Tag Archives: Illegal search/entry

Update: NYPD Cop Who Got Drunk, Broke Into a Woman’s House, and Repeatedly Assaulted Her Given Probation

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted on the CopBlock Network about Officer Eugene Donnelly of the NYPD. As I reported then, within hours of having received an award for bravery at a June 2014 ceremony (pictured above) presided over by both Mayor De Blasio and former NYPD Commission Bill Bratton, Donnelly went out with a group of fellow officers to celebrate. That victory party culminated in him passing out drunk at a friend’s apartment in the Bronx.

However, that was not the end of the festivities for Officer Donnelly. Sometime during the night, he forced his way into an apartment within the same building, threw the woman who lived there to the ground while yelling about children and guns, and then hit her at least twenty times in the head, because he (apparently) thought she worked for Child Protective Services. After some unspecified amount of time, he then realized he had done some crazy shit and ran out of the apartment in nothing but a pair of black boxers. (See video embedded below.) Before that though, he reportedly added insult to injury by drinking milk out of his victim’s refrigerator – straight from the carton, no less.

He later tried to claim that all of this happened because he was sleep walking.

Via the New York Post:

Eugene Donnelly, who gave the snoozy defense in court last week, is wearing only a pair of black boxers as he tries to flee a Bronx building where, moments earlier, he allegedly pummeled the total stranger.

Donnelly first enters the frame in the lobby at 5:43 a.m. and runs out to the street. He then tries to get back inside but is locked out and leaves again. When a cop car passes by, he goes back to the vestibule where he frantically rings buzzers.

Seconds before the damning footage, his alleged victim is seen running through the lobby in her bathrobe as she desperately tries to get away.

A day earlier, Donnelly had been given a Combat Cross by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton for ­arresting a gunman who fired at him in 2012.

Sources said he spent the night drinking before crashing at a fellow cop’s place in the victim’s building.

The 32-year-old woman, who asked not to be identified, shared details of the 2014 nightmare for the first time with The Post.

She said she was in bed when Donnelly kicked in her door wearing nothing but the shorts.

She ran toward the door, screaming, “Help!”

“He came rushing toward me and punched me in the face, hard enough to knock me to the floor,” she recalled.

“It was so sudden.”

He then got on top of her and continued hitting her, she said. “I was lying on the ground and he . . kept punching me, really fast, nonstop, pummeling me.

“He was screaming, ‘Shut the f–k up, you ACS bitch! I know there are kids in here! I know there are guns!’

“I had no idea what he was talking about . . . I thought I was going to die,” she said.

At one point, the fearful woman dialed 911, but was afraid to speak because he was still in the apartment.

When she heard him walk into her kitchen, she put on a bathrobe, ran out of her apartment and knocked on neighbors’ doors for help.

To sweeten the deal a little bit, Officer Donnelly also is facing a DWI charge from May of 2016. In that incident, Donnelly had to be pried out of his own car after it collided with three parked cars and flipped on its side. (See second video embedded below.) He was reportedly, according to witnesses, going 65 to 70 miles per hour on a city street prior to the collision.

These charges would probably tell you that Officer Donnelly has some serious issues with self control and either one of them would probably indicate that he’s a danger to the public when he inevitably loses control. So this is a guy you’d think should more than likely not be working as a cop and should even be given some sort of harsh punishment to discourage him from this type of behavior in the future.

Or not. Instead Donnelly will be sentenced to three years of probation as part of a plea deal and “could” be fired from the NYPD if he is convicted on the DWI charges, which have yet to go to trial. That’ll keep him on the straight and narrow.

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Las Vegas Know Your Rights Seminar by Attorney Stephen Stubbs to be Held March 23rd

Tomorrow, March 23rd, Las Vegas attorney Stephen Stubbs will be holding a “know your rights” seminar primarily in response to recent harassment of motorcycle riders in Las Vegas by the LVMPD (“Metro”) using saturation teams and the gang task force, including a “motorcycle intelligence unit” specifically used to gather information on motorcycle clubs.

As Stubbs mentions in the Facebook Live video embedded below, this harassment has involved the profiling of people that ride motorcycles and several violations of those people’s rights. That includes manufacturing suspicion to stop them, attempting to force passengers to ID themselves, and detaining them longer than is required to perform an investigation related to the (often dubious) offense that they have been stopped for.

Obviously, the motivation behind these targeted stops and the attempts to question those stopped is to gather information about motorcycle clubs under the false pretense that anybody belonging to a motorcycle club is a criminal and the even more flawed pretense that anyone riding a motorcycle and/or fitting a certain description must belong to a motorcycle club. Beyond that, Metro has also been known in recent years to illegally put pressure on public businesses, such as bars, to attempt to force them to exclude members of bike clubs from those businesses. This often is done under the threat of having their liquor license taken away.

