Tag Archives: constitutional rights

First Amendment Audit: Cop Blocker Nasty Nathanial Assaulted By Morro Bay Chief of Police Gregory Allen

First Amendment Auditor Nasty Nathanial Thomas was assaulted and unlawfully detained by Morro Bay Police Officers, including Police Chief Gregory Allen

First Amendment Auditor Nasty Nathanial Thomas was assaulted and unlawfully detained by Morro Bay (CA) Chief of Police Gregory Allen and Officer Greg Gruich.

The video and description included within this post were shared with Nevada Cop Block by “Nasty” Nathanial Thomas, via reader submission. You can (and should) visit Nathanial’s YouTube channel (click here) to see other videos he has posted. In addition you can see other posts involving Nathanial that have previously been published at NVCopBlock.org by clicking here, here, and here.

Note: 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.

This video shows what is known as a “First Amendment Audit.” As Thomas explains in more detail within his description, that consists of going out and filming government buildings and other public property. Oftentimes, the police, security guards, government employees, and even members of the public don’t understand that the First Amendment protects a citizen’s right to take photos and/or record video of anything that is within view of a public place.

Obviously, this video is very much an example of that (commonly referred to as an “audit fail” among those who do them). As can be seen on the video, during this audit Thomas was approached by Morro Bay Chief Of Police Gregory Allen, who was accompanied by Officer Greg Gruich. They then proceeded to demand ID from him, stating that filming inside the lobby was a misdemeanor crime based on an city ordinance which they claimed not to know the code for.

After Thomas declined to identify himself, based on it being an unlawful detention for exercising a legal right, he was assaulted, thrown to the ground, and placed under arrest. That arrest was later classified as a detention and no charges were filed as a result, although Thomas states that he was held within a police car for over an hour while in handcuffs. It’s also worth mentioning that Chief Allen and Officer Gruich addressed Thomas as “Nate” numerous times throughout the video. That obviously implies that they in fact did know who he was already.

Note: In Nevada, the police are limited by law [NRS 171.123(4)] from detaining a person for longer than one hour total without establishing probable cause to make an arrest. In addition, that maximum time is not an open window to detain people for a full hour. The actual time someone can be detained is predicated on the reasonable amount of time it should take to investigate the crime the person being detained is (reasonably) suspected of. (This is a state law specific to Nevada, it may not apply if you live in a different state.)

Department Contact Information:

Morro Bay Police Department
850 Morro Bay Blvd
Morro Bay, CA 93442
(805) 772-6225

Police Officials Involved In Incident
Chief Gregory Allen – Phone: (805) 772-6284
Officer Greg Gruich

App & Social Media Links
Morro Bay Police Department on Facebook
Morro Bay Police Department on Twitter
Morro Bay PD App

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office
1035 Palm Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93408
(805) 781-5800

District Attorney
Dan Dow
Contact Form

Social Media Links
San Luis Obispo County Facebook Page
San Luis Obispo County Twitter Account
San Luis Obispo County Youtube Channel
San Luis Obispo County on Flickr
San Luis Obispo County LinkedIn Account

Assaulted While Legally Filming in Public

On February 6, 2018 I was physically assaulted by the Morro Bay Chief Of Police Gregory Allen, and uniformed Officer Greg Gruich, while conducting a First Amendment Audit outside of the city’s police station.

Morro Bay Chief of Police Gregory Allen

Morro Bay (CA.) Police Chief Gregory Allen

First Amendment Audits are a form of activism. It is where individuals, such as myself, test the responses of public officials by openly filming government facilities from public view. Police stations are often an ideal location for a First Amendment Audit.

As an auditor I have filmed everything from police stations to correctional facilities to courthouses to military installations to even NASA. If it can be seen in public then it can be filmed.

Now here is the challenge that First Amendment Auditors have. A number of people are under the impression that you need permission to film government buildings or public officials. I can’t even count the number of times that I have heard things like “your not allowed to film a Federal facility” or “your not allowed to take pictures here.” This is where as an auditor you are given the opportunity to educate people.

