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Category Archives: What are your rights in a traffic stop

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.

 

Cops Beat Man in Streets After “Illegal U-Turn”

NEW YORK — A disturbing video has surfaced online showing officers beat a man after pulling him over for an “illegal U-turn.”

The victim is Timothy Nelson, 24.

Timothy did acknowledge that he made an illegal turn and double parked to pick up some food.

But he was stunned when officers began beating him, displaying needless force instead of simply issuing him a ticket.

The video begins right when Timothy is pulled over.

The officers ask for his paperwork and he cooperates by giving it to them.

That’s when the unthinkable happens.

“He was punching me, three times. He punched my face and nose. I have a chipped fracture in the right side of my nose.”

Witnesses gathered nearby and were startled to see the man being beaten.
Continue reading Cops Beat Man in Streets After “Illegal U-Turn”

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

Florida Cops Disciplined for Pulling Man Over in Armored Car After He Flipped Them Off

The camouflage-wearing Florida cops who made international news last month when they used an armored car to pull a man over for flipping them off were disciplined, including one Alachua County Sheriff’s Sergeant who was suspended without pay for a day.

Perhaps now they will acknowledge that citizens do that have the right to flip them off, even though we all can agree it is a rude gesture.

Even if they are dressed like Rambo to oversee an annual college football festival titled Orange and Blue Weekend.

Or perhaps they just need to “grow a thicker skin,” as the investigative report concluded, which was obtained by the Gainesville Sun last week.

Now the sergeant who initiated the traffic stop, Kevin Davis, will also have to write a new policy for the agency, which will outline the situations when the armored car, officially titled the Lenco Bearcat Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), will be allowed to make traffic stops. We hope he makes it clear that contempt-of-cop traffic stops are forbidden

Sgt. Kevin Davis was issued one day of suspension without pay by Sheriff Sadie Darnell herself, and Deputy Richard Howell was given a written reprimand.

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Continue reading Florida Cops Disciplined for Pulling Man Over in Armored Car After He Flipped Them Off