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4 Police Tricks to Nab You For Pot and How You Can Beat Them

4 Police Tricks to Nab You For Pot and How You Can Beat Them 1024x682 4 Police Tricks to Nab You For Pot and How You Can Beat Them

According to the ACLU, marijuana arrests account for over half of all drug arrests–and 88% of those charges are simply for possession.

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Because of decades-old grant programs, local precincts are showered with money from the federal government if they keep their arrest numbers high. Police have a built-in financial incentive to focus their arrests on low-level drug offenders to fatten their arrest statistics, especially because these are some of the easiest arrests to make. This is a major reason why marijuana arrest rates have gone up in recent years, and why they make up the majority of all drug arrests nationally.

If you’re a cannabis aficionado who chooses to indulge in the herb, you are a walking dollar sign to the police. Your arrest can directly lead to more bullets, armor, assault rifles and other toys, and may even be used to justify higher cop wages. You’re more useful to them imprisoned than free, and they will try their hardest to manipulate you into giving them a reason for arrest. They can even make false threats to trick you into waiving your rights.

What follows are the four most common ways police deceive people into incriminating themselves for marijuana possession. Heed these warnings and remember the advice so you can avoid giving the cops a reason to arrest you.

Although our laws are meant to protect everyone equally, some police treat people differently based on a number of factors, particularly race. The ACLU reported last summer that blacks are almost four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession. Other activist groups have found that law enforcement officers kill one black American roughly every 28 hours. Should you choose to invoke any of the rights detailed below, you must do so while remaining hyper-aware of how you are perceived by police based on your race, and then proceed with caution.

1. Giving officers “reasonable suspicion” by talking too much. A cop has no right to detain you without reasonable suspicion. “Reasonable suspicion” is a murky standard that isn’t as definitive as hard evidence, but requires more than a hunch, as Flex Your Rights explains:

A combination of particular facts, even if each is individually insignificant, can form the basis of reasonable suspicion. For example, police may have reasonable suspicion to detain someone who fits a description of a criminal suspect, a suspect who drops a suspicious object after seeing police, or a suspect in a high crime area who runs after seeing police.

If a cop simply stops and pummels you with questions, he has no right to force you to stick around and answer. In fact, if you’re carrying a bit of green on you, your best bet for avoiding trouble is to use your constitutional right to silence. Here’s what I mean.

Let’s say you just bought an eighth of deliciously fresh green shimmering with sticky trichomes. You’re walking to a friend’s house for some communal smoking when suddenly a young police officer stops you to ask some questions—just the standard inquiries: Who are you, where are you going, where are you coming from, etc.

You think, “Shit! I’m screwed! But maybe if I’m really nice, he/she will let me go.”

You decide to blab away in an overly polite tone under the delusion that he/she isn’t aware of your charm offensive. You notice your tactic isn’t working, and out of nervousness you begin stammering and giving inconsistent answers—which is a cause for reasonable suspicion. The cop then decides to search you, finding your weed and brandishing it in the open, which gives him/her the right to arrest you for having pot in “public view.” You’re cuffed, shunted off to jail and stuck with a petty possession charge.

To avoid this sour experience, Flex Your Rights recommends that if an officer stops you, you should always ask from the very start, “Officer, are you detaining me or am I free to go?” If the officer says you can go, you can continue on your way. If he gives a vague answer or continues to ask questions, continue repeating the magic words until he relents.

“If the officer says something like, ‘You’re not being detained. I just want to talk to you,’ then you are free to end the conversation and leave immediately, [without] wait[ing] for the officer to kindly dismiss you,” says Steve Silverman, executive director of Flex Your Rights.

If an officer tells you that you are being detained, that means you’re under arrest, in which case you should definitely inform him that you are choosing to stay silent; perhaps you can say something like, “I’m going to remain silent. I would like to see a lawyer.” Because you can be damned sure that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Also, DO NOT run away or trash-talk the cop. These are always causes for reasonable suspicion. Do your best to stay cool.

2. Consenting to a body search.Often, the police won’t inform you of your right not to consent to a search. Sometimes people will consent to a search even when they’re holding weed, either because they don’t know they can say no or because they’re worried about the officer’s reaction.

“The most powerful trick police use to make marijuana arrests on the street is to ask citizens to empty their pockets. Of course, this ‘ask’ generally sounds like a command when police shout, ‘What’s in your pockets? What do you got?’ Silverman of Flex Your Rights says. He also says the vast majority of people stopped will comply with a search regardless of what they have on them out of intimidation or confusion.