What it all comes down to is that there can be no expectation to privacy when in a public place. This does not exclude public officials, such as police officers.

Now I expect a private security guard making minimum wage for standing outside the entrance of a Walmart to be ignorant of the law. However, I do expect someone, such as Chief Allen, whom before coming to Morro Bay was a 34 year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, to understand the basic laws concerning public photography.

Video Of Assault

But whether or not Chief Allen was ignorant of the law, or simply chose to ignorant it, he felt it necessary to physically assault me. With assistance of Officer Gruich, Chief Allen threw me to ground where my head hit the concrete.

First Amendment Auditor Nasty Nathanial Thomas

“Nasty” Nathanial

My hands were then twisted behind my back in a very aggressive and painful manor. I was then handcuffed and placed in the backseat of a hot police car while Chief Allen and his goons tried so desperately to figure out some way to charge me with a crime.

After about an hour I was released without any charges. Why was I not charged with anything? The answer is actually very simple. Because there was NO CRIME! At least not on my end.

As for Chief Allen and Officer Gruich, I can think of a handful of crimes they committed last February 6, such as assault, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, and so on…….. Will the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office file criminal charges against Chief Allen and Officer Gruich? I think you probably know the answer to that.

Regardless of how this incident plays out, in the end Chief Allen and Officer Gruich need to be held accountable for their actions. Thank you for reading.

Nasty Nathanial Thomas

Local Media Coverage of the Incident

Naptime

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

First Amendment Audit: Chicago TSA Agent Claims Filming Airport Security Screening is Illegal, Calls Police

Ohare International Airport TSA Screening First Amendment Audit

A “First Amendment Auditor” was confronted by a TSA supervisor while legally filming security screenings at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and initially threatened with arrest.

Note: The video included within this post was shared with Nevada Cop Block via an anonymous 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.

This video embedded below shows what is known as a “First Amendment Audit.” That consists of going out and filming government buildings and other public property. Oftentimes, the police, security guards, government employees, and even members of the public don’t understand that the First Amendment protects a citizen’s right to take photos and/or record video of anything that is within view of a public place.

This particular audit took place within the TSA security screening area at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. As you can see in the screenshot above, the TSA employees were getting fairly intimate with some of the passengers going through the screening. (And no, there in fact was neither a movie, nor a dinner provided by the Transportation Security Administration afterwards.) Soon after, one of the screening agents noticed the camera and alerted a supervisor, by whom the camera woman was then confronted.

He approached, (very incorrectly) stated that it was illegal to film the screenings, and even briefly attempted to physically block her camera. Next, the supervisor threatened to call the Chicago police and have her arrested. When that didn’t scare her into stopping, he attempted to make good on that threat by calling (presumably) the police.

In the meantime, while he was on the phone, she returned her attention to filming. During that phone conversation she was also approached by several other TSA employees and told that she was not allowed to film the screenings. However, it is in fact very legal to film the screening area of airports and the screening process itself. The only restriction upon that is a rule against filming (or photographing) the monitors displaying the NSFW images that they take with their body scanners.

The woman in the video (AKA “It’s That Magic You Crave“) frequently posts First Amendment Audits and other videos to her Youtube channel: “Pink Camera Magic.” You can support her by making donations to her via GoFundMe.

***Spoiler Alert***

In the original description for the video on YouTube, a “surprise ending” is mentioned. Whoever the TSA supervisor was talking to apparently informed him that he was wrong and they weren’t going to send any cops down to arrest her for legally filming in public. However, that’s actually not the “surprise.” (Not the biggest one, at least.)

The shocking plot twist is that he told her that and even apologized about being wrong.

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

Video: The Rotting Barrel of Bad Apples That is the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department “Leadership”

LVMPD Capt. Yesenia Yatomi Promotion After Perjury

Captain Yasenia Yatomi, just one member of the LVMPD’s “leadership,” who have managed to excel at corruption, dishonesty, and a general lack of ethics.

