A police officer forcibly escorted Baltimore Sun photo editor Chris Assaf away from the scene of a police-involved shooting on Feb. 21. He had been taking pictures from outside the police lines, but an officer told him he had to move back further. Assaf protested, stating he was within his First Amendment rights to be where he was standing. Another officer then forced him to move. The Sun is posting all of Assaf’s images from the shooting scene as well as photos taken by Sun photographer Lloyd Fox, who witnessed and documented the incident. Lt. Eric Kowalczk, the chief spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department, said the department has opened an internal investigation into the allegation. He declined to comment more specifically on the incident, “because we have an investigation and we don’t want to prejudice that.” (contains some mildly graphic pictures in both links)
George Monbiot - "...Before I explain it, here’s a summary of what we know already. Thanks to the remarkable investigations pursued first by the victims of police spies and then by the Guardian journalists Rob Evans and Paul Lewis (whose book Undercover is as gripping as any thriller), we know that British police have been inserting undercover officers into protest movements since 1968(2). Their purpose was to counter what they called subversion or domestic extremism, which they define as seeking to “prevent something from happening or to change legislation or domestic policy … outside the normal democratic process”(3). Which is a good description of how almost all progressive change happens."
Contempt of Cop Activists range from hard-conservative gun rights types, who carry copies of the Constitution in their pockets, to left-leaning civil liberties advocates. In both cases, they triumphantly upload video trophies of their confrontations to the internet. Quite a few show "checkpoint refusals" at roadblocks erected by police looking for drunken drivers, or by federal agents hunting illegal aliens. Courts here have held that police have the right to operate such stops. But the courts have also ruled that citizens are free to remain silent, and can refuse to allow searches and ignore orders to submit to "secondary inspections" unless police detain them — which requires the higher hurdle of reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe an offence has been committed. [more inside]
Sting makes $2,000 a day because Puffy Daddy and his record label didn't bother clearing the rights when they sampled "Every Breath You Take" for "I'll Be Missing You." Even though Andy Summers wrote the guitar line that you hear. It's still a sensitive subject.
NY Mag on the fallout of false testimony that sends an innocent parent to jail.
The LA Times recounts the Manhunt of Christopher Dorner from Feb. 3-12, 2013 through a series of interviews and research. Previously [more inside]
"From Brownsville to downtown Manhattan, I would estimate that I passed more than 200 police officers, some from a distance, some close enough to touch. Though I was conspicuously casing high-profile public targets while holding graffiti instruments, not one of them stopped, frisked, searched, detained, summonsed, or arrested me. I would have to go further."
"Am I safe? Is what I have, my memory of the event and your scribbled notes, enough to get this guy? Should I tweet about this?" C. D. Hermelin is mugged in broad daylight in Manhattan’s Financial District.
Earl Sampson has been stopped and questioned by Miami Gardens police 258 times in four years. He’s been searched more than 100 times. And arrested and jailed 56 times. Almost every citation was issued at the same place: the 207 Quickstop, a convenience store on 207th Street in Miami Gardens. But Sampson isn’t loitering. He works as a clerk at the Quickstop.
"Let's say you have neighbors complaining about a drug house on the corner," he says. "They don't feel safe. It's a menace. Now, you could do a long investigation, culminating in a big raid. But in the meantime, the neighbors still have to live with the menace. Why not just send two uniformed cops to the house that same afternoon? They knock. They say, 'Hey. Knock it off.' The drug dealers pick up and leave. No guns drawn, no raid. Which approach will have a more immediate effect on the neighborhood?" - Salt Lake City police chief Chris Burbank's efforts to reform policing.
Police firing GPS tracking 'bullets' at cars during chases. The GPS Launcher sits behind the grille of a police vehicle and deploys tracking tags onto fleeing vehicles. The launcher is activated by a control panel (located inside the vehicle) or by a remote key FOB. The launcher, containing two tags, is activated by a control panel (located inside the vehicle) or by a remote key FOB. The system also includes an on-board air compressor. Installation required. Starchase: The Pursuit Ends Here.
Nightmare in Maryville - The Kansas City Star investigates the backlash against the victims family after rape charges were brought (and dropped) against local atheletes. The pattern of victim blaming and local indiference have brought comparisons to the Steubenville, Ohio case (previously) and anger on the internet. Meanwhile the Grand Jury investigation into Steubenville has brought it's first charges against an adult involved with the cover-up.
