- WATCH: Chalk Art Draws Riot Police To Downtown LA (huffingtonpost.com)
End the Lie – Independent News
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
Here’s yet another story from the “police have gone insane” department with past stories including the NYPD labeling people “professional agitators” for filming them, police defending handcuffing a six-year-old girl, a man being arrested for pointing his finger at police, a police officer getting targeted for discipline for stopping a beating, an NYPD officer getting put in a psych ward by his superiors for reporting corruption and more.
Interestingly, this case seems to also bring in the fascinating and troubling trend of police arresting people (and in at least one case even brutally assaulting someone) simply for exercising their right to film officers in a public place performing their public duties.
This particular incident – which actually occurred last July but is just now being brought up in a lawsuit – involves a couple, 55-year-old Caroline Stern and 54-year-old George Hess, who were allegedly dancing on the empty Columbus Circle subway platform in New York City after listening to jazz at Lincoln Center.
No, this isn’t quite like the people who were arrested for dancing in Washington D.C. at the Jefferson Memorial, as this was in no way an act of civil disobedience or protest. It was just dancing.
According to Fox News Insider, the couple was arrested for “impeding the flow of traffic” because they were dancing while waiting on the subway to arrive shortly before midnight.
It was reported that there was a musician playing steel drums playing in the vicinity and that the couple began doing the Charleston.
“We were doing the Charleston,” said Stern, recalling the events after last July’s Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night’s Swing.
Police officers then approached the dancing couple and informed them that they were not allowed to dance on the subway platform.
“They said, ‘What are you doing?’ and we said, ‘We’re dancing,’” she recalled, according to the New York Post. “And they said, ‘You can’t do that on the platform.’”
Continue with story——————>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Or, how America spends its money instead of feeding its poor, re-building cities, creating housing…Lou
Imagine a stun gun that doesn’t just drop you to the floor, but renders you unconscious for several minutes. This tech is called a “nano-second electrical pulse,” and the Pentagon believes it could be used in a gun that would hit targets with high voltages of electricity for an amazingly short amount of time – we’re talking billionths of seconds here. That would make the enemy an easy capture. But today’s stun guns are already linked to dozens, if not hundreds, of abusive incidents. What happens if they become even more powerful?
The stun gun is only one of several projects that the Department of Defense showcased at the Non-Lethal Weapons Industry Day in Quantico, Va. on June 22, an opportunity for the Pentagon to give a glimpse of the present and future of its weapons that are designed to injure, rather than kill.
The Joint Non Lethal Weapons Directorate, the Pentagon’s agency responsible for these projects, has been working on these system for years, proposing all kinds of exotic and futuristic less-than-lethal alternatives to its deadly arsenal, including sticky foam guns, sonic cannons, and devices that could potentially create voices in the target’s heads, mimicking the effects of schizophrenia.
As Defense News notes, the new pulse gun is a lightweight device supposed to be an improvement over the existing — and often limited — stun guns. The weapons’ effects doesn’t last that long, allowing the victim to recover as soon as the flow of electricity stops. The Pentagon now wants an improved device that could disable the enemy and render him unconscious for several minutes.
How dangerous a device like that could be is unclear. Stun guns have a long and well documented history of abuse — even students and grandmas have been victims of overzealous, Taser-happy police officers. And their use, despite being labeled “non-lethal,” can be deadly. According to Amnesty International, at least 500 people have died after being shocked with tasers. In 2008, a jury in San Jose deemed the company that produces the stun gun, Taser International, responsible for the death of Robert Heston, a 40-year-old man who was shot by the cops multiple times. The jury found that the company failed to warn the police that repeated discharges could have a deadly effect on the target.
Just as most of the systems presented at the event, for now, this one is just a “conceptual” – i.e. very far from real – weapon and the Pentagon needs to focus on finding out exactly how to deliver such a short and powerful electric discharge without causing permanent damage. If the Pentagon ever wants this device to see the light of day, it will have to strike the right balance between disabling power and potential damage.
Another option: use lasers instead. Laser beams can make an enemy blind or make him feel an unbearable heat. The first effect could be achieved with a new, more powerful type of “dazzling laser” that is supposed to work from more than 500 metres (0.3 miles) away. This type of technology has already been proposed by companies with the aim of blinding pirates. The second with the so called Non-Lethal Thermal Laser, a beam that when pointed produces a heating sensation that forces the target to move away. Its effect is similar to the one achieved by existing technology, called the Active Denial System, that uses radio microwaves.
Apart from disarming and subduing humans, the Pentagon is also focusing on a wide array of systems to subdue boats or other vehicles without having to resort to undesirable tactics such as bombing or destroying them. These devices, which would use radio frequency, high powered microwaves or high-voltage waveforms would disrupt or damage the target’s engine controls, potentially shutting them off. These immobilizing rays could even be delivered from the air by a drone.
It’s hard to tell how likely we are to ever see any of these sci-fi-sounding projects come to life, mostly because making a weapon really non-lethal is a fine art that’s really difficult to master. The nanosecond laser pulse, for example, risks causing deadly effects on human cells (so much that the technology has been proposed as an alternative treatment to cancer). For them to ever be real, the Pentagon will have to make these highly criticized weapons effectively non-deadly.
Also, most of this projects depend on untested science and technology, which might be unavailable for years. Which is why sometimes these projects suffer an early death. For example, one of the systems mentioned in a presentation, the “Solid State High Power Microwave Source,” was terminated “due to material science immaturity.”
In short, don’t get your hopes — or fears — too high. Some of these projects will end up being labeled either “too ambitious,” or “too deadly”…and they’ll never go from a cool presentation to reality.
Chief of Police Bill Partridge, of the Oxford Police Department, Alabama, poses with his emergency services team, showcasing two Markbots Inspection robots, M-16 rifles and other equipment. Photo Courtesy of Chief of Police Bill Partridge
Small police departments across America are collecting battlefield-grade arsenals thanks to a program that allows them to get their hands on military surplus equipment – amphibious tanks, night-vision goggles, and even barber chairs or underwear – at virtually no cost, except for shipment and maintenance.
Over the last five years, the top 10 beneficiaries of this “Department of Defense Excess Property Program” included small agencies such as the Fairmount Police Department. It serves 7,000 people in northern Georgia and received 17,145 items from the military. The cops in Issaquah, Washington, a town of 30,000 people, acquired more than 37,000 pieces of gear.
In 2011 alone, more than 700,000 items were transferred to police departments for a total value of $500 million. This year, as of May 15, police departments already acquired almost $400 million worth of stuff. Last year’s record would have certainly been shattered if the Arizona Republic hadn’t revealed in early May that a local police department used the program to stockpile equipment – and then sold the gear to others, something that is strictly forbidden. Three weeks after the revelation, the Pentagon decided to partly suspend distribution of surplus material until all agencies could put together an up-to-date inventory of all the stuff they got through the years. A second effort, which gives federal grants to police departments to purchase equipment, is still ongoing, however. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, since 9/11, the grants have totaled $34 billion.
Which means billions of dollars’ worth of military gear are in the hands of small-town cops who neither need the equipment nor are properly trained to use it, critics charge. At best, it’s a waste of resources (since the gear still has to be maintained). At worst, it could cost lives.
