Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged abuse

Several makers of police body cameras say their orders have grown in recent months, particularly since a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., shot 18-year-old Michael Brown. A grand jury decided Monday there is not enough evidence to charge the officer, Darren Wilson, with a crime.

Taser (TASR), best known for the line of stun guns bearing its name, said sales of its body cameras were up 30% in the third quarter, which included the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown.

Last week, the company said the San Francisco police department had ordered 160 cameras. The Los Angeles police department recently decided it would arm officers with Taser-brand cameras as well.

In all, over 1,200 police agencies are now using Taser cameras, said Sydney Siegmeth, and the company has sold over 100,000 of them, including cameras mounted on the stun guns themselves.

Similarly, Digital Ally (DGLY) said inquiries about its on-body cameras have increased six- or seven-fold, and sales are up three or four times the average.

More at CNN.

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For more than three months after police officer Darren Wilson killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in the middle of a Ferguson, Missouri, street on August 9, it was difficult to get a full idea of what happened.

Wilson’s grand jury testimony was secret. But there were leaks, along with a few publicly available details about his life. He is 28 years old. Six months before the shooting, he won a commendation for “extraordinary effort in the line of duty.” He lived with his girlfriend (whom he married in secret in October). He had previously worked for a nearby police department that was so dysfunctional it was disbanded. Anonymous sources “close” to him told various news outlets that Brown had tried to grab Wilson’s gun and that Brown was charging at him before Wilson fired the fatal shots. A fuzzy picture of Wilson and his account emerged.

Of course, it’s impossible to ever know Brown’s side, because he isn’t here to tell it. But we have learned quite a bit about him, as well. He was “no angel.” He had marijuana in his system when he died. He was college bound. He stole cigarillos from a convenience store and “strong-armed” a clerk in the process. He, at 6’5″ and almost 300 pounds, was remembered by loved ones as a gentle giant.

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St. Louis County police said they have spent around $100,000 stocking up on riot gear and other items they may need if protests turn violent after prosecutors announce whether a Ferguson officer will face criminal charges in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
“And CNN reports that citizens are also preparing for the grand jury ruling: gun sales are up in St. Louis.

A state grand jury has been meeting since shortly after Brown, who was 18 and black, was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, on Aug. 9. Brown was unarmed and some witnesses said he was trying to surrender. Wilson’s attorneys have repeatedly declined comment.

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Nash Bearcat

Roger Hoeppner was in a dispute with the city about tractors on his property. The police came to collect an $80,000 fine with a BearCat and 24 officers.

Earlier this month, nestled between the antique tractors he restores and the wood pallets he uses for his business, were 24 police officers, and, eventually, the armored truck.

Marathon County sheriff’s captain Greg Bean declined to answer multiple requests for comment, but told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the large police presence was called in because law enforcement officials expected they would have to seize large equipment.

And precisely how was a BearCat supposed to help move this large equipment? Was it going to tow tractors behind it?

He also defended the decision to use the armored vehicle because he said it can save time, money and increases safety in such situations.

“I’ve been involved in about five standoff situations where, as soon as the MARV showed up, the person gives up,” Bean told the Journal Sentinel.

So, the police would rather use a big vehicle to scare and intimidate people instead of actually doing their jobs.

Hoeppner has for years been embroiled in a legal battle with the city of Stettin, which has just over 2,500 residents, according to the 2010 US census.

The city sued him in 2008 because of the state of his property, which sits off of a major highway and is packed with wood pallets and land equipment. They complained again in 2010, saying he had not complied with an order to clean up the property, at which point a judge intervened. The city did not approve of adjustment he made to his land and in 2011 a judge authorized the town to take away some of his items. A final judgement was issued in April 2013, with Hoeppner receiving a $500 fine every day he did not comply. He lost an appeal in March – bringing the total he owed to $80,000.

The same day as the police intervention, Hoeppner paid out the sum, with officers escorting him to the bank he said he has been going to for 50 years. He said the incident depleted his 401k and caused his wife Marjorie to go to the hospital because of distress. “The United States is not supposed to terrorize its hardworking people,” Hoeppner said.

“I just don’t understand why a dollar and a half of postage on an envelope that I would have had to pick up at the Wausau post office wouldn’t have done the same thing as 24 officers and an armored vehicle,” Hoeppner told the Guardian.

No one else does either, sir.

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Did you know police can just take your stuff if they suspect it’s involved in a crime? They can!
It’s a shady process called “civil asset forfeiture,” and it would make for a weird episode of Law and Order.
See?

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