Friday, March 23, 2012

2012-03-23 "Eureka to appeal Cotton verdict; Attorney: 'Judge's ruling is incredibly inaccurate'" by Thadeus Greenson from "The Eureka Times-Standard"
Eureka will appeal a more than $4.5 million federal jury award against the city in a wrongful death suit stemming from the 2007 in-custody death of Martin Frederick Cotton II.
Nancy Delaney, a local attorney who represented Eureka and its officers in the suit, said Thursday that the city's insurance carriers have given the go-ahead to appeal the case after a U.S. Court judge recently issued a ruling denying the city's motion seeking a retrial in the case.
”We have official authorization, and it will be proceeding to appeal,” Delaney said. “We think the judge's ruling is incredibly inaccurate.”
A federal jury found that Eureka Police Department officers used excessive force against Cotton, 26, during a violent altercation that preceded his death on Aug. 9, 2007, and awarded more than $4.5 million in total damages to Cotton's father and daughter. Shortly after the ruling, the city of Eureka filed a motion seeking to have the judgment stayed and have a new trial held in the case.
In a 41-page written ruling filed with the court last week, U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong denies the city's motion on all fronts and offers her opinion that the jury relied on “overwhelming evidence and testimony establishing that (EPD) officers (Adam) Laird, (Justin) Winkle and (Gary) Whitmer viciously beat (Cotton) with their fists, knee strikes, kicks and baton strikes” in finding that Winkle and Laird used excessive force on Cotton and that all three officers were “deliberately indifferent” to Cotton's medical needs when they booked him into jail without first having him medically treated for his injuries.
While local officials characterized Cotton as being combative and violent with the officers, Armstrong states in her ruling that testimony in the case indicates that he was being noncompliant but was not using force against the officers, attempting to flee or resisting.
EPD Interim Police Chief Murl Harpham said shortly after the jury's verdict that his officers were “wronged,” adding that they are “kind” men, noting that Winkle was named “Officer of the Year” in 2007 and Laird was promoted to sergeant in 2011.
”They're just good people, and they wouldn't do what's been claimed here out of viciousness or anything like that,” Harpham said, adding that his officers were in a “knock-down, drag out” with a very violent suspect under the influence of a large amount of LSD.
Eureka's insurance carrier -- the Redwood Empire Municipal Insurance Fund (REMIF) -- has made the bulk of the decisions regarding the handling of the case for the city but, because the amount of the jury award in the case exceeds the REMIF's level of exposure, the fund's excess insurance carriers made the decision to appeal the jury's verdict, Delaney said.
Because Eureka has already spent the entire amount of its insurance coverage deductible on the case, the city's general fund will not be impacted by the jury award in the case.
Eureka has until April 16 to file its appeal and will have to file a bond of $5.7 million -- 125 percent of the jury award -- in order to do so.

Monday, March 19, 2012

These are the pigs which give the entire Police force a bad name. And it happens all too often. Though this article is about an incident from Chicago, it is placed here to remind us of the same types who engage in similer behavior locally.

2012-03-19 "Chicago cop tells reporters: ‘Your First Amendment right can be terminated’" by Stephen C. Webster
If one Chicago police officer is to be believed, American citizens can lose their most fundamental rights simply by standing near an irritable cop.
That’s what two members of the press found out on Sunday, when an angry police officer told them they would be arrested if they did not stop filming in front of the Mt. Sinai Hospital. They were attempting to cover a tragic story of a little girl who was shot and killed over the weekend.
Security guards at the hospital reportedly called police and claimed that a reporter had tried to push past them and get into the hospital. When police showed up, reporters with NBC Chicago claim they respected their request to move across the street and into a median, away from the public sidewalk in front of the facility.
But that was not good enough for one officer, who argued with reporters in the road’s median, telling them that they must move. When they refused, he insisted: “Your First Amendment right can be terminated if you’re creating a scene or whatever.”
Challenged by reporters that they had not created a scene, the officer replied: “Your presence is creating a scene.”
One of the reporters’ responds: “But this is what we do for a living! What we do for a living is creating a scene?” Another reporter adds: “You’ve got a lawsuit coming.”
“I don’t care about no damn lawsuit!” the officer answers. “F*ck a lawsuit. Just ’cause you sue doesn’t mean you’re going to win.”
He then promptly arrested Donte Williams, a photographer, and Dan Ponce, a reporter for WGN-TV Chicago. Both journalists were detained for approximately 10 minutes and then released without charge.
“Our members were attempting to protect and respect both the grieving family members of the child, and the memory of the child herself during a very stressful time for all parties involved,” NBC Chicago explained Monday morning. “As always, we will carefully review the allegations in the event further action is warranted.”
This video is from NBC Chicago, published Monday, March 19, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

2012-03-16 "Pleasant Hill madam tells of top cop's protection" by Justin Berton from "San Francisco Chronicle"
A woman who ran a Pleasant Hill brothel told investigators she did so with the approval of central Contra Costa County's top vice cop, and said she also had a sexual encounter with the officer, according to documents obtained by The Chronicle.
Jordi Simms said that after she opened a massage parlor that fronted for a brothel in July 2009, Norman Wielsch, then the commander of the multiagency Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team, received weekly payments and protected the business from police raids. The allegations contradict public statements made by Wielsch and his attorney, who have repeatedly denied that the former state Department of Justice agent was involved in the illicit business.
Wielsch's attorney, Michael Cardoza, declined to address Simms' statements directly in an interview this week.
"I'm going to wait until all the evidence is presented in the courtroom," he said.
In August, Wielsch and private investigator Christopher Butler, both 50, were indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption charges, including stealing drugs from police evidence lockers and one count of extortion in connection with the alleged brothel.
Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Two interviews -
Simms, 37, who lives in Concord, made the allegations about Wielsch during two interviews with state Department of Justice agents in February and March 2011. The Chronicle obtained summaries of the agents' interviews.
 Simms declined to comment for this article. She was granted immunity from prosecution by the Contra Costa County district attorney's office in exchange for her cooperation.
Her statements to investigators tell the story of a woman who found herself in a unique relationship with Wielsch and benefited from his powerful position within law enforcement.

Met him in a raid -
She said she met Wielsch in March 2009 when she was arrested in a prostitution raid at a Walnut Creek residence. She said Wielsch had interviewed her, released her at the scene and issued her a citation to appear in court.
Before her court date, Simms went to work for Butler's investigation agency as a decoy - a woman who would lure cheating husbands into compromising situations that Butler documented for the wives who hired him.
She said she had mentioned the prostitution arrest to Butler, who told her he was good friends with Wielsch and could "work something out."
According to Simms, Wielsch contacted the Contra Costa County district attorney's office on her behalf and appeared with her in court in July 2009. Records show that her prostitution charge was reduced to a misdemeanor for disturbing the peace, to which she pleaded guilty. She was sentenced to 60 hours of community service.

