Showing posts with label corruption. Show all posts
Showing posts with label corruption. Show all posts

Sunday, February 3, 2019

U.S. District Judge Rules Twitter is a Public Forum Setting New Precedent for Free Speech and Censorship

Sources: Duke Chronicle, Cornell Law Dictionary

Last year, several twitter critics of the sitting President sued Trump for blocking them and won. U.S. District judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, of the Southern district of New York, ruled that Trump had violated the plaintiffs' first amendment rights by excluding them from voicing their opinion on a 'public forum.'

We hold that portions of the @realDonaldTrump account—the 'interactive space' where Twitter users may directly engage with the content of the President’s tweets—are properly analyzed under the 'public forum' doctrines set forth by the Supreme Court, that such space is a designated public forum, and that the blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment.

This ruling should have wider implications than preventing Trump from blocking prominent twitter critics like Dr. Eugene Gu, who filed the lawsuit. Besides, Trump isn't the only politician that uses twitter to communicate with his constituents. Almost every representative, senator, justice and bureaucrat uses twitter to get their message out. In this sense, the 'private' social media platform could be considered a designated public forum for political discourse, and therefore should be open to all viewpoints. Unfortunately, there is no legal definition for online public forums. The Supreme Court outlined 3 types of public forums in the 1983 case of Perry Education Association v. Perry Local Educators' Association and all of them are defined in terms of physical space and restrict government officials from discriminating against certain viewpoints rather than public corporations like Twitter and Facebook. This could be a major problem when it comes to twitter itself banning or suspending certain users for unpopular political opinions or selectively enforcing their nebulous terms of service. Twitter's discriminatory actions keep people form engaging with their elected representatives all the same as being directly blocked by their elected representatives; the only difference is that the censorship is done by a corporation rather than a government agency or official. However, as I pointed out in a previous post, corporations are established by governments for the benefit of the public, and have no right to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, national origin, religion or any other protected class. It's only logical to add political affiliation and viewpoint, especially given the pertinence of twitter and other big social media platforms in our day and age.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Campaign Finance Reform is a Game of Whack-a-mole

Sources: The Hidden Money Funding the Midterms, Super PAC or Super Fraud, Richest Billionaires are also top political spenders, Former Hawaii Gov. Cayetano Settles Libel Lawsuit Against Super PAC, Top Organizational Contributors

When one loophole is closed another is opened

Super PACs have figured out how to run ads without disclosing their donors until after elections. Under the Citizens United v. FEC ruling, Super PACs can spend an unlimited amount of money on political ads, but they must disclose their donors. However, a growing number of Super PACs have begun to circumvent this rule by forming the day after the deadline for reporting donors and not reporting donors until after election day. Others go into debt to buy political ads and pay it off with donations after the election. During the 2018 congressional races, 63 super PACs adopted one of these two tactics and spent a total of $21.9 million on campaign ads and mailers without revealing the source of their funding.

A major advantage of super PACs is that they allow politicians and their supporters to defame their opponents without being liable. The anonymity they provide allows the supporters of certain politicians to make false and malicious claims about their opponents without the risk of being sued for defamation. Recent examples include Roy Moore, a Republican senate candidate for a special election in Alabama who was smeared by a rival candidate’s Super PAC as a sexual predator on the basis of mere hearsay. During a 2012 mayoral race for Honolulu, Hawaii, the former governor of Hawaii, Ben Cayetano was falsely accused of taking kickbacks and illegal campaign contributions by a rival super PAC. Unfortunately, Super PACs can also be a disadvantage for the candidates they are supposed to represent. Such was the case for 2013 Virginia Gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, who sued a Super PAC that used his name and likeness under a false advertising statute. Super PACs make what could otherwise be intelligent debate about policy into smear campaigns and scare tactics that appeal to the lowest common denominator. But perhaps the best selling point of super PACs and the whole charade of private campaign finance laws is that they further entrench the political duopoly by making political discourse a function of the amount of money you can raise. Inevitably, this process tends to favor billionaires like Jeff Bezos and corporate interests like Amazon or, for instance, the entire defense industry, who have the most money to throw around and are heavily invested in a two party system that’s much easier to control than a political plurality. 36 of the the world’s 100 richest people are U.S. citizens and 30 of them regularly donate to political action committees. Out of the $184 million that billionaires contributed to the 2016 election cycle, 92% of it was donated to PACs and Super PACs.

