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Body Cam Video: Alabama Mother Unlawfully Arrested After Saying “F The Police”

Arrested by Alabama Cop For Saying Fuck The Police

Body camera video (embedded below) shows a mother and domestic violence victim in Alabama being arrested for saying, “Fuck The Police,” even though it is a legal exercise of free speech that is protected under the First Amendment.

**Scroll down to about the halfway point for the video**
Note: The video and description included within this post was shared with Nevada Cop Block via reader submission. If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Date of Incident: Ongoing
Officer Involved: Cpl. (now Sgt.) Youngblood
Department Involved: Millbrook Alabama Police
Chief of Police: P.K. Johnson – (334) 285-5603
Assistant Chief: Johnny Montgomery – (334) 285-5603
Facebook: City of Millbrook on FB

The video submitted for this post is fairly self explanatory and even predictable: two cops from a tiny Alabama town show up presumably to mediate a dispute over childcare issues between a husband and wife. One of the cops begins to feel his authoritah isn’t being properly respected, so he decides to escalate the situation into a confrontation. The mother, who also says she is a domestic violence victim, gets frustrated and decides to legally exercise her freedom of speech by yelling “Fuck The Police.” Cpl. Youngblood responds by making an unlawful arrest based on speech that clearly (and according to the Supreme Court) is protected by the First Amendment.

Beyond that singular incident, Nicole, who submitted the post, details the many abusive acts she says her husband has carried out against her and her children. She also discusses the numerous ways in which he has used his influence with the police, courts, and CPS workers to cover up those abuses and further victimize her.

Hello,

I’m in need of help. When this video (embedded below) took place, I was devastated. The police took no actions. Then my 17 yr. old son was handcuffed and beaten by the police of Millbrook, Alabama while non combative for being a hot head. One officer involved in the act spoke up and told what happened. I was incarcerated at the time and watched as four officers beat my son.

After that horrific incident, my son and I were subjected to judicial abuse. This was so bad that, when my son’s charges were dropped, the juvenile judge made threats to our lives. All of this stems from domestic violence within our living situation, for which I was denied help in Alabama by police countless times. Also the nearest local domestic violence center is “Family Sunshine Center” in Montgomery, Alabama. So, I was forced to stay and deal with it, as the Millbrook police suggested after arriving at my home previously.

I took my arrest to trial, however,  because I was making the case a Black Lives Matter issue, the lawyer I paid refused to represent me in court, quitting with only two days remaining before court. So, I was forced to represent myself at trail with no jury, in which I lost when I told the judge he misunderstood the facts. After spending six months on bail bond hold, I could not escape the escalating abuse.

Horrible, unspeakable things were escalating and the children and I were falling into despair. I was isolated and didnot have a way out. So, I continued to deal with it until my husband came home angry and drew back his fist to hurt our three year old.

I cried out, “Don’t you hit her!” Instead of a punch to the belly, he violently threw her four feet across the room. I rushed to her. Thankfully, she was unharmed and had landed in a U shape on her bum. This was a blessing of the fact she could do cartwheels from age two and now, at age four, has mastered a one handed cartwheel, as well as other flips and jumps. If not for her god given talents, she would have ended up in serious condition.

Afraid to call the Millbrook police, for good reason, I called the Montgomery police, who advised me to call the state troopers. Once I had called the state troopers, I was nicely told by the officer that I was crazy and that the Millbrook police are not out to get me. That they will help you. Cpl. Youngblood, who is the policeman seen arresting me in the video, answered the phone.

I said, “No thank you, I do not need help.” The state trooper then asked if Youngblood would be coming out. He replied, “No, I will send some others. I replied, “Still, no thank you.” After several hours had passed, there was a knock on the door. It was the Millbrook police. I looked out the window and said, “No thank you, go away.”

Instead, they broke into my front door. I screamed and ran, asking them to leave. They refused to go and did not say even one word the whole time. Confused, I tried to calm myself down and speak to the officers. So I sat in the living room on a wing-backed chair. One of the officers moved so close to me that the ring on his belt hung in my face. He also wore a very menacing look on his face.

Then, I turned my face towards the door, scared of what they were going to do to me. I saw Cpl. Youngblood walking into the door and I became even more afraid. At this time, I saw my cell phone sitting nearby and picked it up to record their actions. The close officer backed off a bit and they all stood silently with their hands folded as I cried and begged Cpl. Youngblood to leave. (I still have that video.)

See the video below for the rest of what happened…

After that was over, I knew I needed to get out of there before one of us ended a life. So I called my local home town news station, who gave me the number of the domestic violence shelter. So I called and spoke to a wonderful counselor, who got busy to help me stay alive.

