Random Thoughts (Political Edition)

nomix

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Australia just departed down the ages to the 18th century. I am seriously thinking about going down under doing courses in Norwegian swearing for Bruces in peril.

I'll do it for free, as long as I get beer (Foster's is not beer, get me some bitter), some food (salad is not food, get me some beef) and a place to stay (bed and a bathroom, and fast internet).

I'm note sure, but I don't really think aussie cops even know what "h?lvetes f?rrpulte fittefaensbais" means.
 

Cold Fussion

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Australia just departed down the ages to the 18th century. I am seriously thinking about going down under doing courses in Norwegian swearing for Bruces in peril.

I'll do it for free, as long as I get beer (Foster's is not beer, get me some bitter), some food (salad is not food, get me some beef) and a place to stay (bed and a bathroom, and fast internet).

I'm note sure, but I don't really think aussie cops even know what "h?lvetes f?rrpulte fittefaensbais" means.
We'll be sure to not give you Australian beer.
 

GRtak

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Two Women Ticketed For Eating Doughnuts In A Brooklyn Playground

The police may not be ticketing for smoking in the parks, but they are still ticketing parker visitors for crimes like...eating a doughnut in a playground. Yup, this weekend the police gave two young women in Bed-Stuy summonses for eating doughnuts in a playground while unaccompanied by a minor.

Tickets for being an adult in or around a playground have been popping up fairly frequently lately?see the Inwood chess players?but instead of giving the offending citizens a warning and urging them to leave, the NYPD's M.O. appears to be to hand out a ticket. Here's how our reader, an anthropology graduate student, describes her experience this weekend:

It was a glorious afternoon in early June when I took a friend of mine, who was visiting from New Haven, to Dough, an amazing doughnut shop in Bed-Stuy. Dough is tiny, but there was a park across the street, where I, as well as other doughnut lovers, had eaten doughnuts before. My friend and I entered the park, sat down on a bench and ate our doughnuts. Having finished, we sat there chatting for a few minutes.

As we were getting ready to move on, two officers approached us. Amongst themselves they debated whether the children?s toy next to us meant that we were there with a child. Then they asked us, ?Are you here with a child?? We told them no. One of the cops moved on to the couple on a bench nearby, also ostensibly childless, while the other one asked for our IDs. We handed them over and soon we were being guarded by this cop as his partner took our IDs to their police car. My friend and I were confused. We had seen parks with gates that had a sign clearly stating that adults without children were not allowed in. This park had no such sign.

When the cop that was guarding us asked if we had ever gotten summonses before, I asked him if he could show me the sign that alerted people to the fact that they were about to commit a violation by sitting on a bench. We looked at the sign together. ?That? I?m supposed to read that?? I asked. He said yes. It was a list of about fifteen park regulations. You would have to be no more than three feet away from it in order to read it. It looked something like this. Except there were no bullet points. Would they issue a kid a summons for standing on the swings? Or an adult, in the company of a child, a summons for taking off her shoes? According to the violation we got, 1-03(c2), ?not complying with park signs,? they could do that. Based on my experience, I actually think they would.

I got really angry and asked the officer if he honestly believed he was helping this community by giving us these summonses. His response only made me more angry. ?I don?t believe in anything,? he said. ?You don?t believe in anything? In helping people? Then you probably shouldn?t be a cop,? I said. This did not make him happy and he asked me, ?Well, do you think you are being a model citizen right now?? I knew that I had to stop talking, that I was taking this too much to heart, that my poor visitor was getting more and more anxious, but I could not believe what was happening. ?Do you think that being a model citizen means saying nothing when you see something you disagree with being done with your tax dollars? Because that is a model citizen in a totalitarian country.? He just shook his head at me. And at that point I did stop talking.

His partner returned. He had written two of the summons. We had been there for over twenty minutes now. He handed over our IDs to the cop that had been guarding us. Of course, they each had their own numbers to maintain so they were splitting the violations.

