Tag Archives: police state

White House Pushes to Keep Power to Shut Down Cellphone Networks

By Jason Ditz, April 26, 2015

In 2005, amid reports that the London subway bombers had used cellphones as detonators, the White House secretly established the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 303, which granted the government the ability to unilaterally shut down all cellphone service in an area of its choosing when it feels it needs to.

The details of the procedure are still not public, and a series of lawsuits aiming to at the very least get the basics of how the law even theoretically works have faced massive official opposition, with the White House and DHS desperate to avoid any oversight.

The power has become increasingly controversial in recent years, as cellphone communication has increasingly replaced landline phones, and would be more essential than ever during “emergencies,” the very time the administration wants to be able to silence them.

An even bigger concern is that, with the details of the law a secret, officials can just flat out abuse it to silence dissent. In 2011, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system used the kill switch to shut off all cellphone services in several stations specifically to try to prevent organization of a public protest there.

The administration argues that even letting the public know the basic outline of the policy would itself be a threat to national security, and while courts have been somewhat skeptical on this claim, whenever the administration plays the terrorism card they seem to get what they want, so the safe money is on the power remaining unchecked.

BREAKING: New Mexico Gov. Signs Bill Abolishing Civil Asset Forfeiture

By Casey Harper

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill to abolish civil asset forfeiture Friday.

She signed just before the noon deadline that would have pocket vetoed the legislation.

Civil asset forfeiture is a practice where police can seize your property and keep it even if they don’t convict or charge you with a crime. Then, you must go through the difficult, and often unsuccessful process to get your property–whether it’s a vehicle, cash or your home–back from the police.

The new law makes two important changes:

1. Currently, when police seize property they can keep it even if you are innocent. Under the new law, police can still take property from you for a short period, but would need a conviction or a guilty plea in order to keep it.

2. The law changes the incentive structure for police. Under the new law, if police do get a guilty verdict and your property is forfeited, it goes to the state’s general fund rather than the police department’s budget. The difference at least adds a layer of bureaucracy and oversight between police and the funds they seize.

New Mexico’s state legislature passed the bill March 21 just hours before the session closed. If the bill had been vetoed it would likely not gotten attention again for two years because of New Mexico’s short legislative sessions.

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Montana Legislature Passes Bill to Limit Federal Militarization of Police

Tenth Amendment Center HELENA, Mont. (Apr. 8, 2015) – A bill that would heavily diminish the effect of federal surplus equipment programs that militarize local police was given final approval by the Montana House today.

The vote was 79-20.

Introduced by Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer (R-Superior), House Bill 330 (HB330) bans state or local law enforcement agencies from receiving drones that are armored, weaponized, or both; aircraft that are combat configured or combat coded; grenades or similar explosives and grenade launchers; silencers; and “militarized armored vehicles” from federal military surplus programs.

The bill passed by a 46-1 vote in the Senate last month and will now go to the Governor’s desk.

HB330 also stipulates that a law enforcement agency purchasing allowable military equipment must use state or local funds, prohibiting federal funding of such gear. It also requires agencies give public notice within 14 days of a request for allowable military equipment. Both of these provisions ensure any procurement of military equipment still allowed under law will happen in the public spotlight.

Last month, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law that, while not as comprehensive as the Montana bill, made his state the first to take a step towards stopping federal militarization of police.

FEDERAL SURPLUS AND GRANT MONEY

Through the federal 1033 Program, local police departments procure military grade weapons, including automatic assault rifles, body armor and mine resistant armored vehicles – essentially unarmed tanks. Police departments can even get their hands on military helicopters and other aircraft.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) runs the “Homeland Security Grant Program,” which in 2013 gave more than $900 million in counterterrorism funds to state and local police. According to a 2012 Senate report, this money has been used to purchase tactical vehicles, drones, and even tanks with little obvious benefit to public safety. And, according to ProPublica, “In 1994, the Justice Department and the Pentagon funded a five-year program to adapt military security and surveillance technology for local police departments that they would otherwise not be able to afford.”

HB330 goes beyond a prohibition on receipt of surplus equipment under the 1033 program by banning the purchase of such equipment with federal funds. It reads, in part: “If a law enforcement agency purchases property from a military equipment surplus program operated by the federal government, the law enforcement agency may only use state or local funds for the purchase. Funds obtained from the federal government may not be used to purchase property from a military equipment surplus program.”

Local agencies almost never have the funds needed to purchase this kind of equipment, and federal money is the only way they can afford it. By banning purchase with federal funding, HB330 would effectively nullify the effect of such federal “grant” programs.

The legislation also requires law enforcement agencies to notify the public within 14 days of requesting any allowable military gear from such a surplus program.

COMMAND AND CONTROL

Arming ‘peace officers’ like they’re ready to occupy an enemy city is totally contrary to the society envisioned by the Founders. They’ve turned ‘protect and serve’ into ‘command and control.’

In the 1980s, the federal government began arming, funding and training local police forces, turning peace officers into soldiers to fight in its unconstitutional “War on Drugs.” The militarization went into hyper-drive after 9/11 when a second front opened up – the “War on Terror.”

By stripping state and local police of this military-grade gear and requiring them to report on their acquisition and use, it makes them less likely to cooperate with the feds and removes incentives for partnerships.

“Sunshine is the salve of good government,” Schwaderer said.

That is exactly what HB330 will bring to Montana if signed into law by Gov. Bullock.

TAKE ACTION

In Montana: Support this bill by following all the steps at THIS LINK.

For other states: Take action to push back against federal militarization of your police at this link.

Police Allegedly Let Dog Maul Handcuffed Man Who Later Died

By Casey Harper
Vineland, NJ- Authorities are investigating what police are calling the “in-custody, non-shooting death” of a New Jersey man while local civil rights advocates cry foul.

Witnesses claim the officers viciously beat the man after he was handcuffed and unconscious and let a dog maul him.

“They punched him, stomped him, kicked him and then they let the dog out of the car,” Ricardo Garcia told NBC Philadelphia. “The dog bit him on his face and around his body. There’s no call for that. Once a man is handcuffed and unconscious, you should have stuck him in the patrol car and take [sic] him to the police station. Instead they decided to beat him right here.”

Police arrested Phillip White, 32, Tuesday morning after responding to a call about a disorderly person, according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office.

