Tag Archives: Civil Liberties

WATCH: Joe Rogan Blasts Hollywood’s “Hypocrisy” Over Gun Control

Los Angeles, CA — While interviewing NRA TV host Colion Noir on his podcast the Joe Rogan Experience, the two discussed the the anti-gun “left-wing” Hollywood elite that make millions to billions of dollars on movies that often feature a heavy dose of gun violence. Rogan said that many of the same “liberal actors” publicly rebuking gun violence and advocating for gun control are protected by people carrying guns and wearing flak jackets.

After Noir finished discussing gun-free zones, Rogan asked Noir what he thought about arming teachers, prompting Noir to explain that “anything we hold valuable in this country is protected with guns.”

Rogan responded to Noir’s commentary by calling out Hollywood:

No one is more anti-gun than Hollywood. When you hear about any sort of crime or gun violence, the left-wing people in Hollywood are the most vocal, the most virtue-signaling, the quickest to jump on their pedestal. Meanwhile, what percentage of their f***ing movies involve gun violence? And if you look at the Academy Awards, did you see the security at the Academy Awards? You see all these left-leaning liberal actors being protected by people with flak jackets on. Carrying guns with fingers outside the triggers. I mean, dogs? It’s crazy.

Rogan, a strong civil libertarian, is no stranger to controversy as he is known for his refusal to comport to political correctness and has vocally waded into public discussion surrounding guns, mental health, liberty, tyranny and more on numerous previous occasions.

During a podcast in 2016, Rogan gave his thoughts on gun control as it relates to the Second Amendment, noting that it largely relates to government tyranny, not crime, stating:

“The whole point of the law is you can’t let some tyrannical dictator decide who can and can’t armed. Because at the end of the day, what we really have to worry about as much as crime, is we have to worry about the government turning into a crime (sic).”

“An armed militia is in the possibility that it all goes wrong. That’s what it’s for. It’s not for when everything is going right, it’s for when it all goes wrong. To deny the possibility that it could all go wrong, to me, you’re lying. You’re lying. You’re pretending we’re better than we are.”

“To say that we’ve reached some utopian place where we don’t have to worry about the government turning into a tyranny – bull$#hit.”

Watch Rogan’s full interview with Noir below where he targets Hollywood’s collective position surrounding guns.

Seattle Police Achieve State’s First “Red Flag Law” Gun Seizure

Seattle, WA— A law that went into effect in 2017 introduced the Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), which allows law enforcement in the state of Washington to confiscate a gun owner’s firearms if the owner is deemed a threat to themselves or others by a judge. This law, also referred to as a “red flag” gun law, has led Seattle to become Washington’s first city to use the law to confiscate a firearm from an individual.

Acting as petitioners, law enforcement agencies, blood-related and adopted relatives, married partners, romantic partners, current and former roommates, and people holding other certain specific associations can apply for an ERPO in Washington against a gun-owning individual considered to be an “extreme risk.”

According to Chapter 7.94 of the Washington legislature’s Revised Code of Washington (RCW) which lists the state’s permanent laws, the petitioner must include an “affidavit made under oath stating the specific statements, actions, or facts that give rise to a reasonable fear of future dangerous acts by the respondent.” ERPOs may be granted as an “immediate temporary order” or a full order.

Within Chapter 7.94 is RCW 7.94.050, related to temporary, or ex parte ERPOs:

A petitioner may request that an ex parte extreme risk protection order be issued before a hearing for an extreme risk protection order, without notice to the respondent, by including in the petition detailed allegations based on personal knowledge that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to self or others in the near future by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.

RCW 7.94.090 states that “Upon issuance of any extreme risk protection order under this chapter, including an ex parte extreme risk protection order, the court shall order the respondent to surrender to the local law enforcement agency all firearms in the respondent’s custody, control, or possession and any concealed pistol license issued under RCW 9.41.070.” A granted ERPO is valid for one year and can be renewed for one-year periods.

While this as been championed as a valuable tool for law enforcement, due process procedures come into question; under the provisions of an ex parte ERPO, the accused respondent will not have the opportunity to face their accuser or challenge the claim until after a temporary order is already issued. This effectively allows law enforcement take a person’s firearms first, with due process occurring after firearms are removed. 

