Tag Archives: Jaywalking

Update: Racial Profiling Case by LVMPD Saturation Team Body Cam Videos Show No Original Cause for Stop

In May of 2016, I reported on the case of Solomon Galloway, a Las Vegas man who was illegally detained, assaulted, and falsely arrested by one the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s “Saturation Teams” in February of that year. At the time, Galloway was the passenger in a vehicle driven by a co-worker, which had been stopped under the stated claim that he was speeding (more on that below).

The original pretense for that arrest and accompanying violent, illegal actions was Mr. Galloway’s refusal to identify himself. However, the passenger in a vehicle that has been stopped for a traffic violation is not considered a party to that infraction. As a result, they are not under any obligation to identify themselves. In fact, legally Galloway could have gotten out of the car and walked away from the traffic stop. (Since the actions of the driver do not represent the “reasonable suspicion” required to legally detain a passenger, they are “free to go.”)

Lacking a legitimate reason to detain Galloway, let alone arrest him, Metro’s designated harassment squad settled on the old standby of “I smelled pot.” They then embarked on a fruitless and illegal search of the car to hopefully find something to justify their illegal against against their victim. In the process, they even discussed amongst each other their need to “do what ever you gotta to do, because we gotta find something.” Unfortunately for them, they didn’t find anything at all.

Even more unfortunately for them, Galloway had placed a GoPro camera on his dashboard, which he turned on just after they were stopped. Unbeknownst to them, the entire incident, including the illegal search and that incriminating conversation, had been recorded on the GoPro. That included a statement from the supervisor on the scene, Lieutenant Connell, that they should “just arrest his ass and strip him,” once they finally gave up on finding anything to rationalize their actions. Galloway was then falsely arrested, taken to jail, and subjected to a humiliating and illegal strip search. All of which still failed to justify the obstruction charge that they eventually settled on.

It was already incredibly obvious from the GoPro video (which was later featured in a documentary about corruption among Las Vegas police entitled, “What Happened in Vegas“) that the LVMPD officers involved were completely lying and fabricating a reason to justify what they knew was a false arrest (and illegal demand for ID to begin with). Now however, body cam footage from the officer that initiated the stop, as well as another officer that participated in the assault on Galloway, have been released as part of discovery. One of the interesting aspects of those body camera videos is that in the beginning of the first officer’s footage you can actually see his speedometer as he’s driving. What that shows is that even the original justification for the stop was based on a lie.

Contrary to that officer’s claims about their speed (which fluctuated at various points in the video between them going either 55 or 65 mph when he pulled them over), they were in fact going below the 45 mph speed limit. Therefore they didn’t even have legal cause to pull them over in the first place. Nor did they have the reasonable suspicion of a crime necessary to justify detaining even the driver of that vehicle. That makes it even more obvious that everything that was done to Galloway, who was the passenger, after the illegal traffic stop was initiated was both unjustifiable and illegal, as well.

The badly disguised reality is that this was nothing more than a case of racial profiling and simple harassment. The LVMPD deploys what they call saturation teams into certain neighborhoods they have decided they want to concentrate on. These saturation teams descend upon those neighborhoods looking for any excuse to stop and harass the residents who live there. Even such minuscule “crimes” as jaywalking on a residential street or having a bicycle without a reflector are used to justify demanding ID from and attempting to question a person.

They are essentially just playing the odds in the hope that if they harass enough people within a chosen area they will find a certain percentage of individuals who have warrants or something illegal on them and that are willing to consent to a search to justify an arrest. Statistically, that makes the department look good, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that the vast majority of the people in any given neighborhood are not actually criminals and don’t deserve to be indiscriminately harassed because a cop has arbitrarily decided they “do not belong” in that neighborhood.

The other side of that equation is that the areas that the LVMPD targets for their saturation teams are invariably those inhabited predominantly by poor and minority residents. In fact, some years ago a Metro spokesperson went so far as to explicitly state to the Las Vegas Review Journal that they would not use saturation tactics against residents living in the wealthy suburb of Summerlin.

As is noted in the video’s title, Galloway and his friend were stopped because they were people of color driving an expensive car within a geographical region that the LVMPD had deemed to be suspect. Everything that happened after that was a result of him not “respecting their authoritah.” An authority that they did not legally have and that he had every legal (and moral) right not to respect.

