A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Law and Disorder’ tag

Getting Away with Murder

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While everybody was losing their shit over the Federal Fascist Communications Club’s (FCC) vote on net neutrality the Hennepin County attorney, Mike Freeman, announced that Officer Noor will almost certainly get away with the murder of Justine Damond:

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Wednesday that he does not yet have enough evidence to file charges against a Minneapolis police officer in the shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, blaming investigators who “haven’t done their job.”

Freeman made the comments during a union event after being confronted by activists, who recorded the interaction. They asked Freeman why it has taken so long for him to decide if Officer Mohamed Noor was justified in shooting and killing Damond on July 15.

“Fair question. I’ve got to have the evidence, and I don’t have it yet,” Freeman responded. “Let me just say it’s not my fault. So if it isn’t my fault, who didn’t do their job? Investigators. They don’t work for me. They haven’t done their job.”

Isn’t it nice when government agencies can work together to cover up the wicked deeds of a law enforcer? Freeman can blame the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) for not doing a proper investigation while the BCA will likely be able to claim that it did a thorough investigation and that Freedom should have pressed charges but didn’t. In that way Officer Noor can avoid any consequences for his actions while both parties can divert blame.

Imagine if the perpetrator in this case didn’t have a badge. If you or I had shot Justine under the same circumstances that Officer Noor did, we would almost certainly be brought up on charges because we would be unable to articulate why we felt our lives were in immediate danger. When those of us without badges shoot somebody it’s automatically a crime and the only question is whether or not that crime was justified. When an individual with a badge shoots somebody it’s automatically justified unless another member of the government is willing and able to prove otherwise.

None of this should come as a surprise though. Double standards are the norm in the “freest country on Earth.”

Written by Christopher Burg

December 15th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Without Government Who Would Terrorize the Children

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I realize that most law enforcers receive barely any defensive tactics training and that makes them frightened little bitches when having to go hands on. However, this day and age I would think that law enforcer departments would put a significant amount of time into training their officers how to not look like goddamn fools on camera. But they apparently don’t so we get videos of armed law enforcement officers terrorizing and handcuffing 11-year-old girls:

The video released by police picked up as Honestie approached a pair of officers with her arms raised. One pointed a gun at her.

She appeared to be coming too fast for the officer’s liking: He began to tell her to put her hands on her head, then instructed her to turn around and walk backward toward him.

Her mother, in the background, yelled for the officers to stop: “That is my child!” she screamed. “She’s 11 years old.”

The moment intensified when Honestie reached the officers. One told her to “put your right hand behind your back” and ratcheted open a pair of handcuffs.

Honestie began whining, then screaming in terror: “No. No. No! No!”

One of the officers handcuffing her tried to calm her: “You’re not going to jail or anything,” but the screams continued as the video clip ended.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” Honestie told Grand Rapids Fox affiliate WXMI after the incident. “I didn’t do anything wrong. I’ve never got in trouble by the Grand Rapids Police. I used to want to be a Grand Rapids police officer, but ever since that happened, I want nothing to do with them.”

If an 11-year-old girl who hasn’t even shown hostile intentions scares the shit out of you, you shouldn’t be in a position of authority over anybody. If you’re the type of person who receives a power trip from terrorizing 11-year-olds, you’re a shitty human being and absolutely shouldn’t be in a position of authority over anybody. And if you’re too stupid to think that acting like this on camera won’t turn into a public relations nightmare, you’re too stupid to be in a position of authority over anybody.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 14th, 2017 at 11:00 am

The Government Can’t Even Be Trusted to Carve Up Cadavers

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People often ask me if there’s something innocuous enough that I’d be willing to let government do it. I always say no because if an entity can’t even be trusted to carve up cadavers what can you trust it with?

Two San Joaquin County, Calif., medical examiners have resigned in the past two weeks, alleging that Sheriff-Coroner Steve Moore pressured them to change their autopsy results for deaths in police custody. In other instances also involving deaths at the hands of police, they say, the sheriff ignored their conclusions completely.

Bennet Omalu, the chief medical examiner for the county, tendered his resignation on Nov. 28, as did a colleague, Susan Parson. (Notable aside: Omalu is the medical examiner who exposed the degenerative brain condition found in many former NFL players and was the inspiration for the movie “Concussion.”) Omalu was hired in 2007 to help professionalize and modernize the county medical examiner’s office. In his resignation letter, he said that Moore “has always made calculated attempts to control me as a physician and influence my professional judgement.”

Government coroners suffer the same conflict of interest as crime labs. In the case of the former the government is the coroner’s employer and in the case of the latter the government is the crime labs primary (and oftentimes only) customer. That being the case they have a vested interest in pleasing the government and oftentimes that is accomplished by helping it gets a conviction even if the accused party is innocent.

What makes the position of coroner especially bad is that it is often an elected position:

As it turns out, this is a fun little artifact of the coroner system, which the United States inherited from Britain. Coroners are often confused with medical examiners, but they are two very different positions, and they rarely overlap. A medical examiner is a doctor who performs autopsies after suspicious deaths. The county coroner is an elected position. In most states, you don’t need any medical training, police training or crime investigation training to run for the office. There are only a few states where the coroner must be a physician, and even in those states there’s a big loophole — if no doctor wants the office, anyone can run for it.