While a court hearing typically scheduled two weeks following an order allows a respondent to challenge the ERPO request, the fact that a provision allows for gun confiscation without being arrested or charged with a crime led to concerns reportedly raised by 2nd Amendment advocates as well as civil liberties groups.

David Combs, a vocal opponent of this law when it was known as Initiative 1491, wrote:

I-1491 duplicates new laws and doesn’t provide a treatment model, while Washington State’s ‘Joel’s Law’ passed in 2015 already provides protection for individuals and those close to them by providing families a legal process for obtaining an involuntary treatment to a mental health facility when a person is determined to be a danger to themselves or others. An individual with a record of an involuntary treatment beyond 14 days loses the right to possess firearms indefinitely.

[RELATED: Reality Check: Trump Did Not Make It Easier for Severely Mentally Ill People To Buy Guns]

“We now have to go to someone’s house and knock on the door and say, ‘We’re from the government. Can we have your guns?’” Seattle Police Sergeant Eric Pisconski, head of the crisis response unit for the Seattle Police Department, told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “That can get very dangerous.”

“There’s certainly a big concern of the connection between mental health and people exhibiting violent behavior and whether or not they should have access to firearms. The ‘erpos’ give us that tool now as an option,” said Pisconski.

According to a Seattle police statement released on March 2nd, the city became the first law enforcement agency in Washington to confiscate an individual’s firearm through an ERPO:

Over the last year, police had received multiple calls about the man’s escalating behavior. In one recent incident, staff at a restaurant near the man’s home called police and reported that the man was harassing them while carrying a holstered firearm. Police also seized a shotgun from the man in another incident.

In a KATU report, police claimed the volume of complaints about an individual led them to apply for an ERPO, including reports from neighbors claiming the man was “staring” at them through a window while open-carrying a holstered pistol.

“He was roaming the hallways with a .25 caliber automatic,” Tony Montana, who reportedly knows the man from the apartment complex where he resides, told KATU. “And it created a lot of fear obviously because I didn’t know if he was coming after me or gonna just start shooting the place up.” KATU noted that other ERPOs “have been served and executed around the state, but Seattle police said they are the only agency so far to seize a gun because the owner refused to hand it over.”

“The 31-year-old man met officers outside of his apartment and was taken into custody for violating a previous order to turn over his firearms, the Seattle Police Department’s statement read. “Officers then entered the man’s apartment and recovered a .25 caliber handgun. Police are also working to obtain several other firearms owned by the man, which are currently in possession of a family member.”

“We attempted multiple times to get the individual to fulfill that order of turning over their firearms,” Pisconski said. “And he refused multiple times. We were forced, at that point, to take the next step in the ERPO law which is petitioning for a search warrant to go in and enter their home and remove the firearms from them.”

According to KOMO News, Washington is among five states that have a “red flag law” that allows seizure of weapons in circumstances in which a court is petitioned to do so. Rhode Island is considering similar legislation, and an analysis from Rhode Island ACLU has noted a number of concerns including “its impact on civil liberties, and the precedent it sets for the use of coercive measures against individuals not because they are alleged to have committed any crime, but because somebody believes they might, someday, commit one.”

Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger on FBI vs Apple Controversy: ‘Do You Trust Our Government?’

In an exclusive interview with Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook, filmmaker Brian Knappenberger breaks down the issues surrounding the FBI/Apple controversy and explained what the media is missing as it relates to civil liberties in the U.S. and the safety of global activists.

One episode in Knappenberger’s series, Truth and Power, focuses on oppressive governments that target activists by spying on their cell phones and computers.

Cook noted that many of these activists are tortured, and some are even killed because these government use “backdoors” to spy on people’s cells phones and computers. Cook asked Knappenberger about how opening these “backdoors,” if Apple complies with the FBI, would affect the safety of global activists.

“Apple sells its products all over the world… and so if there exists this back door, this magic key that the government wants… I bet those regimes are salivating at the prospects of this,” said Knappenberger. 

Knappenberger discussed how the American government uses surveillance and other tactics to disrupt innocent protesters who seek social and political change. He believes that filming police officers and police abuse is making a positive difference and should be protected under the 1st Amendment.

On the FBI/Apple controversy Knappenberber poses this question: “Do you trust the government?”

Watch the entire interview below:


Follow Joshua Cook on Facebook and Twitter.

