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ATF Mess in Milwaukee

ATF set up a undercover sting operation.  But criminals stole weapons from them and the ATF, in turn, rips off citizen-landlord.  Note also that when the citizen lodges complaints about damages and unpaid bills, he is threatened with criminal charges.   Hmm.

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

When David Salkin put his single-story building on E. Meinecke Ave. up for rent on Craigslist, he had a choice: Lease to a church or Fearless Distributing.

He went with the upstart Fearless operation because they were willing to take all 8,000 square feet of the building and pay the $3,200 in monthly rent in cash.

The agent who signed the lease gave Salkin a fake name and home address. Fearless was not registered with the state. The agents told Salkin their operation was new and they would get to that.

The agents, wearing shirts that said “Brew City Hustle,” carved out a part of the warehouse for a showroom of jeans, coats, shoes and purses along with bongs and fake urine, for those trying to beat a drug test. They also set up an office with a cash-counting machine….

The day after the burglary, Salkin and his wife met with an ATF supervisor, who assured them that they would take care of everything.

Salkin said by going over on the $800 a month utility allotment and damage to walls, doors and carpeting, the ATF owes him about $15,000, which includes a month of lost rent.

The ATF has balked, saying there was less than $3,200 in damage and telling Salkin to return the security deposit. They told him to file a claim with the federal government and warned him to stop contacting them.

In an email to Salkin, ATF attorney Patricia Cangemi wrote, “If you continue to contact the Agents after being so advised your contacts may be construed as harassment under the law. Threats or harassment of a Federal Agent is of grave concern. Utilizing the telephone or a computer to perpetrate threats or harassment is also a serious matter.”

Read the whole thing.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 1-29-13

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, January 29, 2013:

  • Walnut Creek, California: The family of a hairdresser killed by police is seeking $15 million in a wrongful-death suit filed against four members of the police department, alleging the 22-year-old man was shot after officers tripped and fell over one another.
  • Oakland County, Michigan: Prosecutors have dropped 16 drug cases in recent months, including one involving a large-scale marijuana bust, after an investigation determined a deputy on the county’s narcotics enforcement team falsified a search warrant and lied under oath. The officer has been fired.
  • El Paso, Colorado: A former sheriff’s detective who leveled his service pistol at fellow law enforcement officers during a standoff will remain on the sheriff’s payroll despite his guilty plea.
  • Update: St. Louis, Missouri: The internal affairs division has recommended that a veteran officer be fired for his conduct during an alleged assault of a handcuffed man at a casino.
  • Fort Smith, Arkansas: A police trooper lost his job after an investigation states he had sex with a married woman while on duty. He was a probationary employee at the time of the firing.
  • Mission, Texas; An officer was arrested on a driving while intoxicated charge; he hit a mailbox.
  • Malden, Massachusetts: An officer accused of seeking prescription painkillers from an alleged drug dealer has lost his jobs, officials confirmed.
  • Racine, Wisconsin: An officer is on administrative duty after he was stopped by another officer, reportedly for driving under the influence.
  • Update: Macon, Georgia: One of 2 officers charged with stealing a tractor is in jail again. He was arrested and charged with two felony counts of theft by taking, two counts of altered vehicle identification numbers, and one count of fiduciary theft.
  • Putnamville, Indiana: An officer was caught smuggling cocaine, marijuana, Suboxone and Xanex into a correctional facility. He was reportedly hoping to make $500, and instead he lost his job and wound up in court facing five felony counts
  • Longmont, Colorado: A police officer is on paid administrative leave awaiting the results of an internal investigation and a criminal investigation following an arrest. He was suspected of driving under the influence.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 1-26-13 to 1-28-13

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, January 26 to Monday, January 28, 2013:

  • Ellsworth, Maine: A cellphone text message led to an argument between an off-duty police officer and his live-in companion. He was arrested after she got upset and he repeatedly restrained her. “Whenever an employee has violated our standard operating procedures, or if somebody or a member of the public makes a complaint about the officer, the lieutenant will do an investigation about the incident,” said the police chief.
  • Houston, Texas: Two police officers have been accused of accepting bribes and allowing cocaine to be smuggled and distributed. The police chief released a statement saying: “We will never tolerate criminal misconduct from any of our employees. Both officers have been relieved of duty pending the outcome of the Internal Affairs investigation.”
  • Beaver County, Pennsylvania: A deputy was found guilty of tax evasion by a federal jury.
  • Fresno, California: An officer admitted that he lied about details in a police report. He denied charges of police brutality and a cover-up. If he is convicted, he, and another officer, faces 20 years in prison.
  • Murray County, Georgia: A deputy said he was following orders when he did not tell the truth during a Georgia Bureau of Investigation inquiry. Hen said a supervisor told him to lie, and he was afraid to disobey the directive.
  • Bridgeport, Connecticut: Three officers are on desk duty after a video was posted online that shows them kicking and stomping a man that they had already subdued with a stun gun. The man being beat up in the video has filed a lawsuit.
  • Mounds, Oklahoma: Two police officers have been charged with embezzlement after an investigation into missing money.
  • Update: Orlando, FL: A police officer won’t be facing any charges stemming from an arrest that alleged he beat his girlfriend.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 1-25-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, January 25, 2013:

  • Los Angeles, California: A secretive cellphone spy device known as StingRay, intended to fight terrorism, was used in far more routine LAPD criminal investigations 21 times in a four-month period during 2012, apparently without the courts’ knowledge that the technology probes the lives of non-suspects who happen to be in the same neighborhood as suspected terrorists.
  • Pasadena, California: A police officer illegally recorded a conversation between a man in custody and his attorney, the attorney says. California protects the confidentiality of recording between attorneys and clients, said the lawyer. He points to provisions of the state Penal Code that prohibit police officers from recording or eavesdropping on conversations between in-custody suspects and their lawyers.
  • Monmouth County, New Jersey: The plaintiff in a case says he was assaulted, threatened with death, refused access to an attorney, and even denied use of the bathroom by a pair of officers. Both officers declined comment, but a police commander said “they’re two outstanding officers.”
  • Mt. Vernon, Illinois: A former trooper who struck and killed two sisters is making an argument for why his driver’s license should be reinstated. He was driving 125 mph when his police cruiser left the roadway and struck the car holding the sisters. He was sentenced to probation for the crash.
  • Highland Park, Michigan: Four police officers face charges including accepting bribes and distributing sham cocaine. One of the officers is accused, among other allegations, of agreeing in principal to kill someone for $20,000.
  • Elkton, Kentucky: Units conducted an undercover investigation and performed a controlled delivery  to a police officer; it was determined he was attempting to buy narcotics while on duty.
  • Wichita, Kansas: A former police officer waived his right to a jury trial and was found guilty by a judge of sexually abusing two children. He was found guilty of two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child after a five-minute bench trial.
  • South Lake Tahoe, California: An officer has been arrested for allegedly influencing witness testimonies and asking witnesses to tamper with evidence.
  • Newport News, Virginia: A police officer was arrested on federal mail and wire fraud charges.
  • Macon, Georgia: Two officers were arrested on allegations that they stole a tractor from a plumbing business. They were charged with theft by taking, criminal trespass, burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime, and violation of the oath of office.

Illegal Detentions by New York Police

From the New York Times:

The judge excoriated the city for flagrant indifference to the Fourth Amendment. The amendment has been interpreted by the courts to mean that police officers can legally stop and detain a person only when they have a reasonable suspicion that the person is committing, has committed or is about to commit a crime.

The department’s patently illegal strategy, the judge said, encouraged officers to “stop and question first, develop reasonable suspicion later.” The ruling focuses on detentions that occurred as people were entering or leaving one of many residential buildings in the Bronx whose managers had simply asked the department to patrol the area and arrest trespassers. The Trespass Affidavit Program, or TAP, has thus not only led to unjustified detentions but has also placed untold numbers people at risk of detention merely for entering their own homes or visiting friends and relatives. Their experiences, as described in the ruling, makes perfectly clear why the largely minority citizens targeted and victimized by the program come away feeling angry and ill used.

Describing the typical, humiliating sequence of events, the judge wrote: “The police suddenly materialize, stop the person, demand identification, and question the person about where he or she is coming from and what he or she is doing.” She added that “attempts at explanation are met with hostility; especially if the person is a young black man, he is frisked, which often involves an invasive search of his pockets; in some cases the officers then detain the person in a police van,” where he or she is grilled about drugs or weapons. In some cases, the stop escalates into an arrest, the judge noted, with the person fingerprinted and held overnight. Even if the charges are quickly dropped, the arrest can follow the person for years.

