Prior to the G20 last weekend in Toronto, the Government of Ontario met in a closed session. Police Chief Bill Blair announced on Friday June 25th that, in this session, a law was passed
giving police new powers
to demand identification from -- and conduct unwarranted searches of -- anyone approaching within 5 metres of the security fence that had been erected around the downtown core. This law was enforced all weekend; there were more than 900 arrests
. Now that the G20 has passed and the proceedings of the closed government session are coming to light, it's become apparent that the law never existed at all. Bill Blair has now acknowledged that he made the whole thing up to "keep the criminals out." [more inside]
ACLU launches "Spyfiles" to track domestic surveillance.
"The American Civil Liberties Union launched a new website
Tuesday to track incidents of domestic political surveillance by the government along with a report
(PDF) claiming such incidents have increased steadily since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. According to the report there have been 111 incidents of illegal domestic political surveillance since 9/11 in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The website, Spyfiles
, will serve as the ACLU's online home for all news and reports of domestic spying."
Feds under pressure to open US skies to drones.
Last week, the FAA released a fact sheet
, which states in part that "one of the most promising potential uses for small UASs
is in law enforcement." They've already allowed
the Border Patrol to use Predator drones as a "key force multiplier" along the Mexican border. Local law enforcement wants in
on the game. Britons, you're next
- or first
? [more inside]
"Now, I'm willing to admit the policeman has a difficult job, a very hard job. But it's the essence of our society that the policeman's job should
be hard. He's there to protect the free citizen, not to chase criminals—that's an incidental part of his job. The free citizen is always more of a nuisance to the policeman than the criminal. He knows what to do about the criminal." Orson Welles' musings on privacy and its erosion, police harassment, and the need for an International Association for the Protection of the Individual Against Officialdom.
) [more inside]
"In at least three states (Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland), it is now illegal to record an on-duty police officer
even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists. The legal justification for arresting the “shooter” rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws
, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited." Previously
. One of the illegal recordings
, embedded in an article. [more inside]
On the heels of the highly publicized Missouri raid that ended in the death of a corgi (previously
), a seven year-old girl has been killed
in a no-knock
raid in Detroit. According to one of Radley Balko's commenters
, the family may have been targeted because they shared a two-family duplex with the target of the raid.
Proposed austerity measures
in response to Greece's economic crisis
have led to riots and three deaths
. However, this isn't the first time
that riots have shaken Greece in response to the economic turmoil. One dog has seen them all
Two years ago, Police Officer Adrian Schoolcraft
, an officer in Brooklyn's 81st Precinct, became gravely concerned about how the public was being served. To document his concerns, he began carrying around a digital sound recorder, secretly recording his colleagues and superiors. Initially he carried the recorder to protect himself from the civilian complaints
that can result from street encounters. But then he began to document things happening in the precinct that bothered him. After he ran afoul of precinct politics, he recorded what he viewed as retaliation by his bosses. The Village Voice
is releasing portions of the tapes in batches and is also publishing several stories to deal with the issues that the recordings present. In this week's installment
, the Voice looks at the roll calls at the Bed-Stuy precinct and the conflicting instructions given to street cops, who must look busy at all times, while actually suppressing crime reports.
Better late than never
A report by Police Commander John Cass says an unnamed SPG officer dealt the fatal blow to Blair Peach.
California police have raided the home
of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen
, and seized his computers. Chen posted Gizmodo's review
of Apple's next-generation iPhone, which had been left in a bar by a staff member (previously
). Media reports
say that police are considering criminal charges against the person who sold the phone to Gizmodo. Assuming that the police were not investigating Chen himself for breaking the law, the case raises the question
of whether bloggers such as Chen are journalists under the law.
1. Always be calm and cool. 2. You have the right to remain silent. 3. You have the right to refuse searches... 10 Rules for Dealing with Police. [more inside]
Video of University of Maryland student John McKenna being punched, kicked, and beaten with clubs by Prince George's County police.
McKenna was charged with disorderly conduct and assaulting a police officer; the police report claims that he had punched the officers and their horses, and that his injuries were due to being kicked by the horses. The video shows otherwise.
The New Orleans Public Library's Hidden from History
exhibit, now online, uses turn-of-the-century mugshots from the NOPD to consider issues of public identity, private life, and the anonymity of history.
- "How Britain is using classical music as a form of social control".
The Silver Thief: The Story of a Burglar Who Was Too Good for His Own Good
: The story of Blane Nordahl, an eminent silver thief in New Jersey and the hunt for him.
