Tag Archives: police state

Hundreds of Armed Feds and Snipers Surround Nevada Cattle Ranchers Property: Is This the Next Ruby Ridge?

UPDATE: Strike teams of 15-20 agents are attempting to take the cattle and often in the process killing and burying the cattle in the desert. A group of roughly 100 peaceful protestors attempted to stop them and got in front of a convoy of agents in an attempt to call in the local sheriff as they perceived this as an illegal action. BLM agents began violently attacking the protestors, throwing women to the ground with a number of men being tazed. Agents ended up retreating after their initial attack. Protestors are awaiting and anticipating a more forceful response and requesting assistance from all freedom fighters/lovers in the SW U.S. and nationwide.

Clark County, Nev., April 9, 2014- Over the past two decades there has been an ongoing standoff between the U.S. federal government and a 67-year-old local Nevada cattle rancher named Cliven Bundy. This past week armed federal agents were deployed in what is a clear escalation in this ongoing feud.

Cliven Bundy, the last of the cattle ranchers in Clark County, refuses to comply with a court order from 2013 that orders him to remove his cattle from public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The BLM and the U.S National Park Service claim that they are simply responding to Mr. Bundy’s refusal to comply with the order by calling in federal agents and contract cowboys to confiscate what they call Mr. Bundy’s “trespass cattle.” Thus far, they have impounded roughly 277 of Clive Bundy’s estimated 900 cattle.

The Bureau of Land Management claims on their website that the, “Cattle have been in trespass on public lands in southern Nevada for more than two decades. This is unfair to the thousands of other ranchers who graze livestock in compliance with federal laws and regulations throughout the West. The Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service have made repeated attempts to resolve this matter administratively and judicially. An impoundment of cattle illegally grazing on public lands is now being conducted as a last resort.”

As reported by The Blaze, the ranchers wife Carol Cox says there now appears to be snipers stationed around the family’s 150-acre ranch.

Mr. Bundy, a lifelong rancher, compares the government escalation to actions that the government has taken in Ruby Ridge, ID and Waco, TX. He contends that the Gold Butte area has been used by his family since the late 1800’s and that he has preemptive rights to the land. Bundy claims that the Bureau of Land Management has clearly “overstepped its boundaries by not letting me access my rights, not recognizing state sovereignty, and having over 200 armed officers watching our every move and stealing our cattle.”

Mr. Bundy’s daughter Shiree Bundy Cox in a letter explains the feud from the family’s perspective:

“I have had people ask me to explain my dad’s stance on this BLM fight. Here it is in as simple of terms as I can explain it. There is so much to it, but here it s in a nut shell. My great grandpa bought the rights to the Bunkerville allotment back in 1887 around there. Then he sold them to my grandpa who then turned them over to my dad in 1972. These men bought and paid for their rights to the range and also built waters, fences and roads to assure the survival of their cattle, all with their own money, not with tax dollars. The rights to the land use are called preemptive rights. Some where down the line, to keep the cows from over grazing, came the Bureau of Land Management. They were supposed to assist the ranchers in the management of their ranges while the ranchers paid a yearly allotment which was to be use to pay the BLM wages and to help with repairs and improvements of the ranches. My dad did pay his grazing fees for years to the BLM until they were no longer using his fees to help him and to improve. Instead they began using these monies against the ranchers. They bought all the rest of the ranchers in the area out with they’re own grazing fees. When they offered to buy my dad out for a penance he said no thanks and then fired them because they weren’t doing their job. He quit paying the BLM and tried giving his grazing fees to the county, which they turned down. So my dad just went on running his ranch and making his own improvements with his own equipment and his own money, not taxes. In essence the BLM was managing my dad out of business. Well when buying him out didn’t work, they used the endangered species card. You’ve already heard about the desert tortoise. Well that didn’t work either, so then began the threats and the court orders, which my dad has proven to be unlawful for all these years. Now they’re desperate. It’s come down to buying the brand inspector off and threatening the County Sheriff. Everything their doing at this point is illegal and totally against the Constitution of the United States of America. Then there’s the issue of the cattle that are at this moment being stolen. See even if dad hasn’t paid them, those cattle belong to him, regardless of where they are they are my father’s property. His herd has been part of that range for over a hundred years, long before the BLM even existed. Now the Feds think they can just come in and remove them and sell them without a legal brand inspection or without my dad’s signature on it. They think they can take them over two borders, which is illegal, ask any trucker. Then they plan to take them to the Richfield Auction and sell them. All this with our tax money. They have paid off the contract cowboys and the auction owner as well as the Nevada brand inspector with our tax dollars. See how slick they are? Well, this is it in a nut shell. Thanks”

The government position is that Bundy owes them for grazing fees that he stopped paying in 1993, which he argued in court that he had no obligation to pay the agency, as his ancestors worked the land before the existence of the Bureau of Land Management. Subsequently, in 1998, the land was declared completely off limits to cattle as it was declared a designated habitat for the federally protected desert tortoise.

Although Cliven Bundy attempted to pay the county, they refused his payment. BLM spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon, says that “The estimated amount owed by him… totals $1.1 million.” Cost estimates for the cattles removal from the land are approximately $3 million dollars, which the taxpayer will be responsible for paying.

When Cannon was asked about the claim that snipers are on scene, she refused to confirm or deny the allegation saying, “There are law enforcement and other personnel in place as needed to ensure that the BLM and National Park Services employees and contractors are able to conduct the operation safely. Specific operations information regarding this impoundment will not be released.”

In addition to the heavily armed federal presence, the Bundy’s 37-year-old son Dave was arrested, “following failure to comply with multiple requests by BLM law enforcement to leave the temporary closure area on public lands,” stated Cannon. Dave Bundy was held overnight after being arrested for refusing to disperse and resisting issuance of a citation or arrest. He claims he was arrested and roughed up for filming federal agents while outside an area designated for First Amendment activity on the disputed land. Cannon was unable to explain why he was held overnight and refused to comment on the allegations of brutality.