“Unless police feel a hard item during a pat-down that could be a weapon, they are not legally allowed to reach into your pockets,” he add.

4 Police Tricks to Nab You For Pot and How You Can Beat Them 1 4 Police Tricks to Nab You For Pot and How You Can Beat Them

Your right to refuse a search is expressly noted in the Fourth Amendment, which guards against “unreasonable searches and seizures” by the state. As with refusing to answer a nosy officer’s questions, you are legally within your rights to say no to a physical search unless the officer has a warrant.

“If the police say they have a search warrant, ask to see it. If they don’t, say ‘I do not consent to this search,’” advises the New York City Civil Liberties Union website. An officer may still illegally search you even if you say no, but at least you’ll protect your rights if you have to go to court.

3. Consenting to a vehicle search.This one follows the same legal guidelines of refusing a body search: unless the officer has a warrant, you do not need to give him permission to search your car. Calmly inform him that you are aware of your rights and that he cannot search your vehicle.

However, an officer can still order you out of your car if he wishes to do so, in which case you should comply. Once you are out of the vehicle, the officer may threaten you with false consequences if you continue to refuse a search.

“Beware that police can legally lie to you, so never let false threats or promises trick you into waving your rights,” says Judge William Murphy, a civil liberties advocate.

Once again, if the cop has no warrant or reasonable suspicion to search your vehicle, say the magic words: “Officer, are you detaining me or am I free to go?” Theoretically, he would then either give you a traffic citation and leave or just let you go on your way. However, experience has shown that officers sometimes become aggressive or even violent when a person exercises their rights. All you can really do in that situation is keep calm and continue to shield yourself from judicial damnation by asserting your lawfully guaranteed rights.

4. Letting the police enter your home.Without a warrant, you never have to open your door for police. No matter how hard they bang or how many times they smash their pointer against your doorbell, you can leave them out in the cold. Just say no.

Someone should have told that to former UNC basketball star Will Graves before he willfully allowed police to enter his coach’s home last December, which the athlete was renting while he completed his studies. When the cops came snooping at his door on a tip from a meter reader at a utility company, Graves allowed the cops to enter (probably out of fear), and for his courteousness he was cited (fortunately not arrested) for being in possession of a couple of blunts, a grinder and a handful of pot seeds.

Regardless of how unnatural or frightening (exhilarating?) it feels, always say no to a cop who is trying to get into your home without a warrant. You wouldn’t let a stranger in, and that’s exactly what a cop is.

Caveat: One way cops can claim to have “reasonable suspicion” to search your body, car or home is to say they smell marijuana. This is a difficult assertion to guard against since it’s your word against theirs. More than a few people have gone down after a search because a cop claimed to catch a whiff of weed. The “smell” provision overwhelmingly favors the police in most drug cases.

Here’s what Flex Your Rights says about the matter:

“If police say they smell marijuana…[a]ll you can really do is say, ‘Officer, I have nothing to hide, but I don’t consent to any searches.’ If they search you anyway and something is found, you’ll need an attorney to help you fight the charges. Unfortunately, police sometimes use tricks like this to circumvent your constitutional rights and there’s no perfect way to handle the situation. Of course, they are most likely to do this if they are suspicious of you for some reason, so do your best to stay calm.”

Source: Alternet

Seattle considering $1.6 million facial recognition surveillance system

Seattle considering 1.6 million facial recognition surveillance system Seattle considering $1.6 million facial recognition surveillance system

Privacy advocates in the Pacific Northwest are squaring off with local police over plans to install a system that would link surveillance camera video with databases containing photographs of hundreds of thousands of area residents.
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In Seattle, Washington, the City Council will soon decide on whether or not they should approve an ordinance that green-lights a $1.6 million federal grant, a large chunk of which will be used to purchase sophisticated facial recognition software that supporters of the measure say would help stop crime.

Those Department of Homeland Security dollars would let the Seattle police pay for software that digitally scans surveillance camera footage and then tries to match images of the individuals caught on tape with any one of the 350,000-or-so people who have been photographed previously by King County, Washington law enforcement.

“An officer has to reasonably believe that a person has been involved in a crime or committed a crime”before they begin to use the program, Assistant Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best told KIRO-TV this week

Once the facial recognition software is initiated, though, it scours a collection containing close to a half-a-million area residents — including many who may never have been convicted of a crime.