Friendship helped -
Simms "is convinced the only reason she received leniency in court was because of Wielsch's assistance," state investigators wrote, "and that assistance would never have been provided if it weren't for the friendship of Butler and Wielsch."
In June 2009, Simms said, Butler approached her with an offer to run a salon that would provide "sensual massages." Clients would receive sexual favors stopping short of intercourse, she said.
Simms said the private investigator had told her Wielsch approved of the plan, and she soon helped Butler pick out a four-room suite in a strip mall on Gregory Lane in Pleasant Hill. Butler leased the space in his name and outfitted the office with Ikea furniture and security cameras, she said.
Simms charged $200 an hour for a massage, and she and the women she hired made weekly deposits in an envelope that Butler collected, she said.
"Simms said the agreement was she and each girl would pay Butler and Wielsch $500 each week for use of the business, and the girls could charge what they wanted for the massage services," according to state investigators' summary of their interviews with Simms.

Neighbor's complaint -
As the operation went into full swing in late summer 2009, Simms said, Wielsch told her a nearby tenant had complained to police about suspicious activity and that he had been forced to dispatch an agent to investigate.
She said Wielsch had sent a junior investigator and had given a photograph of the agent to Butler, who passed it along to her. When the undercover agent knocked on the door, Simms talked to him briefly and he left, she said.
The agent said he had told Wielsch he recognized Simms from her arrest earlier that year, according to accounts that two fellow agents gave to state investigators. Wielsch told the junior investigator to "forget about it" and that he would follow up later, the agents said.
Simms said she had a conversation about the undercover officer's visit with Wielsch and continued to operate the salon.

Sexual encounter -
At one point, she said, Butler told her to "be nicer" to Wielsch, which she understood as a suggestion to engage in a sexual encounter with the officer.
According to Simms and statements from another woman who worked at the parlor, Jessica Banda, 33, the two women agreed to meet Wielsch at a hotel room.
Banda told state investigators that Simms had asked her to accompany her to "thank (Wielsch) for getting her criminal case reduced."
Both women told investigators they had performed sex acts with Wielsch.
Banda, who did not respond to messages seeking comment, told investigators the salon's demise began in late 2009 because of citizen complaints and the resulting scrutiny by Pleasant Hill police.
Simms said the business had been a challenge to manage. Women came and went, and it became difficult to rent out rooms and raise the money Butler and Wielsch expected.
The operation closed in December 2009 or early 2010, she said. Records show the landlord sued Butler in small claims court for unpaid rent in 2010.

Lawyer's denials -
In May 2011, after The Chronicle reported Butler had admitted to his role in the brothel and alleged it was Wielsch's idea, the officer's attorney offered a full-throated denial of his client's involvement.
Cardoza said Wielsch "had nothing to do with starting, running or protecting a brothel," and that Butler was "spinning tales to save himself."
In an interview that month with television station KNTV in San Jose, Wielsch was asked if he knew of the allegations that connected him to the parlor.
He shook his head. "No, I haven't heard that," he said.

Lacy Atkins / The Chronicle 2011
Norman Wielsch, former commander of the Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team, appears in court in 2011. He allegedly extorted money from a brothel and stole drugs.

2012-03-16 "Protesters object to injury reports going to cops" by Nanette Asimov from "San Francisco Chronicle"
Distraught and in pain, Alex Barnard was one of many UC Berkeley students who visited the campus' Tang Health Center after a violent Occupy Cal protest last Nov. 9.
He arrived at Tang with contusions and broken ribs caused when an officer rammed him with her baton as hundreds of students linked arms to protect tents they had erected on campus. As with all violent injuries, from black eye to murder, state law requires medical centers to tell police.
"The doctor said, 'You know I have to report this to the UC police,' " said Bernard, a graduate student in sociology. "I just started crying at that point, realizing that the people who hurt me are supposed to investigate the beating and make it right. It's Orwellian."
He's not the only one to say so. Several student protesters and the American Civil Liberties Union say it may be necessary to change Penal Code 11160 so an agency responsible for violence is not the same one to receive the report and investigate.
"There has to be some mechanism for reassuring the victim that the information won't be used against them," said Linda Lye, an attorney with the ACLU.
Students have rarely been more suspicious of police motives, largely because police have responded so aggressively to protesters not only at Berkeley, but also at UC Davis, where officers used pepper spray on seated students last fall.
Also, the Alameda County District Attorney is prosecuting 13 Berkeley protesters. While not unusual for students to be charged after campus protests, the prevalence of videos showing police violence against nonviolent protesters has led many to question the fairness of it all.
After the Berkeley protest, the Tang Center gave police limited information as required: names of victims, a description of injuries, where they occurred, and who inflicted them.
Tang gave police more than a dozen reports of injuries from Nov. 9, police said. It's what happened afterward that compounded the mistrust, students say.
Several of the injured, including Barnard, were contacted by police and asked to answer questions about what had happened. Two also received letters from the District Attorney's office that they were being charged with "resisting" and "obstructing."
That's when the rumors began that police were raiding medical records to help with the prosecution of the 13 protesters.
UC police insist they did not use the Tang information to identify students for prosecution.
"We didn't look at the Tang Center information and go after that person," said Lt. Eric Tejada. "But we did follow up as part of our internal investigation" to determine if police violated policies.
Police contacted Shane Boyle, a graduate student in theater, who visited Tang with rib pain.
 "I refused," he said. "It wasn't clear how our statements would be used. We were scared about repercussions."
He and Josh Anderson, a graduate student in English, are among the 13 being prosecuted.
"I had the snot kicked out of me" on Nov. 9, said Anderson, seen in videos being pummeled by police. He visited Tang with broken ribs and injuries to his head, eye, hand and foot. He said he filled out a violent injury report because he wanted there to be an official record of his injuries in case of a lawsuit. But he didn't want that report going to police.
"They had just beaten me up," he said. "I think that's a conflict of interest that I would go to them."
Besides, he said, if the idea of the state's mandatory reporting law is that police will bring the perpetrators to justice, it didn't work in this case.
"I was never contacted by police following that," he said.