Through it all, Cliven Bundy stands firm stating, “It’s a freedom issue. It’s not about cows. It’s a states rights issue. I really hope that we can learn to defend our liberties here and keep on fighting until the end. I don’t know when the end is going to be, but I believe that America is the greatest land in the world and it needs to be protected. Our rights and liberties need to be protected and we’re going to stand for that.”

 

Follow Jay on Facebook and on Twitter @SirMetropolis

VIDEO: Cop Breaks High School Student’s Arm

A video of an incident at West Brook High School in Beaumont, Texas has outraged countless Americans concerned about police brutality. The footage, taken on March 7, shows Officer Steve Rivers breaking a student’s arm so violently that the bone can be heard cracking. Questions have been raised as to whether or not Rivers broke the student’s arm intentionally.

After a fight broke out between several students, a female officer initially grabbed one teen and brought him to the ground. As she pressed the student’s face to the ground, Rivers moved in to assist.

Rivers then grabbed the student’s left arm and bent it backwards. An audible snap caused the student to immediately cry out in pain.

Many have noted that Rivers appeared to break the student’s arm intentionally. After watching the footage, MMA fighter Joe Scott wrote, “I am a professional cage fighter. I have trained in Jiu Jitsu for 3 years which is a form of martial arts that specializes in submissions and breaking bones. It takes a lot of force to break a human bone. You can clearly see that was intentional. He used his weight as leverage. The average person knows the rage of motion of the human arm and he knew what he was doing.”

Soon after the incident occurred, a parent complained and Rivers was placed on paid administrative leave. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

 Follow Kristin Tate on Facebook and Twitter

Cop Explodes At Filming Citizen, Says He’s “Lost” His Freedom Of Speech

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A Maryland cop recently told an innocent citizen that he had “lost” his freedom of speech.

The incident started when a man videoed the arrest of several individuals he did not know on a public street. An officer approached the man and told him to stop. When the man refused, another officer approached him and accused him of “diverting my attention” and to “get the hell out of here. Leave!”

After the second cop on the scene started to get physical with the videographer, a third officer showed up and said, “Do not disrespect us and do not not listen to us. Now walk away and shut your f**king mouth or you’re going to jail.”

The cameraman, who clearly knew he had a right to be filming, asked if he had anything wrong. He said, “I thought I had the freedom of speech here.” One of the visibly angry cops responded, “You don’t — you just lost it.”

It is unknown if the man who filmed this incident will try to take any legal action against the policemen, or if he has a case at all.

The Supreme Court has continued the right to film police. Given this, the man who filmed in this instance did nothing illegal or worthy of verbal abuse from the police.

Follow Kristin on Facebook and Twitter.

The Persecution of U.S. Political Prisoner & Whistleblower John Kiriakou

Imprisoned CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who is currently serving a thirty-month sentence in Loretto Federal Correctional Institution, in his most recent letter from prison alleges to have been threatened by a “senior prison official.” In the letter, Kiriakou states that he was told that there has been discussion amongst prison officials of engaging him in “diesel therapy” for the remainder of his sentence.

“Diesel therapy” is a method of continually moving a prisoner from prison to prison across the country via bus, van, or plane. This continual movement results in the inmate being unable to receive calls, mail, or visitation. In many cases family members and even the attorney don’t know where the inmate is located at any given moment.

Mr. Kiriakou suggests these actions “would obviously be retaliation for his press interviews” and his “Letters from Loretto.” Of course, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) could claim it is due to “bedspace” or “safety” issues.

There is an obvious and continuing pattern of persecution and abuse, against Mr. Kiriakou, that has been taking place since becoming the first CIA official to publically admit that torture was official U.S. policy under President George W. Bush’s administration. This action immediately made him a target of the military/security/intelligence complex and its political cronies.

Kiriakou believes what is currently taking place in the U.S. is a new form of McCarthyism saying,

“…(It’s) all a part of the plan to force the whistleblower into personal ruin, to weaken him to the point where he will plead guilty to just about anything to make the case go away. I know. The three espionage charges against me made me one of ‘the Obama Seven.’

In early 2012, I was arrested and charged with three counts of espionage and one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA). (I was only the second person in US history to be charged with violating the IIPA, a law that was written to be used against rogues like Philip Agee.)Two of my espionage charges were the result of a conversation I had with a New York Times reporter about torture. I gave him no classified information – only the business card of a former CIA colleague who had never been undercover. The other espionage charge was for giving the same unclassified business card to a reporter for ABC News. All three espionage charges were eventually dropped.

So, why charge me in the first place?

It was my punishment for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program and for confirming to the press, despite government protestations to the contrary, that the US government was, indeed, in the business of torture.

Many of us believed that the torture policy was solely a Bush-era perversion. But many of these perversions, or at least efforts to cover them up or justify them, have continued under President Obama.

Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, declared a war on whistleblowers virtually as soon as they assumed office. Some of the investigations began during the Bush administration, as was the case with NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, but Espionage Act cases have been prosecuted only under Obama. The president has chosen to ignore the legal definition of whistleblower – any person who brings to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse or illegality – and has prosecuted truthtellers.”

Mr. Kiriakou eventually plead guilty to the IIPA violation, with the three counts of espionage being dropped. He was sentenced in January of 2013, reporting to the prison on February 28th, 2013. Since that day, Kirakou has been a continual target of an orchestrated campaign of harassment, intimidation tactics, and rights violations by corrections officials, as documented in his “Letters from Loretto”, which began being published on website Firedoglake in the summer of 2013.

The letters ceased for a while after being promised by prison officials that if he quit writing he could serve out the final nine months of his sentence in a halfway house. When the prison reneged on its promise, the letters resumed.

The Bureau of Prisons, with CIA complicity, engaged in attempting to stop Kirakou from sending letters from prison. According to Firedoglake, on August 30, 2013, he was “forced to sign” a “memo” from the United States Justice Department that stated he was “legally obligated to clear everything” he wrote “for publication with the CIA’s Publication Review Board (PRB).” The Special Investigative Service “was now demanding that I give all future ‘Letters from Loretto’ to them, and they would sent it on to the CIA,” he asserts. He was not “permitted to send a copy” to his attorney or seek any legal advice before signing the memo. “Failure to follow” would “result in disciplinary action.”