While many details are unclear, White was reportedly handcuffed on the street during part of the incident. Witnesses tell NBC that officers began roughing the man up. Police reportedly called for medical help when White appeared to be having respiratory problems

An audio of police communications gives some insight into the exchange:

“118 West Grape,” the dispatcher says in the recording. “Subject…hyperventilating. Officers out.”

An officer can also be heard.

“Slow all units down,” the officer says. “Subject under…tried disarming me.”

The incident is under investigation, with many outraged over the death. Police Chief Timothy P. Codispoti has said there will be an investigation to get to the bottom of it. An autopsy has not been released.

“Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with the family of the deceased and with the officers involved,” Codispoti said in a statement. ”I ask that everyone allow time for our justice system to now investigate this matter to its truthful conclusion.”

Follow Casey on Twitter and like him on Facebook

U.N. Investigator: 80,000 People Held in Solitary Confinement in U.S. Every Day

The top United Nations investigator on torture, Juan Mendez, has been alleging that Washington is dragging its heels when it comes to granting him access to visits of federal prisons and allowing him to talk with detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Mendez’s biggest criticism has been the US’s solitary confinement policies and whether they are a violation of human rights laws.

Ben Swann speaks with constitutional rights attorney Pardiss Kebriaei about the tensions growing between the State Department and the United Nations.

GA Sanitation Worker Sentenced to 30-Day Jail Stint for Working Too Early

Kevin McGill, an Atlanta-area trash collector, is currently serving weekends in jail while working during the week after he was sentenced to a 30-day jail stint for starting work too early. According to WSPA-TV, the sanitation worker began his garbage pickups at 5 AM one morning in violation of a Sandy Springs, GA ordinance which requires trash pickups to begin at 7 AM. Rather than issuing a warning or a fine in response to the mix-up, authorities opted to press for the maximum sentence in an effort to make an example of McGill.

According to the above-embedded video footage by ABC 6, Court Chief Prosecutor Bill Riley pressed for McGill to serve 30 days in jail for his first offense and said, “Fines don’t work.” He said that garbage collectors become a public nuisance when they begin work too early, causing 911 lines to fill up with calls.

“I was stunned. I didn’t know what to think. I was shocked,” said McGill when asked about how he felt when he realized that he was going to face jail time for the mistake. “The solicitor said, ‘It’s automatic jail time.’ He didn’t want to hear nothing else. I said, ‘It’s my first time!'”

“The only thing that seems to stop the activity is actually going to jail,” said Prosecutor Bill Riley.

McGill did not have an attorney when he was sentenced to the 30-day stint. His has since obtained a lawyer who subsequently filed a motion to withdraw his plea. His lawyer feels that a warning would have been a sufficient punishment.

“I just want this to be over with,” said McGill to WSPA-TV.

Wife of American Imprisoned in Iran Details His Arrest – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

WASHINGTON—February 15, 2015 – When Naghmeh Abedini married her husband Saeed in Iran, she never dreamed she would raise their future children as a single mother in Boise, Idaho, while her husband languished for years in an Iranian prison.

A native of Iran, Naghmeh and her family left when she was nine years old and spent a year in California before relocating to Boise. Her father was educated in the United States and obtained his master’s degree at Oregon State University prior to taking his family out of Iran. “He had a green card,” says Naghmeh, “We were not refugees.”

The real reason they left Iran, however, was due to the radicalization of their Muslim faith in the school system. “My brother was being brainwashed in elementary school,” says Naghmeh, “They started war recruiting for Jihad when he was eight years old.” Students were told that if they died for the cause they would “get to meet God.” They were forced to run through active mine fields as a school exercise. The land mines would occasionally detonate. “The government arrested any parents who complained,” says Naghmeh, “So our parents quietly packed up and left.”

Her parents were unhappy with the school system in California, also, and hoped a move to a smaller city would help preserve their culture and Muslim faith. Within ten years in Boise, however, both of Naghmeh’s parents, along with herself, her brother, and a sister had converted to Christianity.

In 2001, Naghmeh spent a year in Iran. Just before she returned to Boise, her cousin invited her to a government-approved Christian church service. She heard Saeed Abedini speak and was intrigued by his passion, so she introduced herself and asked him if he would watch out for her cousins. Later, she learned that Saeed was a pastor and a leader of the growing house church movement. He was also a former Muslim who once desired to kill Christians, but he converted in 2000. When she returned to Iran in 2003 for another visit, the sparks flew between them. He proposed marriage in June of that year, and they were married in Iran the following June in a government-sanctioned Christian church.

The Abedini’s life together in Iran was cut short when the country experienced a regime change in 2005 and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rose to power. Known for his religious hardline stances, Ahmadinejad was a main figure in the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran party, usually shortened to Abadgaran and widely regarded as the political front for the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (Revolutionary Guards.) The latter group was designated as a terrorist organization by the United States in 2007.

After Ahmadinejad was elected, the church the Abedinis married in was forced to close, as were other Christian churches in Iran, despite current law allowing the peaceful gathering of religious minorities. Overnight, Christians were seemingly not welcome or tolerated in the country, so the couple moved together to Boise. Their daughter Rebekka was born in 2006 and their son Jacob arrived in 2008, the same year Saeed became an ordained minister through the American Evangelistic Association.

In 2009, the entire family decided to visit Iran together and see Saeed’s family, as it had been four years since he had seen his parents who had yet to meet their grandchildren. When the Boise-based Abedini family arrived at the airport to fly home to Idaho, Saeed was arrested by Iranian intelligence police. “Please leave Iran,” Saeed told his wife and children, “It will make it easier on me.”

The Abedinis are American citizens. Saeed, age 35, has not seen his children or his wife since June 2012.
The Abedinis are American citizens. Saeed, age 35, has not seen his children or his wife since June 2012.

Saeed was placed on house arrest for a month in his parents’ home while investigators determined whether or not he was still establishing Christian church groups. Before he was released, the police advised him to focus on humanitarian efforts—a move that inspired Saeed to use his grandfather’s land and an existing building to open an orphanage in the Iranian city of Rasht.

Back in Idaho, Saeed began a three-year process riddled with paperwork hurdles and setbacks in an attempt to open the orphanage he envisioned. He visited Iran ten more times in an effort to complete the approval process for the orphanage. Naghmeh, Rebekah, and Jacob joined him in October 2011, as the Abedinis were convinced that the orphanage was close to being opened. “We really wanted our kids to be able to meet the orphans,” Naghmeh recalls. However, by February 2012, the approval was still pending. The Abedinis returned to Boise once more. Four months later, Saeed traveled to Iran to finish the orphanage once and for all. “That was the last time I saw him,” says Naghmeh.