California Police Dept. Using Software to Determine ‘Pre-Crime’ Threat Score

The police department in Fresno, California has begun implementing a new technology that, in addition to looking at arrest reports and property records, uses content from social media postings to calculate an individual’s “threat score.”

According to a report from the Washington Post, when Fresno police received a 911 call about a man threatening his ex-girlfriend, they consulted the “Beware” software, which “scoured billions of data points, including arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches and the man’s social media postings.”

The software search found that the man had both a “firearm conviction” and a “gang association,” which put his “threat level” at the highest of three possible color-coded scores.

The Post noted that while police officials claim that the software can “provide critical information that can help uncover terrorists or thwart mass shootings, ensure the safety of officers and the public, find suspects, and crack open cases,” privacy advocates argue that the tools are a “troubling intrusion on privacy, have been deployed with little public oversight and have potential for abuse or error.

[RELATED: ‘Pre-Crime’ Software Can Tell Police Who Will Commit a Crime Based in Part on Social Media Posts]

In Dec. 2014, Derek Smith, the Director of Cybersecurity Initiatives at the National Cybersecurity Institute at Excelsior College, said that while similar technology has been available in the past, the Beware software is much more efficient. However, he noted that it is not able to judge the intent of an individual based off of the information it gathers.

“It’s trying to forecast based on maybe your past behavior, or what is seen in your social media – a change in behavior or a change in the things you’re posting about,” Smith said. “They say ‘maybe this person is going to perpetrate a crime in the future,’ and then they want prevention from police officers.”

Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the Post that this technology has been in progress since 9/11, and that both state and federal governments are funding it.

“This is something that’s been building since September 11,” Lynch said. “First funding went to the military to develop this technology, and now it has come back to domestic law enforcement. It’s the perfect storm of cheaper and easier-to-use technologies and money from state and federal governments to purchase it.”

The Post reported that Fresno’s police department is one of the first in the country to test the Beware software, which is housed in a “Real Time Crime Center” which cost an estimated $600,000.

France Moves To Strip Citizens Of Civil Liberties After Paris Attacks

By Rachel Stoltzfoos  French President Francois Hollande proposed constitutional amendments and a three-month extension of state of emergency measures Monday that will severely limit the civil liberties of French citizens.

After a series of coordinated terrorist attacks left 129 dead in Paris Friday, Hollande immediately declared a state of emergency, based on a rarely used 1955 law that allows the state to conduct warrantless searches of private property, impose curfews, restrict public gatherings and movements of people, confiscate weapons at will and take over the press.

By law the state of emergency cannot last more than 12 days, but Hollande asked for a three-month extension Monday. He also proposed a series of constitutional amendments to increase the state’s surveillance powers and give it power to strip convicted terrorists and bi-nationals who commit hostile acts toward France of citizenship.

Hollande said the amendments are necessary so the state doesn’t have to “resort to the state of emergency” to deal with terror threats. “We must change our constitution to act against terrorism,” he said Monday.

The proposed amendments will also give the state “more sophisticated methods” to crack down on weapons trafficking, a quicker way to deport foreigners considered a threat, and the ability to bar bi-nationals considered a terror risk from entering the country.

French conducted 168 raids Sunday night, turning up cash, bulletproof vests, various types of guns and a rocket launcher, reported The Wall Street Journal. Police put 104 people on house arrest and detained 23 others.

Hollande has promised a “merciless” fight against ISIS in response to the attack. French fighter jets dropped 20 bombs on the group’s defacto Syrian capital of Raqqa Sunday night, destroying a command center and training camp.

Follow Rachel on Twitter




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TUCKER: Lower The Drinking Age!

By Jeffrey A. Tucker

It’s rush time for fraternities and sororities on college campuses right now. That means dressing up, networking, socializing, attending parties, and staying up late nights. It also means, whether parents know it (or like it) or not, astonishing amounts of drinking of very potent liquor. One of the most famous “drinks” is called “jungle juice”: trash barrels filled with random spirits and mixtures, consumed one red cup at a time.

Many of these kids are away from home for the first time, able to drink to their heart’s content. A huge culture as grown up around this practice, including a full vocabulary, games, and rituals. Mostly it is just fun, but it can also lead to serious trouble for everyone involved. Let’s not be squeamish: it leads to very un-adult-like amounts of personal abuse and, often, the abuse of others.

