EDUCATE THE PUBLIC
PROFILE: Police Practices Project, ACLU of Northern California The Police Practices Project conducts education programs to teach citizens about their constitutional rights. One aspect of the police abuse problem, the project believes, is that the police tend to abuse certain people partly because they think these individuals don’t know their rights, or don’t know how to assert their rights. The project also believes that its programs have the added advantage of recruiting groups and individuals to work in police reform campaigns.

The project also publishes wallet-size cards in English, Spanish and Chinese that inform citizens about what to do or say in encounters with the police. These cards have been widely distributed in the community. (One card-holder reported that he pulled out his card when confronted by a police officer, only to have the officer reach into his wallet and pull out his own copy of the same card!)

The project believes that individual citizens and community groups become informed about police policies just by participating in the preparation of educational materials and training sessions. That participation also fosters awareness about particular areas of police practice that need reform. Most important, education empowers even the most disenfranchised people and helps deter the police from treating them abusively.

If Your Are Stopped in Your Car

Show your driver’s license and registration upon request. You can in certain cases be searched without a warrant so long as the police have probable cause.
To protect yourself later, you should make it clear that you do not consent to a search.
If you are given a ticket, you should sign it, otherwise you can be arrested. You can always fight the case in court later.
If you are suspected of drunken driving and refuse a blood, urine or breath test, your driving license can be suspended.
If You Are Arrested or Taken to a Police Station You have the right to remain silent and talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. Tell the police nothing except your name and address. Do not give explanations, excuses or stories. You can make your defense in court based on what you and your lawyer decide is best.
Ask to see a lawyer immediately. If you cannot pay for a lawyer, you have a right to a free one, and you should ask the police how the lawyer can be contacted. Do not talk without a lawyer.

Source: Bikers of America see full document.

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What is Police Misconduct?

I have heard and here members of clubs telling me their stories of how Law Enforcement officers are daily pulling them over and treating very badly. This is very disturbing to hear because most of the traffic stops are being performed by “Gang Task Force Units” of various cities here in the Alameda County, San Francisco, San Mateo, Tracy, Livermore, Manteca, Hayward, San Leandro, and other cities here in Northern California.

What’s so disturbing about is that there are no logs or records of these traffic Stops where they stop bikers or people on motorcycles who they have deemed to be gang members or people affiliating with gang members. I have searched the web and came up empty.  And most people who have been victims of these “Guantanamo Bay Detention” type traffic stops where they abuse, beat, unlawfully search and detain.

This is Police Misconduct and we must fight against this every-time one of us is victim to it. How do we fight it, well first we need to know what it is.

Police Misconduct occurs when an officer violates someone’s constitutional rights. This misconduct can subject the officer and the police department to both civil and criminal penalties.

  • It is unlawful for an officer to engage in a pattern of conduct that deprives a person of their constitutional rights
    • You must be able to show that it is a pattern- one isolated incident is not sufficient to prove a civil violation
    • The court can grant you an injunction that requires the officer to stop the misconduct against you 
  • A police officer is prohibited from engaging in practices of discriminatory misconduct
    • Again you must show that there is a pattern of discriminatory misconduct, before you can bring a case
    • Examples of civil discriminatory misconduct include:
      • harassment
      • racial slurs
      • unjustified arrests
      • discriminatory traffic stops
      • coercive sexual conduct

Criminal Police Misconduct

  • A law enforcement officer cannot deprive any person of his/her constitutional rights.
  • There is no requirement that the police misconduct be done in a manner to discriminate
  • Examples of criminal police misconduct include:
    • Using excessive force
    • Sexual assault
    • Intentional false arrest
    • Intentional fabrication of evidence

If you think your rights were violated by the police:

  • Always file a complaint first with the police department or internal affairs division. It is generally a requirement that you exhaust all of your administrative remedies first before bringing a lawsuit.
  • After reporting to the police department, the next step is to report the misconduct to the United States Department of Justice or the United States Attorneys office

Police Abuse Series-Filing a Complaint on a Officer News Video

Only We the people can stop the abuse of power and government. We all must stand together to be heard!

Source: The Dirtbag Blog

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Dirty Cops

I do not condone the actions of the person riding the motorcycle but for Police to handle this situation the way they did tells a ugly truth about dirty cops who abuse their authority. Without video of the incident there would be not other way to prove this man was abused by Police because the judicial system is blind and will always believe cops over you the citizen.

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