His attorney, Mark MacDougall, immediately called him after finally receiving a copy of the “memo” and said what Kirakou was being required to do was “illegal, unconstitutional, and unenforceable.”

Additionally, Mr. Kiriakou was placed on Central Inmate Monitoring, which is reserved for prisoners who “present special needs management.” According to BOP policy, it’s to make the “institution environment safe… (using) case management decisions based on accurate information and sound correctional judgment.”

The only reason he even found out about the CIM designation was that he had filed a FOIA request on himself. Five of the pages were marked, “FOIA Exempt: Do Not Release to Inmate.” BOP policy states, “The case manager shall ensure that affected inmate is notified in writing as promptly as possible of the classification and basis for it.” Mr. Kiriakou was never at any time notified of this designation.

According to Mr. Kiriakou, “Specifically the documents cautioned, ‘PUBLICITY- Inmate has broad access to the press. Attached are articles the inmate has been mentioned in.”

Kiriakou went on to say, “The Bureau of Prisons is afraid of you knowing what the prison system is really like. They’re afraid of the public disclosure that they don’t bother to follow their own rules. They’re afraid that you’ll learn that they can violate the law with impunity. They’re afraid of ‘Letters from Loretto’.”

Actions of the federal government have shown it to be extremely fearful of the truths this persecuted political prisoner has to share with world. The feds are willing to break their own rules, guidelines, and policies in an attempt to silence him and suppress him from exercising his 1st Amendment rights. The continuing tyrannical oppression of this man is beyond reprehensible. Keep speaking truth to power Mr. Kiriakou, your message is being heard.

Follow Jay on Facebook and on Twitter @SirMetropolis 

Cop Breaks 10-Year-Old’s Leg Then Sexually Assaults His Mom Claims Lawsuit

Court documents claim officers of the NYPD’s 63rd Precinct came to Krystle Silvera’s home looking for an ex-boyfriend at 7 a.m. on Jan. 30, 2013.

Silvera’s mother, a 61-year-old lung and brain cancer patient, answered the door, but couldn’t understand why the officers were there. That is when Silvera’s 10-year-old son picked up his moms phone and attempted to record the events taking place as he was “fascinated by the police, he looks up to them”, according to his mom Krystle Silvera.

The events alleged in court documents to have followed are extremely ominous. The officer, in violation of established case law, attempted to violate the child’s right to film by assaulting him according to the suit. Ms. Silvera is quoted by NY Daily News as saying, “I heard my son screaming, ‘You can’t do that! You’re hurting me! Don’t hit me!’ ”

According to court papers the cop kicked the boy in the shin breaking his leg. Her son was then put in handcuffs and restrained until they later realized he was only a child and removed the 10-year-old’s restraints.

It was during this commotion that Ms. Silvera, who had been getting her 5-year-old ready for school upstairs, ran downstairs dressed only in underclothes and into the commotion attempting to ensure her son was safe. The suit alleges Ms. Silvera, was grabbed by a cop who pulled her outside into the bitter cold. While putting her into restraints her breast came out exposing a nipple piercing.

“The officer flicked the piercing, he flicked the ring up with his finger on my right breast,” she said. “He said, ‘Is this what mothers look like these days?’

Then, in a common police tactic employed to cover up violations of individual’s rights, the police charged Silvera with assaulting the cops. She was released on $1,500 bail after being held for two days.

Upon her arrival home she noticed her son’s leg was swollen and bruised prompting her to take the boy to Kings County Medical Center, where an X-ray revealed his leg was fractured

Anthony Ofodile, the family’s attorney said, “I’ve seen a lot of police brutality cases, but nothing as low as this, kicking a 10-year-old boy.”

The events alleged to have transpired, paint an out of control police force with no respect for the constitutional rights or safety of the citizens they serve. The courts have consistently affirmed that photography is not a crime, and that individuals have a right to film law enforcement officers in the carrying out of their official public duties. Regardless of the child’s actions, there is no reason for a 10-year-old boy to have his leg broken by an officer of the law for the legal act of filming as the suit alleges.

Ultimately, it’s taxpayers that pay the costs associated with these suits, relating to alleged officer misconduct, such as this. The time has come to hold accountable the rogue officers that bring disgrace upon the shield. For more information on what it means to put the constitution first as a law enforcement officer visit Oath Keepers. To learn more about your rights when dealing with law enforcement visit Cop Block.

Follow Jay on Facebook and on Twitter @SirMetropolis

VIDEO: Cop Brings Gun to a Snowball Fight Could Cost NYC $10 Million

In February of 2010 off duty NYPD officer, Sgt. Adonis Ramirez, 34, after being hit by a snowball in the leg, drew his concealed weapon on a group of young men and ordered them to kneel against a fence. He now stands accused of false arrest and battery.

Inconsistencies in his story have been revealed during his recent testimony in a $10 million dollar civil suit brought against the NYPD.

In his initial report to officers Ramirez claimed that while walking, “he felt himself get struck on the back by multiple snowballs.” While testifying in court last Tuesday he admitted that it was only “one” snowball and that it struck him in the leg.

He then went on to claim that he didn’t recall telling police that the young men had chased him, although he had stated in police reports that he feared for his “immediate safety”. Previously, Ramirez had claimed the group chased him down the street and threatened him while pelting him with multiple snowballs.

Ramirez also changed his statement about how long it took him to draw his weapon after being hit a snowball, from an earlier estimate of over a minute, he revised that to 15 to 30 seconds in court testimony.

It appears that Ramirez was forced to amend his statements after surveillance footage surfaced that contradicted the officer’s version of events about multiple snowballs being thrown and the men chasing him.

Manuel Rondon, 22, Christian Perez, 23, Johnathan Rodriguez, 26, Anthony Aquino, 19, and Ariel Lopez, 21, were all arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, attempted assault, menacing, and harassment and were forced to spend the a day and a half in jail.

The alleged weapon in question… a snowball.

None of the young men had ever been in any trouble before. 18 year old Ariel Lopez said, “We’re innocent, we didn’t do anything wrong and he overreacted.” Manuel Rondon went on to state, “I felt that at that moment one of us was going to get killed or shot.”

