Have you Captured A Video
Of Police Misconduct or Brutality?

SUBMIT IT HERE

Category Archives: Police Stealing our money

Average Americans Commit 3 Felonies a Day

Violent crime is down America, across the board, spanning two decades. Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced that the incidence of reported rape had hit a 20-year low. Homicides are down, as are juvenile violence and crimes committed against children. Crime rates have been plummeting since the early 1990s to such an extent that explaining the drop has become something of an obsession among criminologists and sociologists.

Part of the drop can of course be explained by mass incarceration—America leads the world in the percentage of its population behind bars. Putting one in every 100 citizens in jail causes its own problems, and there’s plenty of debate over just how much that incarceration has contributed to the fall in violent crime. But there’s no question that we’ve put lots of people in prison over the last 20 years, the crime rate has fallen, and part of the public likely believes (with some justification) that there’s a link betweent the two.

But there’s something else going on too, picked up in the blogosphere last week by George Washington University political science Professor John Sides. According to Gallup, since 2002 the percentage of the American public who think violent crime is on the rise has been increasing, even as actual violent crime rates continue to fall. Sides notes that from 1989 to 2001, perception and reality somewhat went hand in hand. But 2002 to 2003 saw a 19 percent leap in public perceptions that violent crime was on the uptick, and the figure has been going up in the years since—to 74 percent today. What’s going on?

From the time Richard Nixon made crime a national political issue in the 1970s, we’ve been conditioned by politicians and public officials to live in perpetual fear. Our baseline is that there’s too much crime, and that we aren’t doing enough about it. Despite that, there was an actually drop in public worry about crime that began in 1992 and continued until 2002. As noted, that drop corresponded with an actual decline in the national crime rate, something that hadn’t happened in 30 years. That crime rates going down for the first time in a generation was something new, something worth noticing. The 1990s were also generally an optimistic decade. The economy was humming. We weren’t engaged in any major wars. We didn’t have many worries, period.

Post-2002, the national mood soured. Terrorism, obviously a form of violent crime, was all over the news. The economy slowed down. Illegal immigration once again became a national issue, along with the false assumption that undocumented immigrants bring violent crime. And so we returned to a state of fear, though the crime rate continued to fall.These fluctuations in the Gallup poll are interesting, but it’s worth noting that the percentage of respondents who believe violent crime is on the rise has dipped below 60 percent only three times since 1991. This, again, despite the fact that violent crime has been in decline over the entire period.

Fear makes for easy politics. It both wins votes and primes us to give government more power at the expense of personal liberty. And that’s certainly true when it comes to crime. With the possible exception of an incumbent mayor, politicians only benefit from exaggerating the threat of violent crime. Senators, Congressmen, and even governors are rarely held responsible when the crime rate goes up. But they do win votes by proposing new powers for police and prosecutors to bring it down.

The result has been a one-way ratchet effect on crime policy. We’re perpetually expanding police and prosecutorial power, a process only occasionally slowed by the courts. Congress and state legislatures rarely take old criminal statutes off the books, but they’re always adding new ones. A 2008 report from the Heritage Foundation estimates that at the federal level alone, Congress has been adding about 55 new crimes to the federal criminal code each year since the 1980s. There are now about 4,500 separate federal crimes. And that doesn’t include federal regulations, which are increasingly being enforced with criminal, not administrative, penalties. It also doesn’t include the increasing leeway with which prosecutors can enforce broadly written federal conspiracy, racketeering, and money laundering laws. And this is before we even get to the states’ criminal codes.

In his new book, the Boston-based civil liberties advocate and occasional Reason contributor Harvey Silverglate estimates that in 2009, the average American commits about three federal felonies per day. And yet, we aren’t a nation of degenerates. On the contrary, most social indicators have been moving in a positive direction for a generation. Silverglate argues we’re committing these crimes unwittingly. The federal criminal code has become so vast and open to interpretation, Silverglate argues, that a U.S. Attorney can find a way to charge just about anyone with violating federal law. In fact, it’s nearly impossible for some business owners to comply with one federal regulation without violating another one. We’re no longer governed by laws, we’re governed by the whims of lawyers.Whatever one may think of Ayn Rand’s political philosophy or ethics, her criminal justice prophecy has proven unsettlingly accurate: In our continuing eagerness to purge American society of crime, we’ve allowed the government to make us all into criminals.

“There’s no way to rule innocent men.
The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals.
Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them.
One declares so many things to be a crime
that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

Ayn Rand 

Pennsylvania State Trooper robs toll booth and kills 2 people and then gets shot and killed by police

A retired Pennsylvania state trooper shot and killed a turnpike worker and a security guard while attempting to rob a toll booth on the Fulton County Exchange before being shot and killed by police at approximately 7 a.m. this morning.

troopercollage

According to local reports, retired officer Clarence Briggs, 55, parked his car next to the Fort Littleton exchange, 80 miles west of Harrisburg, then ordered two toll workers away from the tolls and into a nearby building. He attempted to tie them up, but a fight ensued and Briggs left the building.