In the video embedded below, Ramsey Denison, the director of “What Happened in Vegas,” and Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs, who also appears in the documentary, discuss several of the high ranking members of the LVMPD. As is pointed out in the video, those “leaders” have quite a stellar history of corruption and outright criminality.

Specifically, Stubbs discusses in detail his involvement with Captain Yasenia Yatomi, which has transpired over the last several years. In fact, it was Yatomi’s unethical and illegal actions that led to Stubbs’ first appearance at NVCopBlock.org. Yatomi, who was a sergeant at the time, unlawfully arrested Stubbs when he refused to allow her to deprive one of his clients of their Constitutional right to counsel.

She then followed that up by falsifying a police report to justify that arrest. Of course, since police reports are sworn statements, that constituted an act of perjury. However, rather than being prosecuted, fired, or in any way whatsoever punished for that (felony) crime, Yatomi was instead promoted.

Note: 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.

In fact, as her current rank indicates, she has actually been promoted not just once, but twice since then. As a matter of fact, as part of her promotion to Lieutenant, Yatomi was placed in charge of the Internal Affairs Bureau. Without even a hint of irony, the LVMPD put someone who was actively being investigated for a criminal offense in command of the department that investigates misconduct by police officers.

Some of the other highlights include Undersheriff Kevin Mcmahill, the current no.2 in command at Metro who was forced to resign earlier in his career after he sexually harassed a suspect. Also among the notable members of the LVMPD’s upper echelon is Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank, who has a history of domestic violence.

As they say, the fish rots from the head down. So it should be no surprise that the LVMPD is a barrel of Bad Apples from top to bottom.

The LVMPD’s “Dirtbag Dream Team”

What Happened in Vegas,” the award winning documentary by Ramsey Denison, is currently available on DVD as well as via Video On Demand (VOD). In addition to the issues and questions surrounding the Route 91 Festival shooting, the movie also exposes some of the many instances of corruption and police brutality within the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

As has been detailed numerous times here at NVCopBlock.org, What Happened in Vegas primarily details 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.

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

“What Happened in Vegas” Filmmaker Intro

Posts Related to What Happened in Vegas

First Amendment Audit: Imperial County Sheriff’s Sgt John Toledano Unlawfully Detains Videographers Filming in Public

California Guardian High Desert Community Watch First Amendment Audit Illegal Detention

Imperial County Sheriff’s Sgt. John Toledano handcuffed and illegally detained “California Guardian” and “High Desert Community Watch” during a First Amendment Audit by order of the FBI for legally filming in public.

Note: The video and description included within this post were shared with Nevada Cop Block via an anonymous 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.

As is mentioned in the description, this video shows what is known as a “First Amendment Audit.” That consists of going out and filming government buildings and other public property. Oftentimes, the police, security guards, government employees, and even members of the public don’t understand that the First Amendment protects a citizen’s right to take photos and/or record video of anything that is within view of a public place.

Obviously, this video is very much an example of that (commonly referred to as an “audit fail” among those who do them). After initially confronting them and asking for ID, Sgt. Toledano (along with two other unidentified officers) handcuffed the two men who go by the pseudonyms “California Guardian” and “High Desert Community Watch” publicly.

Both of them were then forced to sit in the back of a police vehicle and threatened with trespassing citations, although they never at any time entered private property. According to what Sgt. Toledago states on the video, this illegal detention was at ordered by the FBI. Eventually, they were both released without any charges.

As already stated, you obviously can legally film in public. Also, you are not required to identify yourself unless a police officer has reasonable suspicion to believe you have committed, are in the process of committing, or are about to commit a crime (the requirement to be legally detained). And legally they can’t seize your camera (or any other personal property) unless they have actually arrested you or obtained a warrant or subpoena for specific content on it.

One of the main reasons for doing First Amendment Audits is to test whether the police or security officers understand the law regarding filming in public spaces. Also, part of that reasoning is making them understand that it is legal and thereby deter them from harassing people filming in the future.