The attorney for the five young men claims that Ramirez, “made up facts. He never got hit with a snowball. This guy brings a loaded gun to a snowball fight. It’s an incredible abuse of power by a bully with a badge,” said attorney Neil Wollerstein.

Eventually all charges against the young men were dropped by the Bronx district attorney.

According to Ramirez, while he may not have had all his facts straight, he felt a possible threat existed and that his actions were fully justified, claiming, “I was outnumbered, and I wasn’t taking any chances.”

In the “officer needs assistance” call made to 911 to get assistance from New Yorks finest, to protect this officer from the brutal snowball “assault”, Ramirez can be heard telling the young men, while held at gunpoint, “Do not move, Do not move. You brought this upon yourself. You want to be a d–k?” His words come off as strikingly retaliatory rather than based on a fear for his own personal safety.

The abuse of authority and lack of training exhibited in this case are stunning. Mr. Ramirez must have missed the memo that badges don’t grant extra rights. The militarization of the police across the US has seemingly created a pandemic of officers acting as though they are above the law they are sworn to uphold. Hopefully, Officer Ramirez, the NYPD, and the city of New York get the memo on this one.

Follow Jay on Facebook and on Twitter @SirMetropolis

(VIDEO) 1st Amendment Free Zones: Cops threaten anti-common core group for walking in Christmas parade

 

“Apparently there are 1st Amendment free zones in America,” says Johnnelle Raines who is an anti-Common Core activist. She was shocked when she was told by the event planner that her group could not be in the Easley Christmas parade in South Carolina. The event planner abruptly told her, “we do not allow political messages in our parade, whatsoever. I will get the police chief over.”

Raines told Benswann.com’s Joshua Cook that she already paid to be in the parade and the application was approved (see document here). There is no mention of any group restrictions in the application. Raines told Cook, “I feel discriminated against and my 1st Amendment rights have been violated.” Raines believed that she was singled out because of her opposition to Common Core.

Raines refused to leave. She was threatened by city police who told her to remove the signs they were holding. Raines asked the officer, “What is political about this sign? Can you tell me what’s political about that?” “I cannot, but I’m not the one who is making that decision” the officer said.

Raines asked, “Can you cite the law that keeps us from bringing a sign in the parade? Is there a law?”

The officer said, “It’s a city event. We can dictate and put in restrictions of what we allow in the parade.”

Activist Jim Hargett told Cook, “I was prepared to be arrested and thought I was for a moment, but then the officer walked away.” Because the children in our group were so upset we decided to go ahead and walk in the parade without signs. Hargett said that his 1st Amendment rights have been violated before.  “One of the assistant principals of a Greenville county school called the cops because I was passing out anti-common core literature on a sidewalk in front of a school.”

Cook called the City of Easley police department but no one was available for comment.

“This experience has taught the children here today a valuable lesson of how important free speech really is,” Raines said.

Hunger Games in Montana: Man Forces Judge to Leave Bench Citing Natural Law

A Montana man, Ernie Tertegte appeared in court for fishing without a license and resiting arrests. Tertelgte told the judge “I am a living man protected by natural law and I have the right to forage for food when I am hungry… You are trying to create a fictitious, fraudulent action.”

Tertelgte told the judge, “those men (the arresting officers) were charged by me right back by staging an overthrow of the Constitution of 1789, and the overthrow  Bill of Rights, and overthrow of my rights to forage for food as a natural living person who was in hunger. I was searching for something to put in my stomach as I am recognized to be allowed to by universal law… They violated everything.”

Interesting to note that the Judge ordered him to be removed from the court, but the bailiff did not follow her orders.

Tertelge told the bailiff, “if you touch me you will be violating natural law, do not come near me.”

When the judge told him to “shush” Tertelgte yelled,  “Do not tell me to shut up! I am the living, natural man, and my voice will be heard!”When the judge left her bench, Tertlgte said, “no way, get back here and finish this!”

See video below:

Nurse Calls Mom a “Loser” For Not Vaccinating Her Child

A South Carolina family has filed a complaint with their local hospital after a nurse left a note calling the mother a “loser” for choosing not to vaccinate her child. Their nine month old had sustained a minor injury attempting to pull himself up, so the parents took him to the ER.  At the hospital, doctors discovered a fever of 101 degrees, so they wrote a prescription for the fever and ordered an x-ray.

wistv.com – Columbia, South Carolina |

It seemed like a relatively ordinary visit, until one of the nursing staff left a note on the table in the child’s room.

loser noteThe parents, Trevor and Katie Smart, were upset by the note and promptly filed a complaint with the hospital.  The nurse, they said, had no idea why they chose not to vaccinate two of their three children, but had issued a judgment in a very unprofessional, and unacceptable manner.  “I’m worried this may not be a one incident kind of thing,” Katie also noted.

The Smarts’ hospital, Palmetto Health, issued an apology and suspended the staff member responsible for the incident, which they also called a “real time learning opportunity.”

The Smarts, like many others, choose not to vaccinate because of some of the ingredients used in inoculations.  Mercury – which is particularly damaging to children’s brains – is a commonly used preservative, and many have decided that the risks of vaccines outweigh the risks of the actual illnesses they’re meant to prevent.

More recently, the highly promoted HPV vaccine, Gardasil, has been mandated by various state governments.  There are no symptoms of Human Papiloma Virus in most people, but a small group develops genital warts, and an even smaller group develops cervical cancer.  The side effects, though, were little known at the time when the vaccine was most heavily promoted, and mandated by states like Texas.  The vaccine, however, has been linked to sudden death and, ironically, cervical cancer.

The Smart family experienced a bizarre form of intimidation by a hospital staff member, but what about hospitals kidnapping a child in order to force parents to agree to certain medical treatments?

Benswann.com’s Kristin Tate recently reported that a teenager was removed from her parents’ custody because they didn’t agree with the hospital’s recommended treatment. The parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier called this behavior by the hospital “kidnapping.”

Vaccines are not risk-free. In the U.S., informed parents examine the facts and calculate the risks in order to make the right medical decisions for their families. So far parents have a right to choose to vaccine their children or not, but for parents like the Smarts it may not be a choice for very long and it is definitively not a choice for the Pelletier.