He was due to return to Boise on July 29. However, on July 27, Saeed was arrested on a bus in Turkey after looking at land in Georgia. He was placed under house arrest once again. The Iranian government seized his U.S. Passport and he was questioned for months about his activities, without being charged with a crime.

He thought he would be able to resolve his detainment with one last interrogation, scheduled for September 26 at a location to be determined by a 9:00 a.m. phone call that same day. However, Revolutionary Guards forces raided his parents’ house in Tehran at 6:00 a.m. and took Saeed to an unknown location. Four days later, it was revealed that he was in solitary confinement at the notorious Evin Prison. Saeed was accused of “corrupting a whole generation against Islam,” a reference to his pre-Revolution house church activities.

Saeed was charged with undermining the national security of Iran. At his trial on January 21, 2013, Saeed and his attorney were only given one day to make their defense. He was convicted by Judge Pir-Abassi of Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, and sentenced a week later to eight years in prison. Revolutionary Court trials are not public, there is no jury, and a single judge decides the cases—which are final and not eligible for appeal. Details about court proceedings are revealed at the sole discretion of the court. The government says it will release Saeed if he converts back to Islam, but he refuses.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is representing Naghmeh and her children. “This is a real travesty—a mockery of justice,” said ACLJ’s Executive Director Jordan Sekulow. “From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release. Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights.”

Naghmeh Abedini has received tremendous support from both Rand Paul and Ted Cruz as she seeks her husband's release from a dangerous Iranian prison.
Naghmeh Abedini has received tremendous support from both Rand Paul and Ted Cruz as she seeks her husband’s release from a dangerous Iranian prison.

Saeed Abedini has been reportedly beaten and tortured during his incarceration and is now housed in the Rajaei Shahr prison in Karaj, his sudden move a possible indication of defiance toward President Hassan Rouhani by the Revolutionary Guard. Saeed is denied any electronic or voice communications with the outside world, but his parents visit him almost weekly, bring him letters from home, and send his letters out—including one to President Obama just before this year’s National Prayer Breakfast.

Naghmeh is hopeful due to extensive support from Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, as well as remarks made by President Obama, that her husband’s release will be secured during upcoming negotiations with Iran. “We’re in a good place,” she says, “If Iran wants to make a deal, I want to make sure Saeed is not left behind.”

NYPD officer indicted for stomping a citizen’s head

An NYPD officer has been indicted on multiple charges, including assault, after he allegedly kicked a subdued citizen in the head during an arrest over the summer.

A video of the arrest allegedly shows Officer Joel Edouard, 37, and his partner arresting 32-year-old Jahmiel Cuffee, according to CBS New York.

Cuffee was allegedly drinking on a sidewalk in Brooklyn, and the officers claim he was in possession of marijuana at the time. While attempting to arrest Cuffee, a bystander began to videotape the incident with their cellphone. This video shows other officers begin to arrive to help mediate the situation, but near the end of the video, Edouard allegedly is seen stomping on Cuffee’s head after he was already handcuffed and on the ground.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said, according to RTPolice officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us all safe. However, this defendant allegedly stomped on the head of a suspect as he lay on the ground, which is unacceptable for a police officer.” Thompson continued by saying this indictment should not reflect the work the majority of officers who perform their duty honorably are doing in New York City. 

At the trial on Tuesday, Edouard’s attorney, Stephen Worth, pleaded not guilty to the charges he is faced with. Worth also said Edouard was simply trying to place handcuffs on Cuffee and this is no more than a case of an officer doing their job. “The act, so-called kick, was part of the arrest process and to attempt to get his hand in custody so he could be handcuffed… It’s not a kick, we’ll leave that for trial.”

After the incident, Edouard was stripped of his badge and gun according to New York Magazine. If convicted, Edouard could face up to a year in prison.

SF Cops Arrest Public Defender for Refusing to Let Them Interrogate Her Client Without Counsel

“This is not Guantanamo Bay. You have an absolute right to have a lawyer with you when you’re questioned. Ms. Tillotson was simply doing her job,” said San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi at a Wednesday press conference cited by SFGate. Adachi launched the presser to express his office’s outrage over Tuesday’s arrest of public defender Jami Tillotson, which was caught on tape in the above-embedded video.

Tillotson was exiting a courtroom in San Francisco’s Hall of Justice Tuesday afternoon with a client accused of shoplifting and a co-defendant when plainclothes San Francisco Police Department Sergeant Brian Stansbury and four uniformed officers approached and asked Tillotson to step aside so that officers could take photos of her client without her present. Though police on the scene did not explain themselves at the time, they intended to question her client and obtain photos for a lineup in connection with a separate case in which they say her client is a person of interest, which they interpreted as “consensual questioning,” rather than a formal interrogation. The officers felt that, due to the fact that Tillotson’s client had not been arrested on that specific charge, they were entitled to question the suspect without Tillotson present and ordered her to step aside to allow them to take photographs.

When she refused to step aside, Sergeant Brian Stansbury said that she would be arrested for “resisting arrest” if she did not comply. Tillotson stood firm in her refusal and was arrested. A fellow lawyer captured the above-embedded footage of the incident on video. Following Tillotson’s arrest, she was left handcuffed to a wall in a cell for an hour while, according to SFist, police questioned and photographed her client without her present. San Francisco Police Department spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza told SFGate that Tillotson was released an hour later because Sergeant Brian Stansbury was called away to testify in another case.

According to SFist, a spokesman for the Public Defender’s office noted the fact that the officers did not specifically explain that their intention was to question her client in connection with a separate crime, “[Tillotson] told the interrogating officer that she was the attorney, and he said, ‘I just need two minutes with him.’ When she asked why, he just said it was a police investigation. Then he started basically bullying her, telling her she’s interfering.”

“It was very clear to me that I hadn’t been doing anything illegal. I was challenging him, telling him that you know that I know that I did not violate the law. He moved it forward,” said Jami Tillotson at Wednesday’s press conference.

Officer Esparza said that police are investigating the arrest and that “the department will forward this to the district attorney’s office when appropriate.”

Public Defender Jeff Adachi is calling for police to be held accountable for Tillotson’s arrest and said, “A uniform does not give anyone license to bully people out of their constitutional rights. If police are able to do this to a deputy public defender in front of her client, I can only imagine what is happening out on the streets.”

