Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts tagged police

A Niles, Ohio police officer was disciplined after an internal affairs investigation revealed he used his badge for a personal attack against a couple during a traffic stop.

According to the the 21-page report conducted by Internal Affairs, it finds Patrolman Todd Mobley violated several department policies in an incident on Nov. 25, including use of force violations, unlawful search and seizure or detention, failing to control his temper and misuse of police cruiser dash camera.

“As a result of that, there is a suspension that has been issued for 30 days and some other penalties attached in addition to that,” Niles Law Director Terry Dull said.

The other penalties include forfeiting compensatory and vacation time and other leave in the amount of several thousand dollars.

According to the police report, another officer arrived and Officer Mobley instructed him to shut off his dash camera, claiming it was for a legitimate law enforcement purpose, when it was for the sole purpose of not wanting his words recorded while threatening Huffman.

Where would it be legitimate to ever turn off the camera?

Source.

Download (PDF, 621KB)

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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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At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

The radars work like finely tuned motion detectors, using radio waves to zero in on movements as slight as human breathing from a distance of more than 50 feet. They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving.

HOW IT WORKS

“The idea that the government can send signals through the wall of your house to figure out what’s inside is problematic,” said Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union’s principal technologist. “Technologies that allow the police to look inside of a home are among the intrusive tools that police have.”

Agents’ use of the radars was largely unknown until December, when a federal appeals court in Denver said officers had used one before they entered a house to arrest a man wanted for violating his parole. The judges expressed alarm that agents had used the new technology without a search warrant, warning that “the government’s warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions.”

By then, however, the technology was hardly new. Federal contract records show the Marshals Service began buying the radars in 2012, and has so far spent at least $180,000 on them.

More at USA Today.

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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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A Victoria, Texas police officer is under investigation for excessive force after he stopped a man for an expired registration sticker.

The officer, Nathanial Robinson, 23, was placed on administrative duty Friday pending the outcome of an internal investigation into whether he violated the use of force policy when he tased Victoria resident Pete Vasquez, said Chief J.J. Craig. The officer was hired after graduating from the police academy two years ago.

The incident happened Thursday after Robinson saw an expired inspection sticker on the car Vasquez was driving back to Adam’s Auto Mart, 2801 N. Laurent St., where he helps with mechanical work.

Vasquez got out of the car, which is owned by the car lot, attempting to get the manager. He pointed out to the officer the dealer tags on the back of the car, which would make it exempt from having an inspection.

“Public trust is extremely important to us,” Craig said. “Sometimes that means you have to take a real hard look at some of the actions that occur within the department.”

The internal investigation also will examine the details of the arrest. Driving with an expired inspection sticker is a Class C misdemeanor, typically addressed with a citation. Because Vasquez was driving a car with dealer tags, the car was exempt, Craig confirmed. Vasquez was released from the hospital without being cited.

Even if the officer was correct, which he wasn’t, a citation was all that was needed. An arrest was not warranted.

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