This cop attempted to be sympathetic. He proceeded to tell us that he was trying to be a gentleman by just giving us summonses instead of taking us in for questioning, because that was what ?they? wanted him to do. If he just gave us warnings and told us to leave, he would get in trouble for ?doing nothing all day.? He went on to say that all he did when he was growing up was ?do Tae Kwon Do and go to school.? ?Are you trying to say that we are bad people for sitting on a bench in a park and eating doughnuts?? I asked him, just trying to figure out where he was going with this. ?No, no, I?m just saying that I never got in trouble. Sometimes I play basketball,? he said, pointing at the courts behind him. Not in that park, he doesn?t. Not unless he has a kid strapped to his back at the time.

Finally, we were given our summonses and were free to go. Because we hadn?t been drinking alcohol or urinating in public, we do not have the option of pleading guilty by mail. Not that I am planning on pleading guilty. But either way, we have to show up in court or a warrant will be issued for our arrest. My friend does not live in New York and I am out of the country all summer, so this is going to be an ordeal in itself, given that the summons has no information on how to contact the court. Nor do we know how much we owe. Because the cops had no idea about that, either. They were just ?doing their jobs,? in the most mindless sense of that phrase.

I have three little nephews and I appreciate that keeping children safe is the thinking behind this rule. But this is basically trying to deter pedophiles with the equivalent of a speeding ticket. Meanwhile, in parts of the city with minimal amounts of public green spaces, people are taught that they are being ?bad? citizens for sitting on a bench for a few minutes. The regulations are as they are and they were posted, but does the issuing of summonses to people who even the police do not actually believe are posing a danger, with no prior warning, accord with the law's protective intent?
And for the record, this was at the Lafayette Gardens Playground, on Lafayette and Franklin Avenues, which is not to be confused with the Crispus Attucks Playground, a.k.a. "Prostitution Park," a few blocks away.

Nobody is saying that these women were in the right by sitting and eating their doughnuts on a bench in a playground rather than a park, they weren't, but should the police have jumped to give them a summons so quickly? What do you think?

I really don't get my country sometimes. This is obviously against the First Amendment provision of freedom to assemble.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances
But this will protect the children, right? I think this is another false sense of security that made a few people feel better about going to a park in New York city, but is about as good as the security theater the TSA provide.
 

Firecat

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I don't see the problem. They shouldn't have been there and a sign was posted.
 

Cobol74

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But the sign was small and complex with multiple prohibitions on it.

Any how one thing different between Ukania and the US there, no documented Id. necessary in Ukania, all you have to say is your full name and address, with everything else you can refuse to say anything. (That may be Englania as Scotlania has a different legal system I am not familiar with).

Also I have never ever paid a Policeman - nor will I if the government think it a good idea for 'on the spot fines'. (On the spot fines, pah, how un-Englanish)./ There, see why we do not have much in-common with Yupee, who do that sort of crap all the time over there - Yupee Police have guns too - yuck.
 

thevictor390

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I don't see the problem. They shouldn't have been there and a sign was posted.
I don't think that's the problem. They were issued a ticket without prior warning, with an undisclosed fine and court summons. So they have to go to court, and one of them is from out of state. No option of paying a fine and moving on. Plus, wouldn't it be nice if the cop was a reasonable, sensible person and just pointed out the sign and told them to move along?
 

Firecat

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If the point of having the regulation is to deter pedophiles/kidnappers/dealers, then it is only effective if it is enforced. It's not the fault of the police officers if they are out of state or travel a lot. They just have to make the time or give someone a power of attorney. The person said they don't plan on pleading guilty anyway, so they don't want to just pay a fine and move on. So if they want to fight it, then they are free to do so. I don't buy what they said about there being no information on contacting the court.

All that said....I actually do think the whole thing is stupid and a waste of time.
 

katwalk

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I don't like the "everyone is a pedophile" mentality. Oh no, a person who is not a kid or having a kid was at a playground. It's not like anyone ever finds playing children cute or anything like that. Have people forgotten how to supervise a kids?
 

nomix

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Have we, as societies, lost our innocence? Yes. Are we, as societies, making it worse with laws like this? Yes.
 

