Category Archives: Know Your Rights

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80-Year-Old Army Vet and Cancer Survivor, Mercilessly Beaten By Police Who “Feared For Their Lives”

Lone Jack, Mo. – An 80-year-old cancer survivor and Army veteran says that he fears for his life after being beaten, bloodied and left with broken bones by police.

“I’m afraid for us to even drive out of our driveway or to get on the street. I don’t know what they will do,” Libby Swan, Bill’s wife, said.

Bill Swan was on his tractor when he noticed a utility crew attempting to dig on his property and approached them to tell them to vacate his property. The workers then called police, according to KCTV 5.

When officers arrived they yanked Swan off the tractor and took him to the ground leaving him bloodied and with broken ribs.

“It’s very unnerving that something happened to him,” said his wife Libby, adding, “He’s 80, he’s a veteran, and he has had cancer.”

Officers of course claim that Swan was a threat to them, and that he attempted to back his tractor into a police cruiser and then tried to leave the scene. They claim they gave him verbal and hand signals to stop but he refused and attempted to run the officers over.

“Police got there and told him to get off his tractor, he was on his own property, and said, ‘I don’t have to get off my tractor,’” said Bill’s grandson, Tim Swan, according to Fox 4.

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California Cop Pulls gun on citizen in his driveway for NO reason

Rohnert Park, CA — In a video that is sure to spark outrage across the country, a Rohnert Park police officer was caught on film stalking a man for filming.

As if the harassment and intimidation for simply recording a police officer from his own property weren’t enough, this cop went so far as to exit his vehicle and pull his gun on a man who was simply practicing his freedom of speech.

The incident began as Don McComas was loading up his boat for a day on the water when he noticed a Rohnert Park police cruiser stopped in front of his house.

McComas explained the interaction on a post to his Facebook page:

I was hooking the boat up when the officer pulled slowly into my court. When he rounded infront of my house he stopped yet did nothing, then crept forward and instead of leaving toward Snyder he rounded the court opposite of me, then stopped facing me for a few minutes, doing nothing but pointing straight at me/my house. After a couple minutes I was concerned enough to pull out my phone and hit record. Glad I did.

The officer in unit 1438240 parked only a few feet away from McComas’ Excursion and just sat there in an overt attempt to intimidate an innocent man. After a few uncomfortable moments, the officer rolls down his window and begins filming back. Seconds later he jumps out of his car and begins to threaten McComas.

Within just a few seconds of exiting his vehicle, the officer drew his pistol and began approaching McComas. Remember that McComas had done absolutely nothing wrong, a fact that this officer admits upon contact.

Despite McComas having the camera in one hand and his other hand up, posing no threat whatsoever, the officer continues his advance, with his pistol drawn.

“When I saw the gun and comprehended what was happening I absolutely thought ‘they are going to kill me and claim my hand was in my pocket’ period,” said McComas.

When McComas asserts that he’s done nothing wrong and asks the officer why he got out of his vehicle, the officer proceeded to resort to elementary school tactics.”You’re taking a picture me; I’m taking a picture of you.”

Is taking a picture enough to have reasonable articular suspicion to not only stop at someone’s home but to pull a gun on them?

Luckily, McComas escapes with his life as the armed assailant walks back to his car after momentarily coming to his senses.

When the Free Thought Project reached out to the Rohnert Park Police in regards to this incident, we were told that they are aware of the incident, and they “will be responding in due course.”

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If Ever there is an Award Given Out for Flexing Your Rights, We Nominate this Guy

“Can I ask you a question sir? Did you swear an oath to uphold the Constitution?”

With multiple cameras and microphones, and a knack for flexing rights, these guys know how to perform when going through an unconstitutional DUI checkpoint.

Sobriety checkpoints — also known as DUI checkpoints — are the most common roadblocks you might encounter. They function as a general purpose investigatory tactic where police can get a close look at passing motorists by detaining them briefly. A roadblock stop is quick, but it gives police a chance to check tags and licenses, while also giving officers a quick whiff of the driver’s breath and a chance to peer into the vehicle for a moment.