-- Video of Josh Anderson at the Nov. 9, 2011, protest at UC Berkeley (He is seen at lower left in black sweatshirt, with long sideburns):

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Policing Activists" by Mitzi Waltz
Albion Monitor November 19, 1997
Like a vampire  who has developed a tolerance for garlic, Red Squads are back.
 Throughout the Cold War, these guardians of political compliance spied on and harassed law-abiding activists who veered too far left of the political center. Dedicated civil rights advocates and others fought back and won on local, state, and federal fronts. But their success was often short-lived. New technologies; new laws; and increased interaction among international, federal, military, state, and local law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and private corporations are threatening not only to put Red Squads back in business nationwide, but to increase the scope of their power to pry, to harm, and to imprison.
 With the "International Communist Conspiracy" gone, Red Squads need a new raison d'etre. Studies by RAND the Heritage Foundation, and several private companies in the security industry have provided proponents of the Surveillance State with both a rationale and a blueprint for action. First, these groups have presented research to the law enforcement community documenting that the public can be frightened by the specter of terrorism into accepting and even calling for increased spying.[1] Second, after studying anti-terrorist measures from around the world, they have decided that multi-jurisdictional taskforces offer the best way to circumvent civilian oversight. For example, the RAND report Domestic Terrorism: A National Assessment of State and Local Preparedness, explicitly touts taskforce participation as a way to get around local laws restricting political intelligence work, and also promotes taskforces as a mechanism for putting such operations on the local and state agenda by providing funding, equipment, publicity, and other inducements. And as we shall see, in cities where it operates counterterrorism taskforces, the FBI pressures local police to ditch limits on political spying.
 The taskforce concept and the cooperation it engenders between local and federal agencies, has another benefit, according to this report: It allows federal agencies to obtain information on a broad range of activities that do not fall under the current legal definition of "terrorism," but that are of political interest. That's because local police are much more responsive to demands from large corporations and influential organizations. These groups often have significant influence over political or budgetary matters in the local arena and are not loath to use their clout to discipline "uncooperative" police. The RAND study reports that local police will generally share freely what they gather with higher-level agencies.[2]
 This back-scratching is not a new practice: A 1976 General Accounting Office report about FBI investigative protocol noted that local and state police were the bureau's second most prolific source of information, surpassed only by its own informants.[3] In fact, in these days of grant-based "entrepreneurial" law-enforcement funding, the locals had better cooperate: Their budgets may depend on federal grants based on performing particular types of policing.
 The taskforce trend began with the post-riot commissions of the late 1960s and early 1970s. As an official Department of Justice (DoJ) history of community policing puts it, "The police force's inability to handle urban unrest in an effective and appropriate manner brought demands by civic leaders and politicians for a reexamination of police practices."[4]
 The 1967 Kerner Commission and 1968 Eisenhower Commission focused on the growing divide between police and "civilians" as it was angrily expressed in the Watts riot and other uprisings. The recommendations of these bodies touted police-community dialogue as the key to curbing such unrest, expressing the hope that federal oversight could end abuse of protesters and minorities by "rogue cops." This goal was the foundation for community policing as we know it today. Later commissions that concentrated on reducing street crime looked to federal agencies to improve training and equipment in local law enforcement.
 Although community policing has not been as successful in curbing street crime as its proponents might have hoped, it has been a public relations success and enjoys the support of many well-intentioned liberals. But heirs to the Red Squads have found it an excellent mechanism as well. Savvy law enforcement types realized that under the community policing rubric, cops, community groups, local companies, private foundations, citizen informants, and federal agencies could form alliances without causing public outcry. Riding on fears from the trumped-up missing children campaign of the 1980s to the anti-drug hysteria of the 1990s community policing has been the public face of under-the-radar efforts to create an impenetrable web of surveillance and enforcement.
 And not surprisingly in this age of globalization, the taskforce concept benefits from international support as well. Several anti-terrorism summits held by the G-7 nations since 1984 have advocated building strong national and international multi-agency taskforces, based on the models set up in Germany and the UK.[5]

 The original  political objectives of community policing were not fully addressed until the current decade, as Watergate and the COINTELPRO revelations of the 1970s briefly turned federal intelligence agencies into political hot potatoes. But collective memory is short. In step with RAND's 1992 and 1995 recommendations, regional taskforces that directly address political and social activism are now proliferating, and existing systems have been strengthened. The previously missing ingredients appropriate technologies and a legal framework for cooperation are now falling into place.
 For example, the Department of Justice's Regional Information Sharing Systems Program (RISS) includes six regional data- and equipment-sharing projects and has more than quadrupled the number of participating agencies since 1982. Most of this growth has occurred since 1990. From 1993-95 alone, RISS had a 47 percent increase in the number of database inquiries; just last year, it achieved full electronic connectivity among the centers. Each regional RISS project coordinates the intelligence efforts of hundreds of municipal, county,state, and federal agencies, as well as several Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia, and US intelligence operatives in Mexico. Funding for these centers and grants for member agencies are administered through the Bureau of Justice Assistance program.[6]
 Officially, RISS projects concentrate on drug and organized crime activities, but since Criminal Intelligence units are used in many jurisdictions to surveil political suspects as well, their personnel also have access to information that RISS systems store. RISS documents and regulations make it clear that its databases are used to exchange data about politically-motivated crimes. This phenomenon was particularly obvious in a set of guidelines passed by the DoJ in late 1993 to curb abuses of criminal intelligence data banks in such cases, presumably at least in part owing to the Anti Defamation League (ADL) intelligence scandal earlier that year.[7] The rules included barring data gathered in violation of local, state or federal law; mandating security measures and penalties for unauthorized dissemination of data; and prohibiting the sharing of data on lawful political activity through taskforce databases.[8]
 It is uncertain whether the limits set in these regulations have been carefully observed. When sent to taskforce members, the DoJ ruling was accompanied by detailed responses to objections received from participating local police agencies. These responses appeared to serve as advice for circumventing the new rules. They helpfully note, for example, that off-site databases under private control might be used to store data, such as field interrogation records, that don't meet DoJ criteria.[9]