GRtak

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Wisconsin: Capitol Police Tackle, Arrest Members of the Press

Five people were arrested in Madison, Wisconsin at the Capitol yesterday, amid a march of thousands led by former Sen. Russ Feingold.

Protesters created a Walkerville tent city outside the state Capitol building in Madison, to protest budget cuts which could be enacted as early as this week. That budget bill may also include the anti-union provisions which passed but then got tied up in a court challenge over the procedures used to pass them.

The Walkerville project is more organized than the spontaneous protests that erupted in February when state Republicans tried to pass the anti-union provisions the first time. Organizers have a permit for Walkerville until June 20. Each day has a theme. It?s more of a presence than an organic outpouring of dissent.

But some protesters still want to enter the Capitol. Under the law, they have that right. The state ACLU successfully sued the Department of Administration to return the access policies to allow for a relatively open Capitol building. Yet yesterday, people were arrested in the Capitol building. Security personnel in the building started padlocking the doors, against the accepted standards mandated under court order, and when filmmakers started shooting that, the police turned their attention to them. These filmmakers were credentialed members of the press who have been capturing footage in Wisconsin for many weeks.

Last week at a Joint Finance Committee meeting, protesters engaged in civil disobedience and were carried out of the room. But this case looks to be much more sinister. Police officers in the Capitol just didn?t want video evidence of them locking the doors. So they tackled and arrested reporters, credentialed press.

Walkerville is meant to be a peaceful protest, but given how security is clearly on a knife?s edge, it could easily get out of hand.
 

nomix

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Arresting members of the press in a context like that is never acceptable, not even slightly.

This court order, was it in a federal court? If so, why aren't there US marshalls moving into Madison?
 

nomix

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That crackpot "freedom loving" moron of a governor? Or people who answer to him?
 

GRtak

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I think the court order came from a state court. The fact that Scott Walker and his cronies are still trying these amateurish tactics is somewhat disturbing. The only next logical step would be for them to try and clear out the "Walkerville", I fear they will and are trying to provoke violence. The play book they are using is straight from Nixon. Make them out to be a weird or immoral group then persecute them in the press, oops, they just arrested the press....


Thats not gone well.
 

nomix

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Arresting the press is a very stupid thing to do while following that strategy. I do agree it looks a little like Nixon, though. Little like Reagan too, in fact.

However, you're in a jiffy when a state court order the executive branch to do something. If the executive branch doesn't do it, what do you do?

Can Walker be impeached?
 

jmsprovan

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Arresting the press is a very stupid thing to do while following that strategy. I do agree it looks a little like Nixon, though. Little like Reagan too, in fact.

However, you're in a jiffy when a state court order the executive branch to do something. If the executive branch doesn't do it, what do you do?

Can Walker be impeached?
IIRC he can be recalled, but recall proceedings can only begin after someone has been in office for a year.
 

GRtak

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I do believe there is a way for him to be removed from office other than recall, but it involves the State Congress (Senate and House of Representatives), and the process varies from state to state.

Now for some TSA news. Follow the link to see the video.

Special Needs Son Harassed by TSA at Detroit Metropolitan Airport

ROMULUS, Mich. (WJBK) - The Mandy family says they were on their way to the happiest place on earth (Disney), but had to go through hell to get there.

"I realize they're trying to keep people safe, but come on, does he look like a terrorist?" said Dr. David Mandy.

The family was going through security when two TSA agents singled Drew Mandy out for a special pat down. Drew is severely mentally disabled. He's 29, but his parents said he has the mental capacity of a two-year-old, which made the experience that followed at metro Detroit's McNamera Terminal that much harder to deal with.

"You have got to be kidding me. I honestly felt that those two agents did not know what they were doing," Mandy told us.