The City and County of San Francisco is currently facing a federal civil rights lawsuit over a prior incident in which Sergeant Brian Stansbury and two of his colleagues allegedly engaged in racial profiling during a traffic stop with an off-duty African-American police officer in 2013.

The Federal Government is Storing Hundreds of Millions of American License Plate Records

The American Civil Liberties Union has revealed the existence of a national program operated by the Drug Enforcement Administration  that collects and analyzes license plate information.

According to heavily redacted documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act Requests, the DEA has gathered as many as 343 million records in the National License Plate Recognition program.

The initiative allows the DEA to connect its Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPRs) and collected data with that of law enforcement agencies around the nation. Using the Department of Homeland Security’s Fusion Centers this program only adds to the growing list of data collection by the US government.

ALPR’s are used to gather license plate, time, date and location, that can be used to create a detailed map of what individuals are doing. The devices can be attached to light poles, or toll booths, as well as on top of or inside law enforcement vehicles. In 2012 the Wall Street Journal reported that the five previous years the Department of Homeland Security distributed over $50 million in grants to fund the acquisition of license plate readers.

One document shows the DEA has at least 100 license plate readers in eight states, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey. Law enforcement in Southern California’s San Diego and Imperial Counties and New Jersey are among the agencies providing the DEA with data. The program opened to local and state partners in 2009.

The Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is one of the federal agencies working with the DEA. The documents also reveal the program mining license plate reader data “to identify travel patterns.”  The DEA has established 100 license plate readers in eight states, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey. A 2010 document also explains that the DEA had by then set up 41 plate reader monitoring stations throughout Texas, New Mexico, and California.

The new information came as the result of public records requests, and FOIA requests filed by the ACLU in 2012. The ACLU discussed the specific danger of the federal government using such tools.

“With its jurisdiction and its finances, the federal government is uniquely positioned to create a centralized repository of all drivers’ movements across the country — and the DEA seems to be moving toward doing just that.”

A 2011 survey by the Police Executive Research Forum found that of the more than 70 police departments surveyed, 70 percent used ALPR technology and 85 percent expected to be using or increasing use of the technology within the next five years. Some believe that by 2016 as much as 25 percent of police vehicles will come equipped with the cameras.

Government agencies are not the only groups interested in this data, however. Recently, it was discovered that  repossession, or “Repo” companies were using license plate readers to gather data. Once the companies take possession of a vehicle from delinquent owners the companies use the LPR’s to gather data which can then be sold to the highest bidder.

Jennifer Lynch, attorney with the  Electronic Frontier Foundation expressed concern over the database of information being sold to banks, insurance companies and law enforcement agencies. “These private companies have amassed databases of over a billion records,” she said.

In early 2014, the EFF and the ACLU of Southern California filed the opening brief  in their lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff Department. The lawsuit deals with how the law enforcement agencies are using Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPR) to gather information. The two watchdog agencies attempted to argue that the two departments are illegally keeping quiet on how the information is used.

Soon after a judge would rule in agreement with with law enforcement, claiming that the data caught by the readers should not be released to the public. The LAPD and LASD argued that 100 percent of the information was part of an investigation and therefore should not be released.

The LAPD and LASD have been called “two of the biggest gatherers of automatic license plate recognition information,” by LA Weekly. The ALPR gather information and officers from the LASD or LAPD can access up to 26 other police agenices in the county as they search for a hit in the system.

I have previously written for BenSwann.com on the danger of ALPR’s and “hot lists”.

Departments and officers can create lists of “vehicles of interest” and alert other ALPR users when the vehicle is spotted. Officers can search individuals plates numbers in the ALPR system to track during their shift. There seems to be no prerequisite of reasonable suspicion or a warrant needed to be added to such a list. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department manual on the ALPR offers more insight into the program.

As with many emerging technologies the future is still being written and opportunities for corruption and abuse are plenty. In 2009 the BBC reported on the case of John Cat. Catt is a regular attendee of anti-war protests in his home town, Brighton. His vehicle was tagged by police at one of the events and he was added to a “hotlist”. He said later while on a trip to London he was pulled over by anti-terror police. He was threatened with arrest if he did not cooperate and answer the questions of the police.

A recent investigation by Mudrock and the Boston Globe revealed that the Boston Police Department violated its own policies by failing to follow up on leads that were flagged by the ALPR scans. Public records requests by MudRock found that the BPD also collected information on its own officers. The BPD has reportedly stopped responding to email and phone calls seeking documents that they are required to disclose.”

For more information check out the ACLU’s report “You Are Being Tracked: License Plate Readers Explained”

Veteran’s Guns Seized Due to Insomnia Diagnosis Under New York’s SAFE Act

On December 17, retired detective and US Navy veteran Donald Montgomery filed suit in federal court after his guns were seized by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department under New York’s new SAFE Act, a strict gun control measure that anti-gun New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law in 2013 following the widely-publicized and infamous Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that took place in nearby Connecticut. Donald Montgomery’s suit names New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Eastern Long Island Hospital, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, and other state officials as defendants. The above-embedded Fox & Friends video contains an interview on the issue with Montgomery and his attorney Paloma Capanna.

The mental health provisions in the SAFE Act were sold to the public as common sense rules aimed at preventing individuals with mental health conditions that pose a threat to others from obtaining a firearm. However, The Daily Caller notes that, in Montgomery’s case, his guns were seized by state officials after he sought treatment for insomnia following a cross-country move in which he changed time zones. In May of last year, the veteran was struggling to get a decent night’s sleep and voluntarily checked into the emergency room on two different occasions at Eastern Long Island Hospital where he was diagnosed and treated for insomnia.

According to American Thinker, healthcare workers at the hospital diagnosed Montgomery as “mildly depressed” and his medical evaluation paperwork states, “Patient has no thoughts of hurting himself. Patient has no thoughts of hurting others. Patient is not having suicidal thoughts. Patient is not having homicidal thoughts… there is no evidence of any psychotic processes, mania, or OCD symptoms. Insight, judgment, and impulse control are good.” Despite these facts, Montgomery’s case was forwarded to New York’s Mental Hygiene Legal Service and State Police, mislabeled as an involuntary psychiatric hold, despite the fact that the former detective and Navy vet voluntarily sought treatment for his difficulty with sleeping.