Downtown Las Vegas know your rights flyer by NVCopBlock.org

As regular readers of the CopBlock Network know, Stephen Stubbs has a pretty long history (see “related posts” section below) of defending the civil rights of people (including himself) against the police, especially those departments located within the Las Vegas area. That has included defending motorcyclists against the frequent harassment they receive from the LVMPD.

Stubbs has also in the past done know your rights seminars numerous times at events and for various groups (as well as independently) throughout the Las Vegas area. (See below for an embedded video of a previous know your rights training.) Among other things, these seminars typically will cover issues involving the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments such as the requirements for a legal detainment, when you are obligated to identify yourself to police, your rights when the police want to search you, your right to remain silent and why that’s a good idea, and your rights when filming the police (and why that’s also always a good idea).

In spite of the direct motivation for this particular know your rights seminar being the harassment directed at motorcyclists, the topics and rights being discussed will not be exclusive to cyclists and can be applied to anyone that is stopped by the police.

The following information is included within the Facebook event description (which can be found here):

Click for full size image

LVMPD made it very clear this week that they are starting up their motorcycle saturation enforcements again. People are being stopped on motorcycles for LVMPD’s intelligence gathering efforts and as a show of force.

Attend this seminar to learn your Constitutional rights, the proper way to handle traffic stops, and the laws that can protect you. You have to know your rights before you can use them. Everyone is welcome.

LVMPD doesn’t care about the law

Previous Know Your Rights Seminar by Stephen Stubbs

Related Posts:

Stephen-Stubbs-CopBlockThose of you that have followed CopBlock.org over the past several years are probably already aware that Stephen Stubbs has been featured numerous times on the Cop Block Network. He often represents bikers and motorcycle organizations, whom are frequent targets of harassment from the police. In addition, I have personally worked with Stephen on a somewhat regular basis through Nevada Cop Block on issues or cases within the Las Vegas area.

Therefore, there is a pretty lengthy (and growing) list of posts on Cop Block involving Stephen Stubbs, his clients, and/or people or groups he is associated with. Included below are links to those posts.

  1. “What Happened in Vegas” Isn’t Staying in Las Vegas; Documentary on Police Brutality Premiers at Cinequest
  2. Nevada CopBlock Founder Arrested While Filming Las Vegas Metro Police
  3. LVMPD Caught on Body Camera Admitting They Arrested Man For Singing F*ck The Police
  4. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Explains How Not To Get Beaten And/Or Shot By The Police
  5. The LVMPD Gang Task Force is Corrupt and it Extends All the Way to the Top
  6. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Ordered to Answer Perjury/Withholding Evidence Charges in Court
  7. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Accused of Perjury; Judge Recused Self Due to “Negative Opinion” of Her
  8. Boulder City (NV) Police “Employee of the Year” Commits Perjury to Arrest Man Interfering With Revenue Generation
  9. Las Vegas Metro Police Illegally Search; Sexually Assault Innocent Man to Justify Bullshit Arrest
  10. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs: “Stand Up and Tell the Truth” – Why #PoliceLiesMatter
  11. Man Beaten by Las Vegas Police For Not Moving Fast Enough Awarded $31,500 Settlement
  12. Full Waco Twin Peaks Biker Shooting Videos; Witness Statement Made Public
  13. Know Your Rights Seminar At Las Vegas “Rally For Your Rights”
  14. Waco, TX; Twin Peaks Shootings Arrests – June 10th Call Flood
  15. Nevada Police Chief Resigns After Protecting Animal Shelter Supervisor Who Killed Pets
  16. Fired NV Police Chief Ordered to Pay Punitive Damages in Abuse of Authority Lawsuit
  17. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Found Not Guilty in 5th Amendment Right to Counsel Case
  18. Game Over for Insert Coins’ and Their Abusive Bouncers
  19. Dance, Dance Revolution Protest at Insert Coins Las Vegas- Feb. 26, 2015
  20. Insert Coin(s) Las Vegas Bouncers Beat Man and Obstruct Witness Trying to Film
  21. Las Vegas Police Promise “Fundamental Policy Changes” after Dominic Gennarino Beating
  22. Las Vegas Police Beat a Man for “Not Moving Fast Enough”
  23. Las Vegas Police Agree That You Should Film Them
  24. Free Know Your Rights Seminar in Las Vegas
  25. Attorney Stephen Stubbs Arrested for Refusing to Leave His Client’s Side

Other Videos:

The LVMPD Gang Task Force is Corrupt

Original Stephen Stubbs Arrest Video

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

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Muhammad Ali Jr. Detained Again at the Airport After Speaking to Congress About First Incident

Yesterday, on the way home from a trip to Washington DC to testify about his first incident of being detained for having a Muslim name, Muhammad Ali Jr. was detained once again. This time the son of the former boxing champ known as “the Greatest” may have been more than just religiously profiled, according to his lawyer.