There is an alarming trend in the U.S. right now where people fear hospitals now more than illnesses. The Medical-industrial complex is so intertwined with government agencies and law enforcement that it prevents doctors from giving patients the freedom to choose the best options.  U.S. citizen’s Constitutional rights are constantly being usurped and the freedom to choose the best medical options for one’s family may become a distant memory soon.

 

Texas Police Chief Apologizes After Officers Ask Random Drivers For Blood & Saliva Samples

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As we reported yesterday, random drivers in Fort Worth, Texas were asked for breath, saliva, and blood samples by police officers. The drivers were stopped and asked for such samples even though they violated no traffic laws.

The stops, which happened on Friday, were done in the name of “government research,” to figure out how many people were driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this project cost a whopping $7.9 million over the span of three years.

Now the police chief in Fort Worth has come out and apologized for letting his officers take part in this “survey.”

Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead said, “We realize this survey caused many of our citizens frustration and we apologize for our participation. I agree with our citizens’ concerns and I apologize for our participation. Any future federal survey of this nature, which jeopardizes the public’s trust, will not be approved for the use of Fort Worth police.”

NHTSA claimed the study was “voluntary,” but many of the individuals who were pulled over told NBC News that they felt forced to give over samples.

Kim Cope was one of the individuals pulled over. She claims that although officials did not explicitly force her to park and give a Breathalyzer, she felt as though she had no choice.

She said, “I gestured to the guy in front that I just wanted to go straight, but he wouldn’t let me and forced me into a parking spot.”

Cope claims the officials then offered her money for various samples. “They were asking for cheek swabs. They would give $10 for that. Also, if you let them take your blood, they would pay you $50 for that. I finally did the Breathalyzer test just because I thought that would be the easiest way to leave.”

Carl Olund, another pulled over driver, said he also felt pressured and was never told it was voluntary.

Olund said, “But she was like up in my window to where I was like, ‘OK, I might as well just stay.’ I mean, the cops are around, so if I take off, I’m not going to have four or five cops chasing me.”

The Forth Worth police station is currently undergoing an internal investigation into the matter.

 

Follow Kristin on Facebook and Twitter.

SC Police Department Gets “U.N. Blue” Tank that is land mine & IED resistant

 

On Veterans Day, Columbia, South Carolina became the latest of about 500 communities nationwide to add a military grade armored vehicle to its police force.  The para-military vehicle with a “U.N. blue” custom paint job seats nine people, has an armable turret, and costs $658,000.  The vehicle made its way to the department for free through the Department of Defense’s 1033 excess property program.  The tank is bullet proof, features a land mine resistant frame, and a mount rack suited for a 50 caliber machine gun.

TANK

The police department says the MRAP – short for Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle – will help protect SWAT team officers and the general public during dangerous confrontations.  It’s bulletproof, armored, and, as the name suggests, can even resist landmine explosions.  A local body shop painted the vehicle for free.

The question, of course, is why a civilian police force needs or should have a military grade armored and armable vehicle, essentially a tank.  Such a “tool” makes the government much, much more physically powerful than American citizens, increasing the risk of abuse, and the damage to civilians when that abuse occurs.

This occurs at a time when people are growing more and more skeptical of police actions, and when more and more attention is being brought to abuses.  These abuses have included shooting people unnecessarily, and even killing unaggressive dogs in houses they had no right to be in.  Crime rates in America have been steadily dropping for many years now, and the chance of a situation arising in which the vehicle is actually necessary are slim.

Though the vehicle was “free” to the citizens of Columbia, they were purchased by taxpayer money.  500 surplus military vehicles costing $658,000 each adds up to $329 million dollars of surplus DoD spending (and therefore taxing) on vehicles which are so unnecessary to the military they are being given away to American cities.  Though this wouldn’t fix the debt, it is yet another multi-million dollar piece of wasteful spending by the American federal government.

The most troubling aspect of the situation, though, is the reason for obtaining such a vehicle.  Another town which recently obtained federal funding for a military armored vehicle – though this one was through the Department of Homeland Security – was Concord, New Hampshire.  When the ACLU and New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union submitted a public records request, they discovered that groups like the Free State Project and Occupy New Hampshire had been cited as domestic terror threats, and their presence was listed as a reason the police department needed an armored vehicle.

Columbia’s obtaining a MRAP is part of a wave of increasing police militarization.  This wave occurs at a time in which violent crime rates have been steadily dropping for years, but when political tension, dissatisfaction with the government, and attention to political and police abuse are at a high point.  This raises questions about the motivation for arming American police with the tools used by the military to fight Al Qaida.

 

Russian Man Nails Testicles To Street To Protest The Police State

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Some people dislike the police state more than others.

Russian artist Pyotr Pavlensky really dislikes the police state.

On Sunday, Pavlensky stripped naked and nailed his testicles to a Red Square cobblestone to protest the Kremlin’s crackdown on political rights. His stunt took place on Russia’s annual holiday, “Police Day.”

The artist, who is from Saint Petersburg, said on Grani.ru that he was attempting to draw attention to Russia’s growing “police state.”

Well, he certainly drew attention.

As horrified citizens watched Pavlensky, police officers covered the artist with a blanket. He was subsequently taken to a hospital in Moscow and then to a police station. The incident was caught on video:

Pavlensky has a history of controversial protesting.

In 2011, he sewed his lips together in Moscow’s main cathedral to protest the jailing of Pussy Riot band members. And just last May, he stripped naked and covered his body in barbed wire in front of Saint Petersburg government buildings.

Pavlensky’s protest may be distasteful to many, but he is certainly drawing attention. And by doing so, perhaps individuals around the world will engage in productive discussions about government control.

Norman Rockwell-Era Policemen Replaced By Domestic Army

martial law family

Historically in America, we have revered our civil servants: firemen, policemen, teachers, and numerous other professionals who keep our towns running.

Take policemen for example. In that Norman Rockwell version of America, the policeman was local, a part of our community. He was our neighbor, his kids were in Little League with ours, and he was in our Rotary meetings. There were human relationships there, a local sense of community pride and caring.