That database, members of the local Seattle Privacy anti-surveillance collective say, is composed of more than just the mug shots of convicted criminals. Images of anyone ever arrested and booked are included in that system, regardless of whether or not they were ever ultimately convicted of a crime. And according to a recent post on the Seattle Privacy website attributed to founding member Jan Bultmann, there has already been mention of perhaps someday including the driver’s license photos of the millions of adults across Washington state into that same system.

As currently proposed, though, “It would be a great way to expedite some searching we’re already doing,”Assistant Chief Best said of the plans during a City Council committee meeting earlier this month, the Seattle CrossCut reported“This only allows us to do it much more quickly and much more efficiently, with a little bit more efficacy.”

On Wednesday this week, the City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee met to discuss whether or not it should approve that DHS Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant in the amount of $1,645,955, and in turn purchase that “booking photo comparison software” and also amend the Seattle Police Department manual to include a section on properly using the product. The full council is now expected to vote on the measure early next month, but in the meantime privacy advocates are asking the city to consider the possible implications of moving forward.

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Of particular concern, Seattle Privacy says, is the city’s rather sordid past with regards to not just surveillance, but police misconduct. The Seattle PD has previously used DHS money to fund spy projects later canned over public outcry, and a federal investigation concluded by the United States Department of Justice in 2012 found that local officers acted in an “unconstitutional and excessive manner” during nearly 20 percent of all instances involving the use of force.

“Anytime you’ve got the officers, you know, routinely — 20 percent of the time — violating our constitutional rights, that’s a huge problem,” Chris Stearns, a lawyer on the city’s Human Rights Commission, told NPR after the DOJ report was released.

But nearly two years later, the city is again being blasted by civil rights advocates for allegedly being in violation of another constitutional guarantee — the Fourth Amendment’s right to be free from unlawful searches. Although the Seattle PD has promised it won’t use its booking photo comparison software to track suspects on-the-fly if the project has moved forward, opponents fear residents will be worried over the possibility of 24/7 monitoring to enough of a degree that will impact how people associate and assemble in public.

The Booking Photo Comparison Software, Seattle resident Phil Mocek argued at Wednesday’s meeting,“may be used to target activists and do real-time ID of people on the street,” according to a tweet by Seattle Privacy founding member Lee Colleton. And while the Seattle PD’s draft manual for using that system currently includes provisions preventing a link-up with live camera feeds, it does not include any measures saying how long police might wait to watch a recording, be it five seconds, five minutes or five hours.

Once that data is recorded, Public Safety Committee Chair Bruce Harrell told KIRO-TV this week, Seattle law enforcement may elect to share it elsewhere.

“There may be times when the federal government may want to look at that database that may be very appropriate if we have an international terrorist here that might have committed a misdemeanor,” he said.

With the Seattle PD draft rules currently mandating a 42 month retention period, any activity captured if and when the system is approved — even a misdemeanor — can be used by city and federal authorities alike to look for persons of interest three-and-a-half-years down the road.

Despite the possible Orwellian outcome, though, opponents of the measure fear city officials aren’t adequately considering the potential consequences. One witness to Wednesday’s meeting remarked that none of the four testifying experts were privacy advocates, but rather came from either the Seattle PD or DHS, with the exception of a lone Seattle Human Rights Commission representative.

“We need to get some independent technical expertise outside of SPD chain of command to audit this equipment,” Seattle Privacy’s Bultmann opined. Her group has since stated on their website that they will be marking up the draft document themselves “to give councilmembers an example of what a through independent technical review with an eye toward privacy and security would look like, and how useful it would be.”

Should Bultmann succeed, then the surveillance program may in fact meet its maker before ever getting off the ground. Strangely enough, it wouldn’t be the first spy program to be stopped in its tracks lately in Seattle. In November the city was forced to deactivate a wireless mesh network system installed in secret across Seattle after privacy advocates exposed how it could be used to track the locations of anyone with a mobile phone in real-time. And among similar outcry, the Seattle PD last February said they wouldn’t proceed with plans to start using surveillance drones across the city.

“DHS has spent billions in black surveillance budgets that brought us drones and cameras we’re not even using,” Bultmann said during Wednesday’s meeting.

“Drones give law enforcement agencies unprecedented abilities to engage in surveillance and intrude on people’s privacy,” Doug Honig, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, said in an email to Reuters when the police pulled the plug on the plan earlier in February.