Video Featuring Police Body Camera Footage and GoPro Video

Original GoPro Video

Related Posts Submitted By or About Stephen Stubbs:

Stephen-Stubbs-CopBlockThose of you that have followed CopBlock.org over the past several years are probably already aware that Stephen Stubbs has been a frequent subject of posts on  NVCopBlock.org. He often represents bikers and motorcycle organizations, whom are frequent targets of harassment from the police. In addition, I have personally worked with Stephen in the past on several occasions through Nevada Cop Block on issues or cases involving his clients or on know your rights seminars he has done within the Las Vegas area.

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

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LVMPD Caught on Body Camera Admitting They Arrested Man For Singing F*ck The Police

Last Month, police officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department arrested a local activist named Jason Nellis, who has also contributed several posts to the CopBlock Network. In doing so, they used the excuse that he had jaywalked as they were arresting a wheelchair-bound woman on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas.

However, in the body camera video released by his lawyer, Stephen Stubbs, it’s very clear that they actually arrested him because they didn’t like that he was singing NWA’s song,”Fuck Tha Police” along with some street performers who were across the street, well away from the police. This is, of course, very much covered by the free speech protections within the First Amendment to the US Constitution and has been ruled as such many times.

As is common in downtown Las Vegas, they used jaywalking as an excuse to arrest him. Even that very shallow and see through aspect of the arrest is entirely invalid, though. In fact, the video shows that the police were blocking the crosswalk which made it impossible to cross the street without either “jaywalking” or actually interfering with the police that were arresting the disabled woman. The reality is that, as they themselves stated quite plainly in the video, the jaywalking charge was nothing more than a convenient excuse to illegally arrest a person they consider an “agitator” and “clear out downtown.” (They have even used that excuse to detain me once, which makes this the third time cops in Downtown Las Vegas have been featured for that same bogus reason on the Cop Block Network.)

The public relations wing of the LVMPD likes to make grand claims that they have made great strides to eliminate the rampant misconduct that they were widely and very correctly criticized for in recent years. Obviously, videos like this continue to show what an absolute and embarrassing joke that notion is. Nobody actually watching the LVMPD and its gang of hooligans is in the least bit fooled by superficial PR campaigns when the same behavior that created that lack of trust and respect among Las Vegas residents is not just allowed, but even condoned in practice.

What people see is what they remember and what actually defines you. And when police are willing to laugh and boast about it on camera everyone knows it’s not just a Few Bad Apples involved.

Take Action:

Jason Nellis will be in court for a hearing to present evidence that this illegal arrest violated his First Amendment rights this morning, October 27th at 9:30am PST/12:30pm EST. The hearing will take place in Judge Kerns courtroom located on the sixth floor of the Regoinal (In)Justice Center. If you’re in Las Vegas you should attend that hearing as a visible show of support for Jason and, as well as to send a message that Las Vegas residents are tired of the constant misconduct and abuses by the LVMPD. You can find additional information about the hearing on this Facebook event page that has been set up.

If for some reason you can’t attend or you’re not in Las Vegas, you can also contact the LVMPD and let them know you are paying attention and that you don’t appreciate the police in Las Vegas arbitrarily violating citizens’ Constitutional rights. I’m sure the Las Vegas Tourism Board might also like to know what sort of impression the officers working for the LVMPD are giving to people outside the city and what impact that is having on whether you visit Vegas.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
400 S. Martin L. King Boulevard
Las Vegas, Nevada  89106

Main Headquarters:
Email:
[email protected]
Local Phone No.:  (702) 828-3111
Toll-Free Number: 1-800-492-6565
Facebook Page: LVMPD on FB
Twitter Profile: @LVMPD
YouTube Channel:
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police

Downtown Area Command:
621 North 9th Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
Phone: (702) 828-4348 or (702) 828-4349
Email: [email protected]
Facebook Page: LVMPD DTAC
Twitter Profile: @LVMPDDTAC

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
3150 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Email: [email protected]
Local Phone Number: 702-892-0711
Toll-Free Number: 877-847-4858
Facebook Page: Visit Las Vegas
Twitter Profile: @Vegas Youtube Channel: Visit Las Vegas

Arrested For Exercising Free Speech in Las Vegas

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Las Vegas Protesters “De-Arrest” Innocent Bicyclist After LVMPD Harassment on May Day

During the 2016 annual May Day march in Las Vegas, officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department began bullying and acting aggressively toward people participating in the march. Prior to these hostile actions by the police the march had been extremely peaceful and quite lighthearted.