An alarming trend has been on the lips of hundreds of thousands of Americans. The trend was covered quite well in Radley Balko’s book, “Rise of the Warrior Cop”. The book documents the reversal of the “spirit” of the Posse Comitatus act of 1878. The Act restricted the powers of the Federal Government in using federal military personnel to enforce laws.

While the Act from 1878 does not legally cover DHS, a viral video in August shows a Marine Colonel at a Concord, NH town hall stating:
“What’s happening here is that we’re building a domestic military, because it’s unlawful and unconstitutional to use American troops on American soil,” he says in the video. “We’re building a domestic army, and we’re shrinking the military, because the government is afraid of its own citizens… We’re building an army over here, and I can’t believe that people aren’t seeing it. Is everybody blind?”

How did we get here?

Federal money has been pouring into local police forces all over the nation for years. The Pentagon started giving out riot gear as “freebies.” Local units accepted the Federal money. With that came, of course, riot gear training. The “1033 Program” gave out more than $500 million of military gear to U.S. police forces in 2011 alone.

More than 500 of BearCat’s, tank-like vehicles, have been sold by Lenco, its Massachusetts-based manufacturer by the end of 2011.

 

Training has involved Federal money paying for disparate counties and states to come together for exercises. These police units have been advised that they may be dispatched to other regions, or states, in the event of a large scale situation. During an event, the police may be from states away, with heightened vigilance due to being in a foreign environment.

When police have been trained to use riot gear, provided BearCat’s and tank-like vehicles, and taught to shoot with the “No Hesitation”targets, it’s no wonder news media has reported shocking stories of excessive force.

Law enforcement no hesitation targets

From pet dogs, to WWII vets with bean bag bullets, to the unarmed Connecticut woman that rammed barricades in Washington, D.C. two weeks ago, all were killed by police.

As writer Kristin Tate reported on Benswann.com on Friday, a mentally ill man, sitting in a chair in his driveway, shot by cops with four bullets to the stomach.

The question arises of cops being in a state of hyper-vigilance, due to the training and weapons provided.

Senior Citizens Locked Inside Yellowstone By Armed Guards Due To Govt. Shutdown

What should have been a beautiful, relaxing trip, turned into a dark nightmare for many tourists in America’s national parks during the last week.

Thanks to the partial government shutdown, some people were locked inside Yellowstone National Park.

Pat Vaillancourt was one of those people. She came into Yellowstone with a bus tour group, which “included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada, and the United States.” They were on a nine day tour of national parks when the government shut down on October 1.

When the tour bus arrived at the Old Faithful Inn, located near the middle of the massive park, the group was locked inside by armed guards, who rudely told the tourists they could not leave. The inn was barricaded.

Vaillancourt said, “They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside. Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”

Vaillancourt and her tour group finally left the park after two days. She said the bus was not allowed to make any bathroom stops for over 2.5 hours as it left the park. When the group stopped at a private dude ranch for a planned bathroom stop, they were told to leave. According to Vaillancourt, the dude ranch said that they would be shut down if they allowed the bus to come in for a rest stop.

Vaillancourt and the others on her bus were not the only people to get this rough treatment. According to the Eagle Tribune, nearly 1,000 people were in a national park when the federal government shut down.

Understandably, Vaillancourt was disturbed by her experience in Yellowstone. What seems to have upset her the most, though, was how harsh the armed park employees were.

She concluded, “We’ve become a country of fear, guns and control. It was like they brought out the armed forces. Nobody was saying, ‘We’re sorry.'”

Clearly, the Obama administration is frustrated that the House Republicans refuse to fully fund Obamacare. It is not hard to surmise that the administration could be taking out that frustration on the American public, and aiming to make a political point by inciting fear with unnecessary shutdowns to inflict maximum public pain.

Vaillancourt’s disturbing story does not sound like a vacation in “the land of the free.”

What has become of America?

Do you live in a “Fourth Amendment Free Zone?”

Americans continue to lose their Constitutional rights in the name of “security” at a rapid pace.  The Second Amendment has been the most obvious, but the First, Fifth and Tenth Amendment are being usurped by the U.S. government in a disturbing trend.

The Fourth Amendment is the most recent in this series.  Increasing surveillance – such as New York’s proposal to monitor the streets by camera and save the data, Bloomberg’s “stop and frisk,” the NSA’s snooping programs, and PRISM revelations – has drawn this accusation, and now the Department of Homeland Security has become involved.

In the name of “border security,” a recent report defended the idea of so-called “Fourth Amendment Free Zones” within 100 miles of every border and the ocean.

In these areas, DHS agents can search and examine electronic devices, search through peoples’ belongings, and shake them down, all without probable cause.  This effectively suspends the rights of 197 million Americans based on residence alone.  This was questioned in 2009, and the DHS agreed to investigate the “civil rights impact” of the practice, but the full report wasn’t released until nearly four years later.

In February 2013, the DHS released an executive summary by its civil rights watchdog concluding that “imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits.”  In other words “it’s easier this way.”  According to the report, there were 685 electronic device searches from 2009-2010, with a total of 41 seizures.  All in all, about 6,500 travelers (2,995 of whom were citizens) have been searched since 2008.

As the DHS had initially released only the two-page executive summary of the report, the ACLU also filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the full DHS report, hoping, according to attorney Catherine Crump, “to establish that the Department of Homeland Security can’t simply assert that its practices are legitimate without showing us the evidence, and to make it clear that the government’s own analyses of how our fundamental rights apply to new technologies should be openly accessible to the public for review and debate.”  The full report contained arguments such as the importance of following “hunches,” and concrete data about numbers of seizures, but was no more convincing than the initial summary.  See report here.

It’s long been argued that Fourth Amendment rights don’t apply at the border.  This is why cars can be searched crossing from Canada or Mexico to the US, and why customs and security searches are allowed at airports.  Essentially the DHS has expanded the definition of the border to include everything within 100 miles of it and any ocean.  Instead of simply enforcing the border, the DHS has allowed for agents to patrol thousands of square miles within the United States, something which is neither more efficient nor constitutional.