Previous coverage here.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 1-24-13

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, January 24, 2013:

  • Bexar County, Texas: A deputy constable is under arrest for allegedly helping other officers get credit for training they never completed.
  • Update: Readstown, A 375-page investigation report released this week portrays Readstown’s former police chief as a womanizer and bumbling cop who posed a danger to the community. He was found guilty of three counts of felony misconduct in office. He resigned and served a little more than a week in jail.
  • Bibb County, Georgia: A deputy has been fired amid allegations he stole about $4,000 from an inmate’s electronic bank transaction card and used the money to buy Christmas presents, a dog, and cash for advances to his own account.
  • McHenry, Illinois: A police officer pleaded guilty to theft and official misconduct. He admitted that he stole seized drug money.
  • Mesa, Arizona: An officer lost his job because he used a stun gun on his stepson for bringing home an unsatisfactory report card.
  • Update: Southern View, Illinois: A woman is suing the village, and a now ex-officer, in connection with the officer’s alleged sexual assault of her during a traffic stop.
  • Lake County, Indiana: An officer was indicted on charges of conspiring to Sheriff’s Department letterhead to buy automatic machine guns and laser sights intended strictly for law enforcement departments or the military and selling the parts for a profit online.
  • Update: New Orleans, Louisiana: A federal judge set a new trial date for a former officer accused of helping cover up a man’s death after Hurricane Katrina. The court ordered a new trial because of newly discovered evidence. The officer was the alleged triggerman in the shooting.
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin: An officer has been accused of stealing about $200 from a store where he was investigating a separate burglary complaint.
  • South Amboy, New Jersey: A woman is seeking $2 million in damages from the sheriff’s office and one of its officers she said assaulted her then falsely charged her with assaulting him.
  • Greenville, Mississippi: A police officer has pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of withholding information on a crime.
  • Miami, Florida: A police officer faces an extortion charge in court. He is the first of several officers expected to be swept up in a broad anti-corruption dragnet of the city’s police department. He allegedly helped organize a protection racket for a sports-betting ring working out of a barber shop. He pleaded not guilty to a single charge of extortion conspiracy, alleging that he “protected and facilitated illegal activity — gambling — in exchange for receipts of cash payments.”
  • Chicago, Illinois: A family filed a federal lawsuit saying that police officers wrongfully shot their family member and taunted them. The suit has been filed against the city, the police department, and 4 officers, alleging misconduct. It claims officers repeatedly used the n-word when talking to the victim’s relatives at the scene.
  • New York, New York: A teenager testified that an ex-officer persuaded her to have sex with him when she was 14 years old. The former police officer is charged with second-degree rape and other charges. He faces up to seven years in prison on the top count.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 1-23-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, January 23, 2013:

  • Fort Deposit, Alabama: An officer was sentenced to more than three years in prison. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against rights and four counts of deprivation of rights under color of law.
  • Fairfax County, Virginia: A 12-year veteran was arrested for allegedly attempting to take a purse and blouse from a department store.
  • Florida: At least 74 law enforcers have been suspected of misusing the D.A.V.I.D (Driving and Vehicle Information Database) in 2012. That number is a nearly 400% increase from 2011.
  • Melbourne, Florida: A police officer has been accused of having sex with prostitutes while on duty. He was fired after investigators set up surveillance video claiming to show him in the act.
  • Jefferson Parish, Louisiana: A sheriff’s deputy has been fired when an investigation determined that he had been selling synthetic marijuana online after it was outlawed in Louisiana.
  • Chicago, Illinois: A coroner has reversed his office’s ruling from “undetermined” to “homicide” in the case of a man who died after police restrained him, hit him with batons, and shocked him with a Taser. The coroner said he used the “but for” principle; the man probably wouldn’t have died but for the actions of the police.
  • New York, New York: A man whose beating by two police officers was caught on videotape has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the officers and the city. He spent two days in jail, and the charges were eventually dropped.
  • Multnomah County, Oregon: A deputy has been accused of running a red light and colliding with another car, authorities said. Witnesses said the deputy did not have his emergency lights flashing when his patrol car struck the driver’s side of another car.
  • Cobb County, Georgia: A deputy is accused of sexually assaulting a female inmate. He has been charged with aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, sexual assault by a member of law enforcement, and violation of oath of public office.