She advised me to call the local child protective services, so I did. She also advised me to tell the truth, so I did. John Holmes, who answered the call, listened to my plea for help. Then he advised me that he would not be coming out to make a report and that I would be held responsible for any abuse found, also.

Devastated that my family was once again in grave danger, I again turned to the Willow Domestic Violence Center in New York. The counselor was shocked at the news of what had happened, but she also had bad news for me again. There was no D.V. shelter for me to go to and they refused to help me escape with five kids.

My husband had returned with the police and gotten the car keys. So I could not leave, being in a very country place. There was no way out and he could kill us at any time. No one would help. The Willow Domestic Violence Shelter counselor said that I must get a police report, at least.

Together, we called the police, the mayor, and a host of other city officials in Millbrook, Alabama. Finally, they sent officers out to take the report without Youngblood. However, when they came to do the report, the male officer put words in my mouth. Afraid to dispute it, I held my tongue. I also have video of this event.

Once I had confirmation that the report was written, the captain of the police department stated that that was all they would do for me and that no investigation or arrest would be made. I was then advised by the New York domestic violence shelter that they could not find any help in the state of Alabama for my family.

If I had a way to get to my hometown of N.Y., they said they could help. With nowhere to go and our lives in danger, my oldest son called a friend. We made plans for him to come back in the AM to make two trips to Montgomery, Alabama to board a Greyhound to New York and that is what we did. There was a rainbow on the day that we left.

Confused, sad, and bewildered with five kids and only 600 dollars, I went to a DV shelter. He went to court and filed for a divorce. I was never made aware of this and he won by default all things and custody of our children. He came to their school in NY and removed them. When the domestic violence shelter found out, moves were made to protect the children. Also, a Child Protective Services investigation was done and he was indicted on all claims.

Court procedures to protect the children were started in New York. The children were assigned a legal guardian, who also agreed that there had been neglect and abuse by their father. I thought we were safe, but due to UCJA laws, the case was moved back to Alabama with safety precautions for the children to return. The children were given a legal guardian and I was to contact her and also the local Child Protective Services, so I did.

When speaking to the legal guardian, she informed me that she was only put on the case to satisfy the court in NY. Also, she said that she had been told by Judge Sibley Reynolds to go speak to my husband and to make a written statement, which she had already written. I then called Child Protective Services, as ordered, and they proceeded to tell me that they have not gotten the judges orders and will not open the case to investigate that Steuben, NY had already investigated. In addition, they said it is up to the Millbrook police to file criminal charges and they will in no way protect our children.

Husband Abuse Alabama Wife Police Courts Corruption

So, afraid of what was going on, I called the Millbrook police and spoke to Capt. Fields, who told me he was not going to protect me or the kids. He also made a remark that he knows exactly who I am; I’m the woman who doesn’t know how to talk to police. He then proceeded to tell me that I can’t make him do it and NY can’t make him do it. I found out later that the New York police and CPS made a request for prosecution that was also denied by the Millbrook police.

Terrified, with no lawyer to take my case, I called Elmore County court and asked about my case. I was informed that there was not a new case of custody modifications in front of a special master as my court documents said. However, some movement was made on a contempt of court charge in the original default divorce. Knowing now that I was not safe to return, I started to read all the divorce documents.

I noticed my maiden name is wrong, the marriage date is wrong, and I found out that the divorce is not fully dissolved due to us being married in India under the Hindu Marriage Act and because I was not present for any of the divorce proceedings. I can have the case heard in a fair forum. I noticed in court that they use having ties to India against me and put a hold on my passport blocking me from help and assets.

I am in hiding, in fear for my life, afraid of being hurt by police or my abusive husband. Several domestic violence shelters, CPS workers, police, and judges in Steuben County have tried to protect my children and I. They can do nothing more than to personally tell me to hide.

The officials in Alabama won’t listen. He has, with the help of an Alabama court had the two indications of abuse sealed and expunged leaving me having to hide in fear, in order to protect myself and my children. I have looked high and low for help. I have proof of all this. Does anyone out there have any ideas? (This account is really just the basic story lines.)

Thank you,

– Nicole

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Watch This Video for “Piggy Piggy,” a Controversial Police Brutality Parody, by Chicago Rock Band “Black Bear Rodeo”

Piggy Piggy Video by Black Bear Rodeo Nevada Cop Block

“Piggy Piggy,” by Chicago rock band Black Bear Rodeo. The video which was released earlier this year features an anti-police brutality theme and imagery.