State Police then told the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department that Montgomery “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution” and repeatedly pressured the department to seize his guns. On May 30, Suffolk County Sheriff’s deputies visited Montgomery at his home and seized a Derringer .38, a Colt .38, a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380, and a Glock 26 9mm. His pistol license was seized that day and officially terminated in September. The Daily Caller points out the fact that two of his weapons were given to him by his employer during his 30-years of service as a police officer, including one which was a reward for being top of his class as a police cadet. Montgomery had previously received a medal for bravery in the line of duty during his career in law enforcement.

American Thinker writer Michael Filozof notes that Andrew Cuomo once said that “extreme conservatives… have no place in New York.” Filozof characterized Montgomery’s plight as “an effort [by Cuomo] to confiscate firearms from people who ‘have no place’ in his police state.”

In his lawsuit, Montgomery is seeking relief for what he describes as violations of his Second, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by state officials. He hopes that the judge assigned to the case will strike down the mental hygiene component of the law and is seeking an injunction that would force the state to notify anyone whose medical records have been seized. His suit claims Eastern Long Island Hospital wronged him by sharing his private medical records with state officials without his permission or knowledge. Montgomery says that his efforts to investigate and correct the errors on his own mental health file through Freedom of Information filings were denied and that he was not given the opportunity to contest the termination of his handgun license.

US Postal Service Surveillance Program Under Fire for Unjustified Snooping

Following leaks exposing the fact that the National Security Agency has been spying on Americans’ digital communications in an indiscriminate and warrantless fashion, SFGate is reporting that the United States Postal Service has also been compiling Americans’ mail records into a nationwide dragnet and giving those records to law enforcement agencies at all levels of government for reasons that are being called “unjustified.” Under the US Postal Service’s mail covers program, the cover of every piece of mail is photographed, and the subsequent image stored in a database just in case law enforcement might need it at a later date.

The data collected allows law enforcement and other government officials to monitor to whom and where an individual is sending mail. However, postal officials are not allowed to open mail and investigate its contents without a warrant. The Washington Post noted that, at a November 19 hearing before the House of Representatives, USPS Deputy Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb indicated that the agency she oversees approved 99.8 percent of last year’s 6000 outside requests by government officials for citizens’ mail records. An internal audit presented at the hearing noted that, in 13 percent of cases, the records requests were approved for inappropriate reasons. 20 percent of the requests were honored without approval from higher-ups, and officials ignored guidelines requiring them to purge records after an expiration date and conduct yearly reviews of the program. According to SFGate, the US Postal Service approved around 50,000 total requests for citizens’ mail records, including probes by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and internal queries by USPS officials.

In one case, the USPS allegedly approved a politically-motivated request by Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio for activist Mary Rose Wilcox’ mail records. Political opponents Wilcox and Arpaio are at odds with each other over their opposing views on immigration.

Timothy Edgar with the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University told The Washington Post that these revelations “shake our confidence in longstanding principles of privacy and civil liberties.”

The US Postal Service originally asked that Whitcomb not publicize her findings and argued that doing so would expose “investigative techniques and related information which could compromise ongoing criminal investigations.” When she did, the government-run mail carrier admitted that the criticisms in her report had merit and that it would work to resolve the issues, first by beginning to look more closely at records requests. Said a letter issued by the USPS on the subject, “All standard operating procedures will be reviewed, revised and adopted as practice.”

 

Spokane Cop’s remarks on targeting ‘Constitutionalists’ Causes Planned Protests

When asked to justify the purchase of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) military-style vehicles and to explain when something like that would be used in the United States, and not in a war zone, a sheriff’s deputy’s answer has caused people to plan protests.

Jerry Moffett, a deputy in Spokane County, Wash., said, “We’ve got a lot of Constitutionalists and a lot of people that stockpile weapons, a lot of ammunition. They have weapons here locally.”

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich went on local TV, saying that Moffett’s words were taken out of context. He said that the military-style equipment wouldn’t be used on law-abiding citizens.

“It will never be used to take your guns away,” he added.

Knezovich said that Moffett misspoke when he said “Constitutionalist” and that “extremist” would have been more appropriate.

But he said, what he said, and those words have been fuel for protests: “Obviously it doesn’t serve a useful purpose if it’s considered by his deputies to be for the purpose of rounding up Constitutionalists and law-abiding citizens that may adhere to the Second Amendment,” Scott Maclay, who is organizing the protest, said.

This isn’t the first time law enforcement has called peaceful groups domestic terrorists or extremists for justification of obtaining a MRAP.

BenSwann.com reported last year that the police chief in Concord, N.H. called members of the Free State Project “domestic terrorists” in an application to acquire a MRAP.

The Free State Project is an organization trying to persuade 20,000 or more “liberty loving people … neighborly, productive, tolerant folks from any and all walks of life” to move to New Hampshire. They also believe in the Constitution (Which apparently is a threat to our government now). 

InfoWars.com’s Mikael Thalen who first broke the story and told BenSwann.com’s Joshua Cook, “Since the release of this shocking footage, Sheriff Knezovich has continually attempted to divert attention away from his deputy’s comments. Instead of announcing a much needed policy change, Knezovich has chosen to play the victim while absurdly accusing myself, Alex and Infowars of wrongdoing.”

Thalen posted a statement on his facebook:

“Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich stated that his deputy’s comments were “taken out of context” when he said that armored military vehicles were needed because of “constitutionalists.”

Knezovich’s claim seemingly suggests that the deputy’s comments could have been appropriate if the clip had been longer.

In response to the Sheriff’s request, here is the full video, which does absolutely nothing to change what his deputy said.” See full video below.

The situation in Washington and New Hampshire prove these are not isolated events but demonstrate how the feds are radicalizing the police against political groups who believe in the U.S. Constitution, limited government and individual freedom.

Texas Cop Uses Stun Gun on 76-Year Old Man for Expired Registration

A Texas police officer was placed on administrative duty after a dashboard camera video emerged showing the 23 year old officer aggressively detain and tase a 76-year old man after pulling him over for an expired registration sticker.

The Victoria Advocate reported Officer Nathanial Robinson pulled Pete Vasquez when he noticed the registration. Vasquez pulled into a car lot to attempt to get the manager to explain to the cop that the car was exempt from inspection because of the car dealer tags.

On the dashcam video Robinson can be seen arresting Vasquez. As the elderly man exits his vehicle to show the officer the plates are exempt, Robinson grabs him by the arm before shoving him onto the hood of the police car. As Vasquez attempts to escape the assault the officer wrestles him to the ground. The two men move out of the frame but Victoria police confirmed that at this point Robinson used the stun gun on Vasquez twice while he was on the ground.

