We heard yesterday about the acquittal of Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. I wanted to look today at how media and public access to public information is being dismantled each time we privatize part of the public sector. Make no mistake,....the intention is to privatize the police and fire departments across the country with these same private contractor military police corporations.....just as they are giving our public transportation to the French corporation VEOLA. Each time this happens the public loses its voice in how these public projects work and we lose oversight and accountability as well.
I reminded people that when the Trayvon Martin killing first happened the major news networks had a few days of showing videotape of Zimmerman arriving at Sanford police headquarters right after the shooting. This is ABC/NBC news who obtained police department camera feed and they made it public on the nightly news. The video clearly shows Zimmerman with no injuries to his head or face. The link below shows this ABC footage. Before you do conspiracy theory about the video.....I DID SEE IT ON NATIONAL NEWS STATIONS...IT IS NOT MANUFACTURED.
This is one of the best videos....no injuries folks!
George Zimmerman Shows No Sign of Injury in Video Taken After Killing
newsfeed.time.com ABC News showed this as well.....
George Zimmerman told police he shot Trayvon Martin after a vicious, bloody attack. But a police video of him being taken in for questioning.....
After this initial showing on national news a few days later Zimmerman appeared again at police headquarters and this time he had the head and face injuries and I remember the comments from reporters then was that he had taken those few days and had friends rough him up to make it look like he was attacked. WE ALL FELT SURE THAT ZIMMERMAN WAS THE AGGRESSOR. Then NBC received news it was to be sued for a segment that was edited in what Zimmerman's team said showed bias and that was the end of media coverage.
What happened to that video footage during the trial? We heard EMTs testify that Zimmerman had those injuries when they took him to the hospital. My point here is that we are seeing police department activity censored from public view in this case and cases across America. The police and fire are public agencies and there should be no need to hide behind lack of transparency.
Below you see how in Baltimore the media is trying to report the facts and then the police are openly changing the details to hide misconduct. We have police chases in downtown Baltimore that have the the person pursued plowing through traffic lights hitting other cars and pedestrians all the time and it is illegal for police to be in pursuit in the city. THERE IS NEVER ANY PUBLIC COMMENT BY THE POLICE OR THE CITY ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE ABOUT THE POLICE OPENLY FLAUNTING LAWS AND EVERY ATTEMPT TO KEEP IT OUT OF THE MEDIA. This appears to be just what was happening in this case i n Florida. We don't know, but it feels as though the Sanford police department told these news media that they were not allowed to show this footage.
I want to emphasize that this is not Rule of Law and it is not first world.....this kind of behavior with police disregarding law and hiding it is second and third world and illegal. In Baltimore, we have public justice people who run for office that ignore all of what is government corruption and corporate crime.
IF YOU DO NOT SHOUT LOUDLY AND STRONGLY FOR THESE INCREMENTAL LOSES OF RULE OF LAW REGARDING PUBLIC RIGHTS AND JUSTICE WE WILL LOSE ALL OUR RIGHTS AS CITIZENS AND THAT IS TO WHERE THEY ARE GOING!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE.....IF YOUR POL WAS SHOUTING AND BEING VERY PUBLIC AGAINST THIS THE BEHAVIOR WOULD STOP.
Driver of car in fatal City Hall crash charged with manslaughter Eyewitness says trooper following Acura "was going foot-on-the-floor fast."
Fern Shen April 15, 2013 at 7:42 pm Baltimore Brew
Stephen Hersl outside Baltimore City Hall at the spot where a car struck and killed his brother.
Nearly one week after a speeding car careened off Interstate 83, striking and killing a city worker in front of City Hall, police have arrested the 43-year-old Baltimore man who was driving the car.
Johnny Johnson, of the 2400 block of Francis Street, was charged with “manslaughter by automobile, homicide by motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, driving under the influence of drugs, driving under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of heroin, possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and numerous traffic violations,” according to an emailed press release from the Maryland State Police (MSP).
Immediately following the April 9 crash that killed longtime city employee Matthew Hersl, the State Police said the driver of the Acura that struck him had been released, his name withheld pending investigation.
The subsequent decision on how to charge Johnson was made after the MSP consulted with the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, according to the release.
“The warrant was served on Johnson today by members of the Maryland State Apprehension Team with the assistance of the Baltimore Warrant Fugitive Task Force,” the MSP release says, noting that Johnson is being processed at Central Booking.
Investigators from the MSP’s CRASH Team, under the guidance of the Baltimore City States Attorney’s Office, applied for and obtained an arrest warrant today and apprehended Johnson shortly after 1:00 p.m. “while walking to his residence,” the release said.
It noted that “evidence has been obtained which indicated that Johnson had drugs in his system at the time of the fatal crash.”
Eyewitness Saw Trooper Flooring It
Still murky is the involvement of a Maryland State trooper in the incident.