In Washington D.C. yesterday a snowball fight was organized via Twitter. About two hundred people showed up at 14th. and U Streets and were having a fun time. Some cars got caught in the crossfire. The driver of a Hummer was not pleased. He got out of his car and brandished a gun
. A 9-1-1 call was made. Police responded to reports of a man with a gun
. It turns out that the Hummer driver is a plain-clothes D.C. detective
. Detective Baylor admitted to pulling out his gun
. [more inside]
We've talked about tasers on Mefi
before. We've all heard about the tasing of mouthy grandmothers
, recalcitrant students
, and diabetics
. But as a method
of controlling a 10 year old's
temper tantrum? Stanford University
[PDF] released a report saying that tasers should only be used in situations where the suspect is dangerous, and should not be used on children
. However, there seems to be a trend
where the taser
is being used
and a disciplinary tool
, rather than as a tool to protect officers.
During the last week, a senior detective in Novorossiysk, Russia named Alexei Dymovsky had a viral hit
on YouTube with a series of videos (in Russian: 1
. With English subtitles: 1
) complaining about working conditions, accusing officers of corruption, and claiming that he and other police were ordered to stage crimes in order to put innocent people in jail. Dymovsky was promptly fired, but the Russian government has since admitted that parts of the police have been turned into criminal businesses
. More here
Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio
is controversial to be sure. He has been accused of using his office to retaliate against critics
, and he has thumbed his nose at the feds
. Are his rank and file officers following his lead? What's up with this
Alleged serial killer and convicted rapist Anthony Sowell
is creating even bigger problems for the Cleveland police department, who have been accused of joking about
missing victims, passing the blame onto those victims and outright incompetence
. As of today, the body count is up to 10 (plus one skull), and people around the world
are wondering what went wrong.
After a spate of recent deaths, efforts to rehabilitate homeless chronic inebriates in Anchorage now include involuntary confinement
. Other city-wide efforts include a mayoral decree that established homeless camps should be scattered. [more inside]
, one of the leading Chinese artists of his generation, has undergone emergency brain surgery
after being beaten by police
. [more inside]
JERICHO, Ark. — It was just too much, having to return to court twice on the same day to contest yet another traffic ticket, and Fire Chief Don Payne didn't hesitate to tell the judge what he thought of the police and their speed traps. The response from cops? They shot him. Right there in court.
Two Jersey Shore cops stop Bob Dylan
, taking an afternoon walk in Long Branch, NJ. Neither recognizes him. He has no I.D with him. but the situation is soon peacefully rectified. At least he didn't start up with them like he might have long ago
.Don't think twice, it's alright.
Acting on criticisms
and pressure from law enforcement
, Craigslist has announced
it will shut down
its "erotic services" category in the U.S. Reaction
and some are suggesting
that online prostitution
will simply find a new name
Police in Denmark target bike riders. SLYT
Police in Denmark take drastic steps to change the habits of bike riders...
The Wire - David Simon's original pitch and series bible.
"At the end of thirteen episodes, the viewer - who has been lured all this way by a well-constructed police show - is not the simple gratification of hearing handcuffs click. Instead the conclusion is something Euripides or O'Neill might recognize: an America at every level at war with itself." [Previously.
20 years ago today
, a crush of fans at the Leppings Lane entrance of Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough Stadium
killed 96 people, among them the cousin of current Liverpool player Steven Gerrard
(who has the dubious honour of being the youngest victim). Coming just 4 years after the Heysel stadium disaster
, which killed 39 people and was officially blamed on Liverpool fans, and almost two decades of hooligan violence, the most obvious or convenient conclusion was that history had repeated itself. [more inside]
When the economy slows down, ticket writing speeds up.
Traffic cameras spark anger
from citizens. Researchers find that they increase crashes.
Find the red light cameras near you.
Download a free warning system
to your iPhone or Blackberry. In Mississippi? You're in luck. Red light cameras have been banned.
In the Chicago area? Too bad. Speed cameras are coming too.
The Wellesley College Daily Police Log is available online.
Unfortunately, the individual days are PDFs. But it gives a glimpse into the gritty
realities of day-to-day policing. Case Closed.
"Meet Officer Vaughan Ettienne
, the bodybuilder
who learned the hard way you shouldn't write like a thug online, or a jury might just suspect you of mistreating a suspect." Ettienne arrested Gary Waters for gun possession. At trial "the defense found things Ettienne said online and turned them against him
." "Mr. Waters, on parole from a burglary conviction when he was arrested, beat the most serious charge
, the felony possession of a 9 millimeter Beretta and a bagful of ammunition. He was convicted of resisting arrest, a misdemeanor."
