Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts tagged NYPD

nypd

The NYPD is, effectively, a paramilitary group operating in one of the largest cities in the world.

From the NY Post:

The NYPD will launch a unit of 350 cops to handle both counterterrorism and protests — riding vehicles equipped with machine guns and riot gear — under a re-engineering plan to be rolled out over the coming months.

The Strategic Response Group, or SRG, will be devoted to “advanced disorder control and counterterrorism protection,” responding to the sort of demonstrations that erupted after the Eric Garner grand jury decision and also events like the recent Paris terror attacks.

“It will be equipped and trained in ways that our normal patrol officers are not,” Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thursday.

“It will be equipped with all the extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and the machine guns that are unfortunately sometimes necessary in these ­instances.”

The department will do away with the current system that pulls cops off regular assignments to provide a beefed-up presence at certain hot spots in “critical incident” vehicles.

When ordinary citizens show up to a protest and see this sort of response from the police, they are going to turn around and go home. The NYPD is silencing dissent. They don’t even need to fire a shot. The SRG has compared protesting with terrorism and no one wants to be labeled a terrorist.

The NYPD later attempted to clarify the role of the SRG.

“They are not going to be handling protests, demonstrations, [or do] crime work in precincts,” Chief of Department James O’Neill told reporters about the planned unit of critical response vehicles — dubbed CRVs — which will be part of the city’s counterterrorism effort.

O’Neill had to clarify the unit’s duties after some media reports indicated the heavily armed cops would be toting large automatic rifles and even machine guns at demonstrations, something that unnerved some activists.

If they aren’t going to be doing these things, then why is terrorism and protesting being placed under the same umbrella group? Despite the clarification, the initial statement clearly reveals that you have no rights if you’re going to protest. You oppose the “American way” of life, there will be consequences.

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The NYPD has been using a secretive program for several years using unmarked vans with x-ray machines inside. They’re supposed to detect bombs. ProPublica spent three years attempting to determine what the program was about, but the NYPD refused. It took a judge to order the release of the records to learn anything.

The ruling follows a nearly three-year legal battle by ProPublica, which had requested police reports, training materials, contracts and any health and safety tests on the vans under the state’s Freedom of Information Law.

ProPublica filed the request as part of its investigation into the proliferation of security equipment, including airport body scanners, that expose people to ionizing radiation, which can mutate DNA and increase the risk of cancer.

Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the city’s law department, said Thursday that the NYPD would appeal “because disclosing this sensitive information would compromise public safety.”

The X-ray vans at issue are essentially a version of older airport body scanners mounted on a truck.

The X-ray vans—which reportedly cost between $729,000 and $825,000 each—are designed to find organic materials such as drugs and explosives. The rays penetrate the metal in a car or concrete in a building and scatter back to a detector, producing an image of what’s inside. The van can scan while driving alongside a row of shipping containers or while parked as cars pass by. Customs agencies around the world have used them to fight drug and human smuggling.

But most Federal Drug Administration regulations for medical X-rays do not apply to security equipment, leaving the decision of when and how to use the scanners up to law enforcement agencies such as the NYPD.

The NYPD’s policies are of particular interest because many agencies have adopted strict policies to address potential harm from backscatter X-ray scans. When Customs began using the vans extensively in 2010, the agency prohibited their use on occupied vehicles and required that people get out of the vehicles before they were X-rayed.

But because the NYPD has refused to release the department’s policies and procedures, it’s unclear how widely the vans are being used—if at all, whether they’re being used to scan people or even if police are deploying them for routine patrols on busy city streets.

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Story from NY Times.

The officer loses his badge and gun and placed on modified assignment.

The original video.

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nypd

Pamela Held was initially pulled over by police for not having an inspection sticker on her car. In the course of events, Officer Sean Christian obtained Held’s cell phone, which had nude photos of her. Christian then forwarded the photos to his own cell phone and Held is now suing the police department.

Held’s nightmarish ordeal unfolded the night of Feb. 6 when five cops in a police van pulled over her Sentra in Ridgewood because it had no inspection sticker. The cops found prescription drugs in the car, so the officers, including Christian, hauled Held and her pal to the stationhouse.

When cops began grilling her about her whereabouts that night, Held told them she was visiting a friend and had text messages to prove it. She gave one officer the security code to open her phone and pointed out the messages. Then police left the room, with the phone, while she was processed on misdemeanor drug charges.

Three hours later, she was released. Shortly after leaving the precinct, Held looked at her phone and saw what had happened.

She counted 20 nude photos and five sexy videos of her that had been forwarded to the phone number. Fearing the worst, she contacted lawyer Richard Soleymanzadeh, whose private investigator traced the mystery number on Held’s phone to Christian and learned he was a cop.

In a brief interview with The News, Christian, on the job 10 years, denied swiping the photos and videos from Held’s phone. He denied ever meeting Held or working at the 104th Precinct. Christian, who remains on the job, claimed the number that appeared on Held’s iPhone belonged to his brother.

This isn’t my phone. I don’t know this woman. I don’t even for the police. It’s my brother’s phone.

But in a secretly recorded call to the number associated with the stolen images — and with Internal Affairs detectives listening in — Christian seemed quite familiar with Held, a source said. He chatted and flirted with Held for 50 minutes, even calling her back when the call dropped.

So Internal Affairs can basically confirm that this all occurred as Christian spent considerable time chatting up Held.

Detectives examined Christian’s phone records and it does not appear it ever received the photos or videos. Christian told detectives he never received Held’s images, another source said. But Soleymanzadeh contends there was no “message undelivered” notation on Held’s iPhone, indicating the images were sent.

The police should look at Christian’s phone a little more closely then. They can start by obtaining his phone records and logs from his cell phone provider. Just because the photos aren’t currently on his phone doesn’t mean he never received them or removed them to another device.

For the record, it doesn’t matter if Held uses drugs or failed to get an inspection sticker on her car. The police were only supposed to look at her cell phone to read the text messages that indicated she was telling the truth about her whereabouts. It does not give the police the right to take any photos, nude or not, and forward them to another number.

Photo.

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