Vasquez told the Advocate that the officer “just acted like a pit bull, and that was it. For a while, I thought he was going to pull his gun and shoot me.”

Sales manager Larry Urich can also be seen on the video coming out to inform the officer of the exemption. Urich said the officer told him to stand back, “but I didn’t shut up. I told him he was a goddamn Nazi Stormtrooper.”

After Vasquez is placed in the back of the police vehicle he can be heard talking to another officer. The officer asks him what happened, to which Vasquez states, “He came over here and got nasty with me. I’m not going to put up with that. I don’t care who it is.”  When the officer inquires whether Vasquez was hurt after the scuffle he responded, “Not yet. Probably later on. I’m 76 years old.” He goes on to say that “I hit my knees and my back and everything else. My shoulder and everywhere else.”

The following day Vasquez told the Victoria Advocate that his body was aching, but more than that, “I feel like my rights were violated.” Chief of Police  J.J. Craig personally apologized to Mr. Vasquez for the incident. Officer Robinson’s actions are currently under investigation.

“The police department is supposed to train their police officers to be more conscientious and use common sense. I don’t think he had any.”

 

12-year-old Tamir Rice shooting ruled a homicide

Officer Timothy Loehman shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice while he was playing in a park. According to the autopsy report released today, Rice died from a gunshot wound to the torso with “injuries of major vessel, intestines and pelvis.”

According to reports and video surveillance, Rice was playing in the park with a toy airsoft gun that shoots plastic pellets. Rice was shot less than two seconds after the police car pulled up beside him in the park.

The family released this statement after watching the surveillance video: “It is our belief that this situation could have been avoided and that Tamir should still be here with us, the video shows one thing distinctly: the police officers reacted quickly.”

 

Below is the autopsy report released today:

READ | Full Tamir Rice autospy report by WKYC.com

Truth in Media: The Root of Police Militarization

Activate: 10 Step Action Plan On Militarization

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In the latest episode of Truth in Media, Investigative Journalist Ben Swann looks at the root of America’s current problem with the militarization of police.

“The militarization of America’s police forces has captured the nation’s attention, largely because of Ferguson, Missouri,” said Swann. “But what media has not told you, is how police forces got militarized in the first place, and why militarization is about a lot more than just military equipment.”

Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson during a confrontation in August. His death triggered protests, some of which led to rioting and looting.

Swann points out that what really “stunned the nation” was the way police responded to the protests. Rather than responding like a police force that intended to serve and protect, Ferguson police responded like a military unit, complete with armored vehicles and flash grenades. Swann said that for millions of Americans, “this was a stunning site on American streets.”

Swann said that while Benswann.com has been working to raise awareness about the militarization of police for over a year, “the rest of the media acted like they had no idea.”

The program ignored by the mainstream media is the 1033 program. Also called the Department of Defense Excess Property Program, this platform is used by police departments to obtain military equipment. Swann explains:

“It is a federal program that provides surplus DoD military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies for use in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations, and to enhance officer safety.”

While the 1033 program does provide armored vehicles and flash grenades, it also provides police departments with other emergency supplies that go beyond weaponry.

Larry Kirk, the Police Chief in Old Monroe, Missouri, which is just a few miles from Ferguson, said that he is against banning the 1033 program altogether, due to the fact that it gives smaller departments certain supplies they would not have been able to afford.

However, while Kirk is in favor of keeping the program, he is also one of the few police chiefs in the country who is opposed to departments receiving military weapons. Kirk explained that he is skeptical about the level is militarized weapons that he has seen come through the program recently.
“Being realistic, there is no reason I would ever need an MRAP,” said Kirk. “Most departments would never need one.”

Swann further described the “MRAP,” which is one of two armored vehicles that police departments are given by grant, through the 1033 program. The vehicles, which were originally made to fight in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, were kept by the Department of Defense after the wars cooled down, and are now being granted to local police departments.

According to a report from the New York Times, “about 500 planes, helicopters, and mine-resistant armored vehicles have been obtained, alongside 94,000 machine guns.”

Swann said that following the protests in Ferguson, Americans began to realize the size and scale of the military equipment that was available to local police, and they “began calling for police departments to do away with military vehicles.”

Swann also pointed out that while the mainstream media has covered the protests, it hasn’t worked to provide Americans with the keys to the root of the problem.

“What media has not helped the public understand is that the real problem with militarization is not military equipment,” said Swann. “It’s the use by police of military tactics.”

Swann gave three examples of incidents in which police used military tactics to serve warrants on drugs:

The first example occurred in Detroit, Michigan, when 7-year-old girl Aiyana Jones was awakened in the middle of the night by a stun grenade developed for wartime raids, called a “flash bang,” which was thrown by a SWAT team, and immediately set fire to her blanket. Following the release of the grenade, the SWAT team stormed into the house, and mistakenly shot Jones through the neck, killing her.

A second incident occurred in Tucson, Arizona, when a SWAT team attempted to serve a search warrant as part of a multi-house drug crackdown. Jose Guerena, an Iraq war veteran who lived in the house, instructed his family to hide while he got his gun, after his wife became alarmed at the sight of a shadowy figure standing in their front yard, holding a gun. Guerena retrieved his gun – leaving the safety on – and stepped into the living room. The SWAT team then entered the house and shot him 60 times.

Swann noted that the police “have still never said whether they found drugs” in Guerena’s home.

A third example occurred in Atlanta, Georgia, when a SWAT team visited a family’s home in search of a small amount of drugs they believed were in the possession of the family’s nephew. The parents, three daughters, and a 19-month-old baby boy were asleep in a converted garage when police opened the door and threw a stun grenade in. The grenade landed in the 19-month-old baby’s crib. It blew a hole in his chest, and resulted in such severe burns that the baby was placed in a medically induced coma.

Swann said that, according to author Radley Balkow, “The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.”

These raids have become increasingly frequent, with as many as 40,000 occurring every year. Swann pointed out that the raids are “needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers.”

“Despite what the media spin-doctors will tell you, militarization has nothing to do with the war on terror, and it has everything to do with perpetuating the war on drugs,” Swann said.

Kirk said that he believed the United States has created so many different wars, from the war on crime to the war on drugs, that it has left police officers in the perpetual state of needing to be a “warrior.”

“If you continue to tell people they are in a war, you are going to create warriors,” said Kirk. “You are going to create soldiers that you are now putting on the street.”