Note: The video and description included within this post was shared with Nevada Cop Block via reader submission. If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

The video embedded below was submitted by a reader. It features the song “Piggy Piggy” by a Chicago based band named Black Bear Rodeo. It was released as part of their April 2017 album “Bunk.” As you’ll see in the video, live performance footage is interspersed with video showing incidents of police brutality, along with some more comical scenes involving the police. (There’s also some sweet cameos of Cop Block gear mixed throughout.)

Stevie Mac, the person who submitted it, deemed the video a “controversial police brutality parody.” While it seems kinda ridiculous that being against the abuse and outright murder of people would be controversial, it actually kinda is. So yeah, that’s the world we are living in these days.

At any rate, personally I think “Piggy Piggy” is a damn good song. If you’re into a heavier rock and punk style of music, you should enjoy it, too. (If you aren’t into that kind of music, you should probably question your upbringing and life choices. #JusSayin.) The video itself is very well done and does a good job of visually matching the energy and pace of the music. It’s well worth checking out.

Chicago rock and roll natives “Black Bear Rodeo” have teamed up with recording engineer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, Bush) to give you “Piggy Piggy.” The video for this song (embedded below) features a montage of police brutality videos to raise awareness of a serious, systemic issue through a comical, yet terrifying, medium.

– Stevie Mac

We strongly encourage any bands, musicians, or fans out there to share songs that you (or someone you enjoy listening to) have put out. Music is obviously a great way to get the message out and connect with others of a like mind. So if you or someone you know records music with a (controversial) anti-police brutality theme and/or has a history of being involved in activism of that nature, send it in. In return, those of us here at NVCopBlock will do as much as we can to help promote it and expose your band to the masses.

Upcoming Live Shows by Black Bear Rodeo

Black Bear Rodeo is currently on tour and will be playing an Xmas show on Dec. 23rd at Demma’s Bar and Grill in Oak Lawn, IL. After that, they play a show with Green Jelly on January 5th at Beat Kitchen in Chicago. Links to other places on the internets where you can find information on, music by, and tour dates for Black Bear Rodeo are included below. If you live in the Chicago area or they come to a venue near you, you should get out and see them live.

Other Places You Can Find Black Bear Rodeo

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Buffalo, NY Mother Who Was Arrested; Had Children Taken Away for Homeschooling to Stand Trial

Home School Mom Kiarre Harris Buffalo Arrest

Kiarre Harris says she has been harassed and falsely charged with “educational neglect” by the City of Buffalo after she decided to home school her children.

Note: The video and description included within this post were shared with Nevada Cop Block via reader submission. If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

The following post was submitted by Matthew Albert, a lawyer who is representing Kiarre Harris. As Albert details within the post, Harris is a mother from Buffalo, NY who was not happy with the quality of education being provided by the public school system. As a result, she decided to home school her children.

According to Albert, this has resulted in Harris having her children removed by the Buffalo Child Protective Services. Although her children have since been returned, charges of “educational neglect” were also filed against her. Harris is due to begin trial on that charge today, Monday, December 11, 2017.

Albert and Harris maintain that the removal of her children and subsequent arrest are acts of harassment against Harris for her decision to home school her children and also to intimidate other parents who might also be considering such a move. You can support Harris by donating toward her legal fees by clicking this link: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/Kiarre

This is one of the more incredible cases I have ever encountered. An educated, strong, and family oriented black woman, Kiarre Harris, realized she could teach her children far better than the dismal City of Buffalo School System. Many in the community also realized that their children had a good chance of receiving a better education with Kiarre and an extensive home schooling network composed of other like minded and educated parents.

With a large number of children and parents ready to embark on this bold and organic homeschooling movement, the City of Buffalo knew they had to do SOMETHING. However, providing a better quality of education for their students is something they had proven incapable of throughout the decades.

Kiarre Harris’ original Facebook video

Using their expansive network to incorporate CPS, the police, and the legal system to snatch up children…that they can do. And that is what they did. Harris’ children were taken from her. She was arrested. The progressive and innovative homeschooling experiment came to a screeching halt as a result of the brutal and powerful push-back from government bureaucracy.

Eventually, Ms. Harris retained me. Literally, through blood, sweat, and tears, including a near riot initiated by police at Family Court, we got Ms. Harris’ criminal charges dismissed so that her criminal record is still unblemished. We also got her children back and they resumed their home schooling. The family is once again whole and complete, the children thriving in their mother’s care. Still, the County wants its hooks in Ms. Harris…and refuses to let go. They will not let go of the CPS neglect petition, which again threatens this family’s well being. Trial starts Monday. In family court, one is not entitled to a jury of their peers.