Family attorney Chris Mancini has since suggested that the stop was an act of retaliation for having spoken at a Democrat-organized Congressional forum on immigration. Ali had criticized Trump’s Muslim travel ban and attributed his first detention last month in the Fort Lauderdale airport to both racial and religious profiling.

Meanwhile, the TSA maintains that Ali’s jewelry set off an alarm prompting the extra profiling.

Via ABC News:

Muhammad Ali Jr. was detained and questioned at a Washington airport before being allowed to board a flight to Fort Lauderdale after meeting with lawmakers to discuss a separate airport detention incident last month, a lawyer for the late heavyweight champion’s son said Friday.

Ali and his mother, Khalilah Camacho Ali, were stopped at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after returning from Jamaica on Feb. 7. They traveled to Washington on Wednesday without incident to speak to members of a congressional subcommittee on border security about that experience.

But attorney Chris Mancini said that when Ali attempted to board a JetBlue Airways flight home to Florida on Friday he was detained for 20 minutes. Mancini said Ali spoke to Department of Homeland Security officials by telephone and showed his driver’s license and passport before he was allowed to board.

“None of this was happening Wednesday,” Mancini said in a telephone interview Friday afternoon as he was traveling with the Alis. “Going to Washington obviously opened up a can of worms at DHS.”

A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration acknowledged the agency confirmed Ali’s identity before he boarded his plane.

Spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said Ali also was patted down because his jewelry set off a checkpoint scanner alarm.

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False Imprisonment: Its Increasing Frequency and the Huge Cost It Imposes on Society

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously by a reader, 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.

Police Abuses on the Rise

It’s no secret that police brutality and misconduct has been on the rise recently with cases in the news like Eric Garner who was suffocated in a choke hold by police and killed for illegally selling cigarettes. Similarly, a 12-year-old boy Tamir Rice was shot and killed after playing with a toy gun in the park. The level of uneasiness between police officers and citizens has hit an all-time high and we see this unrest play out in society. Police brutality is not the only form of police misconduct- false arrest of citizens can be an excruciating experience that sends innocent people to prison for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For example, Chicago’s taxpayers have had to pay over $120 million for the racial torture committed by one police commander, Jon Burge. Part of the disconnect between officers and citizens is the unfairness in power and how that power is used. To add on to this, police are offered different treatment when it comes to false arrests or misconduct. Although Burge oversaw the torture of over 118 black men – which would typically lead to decades in prison – he was released in three-and-a-half years and sent to a halfway house. All the men he tortured remain behind bars.

Police officers were granted a Qualified Immunity Doctrine by the Supreme Court which essentially states that police officers are innocent of harm towards their suspects in most cases due to their risky and honorable line of work. The best intentions are seen to be associated with most police officers, but has that been the case recently?

Typically, false arrest from police officers falls into the police misconduct category, which can also encompass police brutality and wrongful death. According to the University of Michigan Law School’s National Registry of Exonerations report, 75% of homicide exonerations involved police misconduct. One widely publicized example of a wrongful arrest was James Bain, who was convicted of kidnapping and rape at the age of 18. He served 35 years for a vicious crime he did not commit. Although DNA evidence was tested and presented prior, he was refused further DNA testing from the courts until his fifth try in 2006. Although misidentification from eyewitnesses account for 75% of all convictions that are overturned by DNA evidence, Bain was wrongfully arrested and incarcerated by police.

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How Does False Imprisonment Affect the Public?

Some people may think that the police arrest people who they think are guilty of a crime, and if they are wrongfully arrested, they are quickly released and go about their happy lives. That is far from the truth in most cases where the arrest was outright wrong and unlawful. Many people who are falsely arrested fight back and sue the police officer who wronged them and because of this, the public is responsible for paying that fee.

Amount of Money City Taxpayers Have Paid for Police Misconduct:

  • Chicago: $521 million from 2004-2014
  • Cleveland: $8.2 million between 2004-2014
  • Denver: $12 million since 2011
  • Dallas: $6.6 million between 2011-2014
  • Los Angeles: $101 million between 2002-2011

For example, Robert Graham was arrested for disorderly conduct by a police officer who was stuck in traffic behind him. Due to the gridlock traffic in New York City, Graham was also stuck in traffic and unable to move. The police officers wrongfully arrested Graham due to the circumstances of the situation. Graham’s wrongfully arrested cases was one of the ones that contributed to New York taxpayers paying $18 million to pay back people who were wrongfully arrested by officers.