Most of these kids have never been socialized in what it means to drink responsibly. They are living for the thrill that comes with defiance. The combination of new freedom, liquor, and sexual opportunity leads to potentially damaged lives.

How do these kids get away with this? In fraternities and sororities, it all happens on private property, not public and commercial spaces, and so campus police can look the other way. Most everyone does.

Indeed, being able to drink with friends, and unhampered by authority, is a major appeal of the Greek system on campus. It’s a way to get around the preposterously high drinking age. Getting around this law will consume a major part of the energy and creativity of these kids for the next three years.

As for everyone else who cannot afford to join, it’s all about a life of sneaking around, getting to know older friends, lying and hiding, pregaming before parties just in case there is no liquor there, and generally adopting a life of bingeing and purging, blackouts and hangovers, rising and repeating. And so on it goes for years until finally the dawn of what the state considers adulthood.

For an entire class of people, it’s the Roaring Twenties all over again.

It’s all part of Prohibition’s legacy and a reflection of this country’s strange attitudes toward drinking in general. The drinking age in the United States (21), adopted in 1984, is one of the highest in the world. Countries that compare in severity are only a few, including Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Cameroon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan.

Most of the rest of the world has settled on 18 for liquor and 16 for beer and wine. In practice, most European countries have very low enforcement of even that. Somehow it works just fine for them.

Country Drinking Age

The consequences of this draconian law have been terrible for American society. Teenage drinking is a gigantic part of American life, all done surreptitiously and mostly without responsible oversight. The market for fake IDs is ubiquitous and diffuse. Everyone in the United States has a story of kids and their abusive habits, their strategizing, their hidden flasks and risky games, their constant maneuvering to do what they know they are not supposed to do.

The drinking-age law would surely be a winner in a competition for the least obeyed law. The notion that this law is accomplishing anything to actually stop or even curb teen drinking is preposterous. Instead, we see all the unintended effects of Prohibition: over-indulgence, anti-social behavior, disrespect for the law, secrecy and sneaking, and a massive diversion of human energy.

People speak of a rape crisis on campus, and whatever the scope of the problem, the fact that women under 21 must retreat to dorm rooms and frat houses to drink puts them all in a vulnerable situation. It’s hard to imagine that consent is really there when people are falling down, passing out, and feeling mortified the next day about what happened. In fact, the law represents a true danger to women in particular because it prohibits legal access to safe public places to drink responsibly, and go home to a safe environment afterward.

There is an organization of college administrators who are fed up. It is called the Amethyst Initiative. Currently, 135 colleges have signed support for a lower drinking age. Their goal is not to encourage more drinking but to recognize the unreality of the current law, and how it has led to perverse consequences on campus.

You know the situation has to be extremely serious to get this risk-averse crowd on board. Their statement reads:


[quote_box_center]A culture of dangerous, clandestine “binge-drinking” — often conducted off-campus — has developed. Alcohol education that mandates abstinence as the only legal option has not resulted in significant constructive behavioral change among our students.

Adults under 21 are deemed capable of voting, signing contracts, serving on juries and enlisting in the military, but are told they are not mature enough to have a beer. By choosing to use fake IDs, students make ethical compromises that erode respect for the law.[/quote_box_center]

It’s not just about campus. It’s about teens and drinking in general. The law requires them to hide in private places. Such clandestine meetings can lead to compromising and dangerous situations without reliable public oversight.

It’s also about business. Convenience stores and bars, in particular, have been put in a strange position. They have been enlisted to become the enforcement arm of an unenforceable policy, which has meant haranguing customers, inventing new systems for ferreting out violators, turning the servers into cops, confiscating IDs, and creating an environment of snooping and threats in a place that should be about service and fun.

Why isn’t something done to change this? Those who are most affected have the least political power. By the time they figure out the ropes in American political life, they are turning 21 and so no longer have to deal with the problem. In practice, this means that there is no real constituency pushing for reform of these laws. That’s why they have persisted for 30 years without serious pressure to change, despite the obvious failure they have been.

There is some movement at the state level. In Missouri, longtime state representative Rep. Phyllis Kahn has worked for a lowering of the drinking age in her state. She has an interesting take on whether this would mean that the state would have to give up 10% of federal highway funds (the threat that the feds used to force states to raise their drinking ages). In 2012, a Supreme Court ruling on Medicaid clearly stated that the federal government could not coerce states by withdrawing funding to force legislative action at the state level.

