Regarding the rally and march in downtown Baltimore yesterday:
I attended the march yesterday and was able to talk to every news outlet on site.....WJZ, WBAL, WBFF, the AP, and Real News. I spoke with each one about the history of news coverage that had Zimmerman with no injuries at the time of the killing and every one of them acknowledged knowing that ABC news feed showing the Sanford police department video. I had some verbally say.....'she knows'. Almost all of the people with whom I spoke at the rally remember that news feed except our Police Chief Batts. Amazingly when I told him that as the representative for Justice in Baltimore it was his duty to shout out to US Attorney General Eric Holder to call for a mistrial because of judicial/prosecutoral negligence, his comment was 'I didn't see the video'. For a police chief in a city with high racial profiling and harassment of people of color not to be familiar with this video is like a defensive football coach not reviewing another team's play action. We can safely assume this intelligent police chief saw the video. I directed him to my website just in case.
While at the City Hall rally we noticed undercover police pretending to be part of the crowd taking pictures of those at the rally. There was no mistaking these two as undercover as they were built like special ops personnel and had a knife holster wrapped at the ankle. I stood by them and watched as they snapped pictures all around them with their cell phones. I then informed them that it is illegal for the police to take pictures of people protesting to put in a file. After all, what are police doing with those photos if not putting them in a file? We know that Governor Ehrlich was chastised for having the state police do the same thing...... because it is illegal. The article below explains this law that the Baltimore police choose to ignore:
Denver Police Keeps "Spy Files" on Peaceful Protesters
June 20, 2003 ACLU
Denver Police Keeps "Spy Files" on Peaceful Protesters
So, I basically shouted to all around these officers that these police were acting illegally and headed towards police positioned around the entire periphery of City Hall. I told one officer that I needed him to write a report on the undercover police officers breaking the law by photographing peaceful protesters with the intent of including them into a file. That officer blew me off by saying an officer can photograph and told me to get a lawyer if it bothered me. I reported a crime and the officer refused to investigate.
My encounter for those few hours from Police Chief, to undercover police, to street police all involved negligence in acknowledging Rule of Law was being openly broken. The good thing that is coming from all these rallies and protests is the city is becoming aware of the crime and corruption at the City Hall and throughout public agencies and are sick and tired. As the megaphone directed time and again.....vote all those incumbents out of office.....and we will!
Denver Police Keeps "Spy Files" on Peaceful Protesters
June 20, 2003 Denver Police Keeps "Spy Files" on Peaceful Protesters ACLU
Glen Morris, a Native American activist, learned in early February of 2003 that a rival faction of the American Indian Movement had once staged a plot to kill him. He learned this after reading a secret file the Denver Police Department had kept on him for 16 years. The Denver Police knew about the plot but never bothered contacting him.
His file was only the tip of an iceberg.
On February 7, 2003, the Denver Police made public 1,500 pages of the so-called ""Spy File". More than 300 people jammed police headquarters, wondering whether they were the focus of police intelligence. Representatives of 70 groups also showed up. The document was the product of nearly five decades of intelligence-gathering and contained more than 3,200 people and 208 organizations.
Many of those people did nothing more than attending peaceful protests and conferences. Some of them did more activist work, such as volunteering with Amnesty International and the American Friends Service Committee (both of which are recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize).
"These kind of practices have the potential to harm people's ability or willingness to freely express criticism of government policies, chilling free speech." - Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado
The ACLU filed a class action in state court to challenge the Denver Police Department's custom and practice of spying on peaceful protesters, maintaining the "Spy Files" and disseminating information from the files to third parties.
Another released document showed that Denver intelligence officers spied on the participants of a conference by collecting the license plate numbers of their vehicles in the parking lot, and then listed their corresponding names and home addresses in the Spy Files.
At yet another instance, the Colorado Springs Police Department supplied the information of 80 participants of a peaceful demonstration, along with the license plate numbers of 30 of them, to the Denver intelligence Bureau. James Wattles, a Denver Intelligence officer subsequently produced a document that listed the corresponding names and addresses of the 30 participants.