According to the ACLU, however, the facial recognition system being requested by the Seattle PD doesn’t raise any red flags as of right now. ACLU of Washington privacy counsel Doug Klunder told CrossCut recently that the police actually approached his civil rights group while drafting procedures for the surveillance system, and he thinks “This policy does a good job of limiting [the software] to proper uses.”

Two states away, however, the ACLU of California is asking city officials in Oakland, CA to reconsider an eerily similar surveillance system being planned there with federal funds. The City Council there voted on Tuesday to postpone a vote pertaining to the future of that major surveillance hub under construction — the Domain Awareness Center, or DAC — after 79 speakers signed up to rally against the project during the hearing.

Tuesday’s meeting in Oakland ended after more than four hours with the council agreeing to wait another two weeks before deciding if they should proceed with plans to use $1.6 million they’ve been offered by the DHS to proceed with the next stage, phase 2. The city installed 137 security cameras on the Port of Oakland, 50 traffic cameras across town and a system of gunshot-detecting microphones as part of the recently completed phase 1.

Source: RT

Georgia teen killed by police was holding a Wii remote, not a gun, family says

Georgia teen killed by police was holding a Wii remote not a gun family says Georgia teen killed by police was holding a Wii remote, not a gun, family says

A 17-year-old high school student who wanted to be a US Marine was fatally shot by Georgia police officers who mistook the video game controller in his hand for a weapon, the lawyer representing his family says.
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Christopher Roupe was preparing to watch a movie when two police officers showed up at the door to execute a probation violation against his father, according to his family.

Euharlee Police Chief Terry Hagert also stated that two officers arrived at the home on Friday night. When Roupe answered the door, the female officer believed he was pointing a gun at her and fired a single shot at the young man. The police refused to reveal the names of the officers that responded to the scene.

Roupe was a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in high school and has friends who he helped at school.

He was a good kid. He always hung out with me and he took up for me,” friend William Corson told WSB-TV.

A funeral for Roupe is scheduled for Friday, just one day before what would have been his 18th birthday. The young man planned to join the Marines after graduating from high school.

Neighbor Ken Yates told reporters he heard the gunshot and saw the female officer seconds after.

This is tragic. She came out of this house. She put her head in her hands and she was sobbing,” he said. “Supposedly, he opened the door with a BB gun.”

Chief Harget declined to identify the officer involved in order to protect her privacy, but referred all questions to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is running the probe into the incident. The officer has been placed on administrative leave – the standard measure when an officer is involved in a shooting.

Roupe’s family plans to file a lawsuit against the department, with attorney Cole Law saying the story simply “doesn’t add up.”

We don’t know where that statement came from,” he said. “The eyewitness on the scene clearly stated that he had a Wii controller in his hand. He heard a knock at the door. He asked who it was, there was no response so he opened the door and upon opening the door he was immediately shot in the chest.”

Euharleee is a bedroom community of Cartersville, Georgia, with a population of under 5,000 people at the time of the 2010 US Census. Roupe was a senior at Woodland High School.

Source: RT

Father trying to stop family fight beaten to death by Oklahoma cops

father beaten by cop after trying to breakup family fight Father trying to stop family fight beaten to death by Oklahoma cops

A Valentine’s Day outing turned tragic for one Oklahoma family who claims five police officers beat their father to death during a confrontation outside a local movie theater.
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The death is currently under investigation, and three police officers have been placed on administrative leave as the probe unfolds.

The incident occurred February 14 in Moore, Oklahoma, when an argument erupted between Nair Rodriguez and her daughter Lunahi. Nair slapped her daughter during the dispute and ended up leaving the theater. When Luis Rodriguez chased after his wife in a bid to stop her, law enforcement officials intervened and asked for his identification.

According to NewsOK, police claim that Luis Rodriguez attempted to fight with police and that led to a physical altercation. Nair and Lunahi, however, told local media outlet News9 that allegation is false, and that Luis simply tried to bypass officers to keep his wife from driving off in anger.

As the confrontation escalated, five police officers allegedly beat Luis Rodriguez beyond recognition, a situation captured on a video by Nair’s cell phone.

“They jumped on him like he was some kind of killer or drug dealer and beat him up,” Lunahi Rodriguez said to NewsOK. “He never fought the officers, they beat him on the head and that’s how he lost his breath.”

“When they flipped him over you could see all the blood on his face, it was, he was disfigured, you couldn’t recognize him,” she added to News9.