The Nebraska State Patrol has three amphibious eight-wheeled tanks. Acquired almost three years ago, their highest achievement has been helping with a flood last year and with a shooting a couple of weeks ago. Overall, it has been deployed five times. At least, officers love driving them. “They’re fun,” said trooper Art Frerichs to the Lincoln Journal Star in 2010. And the ride, according to Patrol Sgt. Loveless, “is very smooth.”
Police are arresting and intimidating citizen journalists.
“History will no longer be written by the winners, it will just be documented as it is.” (from the video)
As the consolidated corporate media machine fails in its function as the fourth estate, citizen journalists and independent press outlets are there to pick up the slack. But this important task is becoming increasingly threatened by the harsh treatment at the hands of the police force. Citizen based media is often targeted by police for reporting unfiltered truths, or they are lumped together with activists/protesters and beaten or arrested. As more and more Americans choose alternative news sources to find out what is really happening in their country, harassing those providing first hand reports muzzles the free flow of information and poses a threat to democracy. Abby Martin explores the subject for RT. (From YouTube description)
Misconduct charges are expected against the senior Toronto police officer who gave the notorious order to “kettle” protesters during the G20 summit two years ago, as well as 44 other officers, including three or four senior commanders.
A copy of a confidential report carrying the logo of the provincial watchdog agency, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, was provided to CBC News late Thursday night by one of the 37 people who filed complaints about their treatment during the kettling incident. CBC News was unable to confirm its authenticity with the OIPRD.
The report says some of the responsibility for detaining several hundred people for four hours in the rain goes all the way to the top, to Toronto police Chief Bill Blair and Deputy Chief Tony Warr, though it falls short of mandating charges against them.
Thirty-seven people filed complaints with Ontario’s police oversight body over their treatment during the kettling. (Twitpic)
But the report says operational responsibility lies with Supt. Mark Fenton, one of two Toronto officers who served as “incident commanders” during the G20 and had control of officers in streets.
Fenton’s order to keep the group of protesters, bystanders and even some journalists boxed in at Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue “in a severe rain storm that included thunder and lightning was unreasonable, unnecessary and unlawful,” according to the document. It violated the detainees’ constitutional right against arbitrary detention and was negligent, the 276-page report says.
The commander’s explanation to investigators for his decision was that he feared police riot squads weren’t mobile enough to react to “ongoing attacks” by what he saw as “terrorists” committing acts of vandalism in Toronto’s streets. “Therefore, the tactic of isolating, containing the movement of the terrorists/protesters was required to stop the ongoing attacks and prevent new attacks,” the report quotes Fenton saying.
The report indicates the OIPRD is directing Blair to charge Fenton with two counts of misconduct under the Police Services Act: unlawful exercise of authority and discreditable conduct.
The charges under the Police Services Act are not criminal and amount to internal discipline, which can result in docking of pay to outright dismissal.
The watchdog agency investigated nine other officers’ conduct in relation to the June 27, 2010, kettling incident, but charges were not substantiated against any of them.
The OIPRD tabled a separate public report on the G20 released Wednesday that concluded a “turning point’ during the summit weekend came late Saturday, June 26, when Warr implored Fenton to “take back the streets.”
OIPRD director Gerry McNeilly says that following those instructions the Major Incident Command Centre (MICC) structure broke down, as the night incident commander (Fenton) launched an “autocratic” and “dysfunctional” crackdown ordering mass arrests of protesters.
Some front-line officers, according to McNeilly, ultimately disregarded Fenton’s orders at the kettling and let some people out of the ring of riot squad officers, including those with medical emergencies. He noted records of one officer stating of Fenton, “He’s maniacal this MICC, he’s maniacal.”
Fenton could not be reached for comment and did not respond to emails from CBC News on Thursday night. He has not had an opportunity to respond to the report or the expected disciplinary charges against him.
Three or four of Fenton’s fellow senior officers, and about 40 other Toronto police, are also expected to face charges by the time the oversight body wraps up its investigation of G20 policing.
CBC News has learned that to date the OIPRD has ordered Blair to charge 28 of those officers, but the agency is expected to direct him to lay more counts against another 17, including Fenton, bringing the total number of officers facing discipline hearings to 45.
The Toronto Star reported early Friday that two of those senior officers found to have committed misconduct are the pair who were in command of the mass detention centre on Eastern Avenue, where hundreds of arrested people were held during the G20 weekend.
Gerry McNeilly, chief of Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director, is heading up a series of reports into the tumultuous G20 protests in Toronto during June 2010. (Dave Seglins/CBC)
Some details of the OIPRD proceedings surfaced this week at Ontario’s Divisional Court when Toronto’s police union attempted to have the cases dismissed due to delays. A panel of three judges rejected the application brought by the union on behalf of eight officers — two accused of using unnecessary force on prisoners and six accused of conducting illegal arrests. They are now expected to appear before tribunals on June 19 and July 24.
The news of the disciplinary charges comes on the heels of the release on Wednesday of the OIPRD’s scathing systemic review of overall policing of the G20 summit, during which the agency says some officers used “excessive force” to crack down on demonstrations as more than 1,100 people were rounded up in the streets.
When he released his review, McNeilly told reporters that his team of investigators was also probing allegations against specific officers. He said 350 individuals filed complaints relating to G20 policing, and his office substantiated 107 of them, determining 97 were “serious.”
An OIPRD spokesman later explained that some of the complaints involved the same incidents and the same officers.
The OIPRD proceedings against individual officers add to numerous disciplinary charges already laid by Blair on his own initiative against officers caught removing their name tags during G20 demonstrations.
In addition, criminal charges were laid against two Toronto constables by Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, which probes serious injuries or deaths involving police.
The SIU charged Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani with assault with a weapon in connection with an incident at Queen’s Park in which protester Adam Nobody suffered a broken cheekbone in a violent takedown captured on video. He faces a second count of assault with a weapon stemming from another incident at the same protest in which a woman was hit with a baton.
And Const. Glenn Weddell stands accused of assault causing bodily harm after 30-year-old Dorian Barton’s arm was broken while he was photographing police during a protest.
Kettling incident was caught on video:
Poor planning by the RCMP, OPP and Toronto police for the G20 summit, along with orders by a Toronto deputy police chief to “take back the streets,” are to blame for the more than 1,100 arrests during the 2010 weekend summit, says the province’s top civilian police watchdog.
“What occurred over the course of the weekend resulted in the largest mass arrests in Canadian history. These disturbances had a profound impact not only on the citizens of Toronto and Canada generally, but on public confidence in the police as well,” writes Gerry McNeilly, head of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), a citizen agency that today tabled the 300- page systemic review report.
Overall, McNeilly says, the G20 was an unprecedented event in the city’s history — one police forces were unprepared for.
“It is fortunate that, in all the confusion, there were no deaths,” McNeilly writes.
McNeilly concludes that police had legitimate concerns and faced challenges tracking “black bloc” vandals intent on violence and criminal activity as they hid within crowds of peaceful demonstrators.
But the OIPRD director reports that police also had a responsibility to balance law enforcement with citizens’ rights to demonstrate.
He concluded some officers used “excessive force” to clamp down on any and all protesters, with Toronto police commanders acting on orders for mass arrests.
Deputy Chief Tony Warr issued such a directive late on June 26 following a day in which police lost control and saw windows smashed and a police car set ablaze.
“The night shift incident commander said Deputy police Chief Warr told him that he wanted him to take back the streets,” writes McNeilly in the report. McNeilly said the commander told him, “’I understood his [Warr's] instructions to mean that he wanted me to make the streets of Toronto safe again. He wanted the streets that had been made unsafe by the terrorists that were attacking our city to be made safe again by restoring order.’”