Other activists have said that even if the federal highway funding is cut, the increase in revenue from alcohol sales (and decline in enforcement costs) could make up a lot of the difference.

Regardless of the financing issues, current drinking-age law is unenforceable and destructive. The reality is that kids are going to drink. Denying that and imposing ever more draconian punishments doesn’t fix the real problems with alcohol.

What we need is a normal environment of parental and community supervision so that such drinking can occur in a responsible way. Yes, kids will probably drink more often, and yes, more kids will probably try alcohol, but they can do so in an environment of safety and responsibility.

Bringing it into the light, rather than driving it underground, is the best way to solve binging and abuse. Doubling down on a bad rule, rooted in the idea that laws can change human desire, is not a workable solution.

The choice between virtue and vice is a human choice. Relying on the government to make this choice for us disables the social order’s internal mechanisms for bringing about and rewarding responsible behavior. It seems like a paradox, but it is true: The only path toward restoring sanity in teenage drinking is greater liberty.




Reprinted from FEE with permission under Creative Commons Attribution License

Governor Walker Breaks Silence On Patriot Act, NSA Stance

Appearing on Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker gave Americans their first preview on where a President Walker would stand on civil liberties issues such as NSA spying authorized by the highly controversial Patriot Act.

Baier pushed Walker to give a “yes” or “no” on whether or not he would reauthorize the controversial NSA spying program by asking him whether or not he would vote for it if he were currently a sitting Senator. Walker, responding with typical political rhetoric, never actually answering Baier’s question, but instead said, that the meta-data collected was necessary and access to it was needed.

Earlier in the month, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NSA spy program is illegal.

This puts Walker at odds with declared conservative candidates Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Although Cruz did once vote to re-authorize the Patriot Act, he now seems prepared to stand against the upcoming re-authorization vote. Paul, the most staunch opponent of NSA spying in the Senate, is preparing to filibuster the upcoming Patriot Act re-authorization vote.

Walker’s comments on the Patriot Act and NSA begin at minute 5.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Activist Groups To Rally Against Chicago’s Reported Interrogation Headquarters

Chicago, IL- As news has spread exposing an alleged interrogation facility in Chicago known as “Homan Square” where suspects are reportedly detained, abused and denied Constitutional rights, several activist groups have come together to increase awareness of the facility and the due process violations occurring there.

Earlier this week, The Guardian interviewed attorneys, law enforcement agents, and a former detainee of Homan Square in its exposé of the closely guarded building where few are allowed access.

Groups including PANDAA, Cop Block, The Anti Media, Police the Police, Anonymous and The Free Thought Project are organizing calls to action online and in Chicago to push for the reported interrogations at the warehouse to end. A “Twitter Storm” instructing people to send tweets using the hashtag #Gitmo2Chicago has been announced and is set to begin on Friday night at 7 p.m. Central. There has also been a protest scheduled for Saturday, February 28th at 3 p.m. Central to take place at 3379 Fillmore St in Chicago.

Benswann.com will be keeping a close eye on developments regarding Homan Square and other “black sites”.


h/t: The Free Thought Project

Alleged “Black Site” In Chicago Detaining And Interrogating Suspects

Chicago, IL- A warehouse on Chicago’s west side, known as Homan Square, is allegedly being used as an interrogation facility similar to a CIA “black site” according to an extensive report by The Guardian.

The Guardian reports that Homan Square operates in secret and regularly denies its detainees their Constitutional rights by using the following practices:

  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds
  • Shackling for prolonged periods
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15

The Guardian interviewed various attorneys, former law enforcement agents and a man named Brian Church, a protester who said he spent 17 hours at Homan Square handcuffed to a bench. Church was the only detainee willing to speak out to the Guardian. Attorneys for other detainees have stated that their clients fear retaliation from police.

Church was a protester who became known as one of the “Nato 3” accused of terrorism in 2012. Church was not convicted of terrorism but served time for misdemeanor “mob action” and possession of an incendiary device. He is now on parole. “What sticks out the most in my mind is the amount of armored vehicles they had in their garage just sitting there,” Church told the Guardian about what he noticed at Homan Square. “Big vehicles, like the very large MRAPs that they use in the Middle East.”

