Loss of Privacy

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

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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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Race is at the forefront of the current debate over the police use of deadly force. But one shooting in Wisconsin highlights another factor at play when police shoot civilians — the lack of outside investigation. And the decade-old death has led to real reform in the state.

More at NPR.

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When Amy Barnes rode her bike to the store to buy some butter, she never thought she’d end up in jail.

In the police dash cam video, Barnes is heard hurling an expletive as she peddles by while they question a suspect.

“(Expletive deleted) the police.”

Barnes, who was unavailable, admitted to FOX 5 News in October of 2012 of her actions.

“And I said (expletive deleted) the police and raised the middle finger and passed by.”

On camera an officer reacted to the profanity: “That ain’t happening.”

Police followed Barnes, arrested her and charged her with disorderly conduct then took her to jail.

Cynthia Counts her attorney says police were heavy handed on Barnes.

“She could have been given a citation, but was arrested, put in solitary confinement, for part of it, she was in jail more than 24 hours.”

Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

The judge dismissed the charge despite claims by police Barnes’ profanity offended others as heard on the police video:

“You see the little kids standing on the corner you think they care to hear your language.”

Barnes and Counts sued the county claiming violation of free speech. Cobb County settled for one hundred thousand dollars.

It doesn’t matter who is offended by the speech. Just because a person doesn’t like what you say, doesn’t mean you can’t say it.

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One law for the people. Another for those in charge.

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“We cannot criminalize such a large population of society that engage in casual marijuana use,” the chief said in the radio interview. The topics were wide-ranging — but the chief was largely asked about marijuana use. McClelland made it clear he believes enforcing marijuana laws is wasting time and other valuable resources.

“Taxpayers can’t afford to build jails and prisons to lock up everyone that commits a crime,” said McClelland. “We must put more money into crime prevention, treatment, education, job training.”

More at 2 Houston.

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