The Solution

A political plurality, wherein more than two parties and independent candidates share power, can only be achieved through mandatory publicly funded elections. Every means of private campaign financing, especially Super PACs, should be made illegal and every candidate for any office who receives support from at least 5% of the electorate should be given an equal lump sum to spend directly on campaign activities. Candidates could qualify for government funds either through a petition or a preliminary poll. The details could be hashed once the country decides to abandon the inane belief that corporate propaganda and character assassinations is somehow the height of free speech. Such a plan would also require a constitutional convention, so it would be much easier to implement at the state and municipal level where constitutions are more readily amended.


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Who's Watching The Watchers?


A new study, conducted out of the University of Denver, reveals that despite open records laws on the book and a state supreme court mandate for records custodians to release public records related to police misconduct, Colorado police remain extremely opaque in their internal affairs investigations. The police investigate themselves and find themselves innocent of wrongdoing. We all know that from experience; that’s why it’s cliche, but now we can put some hard data to it.

The researchers in this case used the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act to request the internal affairs logs of the forty-three largest law enforcement agencies within the state from the years 2015 and 2016. The jurisdiction of these forty-three agencies cover eighty percent of Colorado’s population; thus, they are critical to any measure of government transparency (Dupey, Kwoka, and Mcmichael, 2018). Of the forty-three agencies that received CCJA requests for any lists, logs, summaries, or synopses of internal affairs investigations, twenty-four either did not respond or rejected the request outright without explanation (Dupey, Kwoka, and Mcmichael, 2018). Law enforcement agencies were given thirty days respond to the request and multiple attempts were made to contact their records custodians (Dupey, Kwoka, and Mcmichael, 2018). Out of the remaining respondents, the law school researchers requested specific internal affairs files, categorizing them by the type of incident, the outcome of the investigation, the party making the claim against law enforcement and media coverage of the incident which would indicate public interest (Dupey, Kwoka, and Mcmichael, 2018). They requested the internal affairs files of investigations into both alleged policy violations and criminal complaints and noted whether the allegations were considered unfounded or sustained, hypothesizing that police agencies would be more willing to release the files of internal affairs investigations that concluded that the complaints were unfounded.

In the second wave of CCJA requests, researchers requested sixty-one specific internal affairs files from the law enforcement agencies that responded to the first wave of requests. Six of the sixty-one specific internal affairs files concerned police misconduct that garnered significant media coverage, resulted in ‘unfounded’ allegations, but nonetheless lead to a large settlement with the alleged victim. The results were even more dismal than the first wave of requests. Seven agencies failed to respond even after multiple attempts were made to follow up with them (Dupey, Kwoka, and Mcmichael, 2018). Another seven agencies denied the requests outright without providing a sufficient explanation (Dupey, Kwoka, and Mcmichael, 2018). One agency sent a duplicate summary of internal affairs files and two agencies demanded thousands of dollars in fees to fulfill the requests (Dupey, Kwoka, and Mcmichael, 2018). Not one complete internal affairs file was obtained in the process (Dupey, Kwoka, and Mcmichael, 2018).

Most law enforcement agencies denied access to internal affairs files in violation of the Colorado supreme court decision in Harris v. Denver Post Corp, which requires records custodians to determine the release of files on a case by case basis, using what is referred to as a balancing test that weighs five factors to determine release or withholding of files. Records custodians must consider the privacy of the individuals who would be affected by the release of certain files, the agency’s interest in retaining confidential information, the agency’s interest in not compromising ongoing investigations, and the public purpose of releasing the files.

In making this statutory determination, the custodian takes into account and balances the pertinent factors, which include the privacy interests of individuals who may be impacted by a decision to allow inspection; the agency's interest in keeping confidential information confidential; the agency's interest in pursuing ongoing investigations without compromising them; the public purpose to be served in allowing inspection; and any other pertinent consideration relevant to the circumstances of the particular request.

- Harris v. Denver Post Corp, 2005

As the study relates, the seven agencies that outright denied their requests used similar vague statements and without citing the specific source for their statements (Dupey, Kwoka, and Mcmichael, 2018). Researchers recommend an amendment to the current Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act that requires law enforcement records custodians to publicly release complete internal affairs investigation files upon request with some redactions. Like all well meaning police reformists, they seem to be operating under the false presumption that the police are here to ‘protect and serve’ them.