WARNING : Not for the faint of heart
Revulsion and tears are my reaction to this obscene video. That man was a child once. Whatever he had left in life, life itself, was taken away by evil human beings. These coppers involved should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Murder is murder. No more excuses. Sick of excuses.
| | AlterNet
Last week the City of Boston agreed to pay Simon Glik $170,000 in damages and legal fees to settle a civil rights lawsuit stemming from his 2007 felony arrest for videotaping police roughing up a suspect. Prior to the settlement, the First Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Glik had a “constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties in public.” The Boston Police Department now explicitly instructs its officers not to arrest citizens openly recording them in public.
Slowly but surely the courts are recognizing that recording on-duty police is a protected First Amendment activity. But in the meantime, police around the country continue to intimidate and arrest citizens for doing just that. So if you’re an aspiring cop watcher you must be uniquely prepared to deal with hostile cops.
If you choose to record the police you can reduce the risk of terrible legal consequences and video loss by understanding your state’s laws and carefully adhering to the following rules.
Rule #1: Know the Law (Wherever You Are)
Conceived at a time when pocket-sized recording devices were available only to James Bond types, most eavesdropping laws were originally intended to protect people against snoops, spies, and peeping Toms. Now with this technology in the hands of average citizens, police and prosecutors are abusing these outdated laws to punish citizens merely attempting to document on-duty police.
The law in 38 states plainly allows citizens to record police, as long as you don’t physically interfere with their work. Police might still unfairly harass you, detain you, or confiscate your camera. They might even arrest you for some catchall misdemeanor such as obstruction of justice or disorderly conduct. But you will not be charged for illegally recording police.
Twelve states—California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington—require the consent of all parties for you to record a conversation.
However, all but 2 of these states—Massachusetts and Illinois—have an “expectation of privacy provision” to their all-party laws that courts have ruled does not apply to on-duty police (or anyone in public). In other words, it’s technically legal in those 48 states to openly record on-duty police.
Rule #2 Don’t Secretly Record Police
In most states it’s almost always illegal to record a conversation in which you’re not a party and don’t have consent to record. Massachusetts is the only state to uphold a conviction for recording on-duty police, but that conviction was for a secret recording where the defendant failed to inform police he was recording. (As in the Glik case, Massachusetts courts have ruled that openly recording police is legal, but secretly recording them isn’t.)
Fortunately, judges and juries are soundly rejecting these laws. Illinois, the state with the most notorious anti-recording laws in the land, expressly forbids you from recording on-duty police. Early last month an Illinois judge declared that law unconstitutional, ruling in favor of Chris Drew, a Chicago artist charged with felony eavesdropping for secretly recording his own arrest. Last August a jury acquitted Tiawanda Moore of secretly recording two Chicago Police Internal Affairs investigators who encouraged her to drop a sexual harassment complaint against another officer. (A juror described the case to a reporter as “a waste of time.”) In September, an Illinois state judge dropped felony charges against Michael Allison. After running afoul of local zoning ordinances, he faced up to 75 years in prison for secretly recording police and attempting to tape his own trial.
The lesson for you is this: If you want to limit your legal exposure and present a strong legal case, record police openly if possible. But if you videotape on-duty police from a distance, such an announcement might not be possible or appropriate unless police approach you.
Rule #3: Respond to “Shit Cops Say”
When it comes to police encounters, you don’t get to choose whom you’re dealing with. You might get Officer Friendly, or you might get Officer Psycho. You’ll likely get officers between these extremes. But when you “watch the watchmen,” you must be ready to think on your feet.
In most circumstances, officers will not immediately bull rush you for filming them. But if they aren’t properly trained, they might feel like their authority is being challenged. And all too often police are simply ignorant of the law. Part of your task will be to convince them that you’re not a threat while also standing your ground.
“What are you doing?”
Police aren’t celebrities, so they’re not always used to being photographed in public. So even if you’re recording at a safe distance, they might approach and ask what you are doing. Avoid saying things like “I’m recording you to make sure you’re doing your job right” or “I don’t trust you.”
Instead, say something like “Officer, I’m not interfering. I’m asserting my First Amendment rights. You’re being documented and recorded offsite.”
Saying this while remaining calm and cool will likely put police on their best behavior. They might follow up by asking, “Who do you work for?” You may, for example, tell them you’re an independent filmmaker or a citizen journalist with a popular website/blog/YouTube show. Whatever you say, don’t lie—but don’t let police trick youinto thinking that the First Amendment only applies to mainstream media journalists. It doesn’t.
“Let me see your ID.”
In the United States there’s no law requiring you to carry a government ID. But in 24 states police may require you to identify yourself if they have reasonable suspicionthat you’re involved in criminal activity.
But how can you tell if an officer asking for ID has reasonable suspicion? Police need reasonable suspicion to detain you, so one way to tell if they have reasonable suspicion is to determine if you’re free to go. You can do this by saying “Officer, are you detaining me, or am I free to go?”
If the officer says you’re free to go or you’re not being detained, it’s your choice whether to stay or go. But if you’re detained, you might say something like, “I’m not required to show you ID, but my name is [your full name].” It’s up to you if you want to provide your address and date of birth if asked for it, but I’d stop short of giving them your Social Security number.
“Please stop recording me. It’s against the law.”
Rarely is it advisable to educate officers about the law. But in a tense recording situation where the law is clearly on your side, it might help your case to politely present your knowledge of state law.
For example, if an insecure cop tries to tell you that you’re violating his civil liberties, you might respond by saying “Officer, with all due respect, state law only requires permission from one party in a conversation. I don’t need your permission to record so long as I’m not interfering with your work.”
If you live in one of the 12 all party record states, you might say something like “Officer, I’m familiar with the law, but the courts have ruled that it doesn’t apply to recording on-duty police.”
If protective service officers harass you while filming on federal property, you may remind them of a recently issued directive informing them that there’s no prohibition against public photography at federal buildings.
If you’re approaching the scene of an investigation or an accident, police will likely order you to move back. Depending on the circumstances, you might become involved in an intense negotiation to determine the “appropriate” distance you need to stand back to avoid “interfering” with their work.
If you feel you’re already standing at a reasonable distance, you may say something like, “Officer, I have a right to be here. I’m filming for documentation purposes and not interfering with your work.” It’s then up to you to decide how far back you’re willing to stand to avoid arrest.
Rule #4: Don’t Share Your Video with Police
If you capture video of police misconduct or brutality, but otherwise avoid being identified yourself, you can anonymously upload it to YouTube. This seems to be the safest legal option. For example, a Massachusetts woman who videotaped a cop beating a motorist with a flashlight posted the video to the Internet. Afterwards, one of the cops caught at the scene filed criminal wiretapping charges against her. (As usual, the charges against her were later dropped.)
On the other hand, an anonymous videographer uploaded footage of an NYPD officer body-slamming a man on a bicycle to YouTube. Although the videographer was never revealed, the video went viral. Consequently, the manufactured assault charges against the bicyclist were dropped, the officer was fired, and the bicyclist eventually sued the city and won a $65,000 settlement.
Rule #5: Prepare to be Arrested
Keene, New Hampshire resident Dave Ridley is the avatar of the new breed of journalist/activist/filmmaker testing the limits of the First Amendment right to record police. Over the past few years he’s uploaded the most impressive collection of first-person police encounter videos I’ve ever seen.