The ACLU of Colorado also obtained documents that indicate that the FBI's Joint Terrorist Task Force (JTTF) has been gathering information and creating files on the activities of peaceful protesters who have no connection to terrorism or any other criminal activity.
The terms of agreement ACLU reached with the Denver Police to resolve the Spy Files lawsuit became effective on May 7, 2003 with Judge Nottingham's signed order:
""Denver has agreed to put an end to its decades-long practice of monitoring and keeping files on peaceful critics of government policy who have no connection to criminal activity,"" said Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado. ""The end of this political spying enhances the professionalism of the police department and is a victory for the First Amendment and for the civil liberties of all people in Denver.
This is why agencies like the police and justice department no longer pay attention to the public.....they no longer see themselves working for you and me....they work for the executive (corporate CEO)....when this happens and elections are no longer free and fair because incumbent political machines control all politics in a state.....you have autocracy, not democracy! This is how the Chinese Politburo works.
Why the U.S. Executive Branch Is a Clear and Present Danger to Our Democracy Congress, judiciary and the mass media no longer provide constitutionally mandated checks and balances; they are largely extensions of Executive power.
July 16, 2013 | Editor's Note: The following is the latest in a series on the Executive Branch of the United States.
Edward Snowden's revelations have illuminated the most critical political issue facing America today: how an authoritarian U.S. Executive Branch which has focused on war abroad for the last 50 years now devotes increasing resources to surveillance, information management, and population control at home, posing a far greater threat to Americans' liberties than any conceivable foreign foe.
Snowden's view of the basic issue is that "I don't want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship,is recorded. That's not something I'm willing to live under."
Whether millions of other Americans accept the new surveillance status quo will determine the future not only of privacy but democracy in this nation. For even the critical issue of U.S. government of surveillance is only a part of a far larger pattern of undemocratic and unaccountable Executive Branch behavior, at home and abroad. The problem is not only that the Executive Branch operates in antidemocratic secrecy, with an “ Insider Threat Program” that even requires its employees to inform on each other or risk losing their jobs. It has also subverted the Congress, judiciary and mass media, so that they no longer provide constitutionally mandated checks and balances, and are instead largely today extensions of Executive power.
How do you feel about the fact that as you read these words the U.S. Executive Branch is storing information about your phone calls and Internet messages which, even years from now, could be used to embarrass, control and/or harass you, defeat you in an election, cause you to lose a job, break up your marriage, or even threaten you with imprisonment? Many say “I have nothing to worry about, I’m not a Muslim terrorist.” But this displays a naïve complacency about the massive pools of data the Executive is collecting that have nothing to do with protecting us from a relative handful of Muslim terrorists, and could easily be misused by secret and unaccountable government agencies in the future.
Even centrists like Tom Friedman and Bob Woodward have warned that America could turn into a "police-state" should another 9/11 occur. And the Executive Branch has created more of an infrastructure for such a state than ever in our history under a Democratic president who professes a belief in civil liberties. Should a Republican become president in 2016, with a Cheney-like mindset using “unitary Executive theory” to grab even more power, democracy could become little more than a pleasant daydream.
What is most troubling about America's political class today, who have mostly castigated Snowden but not even dared criticize a Dianne Feinstein for keeping U.S. Executive surveillance secret from the American people she theoretically represents, is not only that they are "willing to live under" a Surveillance State. It is that they don't even want to know.
They shoot the messenger rather than dare face his message, displaying precisely the kind of complacency that causes democracy to die.
Even decent pundits who oppose excessive wiretapping have buried their heads in the sand about Executive threats to democracy. N.Y. Magazine's Jonathan Chait has put it in the category of just another "non-scandal" like Benghazi or the IRS, writing "but when the president is carrying out duly passed laws and acting at every stage with judicial approval, then the issue is the laws themselves, not misconduct." This is seconded by Paul Krugman: "as Chait says, NSA stuff is a policy dispute, not the kind of scandal the right wing wants."