The May Day march in Las Vegas is one of the most well attended and festive events held in the city. While people advocate for the rights of under-represented groups and in support of varying different issues, the march itself is more of a celebration than a protest.

Among other things, several motorcycle police began running into (at a very slow speed) and pushing anyone that stepped off the sidewalk as they were walking. They also began harassing several participants who were riding bikes on the street next to the march demanding that that they ride on the sidewalk. (Not only is riding a bike in the street the safest way to ride and completely legal, but riding on the sidewalks is in fact illegal).

FTP – Film The Police

Shortly after this began, the police attempted to arrest one of those bicyclists for (legally) riding her bike in the street. The thing you don’t see in the video, because it happened right before the camera was turned on, is that she had actually gotten off her bike and thrown it into the back of a truck that was accompanying the march with the intention of walking from that point on. So not only was the attempted arrest based on something that was legal to do, but it was also completely unnecessary since she had already decided to avoid any further harassment by not riding the bike anymore.

Even this kid knows that it was bullshit.

Even this kid knows that it was bullshit.

Once the police had illegally detained her, they then tried to pull her off to the side into the yard of a local business (a wedding chapel), apparently hoping that everyone would just keep going and allow them to perform their kidnapping without interference. Instead, several of us followed them to document what they were doing and ask her what they were attempting to charge her with.

In response, those officers began acting aggressive toward us as well and a female police officer, who appeared to be the original instigator, purposely threw her shoulder into me and then began to issue me a citation for some unspecified charge (presumably trespassing) in an attempt to intimidate me into leaving. As a result, the entire march also followed them and subsequently surrounded them so they could not leave, demanding and chanting that they “let her go” until they were forced to do so.

The police tried to use the fact that they had dragged her off to private property to force everyone to leave. In reality, since an illegal arrest is tantamount to a kidnapping, that amounts to a kidnapper grabbing someone and pulling them onto private property then saying, “you can’t try to stop me from kidnapping them anymore because I’m on private property.”

Prior to the police creating a negative situation the march was very peaceful.

Prior to the police creating a negative situation, the march was a very peaceful and friendly community event.

They also refused to state what exactly they wanted to charge her with and claiming that we could not speak to her and ask her that, using the excuse of “confidentiality” as a reason. Arrests are actually public record, so there is no confidentiality requirement and police are required to tell an arrestee the reason for which they are being arrested. In addition, a recent Nevada Supreme Court ruling banned police from charging people with obstruction for talking to a person being detained by the police, which had been a common tactic for them previously.

Reportedly, the police told one of the organizers of the march that she had said, “fuck you” when they told her not to ride her bike in the street and that was the real reason for their desire to arrest her. While I have little doubt that that is true, saying fuck you to police is not in any way illegal and has been ruled legal by the US Supreme Court.

Don’t just sit back and let innocent people be kidnapped for “contempt of cop” or other bullshit reasons. When people work together and look out for each other they can stop unlawful actions by the police. They quickly realized they weren’t going to be able to isolate one person and then drag her off to jail and instead would have to deal with hundreds of determined people.

In addition, their attempt to use private property and potential trespassing charges as a way to force people to leave her to their mercy backfired when the actual owners of that property complained about the disturbance it was causing to their business. They knew that the only way to quickly resolve the situation would to release her instead.

This was a rather typical situation in which the police unnecessarily escalated (and in fact created) a situation that they then wanted to use as a justification to make arrests in an otherwise peaceful community event. It happens all too often and for no good reason. Fortunately, this time the people stood together and did not allow it to happen.

BTW, one of the officers that was present that day has made quite a name for himself for attempting to arrest people, especially people filming him, on bogus jaywalking charges. Officer Brown was already featured in a submission on Cop Block back in 2013 for doing just that.

"Downtown" Brown

“Downtown” Brown

Additionally, almost exactly one year later in 2014, I began filming him and his partner after I saw them accelerate their police car toward and nearly run into a homeless man on Fremont Street that had taken one single step off the sidewalk when the signal was red. After the light changed, I crossed the street to get a closer view of them. Since they were blocking the crosswalk, I walked a couple feet to the side of it.