Ridley’s calm demeanor and knowledge of the law paid off last August after he was arrested for trespassing at an event featuring Vice President Joe Biden. The arresting officers at his trial claimed he refused to leave when ordered to do so. But the judge acquitted him when his confiscated video proved otherwise.
With respect to the law Ridley declares, “If you’re rolling the camera, be very open and upfront about it. And look at it as a potential act of civil disobedience for which you could go to jail.” It’s indeed disturbing that citizens who are not breaking the law should prepare to be arrested, but in the current legal fog this is sage advice.
“Shut it off, or I’ll arrest you.”
At this point you are risking arrest in order to test the boundaries of free speech. So if police say they’ll arrest you, believe them. You may comply by saying something like “Okay, Officer. But I’m turning the camera off under protest.”
If you keep recording, brace yourself for arrest. Try your best not to drop your camera, but do not physically resist. As with any arrest, you have the right to remain silent until you speak with a lawyer. Use it.
Remember that the camera might still be recording. So keep calm and act like you’re being judged by a jury of millions of your YouTube peers, because one day you might be.
Rule #6: Master Your Technology
Smartphone owners now outnumber users of more basic phones. At any moment there are more than 100 million Americans in reach of a device that can capture police misconduct and share it with the world in seconds.
Always Passcode Protect Your Smartphone
The magic of both apps is that they can instantly store your video offsite. This is essential for preserving video in case police illegally destroy or confiscate your camera. But even with these apps installed, you’ll want to make sure that your device is always passcode protected. If a cop snatches your camera, this will make it extremely difficult for her to simply delete your videos. (If a cop tries to trick you into revealing your passcode, never, never, never give it up!)
Keep in mind that Qik and Bambuser’s offsite upload feature might be slow or nonexistent in places without Wi-Fi or a strong 3G/4G signal. Regardless, your captured video will be saved locally on your device until you’ve got a good enough signal to upload offsite.
Set Videos to “Private”
Both apps allow you to set your account to automatically upload videos as “private” (only you can see them) or “public” (everyone can see them). But until police are no longer free to raid the homes of citizens who capture and upload YouTube videos of them going berserk, it’s probably wise to keep your default setting to “private.”
With a little bit of practice you should be able to pull your smartphone from your pocket or purse, turn it on, enter your passcode, open the app, and hit record within 10 seconds. Keep your preferred app easily accessible on your home screen to save precious seconds. But don’t try to shave milliseconds off your time by disabling your passcode.
Both apps share an important feature that allows your video to be saved if your phone is turned off—even if you’re still recording. So if you anticipate that a cop is about to grab your phone, quickly turn it off. Without your passcode, police won’t be able to delete your videos or personal information even if they confiscate or destroy your phone.
With the iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy Android devices I tested, when the phone is turned off the Qik app immediately stops recording and uploads the video offsite. But if the phone is turned off while Bambuser records, the recording continues after the screen goes black.
This Bambuser “black out” feature is a double-edged sword. While it could easily trick cops into thinking you’re not recording them, using it could push you into more dangerous legal territory. As previously mentioned, courts have shown a willingness to convict citizens for secretly recording police. So if you’re somehow caught using this feature it might be easier for a prosecutor to convince a judge or jury that you’ve broken the law. It’s up to you to decide if the increased legal risk is worth the potential to capture incriminating police footage.
Other Recording Options
Cameras lacking offsite recording capability are a less desirable option. As mentioned earlier, if cops delete or destroy your footage—which happens way too often—you might lose your only hope of challenging their version of events in court. But if you can hold on to your camera, there are some good options.
Carlos Miller is a Miami-based photojournalism activist and writer of the popular Photography is Not a Crime blog. While he carries a professional-end Canon XA10 in the field, he says “I never leave home without a Flip camera on a belt pouch. It’s a very decent camera that’s easier to carry around.”
The top-of-the-line Flip UltraHD starts at $178, but earlier models are available for $60 on Amazon. All flip models have one-button recording, which allows you to pull it out of your pocket and shoot within seconds. The built-in USB then lets you upload video to YouTube or other sharing sites through your PC.
Small businessman and “radical technology” educator Justin Holmes recommends the Canon S-series line of cameras. In 2008, his camera captured a police encounter he had while rollerblading in Port Dickenson, New York. His footage provides an outstanding real-life example of how a calm camera-toting citizen can intelligently flex their rights.
“I typically carry a Canon S5-IS,” Holmes says. “But if I was going to buy one new, I’d go for the SX40-HS. If I were on a budget and buying one used, I’d go for S2-IS or S3-IS.” The features he regards as essential include one-touch video, high-quality stereo condenser microphones, fast zoom during video, and 180×270 variable angle LCD. But the last feature he regards as “absolutely essential.” With it the user can glance at the viewfinder while the camera is below or above eye level.
Rule #7: Don’t Point Your Camera Like a Gun
“When filming police you always want to avoid an aggressive posture,” insists Holmes. To do this he keeps his strap-supported camera close to his body at waist level. This way he can hold a conversation while maintaining eye contact with police, quickly glancing at the viewfinder to make sure he’s getting a good shot.
Obviously, those recording with a smartphone lack this angled viewfinder. But you can get a satisfactory shot while holding your device at waist level, tilting it upward a few degrees. This posture might feel awkward at first, but it’s noticeably less confrontational than holding the camera between you and the officer’s face.
Also try to be in control of your camera before an officer approaches. You want to avoid suddenly grasping for it. If a cop thinks you’re reaching for a gun, you could get shot.
Becoming a Hero
If you’ve recently been arrested or charged with a crime after recording police, contact a lawyer with your state’s ACLU chapter for advice as soon as possible. (Do not publicly upload your video before then.) You may also contact Flex Your Rights via Facebook or Twitter. We’re not a law firm, but we’ll do our best to help you.
If your case is strong, the ACLU might offer to take you on as a litigant. If you accept, your brave stand could forever change the way police treat citizens asserting their First Amendment right to record police. This path is not for fools, and it might disrupt your life. But next time you see police in action, don’t forget that a powerful tool for truth and justice might literally be in your hands.
Steve Silverman is the founder & executive director of FlexYourRights.org and co-creator of the films 10 Rules for Dealing with Police and BUSTED: The Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters. This original article appeared in Reason.com.
San Diego recently
This has been going on for a long time. Since recorded history. We need a shift in consciousness. All of you reading this know that. The question is how then must we act. I am open for suggestions. No violence. It’s passe. It does not accomplish anything and often exasperates whatever problem is at hand.
Personally, I am drawn to the serenity and acceptance of the great teachers before us.
“Knowing that things neither exist nor do not exist, remembering the dream-like nature of everything, one should avoid being caught by pride of personality or praise for good deeds; or caught and entangled by anything else.”
Peace to all
I’ve often wondered why so many innocent people who are shot by police end up dead.
Granted that police officers spend a fair amount of time training with their service revolvers, and are thus likely to be better shots with a pistol than your average gun-owner. But even so, in so many cases where some unarmed person is shot by police, the result is death, and it makes you wonder how cops, often in the dark and on the run, manage with their notoriously hard-to-aim pistols to hit a vital organ with such depressing regularity.
The answer, I’ve learned, is that police in most jurisdictions these days routinely use hollow-point bullets, which are designed to do maximum damage to soft tissue targets. Because the tip of the projectile is composed of hollowed-out lead, it flattens on impact and spreads out, vastly enlarging the hole made upon entry into a body, causing catastrophic damage to vital organs, internal bleeding and wounds that are hard to repair even in an emergency room.
