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Free Screening of “If a Tree Falls” Sept. 12th in Las Vegas

RadicalMovieNightITF 231x300 Free Screening of If a Tree Falls Sept. 12th in Las Vegas
September’s Radical Movie Night Features a Free Screening of “If a Tree Falls”

Sept. “Radical Movie Night”

September 12th marks the debut of Las Vegas’ own Radical Movie Night, hosted by the Sunset Activist Collective, co- Sponsored by Nevada Cop Block and Food Not Bombs Las Vegas, and officially endorsed by the Las Vegas A-Cafe. This will be a monthly free showing of either a documentary or a movie with significant social value. The main purpose of Radical Movie Nights will be to connect local community members and encourage active participation within the local community by those within it to promote and empower those wishing to make positive grassroots-based improvements where they live and within their personal workplaces.

The location where Radical Movie Nights will take place is The Sci Fi Center, which many locals already know from its longstanding tradition for showing independent movies and cult classics that are often not available in a large screen setting. (Disclaimer: the Sci Fi Center is not actually involved in the Radical Movie Nights, outside of permitting us to use it as a venue for showing movies.)

In order to coincide with actions against the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (for more info about the AETA and local actions in response to it, see:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/07/animal-enterprise-terrorism-act_n_5659893.html) beginning in September, the first movie that will be shown is ” If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front,” a documentary about the Earth Liberation Front, in general, and one of its members, Daniel G. McGowan, who was characterized as a terrorist by the US government after his arrest for environmental activism actions, in particular.

RadicalMovieNightFlyerP 231x300 Free Screening of If a Tree Falls Sept. 12th in Las Vegas

Radical Movie Nights in Las Vegas will take place every second Friday at the Sci Fi Center

The movie, which was nominated for an Academy  Award and won numerous other awards, shows the history and personal reasons why those involved in the ELF actions did what they did and how they became “radicalized,” during previous less militant actions. In addition it addresses issues involving the declaring activists, who never actually harmed or ever tried to harm people, terrorists, based solely on property damage.

However, it also interviews and discusses the perspective of the targets of those actions and the effects they had on them. As a result, it is a fairly even handed presentation of the facts involved, which allows viewers to decide for themselves who was right or wrong and why.

 

About the Movie (via http://www.ifatreefallsfilm.com/):

“In December 2005, Daniel McGowan was arrested by Federal agents in a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the Earth Liberation Front– a group the FBI has called America’s “number one domestic terrorism threat.”

For years, the ELF—operating in separate anonymous cells without any central leadership—had launched spectacular arsons against dozens of businesses they accused of destroying the environment: timber companies, SUV dealerships, wild horse slaughterhouses, and a $12 million ski lodge at Vail, Colorado.

With the arrest of Daniel and thirteen others, the government had cracked what was probably the largest ELF cell in America and brought down the group responsible for the very first ELF arsons in this country.

IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of this ELF cell, by focusing on the transformation and radicalization of one of its members.

Part coming-of-age tale, part cops-and-robbers thrilller, the film interweaves a verite chronicle of Daniel on house arrest as he faces life in prison, with a dramatic recounting of the events that led to his involvement with the group. And along the way it asks hard questions about environmentalism, activism, and the way we define terrorism.

Drawing from striking archival footage — much of it never before seen — and intimate interviews with ELF members, and with the prosecutor and detective who were chasing them, IF A TREE FALLS explores the tumultuous period from 1995 until early 2001 when environmentalists were clashing with timber companies and law enforcement, and the word “terrorism” had not yet been altered by 9/11.”

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National Jury Rights Day in Las Vegas – Sept. 5th

JuryNullification 300x208 National Jury Rights Day in Las Vegas   Sept. 5th

Sept. 5th is Jury Rights Day

A History of Jury Rights Day

People across the country will be celebrating Jury Rights Day September 5th. On this day in 1670, Quaker William Penn of London was arrested for the “crime” of preaching his personal religious beliefs. Penn pled not guilty and subsequently argued against England’s Conventicle Acts, which outlawed the practice of religions other than the Church of England.

At the conclusion of the trial, the judge instructed the jurors to find Penn guilty. However, the jurors’ refusal to enforce a bad law led to the court jailing them for contempt and withholding food and water from the jurors. This became known as “Bushel’s Case” because of Edward Bushel, the jury foreman’s refusal to pay the fines, which had been charged to the jurors.

Afterwards, some of the jurors appealed their fines and imprisonment.  A higher court confirmed the right of the jurors to base their verdict on their best judgment and conscience.  Even though there was a law against freedom of religion, the high court held that juries could not be required to enforce any law they thought was wrong.

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Jurors can judge guilt based on both facts and the validity of the law itself.

This higher court ruling created the precedent that jurors cannot be punished for their verdict.  It also set a foundation for our rights of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.

