Friday, June 18, 2010

'Cops' Run Amok, Suppress Video Tapes of Police Abuse

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

‘Police States’ are what they do! One of the things police states do is deny citizens a voice even as they seek to control information themselves. Lately and not surprisingly, police seek to suppress video tapes of police officers in the act of abusing people, beating them up, depriving victims of Miranda and other rights. There are efforts to make illegal the use of video cameras to expose police brutality and mis-conduct. How convenient!

I am of the opinion that police --presumably 'public servants' as we have been taught --ought to be video-taped, documented in any and every way possible. There is simply no reasonable compromise on this point. Either we are a free people or we are not! You are either for a free state or you are for a dictatorship that the right wing, the GOP in particular, is intent upon imposing upon us. It really matters little who occupies the White House; the U.S. government is owned!

I cannot recall anyone in government asking for our input on this issue. I believe that many, perhaps most, American politicians are drunk with power and/or pay-offs and just don't care what you think! We should make it clear to them that we are fed up and we are not 'gonna take this anymore'! It won't be easy. The government of the United States is 'jointly' owned by the 'Axis of K-street/wall street', otherwise called the Military/Industrial complex. When Bush said 'who cares what you think?' he was not kidding.

John Stossel reports that "some states' are using state wiretapping laws to prosecute citizens who videotape encounters with the police".
Anthony Graber was pulled over on his motorcycle by Maryland State Trooper Joseph David Ulher. Uhler drew his gun during the stop. Graber was wearing a camera on his helmet. Graber thought Uhler's actions were excessive, so he posted the video to the Internet. Days later, police raided the home of Graber's parents. Graber was arrested, booked, and jailed. He was charged with violating Maryland's wiretapping statute.

...

Graber is due in court next week. He faces up to five years in prison. State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly has also charged Graber with "Possession of an Interception Device." That "device" would be Graber's otherwise-perfectly-legal video camera.

... [Jack] McKenna, a student at the University of Maryland, was given an unprovoked beating by police during student celebrations after a basketball game last February. McKenna would probably still be facing criminal charges and the cops who beat him would likely still be on the beat were it not for several cell phone videos that captured his beating. According to Cassily's interpretation of the law, if any of those cell phones were close enough to record audio of the beating, the people who shot the videos are felons. --In Spite of State Law, Maryland Law Enforcement Officials Still Arresting, Charging People for Recording Cops

This is wrong, and a formula for corruption. Is it coincidence that corrupt political machines thrive in states that ban public taping? Illinois, which has a tough anti-taping law, is famous for corruption. Former governor Rod Blagojevich was exposed only after the Feds secretly recorded his conversations. Spiro Agnew became Vice President because his corruption was not detected when he was governor of Maryland. Maryland is also home to the Prince George’s County Police Department and its hyperactive SWAT team. Balko points out that it spent 5 years under federal oversight for excessive force

--John Stossel, Abuse of Power
We might have hoped that torture and atrocities would be confined to Abu Ghraib! But what does that say about us as a people? Do we really want to buy the lie that it is OK to torture people in other nations, people of other colors, people of other religions or, perhaps, no religion at all? It is time that as a people, we grew up and faced facts! And the facts are that in and out of the nation's 'out-sourced' penal institutions, perverts with badges terrorize the nation, threatening innocent children, women and the handicapped. You are a target. Everyone is a target.

Innocent bystanders are no longer safe from cops gone rogue, tin-horn sheriffs, or other so-called law enforcement personnel. Who let these dogs out --and why? What Nazi mentality makes a lethal enemy of those who had been sworn to "protect and serve"? What fascist power has loosed the 'state' upon an innocent, perhaps naive, citizenry?

We were notably made war upon by Bush who unleashed an evil genie. A culture war of fear, hate, prejudice, perversion and violence is unleashed by the privileged few and arrogant. They have seemingly, purchased our local, state, and federal governments. No one is safe --not in your home, your car, your property! This is what it means to live in a police state, a state in which just one percent of the population consider the 'police' to be little more than their private security firm.
They are just some of the victims of wholesale torture taking place inside the U.S. prison system that we uncovered during a four-month investigation for Channel 4 . It’s terrible to watch some of the videos and realise that you’re not only seeing torture in action but, in the most extreme cases, you are witnessing young men dying.

Torture Inc. Americas Brutal Prisons

Either we are free people with defined rights under the law –or we are not! Which is it? Clearly – police and right wing governments believe we have no rights. For them --the law means nothing more than the authority that they may assume at the moment! Clearly –people have lost much if not all respect for cops else they would not believe it necessary to document police abuse by whatever means!! A democracy is doomed when the role of the 'police' is that of enforcing the superior status of a 'ruling elite', which in America is just one percent of the entire population.
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