Just recently, as reported below, we learned that the Department of Homeland Security, a super-agency established by Congress and the Bush-Cheney administration in the wake of the 9-11 attacks, had ordered 450 million rounds of .40 caliber hollow-point ammo, which will reportedly be used at a rate of 90 million shells a year over the five-year life of the contract. (That represents one bullet for every American citizen over the course of the next four years!)
Rekia Boyd, an innocent 22-year-old killed by a hollow-point bullet fired into her head by an off-duty Chicago cop
The Department of Homeland Security told TCBH! that it has 135,000 personnel who are licensed to carry a weapon. That means the DHS is buying 667 bullets a year for every one of those people. Let’s say that each of those people runs through three gross of shells in annual training at a shooting range, which would represent a fair amount of target practice. That would still leave them with 235 deadly shells left to account for — and remember — this being the government, most of those licensed fire-arm carrying people are working desk jobs where most of their shooting involves their mouths or balled up paper fired at wastebaskets.
The justification given by the DHS and also by local police departments like the Philadelphia Police and the New York City Police for issuing law-enforcement personnel deadly hollow-point ammo is that it is “less likely” to cause collateral damage. That is, a hollow-point bullet, because it expends its energy by expanding and ripping its way through a body, is less likely to pass through an intended target and, perhaps, wound an innocent bystander. The less-discussed purpose, though, is that police want to do the maximum damage to a perp when they decide they need to shoot. Arguably that makes sense. Police are not supposed to shoot people unless they feel personally at risk or think others are in danger, and then the goal is to shoot to kill, not to wound. (It’s interesting that in the 1982 trial of Philadelphia journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted on shooting and killing police officer Daniel Faulkner, the prosecutor made a point, in arguing for a death penalty, recently vacated permanently, that Abu-Jamal had used deadly high-velocity Plus-P bullets in his licensed handgun. No mention was made of the fact that the bullets in Officer Faulkner’s gun, including the bullet he fired into Abu-Jamal, which pierced his liver and lung, were likely hollow-point slugs designed to do maximum damage.)
The trouble, of course, is that police aren’t all that great at knowing when a fleeing person is guilty of a crime, or even armed, or even whether the target might be a kid with a toy gun, and when a hollow-point bullet hits an innocent target, as was the case with the bullet fired by an off-duty Chicago cop into the head of Rekia Boyd, a 22-year-old woman standing in a group of men the cop thought were being too noisy, they don’t have much chance of survival. The hollow-point shell, fired wildly, that hit Boyd instantly destroyed her brain, as it was designed to do.
There’s a reason that the US military is banned from using hollow-point bullets in war. Hollow-point bullets do incredible damage, cause more pain and suffering, and make it far less likely that a person who is wounded will survive, much less recover. This ban was put in place in the Hague Convention of 1899, making it one of the first rules of war aimed at limiting the atrocities of combat. (Ironically, the US military does allow hollow point bullets to be used by military police, just not for shooting at enemy combatants.)
This huge order by the Department of Homeland Security raises a number of questions that should be getting asked, but so far are not.
First of all, why does the DHS need so much deadly ammo? Are they anticipating a mass surge over the Mexican or Canadian border that would require ICE agents to slaughter the masses “yearning to breathe free”? Are there so many terror cells in America that they feel they need to be ready for a mass extermination campaign? Or are they worried that eventually the quiescent and submissive US population will finally decide it’s had it with the crooked banks and insurance companies, and are going to start taking the law into their own hands, so that the government will have to institute martial law and start gunning down masses of citizens storming Wall Street or the Halls of Congress?
If not any of the above, it seems to me that the order for 450 million rounds of ammunition, hollow-point or not, is pretty wildly excessive.
But secondly, I’d suggest we need to rethink this domestic obsession with killing. In the U.K., police are not routinely issued hollow-point rounds. Many other foreign police agencies also do not use them. Here in the US though, they are standard-issue for cops on the beat (who as I wrote earlier, also routinely carry M-4 automatic rifles in their squad cars too).
We need to have a national discussion about this American obsession with officially sanctioned killing. Sure cops need to defend themselves against criminals who would try and injure or kill them or others, but given both the potential for killing the wrong person or someone who is being falsely pursued — for example someone who thinks a plainclothes officer is actually a criminal — and the near certainty that the target of a police shooter will be horribly injured if he or she doesn’t die — do we really want to have police using bullets that soldiers are barred from using in combat?
Finally, when it comes to Homeland Security, the situation is really different. Most of the gun-toting officers working for Homeland Security are not in the business of chasing down vicious killers. They are ICE officers who are going after border crossers, TSA personnel who are patting down air travelers, and the Federal Protective Service, who are really glorified building guards tasked with protecting federal property.
The work these armed personnel do can on occasion be dangerous, I’ll grant, but for the most part their work does not require killing people or dodging bullets. Do we really want them shooting to kill with hollow-point bullets?
The question about hollow-point bullet use by police, and especially federal agents, becomes more critical as we see the nation becoming increasingly brutal and totalitarian in its handling of dissent and protest. As University of Alabama law professor Ronald J. Krotosznski Jr. wrote in an op-ed article in the New York times yesterday, police and federal authorities are making plans to essentially crush protests planned for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. this summer. Inevitably, of course, there will be protesters who will not take such repression lightly, and who will resist — perhaps with some degree of violence (fists, kicks, tossing back of tear-gas canisters, and perhaps even rocks, though on the basis of past evidence, probably not guns or other deadly weapons). Do we want such justifiably outraged citizens, who are simply reacting appropriately to the shredding of their First Amendment right to protest and to petition for redress, to be blown away by police firing hollow-point bullets?
Those who answer Yes! have basically abandoned their country and handed it over to the fascists and crypto-fascists who have been gradually dismantling the Constitution. Those who answer No! need to demand that this obsession with up-arming the nation’s police be halted in its tracks.
In a five-four ruling this week, the supreme court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time. This horror show ruling joins two recent horror show laws: the NDAA, which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time, and HR 347, the “trespass bill”, which gives you a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near someone with secret service protection. These criminalizations of being human follow, of course, the mini-uprising of the Occupy movement.
Is American strip-searching benign? The man who had brought the initial suit, Albert Florence, described having been told to “turn around. Squat and cough. Spread your cheeks.” He said he felt humiliated: “It made me feel like less of a man.”
In surreal reasoning, justice Anthony Kennedy explained that this ruling is necessary because the 9/11 bomber could have been stopped for speeding. How would strip searching him have prevented the attack? Did justice Kennedy imagine that plans to blow up the twin towers had been concealed in a body cavity? In still more bizarre non-logic, his and the other justices’ decision rests on concerns about weapons and contraband in prison systems. But people under arrest – that is, who are not yet convicted – haven’t been introduced into a prison population.
Our surveillance state shown considerable determination to intrude on citizens sexually. There’s the sexual abuse of prisoners at Bagram – der Spiegel reports that “former inmates report incidents of … various forms of sexual humiliation. In some cases, an interrogator would place his penis along the face of the detainee while he was being questioned. Other inmates were raped with sticks or threatened with anal sex”. There was the stripping of Bradley Manning is solitary confinement. And there’s the policy set up after the story of the “underwear bomber” to grope US travelers genitally or else force them to go through a machine – made by a company, Rapiscan, owned by terror profiteer and former DHA czar Michael Chertoff – with images so vivid that it has been called the “pornoscanner“.