A trooper, who first encountered the Acura on I-83, had followed it off the highway and into city streets. State Police spokesman Marc Black said at the time that the 2000 Acura TL had been traveling at speeds that may have exceeded 100 miles-per-hour.
But the trooper following him, Black had said, was approaching from a distance and his conduct did not amount to a high-speed chase.
But a man who saw the state police car as it passed the 200 block of Holliday Street, just moments before the crash, told The Brew today that the trooper was clearly in pursuit.
“I had my hand on the doorknob to go out. . . and I heard this screech-of-tires sound of a car as it’s slowing down abruptly and then taking off,” said Paul Jay, CEO and senior editor of the Real News Network’s Baltimore Bureau, which is located at the corner of Holliday and Saratoga streets.
Jay said he opened the blinds on his door, looked out and saw – no more than seven to 10 seconds after the screeching sound – a state trooper’s car barreling down Holliday Street.
“What flies by is a trooper and he’s going foot-on-the-floor fast. He’s just whipping by,” said Jay, who said he could not remember if the trooper had his lights and siren on. Jay said he thought it likely the driver saw the trooper but added that he couldn’t rule out the possibility that he just took off on his own. Jay noted that the whole incident may well have been captured by a city security camera at that intersection.
Black said he could not comment, beyond his earlier statements, on what the trooper had been doing that day, adding that the matter is still under investigation. (Anyone with information regarding this crash is still asked to contact the Maryland State Police, Golden Ring Barrack at 410-780-2700.)
Black was asked if the state police, when in crowded city streets, follow Baltimore City Police protocol prohibiting officers from conducting high-speed chases unless “the driver or passengers are believed to have committed a violent crime or pose a risk to public safety.”
(That’s how city police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi described the policy to the Baltimore Sun in a 2010 story about an officer suspended after a high-speed chase that led to a motorcyclist’s death.)
No, Black said, “we follow our own policy.” He said in general, troopers “are responsible for whatever actions are taken” and drive “in a manner that’s as safe as possible.”
“Re-Living his Death”
Hours before the arrest was announced, Matthew Hersl’s brother Stephen Hersl stood in front of City Hall, holding a bag of personal items from his brother’s office at the Department of Finance that he had just retrieved.
“I keep thinking of him standing right here, with his head turned and a car coming so fast from right there,” Stephen Hersl said, pointing up Holliday Street. “It’s why I haven’t been able to sleep, I haven’t been able to eat.”
Hersl said he hadn’t been able to focus on the question of charges against the driver, the high-speed chase or any of those details.
“We’re aware of all that. We hear the rumblings. But I’m just hoping the process will take care of itself,” he said, holding the bobble head dolls and other items from his brother’s desk as workers behind him labored to replace the utility pole knocked down by the hurtling Acura.
“I’m still re-living his death,” Hersl said, explaining that at the time of the crash, his brother had been talking on his cell phone with another community leader about a meeting scheduled that night .
“He would have been standing here, his head would have been turned,” he said, retracing his brother’s last steps. “I can’t stop thinking about it.”
Here we have an article about the Fairfax County police and you can see here what is happening all across the country and especially in Baltimore and whereas you can read all kinds of academic studies that show a widespread decline in police accountability when you read a story of it in the news....it is brief and rare. I read lots of stories of police brutality and lack of transparency for Baltimore's new police Chief Batts from Long Beach, Calif.....but all the media praised him and all warts on his record were hidden. Now we have police officers killing citizens, breaking laws, and more and more public accountability is disappearing. When citizens recently complained about this the police spokesperson came on the news and said WE ARE RUNNING A CONSTITUTIONAL POLICE DEPARTMENT.
"There's No Transparency, and I Find that Inexcusable" Meet the 82-year-old ex-cop, World War II vet, and private eye who's challenging one of the largest police departments in the country. Radley Balko | June 14, 2010
At a stoplight just a few miles from his home, Nicholas Beltrante, 82, puts on his flashers, opens the driver's side door to his car, gets out, and approaches my car. I roll down my window.
"You see that little memorial over there?" he asks. I nod. "That's where a Fairfax County Police officer killed Ashley McIntosh." He starts to offer more detail, then realizes the middle of an intersection probably isn't the best place to fill me in. "I'll tell you more about it when we get to Ruby Tuesdays," he says.
Beltrante asked me to lunch (disclosure: his treat) last month after seeing a column I wrote on the striking lack of transparency among Northern Virginia's three largest police departments. He wanted to discuss his new organization, the Virginia Citizens Coalition for Police Accountability (VCCPA), which he says he started in order to fight what he calls the "decades of corruption and secrecy at the police department here in Fairfax County."