Sarah Gelsomino, Church’s lawyer, recounted that she and other attorneys spent 12 hours searching for him and could not find any booking record. An attorney was later allowed entry into Honan Square before police transferred Church to a police station.

Attorneys said that it’s a rarity to be allowed inside the building to see a client. “It’s sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station visits, this place [Homan Square]– if you can’t find a client in the system, odds are they’re there,” said Chicago lawyer Julia Bartmes. The Guardian was denied access to the interior of the building and a man at the facility only said that “This is a secure facility. You’re not even supposed to be standing here,” and refused to answer any questions.

Former Chicago police superintendent Richard Brzeczek said the facility is “not really a secret location, but it’s kind of a cloistered location.” Brzeczek acknowledged the presence of floor-to-ceiling chain-link metal cages inside the building, “much like going into, say, a factory where there are certain areas that are secure.”

Bartmes recalled a phone call from a mother who said she was worried her 15-year-old son had been detained by police. It was later found the boy was being questioned at Homan Square, and Bartmes said that she was refused access. Bartmes said she was told “you can’t just stand here taking notes, this is a secure facility, there are undercover officers, and you’re making people very nervous.” Bartmes said the boy was released after 12 or 13 hours, facing no charges.

One death has been reported at Homan Square. In February 2013, John Hubbard was found unresponsive inside one of Homan Square’s “interview rooms” and later pronounced dead. The Cook County medical examiner’s office was unable to find a record for the Guardian ruling a cause of death for Hubbard, and the Guardian was unable to find why Hubbard was detained by police in the first place.

Tracy Siska, a civil-rights activist with the Chicago Justice Project and criminologist, said that facilities like Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib cause interrogative practices to “creep into other aspects.”

“They creep into domestic law enforcement, either with weaponry like with the militarization of police, or interrogation practices. That’s how we ended up with a black site in Chicago,” she said.

Florida Attorney Offers Drivers A Bold Approach To Challenging DUI Checkpoints

Florida-based attorney Warren Redlich has attracted the attention of police and motorists alike due to a series of flyers he created to provide an option for drivers objecting to procedures at sobriety checkpoints.

At sobriety checkpoints, drivers are typically expected to roll their window down and provide their license and other documents. Redlich has created fliers for residents in ten states- New York, Florida, California, New Jersey, Ohio, Arkansas, Utah, Texas, Georgia and South Carolina- that drivers would place on their window. According to FairDUI.org, the website that provides the fliers for downloading and printing, “the idea behind the flyer is that you keep it in your car and show it to police at checkpoints and traffic stops.”

The front sides of the fliers read “I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer” and proceed to cite state laws that lead to the claim that there’s no need to roll the window down, verbally communicate with police, or physically hand over any documents. The Florida flier, for example, cites a state statute that requires drivers to “display” their license to police “upon the demand of a law enforcement officer or an authorized representative of the department.” The other nine fliers also provide state-specific laws on the fliers pointing out that the language of the laws do not mention requiring the physical transfer of documents from one hand into another.

The back sides of the fliers instruct drivers to keep their window closed, remain completely silent, and record the encounter.

A Youtube video published on January 1st shows motorist Jeff Gray as he uses Redlich’s flier in lieu of talking to police during a sobriety checkpoint on New Year’s Eve in Chiefland, Florida:

Gray placed his license, registration and proof of insurance in a plastic bag and attached it to a string held in place by the car’s window. Gray stopped his vehicle at the checkpoint, and appears to have been cleared to leave without incident.

Redlich told USA Today that the fliers are “a method for innocent people to protect themselves from a bad DUI arrest.” Despite Gray’s success in avoiding being challenged by police at the checkpoint in Chiefland, law enforcement officials have said that this strategy isn’t legitimate. “He was allowed to proceed because he clearly was not driving while intoxicated,” Veda Coleman-Wright, the Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said regarding Gray’s encounter at the checkpoint. “If those officers had reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver was impaired, they would have investigated further.”

“They wouldn’t be allowed out of that checkpoint until they talk to us. We have a legitimate right to do it,” said Sheriff David Shoar, St. Johns County president of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “If I was out there, I wouldn’t wave them through. I want to talk to that person more now.”

