Tag Archives: gang activity

City of Carmel Indiana Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Illegal Ticket Scheme

The links for this post were shared with the Cop Block Network, via an anonymous submission to the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The person submitting it did include this comment with the submission:

“Carmel blows.”

That’s obviously an opinion based statement, but I personally don’t have any quantifiable reason to doubt its validity. So that is something you’ll need to research for yourself.

Illegal Revenue Generation

The story stems from the City of Carmel Indiana’s use of an invalid city ordinance to issue as many as 8,000 tickets for the express purpose of generating revenue. The validity of the Carmel Road Pirate’s scam was originally exposed by a citizen who fought their own citation. Interestingly enough though, the issue that seemingly makes it invalid is based on the fact the city didn’t share the ransom money they collected from drivers with the county and state and instead “pocketed the cash.”

According to Fox59.com:

Rather than distribute the money collected by traffic fines with the county and states as required in many cases–the lawsuit accuses Carmel of pocketing the cash in some scenarios.

“It violates state law, it violates civil rights and they are abusing they’re (sic) authority,” said attorney Ed Bielski of Bielski Law LLC.

Bielski is the Indianapolis attorney behind the federal class action lawsuit filed against the City of Carmel.

“What they did is they took state code and they hijacked it and pretended it was theirs and kept the money. That’s inappropriate,” said Bielski.

The lawsuit argues that Carmel adopted the existing Indiana state law for traffic violations and is wrongfully writing tickets under Carmel’s §8-­2 ordinance.

“You can’t duplicate state law. They are doing something directly contrary to state law,” said Bielski.

Bielski says he is in the early discovery phase of his class action lawsuit but he has reason to believe Carmel is using this ordinance for financial gain.

“In life usually your answer is follow the money. When you pay a ticket you expect the money is going to go where it’s supposed to go. You don’t expect them to pocket it,” said Bielski.

The GodFatherSo the basic gist of the lawsuit is that the city passed an ordinance that duplicated a state law allowing them to write tickets that rang their cash register instead of going into the governor’s slush fund. Being that the statement comes from the lawyer bringing the suit, it might just be a legal argument and not based on any sort of actual reality outside of a courtroom, but Bielski’s stated complaint is an interesting one.

He states that it’s wrong for the city to pass such a law because, “When you pay a ticket you expect the money is going to go where it’s supposed to go. You don’t expect them to pocket it.” What he’s essentially saying is that the wrong thief ended up with the bag of loot. As if the victim of a mugging cares which gang shakes him down as he’s heading back from the neighborhood Quickie Mart.

In fact, the man who originally contested the ordinance lays it out even more clearly:

“This is a very simple issue. Carmel violated state law to try to usurp the state’s authority and divert these funds to Carmel, and that’s the only issue at play here,” (Jason) Maraman said.

Obviously, the overall potential effect of having as many as 8,000 people getting their stolen money back is a good (and rare) thing. However, going forward this just means that the City of Carmel’s crew is going to have to cut the Hamilton County Capo in on the take before kissing the Godfather of Indiana’s ring. Nothing of substance will change for the people they will continue shaking down in the process.

Monthly First Friday Outreach & Downtown CopWatch w/Nevada Cop Block

Know Your Rights and how to protect them when dealing with police.

Know Your Rights and how to protect them when dealing with police.

Downtown Informational Flyering and Outreach

As the residents of Las Vegas (and an increasing number of visitors) are well aware, the LVMPD has made it one of their priorities to harass people in the downtown area, especially on Fremont Street and during the monthly “First Friday” art festivals. Nevada Cop Block (NVCopBlock.org) has decided to respond in kind and make documenting that harassment and the inevitable abuses it leads one of our priorities, as well as doing outreach to the people downtown, especially during First Fridays.

We’ll be meeting up in the “Arts District” area initially for outreach and flyering and centering our activities on the First Friday section and the nearby Fremont Street area, where most of the police presence will be. We anticipate being down there by about 7pm, but you can show up whenever and there’s not really going to be any set end time, but once again, you can just head out whenever you feel the time is right.

If you can spare some time to help out or if you just plan to be downtown and want to stop by and say hello, that would be awesome of you and will probably be admired and talked about for many years by people throughout the country, if you bring a camera they’ll probably chant your name in remote villages throughout the entire planet. (#TrueStory)

This gang has been very active in downtown Las Vegas recently.

This gang has been very active in downtown Las Vegas recently.

In September, we’ll be distributing a new flyer that contains information focused on helping residents and visitors understand their rights when confronted by police. In addition contact and resource information both for Nevada Cop Block and for the main Cop Block site is included on the flyers. They are designed to be used in and around downtown Las Vegas to enable people to protect themselves and avoid having their rights infringed upon, but the information is universal enough that they can be used as a resource throughout the country. So tourists can add them to their stash of Las Vegas mementos.

A secondary reason will also be one of outreach to meet and connect with members of the community that may want to become involved in future Cop Block activities. Obviously, the more people we have actively involved the more actions we can do and the more opportunities for accountability we can create. Also, more people equals more witnesses, so when NVCopBlock members are monitoring the police, they are safer and less likely to become a target themselves.

A third and potentially the most important reason for being downtown involves actually observing and documenting police interactions (“CopWatching”) in order to discourage them from abusing people’s rights and providing evidence should they in fact do so. This will also give us the opportunity to find and interact with people who have had negative experiences with the police in the past.

Las Vegas: Beware of Gang Activity in Your Neighborhood!

Nevada Cop Block Warning Gang Activity LVMPD Las Vegas

Be on the lookout for these signs of gang membership in your neighborhood. – If you see something, film something.

A gang is a group of recurrently associating individuals with identifiable leadership and internal organization, identifying with or claiming control over territory in the community, and engaging either individually or collectively in violent or other forms of illegal behavior. Usually, gangs have gained the most control in poorer, urban communities.

Gangs are involved in all areas of street-crime activities like extortion, drug trafficking (both in and outside the prison system), and theft. Gang activity also involves the victimization of individuals by robbery and kidnapping. Street gangs take over territory or “turf” in a particular city and are often involved in “providing protection“, a thin cover for extortion, as the “protection” is usually from the gang itself.

Most gang members have identifying characteristics unique to their specific clique or gang. Many gang members are proud of their gang and freely admit their membership. Their personal belongings frequently boast the gang’s logo and the member’s gang name. Gangs generally share common characteristics such as the wearing of distinct clothing. However, some individuals on the fringe of gang involvement are reluctant to identify themselves as gang members.

They are usually armed, often unpredictable, travel in overwhelming numbers, and are not above attacking or even killing innocent people that are unlucky enough to be confronted by them. So, interacting with them individually can be very dangerous. If possible, make sure others are present and ALWAYS carry a camera to document any improprieties and ensure a neutral “witness.”

(This list of gang “identifiers” was compiled from a combination of factors listed in Wikipedia and on the LAPD website. Minus the links, of course.)

Nevada Cop Block Gang Activity LVMPD Flyer

Be on the lookout for these known gang members. They have a history of violence and usually armed. – If you see something, film something.

If you see any of the criminals pictured above, document their activities (preferably by video) and contact Nevada Cop Block immediately, if not sooner. A huge h/t to Dizz (another awesome member of the Las Vegas A-Cafe community) for creating the “warning” poster. Feel free to download the full size version and post it throughout your neighborhood so your friends don’t fall prey to this menace.

Oh yeah, join us!