Dr. Mandy claimed they asked Drew to place his feet on the yellow shoe line, something he didn't understand. They proceeded to pat his pants down, questioning the padding which was his adult diapers. When the agents asked Drew to take his hand and rub the front and back of his pants so they could swab it for explosives, his dad stepped in and tried to explain that Drew was mentally challenged.

"They said, 'Please, sir, we know what we're doing,'" Mandy said.

The TSA agents saw Drew holding a six-inch plastic hammer.

"My son carries his ball and his hammer for security. He goes everywhere with (them)," said Mandy.

The TSA it seems saw the toy as a weapon.

"He took the hammer and he tapped the wall. 'See, it's hard. It could be used as a weapon,'" Mandy explained. "So, Drew's also holding the ball, and I said, 'Well, how about the ball?' He (said), 'Oh, he can keep that."

Dr. Mandy was told he would need to have the toy shipped if he wanted to keep it, a process which caused them to almost miss their plane, so he pitched it.

"It just killed me to have to throw it away because he's been carrying this like for 20 years," Mandy said.

Disgusted, he wrote TSA a letter. A response wasn't far behind.

"Very polite. Very apologetic. He was embarrassed. He (said) we have to review how we deal with special needs individuals. Obviously, he (said), we're doing a terrible job," Mandy told us. "It made me feel that there is still hope, that there is still justice and that there's still somebody who listens to people's problems (in) the federal government.

That's because federal security told him there are 800 TSA agents at Metro Airport and they are all going to be retrained based on Drew's case.

We also spoke to a federal security director who said this incident is still under investigation, but as far as they can tell right now, better judgment was needed.

The TSA took away one toy hammer, but they were still able to take another toy hammer on board the airplane. How did that happen?

Drew's mother, always prepared, had another one in her backpack and that already passed through security with no problem.

And now some Police intimidation.

Witness releases new video of fatal police-involved shooting during Urban Beach Week

Two witnesses to Monday?s fatal shooting on South Beach say police tried to intimidate them and force them to give up an up-close video of the incident. Police officials say the couple has not lodged a complaint.

A West Palm Beach couple who filmed Monday morning?s deadly officer-involved shooting on South Beach has accused officers of intimidation, destroying evidence and twisting the facts in the chaos surrounding the Memorial Day shootings ? a charge that police officials say they know nothing about.

Meanwhile, a South Carolina man charged with DUI in a second officer-involved shooting that morning says he is innocent.

On Thursday, The Miami Herald spoke to the couple that saw the end of the 4 a.m. police chase on Collins Avenue, then watched and filmed from just a few feet away as a dozen officers fired their guns repeatedly into Raymond Herisse?s blue Hyundai. They say the only reason they were able to show the video to a reporter is because they hid a memory card after police allegedly pointed guns at their heads, threw them to the ground and smashed the cell phone that took the video.

The three-minute video captured on Narces Benoit?s HTC EVO phone begins as officers crowd around the east side of Herisse?s car with guns drawn. Roughly 15 seconds into the video, officers open fire.

Benoit filmed the incident from the sidewalk on the northeast corner of 13th Street and Collins Avenue, close enough to see some officers? faces and individual muzzle flashes.

Shortly after the gunfire ends, an officer points at Benoit and police can be heard yelling for him to turn off the camera. The voices are muffled at times. The 35-year-old car stereo technician drops his hand with the camera and hurries back to his Ford Expedition parked further east on 13th Street.

The video shows Benoit get into the car, where his girlfriend, Ericka Davis, sat in the driver?s seat. He raises his camera and an officer is seen appearing on the driver?s side with his gun drawn, pointed at them.

The video ends as more officers are heard yelling expletives, telling the couple to turn the video off and get out of the car.

?They put guns to our heads and threw us on the ground,? Davis said.