No one in Baltimore will forget just last year when Mr Anderson was horribly kicked to death by police and all evidence pointed to the police lying about the incident and the City Attorney refused to bring charges even as the the City Examiner declared his death a homicide.
Below you see we have been dealing with this for far too long and as we see today....it is getting worse, not better. When the City Council and Mayor bring to Baltimore a Police Chief that has a decades long record for corrupt administrations and police brutality you see the problem.....CITY HALL!
November 24, 2009
Police integrity stings -- another failure
Baltimore prosecutors today dropped criminal charges against a Baltimore police officer who was caught in an undercover integrity sting. It's another in a string of failures over the years in police attempts to target corruption this way.
Like other cases in years past, the one against Officer Michael Sylvester appeared to be clear-cut. As Sun crime reporter Justin Fenton writes:
According to charging documents, the Police Department's Integrity Testing Unit placed a call to a police dispatcher about 9:45 p.m. Sept. 2, reporting a suspicious person -- in reality an undercover officer -- who was "acting strange" at the intersection of Carlisle Avenue and Mt. Holly Street. Sylvester was dispatched to the call with a police officer trainee and quizzed the undercover detective. He ordered him to empty his pockets and sit on the curb while Sylvester searched his vehicle.
The undercover officer had been given $259 in marked departmental money, which he put in his pants pocket, and $135 that had been placed in the armrest of his vehicle. After Sylvester let the undercover officer go, the undercover detective determined that $50 was missing from his pocket and $20 was missing from the vehicle.
Officers wrote in charging documents that the entire incident was recorded on video and audio with multiple officers listening in, and officers conducted surveillance on Sylvester throughout his shift. On Sept. 3, officers executed a search warrant, finding the $70 in marked funds and another $90 in Sylvester's possession. In his locker, police said they found a zip-lock-type bag containing a rock substance suspected to be cocaine.
So why did city prosecutors in the State's Attorney's Office drop the case? We don't know and no one is saying. The officer's defense attorney said he hadn't gotten discovery so he doesn't know any details. Prosecutors would only say there were "inconsistencies" in the case compiled by police. And police declined to comment (the officer still has to face administrative charges).
Hundreds of integrity tests are done, some at random, others targeted at officers for whom complaints have been lodged. I've looked back through our newspaper clips and can find only one case, in 2003, in which an officer pleaded guilty -- to administrative charges of misconduct.
That same year, 2003, an officer was acquitted in court of planting drugs on an innocent man. That case too appeared clearcut. The officer wrote under oath that she saw the suspect plant drugs behind a bush when in fact an undercover detective had put the drugs there and then called 911 to report drug activity. But the officer's lawyer said police complicated their case by broadcasting a fake description that gave the officer probable cause to stop and question somebody.
In 2000, police charged Agent Brian L. Sewell in a similar case, planting fake drugs on a park bench which the officer later used to plant on a burglary suspect. But that case too got compromised by a series of blunders and prosecutors quickly dismissed the charges.
The history of these stings is problematic:
A succession of Baltimore police commissioners have argued that these stings are important to keeping cops honest, and that they've done hundreds without uncovering corruption means they are effective in preventing abuse. Police union officials and some former commanders have argued the stings, especially random ones, are useless and a waste of time.
In some cases, undercover officers plant money and see if officers take it. In other cases, they plant fake drugs and see if the cops use those drugs to charge someone else. But even if this is an effective way of preventing or combating corruption, the department's track record on convictions is dismal.
And the refusal of anyone to talk about why cases, such as this latest one today, are failing even before they get to court raises serious questions about the department's internal affairs operation. There obviously is something they're not doing to help prosecutors win cases, and the public and the cops deserve to know more details about what's being done.
Cops and the public deserve good police but if the department feels these stings are necessary and effective, they at least need to assure both the public and the police that they're being carried out fairly and competently. That prosecutors are simply dropping the cases is unfair to the cop, who is now tainted by what appears to have been a badly investigated case, and unfair to the public that can't be assured its police force is being properly monitored.