It isn’t difficult to see how this precedent could easily be expanded.  If federal agents have permission to search a defined set of property – such as a computer or on someone’s person – there is nothing to prevent them searching any property they deem appropriate.  Geographically, there’s little difference between 100 miles and 200 from the border.  Even if 100 miles remains the threshold, and airports – which are already considered the “border” – are added to borders and beaches, there will be virtually nowhere within the US in which Fourth Amendment rights remain.  Neither of these is fundamentally different than the DHS’s current definition of “border.”

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The DHS’s argument that retaining the Fourth Amendment would be “operationally harmful” is also somewhat disingenuous.  It has always been the case that not having to obtain a search warrant would make finding criminals easier, but it has also always been the case that having to obtain a search warrant reduces the opportunity for corruption and unfair law enforcement practices.  Virtually no one is doing everything right all the time, but with the Fourth Amendment people are still free to go about their business with some degree of confidence, and police officers can focus on important legal violations.

For people worried about racial profiling, removing the Fourth Amendment is the single most damaging action which can be taken.  For people worried about political targeting, the same is true.  There’s nothing stopping the DHS from going through Houston, Charleston, Chicago or Anchorage searching the electronic devices of everyone with a third party bumper sticker – something which is already listed as a possible indicator that someone is a domestic terrorist – or someone who just looks a little different.

When Americans call for “securing the border,” they mean sending agents to patrol the border, not removing the rights of hundreds of millions of Americans.  This DHS definition alone is damaging, but combined with the extraordinarily dangerous legal precedent it sets, it sets the stage for further destroying American citizens’ Constitutional Rights.

Constitutional attorney Ed Mazlish told Benswann.com,  “while Americans are being asked/required at every turn to surrender their liberties in the name of security, the (real) terrorists are not … the unifying theme is that if you are truly an American citizen or if you are in fact no threat to America, then your constitutional rights are in jeopardy and expendable – but if you are not an American citizen or if you are antagonistic toward America, every indulgence is made to ensure that your right (presumably, your right to destroy and/or defile America) is protected.”

Police Chief Calls “Free State Project” Members Domestic Terrorists

The government’s treating citizens as potential terrorists threats have been on display for the past couple months with a series of revelations about the NSA, IRS and DOJ.  In March 2009, a leaked secret report from the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) profiled third-party supporters, homeschoolers, people who know the U.S. Constitution and people who have related bumper stickers on their cars, fly the flag or even invest in gold as potential domestic terrorists.

In April 2009, a Department of Homeland Security published Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, a report which expressed many of the same sentiments and targeted the same people.  It wasn’t too long afterward that the flag@whitehouse.gov scandal emerged, in which the White House asked people to report their friends, acquaintances, colleagues and neighbors who disagreed with Obamacare.

In January 2013, Arie Perliger, the Director of Terrorism Studies at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, published a paper titled Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right.  In the document, he identifies racists/white supremacists, anti-federalists and fundamentalists as the three far-right groups who are responsible for a “dramatic rise in the number of attacks and violent plots” in America.  He identifies anti-federalists as those who discuss and object to a “New World Order,” and who feel that the federal government is corrupt and tyrannical, infringing on Constitutional rights.

It’s in this political environment – where profiling citizens who want more freedom and less government is the “new norm” – that Concord, New Hampshire Police Chief John Duval filed an application to the Department of Homeland Security asking for over $250,000 to purchase a BearCat armored vehicle.  After the ACLU submitted a public records request, shocking political profiling was revealed.

“We are fortunate that our state has not been victimized from a mass casualty event from an international terrorism strike however on the domestic front, the threat is real and here.  Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges.  Outside of the officially organized groups, there are several homegrown clusters that are anti-government and pose problems for law enforcement agencies.” – From Concord, New Hampshire’s application to the DHS for an armored police vehicle.

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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.  The end goal of this is to help more people who may want to move – but who feel unsure that New Hampshire will maintain its small government attitudes – feel more secure in their decision to move to the Granite State.  New Hampshire is the last swing state in the North East and New England and makes it a very attractive destination.

Though the Free State Project is not a political action organization – it does not run or endorse political candidates or legislation – and though only seven members of the project live in Concord, the organization was targeted.  Occupy Wall Street and Sovereign Citizens movements are more politically active, their actions are far from “terrorism,” which in most people’s minds means ideologically motivated violence against innocents.

The DHS approved the grant application, but people are now calling for the funding to be removed.  Some reference funding issues, saying that Concord is nonviolent and does not need a $250,000 tactical armored vehicle which it wouldn’t buy with its own money, so why should the federal government pay for this.  Mostly, though, the opposition is due to blatant and unfair political profiling.  The grant specifically states that “funding may be suspended or terminated for filing a false certification in this application.”

The Free State Project has demanded a retraction and amendment of the grant application to remove references to the organization and its members, an “itemized list by calendar day of the ‘daily challenges’ presented by ‘Free Staters’ to the CPD,” and a written letter of apology from both the city and the CPD.  Concord’s City Council has delayed the decision on whether to accept the grant, and so far the demands have not been met.  At a City Council meeting after receiving no response, Carla Gericke, the president of the organization, demanded the resignation of all officials involved.

Free State Project Protest
An estimated 200 people came out in protest against the BearCat.

Carla Gericke president of the Free State Project at the public hearing stated , “We are here today in great numbers to raise our voices to protest the manufactured, false, misleading, fraudulent AND SECRET claims made by Thomas Aspell, the city manager, and John Duval, the chief of police in the federal grant application for Concord’s Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack vehicle. As president of the Free State Project, I have publicly called for a retraction and amendment of the Department of Homeland Security grant. I also asked for a list of ‘daily challenges’ presented by Free Staters. Lastly, I requested a public letter of apology for the defamation of 14,600+ Free State Project participants. None of these requests have been met, although Chief Duval has since backpedaled in public statements, saying we do not present a ‘domestic terrorist threat.’ (See video below).

Radley Balko states in his white paper, Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America, that “over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work.”

Radley Balko, in a report for the CATO Institute, provides a number of policy recommendations, found here,  for states seeking to stem police militarization.