Swann traveled to Washington DC to investigate the root of militarization. He noted that although DC has military gear and uses military tactics, “it does not participate in the 1033 program.”

Swann spoke with Seema Sadanandam, the ACLU Director of the Nation’s Capital. Sadanandam explained that while the picture of tanks in the streets was the “most visceral and extreme example” that came out of Ferguson, there is more to the concept of police militarization.

Sadanandam said that the fact that DC does not utilize the 1033 program would be surprising to members of the black communities who have been “subjected to law enforcement’s militarized war on drugs.”

While DC does not participate in the program, it does use military tactics on a daily basis. One of the tactics used, is referred to as the “jump out car.

Sadanandam explained that a “jump out car” is an unmarked car containing four to six officers, dressed in tactical vests, who jump out of the car to ambush their target. “They literally jump out of the car and surprise people,” said Sadanandam, who went on to say that the main objective is to convince people to submit to a so-called “consent search.”

According to Sadanandam, the tactic of using jump out cars is only acceptable in black, brown, and indigent communities, and is not seen in all-white communities.

“In Dupont circle, for example, which is a largely white community and where we know that there is regular cocaine use and cocaine possession, you would never see jump out cars jumping out on a group of white men in business suits, and police saying they fit the description of regular cocaine users,” said Sadanandam. “That would be considered completely unacceptable.”

Swann attended a meeting in southeastern DC, where black residents gathered to express their frustration with militarized police. He noted that people living in these neighborhoods say militarization for them is “not about the idea that so many of us have been confronted with” in the last few months. Instead, it is something they have been dealing with their entire lives.

Orlando Bego, the Pastor of Centerpoint Baptist Church, said that in the midst of the events in Ferguson, the nation was watching the wrong problem, and that getting rid of the 1033 program will not solve the real problem.

“Ferguson is not new,” said Bego. “It may be new for the mass of people who watch it on media outlets, but for people who live in inner city, urban neighborhoods, that is a common tactic that is used.”

Bego believes that even if the 1033 program were eliminated, the military mindset instilled in police officers would still be present. He said he dreads the day that his 10-year-old son, who currently wants to grow up to be a police officer because he views officers as heroes who serve and protect, is “pulled over for driving while black,” or “stopped and harassed for making eye contact.”

Ben Swann maintains that while Americans should be outraged at the idea of militarization, it should not be just because police show up in tanks to a protest. It should be because of the tactics that have been used by police for years, such as using battering rams to knock down people’s doors, and throwing stun grenades through windows, all for the sake of serving drug warrants.

“The militarized mindset isn’t about gear, it’s about tactics,” said Swann. “When we talk about things like ‘no hesitation targets,’ where police are taught to shoot a child holding a gun, or shoot a pregnant woman holding a gun, at what point do we as a public tell police, ‘Stop. We want you to hesitate.’”

Swann noted that while there are still many men and women who become police officers to serve and protect their communities, the problem occurs in the militarized way they are being trained. “They’re being taught to kill or be killed, that every suspect they encounter could be their last encounter, and that every person walking the streets of every community, is a threat, when in fact, it’s simply not true,” Swann said.

“Militarization takes good cops and teaches them to act like they’re in a warzone,” said Swann. “But the streets of the United States of America are not a warzone, and it’s up to us, the public, to keep it that way.”

Exclusive: Called “domestic terrorists” by the feds, Oath Keepers help stop Ferguson from burning

By Joshua Cook | Tsu | Facebook | Twitter 

You might have seen them on the news. The people protecting Ferguson businesses from the arsonists and looters ransacking Ferguson, Mo. But here is the real story about the organization protecting those businesses. They’re called Oath Keepers, and they have ex-police and ex-military keeping guard of four Ferguson businesses since late Monday night, Nov. 24, at the permission of the business owners.

They’ve been shown in the media before, but the report was incorrect, according to Stewart Rhodes, national founder of president of the Oath Keepers, who stressed that the group is not just business owners.

“We are not.  We are military and police veterans who are volunteer security for local businesses.  We have Iraq and Afghanistan combat vets in the rooftops, along with retired cops, guarding the shops,” he said.

The four businesses include Natalie’s Cakes and More, a bakery that was featured on Fox News, a beauty supply store, a dentist’s office and a Chinese restaurant.

In addition to their work keeping businesses safe, and the people living there, the group has also seen some totally bizarre interactions by the federal government and the state highway patrol.

According to Rhodes, “We had an alarming incident that happened last night with our team spotting what looked like a fed three-man sniper team moving into a nearby house on higher ground, and then pointing their rifles at our team of American combat veterans, while our team was guarding the buildings against looters.”

Rhodes said the team even observed the state highway patrol snipers deploy onto the roof of a nearby fire hall and point rifles at them.

“Our team leader called Unified Command to find out what was going on and then local police responded,” he explained.

He said that the local police were unaware of what the federal government were doing and that there was no coordination. “The local police are on our side and expressed gratitude for us being there, but the Feds are trying to run us out.”

The federal government is trying to badmouth this organization of ex-police and ex-military, even called them a “domestic terrorist” group.

“The local cops told the Feds it was crazy to label us terrorists, when all we are doing is guarding against arsonists,” said Rhodes.

Sam, a team leader in Ferguson,  told BenSwann.com’s Joshua Cook in an exclusive interview that they aren’t there to protect property. They are protecting the people living in the buildings from firebombs. They are willing to use lethal force to protect lives allowed by state law.

Rhodes told Cook that law enforcement wants to remove their group from the rooftops by citing an obscure state law regarding paid security firms. Rhodes plans to organize a protest if local officials try to remove them.

Sam told Cook, “Buildings to the north are burning every night, buildings to the south are burning every night. Since we have been here no one has thrown a molotov cocktail through the windows or caught the building on fire.”

Listen to the full interview below:

 

Ben Swann will be anchoring  on RT on Monday at 4pm and 5pm eastern from Ferguson.

Riot Training Ends in Disaster: Cops Wreck 3 Cruisers, Deploy Tear Gas on Elementary School Students

On Friday morning, police in Columbus, OH set out to conduct a riot training exercise at now-abandoned Cooper Stadium. As a part of the exercise, new recruits were driving their vehicles in a convoy to the stadium when, according to The Columbus Dispatch, a sergeant wrecked his cruiser into the back of a cadet, causing a three-car pile up. “Sometimes in a convoy, there’s like an accordion effect,” Columbus Division of Police Deputy Chief Tim Becker said, explaining how the accident occurred. No serious injuries were reported in the wreck, though an officer was briefly hospitalized after complaining of back pain.

