Tag Archives | Police

It is Time We Discussed Abolishing the Police

Police Lights
Brian Platt writes at CounterPunch:

Last week documents obtained by The Intercept revealed that undercover officers for the NYPD regularly attended Black Lives Matter events. Pictures of activists are kept on file by the department and their movements are tracked. In a statement on these revelations the Metropolitan Transit Authority which has been using its counter-terrorism task force to also spy on Black Lives Matter justified the spying by equating protesters with terrorists. And this is not just the view of local police departments, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force have both been monitoring Black Lives Matter protests across the country showing the dangerous and unfounded link in the minds of police between social justice movements and terrorism.

It is notable that the problem of police infiltration is unique to Left-leaning political groups. Right wing organizations like the Tea Party, the OathKeepers, and the Ku Klux Klan are more likely to have police as enthusiastic members than moles.

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Film The Police!

Brave New Films just released a new short film about police brutality with a call for us all to do our civil duty and film the police:

From Brave New Films:

Some lawmakers are still pushing to criminalize the recording of police activity in public – and because we know we need more, not less, police accountability, we made this short film to share online!

In 12 states, it is illegal to record audio of police without permission and these states and others are now pushing for further laws criminalizing recording outright.

Filming the police is a right. And it is the only thing bringing the severe injustice of current policing tactics to light.

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Long Beach Police Officer ID’d in Fatal Shooting of Unarmed 19-Year-Old

Hector Morejon is shown in a family photo with his mother, Lucia Morejon.

Hector Morejon is shown in a family photo with his mother, Lucia Morejon.

Matt Hamilton writes at the LA Times:

A veteran of the Long Beach Police Department was identified Tuesday as the officer who fatally shot an unarmed 19-year-old last month while responding to a reported vandalism, authorities said.

The Long Beach Police Department said Jeffrey A. Meyer, a patrol officer with the department since 1990, opened fire at Hector Morejon in the afternoon of April 23. The department released the information in response to a public records request filed by The Times.

Meyer, who has been removed from field duties, was involved in a police shooting in March 2002, according to a Police Department spokeswoman. The circumstances of the 2002 shooting were not immediately available.

The president of the Long Beach Police Officers Assn., Steve James, opposed the decision by The Times to publish the name of the police officer involved in the shooting.

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3,000-Year-Old Masonic Police Department Uncovered in California

GRANDMASTER-logoThree people have been arrested in California for impersonating law enforcement officers while operating an unofficial police department dating back (they claim) to the Knights Templar – the Masonic Fraternal Police Department. NPR reports:

It was a plot to rival Foucault’s Pendulum: Police in Los Angeles arrested three people in connection with operating a fictitious police department they said was 3,000 years old and had jurisdiction over 33 states and Mexico.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials told The Associated Press that Brandon Kiel, 31, David Henry, 46, and Tonette Hayes, 58, were arrested last week on suspicion of impersonating officers as members of an organization they called Masonic Fraternal Police Department. The group’s website says:

“The Masonic Fraternal Organization is the oldest and most respected organization in the ‘World.’ Grand Masters around the various states are facing serious safety concerns for their Jurisdictions and their family members. The first Police Department was created by the ‘Knights Templar’s’ back in 1100 B.C.

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A Self-Styled Abolitionist’s Orwellian Assault on Sex Workers

r2hox (CC BY 2.0)

r2hox (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Self-styled abolitionist Ryan Dalton’s new tech startup, Rescue Forensics, wants to change the way the police fight human trafficking sex work by dredging up that old spectre The Satanic Panic under a new guise: Human Trafficking Hysteria.

The reality is that Rescue Forensics preys on sex workers — by selling their online activity to Law Enforcement Agencies.

A Vice’s Melissa Gira Grant reports:

Big data” and “sex trafficking.” That it took so long for someone to combine these buzz terms into one money-making venture is just one of several mysteries surrounding Rescue Forensics, a new startup.

The “big” in the Memphis-based company? Rescue Forensics claims it “archives massive quantities of data from classified advertisement sites specializing in commercial sex ads.” It gathers a lot of text, and even more nude and semi-nude photos. Then it turns all that over to the cops.