More on the Aaron Swartz Case

From the One Generation Away blog:

Aaron Swartz was an influential man with very important friends, and that’s why this case is getting so much attention.  Sadly, this kind of behavior by prosecutors is not an extreme example, but instead par for the course.

“[I]t’s important to realize that what happened in the Swartz case happens it lots and lots of federal criminal cases. Yes, the prosecutors tried to force a plea deal by scaring the defendant with arguments that he would be locked away for a long time if he was convicted at trial. Yes, the prosecutors filed a superseding indictment designed to scare Swartz even more into pleading guilty (it actually had no effect on the likely sentence, but it’s a powerful scare tactic). Yes, the prosecutors insisted on jail time and a felony conviction as part of a plea. But it is not particularly surprising for federal prosecutors to use those tactics. What’s unusual about the Swartz case is that it involved a highly charismatic defendant with very powerful friends in a position to object to these common practices. That’s not to excuse what happened, but rather to direct the energy that is angry about what happened. If you want to end these tactics, don’t just complain about the Swartz case. Don’t just complain when the defendant happens to be a brilliant guy who went to Stanford and hangs out with Larry Lessig. Instead, complain that this is business as usual in federal criminal cases around the country — mostly with defendants who no one has ever heard of and who get locked up for years without anyone else much caring.”

That was law professor Orin Kerr.  He has a proposal for change:  “Felony liability under the statute is triggered much too easily. The law needs to draw a distinction between low-level crimes and more serious crimes, and current law does so poorly.”  Some have proposed “Aaron’s Law” which would remove terms of service violations from the federal criminal code….

Aaron Swartz knew he was breaking the law when he downloaded those articles.  What he did not know, was that if a prosecutor wanted to make his life hell, she could credibly see to it that he was locked up until his mid 50’s.  We should make sure that punishments fit crimes, and that when we collectively threaten to remove a human being from society for a generation or two, they actually did something worthy of such a profound punishment.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 1-19-13 to 1-22-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, January 19 to Tuesday, January 22, 2013:

  • Memphis, Tennessee: An officer has been suspended after accusations of sexual assault were brought up. He has been relieved of duty with pay while the incident is investigated.
  • Adams County, Colorado: A man is in shock after he says deputies shot and killed his dog. Jeff Fisher said deputies went to his house by mistake. He said when they forced their way through the door his dog Ziggy ran outside and a deputy shot and killed him. http://ow.lyh2uh6 ‪‪
  • Update: Milford, Connecticut: A police officer has been sentenced to five years in prison for a high-speed crash that killed two teenagers. The officer was returning from a mutual aid call in another town when his cruiser struck a car turning in front him at about 94 mph. Authorities say the cruiser’s emergency lights and sirens were off at the time.
  • San Juan County, New Mexico: A deputy who beat a suspect with a flashlight was sentenced to three years probation and a $10,000 fine to cover the expenses of his probation. He will not spend time behind bars.
  • Update: Chicago, Illinois: A police officer was found guilty of committing perjury when she testified in a battery trial.
  • Morgan County, Alabama: A deputy was accused of domestic violence and attempted murder. He is charged with domestic violence, domestic violence by strangulation or suffocation, and attempted murder.
  • Hillsboro, Oregon: An off-duty officer has been arrested on suspicion of attempted aggravated murder after a standoff that injured a sheriff’s deputy.
  • Update: Boulder, Colorado: Two officers face felony charges for killing an elk. An investigation uncovered that the officers had planned to shoot and kill the elk nearly 21 hours before, and then collect the animal for the “personal gain” of trophy and meat.
  • Winnemucca, Nevada: An officer has been who has been on administrative leave for six months was arrested following a lengthy investigation into his off-duty conduct. He was charged with sexual assault, battery with the intent to commit sexual assault, and abuse, neglect or endangerment of a child. He also faces two misdemeanor charges of domestic battery.
  • Durham, North Carolina: Three officers were charged with one count of false imprisonment and one count of assault. All three officers, who were off duty when the incident occurred, are currently on administrative leave.

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