This ruling confirmed important protections for the jury, and firmly established the right of the jurors to refuse to accept bad government laws. This method of rejecting bad laws is called jury nullification or jury veto.  Through jury nullification, people can control their government by refusing to allow immoral laws to be enforced.

Resulting common law concepts firmly uphold the fact that Jurors cannot be punished for rendering or refusing to render a certain verdict. Nor are jurors are required to give any reason for the verdict that they render or justify it in any way. The fundamental right of Jurors to render their verdict based on conscience is basic to the preservation of Justice, in a free society.

William Penn later came to Colonial America and founded Pennsylvania.  Jurors continue to have the authority to nullify bad laws.  This authority is our peaceful protection to stop corrupt government servants from violating our rights.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the history of Jury Rights Day.

More information about jury nullification and jury rights in general can be found at the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA.org)

Schedule of Events in Las Vegas:

Friday ~
10:00 AM Pre-event flyering/outreach
10:30 AM Press Conference
11:00 AM Presentation about Jury Rights

Monday -
8:00 – 11:00 AM We will be handing out information about jurors rights and jury nullification to people going into the court.

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Las Vegas will be holding several events that weekend.

Jury Rights Day Events in Las Vegas

The right to trial by jury is not as well respected as it should be or as our founding documents require. In clear violation of the plain text of our founding documents, several criminal defendants, perhaps even a majority of defendants, in Nevada are illegally denied their right to trial by jury. And, in those cases where juries are impaneled, the courts systematically confuse and mislead jurors as to the nature of their service on a jury. A jury trial is a check and balance on unaccountable entrenched government. It began as a check on royal power. It is still needed as a check on the power of the state. A litany of groups and individuals will gather at the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas the weekend of September 5th in honor of Jury Rights Day.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Friday 10:00 a.m. , September 5th

A press conference will be held on the steps of the Regional Justice Center, 200 S Lewis. (View map to location) Representatives from several groups will speak on the importance of the right to trial by jury to them and their organization. Groups represented include, Nevada Cop Block, Southern Nevada Watchdogs, Patient to Patient, Compassion Nevada Consulting, Cindy Lake candidate for Clark County Commission, Jim Duensing candidate for Clark County District Attorney and the Fully Informed Jury Association, T. Matthew Phillips a Civil Rights Attorney.

Friday 10:30 a.m., September 5th

An educational presentation at the RJC will be made by Jim Duensing, local attorney and candidate for District Attorney in Clark County. The presentation, geared towards the several homeschooled children attending, will also be enlightening to adult members of the public and press alike. All are invited and encouraged to attend this presentation covering the history and and nature of the right to trial by jury.

Monday 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., September 8th

Volunteers will be distributing informational handouts provided by the Fully Informed Jury Association, www.FIJA.org at the Regional Justice Center. These handouts will educate and remind the public about the nature and importance of the right to trial by jury.

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Metro Police Use of Force Policy Improvements

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It is sort of hard not to improve on Metro’s non-existent record of accountability.

The LVMPD Wants You to Know How Great They're Doing:
With great fanfare, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department recently announced on their official FaceBook page that they have done an amazing job of reforming their "use of force" policy:

"LVMPD Praised for Use-of-Force Reforms.
See the video: http://youtu.be/ISClT3e_d7c Today, the US Department of Justice released its final assessment of LVMPD's efforts to reduce the number of incidents involving the use of deadly force. 90% of the suggested reforms have been implemented, and efforts are underway to achieve the remaining few. Sheriff Doug Gillespie expressed his thanks to everyone who has contributed to the success of this difficult process, which has become a model of reform for other police departments around the country. You will find a copy of the complete report at www.lvmpd.com."

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Incentivizing Murder

Of course, it could easily be pointed out that it’s really not terribly hard to improve upon a use of force policy that has resulted in exactly zero cases in which a Las Vegas area police officer has been held accountable, in any way whatsoever, for killing an unarmed person, even when that person was completely innocent of any crime, in the 40-year history of the LVMPD.

In fact, the two most recent examples of that use of force policy consist of a case in which Officer Jacquar Roston, who couldn’t distinguish between a hat and a gun, was allowed to remain on the force, despite the recommendation of the Use of Force Board that he be fired, and the case in which Officer Jesus Arevalo, who had mentioned to his wife that he was looking to kill someone while on duty so that he could get some free time off, did just that a few months later by murdering Stanley Gibson, an unarmed, disabled Gulf War veteran suffering from a PTSD induced panic attack while confined and rendered harmless inside his vehicle, which had been blocked in and immobilized by two police cars.

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When the cops in Las Vegas kill people their ONLY “punishment” is paid vacation.