Officer Brown then detained me under the pretense that I was jaywalking because I was outside the designated crosswalk, even though I had done so to avoid walking through the area where they were holding the homeless man. Shortly after that he stated, “stop extending your arms and get your camera out of my face” in an apparent attempt to justify assaulting me.

However, several friends of mine showed up right at that time and they were also filming. You can pretty clearly see in the videos taken from a distance that I am simply holding my cell phone with my arms in a normal position (not extended) and that my camera is no where near his face.

Incidentally, Officer Brown was also one of the cops involved in Metro’s big two month chalk investigation that led to five of us being arrested on bogus graffiti charges in an attempt to intimidate us into not protesting against them and for which we are currently suing the LVMPD. Seems like everytime there is a negative incident involving Metro in Downtown Las Vegas Officer Brown is involved.

http://copblock.org/filmthepolice

Click Banner to learn more about filming the police

BTW (part deux), I was wearing a bloody pig face mask the entire time.

Bloody Pig Face

#TrueStory

Additional Video

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Update: Idaho Police Continue to Pursue Punitive Prosecution of Cop Blocker Matthew Townsend

As has been reported previously on CopBlock.org, Mathew Townsend is facing a felony charge in Idaho for posting on Facebook about a case he was facing in which he was arrested while legally protesting on public property. That original arrest has been described as a “contempt of cop” charge.

Via the original post here on CopBlock.org:

Cop Blocker Matthew Townsend was engaged in a one-man protest on a sidewalk in Meridian, Idaho when he was accosted by Meridian Police employee Richard Broadbank who accused him of “blocking traffic.” When his attempts to get Matthew to agree with him and submit or incriminate himself failed, Broadbank resorted to saying “well, I saw you…” [blocking traffic.]

At this point, Matthew told officer Broadbank “then charge me.” and pushed the crosswalk button, and proceeded to cross. Broadbank was silent for a moment, and when Matthew was halfway across he began to shout that he’s not done with him yet. Matthew was then arrested for “resisting and obstructing,” simply for exercising his rights.

The subsequent charge, for which Townsend could potentially serve five years in prison, essentially amounts to a defiant statement that he intends to fight back against the first charge and publicly expose the specious nature of the arrest. Instead of recognizing that and dismissing the charges the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office has gone out of their way to push forward with these charges, even going so far as to find a judge willing to issue a warrant for Townsend’s arrest after the charge was initially rejected by District Judge James Cawthon.

William N. Grigg writing at “Pro Libertate” compares Mathew Townsends case to Soviet persecutions under Stalin:

On the eve of his hearing, Townsend published a Facebook post in which he promised to mount a “shame campaign” against his kidnapper and any public officials who collaborated in that outrage unless the meritless charge was dismissed.

“The State has 3 options,” wrote Townsend. It could “drop the charges and leave me alone” – which is the course of action honest and decent people would select; “Endure my non-violent retaliation (do you want to be the focus of my rage?),” or “Kill me and deal with those that know, love, and care about me. Make your choice.”

To the extent that a “threat” was involved in Townsend’s post, it was his recognition, and clear description, of the fact that everything done in the name of the “State” carries an implied or overt threat of lethal violence against those who do not submit. Rather than threatening violence against anybody, Townsend was underscoring the fact that the State and its agents were threatening him.

In an act of intellectual inversion worthy of the East German Stasi, the Meridian Police Department filed a felony “witness intimidation” complaint against Townsend in the hope of being able to arrest him at the hearing on the misdemeanor “resist and obstruct” charge. District Judge James Cawthon, displaying sobriety and honesty all but unknown to those in his occupation, rejected the prosecution’s request that Townsend be taken into custody, ruling that nothing in his Facebook post constituted a threat of violence against anyone.

Displaying a now-familiar alloy of pettiness and viciousness, the Meridian Police Department and the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office went judge-shopping, and through an ex parte hearing obtained an arrest warrant that resulted in an after-dark raid on his home by the Ada County Sheriff’s Office on a Friday night.

The clear intention was to arrange for him to spend the weekend in jail, which – given that Townsend, unlike his tormentors, is gainfully employed in the productive sector – would have likely caused him to lose his job.