 The growth  of taskforces has been fueled by fears of terrorism with the FBI piling on tinder from its central position in counterterrorism activities nationwide. The Bureau has quietly set up 14 counterterrorism task forces in major US cities: Boston, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, San Francisco and Los Angeles.[10] The centers recruit officers on urban police forces to work directly with the FBI. They are funded in part by the 1996 Anti-Terrorism Act, which authorized $468 million for the FBI's counterterrorism and counterintelligence efforts.
 Until an FBI proposal to add a new center in San Francisco sparked a public fight, the program was almost completely unknown outside the Bureau. San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown opposed the center's establishment, saying that he would "not go along with or support any attempt to circumvent San Francisco's current policy on surveillance."[11] As a result of activist pressure and repeated scandals involving political spying, including the ADL case, San Francisco police regulations outlaw surveillance of lawful political activities.
 While FBI activities that become public are subject to citizen pressure, the agency's internal operations rarely see sunshine. The recent revelations about mishandling and manufacturing of evidence at the FBI's crime lab the first whistleblowing in years to break the code of silence hint at the extent of the problems. Like the labs, which operated for decades without safeguards, the FBI's internal databases conceal abuses. And since they are not subject to the DoJ regulations or oversight, no one can assess how much erroneous or illegally gathered information they contain.
 What is apparent is that both the FBI's internal and external political intelligence systems are extensive: Its Terrorist Information System contains data on more than 200,000 individuals and 3,000 groups, institutions and businesses. It is cross-referenced with criminal records; interview and surveillance transcripts; information on associates, contacts, victims and witnesses related to people in the database; plus financial, telephone, and other data if collected or obtained from other sources, such as the DoJ's FinCEN databases, which are used to track and analyze financial data linked to criminal suspects.[12]
 Moreover, the National Crime Information Center 2000 (NCIC 2000) project now under way will extend the process of linking FBI information with other database systems.[13]

 One reason  these intelligence networks are dangerous is that they have insufficient safeguards for assuring the accuracy of information gathered. Despite the availability of high-tech tools, criminal intelligence officers and counterterrorism investigators increasingly rely on so-called Confidential Reliable Informants. In drug cases, CRIs tend to be motivated by money, personal animus, or promises of leniency for their own offenses.
 One need only look at the recent case involving Qubilah Shabazz and Michael Fitzpatrick to see what can happen when financial incentives and political motivation drive federal investigations. Fitzpatrick, a freelance informer with an expensive drug habit and a long history of spying for cash, attempted to coerce Shabazz (the daughter of Malcolm X and a former high school classmate of Fitzpatrick's) into supporting an assassination attempt on Louis Farrakhan.Presenting himself as a suitor and playing on Shabazz's belief that Farrakhan was complicit in her father's assassination, Fitzpatrick had his FBI handlers tape their motel room conversations.
 Fitzpatrick "never worried about his own illegal conduct, because quite correctly he thought that no matter what he did, he would be able to get off by ensnaring somebody else," said Shabazz's defense attorney Ronald Kuby. Letting "a small-time dirtbag" like Fitzpatrick create and then sell an entrapment scheme to the FBI, Kuby said, "resulted in humiliation and a serious threat of imprisonment for the innocent target, and increased paranoia among those activists whose paths have crossed with Fitzpatrick's."[14]
 Unlike drug snitches, political CRIs sometimes serve private clients as well as the police, collecting cash from political opponents of the groups on which they spy.[15] Many organizations also field private investigators who then share the (frequently dubious) information they have collected with law enforcement.[16] Regardless of who pays the bills, one result of private intelligence operations can be an increase in agent provocateur activity, as paid informants and private security operatives attempt to justify their paychecks. In any case, whether public or private, whether snitching about drugs, politics or immigration, Confidential Reliable Informants are often anything but reliable.[17] As computer programmers say, GIGO: garbage in, garbage out. In the case of number-crunching computer operations, the result is bad data; in the case of files on human beings, "garbage in" could literally mean an unjust deportation, long jail term, or death sentence under the 1996 Anti-Terrorism Act.
 Another potentially dangerous application of the GIGO principle is provided by the Clinton administration's October 1996 airline rules. They include passenger "profiling" and movement-tracking via databases, and could easily lead to airport detentions, missed flights, and false arrests.[18] Considering the US government's history of harassment and even murder of activists and the recent revelations about the FBI lab, the easy retrieval of dubious data takes on a very sinister cast for those with long memories.[19]

 The taskforce concept  so favored by the DoJ only compounds GIGO problems by spreading the misinformation. As with many features of modern policing, the success of taskforces depends heavily on information-gathering and data manipulation. Most of the technology needed originated in the military, and the Government Technology Transfer Program has played an important part through the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ) National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center, and also through the federal government's four regional technology centers at the Ames, Rome, Los Alamos, and Sandia National Laboratories, which had previously serviced the military and its contractors alone.[20]
 "Command and control" software developed by the military to enhance communications and information exchange between ground forces and their commanders can be used to manage police operations during demonstrations or civil unrest. It may include rapid-access data banks, scene mapping (increasingly using satellite-based GIS technology), and field-command enhancements using high-tech communications.[21]
 Powerful databases such as the Modernized Intelligence Data Base (MIDB) project currently being revamped by TRW Systems Integration Group for Army Intelligence;[22] NCIC 2000, which is being developed by MITRE Corp. for the FBI; and others let police programmers link activists with their causes, associates, employers, criminal records, mug shots and fingerprints, spending habits, and even tax information.[23] These information tools which meld together details collected by local police and higher- level analysis and background from federal agencies form the backbone of the taskforces' increasing power.
 The computerized command and control system implemented for the $300 million Atlanta Olympics' security system is a case in point. Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) delivered it to the Atlanta Police Department well in advance of the Olympics as a replacement for the APD's paper-based scheduling system. The system included events-simulation capabilities, personnel-deployment features, interactive mapping, and various field communications features to facilitate military-style control of a large urban area.[24] It is based on software developed for the Gulf War's Operation Desert Storm, and prepared by a public-private partnership that included Oak Ridge, which is administered by Lockheed Martin for the federal government; the Center for the Application of Science Toward Law Enforcement; and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, better known as the office of the "drug czar."
 Why would the president's top drug-war officials and a nuclear-research lab run by a major defense contractor be involved in such a project? Bob Hunter of ORNL's Computational Physics and Engineering Division said in a corporate press release that "the Office of National Drug Control Policy also wants this system to be readily transferable to other events, such as a California earthquake, that could shatter existing infrastructures."[25]
 The drug czar is not in charge of natural-disaster planning that's the job of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, reporters covering the fall of Oliver North discovered that from FEMA's inception in 1979, the agency was handling domestic counterinsurgency planning as well. In 1984, it went so far as to hold national exercises for rounding up and detaining aliens and radicals in rural camps.[26]
 It is not known if the Office of National Drug Control Policy is developing tools for carrying out the same sort of mission.

