Tag Archives: civil rights

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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Colorado Police Planned to Sell 80-Year Old Crime Victim’s Car Instead of Returning It To Her

Colorado Springs Police Car Auction Senior Citizen Victim

When 80 year old Mary Antrim’s stolen car was used in a robbery, Colorado Springs police told her it was on hold as evidence, then tried to auction it off without notifying her.

Back in June, Mary Antrim’s car, a Ford Crown Victoria, was stolen in Pueblo, Colorado. A few days later, it was recovered about 45 miles away by police in Colorado Springs after the unnamed person(s) who stole it used it in an aggravated robbery.

However, instead of returning her car once they recovered it, Colorado Springs police informed Antrim that it was being held as evidence. Then Antrim says they stopped answering her calls. The next time she heard anything her car, it had been scheduled to be auctioned off.

Via KOAA.com:

“They (police) told me it was involved in a robbery and that it was being held for evidence and that’s all I was told,” Mary said.

That information was give to Mary on June 5—more than a month ago!

“I’ve called them (police) every week to find out where the car is at and what’s going on with the car,” Mary said. “No one has called me back.”

Fast fast forward to July 10—Mary logs onto her computer and discovers her car is set to be auctioned off in September.

“I was dumbfounded,” she said. “I thought how in the world can the car go from being on hold for evidence and now it’s on hand and being ready to go to auction. I couldn’t believe that…”

“I need my car for my doctors appointments that I have to go to,” Mary said. “That’s my transportation and I’m 80 years old and I’d like to have my car back so I can do what I have to do.”

At that point, Antrim contacted one of those consumer investigation teams for a local news station. When KOAA News 5, the local NBC affiliate, called on her behalf they were told that the car was up for auction because she owed $178 for impound fees.

The problem with that answer, though, is that the Colorado Springs Police Department policy states that crime victims whose cars are impounded are not supposed to be charged storage fees. Another issue is that neither Antrim, nor her husband Clyde, were ever informed that the car had been released from the hold that had been placed on it as evidence.

In fact, the CSPD was even caught a lie regarding the latter requirement. When question, the department initially claimed that they had sent a letter to the Antrims on July 7th stated that the car had been released and giving them until September 11th to claim it before it would be auctioned.

However, the letter that was sent out was postmarked July 11th. By some odd coincidence, that just happened to be the same day that the TV station first contacted the Colorado Springs police about Antrim’s car.

Fortunately for Antrim, in the end, once the media was involved the police waived all of the impound fees (that she should have never been charged in the first place). The next day, her car was released and she was able to go down and reclaim it with being extorted out of any money first.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Springs Police Department hasn’t apologized or even offered an explanation for their “mistake.” Reportedly, they stated that they are “looking into it,” though. And we all know how thorough those internal investigations tend to be. I’m sure they’ll get right to the bottom of this whole thing.

KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

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Second Body Cam Video of Baltimore Police Planting Drugs Then “Finding” Them Has Surfaced

Baltimore Police Department Planting Drugs Video

For the second time in a matter of weeks, body camera footage has been released showing officers from the Baltimore Police Department planting drugs. In both videos, the planting of that evidence was exposed by a feature of the body cams that causes them to begin saving video thirty seconds prior to the point where they are manually activated. This video is from November 2016, while the earlier one dates from January of this year.

In this latest video to surface, police were conducting a traffic stop in which they were profiling drivers in an effort to make drug arrests. After claiming to have seen the passenger in Shamere Collins’ vehicle making a drug sale, the police stopped them. However, after a thorough search, no drugs were found anywhere in the car.

The body cam video of that initial search includes audio of one officer stating that there would be “negative consequences” if they didn’t find drugs and thereby couldn’t arrest someone. After that, the cops for no apparent reason all turned their body cameras off.

What followed, according to CBS News.com:

When the cameras come back on, an officer is seen squatting by the driver’s side of the suspect’s car, apparently unaware that he’s being recorded.

He then stands up and steps back. About 30 seconds pass, and another officer approaches the car, then squats down and pulls out a bag of drugs.

Although the charges were thrown out once the public defender representing her got ahold of this video, Collins and her boyfriend, who was the passenger were charged with possession of opiates and marijuana, as a result. According to Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, dozens more cases that involve this group of officers could also be thrown out.

Meanwhile, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis maintained that this is no reason for the public to “jump to conclusions” or make “heavy allegations” about police misconduct based on the video. Because concluding that something suspicious was going on after all the cops turned their cameras off right after one of them expressed concerns about getting in trouble if they didn’t find any drugs to justify an arrest, then video (that the cops didn’t expect to be recorded) showing one cop crouching next to the car, followed by body cam video (that they did expect to be recorded) of a different cop easily finding drugs in that same area after it had already been thoroughly searched is quite a jump.

Of course, this also comes on the heals of the previously released video (embedded below), which is even more damning. In that video, Officer Richard Pinheiro can be clearly seen putting a bag inside a can on a pile of debris in an alley. He then walks back out to the street, accompanied by two other officers who have not been named.

After activating the camera, he proceeds to walk back down the alley as one of the unnamed officers can be heard laughing behind him. Miraculously, he manages to quickly zero in on the can shortly after searching through the debris pile. He then pulls out the bag that he unwittingly recorded himself planting to reveal that it is filled with pills.