Date of Incident: April 11, 2017
Officer Involved: Sgt. John Toledano
Department Involved: Imperial County (CA) Sheriff’s Office
Facebook Page:
Imperial County Sheriff’s Office
Twitter Account:

Instagram Account:
Imperial County Sheriff
Department Phone No.:
(442) 265-2005
Department Email: Sheriff Raymond Loera

Adam (California Guardian) and Phillip (High Desert Community Watch) were down in Imperial County video recording when a Deputy Sheriff, Sgt Toledano, stopped them and unlawfully detained them on behalf of the FBI for the sole intent of identifying them with no suspicion that they had violated any crime.

Adam and Phillip were cuffed, placed in the back of a patrol vehicle and driven down around the corner to await the arrival of the FBI. Adam and Phillip never provided identification and were released after being given detention slips in the name of John Doe.

Both detention slips used Calif. Penal Code 647 (h) – “prowling” – as an excuse. Adam and Philip never entered any private property and remained on the public right of way (sidewalk) during their recording.

The men in the video frequently post First Amendment Audits and other videos to their Youtube channels: “California Guardian” and “High Desert Community Watch.” You can support them by making donations via GoFundMe: California Guardian and High Desert Community Watch News Network. Although they sometimes travel to other areas, as the psuedonyms they use indicate, these two auditors live in Southern California.

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

First Amendment Audit: Military Police Officer Harasses Woman Legally Taking Pictures at Randolph Air Force Base, TX

Filming Randolph Air Force Base TX First Amendment Audit

During a “First Amendment Audit,” a woman legally taking pictures in public is harassed by Randolph Air Force Base Security Forces Officer A. Delarosa, who incorrectly tells her that it is illegal to do so outside the base and attempts to get her to identify herself.

Note: The video and description included within this post were shared with Nevada Cop Block via an anonymous 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.

As is mentioned in the description, this video shows what is known as a “First Amendment Audit.” That consists of going out and filming government buildings and other public property. Oftentimes, the police, security guards, government employees, and even members of the public don’t understand that the First Amendment protects a citizen’s right to take photos and/or record video of anything that is within view of a public place.

This video is an example of that (commonly referred to as an “audit fail” among those who do them), due to Randolph Air Force Base Security Forces Officer Delarosa’s repeated assertions that she can’t take any photos of the base unless she has permission from their public affairs department. He also asked for her name or if she has ID on her numerous times and at one point states that if she does continue taking photos he might steal her camera (AKA “confiscating” it – when done by government workers).

Although, Officer Delarosa does seem to be genuinely confused about the law and the civil rights issues involved, he’s wrong about pretty much everything. As already stated, you obviously can legally film in public. Also, you are not required to identify yourself unless a police officer has reasonable suspicion to believe you have committed, are in the process of committing, or are about to commit a crime. And, of course, they can’t seize your camera unless they have actually arrested you or obtained a warrant or subpoena for specific content on it.

One of the main reasons for doing First Amendment Audits is to test whether the police or security officers understand the law regarding filming in public spaces. Also, another reason is to make them understand that it is legal and deter them from harassing people filming in the future. This is a pretty good example of that, as Officer Delarosa is eventually told he is incorrect about her not being allowed to take photos from the public areas next to the road by the Universal City Police officers that he had called.

Date of Incident: April 10, 2017
Officer Involved: Officer Delarosa
Department(s) Involved: Randolph Air Base Military Police/Security Forces, Universal City Police Department

I went to visit Texas to do a First Amendment audit, which is basically taking pictures of government installations from public places.

One of the places I went to was Randolph Air Force Base in Universal City, Texas, which is a suburb of San Antonio. As soon as I started to snap pictures I was approached by Officer Delarosa, who said I could not take pictures and threatened to take my camera. He also lied about the property lines to me.

After realizing that where I was located was out of their jurisdiction, AKA not on the base, they had to call Universal City Police. The officers from Universal City came out and spoke with me briefly. They were very pleasant and respected my right to film in a public place. Officer Delarosa and his partner on the other hand learned a quick lesson on the First Amendment.