 A more general  problem with data gathered by multi- jurisdictional taskforces is that, as noted earlier, local police are very susceptible to corporate pressure. For example, RAND found that local law enforcement agencies defined "terrorism" much more broadly than did their federal counterparts, often applying the label to environmentalist, animal rights, and union activities that affect large, powerful employers.[27] For example, citizens working to close down the contaminated Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southern Washington report being trailed and harassed by local police working in concert with private security officers. Another instance of the incestuous relationship that can develop between police and corporations was presented by the year-long Detroit newspaper strike. The newspaper companies involved actually reimbursed the local police to the tune of $2.1 million for services rendered in helping break the strike.[28] Couple this with the Anti-Terrorism Act which redefines any form of violent crime and many types of previously lawful political advocacy as "terrorism" for the purposes of federal prosecution and the possibilities are truly chilling.
 Large corporations such as IBM and Westinghouse have their own powerful security and counterterrorism divisions. These companies have high-level clout and, more importantly, they have government connections through their military subsidiaries. While in the past, corporations have had more influence over other federal intelligence agencies, such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Intelligence Assessment Team, the Department of Energy's intelligence unit and various military intelligence entities, they have recently found an increasingly sympathetic ear at the FBI. One of the Bureau's most important recent projects was a complete survey of potential terrorist targets that included hundreds of privately owned facilities. It has pledged to come up with plans to protect such targets and to respond to emergencies, tasks that will necessitate working even more closely with corporate and military security.[29]
 In addition, both the federal government and its partner corporations have privatized many security and surveillance functions, such as guarding military facilities and handling international airport security. A few elite companies get the nod from both government and corporate clients for these sorts of jobs, most notably the Wackenhut Corporation, which is in charge of details ranging from Exxon oil facilities to the Nevada nuclear test site. Such firms maintain their own extensive databases, and can undertake projects on behalf of their clients outside the purview of laws on political intelligence-gathering.

 Transfer of military  tools, many of which seem tailor-made for illegal political eavesdropping, is also putting a variety of new surveillance technologies into police hands. Speech- enhancement devices for monitoring faraway or muffled conversations, speaker-identification software similar to the "voice-print" devices used in some corporate security systems, software-based language translation, passive sensor systems and long-range radar surveillance technologies are just some of the projects on tap at the Northeast Regional Center, one of the four Government Technology Transfer Program centers run by National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Centers at the Rome, Ames, Sandia, and Los Alamos National Labs.
 Computer technology has also facilitated quick and cheap surveillance of vast numbers of electronic communications, from phone calls, to faxes, to e-mail. A quick browse of police- technology web sites reveals surging interest in the acquisition and use of pen registers, which collect phone numbers called but don't record conversations. The Supreme Court decided in Smith v. Maryland (1979) that pen registers do not perform a search as defined under the Fourth Amendment, and can even be used without demonstrating probable cause, much less obtaining a warrant a simple subpoena to the phone company will do.[30]
 Federal use of such devices doubled between 1987 and 1993.[31] With its low cost and easy accessibility, pen register data has been embraced even more fervently by local and state police for example, the Nassau, New York Enterprise Crime Unit, which covers organized crime activities, more than doubled its use of pen registers in 1995 alone.[32]
 Most police database systems for criminal intelligence are now set up to store and cross-reference pen-register data routinely, and this information is not subject to the DoJ regulations governing RISS databases that were mentioned earlier. [33]
 Scrutiny of phone records is also made easier through technology. In the Oklahoma City bombing case investigation, the FBI examined nearly 10,000 telephone calls to or from radical- right figures, including a lawyer suing the FBI over the Branch Davidian deaths at Waco, Texas.[34]
 The taskforce structure itself dictates how such powers are brought to bear on local activists. These technologies are put into the hands of local officers who have been assigned the point position in a national "war on terrorism" by their federal taskforce partners. When the data and permission to use them are coupled with pressure from corporations and their front groups to watch particular types of activists, not to mention the availability of budget-padding grants for pursuing political targets, you have a recipe for repression. And oversight, if any, will depend largely as it did in the days of the Red Squads on the vigilance of citizens and their effectiveness in fighting back.


 1. Kevin Jack Riley and Bruce Hoffman, Domestic Terrorism: A National Assessment of State and Local Preparedness (Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 1995).

 2. Kevin Jack Riley and Bruce Hoffman, Domestic Terrorism: A National Assessment of State and Local Preparedness (Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 1995).

 3. Frank Donner, The Age of Surveillance (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980), p. 128.

 4. Community Policing Consortium, "Understanding Community Policing: A Framework for Action," Bureau of Justice Assistance, Aug. 1994; available in electronic form []

 5. John Dermaut, "Disturbing `Deja Entendu' and Deja Vu," available in electronic form []

6. Gerald P. Lynch, statement on behalf of RISS before the House Appropriations Committee, Commerce and Justice Subcommittee, Federal News Service, April 17, 1996.

 7. In 1993, a former police officer in the employ of B'nai B'rith (ADL) was discovered to have collected numerous on left- and right-wing targets on behalf of that organization, and also for foreign governments, including South Africa. Confidential San Francisco police files were among the items found in his possession.

 8. Department of Justice, "Final Revision to the Office of Justice Programs, Criminal Intelligence Systems Operating Policies," Sept. 16, 1993.

 9. Department of Justice, "Final Revision to the Office of Justice Programs, Criminal Intelligence Systems Operating Policies," Sept. 16, 1993.

10. Seth Rosenfeld, "FBI Wants S.F. Cops to Join Spy Squad," San Francisco Examiner, Jan. 12, 1997, p. A1.

 11. Jim Herron Zamora, "S.F. Cops Say No to FBI Spy Unit," San Francisco Examiner, Jan. 16, 1997, p. A7.

 12. Peter F. Episcopo and Darrin L. Moor, "Focus on Information Resources: The Violent Gang and Terrorism File," Law Enforcement Bulletin, Oct. 1996.

 13. Federal Bureau of Investigation, "What is NCIC 2000?" NCIC 2000, v. 1, n. 1, Feb. 15, 1996.

14. Interview, Feb. 1995

 15. Mitzi Waltz, "Theodore Kaczynski and the Plot to Smear the Left," PDXS (Portland, Ore.), May 9, 1996.

 16. Ibid.; and Capt. Gary A. Allgeyer; "Social Protests in the 1990s: Planning a Response," Law Enforcement Bulletin, Jan. 1996.

 17. David B. Kopel, testimony before the Committee on the Judiciary, US Senate, May 24, 1995.

 18. The White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security's new airport procedures allow security guards to detain and interrogate passengers who meet "terrorist profiles" based on information collected in a special database to be prepared for this purpose, including the subject's airport behavior and appearance, criminal and credit history, and travel itinerary. For more information, see Rory J. O'Connor, "Privacy Groups Outraged at Anti-Terrorism Plan to Screen Airline Passengers," San Jose Mercury, Sept. 6, 1996

 19. For information on government targeting of activists, see: Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI's Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States (Boston: South End Press, 1990); for information on improper evidence handling and possible evidence falsification at the FBI forensics lab, see: Elaine Shannon, "The Gang that Couldn't Examine Straight," Time, April 28, 1997.