On Tuesday, a court in India convicted four men of "rape, unnatural sex, murder, conspiracy and destruction of evidence" after they brutally gang-raped a woman on a bus in Delhi last December. The woman died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital. When news broke, it sparked protests (previously) and raised awareness worldwide about the plight of many women in India. Now that the verdict is in, the Guardian analyzes the incident to see how "the nation's surge to superpower status has left millions behind struggling on the margins." (Links in this post contain descriptions of rape and assault which some may find disturbing.) [more inside]
How Joe Redner Invented The Lap Dance, Built A Strip-Club Empire, Became A Model Citizen, Fought For Your Rights, And Beat Cancer
I had never been so confident of a convicted defendant’s innocence. And I never imagined nearly 12 years would pass before Cook County prosecutors would admit the truth and dismiss his conviction. But it finally happened. On June 28, 2013, Daniel, who was arrested at age 17, was released at age 38, having spent more than 20 years behind bars. [more inside]
"Maria Ridulph was 7 when she was kidnapped from a street corner in Sycamore, Illinois, on December 3, 1957. Her kidnapping and murder is the nation's oldest cold case to go to trial. It required family members to turn against one of their own and haunted a small town for 55 years. Even now, the case may not be over." CNN: Taken: The Coldest Case Ever Solved [more inside]
Over the last year and a half, I have been visiting São Paulo and, especially, Rio de Janeiro, observing the process of “pacification,” by which the government attempts to peacefully enter and reestablish state control over the most violent enclaves of the city, those dominated by drug gangs called traficantes, or by syndicates of corrupt police called militias. Until 2008, when the pacification program started, the traficantes controlled roughly half of the favelas, and the militias the other half. Both still hold power in most favelas. The ultimate aim of the state government of Rio’s plan, called the Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP), or Police Pacification Unit, is to drive both of these groups out and replace them by the state. (SLNYRB)
Following last November's passage of Initiative 502, which legalized personal possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, the Seattle Police Department has confirmed via their Twitter account that they will be giving away Doritos at this year's Seattle Hempfest, along with information about citizens' rights and responsibilities as granted by the new law.
Stop and Frisk violated the constitutional rights of New Yorkers, federal judge holds. The ruling comes after the two-month trial in Floyd v. City of New York and finds the tactics and policies of the NYPD in conducting stop-and-frisk systemically violates both the 4th and 14th Amendments of New Yorkers of color. Stopping short of striking down stop-and-frisk more broadly, already upheld numerous times by the Supreme Court, Judge Scheindlin ordered an independent monitor to oversee reforms to the practice.
Taken: The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture. "Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?" [Via]
Why Did You Shoot Me? I was reading a book. - A look at America's warrior cops.
In 1985, McDonalds sued left-wing activists in the UK for libel over a pamphlet accusing the multinational food giant of environmental destruction, abuses of workers' rights and selling junk food. The ensuing trial became the longest-running civil trial in English history, ending in 1997 in a Pyrrhic victory for McDonalds, who had lost millions of pounds in pursuing the case, and won £40,000 for their trouble. (The judgment was later overturned in the European Court of Human Rights.) Now, it has been revealed that the leaflet in question had been co-written by an undercover police officer assigned to infiltrate Greenpeace. The officer in question, Bob Lambert, had previously spent years infiltrating environmental groups, even fathering children with activists before disappearing. [more inside]
Brazilian favelas have a long and sordid history, initially constructed as a shanty town by soldiers who had nowhere to live. Then the poor people from rural areas moved to the cities for job opportunities, expanding the favelas. Today, there are over 500 favelas, with about a third of Rio de Janeiro's population, and they're growing. The three primary drug gangs that fight for control in the favelas formed in the 1970s (PDF), but they were formed not solely by fighters, but also political radicals, and these gangs provide some social services where the government does not. That is, until the Pacifying Police Units were formed in 2008, with the goal of pushing the gangs out and providing government stability from a live-in police force. But this isn't just to an effort to end the gang violence -- the slums are being swept ahead of the tourist rush, and the shanty towns are now seeing a rapid gentrification from non-Brazilians and speculators.
Officer Serrano’s Hidden Camera "Once he joined the 4-0, nothing seemed clear-cut. 'Every now and then, we would have to be put in a van and hunt, basically…'"
Chris Sims, formerly of Comics Alliance (previously) , takes a look at 7 awesome moments in the greatest police training video ever.