– Amanarchy

The woman in the video (AKA “It’s That Magic You Crave“) frequently posts First Amendment Audits and other videos to her Youtube channel: “Pink Camera Magic.” You can support her by making donations to her via GoFundMe. Also, although they are off camera and only heard briefly, two other auditors that live in San Antonio, who go by the pseudonyms “SAEXTAZYPREZ” and “Buc-G,” were there filming her from a distance.

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

Video – Detained by Nevada Police for “Suspiciously” Sitting in a Car

Henderson Nevada Police Detain Couple for Suspiciously Sitting in a Car

A police officer in Henderson, Nevada detained a couple (who were looking for a lost cat) because he deemed them sitting in a car to be a suspicious act.

Note: The video 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.

Apparently (based on the conversation in the video), the people shown being detained here were out looking for a lost cat in Henderson, Nevada (a suburb of Las Vegas). This officer from the Henderson Police Department decided that them simply being parked on a public street constituted suspicion of a crime.

When asked on the video what crime it was that he suspected they were committing, his answer (repeatedly) was, “I’m not going to play your game” (presumably that game where he is actually required to state a crime someone is suspected of when they are being detained) and also to claim that asking why you are being detained constitutes “baiting a police officer.”

Outside of the basic questions of whether being in a parked car should by itself be considered a suspicious act worthy of police investigation (spoiler: no), this video is pretty indicative of the state of policing today. On full display is the rude, even hostile behavior common among police officers and the inevitable result of such behavior. The genuine fear and distrust that the people in the video display is well earned and not at all unreasonable these days.

Eventually, the couple were released without being issued any citations. I’m not sure whether they found the cat, but will update this post if I find out any additional info on its status.

Other Posts Related to Henderson, NV.

  1. After Henderson Police Beat Man in Diabetic Shock, NV Residents Pay for It
  2. “Let Me See Your I.D.” Stop and Identify Statutes – Know Your Rights
  3. Lawsuit: Henderson Nevada Police Break Into And Illegally Occupy Family’s Private Home
  4. A Video Compilation of Las Vegas Area Police Brutality
  5. Henderson, NV Police Violate Civil Rights Three Times in Three Days
  6. Henderson Cop Caught on Video Kicking Man In Diabetic Shock In Head Five Times Promoted

Update: Las Vegas Police Officer Previously Caught Committing Perjury Promoted (Again) to Captain

LVMPD Capt. Yesenia Yatomi Promotion After Perjury

Capt. Yasenia Yatomi, who ordered the illegal arrest of Las Vegas attorney Stephen Stubbs in order to question a suspect without his attorney present and then lied about it under oath.

Normally, once you know the actual background of the subject of Las Vegas ABC affiliate KTNV.com‘s “feel good story” about a female LVMPD officer receiving a promotion, its opening line would be rather ironic:

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s newest captain is beating the odds…”

Of course, in this situation we’re talking about a cop and more specifically a Las Vegas cop. So any sort of amazement or disbelief in relation to their horrible and even outright illegal behavior on the job and lack of any sort of meaningful consequences should always be immediately and completely suspended.

The true fact of the matter is that if newly promoted Captain Yatomi was employed in any other sort of career field just the fact that she wasn’t fired after she was caught in court committing perjury in order to justify ordering the illegal arrest of a lawyer would have huge odds against it.

In fact, it could be argued that, even among the police in most cities outside of the Las Vegas area, being exposed (once again in court) as having falsified an official police report would also carry pretty good odds of landing a police officer in jail.

What’s not mentioned at all within that article is that Capt. Yatomi has a rather large and infamous history of misconduct over the past several years. As can be seen in the video embedded below, in 2013 then Sgt. Yatomi, as part of the LVMPD Gang Task Force, arrived at a traffic stop in which members of a motorcycle club, the “Bikers for Christ,” were being questioned by a group of Metro patrol officers.