References

Dupey, B., Kwoka, M. B., & Mcmichael, C. (2018). Access Denied: Colorado Law Enforcement Refuses Public Access to Records of Police Misconduct. SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.3136011

Harris v. Denver Post Corp (November 15, 2005).

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sheriff's Deputies Beat Army Vet For Refusing to go to the Hospital


Source: WWL TV Channel 4

Army Veteran Chris Cambre didn’t want to go to the hospital, but they sure did give him a reason to.

While conducting a welfare check, five St.Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputies beat and tazed Chris Cambre for refusing to be involuntarily hospitalized over an innocuous Facebook post. Chris Cambre did not threaten to harm himself or others, he simply posted I’m struggling over here, referring to his long ordeal with PTSD. Friends and family reached out to him thinking he was suicidal and one of them was dumb enough to call the police. In addition to the Pearl River Police and local paramedics, the dispatcher also called the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s office for backup, on the assumption that Chris Cambre would become violent and use his military training against the police. As the man himself relates, the five sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene with their rifles drawn looking to kill. The Pearl River police reported that Cambre was calm and soft-spoken, never raising his voice to officers. However, the Sheriff deputies decided to escalate the situation after an hour of failed negotiations. One of them pulled out a collapsible baton and began beating Cambre to the ground while another shot him with a taser while shouting at him to stop resisting. The five deputies jumped on top of cambre, holding him down while continually beating him with batons before eventually handcuffing him and placing him on a stretcher. According to sheriff Randy Smith, beating innocent people who refuse unlawful detention is standard protocol. This is just another reminder that your constitutional rights only exist on the paper they were written on. You don’t have to be a criminal or do anything wrong to get attacked by these animals.

Friday, March 9, 2018

NYPD Gang Lets Criminal Cops Keep Their Jobs


Sources: Secret NYPD Files: Officers Can Lie And Brutally Beat People — And Still Keep Their Jobs, WYNC News,

And keeps it a secret from the public.


From 2011 until 2015, at least 319 NYPD employees committed criminal offenses, but were allowed to keep their jobs. At least 50 employees lied on official reports, under oath, and in internal affairs investigations. 57 employees were found guilty of driving under the influence. 38 officers were found guilty of using excessive force and instigating fights by a police tribunal. 71 officers were caught ticket fixing. At least 3 officers were found guilty of sexual harassment, one of whom solicited sex from a minor. One officer sold prescription drugs to another undercover officer, and another officer threatened to kill someone. The police commissioner gave all of them a year of dismissal probation, which amounts to a slap on the wrist. They were allowed to keep their job and salary; the only difference is that they got less overtime and weren't eligible for promotion during the one year of probation. What’s more disturbing is that the public isn’t allowed to know about their misconduct. New York is one of fifteen states where officers’ disciplinary history and personnel files are confidential and can only be released by court order, so the public is kept in the dark about crooked cops. This information only came to light when an anonymous source within the department leaked it to Buzzfeed.

There is also no proportionality in the manner in which this penalty is applied. Officers that commit minor infractions, which are not necessarily criminal in nature receive the same punishment as those who commit criminal offenses. According to the NYPD, 777 officers in total were given dismissal probation over the same five year period, some of whom were punished arbitrarily for complaining about other officers’ misconduct or not going along with their department’s politics. Not surprisingly, the union that represents these thugs didn’t want to talk about anything negative. The deputy commissioner of the Advocate’s Office also had little to offer in the way of a justification since state law prohibits him from talking about specific disciplinary trials.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Why The Police Cannot Be Trusted


Sources: Ex-St. Tammany deputy caught falsifying DWI report but might not face legal consequences, No criminal investigation after deputy admits to falsifying arrest reports