Although paramedics were already at the scene responding to a separate incident, Luis Rodriguez could not be revived. According to Nair Rodriguez, it was clear her husband had died as soon as the beating was over.

“I saw him. His [motionless] body when people carry it to the stretcher. I knew that he was dead,” she said.

Afterwards, police asked Nair what happened and she said her husband was just trying to break up a fight between her and her daughter.

According to a spokesman for the Moore Police Department, police confiscated Nair Rodriguez’s phone as evidence, though it’s unclear whether or not they’ve watched the video yet.

The Rodriguez family said it plans to hire an attorney and take legal action.

Source: RT

Surveillance companies want Utah to stop enforcing privacy-protection law

Surveillance companies want Utah to stop enforcing privacy protection law Surveillance companies want Utah to stop enforcing privacy protection law
 
A privacy law passed in Utah last year limits the use of license plate readers and aims to keep the data collected by them from being abused; now two surveillance companies that sell those scanners are suing the state for alleged free-speech infringement.
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The two companies — California’s Vigilant Solutions and Digital Recognition Network (DRN) of Texas — filed the lawsuit in Utah federal court on Thursday and asked a judge there for a permanent injunction against last year’s law.

When the legislation was signed by Governor Gary Herbert last April, it imposed restrictions on how the high-tech surveillance tools can be used across the state, essentially abolishing the sale and use of license plate readers by private companies while also putting limits on how long government entities can store the data collected by those devices.

License plate readers, or LPRs, can photograph upwards of 60 cars-per-second and then match that data with details stored in a list that contains the tags registered to criminals or ones ordered for repossession. A handful of states have passed laws putting limits on these devices, though, often by claiming that collecting this information for extended amounts of time allows anyone with ownership of it to pry into the personal lives of others.

“A person who knows all of another’s travels can deduce whether he is a weekly church goer, a heavy drinker, a regular at the gym, an unfaithful husband, an outpatient receiving medical treatment, an associate of particular individuals or political groups — and not just one such fact about a person, but all such facts,” the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled in 2010.

When State Sen. Todd Weiler (R-Woods Cross) proposed the privacy bill, S.B. 196, last February, he asked that the state stop private companies from collecting this information and that the government be forced to give up the data after 90 days.

“I don’t want to stop catching criminals,” he said before committee at the time. “I do want to put a tighter lid on the data being harvested.”

But just one year later, that state law has been brought into the crosshairs of two private surveillance companies that say their right to free speech should cancel out the limits imposed by Weiler’s act.

The suit — filed against both Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes — says a court must intervene and place an injunction against Weiler’s law because the First Amendment of the US Constitution allows for photography in public space — and that, they say, is essentially what the LPRs do.

“Taking and distributing a photograph is an act that is fully protected by the First Amendment,” Michael Carvin, an outside counsel for Vigilant, said in a statement this week. “The state of Utah cannot claim that photographing a license plate violates privacy.”

“License plates are public by nature and contain no sensitive or private information,” Carvin continued.“Any citizen of Utah can walk outside and photograph anything they please, including a license plate.”

Sen. Weiler told the Associated Press this week that his idea of photography doesn’t quite match up with that of the attorneys who are asking for an injunction.

“It’s one thing to take a photo,” he told the AP. “It’s another to take photos every 80th of a millisecond, and then store that data you can later be identified by.”

“I’m befuddled with that being speech,” Weiler told reporters at Ars Technica when they approached him for comment this week. “As you know, this technology… can cut through fog, it can see in the dark, it’s very invasive — it doesn’t matter if you’re going 80 mph. It’s not just a photograph, it’s the direction of travel, time and GPS location. If it was just pictures, nobody would buy it. I think it’s an invasion of privacy. This technology is very intrusive, and I don’t think you can argue with a straight face that this is the same thing as taking a picture of a car.”

When Weiler first proposed his bill last April, the state office of the American Civil Liberties Union lauded his effort while at the same time saying, ideally, they’d want retention periods trimmed down from 90 days to 12 hours. Five months later in July, the ACLU published a 37-page report advocating other lawmakers to propose limits on LPRs.

“The implementation of automatic license plate readers poses serious privacy and other civil liberties threats,” the report read. “More and more cameras, longer retention periods and widespread sharing allow law enforcement agents to assemble the individual puzzle pieces of where we have been over time into a single, high-resolution image of our lives. The knowledge that one is subject to constant monitoring can chill the exercise of our cherished rights to free speech and association.”