According to Jon Norinsberg, a false imprisonment attorney, New York city police may only legally arrest citizens if:

  1. The police have an arrest warrant.
  2. The police have probable cause that you committed a crime.
  3. You are interfering with a police investigation or arrest.
  4. The police believe you are a criminal attempting to flee a crime scene.

Why are Police Officers Getting Away with False Imprisonment?

The number of innocent people behind bars is the highest number it has ever been historically, so it is only natural to question the source – the police. Why has it become okay to so quickly convict people and rarely face punishment as a police officer for wrongfully arresting someone? The issue gets stickier when videos of police officers using excessive force and even killing citizens when they appeared to pose no threat. Are there consequences for that? Rarely.

Unfortunately, false arrests happen and can be scary to argue your case in front of a judge – especially because police are most often shielded by the Qualified Immunity Doctrine exercised by the Supreme Court. This is a protective order that is designed to protect police officers from facing punishments from their mistakes or unlawful actions. In theory, this Qualified Immunity Doctrine was originally designed to shield officers who are properly bringing justice to criminals and who handle situations appropriately – if someone is upset for getting arrested if they deserve it, well this doctrine will protect the police from this potential complaint or lawsuit. Since videos have been released of police officers using unnecessary excessive force on unarmed people, citizens are growing scared that officers are abusing this immunity from the Supreme Court to get away with their unjust behavior. This is where a disconnect lies between police officers and citizens.

Where is the Accountability From the Police?

Why is it that as a society we only started paying attention to police misconduct and false arrests when Netflix featured programs like Making a Murderer?

Police officers are designed to keep our communities safe. While most cops are heroes and upstanding citizens who work hard to protect our safety, those who entered the police force to unlawfully assert power over others and take advantage of their badge are getting more press in recent news. Although it’s an unfortunate circumstance, it is important to stay educated on what is happening in society to better educate yourself and to hopefully make a positive change.

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Muhammad Ali Jr. Illegally Detained at Florida Airport on Suspicion of Being A Muslim

Earlier this month, Muhammad Ali Jr. was illegally detained and subjected to hours of questioning because they (correctly) suspected that he was a Muslim, based on his name. Ali Jr.’s namesake was, of course, probably the most famous athlete ever and one of the most well know people, in general. In addition to his success as a boxer, Muhammad Ali Sr. was known for his conversion to Islam after winning the heavyweight title, as well as his long history of civil and human rights (which really shouldn’t be two things) activism.

In spite of the fact that Ali Jr. is a citizen; having been born in Philadelphia; was traveling under a legal US passport, and has no criminal record, he and his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, were detained for having Muslim sounding names. Camacho-Ali was fortunate enough to have a photo of her and her late ex-husband on her, so she was released. However, Ali Jr. was not so lucky and had to undergo additional questioning in which they grilled him about “where he got his name” and what his religion was. When he acknowledged being Muslim he was then subjected to further questioning. – For the record, it’s actually not (at this point) illegal to be a Muslim.

Via TheGuardian.com:

The 7 February incident was the first time the family had been detained or questioned in this way, despite regular international travel, (family lawyer Chris) Mancini said.

They consider it religious profiling linked to President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to bring in a “Muslim ban” and his now-suspended executive order banning citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.

“To the Ali family, it’s crystal clear that this is directly linked to Mr Trump’s efforts to ban Muslims from the United States,” Mancini said, adding that they were trying to find out how many others faced similar questioning, and were contemplating filing a federal lawsuit.

“Imagine walking into an airport and being asked about your religion,” Mancini told the paper. “This is classic customs profiling.”

Ali’s is the latest in a string of complaints about US immigration controls after the inauguration of Trump.

The former prime minister of Norway was held for nearly an hour at Washington Dulles airport earlier this month and questioned over a visit to Iran three years ago, which he had made to speak at a human rights conference.

Meanwhile, the best-selling Australian children’s book author Mem Fox has suggested she might never return to the US after she was detained and insulted by border control agents at Los Angeles international airport. The 70-year-old said she was left “sobbing like a baby” after two hours of questioning while on her way to a conference.

A British Muslim schoolteacher travelling to New York last week as a member of a school party from south Wales was denied entry to the US. The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, had previously claimed the US government had committed to allowing all UK passport holders to enter the country.

It’s a bit ironic that the son of Muhammad Ali would be profiled as a “dangerous Muslim” (in spite of any evidence of ill intent whatsoever) to say the least. Ali Sr.’s refusal to serve in the Vietnam War and subsequent arrest and exile from boxing is one of his most celebrated and recognized acts. It also shows that the government’s travel ban, which isn’t even legally valid since it was struck down in court can be used to single out and illegally detain anyone that TSA agents decide they want to, regardless of their actual immigration status or criminal history.