Believe me: you don’t want the state having the power to strip your clothes off. History shows that the use of forced nudity by a state that is descending into fascism is powerfully effective in controlling and subduing populations.
The political use of forced nudity by anti-democratic regimes is long established. Forcing people to undress is the first step in breaking down their sense of individuality and dignity and reinforcing their powerlessness. Enslaved women were sold naked on the blocks in the American south, and adolescent male slaves served young white ladies at table in the south, while they themselves were naked: their invisible humiliation was a trope for their emasculation. Jewish prisoners herded into concentration camps were stripped of clothing and photographed naked, as iconic images of that Holocaust reiterated.
One of the most terrifying moments for me when I visited Guantanamo prison in 2009 was seeing the way the architecture of the building positioned glass-fronted shower cubicles facing intentionally right into the central atrium – where young female guards stood watch over the forced nakedness of Muslim prisoners, who had no way to conceal themselves. Laws and rulings such as this are clearly designed to bring the conditions of Guantanamo, and abusive detention, home.
I have watched male police and TSA members standing by side by side salaciously observing women as they have been “patted down” in airports. I have experienced the weirdly phrased, sexually perverse intrusiveness of the state during an airport “pat-down”, which is always phrased in the words of a steamy paperback (“do you have any sensitive areas? … I will use the back of my hands under your breasts …”). One of my Facebook commentators suggested, I think plausibly, that more women are about to be found liable for arrest for petty reasons (scarily enough, the TSA is advertising for more female officers).
I interviewed the equivalent of TSA workers in Britain and found that the genital groping that is obligatory in the US is illegal in Britain. I believe that the genital groping policy in America, too, is designed to psychologically habituate US citizens to a condition in which they are demeaned and sexually intruded upon by the state – at any moment.
The most terrifying phrase of all in the decision is justice Kennedy’s striking use of the term “detainees” for “United States citizens under arrest”. Some members of Occupy who were arrested in Los Angeles also reported having been referred to by police as such. Justice Kennedy’s new use of what looks like a deliberate activation of that phrase is illuminating.
Ten years of association have given “detainee” the synonymous meaning in America as those to whom no rights apply – especially in prison. It has been long in use in America, habituating us to link it with a condition in which random Muslims far away may be stripped by the American state of any rights. Now the term – with its associations of “those to whom anything may be done” – is being deployed systematically in the direction of … any old American citizen.
Where are we headed? Why? These recent laws criminalizing protest, and giving local police – who, recall, are now infused with DHS money, military hardware and personnel – powers to terrify and traumatise people who have not gone through due process or trial, are being set up to work in concert with a see-all-all-the-time surveillance state. A facility is being set up in Utah by the NSA to monitor everything all the time: James Bamford wrote in Wired magazine that the new facility in Bluffdale, Utah, is being built, where the NSA will look at billions of emails, texts and phone calls. Similar legislation is being pushed forward in the UK.
With that Big Brother eye in place, working alongside these strip-search laws, – between the all-seeing data-mining technology and the terrifying police powers to sexually abuse and humiliate you at will – no one will need a formal coup to have a cowed and compliant citizenry. If you say anything controversial online or on the phone, will you face arrest and sexual humiliation?
Remember, you don’t need to have done anything wrong to be arrested in America any longer. You can be arrested for walking your dog without a leash. The man who was forced to spread his buttocks was stopped for a driving infraction. I was told by an NYPD sergeant that “safety” issues allow the NYPD to make arrests at will. So nothing prevents thousands of Occupy protesters – if there will be any left after these laws start to bite – from being rounded up and stripped naked under intimidating conditions.
Why is this happening? I used to think the push was just led by those who profited from endless war and surveillance – but now I see the struggle as larger. As one internet advocate said to me: “There is a race against time: they realise the internet is a tool of empowerment that will work against their interests, and they need to race to turn it into a tool of control.”
As Chris Hedges wrote in his riveting account of the NDAA: “There are now 1,271 government agencies and 1,931 private companies that work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States, the Washington Post reported in a 2010 series by Dana Priest and William M Arken. There are 854,000 people with top-secret security clearances, the reporters wrote, and in Washington, DC, and the surrounding area 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2011.”
This enormous new sector of the economy has a multi-billion-dollar vested interest in setting up a system to surveil, physically intimidate and prey upon the rest of American society.
Now they can do so by threatening to demean you sexually – a potent tool in the hands of any bully.
The Intel Hub
April 9, 2012
Drills such as Vigilant Guard 2010 have brought widespread attention to the fact that portions of our own military are training to take on crowds of American citizens demanding food and Constitutional rights in a time of crisis.
Now, a new release by the website Public Intelligence, once again confirms that as recently as February and March of 2012, US troops at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington were conducting training scenarios for a civil disturbance domestic quick reaction force.
A series of photos of the drills shows US troops with crowd control riot shields on the opposite side of actors portraying what can only be described as American citizens.
“The following photos are from March and February of this year and were taken at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. The first four photos from March depict riot control training for a “domestic quick reaction force” that would aid in civil disturbances.
The second set of photos from February depict the 67th Military Police Company that typically mans the area’s Regional Correctional Facility attempting to quell riots among “restless prison inmates” that have created a disturbance, wrote Public Intelligence in a blog post that accompanied the photos.
Soldiers assigned to 3rd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, prepare to control a riot during training, March 13, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The unit is conducting civil disturbance training in preparation as a domestic quick reaction force.
Soldiers assigned to 3rd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, conduct riot training March 13 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The unit is conducting civil disturbance training in preparation as a domestic quick reaction force.
Soldiers assigned to 3rd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, hold their line in efforts to control a riot during training, March 13, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The unit is conducting civil disturbance training in preparation as a domestic quick reaction force.
In the second series of photos, the 67th Military Brigade is seen taking part in what was described as a prison inmate riot. (FEMA Camps inmates?)
Soldiers with the 67th Military Police Company grab hold of a soldier playing the role of a restless prison inmate who has been injured on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Feb. 16 while practicing riot control drills during a culmination exercise that concluded a week of training for the soldiers.
In a post on the U.S. Army’s 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment’s Facebook page the drill was somewhat explained:
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, WASH. – The Soldiers in a closed formation bang their batons in cadence against their shields as an angry mob approaches.
“When I initially picked up my shield, the thought of the movie 300 was the first thing that came to mind,” said Spc. Kyle Wilhelmi.
Teams of Soldiers assigned to 3rd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade conducted civil disturbance training here March 13. The Soldiers, though not quite Spartans, are effectively training to hold their line and successfully control crowds if called upon for a civil disturbance
Soldiers with shields, batons and rifles pushed through and maintained a dominant stance against a mob of about 40 civilians. The riot escalated as the crowd began throwing snowballs, slurred profanity and made offensive gestures at the Soldiers. The more forceful members of the mob charged the Soldiers but were easily pushed back, as many often fell to the icy surface.
The Department of Homeland Security, the USDA, and the FBI have ALL purchased or are set to purchase over 750 million rounds of .40 caliber hollow point ammo while at the same time portions of the US Army are directly training for crowd control within the United States.
You can view all the photos through Public Intelligence Here.