Remember that your constitutional rights still apply in a roadblock situation. Though police are permitted to stop you briefly, they may not search you or your car unless they have probable cause that you’re under the influence or you agree to the search. As such, you are not required to answer their questions or admit to breaking the law.

This is how you successfully flex your rights at a DUI Checkpoint!

dumbanddumber

Florida Cops Disciplined for Pulling Man Over in Armored Car After He Flipped Them Off

The camouflage-wearing Florida cops who made international news last month when they used an armored car to pull a man over for flipping them off were disciplined, including one Alachua County Sheriff’s Sergeant who was suspended without pay for a day.

Perhaps now they will acknowledge that citizens do that have the right to flip them off, even though we all can agree it is a rude gesture.

Even if they are dressed like Rambo to oversee an annual college football festival titled Orange and Blue Weekend.

Or perhaps they just need to “grow a thicker skin,” as the investigative report concluded, which was obtained by the Gainesville Sun last week.

Now the sergeant who initiated the traffic stop, Kevin Davis, will also have to write a new policy for the agency, which will outline the situations when the armored car, officially titled the Lenco Bearcat Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), will be allowed to make traffic stops. We hope he makes it clear that contempt-of-cop traffic stops are forbidden

Sgt. Kevin Davis was issued one day of suspension without pay by Sheriff Sadie Darnell herself, and Deputy Richard Howell was given a written reprimand.

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Colorado Right to Record Bill Sails Through House, Close to Becoming First Law in Nation Ensuring Monetary Damages to Citizens Bullied for Recording Cops

The Colorado bill that would entitle citizens at least $15,000 in damages if police interfere with their right to record breezed through the House Tuesday with overwhelming bipartisan approval, another step closer to becoming law.

While numerous court cases have established that the right to record police in public is protected by the First Amendment, many more cops have ignored those rulings, knowing there will be no serious penalty by snatching a camera as “evidence,” even if all they do is delete the footage afterwards.

Colorado House Bill 15-1290 will now make its way to the Senate, which is majority republican, but only by one senator.

And considering the House approved the democratic-sponsored bill 47-16 when the House consists of 34 democrats to 31 republicans, it is highly probable that Senate republicans will cross party lines to vote in favor of the bill, which would make it the first state in the country to protect citizens’ right to record by holding police financial liable for their abuses.

After all, it’s not about partisan ideology, but about police accountability.

And people seem to be waking up to that fact.
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Highway seizure in Iowa fuels debate about asset-forfeiture laws

The two men in the rented red Nissan Altima were poker players traveling through Iowa on their way to Las Vegas. The police were state troopers on the hunt for criminals, contraband and cash.

They intersected last year on a rural stretch of Interstate 80, in a seemingly routine traffic stop that would soon raise new questions about laws that allow police to take money and property from people not charged with crimes.

By the time the encounter was over, the gamblers had been detained for more than two hours. Their car was searched without a warrant. And their cellphones, a computer and $100,020 of their gambling “bankroll” were seized under state civil asset-forfeiture laws. The troopers allowed them to leave, without their money, after issuing a traffic warning and a citation for possession of marijuana paraphernalia that carried a $65 fine, court records show.

Months later, an attorney for the men obtained a video of the stop. It showed that the motorists were detained for a violation they did not commit — a failure to signal during a lane change — and authorities were compelled to return 90 percent of the money.

Now the men are questioning the police tactics in an unusual federal civil rights lawsuit. In the suit, filed Sept. 29, William Barton Davis, 51, and John Newmer­zhycky, 43, both from Humboldt County, Calif., claim their constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures were violated. They also contend the stop was part of a pattern connected to the teachings of a private police-training firm that promotes aggressive tactics.

Davis is a professional poker player, and Newmerzhycky worked as glass blower, according to court records. In an interview, Davis said the men felt as though they were being “stalked” by the police.