Ms. Harris’ and her family’s fate hangs in the balance of one judge’s decision. In a country that often ignores drug addicted and deadbeat mothers and their children until it’s too late…empowered homeschooling mothers are at risk of losing their babies

– Matthew Albert

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Harassed by Police, Secret Service, and FBI at University of Arizona Event Attended by Gov. Ducey, Pres. Trump

Harassment of Cop Blocker by University of Arizona Police

A man legally filming a public event on campus at the University of Arizona found himself being harassed by cops, secret service, and FBI agents.

Note: The video and description included within this post was shared with Nevada Cop Block via reader submission. If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

According to Anthony Potter, who submitted the video, he was attending an event commemorating the appointment of a new president at the University of Arizona. Although he wasn’t personally aware of this, the governor of Arizona and President Trump were also in attendance that day.

Although this event was open to the public and being held on the campus of a public university, the fact that he was not known to others in attendance and was (legally) filming it apparently aroused suspicion. As a result, he was approached by the university police officer, as well as the Secret Service and FBI agents assigned to President Trump. This included one (unidentified) officer who proceeded to position himself right next to Potter.

I was at a ceremony for the new University of Arizona President Dr. Robert Robbins. I was there quietly filming, not aware that Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, and President Donald Trump were also there with various other government representatives.

However, I was quickly made aware of that by a University of Arizona cop. Along with numerous Secret Service and FBI agents, this campus police officer informed me that people in the crowd were “hyper sensitive” about me. His stated reason for that was because I’m a stranger that no-one knows and whom neither works at nor goes to school at the university, even though this was a public event.

In the video, you see our brief conversation regarding profiling and my constitutional rights.

– Anthony Potter

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Leave a comment

LVMPD Documentary “What Happened in Vegas” Premieres in Los Angeles on Friday (Dec. 1st) at Laemmle Music Hall

Documentary What Happened in Vegas Ramsey Denison Laemmle Los Angeles Premier

What Happened in Vegas” by Ramsey Denison, the documentary about police brutality and corruption at the LVMPD, premiers in Los Angeles at Laemmle Music Hall 9pm Friday Dec. 1st.

Los Angeles Premier

What Happened in Vegas,” the award winning documentary by Ramsey Denison, is set to open in Los Angeles tomorrow. The official West Coast theatrical premier of the documentary about corruption, coverups, and police brutality at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is being held at the Laemmle Theater in Beverly Hills (a “Secret Path to Oscar Qualifying” for independent films, short films, and documentaries) at 9pm on Friday, December 1st. (Purchase tickets here.)

As has been detailed numerous times here at NVCopBlock.org, What Happened in Vegas explores the extremely controversial killings of Trevon Cole, Erik Scott, Stanley Gibson, and Tashii Farmer-Brown by Las Vegas police and the cover ups that followed. Several other instances of violent, racist, and/or outright criminal acts by members of the LVMPD are also featured to illustrate the overall systemic corruption within the department.

In the run up to the official opening, What Happened in Vegas has already received positive reviews from the Los Angeles media. In a preview article in the LA Weekly (originally published at the Village Voice), Daphne Howland writes:

Denison’s documentary What Happened in Vegas is more than a revenge project. He unveils a pattern of police malfeasance, including cover-ups and lies, through disturbing stories of unjustified deaths.

It’s a damning takedown of the city’s powers that be — casinos cozy with a sheriff willing to protect their interests, and a constabulary infected with a Wild West mentality, armed with military weaponry and prone to lies. He argues that those powers even abet a law enforcement debacle surrounding the recent mass shooting at an outdoor music festival that left 58 concertgoers dead and nearly 500 injured.

Denison keeps up the pace — those television skills coming in handy — and unpacks a lot. But he also allows in some light. There are plenty of Las Vegas police officers who want things to change, and Denison gives them, and the victims’ families, a voice.

(As mentioned within the review, What Happened in Vegas also addresses several questions and issues about the investigation surrounding the shootings from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas by Stephen Paddock during the “Route 91 Festival” on Oct. 1st.)

Last week, What Happened in Vegas premiered in New York City at the Cinema Village Theater in East Manhattan on  Black Friday. Subsequent New York showtimes after the official theatrical premier can be found here. The New York opening represented the first showing of the movie within commercial theaters. Prior to that, What Happened in Vegas enjoyed a very successful run of screenings at film festivals throughout the country.

After premiering to rave reviews at Cinequest in San Jose in March, What Happened in Vegas won several awards in subsequent festivals. Among those awards was Best Documentary at the Las Vegas Black Film Festival and the Grand Prize award at the Anthem Film Festival, which is hosted by FreedomFest here in Las Vegas.

In addition, What Happened in Vegas is currently available for pre-order on iTunes.