In addition to passion, Beltrante brings some gravitas to the project. He points to his "World War II Veteran" license plate. Beltrante served as a Navy medic. "People still come up and thank me," he says, referring to the license plate. "Always makes my day." Beltrante worked for the D.C. Metro police department for 14 years, retiring with the rank of sergeant detective. He then opened a private detective agency, which he ran for 30 years. The Democratic National Committee hired his agency to sweep their office for bugs after the Watergrate break-in. (Beltrante met his wife Patricia—to whom he's been married for 35 years—when she came to the agency with suspicions that her then-husband was cheating. He was.)
Ashley McIntosh was killed in February 2008 when Fairfax County Police Officer Amanda Perry, responding to a petty theft at a convenience store, sped through an intersection without sounding her siren, striking McIntosh's car. Perry was charged with reckless driving, the first time in decades an on-duty Fairfax County cop was charged with a crime. A judge later dismissed the charge, though Perry was ultimately discharged from the force for falsifying time sheets.
"They finally settled with the family in February," Beltrante says. "$1.5 million. That's $1.5 million taxpayers have to pay because Fairfax can't keep its police officers accountable."
Beltrante emphasizes that it isn't the mistakes but the lack of accountability that got him agitated enough to start his organization. "You have this David Masters who was killed last year," he says, referring to another incident in which a Fairfax officer shot an unarmed man along the same highway. "They won't even release the police officer's name. They won't even release the report. We're just supposed to trust them when they say that shooting was justified. I've worked in government. You don't keep the government accountable by shielding the people who work for it. There's this perception in some departments that officers are above the law."
Beltrante recently received some assistance to get his website up and running. But for the first several months of its existence, he ran the VCCPA from a typewriter, fax machine, and telephone in his home. "The phone rings all the time," he says. "There are more than enough complaints to keep me busy."
He then rattles off stories. There's the NAACP complaint about Randall Leroy Rollins, a black man killed by Fairfax police in 2007 during a drug sting. Police say Rollins reached for a gun. Witness accounts differ from police accounts. More disturbing, Rollins' family says when his body was delivered to them, his testicles had been removed. (Rollins was with a white woman at the time of the sting.)
There's Sal Culosi, the Fairfax optometrist killed during a 2006 botched SWAT raid on his home. Culosi was suspected of wagering on college football games with friends. Then there's Ian Smith, a mentally-ill man shot by Fairfax police just this year after a tactical team entered his home and he brandished a plastic BB pistol.
Beltrante acknowledges that the actions of the police may have been justified in some of these incidents. "The problem is that they refuse to share any information. Not with the press, not with the victims' families. Their transparency policy is that there's no transparency. And I find that inexcusable."
Beltrante eventually wants to start chapters of his organization in Richmond, Hampton Roads, and other cities across Virginia. First, however, he wants Fairfax to establish a formal civilian review board to oversee the police department. It's one of the largest police departments in the country without a citizen oversight board. Beltrante also wants to challenge Virginia's open records law, or at least the way the police departments in Alexandria, Fairfax County, and Arlington have interpreted it, which is that it gives them carte blanche to turn down any and all information requests.
"I've already filed the open records request for the report and the name of the police officer who shot David Masters," Beltrante says. "They turned me down, as I expected they would. We hope to work with the ACLU to either challenge the law in court, or get the legislature to change it. Think about that. An officer shoots and kills an unarmed man and we're not permitted to even know the officer's name. I find that offensive as a former police officer, as a veteran, and just as someone who happens to live in Fairfax County."
Radley Balko is a senior editor at Reason magazine.
If you do not believe Rule of Law has disappeared in the US you see that at a time when corporate fraud hits tens of trillions Obama has less action in investigation and prosecution than did Bush. Bush based his entire Presidency on letting corporations get away with anything and we elected Obama to reverse this....rather, he doubled-down on this fraud free-for-all.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Criminal Prosecutions for Financial Fraud FALLING Under Obama
In the latest example of the Same-Old-Shit We Shouldn't Believe In, it was reported on Tuesday that prosecutions of financial institution fraud under the Obama administration are far LOWER than they were under President George Bush the Lesser (though in fairness, as you can see in the chart above, the annual total dropped throughout Bush's presidency and would have no doubt continued to do so had he stayed in office).
Federal prosecutions for financial institution fraud have continued their downward slide despite the financial troubles reported in this sector. The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during the first eleven months of FY 2011 the government reported 1,251 new prosecutions were filed. If this activity continues at the same pace, the annual total of prosecutions will be 1,365 for this fiscal year, down 28.6 percent from their numbers of just five years ago and less than half the level prevalent a decade ago. See Table 1.
The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with financial institution fraud offenses are based on case-by-case information obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys.What more evidence do you need that Obama has merely been running Bush's third term? After the financial crash of 2008, the federal government should have put at LEAST as much effort in combating financial fraud as it does on terrorism. The numbers on that chart should have quickly doubled or more from Bush's last year in office, and yet exactly the opposite has occurred.