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Columbia MO Police Commit Felony Wiretap to Record Phone Call Between Attorney and Client

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Stephen Wyse, a civil rights attorney from Missouri, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The accompanying video, embedded below, was posted to the Citizens For Justice YouTube channel. Additional information about Citizens For Justice can be found at their Facebook page.

MEDIA ADVISORY

January 27, 2017

Columbia, Missouri – Civil Rights Attorney Stephen Wyse filed dual criminal and Internal Affairs complaints against a presently unidentified Columbia Police Department officer or officers for felony wiretap act violations of recording the attorney-client phone call between Shayne Healea and his attorney Shane Farrow on October 24, 2014.

In October 2016, Wyse made repeated calls to Boone County Prosecutor Daniel Knight requesting for him to appoint a special prosecutor to determine if this felony by a Columbia Police Officer(s) was a single incident or part of the pattern and practice of Columbia Police Officers to illegally record attorney-client communications and use them in their investigations and/or turn them over to government prosecutors.

Shayne Healea is presently the Moniteau County Prosecuting Attorney. Before becoming an attorney he was a police officer that worked undercover in a multi-jurisdiction drug task force. He is currently awaiting trial on DUI charges related to a 2014 car accident.

Columbia Police Commit Felony Wiretap

Columbia Police officer(s) recorded a legally privileged phone call between Shayne Healea and his attorney Shane Farrow on October 24, 2014, at the Columbia Police Department. The officer(s) involved have yet to be identified.

Mr. Healea had been arrested on October 24, 2014, after which he had requested to speak with his attorney in private. At first, the yet unidentified officer refused to permit a private and legally privileged attorney-client phone call. But then the officer apparently relented and placed Mr. Healea in holding cell for privacy to talk with his attorney. A legal duty the officer was required to obey as commanded by both Missouri law and the United States Constitution. Unbeknownst to Mr. Healea this Columbia Police officer was using electronic surveillance equipment placed in the holding cell to enable police commit felony wiretap and record the 15 to 20 minute phone call between Healea and his lawyer.

As an attorney who has had what I believed to be legally privileged attorney-client conversations with my clients within the confines of the Columbia Police Department. I was outraged when news reports from the Columbia Tribune and Columbia Missourian revealed that Columbia police officer(s) had committed a felony wiretap and I was concerned that my client(s) rights might also have been violated by similar criminal actions committed by the police.

– Stephen Wyse

Stephen Wyse’s complete blog post on the subject with links to his complaint and a video report from Wyse can be found here:

Columbia Police Commit Felony Wiretap of Attorney-Client Phone Call

 

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Las Vegas Metro Police Department Conducted Raid on Homeless Camp Just Before Christmas

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Arkady Bukh, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. In addition, Bukh has previously submitted several posts. Those earlier submissions can be found here, here, and here.

The current submission discusses a raid that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department conducted at a local park where homeless people had attempted to seek shelter from an unusually cold Las Vegas winter. During this raid, which took place in mid-December, the police demanded that those homeless persons gather all of their belongings within an (intentionally) insufficiently short period of time.

They then proceeded to steal tents and blankets that were being used by their owners for shelter from the freezing temperatures, as well as other personal belongings. As is noted in the commentary submitted below, this tactic is not an unusual one for the LVMPD, and likely not a rare instance elsewhere, either.

(Note: previously this same raid was the subject of another post submission that I also published on December 31st. That post can be found here. Although there are slight differences in the details included within the two stories, the basics are pretty consistent within both versions.)

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.

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In a pre-Christmas raid, Las Vegas Police swept homeless people from a neighborhood park. During the eviction, the persons inside the square were allowed only 60-seconds to collect their possessions before they were tossed away by police. Officers from LVMPD took blankets, tents.

Las Vegas was enduring historical low temperatures when the raid was conducted. Ignoring laws which allow a reasonable length of time for persons to gather their possessions, or store them for day days, the possessions were thrown into dumpsters.

The type of raid is not isolated or unusual. LVMPD operates following the premise that if life can be made hard for displaced persons they will vanish.

According to witnesses, LVMPD found over 40 individuals in the park during the early morning raid. The homeless were given one minute to gather their possessions. Anyone failing to comply received citations.

One individual, who asked for anonymity said, “We woke, as the cops and maintenance crew showed up with dumpsters as they told the homeless to ‘grab what you want and go.'”

According to Metro’s Sergeant Ryan Cook, the square was selected for the operation on December 1 during a County Multi-Agency Response Team. Cook said the move was in reply to “persons taking up residency in the park.”

According to a study released by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Las Vegas has 50 homeless persons per 10,000 residents. That’s over twice the national average of 21 homeless persons per 10,000 residents. Researchers estimate that almost 9,500 homeless people stays in Las Vegas, the country’s 12 largest homeless population despite the metro area being the 30th most populous in America.