This happened where I live. Former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputy Bryan Steinert was caught lying about the outcome of two parts of a field sobriety test in a police report after a cellphone video surface contradicting his claims about a driver arrested for DUI. The incident in question took place on January 16, 2016, when then Deputy Steinert detained Ryan Heyd, an off-duty National Guardsmen, in his driveway for careless operation of a motor vehicle. Deputy Steinert arrested Heyd for intoxicated driving and in his police report stated that Heyd raised his arms to keep his balance during the one leg portion of the test, lost his balance three times during the walk and turn test, and was swaying side to side during the entire test among other things. However, a video taken by one of Heyd’s friends didn’t show any of these behaviors. After Ryan Heyd’s attorney sent a copy of the video to St. Tammany Parish DA Warren Montgomery, Montgomery dropped Heyd’s case and contacted STPSO about the blatant contradictions between the video and Steinert’s report. In an internal affairs interview, Steinert admitted that he fabricated the report on Heyd’s arrest by copying and pasting the affidavit of probable cause from a previous DUI offense and resigned before the internal affairs interview. This has called into question dozens of other arrests made by the former Deputy including the arrest and subsequent DWI conviction of Darren McFarland. Steinert arrested McFarland in the same month as Heyd and included identical passages about the subjects performance on the field sobriety tests, for instance, stating that they had to be told four times not to move their head during the Nystagmus test. However, McFarland’s BAC level was measured at 0.063 on the breathalyzer, which is below the 0.08 legal limit in Louisiana.

Steinert is a good boy, he dindu nuffin


According to Sheriff Randy Smith, Steinert’s false report on Heyd is not a criminal act even though intentionally filing false public records is illegal in Louisiana, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. It is very unlikely that Steinert will be charged now that the Sheriff has closed the internal affairs investigation and Steinert has already resigned. It is all too common for American police to cover up each other’s criminal activity, even when there is clear cut evidence of their wrong doing. Case in point, the police are not here to protect and you shouldn’t trust them. Their purpose is to generate revenue for the state which entails preying on innocent citizens. Until we change public perception of them they’re will be no political action to restrain they’re power.

Monday, February 19, 2018

In 34 States, Police Can Legally Rape People They Detain


Sources: Big Think, Associated Press, New York Daily News

Currently 34 states, including my own, do not prohibit police officers from making sexual contact with the people they detain as long as they claim that consent was given. I don’t think I need to point out how this is completely inappropriate on the job even when consent is given; it should be a no brainer even for pro-cop simps. However, the coercive relationship between an officer and a detained citizen makes consensual sex all but impossible. To put this in perspective, imagine a scenario in which a young girl is caught with pot or some other illicit substance on her person. The officer, who is a straight male in this example, tells her that she can avoid arrest by giving him head. If she were to comply with his request, it wouldn’t be consensual by any known legal standard. Similar propositions are illegal in every other profession, but somehow the one profession that uses state sanctioned violence gets a free pass. Since 2006, at least 26 officers have been acquitted of sexual assault and rape charges by arguing that the detained person consented in their defense. To boot, sexual assault is one of the most reported forms of police misconduct second only to use of excessive force. From 2009 until 2014, approximately 550 officers lost their jobs for sexual assault and rape charges, and an additional 440 for possession of child porn and soliciting sex from minors. The example I gave earlier is not too far off from the real story of Anna Chambers, who was raped in the back of a police van by two plainclothes NYPD detectives. It began when the detectives caught her and 2 male friends smoking pot. They let her two friends go, but she was handcuffed and placed in the back of the van, which means sex was their motive all along, not some heroic stand against the reefer madness. It will be interesting to see how quickly state legislatures across the country follow suit and close this loophole out of sheer embarrassment to the rest of the civilized world.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Trump Admin Commences Land Grabbing For Border Wall


Source: Brownsville Family Loses 10 Acres of Land to Border Wall

“They had surveyors, engineers and if we didn’t consent to what they wanted to pay for the property, they hit us with the eminent domain, the eminent domain means that the government can pay whatever they want for the properties.”

Juan Cavazos is just one of many landowners who will lose control of his property for the preservation of our white nation. If the wall goes up he will lose access to 10 acres of his land, and since this part of his property has already been condemned the government can now pay him less in “just” compensation than the fair market value before the feds took over his land. Anyone familiar with how the government uses eminent domain knows that “just” fair market value compensation is utter bullshit. Usually they try to pay private landowners as little as possible, and unless that person can afford a good attorney they will usually get ripped off.

My views on the border wall have shifted over the last few months. I use to support the border wall and I was ok with eminent domain in certain situations.