20. Rome Laboratory Law Enforcement Technology Team, "The New Horizon: Transferring Defense Technology to Law Enforcement," Law Enforcement Bulletin, April 1996. Operated through NIJ, the transfer program makes links between military tech -- or more accurately, military contractors and military-technology researchers at the federal labs -- and civilian-sector law enforcement.

 21. Rome Laboratory Law Enforcement Technology Team, "The New Horizon: Transferring Defense Technology to Law Enforcement," Law Enforcement Bulletin, April 1996.

 22. Ben N. Venzke, IWR Daily Update, IWR-Washington, Dec. 22, 1996.

 23. William A Bayse, "Security Capabilities, Privacy & Integrity" (remarks at The First Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy on March 27, 1991), IEEE Computer Science Press, 1991.

 24. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, "Sprint to 96," Nov. 1995, available in electronic format []

 25. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, "Sprint to 96," Nov. 1995, available in electronic format []

 26. Paul DeRienzo and Bill Weinberg, "Will Gulf War Lead to Repression at Home?" The Guardian (New York), Jan. 16, 1991.

 27. Riley and Hoffman, op. cit.

 28. David Bacon, "Labor Slaps the Smug New Face of Unionbusting," CAQ, n. 60, Spring 1997, p. 36.

 29. FBI, "Frequently Asked Questions about ANSIR" []

30. Mary Kate Cary, "How States Can Fight Violent Crime: Two Dozen Steps to a Safer America," Heritage Foundation, 1993; available electronically []

 31. Electronic Privacy Information Coalition (EPIC), from a chart available in electronic form []

 32. William J. Dempsey, Jr., "Enterprise Crime Bureau," available in electronic form []

 33. DOJ, "A Final Revision...," op. cit.

 34. Kevin Flynn and Lou Kilzer, "FBI Checked 10,000 Phone Calls in Bombing Case," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 15, 1997.

What is Gang Stalking

"What is Gang Stalking?" posted 2008-01-03 to []
Gang Stalking is a systemic form of control, which seeks to control every aspect of a Targeted Individuals life. Gang Stalking has many similarities to workplace mobbing, but takes place outside in the community. It called Gang Stalking, because the target is followed around and placed under surveillance by groups of organised Civilian Spies/Snitches 24/7.
Many Targeted Individuals are harassed in this way for months or even years before they realise that they are being targeted by an organised protocol of harassment.
What happens during Gang Stalking is very similar to what happened to many innocent individuals in the former East Germany or Activists and Dissidents in Russia. Many innocent people in the former East Germany would be targeted for these harassment programs, and then their friends, family, and the community at large would be used to monitor, prosecute, and harass them. In Russia it was used by the state to declare activist, dissidents or anyone they thought to be an enemy of the state as mentally unfit and many were institutionalised using this form of systemic control.
The closest thing to Gang Stalking that democratic countries have seen before is McCarthyism, Cointelpro, and RED SQUAD programs. Red Squad programs were used for monitoring, and harassment of various groups and they have been in place for over a hundred years.
Civilian spies are recruited from every level and sector of society. Just like with Cointelpro investigations, everyone in the targets life is made a part of this ongoing never ending systemic form of control and harassment. These actions are specifically designed to control the target and to keep them in line. These actions are also designed to destroy the target over years, make them look crazy and leave them with no form of support.
For the targets of this harassment, Gang Stalking is experienced as a covert psychological, emotional and physical attack, that is capable of immobilizing and destroying a target over time. For the state it’s a way to keep the targets in line, control them, or destroy them.
Worldwide programs of control and conformity have been used with equal success and lethality. What we are seeing now is a global co-ordinated and organised effort of control and conformity. Reports of Gang Stalking are not only coming in from democratic countries, but they are coming in from many other countries as well.
The modern day systemic form of control could only be funded at higher governmental levels, just like it has in other societies where these similar types of harassment programs have been implemented. It’s all part of a system of control and conformity that has been in place for many years. A system of control with many local groups and appendages taking part.

What are other Names for Gang Stalking?
There are many names for this form of systemic control and harassment. Under the Gang Stalking label you will also find such terms as Organised Stalking, Cause Stalking, Multi-Stalking, Community Mobbing, but it’s all part of the same harassment protocol. What many people do not realise is that Gang Stalking is just one appendage of this systemic form of control. There are other forms of control used to repress, and keep individuals in line. Other forms or appendages include, but are not limited to: Mobbing, Cointelpro, The Buzzsaw, Covert War, Electronic Harassment, etc. These are the just some of the names being given to a very old game, that is once again being played by governments on their unsuspecting citizens.

How are targets chosen?
Targets can be chosen because of many reasons. They can be chosen for political views. They can be chosen for whistle-blowing. They can be chosen because they belong to a dissident movement. They can be chosen because they asserted there rights at work. They can be chosen because they made the wrong enemy. Were considered to be too outspoken, unwittingly investigated something that the state did not want investigated, signed a petition, wrote a letter. They were deemed as suspicious by a civilian spy/snitch and their names were handed over.
It’s becoming apparent that targets might be chosen for this systemic form of control, if they are not already in some way a part of this controlled system. Eg. Many Targeted Individuals seem to be unaware that large chunks of our society are snitching and spying on each other.

What are the goals of Gang Stalking?
The goal is to isolate the target from all forms of support, so that the target can be set up in the future for arrest, institutionalisation, or forced suicide. Other goals of this harassment is to destroy the targets reputation and credibility. Make the target look crazy or unstable.
Other goals involve sensitizing the target to every day stimuli’s as a form of control, which is used to control targets when they get out of line.
These people also want to make the targets of this harassment vulnerable, they want to make them destitute. The secondary goals seem to be to make the target homeless, jobless, give them a breakdown, and the primary goals seems to be to drive the target to forced suicide, just like what they did with some of the targets of Cointelpro. It’s a useful way of eliminating perceived enemies of the state.

Who gets targeted?
Targeting can happen to anyone in society. Primary targets in the past have been but are not limited to: minorities, outspoken individuals, whistle blowers, dissidents, people who go up against large wealthy corporations, woman’s groups, (single) women, anti-war proponents, and other innocent individuals. The majority of the targets are often not aware that they are being targeted in this way. When a target moves, changes jobs, the harassment still continues. Every time the target moves, the same lies and slander will be spread and the systemic harassment will continue.