Ironically, journalist Paul Nelson of Utah’s KSL news network, reported on Friday that DRN founder Todd Hodnett plans to cite past arguments made by the ACLU in pushing for the court to acknowledge the alleged free-speech infringement brought on by Weiler’s law.

“They assert that when in public spaces, where you are lawfully present, you have the right to photograph anything that’s in plain view. That includes a picture of a federal building, a transportation facility and police,” he told the network.

Hodnett also insisted to KSL that the Utah law “has already had a significant monetary impact on our corporation and our shareholders.” Their lawsuit acknowledges that tow truck owners and repossession businesses in the state can no longer acquires DNR’s services under Weiler law. Prior to its passage, he said, DRN sold a total of 10 LPR camera kits to five private businesses there.

According to his lawsuit, Weiler’s legislation serves little purpose.

“The State does not have a substantial interest in preventing persons from viewing or photographing license plates—or from disseminating the information collected when doing so—because license plates contain no private information whatsoever,” it reads in part. “Moreover, the photographic recording of government-mandated public license plates does not infringe any ‘privacy’ interest that concededly is not infringed when the photographer views the plate. Thus, the State cannot carry its heavy burden to demonstrate that it has a substantial interest that is served by the Act.”

“The law restricts the collection and use of data with an ‘Automatic license plate reader system,’” Fred Cate, a law professor at Indiana University, added to Ars Technica’s report. “The restriction on collecting data might conceivably pass First Amendment scrutiny, but not the ban on using the data. I think it is very likely that a court will strike that down.”

“Whether such laws are ultimately upheld or ruled unconstitutional will have a huge impact on whether more comprehensive privacy regulations are enacted and what they will look like,” Penn State University law professor Clark Asay opined to Ars.

According to their report, Sen. Weiler is currently engaged with the ACLU on a plan that would revise the current law and “may negate” this week’s lawsuit if approved.

Only five states in the US had laws limit LPR use at the time of last year’s ACLU report, but 14 are currently considering similar proposals.

Source: RT

Innocent man beaten and tasered by California police for signaling he is deaf

cop tasered and beaten deaf man Innocent man beaten and tasered by California police for signaling he is deaf

A California man was allegedly beaten and tasered multiple times by four police officers while attempting to signal that he was deaf. Now, he’s suing local law enforcement.
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The suit was filed on behalf of Jonathan Meister by the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, and claims police used excessive force and violated Meister’s civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The incident took place on February 13, when Meister visited a friend to pick up snowboarding equipment that was stored in his home. Suspecting a burglary, a neighbor called out to the man, who didn’t respond because he cannot hear.

When two officers arrived at the scene shortly after, Meister reportedly put his boxes down and tried to use hand gestures to tell them he was deaf. As he approached police, though, the officers supposedly grabbed his hands, turned him around, and attempted to handcuff him.

“Because he is deaf, Mr. Meister depends on using his hands while facing a person to communicate,” the lawsuit states, according to a local publication called the Daily Breeze. “The officers’ sudden aggression, which both caused pain and interfered with his ability to communicate, caused Mr. Meister reflexively to pull his hands away, hop back over the fence and step toward the gate … to create some space so that he could communicate.”

Police then became more physical with Meister, taking him to the ground with a stun gun. Two other officers had arrived at the scene by this time, and helped the other officials by striking Meister with their fist and feet. The Courthouse News Service reported that in the lawsuit, Meister said police then subjected him to multiple “punishing shocks” with tasers and were purposely “burning his flesh.”

Meister was eventually knocked unconscious and taken to a hospital, where he was charged with assault. Police described him as “aggressive and violent” in their report, but ultimately ended up dropping the charges and releasing him.

According to Courthouse News, Meister’s lawsuit claims the entire confrontation could have been avoided if Hawthorne police were trained to properly communicate with deaf individuals.

“We’re really concerned about the problem of law enforcement and people who are deaf,” said Meister’s attorney, Paula Pearlman, to the Daily Breeze. “He wasn’t doing anything other than trying to get away from people who were hurting him.”

The Hawthorne Police Department declined to comment on the situation.

Source: RT

Trooper sues more than 100 cops for harassment after pulling over Miami police officer

FHP Pullover Miami cop Trooper sues more than 100 cops for harassment after pulling over Miami police officer

Florida Highway Patrol trooper Donna Jane Watts was just doing her job when she pulled over a Miami police officer for topping speeds of 120 mph, but the fallout has been anything but routine: She’s now suing her colleagues for harassment.
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According to the Florida-based Sun-Sentinel, Watts has filed a lawsuit against more than 100 police officers and agencies for illegally accessing her personal information and creating a “life-threatening situation.”