When a security van arrived to collect the tolls, one of the toll workers, Danny Krouse, 55, ran to the van, but Briggs reemerged. Briggs fatally shot Krouse and one of the security guards, Ronald Heist, 71, who was also a retired York City police officer.

Briggs then stole the van, drove it to his parked car, and was attempting to transfer the money to his vehicle when police arrived. A shootout ensued, and Briggs was fatally shot.

Briggs had been a Pennsylvania State trooper for 26 years before retiring in 2012.

Cops Who Write Bullshit Tickets May Soon Face Prison Time

It can be argued that police departments across the country practice a form of legal extortion, in which victimless misdemeanors and infractions are punished with excessively punitive citations. The generation of state and city revenue via Kafkaesque civil and municipal violations is perhaps most apparent in the application of parking tickets, whereby inscrutable, sometimes illegible street signs make well-intentioned motorists increasingly susceptible to fines.

In the city of Los Angeles alone, fine revenue has increased 50% since 2003 and is expected to reach $180 million by 2018. In recent years, many online social media movements have surged in response to this transparently fraudulent urban taxation, with many citizens demanding their local city governments take action against cops filling their ticket “quotas.”

A new bill introduced by Representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri may soon push the movement forward. In the wake of the Department of Justice report regarding the police brutality and resulting riots in Ferguson, Missouri, Cleaver wants such unjust ‘policing for profit’ tactics to be considered federal civil liberty violations.

Calling the bill The Fair Justice Act, Cleaver wants any police officer charged with enforcing criminal or traffic laws for the sole purpose of raising revenue to face prison time for up to five years!

“The time has come to end the practice of using law enforcement as a cash register, a practice that has impacted too many Americans and has disproportionately affected minority and low-income communities,” Representative Cleaver said. “No American should have to face arbitrary police enforcement whose sole purpose is to raise revenue for a town, city, or state.”

This echoes President Barack Obama’s comments following the release of the DOJ report on Ferguson.

“What we saw was that the Ferguson Police Department, in conjunction with the municipality, saw traffic stops, arrests, tickets as a revenue generator, as opposed to serving the community,” the President said.“And that it systematically was biased against African Americans.”

Do you think such a maneuver can withstand the grinding inequities of our legal system? Considering the recent difficulties in getting district attorneys to even prosecute cases of clear police brutality, it’s hard to be optimistic ‘policing for profit’ tickets will be yielding disciplinary action any time soon. But perhaps lawmakers like Cleaver can at least help bring the issue into the limelight.

 

How Traffic Stops for License Plates, Tail Lights, Seatbelts Can be a Death Sentence in Police State USA

Drivers, Beware: The Costly, Deadly Dangers of Traffic Stops in the American Police State

“The Fourth Amendment was designed to stand between us and arbitrary governmental authority. For all practical purposes, that shield has been shattered, leaving our liberty and personal integrity subject to the whim of every cop on the beat, trooper on the highway and jail official. The framers would be appalled.”—Herman Schwartz, The Nation

Trying to predict the outcome of any encounter with the police is a bit like playing Russian roulette: most of the time you will emerge relatively unscathed, although decidedly poorer and less secure about your rights, but there’s always the chance that an encounter will turn deadly.

The odds weren’t in Walter L. Scott’s favor. Reportedly pulled over for a broken taillight, Scott—unarmed—ran away from the police officer, who pursued and shot him from behind, first with a Taser, then with a gun. Scott was struck five times, “three times in the back, once in the upper buttocks and once in the ear — with at least one bullet entering his heart.”

Samuel Dubose, also unarmed, was pulled over for a missing front license plate. He was reportedly shot in the head after a brief struggle in which his car began rolling forward.

Levar Jones was stopped for a seatbelt offense, just as he was getting out of his car to enter a convenience store. Directed to show his license, Jones leaned into his car to get his wallet, only to be shot four times by the “fearful” officer. Jones was also unarmed.

Bobby Canipe was pulled over for having an expired registration. When the 70-year-old reached into the back of his truck for his walking cane, the officer fired several shots at him, hitting him once in the abdomen.

Dontrell Stevens was stopped “for not bicycling properly.” The officer pursuing him “thought the way Stephens rode his bike was suspicious. He thought the way Stephens got off his bike was suspicious.” Four seconds later, sheriff’s deputy Adams Lin shot Stephens four times as he pulled out a black object from his waistband. The object was his cell phone. Stephens was unarmed.

If there is any lesson to be learned from these “routine” traffic stops, it is that drivers should beware.
Continue reading How Traffic Stops for License Plates, Tail Lights, Seatbelts Can be a Death Sentence in Police State USA