Benoit said a Miami Beach officer grabbed his cell phone, said ?You want to be [expletive] Paparazzi?? and stomped on his phone before placing him in handcuffs and shoving the crunched phone in Benoit?s back pocket. He said the couple joined other witnesses already in cuffs and being watched by officers, who were on the lookout for two passengers who, police believe at the time, had bailed out of Herisse?s car. It is still not known whether any passengers were in the car.

Four bystanders were shot in the gunfire and three officers suffered minor injuries.

Benoit and Davis said officers smashed several other cell phones in the ensuing chaos.

Benoit said the officers eventually uncuffed him after gunshots rang out elsewhere and he discreetly removed the SIM card and placed it in his mouth
.

Officers again took his phone, demanding his video. He said they took him to a nearby mobile command center, snapped a picture of him, then took him to police headquarters and conducted a recorded interview while he kept the SIM card in his mouth. He insisted his phone was broken.

He was given a copy of a police property record receipt dated May 30. The couple has hired an attorney.

?We just want the right thing to be done,? Davis said. ?That was just too much.?

Police Chief Carlos Noriega said the couple?s allegations were the first he?d heard of officers allegedly threatening people or destroying cameras or cell phones. If Benoit made a complaint, Internal Affairs would investigate, the chief said.

The scenes from the couple?s video that a reporter described to Noriega reflect the tension officers went through early Monday morning as they tried to get a handle on the pandemonium..

?I was there during the second shooting and it was quite a chaotic scene,? he said. ?We were trying to figure out who was who and it was a difficult process. Not once did I see cameras being taken or smashed.?

He also said ?a lot of our officers had their guns drawn, including myself.?

Noriega also noted that Benoit?s video is evidence and that it could help investigators.

But, Benoit said he is considering an offer from a website to sell the video.

Police say the chase Benoit and Davis saw began around 16th Street after Herisse hit a Hialeah officer with his car during a traffic stop and then peeled off down Collins Avenue, hitting or nearly hitting four other officers before skidding to a stop amid gunfire near 13th Street.

Police say they received reports that Herisse was shooting from his car, and on Wednesday they found a black Berretta 92-F semiautomatic pistol in his Hyundai.

Police also learned Thursday that he is believed to be the gunman in a November armed robbery at a BP gas station in which a clerk was shot in the face. Police say the clerk identified Herisse in a photo lineup after detectives recognized the slain 22-year-old in The Miami Herald.

Ballistics tests will be needed to prove that Herisse indeed shot the gun, and could take weeks.

But Benoit and Davis said that while they saw ?bullets flying everywhere? as Herisse drove south for two blocks, the only ones they saw doing any shooting were police.

The couple was able to film the shooting because they were slowly driving north on Collins Avenue near 13th Street when gunshots rang out. They reversed east down 13th Street to get away from Herisse?s oncoming Hyundai.

?They were shooting at him the whole time,? Benoit said.

Also on Thursday, police released an arrest affidavit for Carlos King, 45, who allegedly drove his 2007 Mercedes Benz in a drunken stupor into a police perimeter on Washington Avenue, leading an officer to shoot at him before crashing into an empty squad car.

No one was injured.

Police say King, a 17-year-veteran and fire captain with the North Charleston Fire Department, smelled like alcohol and admitted to drinking and crashing after swerving around a car he thought was travelling too slow.

King?s lawyer, Saam Zangeneh, said his client wasn?t guilty of charges of driving under the influence and refusing to take a breathalyzer. He said he expected further probing by himself and others would portray ?a more accurate depiction of what transpired that night.?

King said he was shocked by police actions.

?The way these police act is crazy,? he said.
 
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nomix

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IIRC he can be recalled, but recall proceedings can only begin after someone has been in office for a year.
Right.

Regarding the Urban Beach-thingy. Firstly, police can not order a citizen to stop recording, that isn't even a questionable interpretation of the constitution, it's been clearly confirmed by the Supreme Court. Secondly, police can't seise a camera or a recording as evidence without a subpeana. If they destroyed their cell phone, that's criminal damage and in addition, it would entail an attempt to destroy evidence, which would also seem like a crime of some sort.
 
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