New York City has the dubious — and well-earned — reputation as the world’s marijuana arrest capital, with more than 50,000 people being arrested for pot possession there last year alone at an estimated cost of $75 million. It also has a mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who has famously said he smoked marijuana and enjoyed it, yet who presides over a police force that has run roughshod over the state’s marijuana decriminalization law in order to make those arrests, almost all of which are of members of the city’s black and brown minority communities.
On Thursday, activists and concerned citizens organized as the New Yorkers for Health & Safety campaign marched to the mayor’s home, an apartment building in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, to call him on his hypocrisy, chastise the NYPD for its racially-skewed stop-and-frisk policing, and demand that the city quit wasting tens of millions a dollar a year on low-level marijuana arrests even as it proposes cuts to other vital New York City services.
The campaign, consisting of members of the Drug Policy Alliance, VOCAL-NY, the Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform and Alternatives, the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, and Women on the Rise Telling Her Story (WORTH), among others, brought out dozens of people for a march to the mayor’s residence, followed by a brief rally. Protestors, some wearing Mayor Bloomberg masks, held signs and chanted as they rallied across the street from the apartment building.
“Bloomberg is doing more than wasting $75 million a year on marijuana arrests, he is wasting the future our youth,” said Chino Hardin, lead know-your-rights trainer for the Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform and Alternatives. “We don’t want kids using drugs, so why not put money into real programs that will help them make better choices, not give forever lasting criminal records.”
Under New York state law, the possession of small amounts of marijuana is decriminalized, punishable by a ticket and fine. But NYPD practice, designed to get around that law and generate arrests, is to stop-and-frisk citizens going about their business, almost always young people of color, order them to empty their pockets (which they are not required by law to do), then arrest them for possession of marijuana in public when a baggie containing weed emerges. That is not an infraction, but a misdemeanor, and the victims are then arrested and jailed, typically for 24 hours or more, before being arraigned and released.
Last year, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly ordered an end to that practice, but that has yet to be reflected in declining marijuana possession arrest numbers. And those numbers are huge: In addition to the more than 50,000 arrested last year, another 350,000 have been arrested since Bloomberg took office in 2002, at an estimated cost to the city of $600 million.
Even though whites use marijuana at higher rates than any other ethnic or racial group, nearly 85% of those arrested for pot possession are black and Latino, and most are under 30. Being arrested for pot means more than a day or so in jail; it also creates a permanent criminal record that can easily be accessed by employers, landlords, schools, credit agencies, licensing boards and banks, damaging the life prospects of those saddled with a rap sheet.
“For a mayor who celebrates diversity as a key staple of the city, he sure has a horrible way of demonstrating his appreciation for certain communities in our City,” said Kassandra Frederique, policy coordinator at the Drug Policy Alliance. “Black and Latino New Yorkers cannot walk down the street without fear of being stopped, frisked, illegally searched, and then falsely charged and arrested for something that was decriminalized over 30 years ago. This is costing us millions of dollars as taxpayers. It’s an insult, and must end now.”
Mayor Bloomberg last year launched a new $130 million Young Men’s Initiative, “the nation’s boldest and most comprehensive effort to tackle the broad disparities slowing the advancement of black and Latino young men,” but continues to preside over a marijuana arrest policy seemingly designed to increase those disparities. That makes the mayor a hypocrite, the protestors charged.
“Mayor Bloomberg is talking out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to helping young Black and Latino men like me,” said Alfredo Carrasquillo, a community organizer for VOCAL-NY who has been targeted under stop-and-frisk practices, illegally searched and falsely arrested for marijuana possession. “The money for his Young Men’s Initiative goes to waste along with the taxpayer dollars he’s wasting on pursuing his marijuana arrests crusade in my community.”
“New York City is spending $75 million dollars a year to arrest and prosecutor mostly young people of color simply for possessing marijuana — which is not a crime in New York State.” said Harry Levine, Queens College Professor and founder of the Marijuana Arrest Research Project. “It is long past time for this outrage to stop.”
It isn’t just activists who have taken notice. Lawmakers in Albany have crafted bipartisan legislation, Assembly Bill 7620, introduced by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D, WFP-Brooklyn), and companion measure Senate Bill 5187, introduced by Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo), that would standardize marijuana possession penalties statewide, enforcing the original legislative intent of the 1977 decriminalization law. Dozens of New York City council members have signed onto a resolution supporting those bills and calling to end to the mass marijuana arrests.
“The explosion of low level marijuana arrests in New York City is a tremendous waste of precious law enforcement resources and needlessly scars thousands of young lives,” said Jeffries. “Our legislation is an additional step toward a more equitable criminal justice system that treats everyone the same, regardless of race or socioeconomic status.”
Activists in the city aren’t waiting for Albany to ride to the rescue. They are planning more street actions, including one next month, said the Drug Policy Alliance’s Frederique, and they’re looking for some white guys.
“We will be having an action in April, but haven’t yet decided on the date and location, or the exact nature of the action,” she said. “We’re trying to get white men under 30 to show up, since those are the people who actually smoke marijuana, but don’t get arrested. And we are cordially inviting New York City’s most famous pot smoker, Mayor Bloomberg, to attend.”
An organizing meeting for the April action will take place next Wednesday, April 4, at 113 West 13th Street in Manhattan. Contact the organizations linked to above for more information.
Damn the police. They are the same everywhere. Bunch of uneducated cowboys who watch too much TV. Of course, police officers involved in these horrible incidents rarely get charged and if they do they almost never get convicted. Lou
A coroner’s inquest in Burnaby, B.C., has heard the recording of the panicked 911 call Heather Hannon made after her common-law husband locked her out of their townhouse following a drunken argument on a fateful night in August of 2010.
The call brought police to the house where they shot and killed Alvin Wright, then 22, after a confrontation in the couple’s upstairs bedroom.
Hannon told the inquest that she, Wright, his brother and a friend were already drunk when they decided to go to a Cloverdale strip bar for more drinks. When the time came to leave, Alvin wanted to drive home and became angry when Hannon refused and then left without him.
When he got home, he kicked her out of the house and she called police.
On the 911 recording played at the inquest on Monday, a man could be heard swearing.
Heather Hannon told the dispatcher: “I’ve never seen him like this.”
The dispatcher asked her: “Can you get out of the house?”
Hannon replied: “Please come, now.”
According to police testimony given in the course of a B.C. police complaints commission investigation, police arrived to find Wright upstairs, hiding in a closet, armed with a hatchet and hunting knife.
Police said they shot Wright when he failed to respond to their warnings, and advanced on them.
When Hannon was asked if she expected police to shoot Alvin when she called them, she broke down in tears.
She said: “I’ll never call the cops again, for anything.”
A 2011 Vancouver police investigation into the incident cleared the officer who shot and killed Wright.
But lawyer Don Sorochan, who is representing Hannon in a lawsuit she launched against the RCMP, asked that the Langley detachment superintendent be compelled to testify at the coroner’s inquest.
Sorochan said he wants to know why police held a special meeting called by the detachment superintendent the morning after the shooting. He said he wants the notes from that meeting made available.
Sorochan also wants the police force to explain why Hannon was held without charge for RCMP questioning, and why her cell phone was confiscated.
With files from the CBC’s Mike Clarke
US Authorities Hit Google With 70% Rise In Takedown Orders
Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The number of takedown orders received by Google from authorities based in the United States rose dramatically over the past year, with demands to remove information, including videos containing “government criticism,” increasing by 70 per cent.