In spite of the fact that one of the detained bikers had asked Stephen Stubbs, a local attorney who was present at the time, to represent him during that questioning, Yatomi immediately ordered him to leave. Stubbs refused to do so, explaining that the man had a Fifth Amendment right to counsel. Instead of honoring that request, Yatomi ordered the arrest of Stubbs for “obstruction.”

Stephen Stubbs Arrest Video

That, in and of itself, would be a violation of the Constitution and, based on that, an illegal arrest of an attorney who had every legal right to represent their client during questioning. At the very least, it should have brought into question Yatomi’s knowledge of the law and her (rather important) job requirement to actually be aware of and uphold the Constitutional rights of citizens. The fact she was in a supervisory position as a sergeant only compounds those factors.

However, rather than dismissing the charges and admitting to being in the wrong, Yatomi subsequently created a second police report with a falsified description of the arrest, alleging that Stubbs had actively interfered with the officers’ investigation. Fortunately for Stubbs, a bystander had filmed the entire incident. Otherwise, he likely would have been sentenced to jail and possibly even disbarred as a result of Yatomi’s false report.

Instead, once the video was shown in court, Stubbs was declared innocent by Judge Eric Goodman. That video evidence was convincing enough that Stubbs was not even required to present a defense. It gets even worse, though. Not only did Yatomi lie in the police report she presented to prosecutors, she also withheld the original police report in order to cover for her illegal actions. Since a police report constitutes a sworn statement, both the falsification of the second report and the withholding of the first are criminal acts.

Regardless of this blatant and obvious string of crimes Yatomi had committed, she suffered exactly zero repercussions for her intentional illegal actions. Judge Goodman refused to hold her in contempt for having committed perjury and evidence tampering within his courtroom, ruling that it was up to the LVMPD to file charges against her. And you know that didn’t happen, because Metro is known as the most corrupt police department in the country for a reason.

In fact, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has not only reached new lows in failing to hold Yatomi accountable in any way for her crimes, they’ve rewarded her quite handsomely for them. As shown in the video embedded below, in 2016 Yatomi was promoted to lieutenant. As part of that promotion Lt. Yatomi, who had been publicly exposed as a perjurer that withheld evidence in order to justify an illegal and unconstitutional arrest, was placed in charge of Metro’s internal affairs division (the department that investigates cops accused of misconduct).

And now, just four years after knowingly and intentionally committing multiple felonies in order to justify an illegal arrest, Yasenia Yatomi has “beaten the odds” by being promoted to the rank of captain and put in charge of the Bolden Area Command. That certainly inspires confidence that the LVMPD has cleaned up their act and can now be trusted to hold their officers accountable. I feel safer already.

Lt. Yatomi is Promoted and Put in Charge of Internal Affairs

Previous Posts on NVCopBlock.org About Capt. Yasenia Yatomi:

  1. The LVMPD Gang Task Force is Corrupt and it Extends All the Way to the Top
  2. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Ordered to Answer Perjury/Withholding
  3. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Accused of Perjury; Judge Recused Self Due to “Negative Opinion” of Her
  4. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs: “Stand Up and Tell the Truth” – Why #PoliceLiesMatter
  5. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Found Not Guilty in 5th Amendment Right to Counsel Case
  6. Attorney Stephen Stubbs Arrested for Refusing to Leave His Client’s Side

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.

Houston Cop Claims to be “Three Percenter” While Illegally Detaining Man Open Carrying Rifle

Open Carry Houston Police Illegal Detention

A Houston Police Officer claims to be a “Three Percenter” while in the process of harassing and illegally detaining a man for open carrying a rifle.

The following video was shared with Nevada Cop Block anonymously, via the NVCopBlock.org Submissions Page. The video consists of a video uploaded to youtube by Open Carry Texas, which as the name implies is a group that advocates for citizens rights to open carry firearms based in Texas. The incident depicted within the video took place in February of 2015, according to the description posted with it on Youtube.