So the coroner is often a position filled by an individual who isn’t qualified to be a medical examiner tasked with the job of a medical examiner and influenced by other elements of the government to determine causes of death in a manner favorable to their agenda. What could possibly go wrong?

This is another example of the layers of redundancy built into the State. If somebody questions the accuracy of a law enforcer report on an incident that resulted in a death, that law enforcer can fall back on a coroner report that they helped write by manipulating the coroner. It provides “third-party” verification of the law enforcer’s story so everybody can wash their hands of the mess and move on to other things.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 13th, 2017 at 11:00 am

A Bad Portent

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The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has been quite about its investigation into the shooting of Justine Ruszczyk. What we do know is that Officer Moor, the man who killed Justine, has refused to talk with the BCA, which is probably wise considering the fact that the evidence against him is pretty damning. But despite the damning evidence the question remains, will charges be pressed against Moor? A recent statement made by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has me concerned that charges won’t be pressed:

There are no new witnesses or new evidence; only two people know firsthand what happened, and only one of them has spoken to investigators.

And yet, months after he received the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s investigation into the July 15 shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond by a Minneapolis police officer, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has not made a decision on whether that officer, Mohamed Noor, will face criminal charges.

Freeman continues to insist that he will make a decision before the end of the year, and Minneapolis’ new chief of police said he’s bracing for backlash no matter what Freeman decides.

“There’s going to be a reaction from certain segments in the community regardless of what decision is made,” said Chief Medaria Arradondo.

Emphasis mine.

That wording makes me think that Freeman has no plans to press charges and he realizes what kind of shitstorm his decision will make. In order to deflect responsibility for his decision though he has decided to say that things are going to be bad regardless so don’t get made at him with shit hits the fan after he announces that Hennepin County won’t be pursuing charges. I hope I’m wrong about this. I can’t fathom any justification for Moor’s actions but I also know that law enforcers usually avoid the consequences of their actions.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 11th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Unaccountable Judges

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I’ve annoyed a great number of electrons writing about the unaccountability of law enforcers. However, law enforcers aren’t the only unaccountable individuals in the “justice” system. What happens to judges who issue bad court orders?

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in favor of a Virginia man who, as a teen, was once ordered by a lower court to be photographed while masturbating in the presence of armed police officers.

That warrant was ostensibly part of an ongoing sexting investigation into the then-teen, Trey Sims, who had exchanged explicit messages with his then-15-year-old girlfriend. Her mother reported the incident to the Manassas City Police Department in January 2014.

Eventually, the detective assigned to the case, David Abbott, obtained a signed warrant to take photographs of Sims’ naked body—including “the suspect’s erect penis”—so that he could compare them to Sims’ explicit messages.

If you were a judge and a law enforcer came to you asking for a warrant to force a teenage boy to masturbate while he filmed it, what would you do? A decent person would tell the law enforcer to go pound sand. But there is a judge out there who felt that the officer’s request was reasonable enough that he issued the warrant. That raises an important question, what happens to the judge who issued that warrant now that a higher court has ruled against the validity of that warrant? I would argue that any judge who issues such a warrant is deserving of reprimand.

I actually can’t recall a case where a judge was reprimanded when a higher court ruled that a warrant they issued was erroneous. You would think some kind of reprimand would be issued to discourage other judges from issuing similar erroneous warrants.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 7th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Check Your Fire

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Whoops:

Making an arrest can be challenging for law enforcement officers, even bordering on chaotic at times. During an attempt to arrest a suspect, one police officer misjudged the destination of the taser prongs and, instead of just hitting the suspect, ends up firing a prong into his partner. During the tasing, the officer fell, hitting his head against the pavement.

To the officer’s credit, he did hit the armed criminal.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 1st, 2017 at 10:30 am

Posted in Humor

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There’s No Kill Like Overkill

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Proportionality is a concept that many law enforcers appear to have trouble understanding. For example, killing a man for selling untaxed cigarettes isn’t a proportional punishment for the crime. Likewise, blowing up a man’s house to catch a shoplifter is not a proportional response to the crime:

In June of 2015, Reason reports, a man named Robert Jonathan Seacat shoplifted from a Denver area Walmart. He stole a shirt and two belts and then fled, first by car and then on foot, before breaking into a nearby home to hide inside.

Seacat was known to have one gun on him, and officers claimed he shot at them, but after the fact, investigators didn’t find evidence he’d fired that weapon or the two other guns that were already in the house. That’s perhaps because, as would later be discovered when police eventually took Seacat into custody, he was by that time probably feeling awful, as he had allegedly swallowed a container of methamphetamine that began to leak into his body.

The house had a security system that alerted the police of the break-in, and the cops arrived armed to the teeth. As court documents show, “50 SWAT officers” assaulted the house using “40 mm rounds, tear gas, flashbang grenades, two armored Bearcats [a type of armored vehicle] and breaching rams,” plus “68 cold chemical munitions and four hot gas munitions.”