“In the US, Google received 757 takedown requests across its sites and services, up 70 per cent from the second half of last year,” reports technology website V3.co.uk.
“US authorities also called for the removal of 113 videos from YouTube, including several documenting alleged police brutality which Google refused to take down.”
The figures are revealed in Google’s newly released transparency report, which also details how the number of “user data requests” by US authorities increased by 29 per cent compared to the last reporting period.
The reason listed for the removal of a You Tube video in one instance is “government criticism”. The exact identity or content of the video is not divulged. The report states that the removal requests pertaining to “police brutality” were done on the grounds of “defamation” and are included in that separate category, meaning the takedown order on the grounds of “government criticism” was made by the “executive,” ie the federal government.
The report does not indicate whether or not You Tube complied with the removal request, but it did comply with 63 per cent of the total requests made.
The number of “Items requested to be removed” by US authorities was almost seven-fold the number requested to be removed by Chinese authorities, a country much maligned for its Internet censorship policies.
As we have previously documented, Google-owned You Tube has complied with thousands of requests worldwide to remove political protest videos that are clearly not in violation of any copyright or national security interests and do not constitute defamation.
One such example was You Tube’s compliance with a request from the British government to censor footage of the British Constitution Group’s Lawful Rebellion protest, during which they attempted to civilly arrest Judge Michael Peake at Birkenhead county court.
When viewers in the UK attempted to watch videos of the protest, they were met with the message, “This content is not available in your country due to a government removal request.”
Indeed, the latest figures show that takedown requests on behalf of British authorities have also skyrocketed by 71 per cent, including 44 removal orders in the first half of this year which came directly from the UK government, one of which was the Birkenhead protest footage.
In Britain, a total of 135 videos were removed from You Tube on the grounds of “national security” and 43 web search results were also blacklisted by government decree.
These figures illustrate how governments, particularly the United States and Britain, are getting more aggressive in pushing for web censorship as the state increasingly tries to strangle the last bastion of true free speech, the Internet, as authorities simultaneously try to advance draconian cybersecurity measures that would hand them complete control over the world wide web.
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show.
For all the evidence of how the War on Drugs has failed society, there’s equally as much evidence of how it is a great success to those who continue to support it. The drug war has many advantages if you wish to control society and expand your empire. It also enriches several industries that would otherwise have a very difficult time staying solvent without it.
Here are ten ways the War on Drugs is a wild success:
Military-Industrial Profits: As the Vietnam War came to an end, it struck fear into the military-industrial machine that enjoyed great profits from that conflict. In a world where contrived enemies were needed to keep a constant funding of weapons, Richard Nixon declared drugs “Public Enemy Number 1″. Thus, domestic armies were erected to combat the illegal drug trade, delivering consistent cash flow to weapons manufacturers. These companies make money, not just from the needs of the DEA, border patrol, and local police forces, but also from drug traffickers. Win-win and profits all around.
Huge Boon to Private Prisons: The private prison industry thrives off long sentences for drug offenders. At least 25% of their profits come from these nonviolent criminals. A great number more are held on “drug related” charges that may have resulted in drug violence. However, the current trend shows that three-quarters of new inmates admitted to state prisons are nonviolent offenders. Private prisons clearly depend on arresting pot smokers and addicts of more severe drugs.
Prevents Higher Unemployment Rates: Imagine if the millions of American currently jailed on drug charges were released into a job market already suffering from real unemployment numbers over 20%. Additionally, if it wasn’t for drugs being illegal, countless people like DEA agents, court staff, prison guards, parole officers, drug dealers, etc would otherwise be unemployed. Thank goodness for the war on drugs, or the U.S. economy would look even worse.
Suppresses Minority Populations: It’s often said that the drug war is a war on minorities: “According to the ACLU, African Americans make up an estimated 15% of drug users, but they account for 37% of those arrested on drug charges, 59% of those convicted and 74% of all drug offenders sentenced to prison. Or consider this: The U.S. has 260,000 people in state prisons on nonviolent drug charges; 183,200 (more than 70%) of them are black or Latino.” So it is a huge success for those who wish to suppress minority populations.
Drives Up Prices: Making any substance illegal will result in much higher prices than a free market would dictate. Especially when there’s a high demand for that substance. In the case of the cannabis plant, which grows like a weed and requires very little value added, the dried flower would virtually be free if it wasn’t for the harsh restrictions and dangers involved in producing and distributing it. These high prices are terrific for drug dealers and even medical marijuana growers opposed legalization in California because it threatened their profits.
Drug Violence Justifies Tough Gun Laws: The violence generated from the prohibition of drugs is reminiscent of the extreme mob violence during the prohibition of alcohol. Prohibition of anything will always create black markets which require firearms to protect banned products. Recently, the U.S. government itself was caught red-handed supplying guns to Mexican drug cartels in their “Fast and Furious” scandal. It’s now proven that the ATF plotted to use Fast and Furious to push for new gun control regulations. Indeed, most street violence is due to turf wars over the drug trade, and tougher gun laws are proposed as the war escalates. It’s wonderful for those who blame violence on guns and wish to restrict them from law-abiding citizens.
Protects Big Pharma Monopolies: No one is happier about the war on drugs than Big Pharma. Their control over the FDA and monopoly of “controlled substances” would be threatened if all drugs were legalized. They want you addicted to their FDA-approved versions of heroin and cocaine, not something you can get on the black market. In turn, they also benefit greatly when the prices of street drugs increase, as they can then inflate the cost of their products. They love the drug war so much they’ve lobbied to extend it to vitamins and supplements.
Allows Proxy Armies: If you want to create an empire by force, but it’s politically disadvantageous to base your army in certain countries, then the global war on drugs is your ticket to supplying troops or creating proxy armies. One of the most recent examples is Costa Rica, a peaceful country in Central America without an army, where the U.S. bribed the government to allow the Navy and Marines to be stationed off the Caribbean coast to fight the war on drugs. In other nations where even this won’t be allowed, the CIA funds and arms one of the drug cartels who then act as their hired enforcers, or they’re used as an excuse for governments to accept U.S. help to combat the enemy they created. In either case, the U.S. sells more arms and trains soldiers to be used upon command.
Keeps Big Banks Flush with Cash: It has long been known that big banks happily launder money for the big drug cartels. According to The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), “Up to 1.5 trillion dollars in drug money are laundered through legal enterprises, accounting for 5% of global GDP.” Take just this year and one bank, Wachovia; who had to pay a slap-on-the-wrist fine for laundering more than $420 billion for Mexican drug cartels. Imagine where the big banks would be without this money, given that they also needed a bailout of over $23 trillion for lack of sufficient deposits to pay for their gambling habits.
Funds CIA Black Ops: Do you ever wonder where the U.S. government gets all that money for their secret “Black Ops” like underground bases, secret wars, corporate takeovers and seed money, etc? It’s been proven over and over that the CIA (and Pentagon) controls a large majority of the illicit drug trade either directly or indirectly through proxies mentioned above. They’ve been caught in the act of shipping in massive amounts of cocaine, while the CIA now openly admits to protecting and facilitating the opium trade in Afghanistan. If it wasn’t for this tremendous profit, the CIA would not be able to build their secret shadow government.
So, as you can see, there are great benefits to the War on Drugs depending what side of the coin you’re on. If you’re a poor pot smoker, well, you’re out of luck. But if you’re the biggest heroin and cocaine dealer in the world and desire a monopoly . . . well, you’ve got the world right where you want it.