Bail was arranged and Townsend remains employed, which means that he is able to deal with at least some of the accumulating legal expenses that have resulted from this protracted exercise in official persecution.

Townsend’s legal costs thus far amount to nearly $10,000, and that figure will climb dramatically while implacable tormentors have the luxury of spending money extracted from the legitimate earnings of better people. He has already endured severe punishment without being convicted of an offense.

The conduct of trial Judge Lynn Norton thus far suggests that she is not only a partisan of the prosecution, but – as we shall see – is actually helping it frame its case in order to manipulate the jury into ignoring the lack of evidence regarding the key element of the offense.

In order to convict Townsend of “witness intimidation,” the prosecution would have to prove that he attempted to prevent Brockbank from testifying “freely, fully and truthfully” in any court proceeding arising from the resisting and obstructing charge. That requirement is the last of nine elements of the charge of “witness intimidation” specified in the Idaho Criminal Jury Instructions dealing with that offense.

In his motion to dismiss that felony charge, Townsend’s defense attorney, Aaron Tribble, pointed out that the only evidence provided by the prosecution of witness intimidation was the Facebook post, and that statement was utterly devoid of “any mention of testimony by Officer Brockbank.”

“There needs to be some evidence linking Mr. Townsend’s comments to Brockbank’s potential testimony,” Tribble continued. “The State has nothing to offer.”

It a great deal of time for Tribble to research and compose a legal memorandum in support of his motion to dismiss the charge. It took him a little more than ten minutes to summarize his most important arguments during a January 8th hearing before Judge Norton.

It took twenty seconds for Ada County District Attorney James Vogt to make his case for Norton to dismiss Tribble’s motion. Vogt didn’t achieve this through incisive reasoning scintillating eloquence, but rather by simply asking Norton to dismiss the motion without bothering to present an argument on behalf of the request.

The gravamen of Tribble’s argument was that the “evidence” assembled by the prosecution, which had just recently been made available through discovery, amounted to the single Facebook post. Since the evidence assembled doesn’t cover the most critical element of the offense, there is no logical, legal, or ethical reason to proceed with the trial.

Like most functionaries of her kind, however, Judge Norton defines her role in terms of facilitating prosecution, rather than administering justice – and Vogt knew how to capitalize on that inclination.

Here is a verbatim transcript of Vogt’s “argument” in the January 8 hearing on the motion to dismiss:

Soviet State of Idaho“Your honor, with respect to the missing element, I would just point to the fact that there has already been a finding of probable cause by the Magistrate, Judge Gardunia. Mr. Tribble can point to nothing in the record that can contradict that, so I don’t think there’s really much else to argue about with respect to that.”

That finding of “probable cause” occurred in April, months prior to the closing of discovery in this case, which didn’t occur until last December. The Ada County DA’s office, using a familiar prosecution tactic, didn’t finish discovery until after a critical deadline had passed for the defense to file motions before Judge Norton. Despite the fact that no new evidence of a crime was developed, and the existing evidence is inadequate to justify a prosecution, Norton promptly threw out Townsend’s motion to dismiss.

This isn’t to say that she didn’t consider that motion; indeed, there’s reason to believe that she examined it carefully in order to act as a coach and a consultant for the prosecution. If Norton honestly found Tribble’s arguments unconvincing, she needed only say as much and reject his motion. Instead, she presented a detailed discussion of ways the prosecution could overcome the fact that Townsend never threatened Brockbank or even mentioned his testimony.

“One thing that I would want to note is that Mr. Tribble does seem to argue that there must be direct evidence to support an element,” Norton commented during the hearing. Evidence can be direct or circumstantial” for intent to intimidate, she insisted, and “the law does not differentiate between direct evidence and circumstantial evidence.”

The only “circumstantial” evidence of “intimidation” would consist of speculation, inference, and imputed motives. As the official who would rule on admissibility, Norton has indicated that she intends to give the prosecution as much latitude as it may need to make a “circumstantial” case for an offense that — by statute and precedent — requires direct evidence in order to sustain a conviction.

“The jury can consider circumstantial evidence, looking at all of the evidence as a whole and not just looking at one particular statement,” Norton declared.

While the prosecution will apparently be permitted to impute “intent” to Townsend on the basis of things he didn’t say, write, or do, Norton insisted that the defendant’s actual words are not definitive evidence of his intent.

