Especially when they’re used to people overlooking all those robberies, beatings, and murders while kissing their asses and calling them heroes. It’s certainly no fun when people break up the party that you threw for yourself by showing the public the truth behind the carefully constructed facade that you’ve been building for yourself over the years. It’s almost enough to make you want to manufacture a Phony War on Cops in order to try and recapture some of that blind devotion from those outside the sphere of your families and the ever-shrinking ranks of the CopSuckers.
This is even more true in relation to a CopBlocker who is intelligent, knowledgeable of the law and citizens’ rights, and brave enough to confront the police when they see them violating those laws and/or trampling on people’s rights. It’s easy to bully someone when they don’t actually know whether what they are doing or witnessing someone else do is legal. Similarly, not everyone is willing to confront or stand up to a confrontation from armed people with a long and frequent history of violence, especially when those heavily armed people (significantly) more often than not literally get away with murder.
Anybody who has been paying attention to CopBlock.org over the past few months or so should be well aware that Adam Rupeka of Capital District Cop Block in New York State is one of those people. Not only has he been willing to challenge law enforcement officers while asserting his own rights and film police interactions with others in order to ensure their safety, he’s even been physically attacked and illegally arrested for doing so. Instead of backing down or accepting such an injustice, Adam successfully fought the bogus and ridiculous charges, and then went a step further, ensuring that a violent, abusive man was no longer employed as a police officer and in a position to endangering others by getting Officer Nathan Baker, the Saratoga Springs Police officer who pepper sprayed and arrested him for the non-crime of flipping a cop off, fired.
In light of that and Adam’s continued vigilance, it’s obviously no surprise that the police in upstate New York have an axe to grind with Adam. When all you have is a hammer and a low IQ, everything looks like a nail that needs to be violently hammered into submission. If that nail refuses to stay down and embarrasses you publicly by showing what a corrupt tyrant you are (on video for the world to see), then that’s even more so the case.
Cops have a pretty extensive history of retaliation and they rarely will even try to hide it very well. In fact, they probably want other potential “trouble makers” to see it as a warning to keep in line. The problem (for the police) is that they aren’t used to people opposing them in any sort of meaningful or effective way. They generally are in a position of power against people that are vulnerable economically or socially and therefore unable to fight back. It’s not often that they have to go beyond an initial act of physical or financial intimidation to make their “problem” go away.
Oftentimes when that doesn’t work the police are so frustrated and angry that they tend to overreach in their secondary efforts at retaliation and intimidation. They come up with charges that don’t actually fit and twist them until that square peg fits in the round hole they want to use it for. Frequently, they also want to make sure that sledgehammer is big enough to swat that fly once and for all. So they make sure the penalty attached to the charges they distort to punish and intimidate that annoying CopBlocker, who had the nerve to hold them accountable to the laws everyone else has to abide by, is sufficiently egregious to teach him a lesson once and for all.
Unfortunately for them, that type of overreach often has the opposite effect. The charges are too outrageously inappropriate to hold up, the general public recognizes the blatant effort by police to attack someone whose only real crime is criticizing them, and the publicity created only highlights the abuses and crimes that the cops were trying to keep from being exposed in the first place.
That’s essentially what happened here in Las Vegas when the LVMPD arrested me and three other members of Nevada Cop Block on blatantly silly graffiti charges for protesting against them murdering people in our community and literally never being held accountable. Their attempt to put us in jail for up to four years for drawing on public sidewalks with chalk along with their outrageous inflation of the (unnecessary) cleanup costs in order to justify those arrests and the higher charges, put public opinion firmly on our side and brought scrutiny to their wasteful spending at a time they were seeking to raise taxes in order to pad their already inflated budget.
In Adam’s case, once you look into the particulars, the charges they finally settled on to attack him with are even more precarious and unfounded. He’s been charged with Second Degree Reckless Endangerment and Reckless Endangerment of Property after a drone he was using to film New York State Capitol Building in Albany crashed into a chimney and landed on the roof of that building.