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The South Carolina Policy Council, who is battling similar issues states, “Police are not soldiers; they aren’t there to win wars or defeat enemies but to keep people safe. Citizens shouldn’t have to fear those members of society whose stated purpose is to preserve their safety.”

They recommend that all legislative bodies that have the power at the state or local level should reject appropriations of federal funds (such as Homeland Security funds) intended for use in purchasing military-style weapons.

 

IRS Needs AR-15’s For “Standoff Capabilities”?

The IRS, which primarily acts as an audit agency, refuses to answer why its agents need AR-15s for “standoff capability.”

In May, U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC) was getting a lot of questions about ammo shortages and government agencies stockpiling guns and ammo. He wanted to know why IRS agents were buying ammo in large quantities and wanted to see the ammo supply himself.  He went to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Maryland where he witnessed 8 or 9 IRS agents using AR-15s at an indoor 100 yard firing range.

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Duncan questioned why IRS agents needed to be trained with AR-15 military rifles with 30 round magazines for “standoff capability” and why the IRS couldn’t use agencies like the U.S. Marshals to assist them when needed.

BenSwann.com asked Duncan if the IRS offered him any new information regarding his investigation.

“The IRS has not been cooperative. My committee doesn’t have direct oversight over the IRS so I’ve been trying to build support for an investigation. The IRS has not shown me any information on why they need to train with AR-15’s,” Duncan said.

The IRS is not the only federal agency stocking up tactical weapons and training for paramilitary raids.

In 2011, the Department of Education’s SWAT team raided Kenneth Wright’s home because of a search warrant regarding his ex-wife (who no longer lived at the home).* At 6am, SWAT broke through the door and dragged Wright by the neck to his front lawn and held him and his children at gun point. See video.

According to the Washington Post, right after the federal government took over the student aid program, the Department of Education began to acquire tactical weapons like Remington’s 870 police 12-gauge shotgun.

Agencies like the Department of Education, the Social Security Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Internal Revenue Service continue to purchase large amounts of tactical weapons and ammunition to build up their law enforcement divisions.

Steve Hoffman, the Southeast Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) told BenSwann.com his thoughts on IRS agents training with AR-15s.

“This just as bad as the Dept. of Education actually having agents who are on armed and trained with AR-15s. Both are symptoms of a federal government that is out of control and whose powers have grown well beyond those outlined in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution,”Hoffman said.

Congressman Duncan agrees.

When asked if the Department of Education should have a law enforcement division or SWAT team to investigate Americans regarding their student loans Duncan said,

“Absolutely not, that’s the whole concern with the IRS. Do they need a SWAT team to make sure you’ve paid your taxes?”

Duncan wants answers. He is investigating why the IRS and the Department of Education needs to have their own law enforcement division, and why they need tactical and paramilitary training at the FLETC. He expects to find more answers at his next subcommittee hearing.

 

*The U.S. Department of Education’s spokesman Justin Hamilton would not say specifically why the raid took place except that it was part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

Man Arrested & Detained For LEGALLY Carrying A Firearm

Police in Rutland, Vermont arrested 26-year-old Joshua Severance for walking around town with a registered handgun clipped to his belt.

What Severance was doing was perfectly legal. But apparently, Rutland police forgot the law.

Severance, a veteran of the National Guard, was walking to his father’s house when police approached him. He said he feels his personal rights were violated and that he is disturbed by the incident.

As he should be.

Rutland Police

He said, “There was a cruiser sitting there parked, and it saw me. I had my firearm on my side, had my shirt off because I was hot, minding my own business just walking along, cops saw me. I can see pulling somebody over and asking them to look at the firearm or check the serial number to see if it comes back stolen but putting somebody in handcuffs and throwing them in a cruiser and treating them like a criminal from square one– I don’t agree with.”

After discovering that Severance’s possession of the gun was in fact legal, police continued to justify their actions. They played down the arrest by explaining their response was due to recent shootings in the neighborhood (unrelated to this incident).

Police Sgt. John Sly of Rutland said, “In this particular neighborhood it is not commonplace to have people walking down the street with firearms, either rifles, shotguns or handguns. It was suspicious; it was out of the ordinary.”

So what?

Severance did nothing to break the law. Just because something is uncommon doesn’t mean it is illegal.

Although Sly claimed it is “uncommon” to see someone walking with firearms, he also said these types of stops are “not out of the ordinary and are routinely conducted.”

The reasoning is laughable.

This incident in Vermont is just another example of an absurd police power-grab.

Do you think such police stops trample on the spirit of the Second Amendment? Or is it acceptable to stop someone carrying a gun out in the open?

Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Police Arrest Man For Not Following Orders… While He Is Having A Stroke

Last year Allen Daniel Hicks violently drove his car off the road in Tampa, Florida.

When officers showed up on the scene, Hicks did not follow their orders to get out of his car. This resulted in police immediately booking the man into jail.

Officers failed, however, to question Hick’s strange behavior during the incident.

Despite rambling incoherent nonsense and dragging his left leg, police did not even bother ordering a medical check for Hicks before locking him up.

Stroke In Jail

Well, it turns out that Hicks was having a severe ischemic stroke.

After a full day in jail, Hicks lay on the floor of his cell, unable to move. Only then did officers take him to Tampa General Hospital, where doctors quickly diagnosed the stroke.

Within hours, the man went into a coma. He died in the hospital just a few months later.

There is now a government investigation underway.

The attorney representing Hick’s family, Paul Rebein, said, “You should be able to get help from medical personnel and police officers and not be taken to jail, and we feel the highway patrol and EMT should have much better training on recognizing stroke victims.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) agrees. Spokesman David Fathi said, “Prison officials have a duty under the Constitution to provide prisoners with adequate medical care. When they violate that duty, the results can be tragic.”

“We believe that incarceration is a uniquely governmental function that should never be contracted out to private, for-profit corporations. When you combine the profit motive with limited oversight and an unpopular, politically powerless group like prisoners, it’s a recipe for bad outcomes,” he continued.

Bottom line: this incident demonstrates a disgusting abuse of police power. These officers must be held accountable for their actions.

Your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below.