Raids like the one conducted in Las Vegas’ Molasky Family Park, located near the UNLV campus are counterproductive according to o the Legal Aid Society.

Taylor Barton, CEO of one of Las Vegas’ bail bonds agencies, 24/7 Bail Bonds, said, “policies would be more sensible if the city staff helped people find out if the cops hold warrants and handle them instead of shocking persons in the thick of the night.”

The LVMPD took 22 people into custody in the raid. Homeless advocates believe these tactics discourage individuals from seeking help.

The Legal Aid Society said it discovered in preceding shelter raids; most persons were detained for trivial quality-of-life offenses and not significant violations. Area homeless advocates said they would continue to attempt to cooperate with the LVMPD.

“There’s no justification for the raids,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the region’s American Civil Liberties Union. “Being displaced is not a reason for surmising a person has a bench warrant. This raid runs counter what decency stands.”

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Off Duty Arkansas State Trooper Accosts Man Legally Open Carrying; Has Him Arrested After Complaint is Filed

The following post and accompanying video were shared with the CopBlock Network by Drew Tanner, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The video contains lots of commentary, so it’s fairly self-explanatory.

Tanner maintains that he was at a local Walmart in Searcy, Arkansas shopping and minding his own business when he was accosted by a stranger. That stranger was eventually identified as Trooper Kurt Ziegenhorn of the Arkansas State Police, although at the time he was off duty, not in uniform, and had not yet provided a badge or police ID. Ziegenhorn also failed to even verbally identify himself prior to physically confronting Tanner, apparently because he was not aware that it is legal to open carry firearms in Arkansas.

After the initial contact, Tanner called 911 to report the incident as he was being followed around the store by Trooper Ziegenhorn. Shortly after, Walmart management asked them to leave the store. Once outside, they were met by officers from the Searcy Police Department. Those officers subsequently determined that Tanner had not broken any laws and released him.

A few days later, after discussing Walmart’s policy on open carry with corporate headquarters (and being told it was not prohibited on their property), Tanner went back to the same store, this time unarmed, to discuss whether he could carry his weapon within the story with the local manager. Before Tanner was able to talk to the manager, Ziegenhorn, who seemingly was following him, also showed up. Tanner was then illegally detained and searched after being handcuffed and removed from the store. During that illegal search his CHCL, which he had legally attained, was stolen from him by Ziegenhorn. He was, however, then released by Trooper Ziegenhorn without any charges or citations being issued.

Tanner then filed a complaint with the Arkansas State Police against Ziegenhorn. About seven weeks later he was arrested in an act of retaliation on a warrant for “obstructing governmental operations.” The basis given for that charge was that he had not immediately indicated to Trooper Ziegenhorn that he had a concealed carry firearms permit (known as a Concealed Handgun Carry License in Arkansas), even though he was not actually carrying a concealed weapon at the time and Trooper Ziegenhorn had not definitively identified him self as a law enforcement officer at that point.

Although he was initially found guilty on that bogus charge in the local courts, Tanner was later acquitted and completely cleared of any wrongdoing on appeal. In spite of that the Arkansas State Police revoke his CHCL in another act of retaliation. He is currently still trying to regain it, over two years later.

(NOTE: There seems to be a fair amount of confusion among police within Arkansas regarding the legality of openly carrying firearms, as evidenced by this previous series of video posts involving a man who was unlawfully arrested for open carrying in Bald Knob, Arkansas.)

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.

Date(s) of Incident: Nov. 29, 2014; Dec. 04, 2014, Ongoing
Officer Involved: Trooper Kurt Ziegenhorn
Department Involved: Arkansas State Police
Department Facebook Page: Arkansas State Police
Department Twitter Account: @ARStatePolice
Department Email: [email protected]
Department Phone No.: (501) 618-8000
Office of Professional Standards Contact: Lieutenant Paulette Ward
OPS Phone Number: (501) 618-8929
OPS Email Address: [email protected]

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On Nov 29, 2014, I was shopping in Walmart when Arkansas State Trooper Kurt Ziegenhorn attacked me, while off-duty and out of uniform, because he didn’t know that it was legal in the state to openly carry firearms. I called 911 on him and was eventually asked to leave the store by management, where we were met by two uniformed Searcy Police Department officers outside.

I was never placed in handcuffs in this incident, nor was my weapon taken from me at any time. I was free to go. However, a few days later I went into the store unarmed after I had discussed the store’s gun policy with their corporate office and was assured that I was allowed to carry in the store, and I wanted to clear it up with the manager. The same trooper was there again, and handcuffed me, took me out to his car and confiscated my Concealed Handgun Carry License (even though I was not carrying at the time).