“Just because in this particular case there was a note in that particular Facebook post where he referred to – as almost as a caveat referring to `’non-violent’ – that doesn’t mean that that’s binding on a jury to actually decide that’s what his intent was, any more than an assault is remediated just because as the person pulls the gun away from somebody’s head they say `just kidding,’” Norton asserted, reciting an argument made by the prosecution during last April’s probable cause hearing.

The tortured analogy between pointing a gun at a terrified person’s head and writing a nasty note on Facebook offers decisive proof that both the prosecution and Judge Norton know this case is without merit: Under Idaho case law, Townsend could not be convicted of witness intimidation if he had pointed a gun at Brockbank – as long as there was no direct evidence that this was done to prevent him from testifying “freely, fully, and truthfully.”

In 2011, the Idaho Court of Appeals overturned a witness intimidation conviction in which relatives of a man facing a narcotics charge, acting on the suspect’s direct request, invaded the home of a potential witness and held her at gunpoint.

Saying that he was acting on behalf of “Michael” – that is, Michael O’Neill, the jailed defendant – one of the invaders told witness Sarah Phelps, “You’re f***ed; you’re going down,” as he thrust a .45 caliber handgun in her face.

The Appeals Court recognized that because there was no direct evidence that this violent crime was committed for the purpose of “affecting future testimony,” as opposed to “retaliation,” it did not meet every element of the offense called witness intimidation.

Of course, Sarah Phelps was a mere Mundane, rather than a swaggering, armor-clad dispenser of State-sanctioned violence. During the probable cause hearing in the Townsend case last April, Brockbank strode into the courtroom infull battle array for the purpose of testifying that he is an incontinentcoward who had been frightened and intimidated by Townsend’s Facebook post. In his defense, I don’t believe that Brockbank committed perjury.

The purpose of prosecuting Matthew Townsend is not merely to enforce a “safe space” for delicate creatures like Richard Brockbank; it is to demonstrate the weight of the insubstantial entity called the “State.”

During the Great Purge of the Soviet Communist Party, the Soviet forebears of the personalities employed by the Ada County DA’s Office ran across a particularly recalcitrant Old Bolshevik named Kamenev who simply refused to confess – just as Townsend had refused to concede Brockbank’s claim that he had been jaywalking.

Offended by the Muscovite’s impudent assertions of innocence, Vyshinsky’s understudies could have treated him to a “Lubyanka breakfast” — a cigarette and a bullet to the back of the head. But without a confession, the exercise would have been sterile: The entire point was to extract a confession, and to display the broken defendant to the public as proof that the state was both infallible and pitiless. This wouldn’t be accomplished by executing a man who defiantly insisted on his innocence.

Seeking guidance in dealing with the recalcitrant suspect, NKVD official named Mironov sought an audience with Stalin, who listened intently. After the troublesome case had been described in detail, Stalin sat in quiet thought for a moment before asking an unexpected question.

“Do you know how much our state weighs, with all the factories, machines, the army, with all the armaments and the navy?” Stalin inquired. “Think it over and tell me.”

Perhaps believing that Stalin was telling a joke – and the Dear Leader was, of course, renowned for his sense of humor – Mironov reacted with a nervous chuckle.

“I am asking you, how much does all that weigh?” Stalin repeated, his eyes narrowing as he emphasized every syllable.

Sweating and stammering, Mironov replied, “Nobody can know that, Yosif Vissarionovich. It is in the realm of astronomical figures.”

“Well, can one man withstand the pressure of an astronomical weight?” Stalin prompted the thoroughly intimidated underling.

“No,” Mironov answered weakly, no doubt cringing in anticipation of what was to come.

“Now, then,” Stalin concluded in a tone of voice that could freeze magma, fixing the NKVD operative with a malicious glare, “don’t tell me any more that Kamenev, or this or that prisoner, is able to withstand that pressure. Don’t come report to me until you have in your briefcase the confession of Kamanev!”

Meridian, Idaho in 2016 obviously isn’t Moscow, Russia circa 1936 – at least in terms of the extent and pervasiveness of government-imposed injustice. The fact that Stalinesque abuse isn’t commonplace doesn’t make single-serving Stalinism any less abhorrent.