Homophobia is still alive and well in... San Francisco?!
The DNA Lounge
, the high-tech nightclub
of former Mozilla/Netscape wunderkind Jamie Zawinski
, has apparently run afoul of the local Alcohol Beverage Control board.
In 2008, during a period of time when the DNA Lounge -- with SFPD
and neighborhood approval -- successfully appealed an ABC decision blocking the club from offering all-ages live music, the ABC sent agents into the club during their GLBT nights, and are now trying to shut the club down for "lewdness", "discrimination", and "running a disorderly house
injurious to the public welfare and morals
".(NSFW!) The DNA is determined not to go quietly
into this goodnight
15 year old girl in holding cell beaten by Seattle Cop
Caught on Camera. 15 year old girl in holding cell beaten by Seattle Cop. Not surprisingly the cop's lawyer didn't want this video published.
Three police officers were sentenced today
for killing 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in a paramilitary-style raid.
The officers shot Ms Johnson five or six times and then handcuffed her while they planted drugs in her basement. She bled to death on the floor of her own home. The Agitator
covers the story through a single headline headline
. The officers will receive Federal sentences of between five and ten years each as well as - a nice touch - being forced to pay for her funeral
"Republican politicians on Thursday called for a sweeping new federal law
that would require all Internet providers and operators of millions of Wi-Fi access points, even hotels, local coffee shops, and home users, to keep records about users for two years to aid police investigations." To be fair, it's not just Republicans
who like this idea.
Racism in Austria
is a problem that has been well documented
for quite some time. With the recent rise of the far right political parties
, however, things seem to be getting worse. The recent case involving an African American teacher who was mistaken for a drug dealer and beaten by the police
however has the potential to bring some changes to the country.
What is the Association of Chief Police Officers
(ACPO)? It is a private company, financed by UK taxpayers, immune from freedom of information requests.
It dictates police operations and sells police national computer data.
It may also be engaged in covert domestic surveillance
of what it deems as extremists:
antiwar protesters, strikers, and others. According to an ACPO spokesperson ""there doesn't seem to be a single, commonly agreed definition."
Back in 2006 on her parent's property in Galveston, a girl went outside to switch on a tripped breaker. She was wearing tight shorts. She was 12-years-old.
Dymond Milburn got the living daylights beaten out of her and was hospitalized by 3 plain-clothes policemen on the mistaken pretense that she was a hooker
. "You're a prostitute. You're coming with me."
The final arguments of the trial were heard yesterday
and it was declared a mistrial
The Milburns have launched a Federal suit against the officers.
Robert Pinter, a 52-year-old gay man who was arrested for prostitution at the Blue Door in the East Village on Oct. 10, spoke at the town hall meeting. He said a young man ... cruised him in the store. He was "charming and persistent, and we agreed to go home for consensual sex, but as we were leaving he said, 'I want to pay you $50 [to have sex].' I didn't respond, but I thought it was strange," Pinter recounted. As the men left the store, Pinter said, a group of men who did not show police identification pushed him against the wall. "I thought I'd been set up by a gang," he said. "I asked them why they were doing this to me. I was totally clueless. They handcuffed me and said, 'Why the f--- do you think we're arresting you — loitering for the purpose of prostitution.'"
Reminiscent of the criminalizing of consensual gay sex
in the Stonewall era, New York City cops are using questionable tactics to target, entrap, and falsely arrest gay men.
Cops regularly perjure themselves - Blue Lies. Though few officers will confess to lying -- after all, it's a crime -- work by researchers and a 1990s commission appointed to examine police corruption shows there's a tacit agreement among many officers that lying about how evidence is seized keeps criminals off the street....
Criminal-justice researchers say it's difficult to quantify how often perjury is being committed. According to a 1992 survey, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges in Chicago said they thought that, on average, perjury by police occurs 20% of the time in which defendants claim evidence was illegally seized.
"It is an open secret long shared by prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges that perjury is widespread among law enforcement officers," though it's difficult to detect in specific cases, said Alex Kozinski, a federal appeals-court judge, in the 1990s. [more inside]
Police Officer Seen on Tape Shoving a Bicyclist Is Indicted
- Update to the widely viewed video
of a NYC police officer shoving a critical mass rider off of his bicycle, reported on MeFi here