Police Interference with Las Vegas Showings

Incidentally, outside of the two festival showings previously mentioned, audiences within Las Vegas have yet to see What Happened in Vegas. The reason for that is very much not because of a lack of interest. In fact, three different commercial theater chains had at one time expressed interest in showing the movie here in town.

However, in all those cases that initial interest waned due to the controversial nature of the film and potential fallout from it. It’s even been reported that they received visits from representatives of the LVMPD to help them make that decision. Sources I’ve been in contact with have also told me that Metro has issued a memo to all of their officers directing them not to discuss What Happened in Vegas publicly.

Once you see the movie, you will very much understand why Metro desperately doesn’t want it to be shown theatrically within the city of Las Vegas. It very clearly, convincingly, and dramatically lays out the criminal nature of Sheriff Lombardo and others at the top of the LVMPD and the real consequences of it for the residents and visitors of Las Vegas.

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

“What Happened in Vegas” Filmmaker Intro

Body Cam Video of Tashii Farmer-Brown Murder by Officer Kenneth Lopera

The LVMPD’s Shifting Timeline for the Oct. 1st Las Vegas Mass Shooting

Posts Related to What Happened in Vegas

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Police Brutality Documentary “What Happened in Vegas” Set to Premier in New York on Black Friday (Nov. 24th)

New York Premier What Happened in Vegas Cinema Village Theater

“What Happened in Vegas,” the documentary about corruption and police brutality within the LVMPD by Ramsey Denison, premiers in New York at Cinema Village on Friday, Nov. 24th.

New York Premier

What Happened in Vegas,” the award winning documentary by Ramsey Denison, is set to open in New York City this week. The first showing of the movie about police brutality within the city of Las Vegas takes place at the Cinema Village Theater in East Manhattan on (Black) Friday, Nov. 24th at 7:00pm. Subsequent showtimes after the official theatrical premier can be found here.

As has been detailed numerous times here at NVCopBlock.org, What Happened in Vegas explores the extremely controversial killings of Trevon Cole, Erik Scott, Stanley Gibson, and Tashii Farmer-Brown by Las Vegas police and the cover ups that followed. Several other instances of violent, racist, and/or outright criminal acts by members of the LVMPD are also featured to illustrate the overall systemic corruption within the department.

In the run up to the official opening, What Happened in Vegas has already begun receiving positive reviews by New York media. In a preview article entitled “A Filmmaker Reported Police Brutality in Las Vegas. So the Cops Arrested Him,” Daphne Howland of the Village Voice wrote:

Denison’s documentary What Happened in Vegas is more than a revenge project. He unveils a pattern of police malfeasance, including cover-ups and lies, through disturbing stories of unjustified deaths.

It’s a damning takedown of the city’s powers that be — casinos cozy with a sheriff willing to protect their interests, and a constabulary infected with a Wild West mentality, armed with military weaponry and prone to lies. He argues that those powers even abet a law enforcement debacle surrounding the recent mass shooting at an outdoor music festival that left 58 concertgoers dead and nearly 500 injured.

Denison keeps up the pace — those television skills coming in handy — and unpacks a lot. But he also allows in some light. There are plenty of Las Vegas police officers who want things to change, and Denison gives them, and the victims’ families, a voice.

(As mentioned within the review, What Happened in Vegas also addresses several questions and issues about the investigation surrounding the shootings from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas by Stephen Paddock during the “Route 91 Festival” on Oct. 1st.)

The New York opening represents the first showing of the movie within commercial theaters. Prior to that, What Happened in Vegas enjoyed a very successful run of screenings at film festivals throughout the country.

After premiering to rave reviews at Cinequest in San Jose in March, What Happened in Vegas won several awards in subsequent festivals. Among those awards was Best Documentary at the Las Vegas Black Film Festival and the Grand Prize award at the Anthem Film Festival, which is hosted by FreedomFest here in Las Vegas.

Los Angeles Premier, Las Vegas Showings, and Beyond

Next month, What Happened in Vegas will make its West Coast theatrical premier when it opens in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Theater in Beverly Hills on December 1st. BTW, word on the streets is that playing at the Laemmle Theaters is a “Secret Path to Oscar Qualifying” for independent films, short films, and documentaries that normally haven’t received the attention that big-budget, studio films are afforded. So, Joe Lombardo and the rest of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in theory could really get their ivory tower shook up by a cameo with a guy named Oscar come February. (#JusSayin)

Speaking of the LVMPD and appearances they desperately don’t want to happen, outside of the two festival appearances previously mentioned, audiences within Las Vegas have yet to see What Happened in Vegas. The reason for that is not a lack of interest. In fact, two different commercial theater chains had at one time expressed interest in showing the movie here in town.