My previous posts supporting the border wall:

A Southern Border Wall Would Be Practical But Certainly Not A Panacea

President Trump Issues Executive Order To Build A Border Wall


I’ve come to realize that the arguments in favor of building a wall, especially from some libertarians, basically boil down to the ends justify the means and an appeal to tradition (i.e. we’ve always done it this way) two rationalizations that I usually vehemently condemn in other areas because I can see that that the long term effects are detrimental. These same rationalizations were used to justify some of the worst human cruelties in history. Similar arguments were made by the Eugenics movement in the early 20th century, not just in favor of immigration restrictions, but also anti-miscegenation laws, forced sterilization by court order and at its height state sanctioned ‘mercy killing’ of people deemed genetically unfit, all for the greater good of humanity. We can look down the road and see that the logical conclusion of these expediency justifications is a tyranny that none are safe from.

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Few Bad Apples Spoil The Whole Bunch


Source: Baltimore Gun Trace Task Force trial: These 12 additional police officers have been accused of wrongdoing

Gondo testified that he stole for years and lied about it, and said he never worried about internal affairs.“It was just part of the culture,” Gondo testified. “I wasn’t getting complaints; I wasn’t putting my hands on people.”

As testimony against two Baltimore police officers, indicted on federal racketeering charges, wrapped up last week, we learned that corruption within the Baltimore County Police Department wasn’t limited to the 8 members of the Gun Trace Task Force. It should go without saying that these 8 officers could not have carried out their decade long crime spree without the complicity or assistance of their supervisors and cohorts. As early as day 2 of the trial it was admitted that Lt. Ian Dombroski, who is the head of internal affairs, credited GTTF officers for 8 hours of overtime that they didn’t have to work if they recovered guns. In another instance, Momodu Gondo, a convicted member of GTTF, testified that retired deputy commissioner Dean Palmere coached two officers on what to say after they fatally shot a man sitting in his vehicle in an alley. The six convicted officers and one bail bondsman, who provided witness testimony in this case, have indicated that at least 12 other officers were complicit in covering up their crimes or alerting them to a federal investigation. Some of these officers, like former homicide detective Sean Suiter, are dead; some, like Michael Sylvester, have since left the force, and others are still around. Convicted bail bondsman Donald Stepp testified that Sgt. Thomas Wilson III provided him security when he met with a New York drug supplier at a strip club. In 2013, Wilson was charged with perjury for lying on a search warrant affidavit, although he was later acquitted. Another shocking instance of complicity is that of Sgt. Ryan Guinn, who took part in a 2010 incident where GTTF allegedly planted drugs on a man who later fled and died during a police pursuit. Sgt. Ryan Guinn is one of three former members of GTTF who has not been charged. There were still other officers who were not members of GTTF but took part in stealing cash from suspects. Officers Michael Woodlon, Jason Giordano, Sean Suiter, Tariq Edwards, and Kenneth Ivery alleged took stolen cash. Other officers named as accomplices to the crime spree include officials that had tipped off GTTF members to an ongoing federal investigation. This includes officer Sherrod Biggers and an unnamed prosecutor.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise said in federal court in March, just after the GTTF officers were indicted, that a Baltimore assistant state's attorney had tipped the officers off to the federal investigation before it was concluded.Jenkins’ plea agreement last month reiterated the claim, saying the attorney had tipped Jenkins off. The attorney has not been identified by federal prosecutors.

Hopefully, as more evidence comes to light we will go deeper down the rabbit hole of police criminality. So far, we have barley scratched the surface.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Baltimore Police Task Force Robbed Suspects, Sold Drugs, and Planted Fake Guns On Innocent People


Among other crimes.

Source: The Baltimore Sun

The ongoing trial of two Baltimore police officers, detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor, has revealed a plethora of shocking testimony from convicted cops and other witnesses about the crimes of a specific unit of the Baltimore Police Department known as the Gun Trace Task Force. Eight police officers and one bail bondsman have been implicated in crimes ranging from burglary via warrantless searches of the property of drug dealers to racketeering and drug trafficking. Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, who pleaded guilty in a federal racketeering case, was the supervisor of the task force. According to bail bondsman Donald Stepp, Jenkin’s partner in crime, the task force was set up for the sole purpose of covering up their criminal activity.

Stepp said Jenkins told him the Gun Trace Task Force was a group he had hand-picked to be a “front for a criminal enterprise.” He also said there were other officers from other units working with Jenkins, but he did not name any on the witness stand.

Stepp’s role in this gang was to resell drugs that Jenkin’s squad had taken from dealers throughout Baltimore as well as assist Jenkins in robbing them of cash.