Below are the legal definitions of those crimes:
A person is guilty of reckless endangerment in the second degree when he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person. Reckless endangerment in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.
Reckless Endangerment of Property:
A person is guilty of reckless endangerment of property when he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of damage to the property of another person in an amount exceeding two hundred fifty dollars. Reckless endangerment of property is a class B misdemeanor.
There are several aspects of those laws that have to be proven in order to sustain a conviction on those charges. The first hurdle to get over is proving that Adam acted recklessly. That’s by far the easiest to do, because that’s largely an opinion-based conclusion. The second requirement is where things start to get a bit more difficult, though.
In the case of the Second Degree Reckless Endangerment charge, that requires proving that his actions would have caused “serious physical injury” or death to another person. Serious physical injury means physical injury that “causes serious or permanent disfigurement, serious impairment of health or loss or protracted impairment of the function of any bodily organ or limb and that creates a reasonable risk of death.”
- (A) is life threatening;
- (B) results in permanent impairment of a body function or permanent damage to a body structure; or
- (C) necessitates medical or surgical intervention to preclude permanent impairment of a body function or permanent damage to a body structure.
It requires a huge stretch of the imagination to believe that Adam’s little two pound drone would actually pose a real threat to harm anyone in such a serious and potentially permanent way.
However, it’s the “substantial risk” aspect of both laws that should blow the wheels off of this glorified witch hunt against Adam. Substantial risk means a strong possibility, as contrasted with a remote or even a significant possibility, that a certain result may occur or that a certain circumstance may exist. It is risk of such a nature and degree that to disregard it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in such a situation.
A substantial risk of serious harm means that the risk was so great that it was almost certain to materialize if nothing was done. [Miller v. Fisher, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 12932 (7th Cir. Ill. June 23, 2010)]
The idea that Adam’s drone would have caused injuries that would result in permanent disfigurement or physical disabilities had someone not prevented it is a silly claim on the face of it. Furthermore, the fact that no-one prevented him from flying a drone to avoid these imminent and unavoidable injuries in the past, along with the reality that those injuries in fact didn’t happen, proves that it’s nonsense. Even the reckless endangerment of property charge can’t be supported based on that, because the drone was stolen from Adam after it had crashed and it didn’t do $250 worth of damage to anyone’s property (or permanently disfigure anyone, either).
Furthermore, the police themselves have actually shown that drones don’t create a substantial risk of harm. As Ademo already pointed out in an earlier post, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department has already crashed a drone into one of the Bearcats that their SWAT team was in the process of posing around to assure people that they were prepared to serve and protect the shit out of them. That’s not the whole story, though. The MCSD actually crashed that drone a second time, plunging it into a lake in 2014. That time it was for keeps and the drone was destroyed. However, instead of abandoning the use of drones due to the substantial risk they represented, they went right out and bought another one.
In fact, the idea that the tiny (compared to the 7 foot, 50 pound version the Montgomery Sheriff’s Office crashed) drone that Adam was using represents a substantial risk of harm is laughable. Nobody was injured in either of the crashes by the Montgomery County SWAT team’s drone or at least six other documented crashes by police department drones. As a matter of fact, the FAA has compiled a list of 104 (as of Oct. 2014) drone crashes since 2010. Not one single injury has been reported as a result.
This is a silly retaliatory bully tactic that can and in all likelihood will be exposed for exactly what it is. It’s nothing more than a convenient opportunity to try intimidate and retaliate against Adam and to send a message to anyone else that might think about standing up to the thugs employed by the Albany Police and other nearby police departments.
Let the Albany Police Know What You Think of Their Actions Against Adam Rupeka!
Ronald Pierone is the Albany Police Department Investigator responsible for bringing these charges against Adam.
Ronald Pierone’s Contact Information:
[email protected] (Email)
Kelly is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes.
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