And they used all of it to totally destroy this home. Their harebrained plan was to blow up every room, one by one, to herd Seacat into a corner of the house so police could be certain of his location. This process was ineffective as well as counterproductive: It created so much rubble that a police robot was not able to deliver a phone to Seacat for negotiations.

What’s the value of a shirt and two belts from Walmart? It’s probably somewhere between $30 and $50. What’s the value of a house, fuel for a Bearcat, 40mm teargas rounds, flashbang grenades, breaching rams, chemical munitions, hot gas munitions, a remotely controlled robot, and 50 officers’ time? A hell of a lot more than $50.

Shoplifting doesn’t requires a militarized squad of law enforcers to deal with. It requires compensation. Walmart probably has insurance against shoplifting so it was likely covered. In that case the insurance company had a right to seek compensation from the thief, which it could have easily done in small claims court. If the thief refused to appear in court, the judge could have simply ruled in favor of the insurance company or, at most, sent a single officer to kidnap the thief and bring him to court. Such a response would have been proportional to the crime.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 22nd, 2017 at 10:30 am

Freedom of Speech is a Funny Thing

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Freedom of speech can be a funny thing, especially when you combine it with an officer who doesn’t understand how the legalities of free speech work. I’m guessing that many of you are familiar with the Sheriff Troy Nehls. He’s the man who posted a picture of a truck that had a window sticker that read, “Fuck Trump and fuck you for voting for him,” with a comment threatening legal action. After learning her identity he even had her arrested (he claimed it was for an outstanding warrant but all evidence indicates that it was harassment for the window sticker). The owner of the truck has been released from jail and has responded to his threat:

Karen Fonseca, the driver of a truck with an expletive sticker directed toward President Donald Trump, has added another name to the display: Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls.

The new adjustments read, “F (expletive) Trump and f (expletive) you for voting for him. F (expletive) Troy Nehls and f (expletive) you for voting for him.”

Ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse… unless you’re a law enforcer. If Sheriff Nehls had familiarized himself at all with First Amendment case history, he’d know that the courts have frequently ruled in favor of the individuals being censored by the government. Fonesca’s window sticker wasn’t threatening in any manner so there is no ground on which to claim that she was inciting violence. Yet Sheriff Nehls, who is supposed to be the top law enforcer in his department, decided it was appropriate to threaten violence against her. If anybody should have been arrested, it was him.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 21st, 2017 at 10:30 am

Professionalism

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Once in a while the War on Drugs brings us humor instead of tragedy:

Sources say it started when two special ops officers from the 12th Precinct were operating a “push off” on Andover near Seven Mile. That is when two undercover officers pretend to be dope dealers, waiting for eager customers to approach, and then arrest potential buyers and seize their vehicles.

But this time, instead of customers, special ops officers from the 11th Precinct showed up. Not realizing they were fellow officers, they ordered the other undercover officers to the ground.

FOX 2 is told the rest of the special ops team from the 12th Precinct showed up, and officers began raiding a house in the 19300 block of Andover. But instead of fighting crime, officers from both precincts began fighting with each other.

Sources say guns were drawn and punches were thrown while the homeowner stood and watched.

I’m glad to see the officers were fighting with the actual criminals for once.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 16th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

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The older I get the more cynical I become towards statistics. Statistics can be a valuable tool for identifying trends. However, the trends revealed by statistics often have multiple possible explanations. Case in point, a lot of media outlets have been making a big deal about the supposed rise in hate crimes, especially against Muslims. They have been quick to blame the election of Trump. However, another cause of this trend could be methodology:

There were 271 more incidents deemed hate crimes in 2016 than the previous year, according to the latest Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data. There were also 257 more law enforcement agencies reporting last year, so that increase could largely or even entirely be a matter of getting more complete statistics. The higher numbers mostly represent small increases in incidents classified as anti-Hispanic, anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, or anti-white.

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Some will surely blame the beginning of Donald Trump’s political ascendancy, and that can’t be ruled out. But another explanation is as likely, if not more likely: The FBI changed how it classified certain hate-crime incidents in 2015.

Before this period, crimes based on someone’s ethnicity or national origin were simply sorted into Hispanic or non-Hispanic bias incidents, leaving us with a cache of uncountable incidents that could’ve been based on someone’s perceived Middle Eastern or Arabic status. But in 2015, ethnicity was lumped in with the racial-bias category. This means that some of the incidents previously attributed to a general sort of anti–Middle Eastern bias could either be categorized as anti-Arab racial/ethnic bias or anti-Muslim religious bias, possibly spiking the anti-Islamic incident stats.

More law enforcement agencies providing data may be influencing the results. Moreover, the category being mentioned most frequently by the media, hate crimes against Muslims, is a recent addition. Going from zero incidents before 2014 to incidents in 2015 will necessarily show an increase in incidents.

None of this is to say that Trump’s election hasn’t played a contributing factor. But there are also alternative explanations for the increase in hate crimes that cannot be ignored. Perhaps the increase in hate crimes is a combination of Trump’s election and changes to methodology. Statistics can reveal a trend of the methodology is solid. But even if a trend is revealed, statistics can seldom point to a specific cause or provide an effective solution.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 15th, 2017 at 10:30 am