Baltimore County bail bondsman Donald C. Stepp, 51, said Sgt. Wayne Jenkins made near-nightly trips to Stepp’s home to drop off drugs, Stepp said. Jenkins has pleaded guilty in the case

Stepp said that in April 2015, during the riots that followed the death of Freddie Gray, Jenkins walked into Stepp’s garage carrying two garbage bags full of looted pharmaceutical drugs.

There is also a little mentioned detail about the task force carrying replica guns to plant on innocent people they might ‘accidentally’ kill during their crime spree. I would be willing to wager that this isn’t an isolated incident.

Ward said the unit’s supervisor, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, instructed the officers to carry replica guns to plant if they found themselves in a jam. Police recovered a replica gun from the glove box of Taylor’s vehicle after he was arrested last year. The gun, shown to jurors, is nearly indistinguishable from Taylor’s service pistol

I will continue to update this post as the trial is still ongoing.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

New Jersey Spent $42 Million Protecting Crooked Cops

Source: Asbury Park Press

In aggregate, municipal governments across the state spent a combined $42.7M covering up a range of police misconduct, from wrongful deaths and false arrests as well as use of excessive force and sexual assault, over the past decade. These New Jersey cities used a litany of secret settlements and out of court non-disclosure agreements with the victims to deny wrongdoing and keep their constituents in the dark about the ‘few bad apples’ on the force.

Often these lawsuits are settled before a jury can resolve the critical question of facts – was excessive force used or were the officer's actions justified? After a citizen files a lawsuit, lawyers for both sides and the judge frequently agree that police documents reviewed in the case will be kept secret, preventing public scrutiny of an officer's history.


Over the course of their two year investigation, Asbury Park Press reviewed 30,000 pages of legal and internal affairs documents, that reveal a history of badge abuse and subsequent cover ups that included 19 wrongful deaths, 130 injuries, and 7 sexual misconduct cases. Often, internal affairs didn’t even investigate complaints of police misconduct and abuse. Out of the 64,353 complaints filed since 2011, 37,470 have been thrown out and 7,674 are still pending. When police misconduct does lead to a settlement, the accused officer sometimes remains on the job.

Of the 531 officers named in suits alleging abuses, at least 231 remain on the job after their employer settled with their accusers, a Press review of employment records found. Many others normally retired years after an allegation.

This happened in the case of Sterling Wheaten, who despite costing Atlantic City $4.5M in 5 lawsuit settlements, remains on the force with a chusy annual salary of $108,548.

Still others were allowed to abuse their power for years before finally being brought to justice, such as in the case of Sgt. Philip Seidle.

Neptune Police Sgt. Philip Seidle has an internal affairs record that tops 600 pages and spans two decades, with several complaints known to involve domestic disputes between him and his wife. He was considered enough of a risk to the public that his service weapon was taken from him, but he was later rearmed. He used that gun to fatally shoot his ex-wife in 2015 in the middle of an Asbury Park street, in front of their 7-year-old daughter.

There is also the slightly less disturbing case of Jersey City cop MD Khan, who was arrested for assaulting his brother-in-law in 2016 but only received a 40-day suspension as a result. In the following year he assaulted another innocent man that got caught in a high speed car chase.

The June 4, 2017, chase ended tragically for Miguel Feliz, 28, an innocent victim caught in the mayhem. The father of a 6-year-old was driving home from his Peapod grocery delivery job when the suspect ran Feliz's aging Toyota off the road. The car burst into flames after slamming into a utility pole. With his clothing on fire and choking on the acrid smoke, Feliz needed help from the police. He got Khan. Khan and another officer kicked Feliz as he laid burning on the ground. Feliz was struck in the face, a cellphone video shot by a passerby showed. Months later, both officers were indicted on aggravated assault charges. The officers have pleaded not guilty.