Watts claims the harassment by law enforcement began after she pulled over Miami cop FaUsto Lopez in October 2011 for speeding in his patrol car. Traveling well over 100 mph, Lopez was reportedly weaving in and out of lanes so fast it took Watts seven minutes to pull him over even with her lights flashing and sirens blaring.

FHP Pullover Miami cop 2 Trooper sues more than 100 cops for harassment after pulling over Miami police officer

When Lopez finally pulled aside, Watts made her way to the police vehicle with her gun drawn, handcuffed the Miami officer, and took his weapon.

Lopez was eventually fired for his behavior, but that was just the beginning of the story for Watts. She began receiving phone calls from unknown phone numbers – some of which were prank calls, while others contained threats. The lawsuit alleges that orders for pizza were made in her name without her knowledge, and that multiple police vehicles would linger in front of her house or on her street.

The lawsuit states the situation became so dire that Watts “started to experience physical symptoms to include dry heaves and nausea when performing basic activities such as opening her mailbox, starting her ignition, or when being followed by a law enforcement vehicle for no apparent reason.”

FHP Pullover Miami cop 3 Trooper sues more than 100 cops for harassment after pulling over Miami police officer

After filing a public records request with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Watts discovered that her personal information was accessed by at least 88 officers from 25 different jurisdictions over a three-month span. Her profile was viewed more than 200 times total – a number that attorney Mirta Desir claims violates the Driver Privacy Protection Act. Under that law, improperly accessing an individuals profile results in a $2,500 fine per violation.

“This is an invasion of privacy,” Desir, who is representing Watts, told the Sun-Sentinel. “Law enforcement does have access to information most residents don’t and with that level of access there should come a certain amount of care. … This is something that is not supposed to be done.”

The various officials and law enforcement agencies have declined to comment on the matter, but they have asked the judge involved to throw out the lawsuit. According to the Associated Press, they believe Congress can only impose a penalty on police officers for selling personal data, not simply for viewing it.

0 Trooper sues more than 100 cops for harassment after pulling over Miami police officer

The Department of Justice, however, disagrees, and has filed its own argument stating that multiple courts have upheld Congress’ right to monitor the issue regardless of whether information is sold or not.

“There is value in drivers’ information and a market for it,” Justice Department lawyers said to the AP.“What the defendants fail to recognize is that there is value in drivers’ information whether or not it is actually sold.”

Already, some police agencies have settled the lawsuit with Watts, acknowledging that their employees had broken the law. The city of Margate agreed to pay Watts $10,000 for the incident.

Even so, groups like the National Association of Police Agencies are now looking to change the law itself and remove the $2,500 penalty except for cases in which officers pursue opportunities to make money off personal data.

As for Watts herself, she’s still employed by the FHP, but has been relocated to another county.

Source: RT

LAPD cops at fault for shooting innocent women during Dorner manhunt

lapd LAPD cops at fault for shooting innocent women during Dorner manhunt

A civilian oversight board now says that eight police officers from the Los Angeles, California area violated departmental policy last year when they mistakenly opened fire on a pickup truck believed to belong to at-large suspect Christopher Dorner.
Continue reading «LAPD cops at fault for shooting innocent women during Dorner manhunt»

Two women were shot and injured a year ago this week in the town of Torrance, CA when their vehicle was erroneously assumed to be driven by Dorner, a 33-year-old ex-cop suspected of killing a police officer in cold blood only hours earlier in the nearby town of Riverside.

The women were delivering newspapers just before dawn on the morning of February 7 when their blue Toyota Tacoma was mistaken mid-route by police for the grey Nissan Titan that Dorner was spotted driving hours earlier. At a news conference on Tuesday this week, Chief Charlie Beck of the Los Angeles Police Department recalled that an officer confused the sound of a paper being thrown against the pavement with that of a gunshot, and opened fire on who he presumed to be the disgruntled former cop. Seven other officers then began shooting.

By the time the smoke had cleared, the officers involved had fired more than 100 rounds at the women’s pickup truck. Emma Hernandez, 71, suffered two gunshot wounds to the back, and her daughter, 47-year-old Margie Carranza, was injured by auto glass shattered during the early morning encounter.