The man who was arrested as a result spent over seven months in jail awaiting trial before this video was made public and his charges were thrown out. So far, thirty-four other cases have also been thrown out and as many as fifty-five more could be, as well. Officer Pinheiro was (only) suspended for his actions, while the two other officers that watched (and laughed) as he planted evidence have received no punishment at all.

Not Isolated Incidents

These incidents don’t represent the only times that the Baltimore police have been under scrutiny for manufacturing evidence and manipulating body cameras. In March, all seven members of an “elite task force” that targets illegal weapons and drug crimes were indicted on racketeering charges for robberies that included completely innocent people of cash and filing false paperwork to get paid for overtime they didn’t actually work. In the process, they also falsified search warrants to justify detentions and traffic stops against their intended targets. As they were performing these “shake downs,” officers were known to have turned off their body cameras.

Nor is this the first confirmed instance of body camera footage being falsified to show police finding evidence against suspects. In May of this year, charges were dropped against a man in Colorado after a cop in Pueblo admitted he staged a video of himself  finding heroin and a gun in his car. In that case, Officer Seth Jensen claimed that he was merely “reenacting” his legitimate discovery of the evidence.

An “Unintended Consequence” of Transparency?

Given all of that, it’s rather interesting that in the CBS News video embedded below (beginning at about 3:45) correspondent Jeff Pegues characterizes the issue as a “downside of video transparency” and an “unintended consequence” of police wearing body cameras. Apparently, on his planet these type of incidents aren’t an argument for increased scrutiny and transparency, but rather a problem for “police departments that have to defend themselves against this type of policing.”

Obviously, I can’t see any reason we shouldn’t just trust these cops and accept their word. It would be crazy if cops didn’t have the ability to freely plant evidence without being detected and police departments had no incentive to eliminate “this type of policing.” That freedom to just arrest whoever they want and make up a reason undoubtedly would make their tough jobs so much easier.

Watch him throw it into the floorboards

BPD Officer Richard Pinheiro planting drugs

CBS News coverage of  the latest incident:

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Tashii Brown’s Mother Calls For Murder Charge Against Las Vegas Cop At “What Happened in Vegas” Screening

Tashii Farmer Brown Family Mother Trinita What Happened in Vegas ScreeningLast week, following a screening of “What Happened in Vegas,” Tashii Farmer-Brown‘s mother, Trenita Farmer, addressed the media in attendance. The statement, quoted below, represents the first time that Brown’s family had spoken publicly since he was murdered in May (2017) by Las Vegas Police at the Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip.

Over 200 people attended the July 20th screening at the Anthem Film Festival, which is part of Freedom Fest inside the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The screening was very well received (it was later awarded the film festival’s grand prize) and the majority of those people stayed for the press conference. In addition, a question and answer panel followed featuring director Ramsey Denison, producer Randy Wiles, and Neill Franklin of LEAP.

Las Vegas Metro LVMPD Police State ChalkDuring the screening, Trinita and other members of Brown’s family left the room after becoming emotional and were unable to watch the film. There were others in the audience, including family members of other people featured in it, that also began crying. The four cases that “What Happened in Vegas” focuses on, those of Brown, Trevon Cole, Erik Scott, and Stanley Gibson, are some of the most controversial killings by police in the history of Las Vegas.

Tashii Brown’s murder, which was caught on both Lopera’s body camera and casino surveillance footage, was so graphic and so obviously unnecessary that his story was added to the video just prior to this screening. In the months since, Lopera’s actions and the response of the LVMPD’s leadership has been questioned heavily, both locally and nationally.

As is typical for crimes committed by their officers, Metro immediately began attempting to blame the victim by smearing Brown’s character. Also, even though Officer Lopera eventually became the first Las Vegas area police officer to be charged with a crime as a result of killing someone while on duty, he was only charged with Involuntary Manslaughter.

Within her statement, Farmer addressed that low level charge and called for Clark County District Attorney Steve to charge Lopera with the appropriate one. While she didn’t specify it herself, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out that the crime Officer Kenneth Lopera committed that day was murder.

Here is the full text of Trinita Farmer’s statement. Below that is video of the press conference.

“I’d like to thank everybody for coming today. I’m happy that the police officer that killed my son has been charged, but it’s not enough. If it was a regular person, a citizen, they wouldn’t have been so lenient on them. Because it was an officer, he was given special treatment. I call on District Attorney Wolfson to re-examine the case and charge this officer appropriately.

Tashii was my heart. He was a good son, a good father. And he had a lot of dreams. They never gave him a chance. He didn’t deserve this. I thank you guys for coming.”

Statement by Tashii Brown’s Mother Trinita Farmer

Tashii Brown’s Mother and “What Happened in Vegas” Q&A Panel Discussion

On May 14th, Tashii Brown was beaten, tased at least seven times, and then choked to death by LVMPD Officer Kenneth Lopera. Brown had approached Lopera and another officer inside the Venetian Casino asking for help, stating he thought someone was chasing him. Instead of receiving that help, he was treated like a suspect by the officers, then chased into a parking area after he became afraid and tried to run away.

The choke hold that Ofc. Lopera used to kill Brown was not authorized by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, nor is use of a taser more than four times. Metro has also publicly admitted that Brown was not suspected of any crime at the time and in fact would not have been charged with a crime had he survived Lopera’s attack.

Therefore, Lopera had no legal reason to detain him in the first place. At the time that he began illegally choking him, Brown was also already being held down by at least two hotel security guards and did not represent a threat to anyone. Officer Lopera also refused to relinquish that “rear naked” choke hold when other officers that arrived at the scene told him to.

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

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

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