Naturally this is what happens when you allow the police to investigate themselves. Sure, requiring settlements to be publicized might make police misconduct more transparent and requiring police to be licensed might disincent this behavior but It won’t stop the bleeding. Our form of government is supposed to be based on checks and balances of power. Oversight of the police department shouldn’t come from the same police department. This would be akin to the president having his cabinet investigate him during an impeachment trial. Oversight of executive officials should come from an independent elected body that has the power to subpoena the police department, just as it does at the federal level.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Conservation Is A Pretext For Genocide (part 8)


Conservation and Pygmy Slavery


Read: Pygmies in the Congo treated like pets, Slaves of the Congo, The Pygmies Plight

The last article was written by a foreign correspondent for the Smithsonian about a decade ago, but the information he provides in his first hand account is still relevant today. Since the French colonial era, pygmy clans in the Congo basin have been gradually forced out of their ancestral forests, which they are adapted to living in, and into villages inhabited mostly by Bantu tribes. As a result of being dispossessed of their land and forbidden to hunt or forge in the newly designated ‘protected areas’, pygmies live in extreme poverty. Their only option to survive is to perform hard labor for Bantu landlords for next to nothing in compensation, although a few enterprising clans have made a meager living growing cannabis, which is illegal in countries like the Central African Republic, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. Even though slavery is illegal in all African countries (on paper), the Bantu landlords treat the pygmies like property and give them only enough subsistence to keep them alive. Instead of eating bushmeat and wild herbs as they had done when they occupied the forest , the main staple of their diet now consists of a starchy plant called cassava root. This diet provides very little protein and has resulted in increased malnutrition and the outbreak of disease among pygmy clans, which has taken a toll on their numbers. European ‘human rights’ observers have acknowledged all of these problems to some extent, but they have failed to acknowledge the role their own civil societies and governments have played in creating them. Illegal logging and civil war have certainly played a role in forcing pygmies out of the forest, but so has the creation of so called ‘protected areas’ and national parks, which has been done, in no small part, with enticement and financing from USAID, the EU, the World Bank, as well as multi-billion dollar conservation groups like WWF and WCS.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Remember This When the Police Apologists Tell You - He Was Armed, Most Cops Are Ex Forces


Disclaimer: This video brought to you courtesy of Studio New Network. I am not the creator of this video.

It makes you wonder how many people police have murdered and then planted a gun on to make it look like justifiable homicide. We are already familiar with police sometimes planting drugs on suspects to embellish their own record and meet quotas, so planting guns on people isn't too much of a long shot (no pun intended), but it's one of those things the government will never tell us.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Sheriff Overrode Autopsy Findings to Protect Fellow Officers



Source: KQED News

Former chief forensic pathologist for San Joaquin County, Dr. Bennet Omalu, has alleged, along with his former colleague Dr. Susan Parsons, that Joaquin County sheriff/Coroner Steve Moore interfered with his work to cover up wrongful deaths that occurred in police custody or during the course of an arrest. The day before his resignation, he released a series of documents that reveal, among other things, that the sheriff labeled certain deaths in police custody as accidents rather than homicides, even when the evidence pointed to the latter, and withheld evidence of police using excessive force against suspects from Dr. Omalu. In one such instance, the California Highway Patrol withheld a taser report from Omalu in the case of Daniel Humphrey’s death. Omalu had originally attributed Humphrey’s death to a head injury he incurred while fleeing arrest on his motorcycle. It was not until two years later, when the deputy district attorney shared the taser report with him, that he learned that CHP had tasered the man 31 times. The sheriff had access to this report the day after Humphrey’s death. The sheriff would often ask Omalu to change the manner of death on his internal worksheets in cases where people had died after officers used tasers and chokeholds to subdue them. In another case, Abelino Cordova Cuevas was killed in a confrontation with Stockton police, who denied using a chokehold against the suspect. However, Omalu discovered that the man had died from asphyxiation and blunt force trauma, but the sheriff certified the death as an accident. The sheriff pulled the same stunt in the death of Filiberto Valencia, a schizophrenic man who broke into a group home and boarded himself in the bathroom. Stockton police beat him, sat on him and tased him, but the sheriff blamed his death on civilians. Similarly in the death of Samuel Augustine Jr, Omalu found that the man had suffered a traumatic brain and spinal cord injury during a confrontation with Stockton Police. He reported the manner of death as a homicide, but the sheriff objected and ruled his death an accident anyway.

Putting the sheriff in charge of coroner’s office creates an obvious conflict of interest, but it’s a common practice in California. California has taken police investigating themselves to a whole new level of stupid. In 50 of the 58 counties, the Sheriff also serves as the coroner and has the final determination over the manner of death. This confused me when I first heard about this story from Studio News, as I’m use to the Sheriff and Coroner being two different people. Even in a state as corrupt as my own, this sort of arrangement would never be allowed.