Who takes part?
People from all walks of life are being recruited to be the eyes and ears of the state. People from all races, ages, genders. Every sector of society that you can think of is a part of this. Civilian Spies/Snitches include, but are not limited to: General labourers, the wealthy, bikers, drug dealers, drug users, street people, punks, hip hop culture, KKK, black activists, church groups, youth groups, Firemen, police officers, lawyers, health care workers, store keepers, maids, janitors, cable installers, phone repair persons, mail carriers, locksmiths, electricians, etc. There really is no minimum or maximum age range.
Some of these citizens might be recruited via programs such as, Citizen Corp, Weed and Seed, Citizens On Phone Patrol, (COPP), City Watch, T.I.P.S. Many started with good intentions to help patrol and monitor their cities and neighbourhoods. Others are recruited via their families, others at school, others at work. Since every sector, class, race in society takes part, recruitment is multi-faceted.
Many do not understand or care that the end consequence of this harassment protocol is to destroy a person.

Why people participate in Gang Stalking?
There are many reasons that someone takes part in this activity.
1. Some do it for the sense of power that it gives them.
2. Others do this as a way to make friends and keep friends. It’s something social and fun for them to do. Many in society use the one handed sign language to communicate and it’s very effective in breaking down race, gender, age, social barriers.
3. Others are forced or black mailed by the State or the police into taking part.
4. They are told that they are part of homeland or national security and being used to help keep and eye on dangerous or emotionally disturbed individuals. They see themselves as heroic spies for the state.
Civilian spies can come from a variety of different programs such as the Citizen Corp, Citizen On Phone Patrol COPP, Weed and Seed, T.I.P.S., City Watch or some other centralized government program used for patrolling and monitoring cities.
5. Others are just local thugs or Informants who are already being used for other activities, and their energies are just diverted over into these community spy programs. Eg. Some may be given the choice of Spying for the State or the police vs going to jail.
6. Others are told outright lies and slander about the target to get them to go along with ruining the targets life.
7. Many are however just average citizens who have been recruited by the state the same way citizens were recruited in the former East Germany and other countries. It’s the way the society is.

What are some techniques used against targets?
A few of the most common techniques are listed below.
a) Classical conditioning.
Getting a Targeted Individual sensitized to an everyday stimuli. The targeted individual over a period of months, or even years is negatively sensitised to an everyday stimuli, which is then used to harass them. It’s used out in public to let them know they are constantly being harassed and monitored. Some examples of everyday stimulus that might be used include: sounds, colors, patterns, actions. Eg. Red, white, yellow, strips, pens clicking, key jangling, loud coughing, loud whistling, loud smacking of clapping of hands together, cell phones, laptops, etc.
b) 24/7 Surveillance
This will involve following the target everywhere they go. Learning about the target. Where they shop, work, play, who their friends and family are. Getting close to the target, moving into the community or apartment where they live, across the street. Monitoring the targets phone, house, and computer activity.
c) Isolation of said target.
This is done via slander campaigns, and lies. Eg. People in the targets community are told that the target is a thief, into drugs, a prostitute, pedophile, crazy, in trouble for something, needs to be watched. False files will even be produced on the target, shown to neighbours, family, store keepers.
d) Noise and mimicking campaigns.
Disrupting the targets life, sleep with loud power tools, construction, stereos, doors slamming, etc. Talking in public about private things in the targets life. Mimicking actions of the target. Basically letting the target know that they are in the targets life. Daily interferences, nothing that would be too overt to the untrained eye, but psychologically degrading and damaging to the target over time.
e) Everyday life breaks and street theatre.
Flat tires, sleep deprivation, drugging food, putting dirt on targets property. Mass strangers doing things in public to annoy targets. These strangers might get text messaged to be at a specific time and place, and perform a specific action.
It might seem harmless to these strangers, but it could be causing great psychological trauma for the target. Eg. Blocking targets path, getting ahead of them in line, cutting or boxing them in on the road, saying or doing things to elicit a response from targets. Etc.

Where does the support or funding for this come from?
Though Gang Stalking itself is immoral and unethical in nature, programs such as this in democratic countries, and none democratic countries have always been funded by the Government. They are the only ones with enough money, coordination, and power to keep such a system in place. These Co-ordinated efforts then join hands with others for this systemic form of control and harassment.
“Ruling the community with an iron fist. “Savvy law enforcement types realized that under the community policing rubric, cops, community groups, local companies, private foundations, citizen informants and federal agencies could form alliances without causing public outcry.” Covert Action Quarterly, summer 1997.”

What can you do to help?
1. If you know someone who is being targeted in this way please don’t go along with it. Don’t assume that the person is guilty or a bad person. Many innocent people are currently being targeted, and people are being told lies. This form of harassment is systemic and it’s about state control and conformity. The express goal of this harassment is to destroy the individual over time.
2. If you are aware of someone being harassed in this way, subtly direct them to websites that deal with Gang Stalking, or sites for Targeted Individuals. Knowledge is power.
3. You can subtly offer your support to someone who is being unfairly treated, in very small little ways.
4. You can bring up the subject of Gang Stalking or Targeted Individuals.
6. You can subtly suggest that your local newspapers or community papers print articles about Targeted Individuals or even an write an objective piece about Gang Stalking.

How do participants communicate?
Communication happens in a number of ways. When on the street or in cars patrolling, they use baseball or Stasi like signals.
These include things like tapping the side of the nose, corner of the eye, brushing back the hair 3 times, the infamous double blink, etc.
Here is a list of Stasi signals that the East German Army use to use. Stasi secret police. []

1. Watch out! Subject is coming – touch nose with hand or handkerchief
2. Subject is moving on, going further, or overtaking – stroke hair with hand, or raise hat briefly
3. Subject standing still – lay one hand against back, or on stomach
4. Observing Agent wishes to terminate observation because cover threatened – bend and retie shoelaces
5. Subject returning – both hands against back, or on stomach
6. Observing Agent wishes to speak with Team Leader or other Observing Agents – take out briefcase or equivalent and examine contents.

What resources are there?
There are many resources on the Internet and elsewhere about this form of harassment.
1. []

1. Ward Churchill, Jim Vander Wall “Cointelpro Papers”
2. Protectors of Privilege: Red Squads and Police Repression in Urban America
3. Anna Funder "Stasiland"
4. Gloria Naylor. “1996"
5. Victor Santoro  "GASLIGHTING How To Drive Your Enemies Crazy"
6. Anthony Brina “Suburban Spies”
7. Stephen Knight “The Brotherhood”
8. Alex Constantine “The Covert War Against Rock”
9. Jim Redden  “Snitch Culture”
10. Frank Donner “The Age of surveillance”
11. Kristina Borjesson "Into the Buzzsaw"
12. Niki F. Raapana "2020"
13. Noa Davenport "Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American WorkPlace"
14. Dr. Andrew M. Lobaczewski. Political Ponerology: The science on the Nature of Evil.