In the video, a man walking down the street is approached by a Houston police officer in a vehicle. After asking and being told that he is not being detained, he continues walking without stopping. That officer then pulls his car back in front of him to block his path and steps out brandishing an AR-15 of his own.

Even while claiming to be a “Three Percenter” (a group that believes strongly in resisting Constitutional abuses by the government), the officer threatens to “escalate this another way” while holding the rifle and, when told by the man that he does not consent to questions, refers to his answer as “Constitutional crap.” He then proceeds to demand ID from the man in order to make sure he isn’t a felon and that he is legally allowed to openly carry a weapon on “his streets.”

Once the man states that he doesn’t have ID on him and is still unwilling to wave his right to remain silent, he is illegally detained,has his weapon taken from him, and is forced to sit handcuffed in the back of the cop’s car while he calls a district attorney to get advise on what he should do. During the 15 -20 minutes that transpires in the car, the officer clearly shows that he has no understanding of the Constitution or the laws he is supposed to be upholding.

Obviously, that begins with the idea that someone has to arbitrarily prove that they aren’t a felon in order to legally carry a weapon by providing their ID to police. (The excuse that he had scared citizens calling him is irrelevant. The fact that other citizens don’t understand the law doesn’t give police the right to illegally detain and harass people acting in a lawful manner.) He even readily admits to the dispatcher that the man has committed no crime. At one point, he even states that he had no reasonable suspicion to even detain, let alone arrest the man.

Eventually, the man is released since he hasn’t actually done anything illegal, but not before he has been illegally detained and harassed for at least 25 minutes while handcuffed in the back of a hot police car. In the process, the cop’s claims to be “on your side” and a “Three Percenter” were exposed as either incredibly lazy lies or equally ridiculous delusions.

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it and publish it on Nevada Cop Block.

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State Department Preventing U.S. Citizen From Returning to the United States by Withholding Passport

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Daniel Bruno, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

Within the post, Bruno describes a situation he says he is involved with, in which the US State Department has refused to renew his passport therby preventing him from returning to the United States. According to Bruno, that is despite him being a natural born citizen (from New York) and him having a valid birth certificate to show that.

I have so much to say that I don’t know where to begin. So much has happened that it can be surreal and overwhelming to talk about and to hear about it, too. I have been through much more than most Americans can imagine. I guess I will start by saying that I was born in Manhattan. In fact, in Donald Trump’s neighborhood (although he is originally from Queens).

I have a birth certificate identical to his (you can find his online).

I’m in a bitter dispute with the State Dept. over my right to a passport. They say Americans have no such right, what we have is a possible entitlement (their words), which I interpret to mean a privilege, like a driver’s license.

In May of 2014, I walked into the US Embassy in Buenos Aires with my perfectly valid US passport that was due to expire in six months. I filled out the renewal forms, paid the fees, was interviewed and dismissed by Vice Consul Creaghe. I never had a US passport again because they would not renew it.

There is, of course, much more to this story, including recent developments since Jan. 20, but the bottom line is that according to them, Americans have no right to a passport, no right to a nationality document and no right to return to the US…and I know this is illegal.

BTW, let me mention that I’m not wanted for a crime, back taxes, child support, etc. Just yesterday, I had another meeting/argument inside the embassy, and I told Holly Wilkerson I will force them to change their attitude towards Americans if it’s the last thing I do. I have told them in person that I can not imagine that Russia, China, Iran, or Cuba would have so much contempt for their own citizens.

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So, we have the State Dept. refusing to accept the very passports it has issued to me in the past, as well as my authenticated New York birth certificate, for the purpose of renewing my passport. Yesterday, Holly Wilkerson, a woman at the embassy who has earned my scorn, confirmed this.

To me, this means that in theory, the State Department, accountable to no one but itself, is now deciding, at random and at will, who is an American.

I think Americans need to know.

I am actively seeking constitutional and civil rights lawyers who want to help me defend the rights of all of us.

– Daniel Bruno, editor, www.hpub.org

I am available to help CopBlock and Ademo.