The accident caused the cadets to arrive late for the exercise at Cooper Stadium. Officers claim that smoke grenades were then used to test where the wind might carry tear gas that would be used during the training. Due to changes in wind conditions, the exercise was moved to a different part of the stadium than what was originally planned. Police say that the manufacturer of the tear gas canisters, Chemical Tactical Systems, indicated that the devices have an effective range of only 40 feet.

During the exercise, police fired 15 canisters of tear gas. The noxious fumes were then wind-swept to nearby Sullivant Elementary School, inflicting six students with irritation of the eyes and throat and sending a pregnant teacher who suffers from asthma to the hospital for observation. Police found out about the tear gas accident after school administrators called firefighters for help. Deputy Chief Tim Becker told The Columbus Dispatch, “The school is about 3,000 feet from where [the tear gas] was deployed.” Fourteen students were taken home from school by their parents, one of whom told NBC-4 Columbus that her children were crying when she arrived. No one was seriously hurt during the accidental gassing.

Deputy Chief Becker apologized for the incident, telling NBC-4 Columbus, “First of all we are sorry, this never should have happened… It is very strange for [the tear gas] to travel this far. We certainly would not conduct training if we thought it was going to have this type of impact.” He indicated that the Columbus Division of Police will be suspending future training exercises at Cooper Stadium pending an investigation into what went wrong during the deployment of the tear gas.

With regard to the crash on the way to the stadium, Columbus Division of Police spokesperson Sergeant Rich Weiner told The Columbus Dispatch that police are investigating who was at fault for the wreck and whether traffic citations or other disciplinary actions are warranted.

Michael Brown’s Parents Testify Before U.N. Committee Against Torture

On Tuesday, Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden addressed the United Nations Committee against Torture, in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of a delegation of human rights advocates, in an attempt to raise awareness about the death of their son Michael Brown.

Although he was unarmed, Michael Brown (18) was shot and killed by Police Officer Darren Wilson (28), during a confrontation on August 9, which sparked riots that were met with a militarized police force in the town of Ferguson, Missouri.

According to CNN, the teenager’s parents reached out to the U.N. Committee against Torture, which “works against cruel or degrading treatment or punishment by government authorities,” because they want the world to know “what’s going on in Ferguson.

We need answers and we need action,” said McSpadden. “We have to bring it to the U.N. so they can expose it to the rest of the world, what’s going on in small town Ferguson.

Michael Brown Sr. said they hoped to offer an outlook “on what’s going on in the United States and all over the world with the police, police brutality, no justice.

Regarding their trip to Geneva, McSpadden said that it had been a “great experience.”

We’ve been received very well,” said McSpadden. “They’ve given us a lot of love and support since we’ve been here. Everything seems to be positive.

As the grand jury determines its verdict on whether Wilson will be indicted on murder charges for Brown’s death, Ferguson residents prepare for the worst.

ABC News reported that Metro Shooting Supplies, a store in a town near Ferguson, “has been selling between 30 and 50 guns daily,” for the last three weeks, which is a “nearly 300 percent increase” over regular sales of 10 to 15 guns per day.

According to the Huffington Post, while Brown’s parents are saying “Wilson got away with murder,” and they are calling “for his immediate arrest,” they are also asking Ferguson residents to “pause, plan and prepare” in response to the grand jury decision, rather than acting out impulsively.

We don’t want anyone acting irrational or acting before thinking,” said McSpadden, who went on to say that those actions wouldn’t serve a purpose. “We’re trying to get a message across,” McSpadden explained.

USA Today reported that Brown Sr. and McSpadden believe that if Wilson is indicted, it will “send a message around the world that police must change their tactics.”

We are praying for an indictment,” said McSpadden. “To me that would mean that the police did do their investigation fairly and it was unbiased.

When asked about life after the death of their son, Brown Sr. told CNN that he and his wife are staying strong.

“It’s a situation where I’m surprised we haven’t even lost our mind yet,” said Brown Sr. “But we’re being strong. Hopefully, justice will prevail.”

Good Samaritan Shot By Police After Calling 911 to Report Location of Shooting Suspect

On Halloween morning, 59-year-old Vancouver, WA resident John Kendall allegedly shot his neighbor Abigail Mounce with a rifle, striking her in the face. He then drove to a nearby wooded area, ditched his car, walked into the woods on foot, and took his own life. According to KGW-TV, Mounce is expected to survive her injuries, but doctors may not be able to save her right eye.

After the shooting was initially reported, police initiated a manhunt in an effort to apprehend Kendall. A concerned citizen, who asked to remain anonymous, stumbled across Kendall’s car and, hoping to assist police in the manhunt, called 911 to report the location of the vehicle. The Oregonian notes that the unidentified man decided to wait at the location for police to arrive.

SWAT officers honed in on Kendall’s cell phone signal and determined that he was in the area where the citizen reported seeing his car. Police then made their way to the location reported by the concerned citizen and, upon arrival, confused him for the suspect and opened fire on him with multiple rounds, hitting him in the leg. A representative from the Vancouver Police Department told KGW-TV, “Law enforcement personnel watched as the citizen (believed to be Kendall) exited his vehicle and circled behind his trunk. Fearing that he armed himself, law enforcement fired multiple shots at the individual in order to stop the perceived threat before the citizen could enter the woods.”

The unidentified 911 caller then jumped for cover behind a pile of gravel and shot back a single time, striking no one, before calling 911 again to try and clear up the confusion. Police realized that he was not the suspect, stopped firing, gave the man first aid, and took him to the hospital. He was released the following day. According to KOIN-TV 6, Vancouver police officials claim that the 911 caller bore a resemblance to suspect John Kendall.

Shortly after police mistakenly shot the man who called to assist them in their manhunt, officers found the suspect’s body, already deceased, in the nearby woods.

Vancouver Police Department spokeswoman Kim Kapp identified the officers involved in the shooting as Clark County Deputy Anthony Spainhower, Vancouver Police Officer Brian Frances, and Vancouver Police Corporal Chris LeBlanc. Though police investigators are not sure yet which officer fired the shot that hit the unidentified Good Samaritan, an eyewitness interviewed by The Oregonian described hearing four or five shots at the time of the incident.

The three officers involved in the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation, which Vancouver police representative Kim Kapp said could be wrapped up by Thanksgiving.