Radley Balko, of the Washington Post, writes a regular column for the newspaper called “The Watch.” Author of Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces,” Balko blogs about criminal justice, the drug war, and civil liberties. In one of his latest pieces on badge abuses, the author addressed, once again, the near homicide of a low-level Myrtle Beach, South Carolina drug dealer (Julian Betton) at the hands of police. Here’s his summary of the incident.
Is it possible to arrest an unarmed homeless person without destroying the residence he’s hiding in? To the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department and Clovis PD (and far too many other law enforcement agencies), the question remains rhetorical. David Jessen’s farmhouse felt the full, combined force of two law enforcement agencies and all their toys last June. According to his lawsuit [PDF], a homeless man was rousted from a nearby vacant house after he was discovered sleeping in the closet. He left peacefully but was soon spotted by the construction crew breaking into Jessen’s house. The construction worker, god bless him, called the police because he thought they could help.
According to a federal appeals court, police will not be held accountable for banging on the wrong door at 1:30 am, failing to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shooting and killing the innocent homeowner who answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense. Although 26-year-old Andrew Scott had committed no crime and never fired a single bullet or lifted his firearm against police, he was gunned down by police who were investigating a speeding incident by engaging in a middle-of-the-night “knock and talk” in Scott’s apartment complex.
Earlier this month, Utah lawmakers passed HB155 which would make it illegal to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%. A 0.05% BAC translates into only one or two alcoholic drinks!
Imagine driving down the road and being stopped by a Border Patrol agent for speeding. Imagine Border Patrol agents responding to domestic abuse calls at people’s homes. Imagine the Border Patrol responding to trespassing calls and detaining motorists with K-9’s. You can stop imagining, because it’s happening in New York, Vermont, Maine and now New Hampshire. House Bill 1298 gives DHS’s Border Patrol agents police powers in NH.
The first 24-hour police drone unit is to be launched, amid fears that forces may have to rely on them because of falling officer numbers.
Two years ago, I warned everyone that Paramedics and EMS teams were training for urban warfare and people claimed, I had no clue what I was talking about. I wish they were right, but as you’ll see things are only getting worse. For two years now, paramedics nationwide have been competing in marksmanship contests! EMS teams are also using mass shootings as an excuse to train with SWAT teams.
Using SWAT officers to storm into homes to execute search warrants has led time and again to avoidable deaths, gruesome injuries and costly legal settlements. In 2013, Fort Worth officers served a no-knock warrant in search of cocaine. Jermaine Darden, 34, who was obese and had asthma, was handled roughly and stunned with a Taser. When medics arrived, he was unresponsive. The medical examiner ruled he died of cardiac-related natural causes.
Whenever you hear about tips to the police from confidential informants or “concerned citizens,” etc. keep this in mind: U.S. Communications Intelligence Secretly Shared with Law Enforcement for Use Against Americans in Criminal Investigations. So, mass surveillance and civil forfeiture: Is there a link?
A superhuman skill once the preserve of comic book heroes could soon become a reality. Scientists have used a combination of brain scanning and artificial intelligence to read the minds of ‘criminals’ to determine whether they are guilty of knowingly committing a crime. This is the first time that neurobiological readings alone have been used to determine guilt, according to the study, and the findings could impact how we judge criminal responsibility in the future.
Parkland, WA — An 8-year-old elementary school student involved in what would have been considered an ordinary playground fight just a decade ago, had his hands pulled behind his back and cuffed by a school resource officer — and the boy’s outraged mother is speaking out.
If the TSA thinks that you’re suspicious — or if you opt out of the “optional” full-body scanner — you get a junk-touching “secondary screening” in which the screeners “pat you down” by rubbing the backs of their hands on your genitals and other “sensitive areas” (they can be pretty rough — a screener at ORD once punched me in the balls to retaliate for me asking him not to rest the tub containing my bags on top of my unprotected laptop).
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has declined to say exactly where—and how—employees will be touching air travelers as part of the more invasive physical pat-down procedure it recently ordered.