Garrett Berman from Florida’s Traffic Safety Resource division said the laws have changed. “It changed from displaying their license to actually present or submit the license to the officer,” Berman said. “The whole process is actually streamlined to take 30-45 seconds. The problem is when you put that display up; you’re actually going out of your way to delay that detainment.”

Law enforcement officials noted that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that random DUI checkpoints don’t violate constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

The Associated Press reported that no comprehensive statistics are available detailing how many drunk drivers are caught at checkpoints.

“I’m not anti-cop. I’m anti-bad government and anti-bad cop. I support good cops,” Redlich said. “I would like if police didn’t waste their time with something like checkpoints and would focus their attention on violent crime.” According to Redlich, he has yet to be notified that a driver has been unsuccessful in using one of his fliers. Legal experts have been unable to determine if the fliers would prove useful in court. “These guys are all pushing the envelope,” said David S. Weinstein, a former Miami prosecutor. He said that most states consider driving to be a privilege and people surrender some rights when driving.

FairDUI.org warns that the fliers are not suitable for every person or every situation and clarifies that the fliers are not for people who are driving drunk.

Two Albuquerque Officers Charged With Murder Of Homeless Camper

Albuquerque, NM- Albuquerque officers Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy were charged with murder on Monday in the shooting of homeless camper James Boyd.

Boyd, who had been accused by police of illegally camping in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, was ultimately shot and killed by Sandy and Perez, a SWAT team member, on March 16th, 2014 during a standoff lasting several hours. The shooting provoked national criticism of the Albuquerque Police Department after video was released that appeared to show Boyd, who was in possession of two small knives, surrendering just before he was shot by Sandy and Perez. The video is available below (graphic content):

Audio from Sandy’s dash camera had also been released of Sandy’s conversation with State Police Officer Chris Ware regarding Boyd from the scene of the standoff before the shooting:

Sandy: What do they have you guys doing here?

Ware: I don’t know. The guy asked for state police.

Sandy: Who asked?

Ware: I don’t know.

Sandy: For this f***ing lunatic? I’m going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second.

Ware: You got uh, less-lethal?

Sandy: I got…

Ware: The Taser shotgun?

Sandy: Yeah. Ware: Oh, I thought you guys got rid of those?

Sandy: ROP’s got one…here’s what we’re thinking, because I don’t know what’s going on, nobody has briefed me…

The APD denied that Sandy said “I’m going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second” and claimed he had said “I’m going to shoot him with a Taser shotgun in a second”. However, the APD’s denial conflicted with Sandy’s acknowledgement to investigators that he had made the “shoot him in the penis” remark as a joke. “Just kind of locker room banter,” Sandy had told investigators. “[I] just told him, you know, ‘don’t worry; I’ll shoot him in the pecker with this and call it good.’”

Sandy abruptly recanted that admission after a break during the interview.

Second District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said Monday that Perez and Sandy each face one open murder count. In an open murder charge, prosecutors may push for either first-degree or second-degree murder charges.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the case was not brought before a grand jury and Brandenburg “filed the counts via criminal information, which allows her to charge the officers without presenting evidence to a grand jury.” The FBI is currently investigating the shooting, but it’s unknown if the officers will face federal charges.

Albuquerque has become well known for excessive force used by police. In May of last year, more than 40 residents effectively shut down a city council meeting and attempted to serve Police Chief Gorden Eden with a warrant for a citizen’s arrest while calling for the APD to stop its violent tactics. APD Officer Jeremy Dear was fired last month for repeatedly refusing to use his body camera; in the last instance of Dear either failing to turn on or disabling his camera, he had fatally shot 19-year-old Mary Hawkes.

A Justice Department letter from April 2014 informed the APD- that had killed 23 people and wounded 14 over a four-year period- that its department “engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment” and the Justice Department later demanded reforms to correct the APD’s practices. Last October, the Justice Department and APD reached an agreement to engage in “wide-ranging reforms”.


U.S. Privacy Board Decides to Support NSA Data Collection

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversights Board, which originally criticized the National Security Agency’s collection of phone records from Americans, has changed its stance regarding the agency’s actions.

Instead of viewing the NSA’s manipulation of Internet connections in the United States as a negative venture, the board has chosen to argue that the NSA’s actions are in line with the Constitution.