The former resulted in a large portion of the members of that Use of Force Board resigning in disgust over the “hollow, toothless sham” that Sheriff Gillespie’s disregard for their recommendation had exposed the “flawed process” as. In an even worse injustice, the latter case resulted in Jesus Arevalo being given a $30,000 a year lifetime payday (after he did in fact receive the paid vacation he had stated he was hoping to “earn” by shooting someone for just under two years) that I’m sure exceeded even his own wildest dreams as a reward for his actions that even Metro acknowledged were not justified when they “fired” him after stalling long enough to make sure he got all his paperwork in to file for disability based on the stress he was feeling from people saying that he shouldn’t have murdered a completely innocent, unarmed person, who had already been rendered unable to cause harm to anyone.

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“We Finally Won 1!”

A “Slightly” Different Take on Metro’s Use of Force Policy

It’s kinda like when the Detroit Lions improved on their winless season in 2008 by winning two games the next year. They certainly got better, but it wasn’t really anything to get that excited about. Similarly, I recently (subsequent to that celebratory announcement mentioned above) received an account of just how much the LVMPD’s use of force policies have actually changed:

"I was at the bus stop on Flamingo just west of Maryland parkway. A car blew through a red light. A cop followed with lights and sirens on. Within 35 seconds, five more cop cars descended on the pulled over and stopped car. Then six cops, guns drawn, one with a fucking shotgun, removed one driver and one passenger, threw them on the hot ground, and cuffed them. Then stand them up. Guns get put away, except for the shotgun. That stayed out and semi pointed the entire time.

Five minutes later, they release the driver, and keep the passenger for TRAFFIC warrants!!!!! They then proceeded to stand around laughing and joking for 20 more minutes...Disgusting. Literally for running a red light, two guys almost died just now. I don't have anymore details than that because I was told to stay back and put away my phone."

Overlooking the fact that the cops have no legal ability to overrule a citizen's First Amendment right to record anything or anyone within a public space, the rather obvious question is if that level of force really is necessary for a non accident traffic infraction, in which not only did the driver comply by pulling over, but the cops obviously didn't even consider it much of an offense, based on the fact that they actually allowed him to leave without even issuing a citation, when they clearly could have done so.

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“We got a report of some overdue library books, sir.”

Having a swarm of heavily armed and easily provoked people unnecessarily confront drivers that haven't shown any signs of resisting during a relatively minor violation certainly does seem like a good way of preventing any more blatant use of force incidents. And BTW, Metro is so short of personnel that they are no longer able to respond to the vast majority of traffic accidents until we give them more tax money.

Not surprisingly, people in Las Vegas (especially those in certain neighborhoods) aren't exactly shocked by this type of heavy-handed behavior from cops. And, outside of bragging to their "fans" on FaceBook, the LVMPD doesn't seem terribly concerned about changing that perception in any sort of real way:

"It's sad and maybe a statement about how desensitized I am these days to the guns being drawn, but what bothered me the most was them standing around laughing and joking about it afterwards. It seems to me that they are too far removed from the actual reality they are supposed to be "protecting" and have created this pseudo reality in their own collective self.

So is the public as a whole, so blinded by what they are brought up to believe that they really don't see it? Or, are they just willing to "accept" it as part of what happens, as long as it doesn't happen to them?I have never necessarily been pro-cop, for sure. But, I think I have been among those willing to turn a blind eye to the excessive and overtly hostile tactics they use, until recently. I'm not 100% sure when I changed my outlook, and started really seeing things around me, but I really don't like what I am seeing."

But then, a little friendly propaganda (which the local Fox affiliate can usually be counted on for) never hurts:

"Oh goody. Just saw a commercial on channel 5. They are reporting on Metro and the crime that is on the rise...Hmmm. I bet it is not a report about abuse at the hands of Metro."

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Beware! Signs that you might have encountered a violent street gang.

However, that does tend to get wiped out by the rather well known and all too common cases of retaliation by employees of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the complicity that local representatives of the "justice" system often play in those acts:

"My friend Chris and I got followed into a parking lot, got out of the car and then got stopped when on foot, walking out of Pizza Hut. For "checking out" the unmarked car the asshole with an ego was driving.

We both ended up being arrested for "warrants". Even though I had proof mine were already recalled.I spent from Friday at 6:30 pm to Sunday at 5am in CCDC "waiting" for them to verify I didn't actually have active warrants. Funny thing is that I still had to go to court to stand in front of a judge, who issued me yet another fine, for "court costs" on something I never should have had to go court for in the first place. When I told him I will not pay the fine, he told me I had 30 days to comply or have
another warrant issued."

Personally, I just can't understand why Metro or any of the other Las Vegas area police departments would have any sort of PR problem within the local communities they "protect and serve." It certainly does seem like the two guys in that car, and I'm sure plenty of others in the neighborhood that day, got served.

MilitarizationPolice1 Metro Police Use of Force Policy Improvements

“Come on guys, let’s get that cat out of the tree!”

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