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When Cops Check Facebook

As if disinfonauts really needed reminding, be careful who you “friend” on Facebook or other social media platforms: they might be cops looking to arrest you and your associates, reports the Atlantic:

In 2012, Brooklyn police officer Michael Rodrigues arrested a burglary gang, the Brower Boys, by adding gang members as friends on Facebook. The day of the arrest was like gathering the lowest-hanging fruit. “It’s break-in day on the avenue,” one gang member posted in his status message. Officer Rodrigues and colleagues tracked the gang members to the avenue in question. They photographed the young men committing the crime, and then arrested them.

2009/365/48: Facebook FAIL

For the past several years, police and prosecutors across the country have been quietly using social media to track criminal networks. Their methods have become more sophisticated: by combining social media APIs, databases, and network analysis tools, police can keep tabs on gang activity. In New York’s Harlem neighborhood, at-risk teens are identified as members of gangs based on their affiliations and are monitored on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Want to Record The Cops? Know Your Rights

There are some very disturbing videos circulating the Internet right now, depicting the deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of trained, armed men. Many of these videos even show individuals being shot in the back, or as they try to flee.

Pittsburgh G20 Summit Protests -  514

These are videos of police officers in America killing unarmed black men like Oscar Grant and Eric Garner. And, as the most recent case shows, without these recordings, much of America might not have any idea exactly how much of a problem this is.

Citizen videos of law enforcement encounters are more valuable than ever. And for those who are wondering—it is legal to record the police.

The police don’t always seem aware of this. There have been incidents across the country of police telling people to stop filming, and sometimes seizing their camera or smartphone, or even arresting them, when they don’t comply.

In the most recent citizen-filmed incident to gain widespread media attention, on April 4, white police officer Michael Slager shot and killed 50-year-old black man Walter Scott in the back as he ran away in North Charleston, South Carolina. … Read the rest

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Chicago Poised To Become First City To Pay Reparations For Police Violence

Michael Pereckas (CC BY 2.0)

Michael Pereckas (CC BY 2.0)

Aaron Cynic writes at Chicagoist:

Victims of police torture by Jon Burge and his notorious “midnight crew” are one step closer to reparations today, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel agreed to a package deal for survivors which includes a $5.5 million dollar fund. Survivors of Burge and his men say they were subjected to a variety of abhorrent and brutal torture procedures when being questioned— most often for crimes they knew nothing about— including electro-shock, Russian roulette, mock executions, beatings and more. Burge and the midnight crew tortured suspects to extract false confessions, which landed several men on death row.

According to the deal, a now amended ordinance brokered by the People’s Law Office, Amnesty International, Project NIA, Chicago Torture Memorials and several other groups, some 118 victims of the former Area 2 Commander and their families will be eligible for financial compensation and other benefits.… Read the rest

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CPD Still Stonewalling Privacy Advocates On Releasing Information About Surveillance

A Chicago Police officer films protesters and a journalist at the NATO demonstrations in 2012 (photo courtesy of Kate Harnedy)

A Chicago Police officer films protesters and a journalist at the NATO demonstrations in 2012 (photo courtesy of Kate Harnedy)

Aaron Cynic writes at Chicagoist:

Privacy advocates filed another lawsuit yesterday in the ongoing battle to get the Chicago Police Department to provide information on the covert cell phone tracking systems it uses. Activist Freddy Martinez, who has filed similar suits twice before, filed one against the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office yesterday via Loevy and Loevy, a civil rights law firm. According to a press release from the firm, the suit charges the State’s Attorney has:

“Willfully and intentionally violated FOIA by refusing to produce records related to the presentation of evidence obtained through use of cell site simulators on the basis that it would be too ‘burdensome’ and is insufficiently important to justify the work involved to produce the records.”

The Chicago Police Department is one of many law enforcement agencies employing technologies such as Stingray, a brand-name and generic term for a device which mimics cell phone towers and collect data from phone calls, texts and more.… Read the rest

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