He then let me go. Seven weeks later, police came to my door with an arrest warrant of “obstructing governmental operations” for the first incident. I was eventually found not-guilty in circuit court. However, the state police refused to return my CHCL (which I fought and lost). I filed a FOIA request to get the incident reports from the state police regarding the second incident, but they DENIED the FOIA request.

I can provide additional evidence of false claims by Trooper Kurt Ziegenhorn that the video clearly contradicts. (Saying I reached for my gun, etc, etc.)

– Drew Tanner

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Man “Open Carrying” a Cat Harassed Then Illegally Arrested by Police in Mena, Arkansas

The following post and accompanying video were shared with the CopBlock Network by Bart Perry, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Bart is the father of the person that recorded the video, whose name is Timothy Perry. The video is fairly short and not of very good quality having been taken with a cellphone by a man being threatened and subsequently kidnapped by armed strangers on what appears to be a deserted road.

However, in spite of its brevity and lack of technical perfection (or anything close to that) it shows pretty clearly that Bart’s son Timothy was stopped without legal justification and then arrested on the typical, made up “contempt of cop” charge of obstruction. During the video, Officers Mike Wolf and Paul Larson give some very bad excuses for their initial harassment of Timothy.

The fact that Officer Larson sees someone walking on the side of a road does not necessitate a “welfare check.” Even if he chooses to take it upon himself to do so, the simple act of walking in public does not constitute reasonable suspicion to legally detain someone, even if they start filming you once you turn around. Nor does Officer Wolf’s assertion that Timothy “disappeared on this officer.” None of those things are actually illegal acts.

Obviously, Officer Wolf is also incredibly wrong about what the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in regards to “stop and identify” statutes. In order for someone to be compelled to identify themselves, they must be legally detained. Since that is clearly not the case in this video, that requirement does not apply.

Timothy also is not legally obstructing them, since they have no legal authority to investigate him for the “offense” of walking down the street with a cat in his hands. Even in the Police State of America, it’s not yet illegal to simply walk around (openly) carrying a cat.

(Note: No information was included about the status of the [unidentified] cat. I certainly hope that s/he made it back home safely and was not also harmed and/or kidnapped by Mena Arkansas Police Officers Mike Wolf and Paul Larson. If I do receive such information, I will update the post.) – Update: I’ve been informed that the cat has returned and is safe. I’ve also been told that the charges in this case have been dropped.

Date of Incident: January 15, 2017
Officers Involved: Officer Mike Wolf and Officer Paul Larson – badge numbers 506 and 513
Department Involved: Mena (AR) Police Department
Department Facebook Page: Mena Police Dept.
Department Phone Number: (479) 394-1212

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.

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On January 15th 2017, my son, Timothy Perry, who is 25 years old, went outside to catch his cat that had gotten out the door a few minutes earlier. Timothy was right down the road with his cat in his arms when the cops (two of them) stopped him and started asking him questions.

The state of Arkansas has a “stop and identify” law that requires you to give your name IF you are suspected of a crime. “If they have reasonable suspicion that you’re involved in criminal activity.” I don’t think catching your cat, looks like criminal activity. (at least not in my opinion…)

My son, knowing he had done nothing wrong, and was not committing ANY criminal act refused to give them his name. I think this made the officer angry, because he decided to throw my son on the hood of his car, VERY hard…(excessive force?) Oh, yea, he had his cat in his arms at the time.

Then, to top it off, he read him his Miranda rights as, “you have the right to remain silent, I suggest you do it.” Is this the same Miranda rights I was brought up knowing…or a shorter version they use when you make them mad? But the officer tells my son at first that he has no idea what age he is…my son looks more then 25 at the least.

Police departments all over the USA are having trouble with police officers right now, and now I know why. The excessive use of force, the stopping of citizens just walking down the road to get their cat, and Miranda rights given to you illegally…not the police force I want protecting me…right?

I think the police in Mena Arkansas need to be corrected for this, as it’s just not right. I personally think he needs to sue them. Anybody know of any good attorneys that will work pro bono? This shit has GOT to stop…Nazi cops are everywhere.

– Bart Perry

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Best Buy’s Geek Squad Accused of Being a “Branch of the FBI” Over Hard Drive Data Searches

A lawyer representing a man facing trial over data found on the hard drive of his computer while he was having it repaired at Best Buy has exposed the fact that the FBI maintains a policy of paying “Geek Squad” supervisors for reporting potentially illegal content they find on customers’ computers.

Beyond the simple breach of trust that this entails between a business and its customers this also poses some security issues, due to the fact that it has prompted Best Buy employees to probe beyond what would be necessary to perform the services they were contracted to conduct.