If allowed to proceed, the lawsuit could illuminate the widespread but little-known police practice known as “highway interdiction.” The suit names Desert Snow, the Oklahoma-based training firm, and its founder, Joe David, court records show. It also names the two Iowa State Patrol troopers who participated in the traffic stop and were trained by Desert Snow.

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Police Chief ‘Shocked’ By Video Of Officer Confronting Man Filming Arrest

D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier said she was “shocked” by a video that shows an officer confronting a citizen who was filming an arrest on a public sidewalk.

“We have an extremely clear policy that addresses the Metropolitan Police Department’s recognition of the First Amendment rights enjoyed by, not only members of the media, but the general public as well, to video record, photograph and or audio record MPD members conducting official business or while acting in an official capacity in any public space, unless such recordings interfere with police activity,” Lanier said in a statement. “We spent an extensive amount of time to ensure that members were aware of the policy, developed in 2011.”

Andrew Heining, a mobile engagement producer at the Washington Post, shot the video on September 7 outside the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Shortly after he begins filming, an officer, identified as C.C. Reynolds, approaches him and tells him to “pack up and go.”

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This Citizen Gives a Cop a Taste of What Police Harassment Feels Like

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Citizen to Cop: “Sir, I’m gonna need your license and insurance please…I smell marijuana in your car.”

Cop watcher, Jake D, was out conducting police officer accountability Sunday night when he came upon an Arlington, TX police officer double parked.

Although double parking in a private lot probably wouldn’t land you any tickets, it could very well land you tons of harassment by your local pd, especially being parked there at night. That harassment could easily turn into assault with a deadly weapon and kidnapping, if you had an ‘illegal’ part of nature in your car.

Jake D, with Tarrant County Peaceful Streets Project, saw this opportunity to give an officer a taste of what it feels like to be shaken down when doing nothing wrong.

In a classic move, he quickly rolls up on the officer and begins demanding the officer’s “papers,” followed by accusations of smelling marijuana; just like an officer would act towards a citizen.

Jake D even gives the Free Thought Project a shout out during his police interrogation. Well done Jake, well done.

Some will claim that Jake should have left this officer alone, and that Jake was making this officer’s job harder. And it’s those people who we’d like to remind that revenue collection via arbitrary traffic laws, enforcement of laws that persecute victimless crimes, and fining, kidnapping, or killing you for a plant, are the actual things that make lives harder. Being held publicly accountable, by a member of the public, should be welcomed by those who conduct themselves in an ethical manner.

2 arrested, Oakland officer assaulted after anti-police march

OAKLAND, Calif. —

Two men were arrested and an officer was sent to a hospital during an anti-police march through downtown Oakland streets Friday night, police said.

The planned march was part of nationwide demonstrations in response to an officer-involved shooting in Ferguson, Missouri that happened one week ago.

Most of the people in the march Friday night were protesting peacefully, however a small group of people became violent and pepper sprayed officers, police said.

One officer was transported to a hospital after being assaulted by several people while trying to make an arrest, according to police.

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Massachusetts Supreme Court smell of marijuana not enough to search a car.

In a move that has state police in an uproar, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court yesterday ruled that the smell of unburned pot in a car isn’t enough of a reason for cops to search it because the state decriminalized small amounts back in 2008. Basically: because some amounts of pot possession aren’t a crime, the cops can’t use the smell of weed to justify their search.

Not only that, but the court pointed out that they made a similar ruling three years ago, deciding that the smell of raw weed wasn’t enough to justify the search of someone on the street. According to the judges: the police should “focus their attention elsewhere.”

“The 2008 initiative decriminalized possession of one ounce or less of marijuana under State law, and accordingly removed police authority to arrest individuals for civil violations,” Justice Barbara Lenk wrote in the unanimous ruling. “We have held that the odor of burnt marijuana alone cannot support probable cause to search a vehicle without a warrant … we hold that such odor, standing alone, does not provide probable cause to search an automobile.”

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