However, in both cases that interest waned due to the controversial nature of the film and potential fallout from it. It’s been reported that they even received visits from representatives of the LVMPD to help them make that decision. Sources I’ve been in contact with have also told me that Metro has issued a memo to all of their officers directing them not to discuss What Happened in Vegas publicly.

Regardless of that, plans are for the movie to show theatrically within the city of Las Vegas, one way or another, at some point after the New York and Los Angeles premiers. In the meantime, What Happened in Vegas is currently available for pre-order on iTunes.

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

“What Happened in Vegas” Filmmaker Intro

Body Cam Video of Tashii Farmer-Brown Murder by Officer Kenneth Lopera

The LVMPD’s Shifting Timeline for the Oct. 1st Las Vegas Mass Shooting

Posts Related to What Happened in Vegas

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LA Supreme Court: It’s Reasonable to Believe “Give Me a Lawyer Dog” was Request for a Dog Who is a Lawyer

Lawyer Dog Louisiana Supreme Court Canine Attorney

Lawyer Dog should really ask Grumpy Judge to recuse herself. #JusSayin

Recently, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued a ruling on a motion to suppress evidence against Warren Demesme, who is currently awaiting trial in New Orleans. By a 6-1 majority the court denied that motion, which maintained that statements Demesme had made should be thrown because the police had ignored his request for legal counsel during interrogations.

What’s gotten a lot of attention (and rightfully so) since that ruling is the courts’ contention that Demesme’s request was ambiguous and unclear. But even more so for the reasoning behind the ruling. Orleans Parish Assistant District Attorney Kyle Daly argued in his response to the motion that Demesme’s statement, “just give me a lawyer dog,” could be misinterpreted by a “reasonable officer” based on the use of the words “lawyer dog.”

In a brief accompanying the decision, Louisiana Associate Supreme Court Justice Scott J. Crichton agreed that the defendant’s use of “lawyer dog” could be misconstrued to mean something else and therefore did not qualify as a request for counsel.

Via the Washington Post:

Warren Demesme, then 22, was being interrogated by New Orleans police in October 2015 after two young girls claimed he had sexually assaulted them. It was the second time he’d been brought in, and he was getting a little frustrated, court records show. He had repeatedly denied the crime. Finally, Demesme told the detectives:

“This is how I feel, if y’all think I did it, I know that I didn’t do it so why don’t you just give me a lawyer dog ’cause this is not what’s up.” The punctuation, arguably critical to Demesme’s use of the sobriquet “dog,” was provided by the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office in a brief, and then adopted by Louisiana Associate Supreme Court Justice Scott J. Crichton.

Demesme subsequently made admissions to the crime, prosecutors said, and was charged with aggravated rape and indecent behavior with a juvenile. He is being held in the Orleans Parish jail awaiting trial.

The public defender for Orleans Parish, Derwyn D. Bunton, took on Demesme’s case and filed a motion to suppress Demesme’s statement. In a court brief, Bunton noted that police are legally bound to stop questioning anyone who asks for a lawyer. “Under increased interrogation pressure,” Bunton wrote, “Mr. Demesme invokes his right to an attorney, stating with emotion and frustration, ‘Just give me a lawyer.’” The police did not stop their questioning, Bunton argued, “when Mr. Demesme unequivocally and unambiguously asserted his right to counsel.”

Louisiana Associate Supreme Court Justice Scott J. Crichton

Louisiana Associate Supreme Court Justice Scott J. Crichton

Orleans Parish Assistant District Attorney Kyle Daly responded in his brief that Demesme’s “reference to a lawyer did not constitute an unambiguous invocation of his right to counsel, because the defendant communicated that whether he actually wanted a lawyer was dependent on the subjective beliefs of the officers.” Daly added, “A reasonable officer under the circumstances would have understood, as [the detectives] did, that the defendant only might be invoking his right to counsel.”

Bunton’s motion to throw out Demesme’s statement was rejected by the trial court and the appeals court, so he took it to the state Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, in a ruling issued last Friday and first reported by Reason, could have denied the appeal without issuing a written ruling, which it does in most cases. But Justice Crichton decided to write a brief concurrence “to spotlight the very important constitutional issue regarding the invocation of counsel during a law enforcement interview.”

Crichton noted that Louisiana case law has ruled that “if a suspect makes a reference to an attorney that is ambiguous or equivocal . . . the cessation of questioning is not required.” Crichton then concluded: “In my view, the defendant’s ambiguous and equivocal reference to a ‘lawyer dog’ does not constitute an invocation of counsel that warrants termination of the interview.”