In his Facebook post, Townsend pointedly identified “the State” as the entity seeking to put him in a cage, and expressed contemptuous and entirely commendable defiance toward that malignant entity. The Meridian Police Department, the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, and Judge Norton are display same mindset exhibited by Stalin: They are using officially sanctioned violence to crush a political dissident, for the greater glory of the murderous abstraction they serve.

Embedded below is a video from a protest held by supporters of Matthew Townsend in March of 2015.  Townsend’s trial is currently set to start on January 19th of 2016.

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Las Vegas Police Make It Very Clear They Don’t Understand the First Amendment at Chalk Protest

LVMPD CCDC Chalk Protest

Two Can Play That Game

On September 9th, members of Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective were doing a chalk protest at the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC) in Downtown Las Vegas. Things were pretty quiet and peaceful until a bunch of gang members working for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) showed up to harass and intimidate us, even though we weren’t doing anything illegal or in any way disruptive.

They started out by admitting that we weren’t being detained (and therefore not suspected of a crime), but stated that they would like for us to leave. I politely told them (and wrote, as you can see to the left) that we would like for THEM to leave.

At that point, the sergeant (badge #5906) and several (but not all) of the other officers, did in fact leave. However, as they were (jay)walking away they indicated that they were going to go call some patrol officers because it’s illegal for us to chalk there, which is very much not true.

Shortly after, they returned and began making it very clear that they didn’t understand the First Amendment or that wacky Free Speech thing that it protects. The sergeant stated that he was concerned about the content of the messages we were writing. Then when questioned about what the 1st Amendment says and how that might apply to his concerns, he seemed to genuinely not know and kinda just repeated variations of his concern about what we were writing as if it was a mantra they taught him in the academy.

#BlueLiesMatter

#BlueLiesMatter

He did briefly manage to expand on that once by stating that he was concerned the content of our First Amendment protected speech would incite people to violence against cops, in spite of the fact that nothing we wrote was violent or urging any sort of violence against anyone. It was merely an exercise of our Constitutionally protected right to Free Speech to protest police brutality and murders by cops.

I pointed out that it is all the blatant instances of police murdering people, often on video, that is inciting people, not us telling people about it. He didn’t seemed to be able to grasp the connection and actually stated that all those videos of cops murdering people were “irrelevant.”

That is actually really telling, in regards to the current attitudes and actions of many police officers. Many of them seem to actually believe that manufacturing a fake “War On Cops” and using that as a justification to double down on their own violence is the solution to all of the hatred and even violence that they are beginning to feel from the public. It certainly is one of the reasons that the police in Las Vegas have such little support among the residents here.

Then everyone stood around for over half an hour while they tried to intimidate us and we waited for these patrol officers to show up and harass and/or threaten us. At one point, someone who appeared to be an off-duty cop drove up, parked facing the wrong direction, and had a little chat with them. Afterwards, he did an illegal U-turn and parked the wrong direction (this time also in a fire lane) on the other side of the road, so he could chat with another officer on that sidewalk.

Murder=Paid Vacation (For Cops)

Murder = Paid Vacation (For Cops)

I got kinda bored then, so I started asking some questions. For the record, I never did get an answer on whether there’s a basketball court upstairs in the jail. Nor did they give me a clear answer on whether they still use those old-timely jail house keys or if there’s any correlation between the shade of their uniforms and their rank. I’m still considering whether to file a FOIA request on those, but I probably won’t.

Then they apparently got word from the patrol officers that they were full of shit, we weren’t doing anything illegal, and nobody was going to waste their time coming down to tell them that. So they (jay)walked back over to the jail and went inside.

All in all, the eight or so cops (five jail guards, one officer who appeared to be with the gang unit, an undercover unit, one patrol unit that was parked around the corner, and a Nevada Highway Patrol unit that might have just been passing through) that wasted about an hour on something they should have known was legal in the first place, served as a great example why the LVMPD keeps claiming it needs to extort Las Vegas citizens for even more money to hire additional cops.

(Note: This video is pretty long, so I tried to shorten it as much as possible by literally cutting out any pauses. For the sake of accuracy and transparency, I’ve also embedded the full 36+ minute raw video below. So you can watch the full unedited version, if you are inclined to do so. Mostly what was cut out was about ten minutes of dead air when we were just waiting for the patrol officers they had called to show up.)

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Raw Video

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