1. The lives of others. [] (A movie about covert investigations in the former East Germany)
2. The Matrix. (Sci-fi Movie.) Neo a target wakes up and realises not only is he being watched without knowing why, but that the world is a lie, that has been created to pull the truth over people’s eyes.

Videos: Cointelpro.
1. []
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3. []
4. []

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Organized Stalking and Electronic Harassment

"What is Gang Stalking?" (2008) [link]

"Policing Activists" by Mitzi Waltz (1997) [link]

Personalized radiation-emitting weapons [link] manipulates targeted user pages to influence long-term moods (2014) [link]

2013-10-22 message from J.t. Weiss to "Justice4AlanBlueford, assassinated by OPD"  []:
Dear OSI (Organized Stalking Informers) friends and Targeted Individuals please join me on the OSI Lefora webpage []
Login to view JTruth.osinformers
Lefora is a universe of free social networking... forums, social networking, social network, social networks, social networking site, social networking sites, forum software, free forums, social sites, social community, social site, chat, community software, chat rooms, social communities, photo hosting, image hosting, message boards, chat software

Northbay MDS replies:
police and private clandestine services attack advocates for community justice by organizing clandestine campaigns to destabilize that persons character and living situations, usually with deputized citizens who either don't care about the victim or who are politically conservative and racist. Been too many of us victims of this tactic, not enough knowledge, and then, there's the simple matter of accepting that this happens anyway to those of us who speak out, so that we know how to support the targeted people.
Northbay MDS find it is better to have this network in the community person-to-person, and never, ever, through online chat forums. NEVER. So, JT Weiss, good luck with whatever is plaguing you. We hope you find some use in the forum.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

2012-03-01 "The First Amendment Right to Record The Police" from "Extra, Extra... the Chronicles of Fly Benzo, Re-Educate Yourself..."
According to the United States Constitution, the First Amendment is written as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (U.S. Const. amend. I)
There have been many cases in which video evidence has contradicted an officer’s testimony and either an officer was convicted of wrongdoing or a suspect’s charges have been overturned or dismissed. With this great lack of integrity and accountability of the very ones who are paid to uphold the law, it is imperative, in the interest of justice, that civilians’ right to record police be preserved rather than criminalized.
Gayle Falkenthal, in her Washington Times article, “All Journalism is Citizen Journalism,” reported that in the case, Glik v. Cunniffe, the court ruled that a citizen’s right to film government officials is protected by the First Amendment. Simon Glik, a client of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), was arrested for “illegal wiretapping” after he recorded threeree officers using force to arrest a young man on the Boston Common. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, on August 26, 2011, ruled that “”a private citizen’s right to videotape police officers performing their duties in a public space is ‘unambiguously’ protected by the First Amendment.”
Richard Winton, in his article, “Sheriff’s Department sued over detention of photographers,” made it clear that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the Los Angeles Sherriff’s Department on the behalf of the National Press Photographers Assn. and three photographers who were harassed, detained and illegally searched while legally taking pictures in public places. The senior staff attorney for the ACLU declared that “photography is not a crime” and that for the police  “to single them out for such treatment while they’re pursuing a constitutionally protected activity is doubly wrong.”
Thomas Clouse and Meghann M. Cuniff, in their Spokesman newpaper article, report on one case in which an officer was convicted of wrongdoing after a store’s surveillance tapes told a different story than the officer in question. Spokane Officer, Karl F. Thompson Jr., claimed that Otto Zehm assaulted him in his 2006 encounter in which Zehm was beaten and tased into a coma from which he never recovered. Three years later the FBI launched a federal investigation and the jury, after review of the video evidence in contrast with Thompson’s statement, convicted Thompson of excessive force as well as lying to investigators. This is one case in which video footage has served to ensure that justice was served and that an officer did not completely get away with murder.
Another case in which video evidence has been used to convict an officer was the 2009 shooting of BART (San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit) rider, Oscar Grant by former BART PD Officer Johannes Mehserle. Although many people were outraged with the verdict and the amount of time Mehserle served in custody, it was video evidence from several onlookers’ cell phones that aided the prosecution in the historic involuntary manslaughter conviction. Johannes Mehserle was another case of a cop who almost got away with murder, as well as an officer who’s testimony contradicted the videos of the respective incidents and therefore, yet another reason filming government officials is rightfully protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Ammendment.
According to the May 27th 2011 press release of the San Francisco Public Defender, Officer Peter Richardson arrested Jesus Inastrilla and claimed that three undercover officers arrested Inastrilla after witnessing him spit a crack rock in his hand and sell it to Guerrero (one of the undercover officers), however, video footage shows that no exchange was made. The charges were dropped after Guerrero claimed that he could not locate the alleged seized drugs in evidence. The same day in San Francisco, 25 other cases were dropped due to lack of evidence, police credibility issues and a string of tapes with contradictory evidence to that of the statements of officers. With this lack of accountability and integrity of sworn SFPD officers, without cameras, there is no way of knowing whether or not an innocent person will be wrongfully convicted, therefore, the protection of civilians with cameras is absolutely necessary in the best interest of justice.
    SF Examiner Staff Writer Brent Begin, in his article “San Francisco police to carry video cameras during arrests” implies that the misconduct of SF Police officers had become so prevalent and the controversy so widespread that SF Police Chief Greg Suhr proposed the idea of equipping SFPD officers with cameras to record their arrests (Specifically in drug cases and cases that require consent or a search warrant). These ideas come in the wake of the aforementioned string of videos. The officers involved in the arrests in question were all removed from plainclothes duty pending further investigation, however, Chief Suhr insists that the officers are innocent until proven guilty. Being an officer of the law requires a person hold themselves to a higher standard, and with their superior officers brushing such violations off in such a way, justice cannot possibly be served.
 By exerting such abuses of authority, officers of the law make justice unattainable without the interference of good samaritans and “copwatchers” who record the cops’ often reckless and over the top behavior. Also, as in the cases of Mehserle and Guerrero, the American people cannot trust officers of the law to police themselves and their fellow officers because time and time again they have lied under oath and violated the rights of, and even killed civilians unlawfully and conspired amongst themselves to continue to sweep things under the rug. The right to film officers while performing their duties in a public space is rightfully protected by the First Amendment and in the best interest of justice, law enforcement agencies must immediately cease the criminalization of “copwatchers,” otherwise the United States government will be deemed to be in violation of its own constitution, the fundamental laws which establish the character of a nation.