Within that context, the nature of the paid relationship between those supervisors and the FBI also raises many issues of the legalities of circumventing evidentiary rules that normally apply to searches. Defense attorney James D. Riddet even went so far as to say that Best Buy could be effectively acting as a branch of the FBI.

Via the Washington Post:

At a giant Best Buy repair shop in Brooks, Ky., Geek Squad technicians work on computers owned by people across the country, delving into them to retrieve lost data. Over several years, a handful of those workers have notified the FBI when they see signs of child pornography, earning payments from the agency.

The existence of the small cadre of informants within one of the country’s most popular computer repair services was revealed in the case of a California doctor who is facing federal charges after his hard drive was flagged by a technician. The doctor’s lawyers found that the FBI had cultivated eight “confidential human sources” in the Geek Squad over a four-year period, according to a judge’s order in the case, with all of them receiving some payment.

The case raises issues about privacy and the government use of informants. If a customer turns over their computer for repair, do they forfeit their expectation of privacy, and their Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable searches? And if an informant is paid, does it compromise their credibility or effectively convert them into an agent of the government?

Best Buy searching a computer is legal — the customer authorized it, and the law does not prohibit private searches. But if Best Buy serves as an arm of the government, then a warrant or specific consent is needed. And a federal judge in the child pornography case against Mark Rettenmaier is going to allow defense attorneys to probe the relationship between Best Buy and the FBI at a hearing in Los Angeles starting Wednesday.

“Their relationship is so cozy,” said defense attorney James D. Riddet, “and so extensive that it turns searches by Best Buy into government searches. If they’re going to set up that network between Best Buy supervisors and FBI agents, you run the risk that Best Buy is a branch of the FBI.”The FBI and Justice Department declined to comment. Federal prosecutors argued in California that when a technician doing repairs “stumbles across images of child pornography” and the government wasn’t aware of the search, “the technician is clearly not performing the search with the intent of assisting law enforcement efforts.”

Best Buy spokesman Jeff Shelman said in a statement Monday that “Best Buy and Geek Squad have no relationship with the FBI. From time to time, our repair agents discover material that may be child pornography and we have a legal and moral obligation to turn that material over to law enforcement. We are proud of our policy and share it with our customers before we begin any repair.”

Shelman added, “Any circumstances in which an employee received payment from the FBI is the result of extremely poor individual judgment, is not something we tolerate and is certainly not a part of our normal business behavior.” Court records did not detail how often or how much the technicians were paid, other than one $500 payment to one supervisor.

But emails between Geek Squad technicians and FBI agents in the Louisville field office indicate a long-running relationship. In revealing those publicly in a Dec. 19 order, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney required technicians and agents to take the witness stand this week. The ruling was first reported by Orange County Weekly.

Many of the documents establishing the ties between the FBI and the technicians are sealed, but Carney discussed some in his order. He noted that the FBI acknowledged it considered technician supervisor Justin Meade a confidential human source for all but a few months between October 2008 and November 2012.

Different agents handled the Geek Squad technicians, Carney wrote. In October 2009, Agent Jennifer Cardwell emailed Meade to express interest in meeting “to discuss some other ideas for collaboration,” Carney disclosed.

In an internal FBI communication in July 2010, Agent Tracey L. Riley told her supervisor that “Source reported all has been quiet for about the last 5-6 months, however source agreed that once school started again, they may see an influx of CP [child pornography].” Meade was later identified as the “source.” Other internal communications show the “source” referring possible cases to Riley from computers sent to the Geek Squad from across the country.

“This two-way thoroughfare of information,” Riddet, the defense attorney. argued in his motion to suppress the evidence, “suggests that the FBI considers [Meade] . . . to be a partner in the ongoing effort of law enforcement to detect and prosecute child pornography violators. . . . Here it is very clear that Best Buy, and specifically the supervisor who reports its technician’s discovery of ‘inappropriate’ content on customers’ computers, are not only working together, but actually planning to conduct more such searches in the future.”

Obviously, since this is a case that involves someone accused of possessing child porn, that obfuscates the issues a bit. However, the larger issue is that the government always expands their abuses, especially in relation to privacy issues. This is, in fact, a perfect example of that and of the ultimate dangers from it.

Originally, computer techs who came across things of that nature would report it, but they weren’t actively searching for incriminating data. Now however, the Feds actually have employees of computer stores on the payroll creating an incentive for them to look for a reason to report their unwitting customers to law enforcement.

As the Washington Post story points out, that includes evidence of an ambiguous nature that potentially wasn’t placed on the computer by its current owner. That sort of evidence would not hold up in court, but because it’s coming from a perceived third hand source it is now accepted as legitimate.

Big Brother has found his latest loophole and it won’t be long before they expand it to other information and potential thought crimes.

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