According to the New York Times, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversights Board was deemed by Congress as an independent agency in 2007, and became fully operational around the time that Edward Snowden began releasing documents from the NSA.

The board is backing up their new view on the NSA with a reference to Section 702 of the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, or as they call it the “702 collection.”

The most recent report published by the privacy board stated that the Section 702 program “has enabled the government to acquire a greater range of foreign intelligence than it otherwise would have been able to obtain – and to do so quickly and effectively.”

In addition to supporting the collection of data from Americans’ telephone records, the privacy board also supports the 702 program’s involvement in foreign affairs. The program does everything from spying on the calls and emails of foreign governments and their leaders, to tracking nuclear proliferation.

The latest report from the privacy board claimed that meddling in the business of foreign countries “has proven valuable in the government’s efforts to combat terrorism as well as in other areas of foreign intelligence.

The privacy board’s change of heart has drawn criticism from privacy and civil liberties groups. The deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Jameel Jaffer, described the report as being weak, and said that it ” fails to fully grasp the civil liberties and human rights implications of permitting the government sweeping access to the communications of innocent people.”

It is jarring to read this report just weeks after the House voted to limit the NSA’s ‘backdoor’ searches, and just days after the Supreme Court’s cellphone-search decision defending privacy rights in the digital age,” said Jaffer.

Federal Judge Rules Current No-Fly List Unconstitutional, House Intel Chairman Calls Ruling “Disaster”

Portland, OR- A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the current procedures for placing a passenger on a “no-fly” list are unconstitutional and are in need of reform, writing that “without proper notice and an opportunity to be heard, an individual could be doomed to indefinite placement on the No-Fly List.” 

U.S. District Judge Anna Brown has ruled that the procedures that have been used by those on the no-fly list are “wholly ineffective” and do not “provide a meaningful mechanism for travelers who have been denied boarding to correct erroneous information in the government’s terrorism databases.”

Brown has ordered the government to reform their current procedures to allow no-fly subjects to give evidence to argue their status on the list. Brown has also ordered the federal government to notify people who are on the no-fly list, and has directed the government to disclose the reason for a person’s inclusion on the list. The no-fly list has been regarded as highly secretive.

The ruling came after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of 13 Americans who discovered they were banned from flying. The plaintiffs, none of whom had been charged with any crimes, alleged that they were offered no reason from the government for the decision, and found there was no effective method of removing themselves from the list. The plaintiffs made attempts to resolve their situations by submitting applications to DHS  asking for clarification, but the agency didn’t provide any answers to them.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) criticized the decision, calling it a “great recipe for disaster” and insisting that it “it makes no sense whatsoever.” 

Rogers was discussing the possibility of bombs being built by terrorist organizations trying to “show their chops by having an international terrorist attack,” then made the claim “and now you just had a judge rule that we can’t put someone on a no-fly list. You tell me why I can’t sleep at night.”

ACLU National Security Project Director Hina Shamsi praised the ruling: “Our clients will finally get the due process to which they are entitled under the Constitution. This excellent decision also benefits other people wrongly stuck on the No Fly List, with the promise of a way out from a Kafkaesque bureaucracy causing them no end of grief and hardship.”

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Supreme Court Ruling: Police Cannot Search Cell Phones Without A Warrant

In a colossal decision favoring digital privacy, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled 9-0 Wednesday that “police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested” due to the immense amount of private information now commonly contained on cell phones.

In a ruling over two separate cases in California and Massachusetts, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of privacy rights over the necessity of investigating crime. Defendants David Riley of California and Brima Wurie of Massachusetts sought to overturn their convictions due to the fact that their convictions had stemmed from their phones being searched without a warrant. The Supreme Court ruled that both searches were unconstitutional.

While police are still allowed to examine a phone to specifically ensure it is not a weapon, the ruling states “digital data stored on a cell phone cannot itself be used as a weapon to harm an arresting officer or to effectuate the arrestee’s escape.”

“Modern cellphones are not just another technological convenience,” said Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant.”

ACLU national legal director Steven R. Shapiro responded to the ruling: “By recognizing that the digital revolution has transformed our expectations of privacy, today’s decision is itself revolutionary and will help to protect the privacy rights of all Americans. We have entered a new world but, as the court today recognized, our old values still apply and limit the government’s ability to rummage through the intimate details of our private lives.” 

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