So…

There’s a lot of things wrong with that decision. The most obvious issue is that they didn’t actually provide him with a dog who is a lawyer, as they claim they thought he had requested. It’s probably not the wisest move to request a dog to represent you in court, but if he’s a good boy and graduated from an accredited law school, who am I to cast aspersions?

Of course, that’s kind of the biggest problem with the “logic” of this ruling. They couldn’t give him a “lawyer dog” because, outside of memes on the internets, it’s not an actual thing. At this point in history, not one single dog has ever managed to pass the bar exam. Not Lassie, not Rin Tin Tin, not Benji, not even Snoopy. Scooby Doo is way to high to even think about taking the SAT’s, let alone the LSAT’s, and don’t even get me started on Marmaduke.

If any dog could have pulled it off, it obviously would have been Brian Griffin, but he died tragically after eating chocolate out of the garbage years ago. So, he’s not available right now.

What it boils down to is, if somebody asks for legal council, as is their constitutional right under the Sixth Amendment, you shouldn’t just be able to pretend you didn’t understand them because they used some (not uncommon) slang. In fact, if for some reason they ask for a “lawyer dog,” but there aren’t any available (or willing to work pro bone-o), then you give them a lawyer human instead.

It’s hard to have a lot of faith in the U.S. Injustice System, especially after rulings like this (not to mention all the coerced confessions and false convictions they allow for). However, you would hope that some sense of common decency and shame would compel the next appeals court this goes in front of to render a proper ruling on this nonsense.

I have a suspicion this might be a big part of the reason why the State of Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the entire world.

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Update: Half Naked, Drunk Texas Cop Who Fired Gun at Church Let Off With Probation

Deputy William Cox Texas Cop Naked Church Shooting Probation

Somervell County Sheriff’s Deputy William Cox was sentenced to just probation after getting drunk and shooting at a Texas Church.

In August of 2016 I posted about an off-duty Somervell County Sheriff’s Deputy who got sloppy drunk, stripped off most of his clothes and then drove over to a church in Ellis County, Texas and started shooting his gun into it.

Once local police arrived, former Deputy William Lane Cox readily admitted that he was drunk and had fired his gun(s) at the church, hitting the building several times. His confession, recorded on those officer’s body cams, included his admission that he had gotten drunk and decided to “blow off some steam” by shooting up the church, which was located within a residential neighborhood.

He also indicated that the reason for his “stress” was the shooting of several Dallas police officers in an incident that happened just prior to his own shooting spree. Among other racist comments Deputy Cox stated, “cause my boys are getting killed in Dallas” and “the black coon start killing my boys” on the video (embedded below).

Not surprisingly, after his initial arrest Deputy Cox received the typical Policeman’s Discount. The next day he was released without bail and shortly after that it was determined that he would not be facing any charges at all. That was partly due to the fact that the pastor of the church (who also just happens to be a police chaplain) didn’t want to press charges for the property damage caused by several bullets that had penetrated the doors and wall of the church.

Patrick Wilson Ellis County District Attorney Church Statement FavoritismHowever, there are numerous other charges that the police could easily have charged Deputy Cox with based on his own confession and the dangerous nature of his actions. Instead, while he was fired by the Somervell County Sheriff’s Office, Johnny Brown the Sheriff in Ellis County was pretty comfortable with not charging someone who admittedly drove drunk, recklessly discharged a gun while intoxicated, and put innocent people in danger by doing so at a building within a residential neighborhood with any crime whatsoever.

It wasn’t until six months later that Ellis County District Attorney Patrick Wilson launched a separate investigation and eventually charged him with “deadly conduct,” a class three felony. In doing so, Wilson stated the obvious: “it is very, very difficult for me to believe that this man, Mr. Cox, was not afforded some special consideration.

One would tend to think that any special consideration would end. However, as is always the case with police facing trial, that was far from true. In spite of facing a charge where the minimum sentence mandated by law is a two year prison sentence and the added circumstances of having been drinking (and driving) at the time, he still was offered a cushy plea deal based on him having been a “good citizen” prior to his drunken shooting spree. After pleading guilty, Cox was sentenced to just five years of probation a $1,500 fine and ten days in jail. BTW, he gets to serve those ten days on weekends, cuz you it would be a shame if he was inconvenienced.

Once again, I’m sure the average citizen would have gotten the same sort of treatment.

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Update: Two Years Later the TSA is STILL Keeping You Safe Five Percent of the Time

Transportation Security Administration TSA Failed 95 Percent

Once again, TSA inspectors have failed to find 95% of the mock weapons sent through checkpoints by Homeland Security agents working undercover.

Just over two years ago, in June of 2015, I posted about tests Homeland Security had run at airports across the country. In those tests, undercover agents were sent through pre-boarding checkpoints run by the Transportation Security Administration. (Video from that original post is embedded below.)