Bernie "Whistling" Smith, a legendary, no-nonsense Vancouver cop was the subject of this 1975. Oscar nominated documentary. [more inside]
A former LAPD detective gives commentary on the 1940s LAPD simulator, L.A. Noire (previously, previously, and so)
Brief disturbance earlier at 5th and Jackson between superheroes and clowns. Everything's under control.
Before the National Enquirer, TMZ, Globe, The Star and other gossip tabloids, there was the National Police Gazette. Founded in 1845, it originally covered "highwaymen and suchlike malefactors, the thought being that the public would get on to the evil-doers and fix their wagons." Thirty years later a new owner transformed 'the oldest weekly in America' into a full-on tabloid covering "murders, Wild West outlaws, and sport... well known for its engravings and photographs of scantily clad strippers, burlesque dancers, and prostitutes, often skirting on the edge of what [was] legally considered obscenity." Some even consider it "America’s first popular men’s magazine." The Gazette shut down in 1977, but has now been resurrected. [more inside]
When police carried out a routine stop-and-search of her boyfriend on the London Underground, Gemma Atkinson filmed the incident. She was detained, handcuffed and threatened with arrest. She launched a legal battle, which ended with the police settling the case in 2010. With the money from the settlement she funded the production of this animated film, which she says shows how her story and highlights police misuse of counterterrorism powers to restrict photography. [more inside]
What started as a report of a convenience store robbery near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last night has sprawled into a chaotic manhunt for the perpetrators of the recent terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon. The deadly pursuit, involving a policeman's murder, a carjacking, a violent chase with thrown explosives, and the death of one suspect, has resulted in Governor Deval Patrick ordering an unprecedented lockdown of the entire Boston metropolitan area as an army of law enforcement searches house by house for the remaining gunman. The Associated Press has identified the duo as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, who remains at large. Both are immigrants from wartorn Chechnya in southwestern Russia. The Guardian liveblog is good for quick updates, and Reddit's updating crowdsourced timeline of events that has often outpaced mainstream media coverage of the situation. You can also get real-time reports straight from the (Java-based) local police scanner.
On May 16, 1934, the Teamsters local 574 of Minneapolis, Minnesota called for a strike to stop all truck deliveries in the city not run by union workers. This 1981 documentary tells the story in the workers' own words. Part 1, part 2.
A joint interview with the Police from April 2000. A career-spanning reminiscence rich with bickering, musical insights, and curse words. [more inside]
When it hits you, no matter how much you expect it, it comes as a surprise — a literal shock, like a baseball bat swung hard and squarely into the small of your back. That sensation — which is actually two sharp steel barbs piercing your skin and shooting electricity into your central nervous system — is followed by the harshest, most violent charlie horse you can imagine coursing through your entire body. With the pain comes the terrifying awareness that you are completely helpless. You cannot move. You lose control of almost everything and the only place you can go is down, face first to the floor. That’s what it feels like to be hit with a Taser.
Boston taxi cab drivers, often cheated, work in a world where risk and reward are a mismatch. [more inside]
The Crown Prosecution Service insisted on getting a statement from PC (Police Constable) Peach, even after it was pointed out that the officer in question was in fact PD (Police Dog) Peach, so eventually the West Midlands Police provided the demanded witness statement.
Arrested for carrying condoms? Maybe not any more. Last week, California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced legislation that will prevent police from arresting or charging someone for sexual solicitation based solely on the possession of one or more condoms. [more inside]
In December, the Philadelphia police department released a csv database of major crimes (murder, rape, burglary, etc) since 2006. Since then, community software developers have been mapping the data. The community involvement is hoped to spur the future release of large city data sets. [more inside]
Timeline: Christopher Dorner is a former U.S. marine and police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. He is wanted in the largest manhunt in LAPD history. Dorner is wanted for the alleged murder of a police officer and a young couple from Irvine (though evidence linking the murders to him is still largely circumstantial). During the ongoing investigation, LAPD officers have wounded various civilians in three separate cases of mistaken identity. In once incident, officers fired dozens of shots at a car in Torrance, CA, wounding two women who were delivering newspapers. [more inside]
Free the Cannibal Cop: His fantasies are sick. His prosecution is even sicker.
[No pictures, text has graphic content around sex and violence.]
[No pictures, text has graphic content around sex and violence.]