At Tuesday’s conference, Beck said that the review board agreed that all eight officers acted improperly.

“While I certainly empathize and understand the conditions and circumstances that led to this particular officer-involved shooting, I hold our police officers to the highest standards in the application of deadly force,” Beck told reporters.

“As in all use-of-force incidents, the department has completed a thorough review and will adopt the lessons learned, both good and bad, from these incidents,” added Steve Soboroff, president of the Police Commission.

According to the Associated Press, Soboroff said that both Beck and Alex Bustamante, the inspector general for the Los Angeles Police Commission, had independently recommended that the shooting be ruled out of policy.

The LAPD and the City of Los Angeles agreed last year to compensate the women with $40,000 for a new truck, as well as a settlement worth a reported $4.2 million. Upon release of the review group’s findings, however, the officers involved may see that the serious consequences caused by the shooting don’t end there. Beck has declined to comment on what action the department will take against the eight cops found to have violated LAPD policies, but his options include ordering reprimands, suspensions or even the termination of those officers’ jobs.

Glen Jonas, an attorney for one of the two victims involved, told the AP he wasn’t surprised by the review group’s findings.

“There (are) 4.2 million reasons I have to believe it’s out of policy,” he said. “Anyone with any common sense would agree it’s out of policy.”

Authorities eventually narrowed in on Dorner, and on February 12 he died after his cabin hideout near a mountain resort burned to the ground. He had been charged with killing four people, including three police officers, starting Feb 3.

Source: RT

‘Useless’ TSA scanners provided endless fodder for employees, former agent alleges

tsa aware body scanners useless1 Useless TSA scanners provided endless fodder for employees, former agent alleges

The Transportation Security Agency was aware that, before they were even introduced, the full-body scanners used at airport security checkpoints were flawed, according to a former TSA agent who alleges employees regularly peered and laughed at travelers.
Continue reading «‘Useless’ TSA scanners provided endless fodder for employees, former agent alleges»

Jason Edward Harrington, who spent years for the TSA as he studied for a creative writing degree, wrote a long piece in Politico detailing the ineptitude and casual jokes that often came at the expense of the agency’s own inability to prevent an airplane hijacking.

The TSA decided to begin using full-body scanners in 2010, after an Al-Qaeda extremist tried to ignite a bomb in his underwear on a Christmas Day 2009 flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. The reaction was overwhelming and immediate, with civil liberties advocates asserting that a potential traveler would unnecessarily expose themselves to TSA agents, and that the radiation from the machines was dangerous.

Despite controversy, the agency pressed on an eventually doled out between $130,000 and $170,000 for each of the hundreds of machines in an effort to ramp up security at airports across the country.

We knew the full-body scanners didn’t work before they were even installed,” Harrington wrote in the article published Thursday. He went on to describe how a trainer described the machines as “shit” and said that they could be subverted if a would-be hijacker simply wore metal on the side of their body.

We quickly found out the trainer was not kidding,” he continued. “Officers discovered that the machines were good at detecting just about everything besides cleverly hidden explosives and guns. The only thing more absurd how how poorly the full-body scanners performed was the incredible amount of time the machines wasted for everyone.”

The problem evidently went uncorrected even after the public caught on. A blogger named Jonathan Corbett attracted millions of views to his YouTube page by proving its possible to simply place a gun sideways on one’s leg to bring it through security undetected.

Finally, the public had a hint of what my colleagues and I already knew,” he wrote. “The scanners were useless. The TSA was compelling toddlers, pregnant women, cancer survivors – everyone – to stand inside radiation machines that didn’t work…behind closed doors, supervisors instructed us to begin patting down the sides of every fifth passenger as a clumsy workaround to the scanners’ embarrassing vulnerability.”

Harrington is not the only TSA employee to complain about his time with the agency, with employee happiness ranked at or near the bottom of all government agencies polled in annual job satisfaction surveys. The full-body scanners made the day more cumbersome, Harrington noted, while the Image Operator (IO) room quickly turning into a place where bored employees could find a laugh.

Just as the long-suffering American public waiting on those security lines suspected, jokes about the passengers ran rampant among my colleagues: Many of the images we gawked at were of overweight people, their every fold and dimple on full awful display,” he wrote.

Piercings of every kind were visible…One of us in the IO room would occasionally identify a passenger as female, only to have the officers out on the checkpoint floor radio back that it was actually a man. All the old, crass stereotypes about race and genitalia size thrived on our secure government radio channels.”