Those agents carried realistic looking weapons and explosive devices past TSA screeners in order to determine how often the “weapons” would be detected. This included replicas of pistols, knives, nunchucks, tasers, ammunition, and even defused hand grenades.

Out of 70 items that should have been stopped, TSA screeners found a grand total of three of them. As I noted, at the time that translates to a failure rate of 95%. Not exactly a number that will make you feel happy as you stand in the giant line at the security checkpoint next time you fly somewhere.

Surely they’ve addressed those issues in those 2+ years and improved dramatically, though. After all, you could seemingly stumble into a higher level of success just by randomly guessing which passengers have some sort of contraband in their luggage. Right?

Not so much, according to the Washington Times:

Undercover federal agents successfully snuck drugs and explosives past security screeners at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last week, according to the local Fox affiliate.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) conducted the test last Thursday by sending agents disguised as ordinary passengers into the airport in order to see if screeners were up to snuff, KMSP reported.

The TSA “red team” attempted to smuggle 18 different items past airport security that should easily be detected but prevailed almost every time, the Fox affiliate reported.

“In most cases, they succeeded in getting the banned items through. 17 out of 18 tries by the undercover federal agents saw explosive materials, fake weapons or drugs pass through TSA screening undetected,” KMSP reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the operation.
In fact, it could have even been worse this time:

The security test was ultimately abandoned once the TSA’s failure rate reached 95 percent, the station reported.

So, before the Mercy Rule was invoked, the TSA screeners in Minneapolis had successfully found a weapon being smuggled onto a plane once. Which, like 2015, equates to just five percent of the time.

Basically, when you eliminate groping people; especially underage passengers, taking lewd photos of unsuspecting women, and stealing shit out of your luggage, they just aren’t very proficient at what they do. (To be fair, they do seem to be pretty good at finding spare change passengers being subjected to their ineffectual security theater leave behind.)

Truth be told, they actually couldn’t be much less useful (and would be quite a bit less annoying and exploitative) if they just slept through their shift, like the guy in the picture at the top of this post.

Minneapolis – St. Paul TSA Screeners Fail Yet Again

Successful Five Percent of the Time in 2015

Groping People to Keep You Safe Almost Never

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Viral Facebook Live Video Shows Ohio Man Being Beaten and Punched During Arrest

Euclid Ohio Police Brutality Arrest Beating

A viral Facebook Live video shows a man being violently arrested in Euclid, Ohio.

A live-streamed video that was making its way around Facebook on August 12th (2017) shows a man being violently arrested in Euclid, OH. (Note: many of the people sharing the video had for some reason misidentified the location as Edina, MN.) As of right now, there aren’t a lot of details outside of what can be seen on the video. (That video is embedded below.)

Later in the evening, the Euclid Police Department did release a statement in which they said that the cops pulled a man named Richard Hubbard III, who is from Cleveland, over for a traffic violation. They then decided to arrest him for some unspecified reason. Euclid is a suburb of Cleveland.

According to the EPD statement, Hubbard refused to turn around and face away from them when the police officers ordered him to. Initially, there are two cops involved in the beating. Eventually, at least three other cops arrive and begin helping handcuff Hubbard.

The cop, that can be seen hitting Hubbard numerous times, including in the back of his head, has not been identified yet. Currently, he is on paid vacation while his co-workers perform an “investigation.”

A woman who can be seen recording with her cell phone apparently was arrested also once the other cops arrived.

Below, is the statement from the Euclid police, via Fox8.com in Cleveland:

Euclid police released a statement about the incident, saying that just before 10:30 a.m., an officer pulled over Richard Hubbard, 25, of Cleveland, for a moving/traffic violation near 240 East 228th Street.

Hubbard was ordered out of the car told to face away from the police as he was taken into custody. Police say that Hubbard ignored that order and began to physically resist as the officer took him into custody.

The violent struggle, pictured below, lasted for over 3 minutes.

Update: Partial dash cam video (also embedded below) has been released, which is included as an update to the previously cited Fox8.com post. However, it’s still not very clear even on that video why the police saw Hubbard as a threat when they initially decided to arrest him.

According to the new statement from police, Hubbard was being arrested for not having a license. In addition, although it isn’t shown on either video, the statement says that Hubbard was tased. (The taser can be seen being thrown onto the street after it apparently wasn’t effective.)

They also state that they thought he was going to run, but he appears to be boxed in between the car, the open car door, and the officer who would later assault him. It doesn’t seem like he would have much of an opportunity to run, even if that was his intention.

Bystander Video

Local News Report With Dash Cam Video

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