Category: Law

Minnesota declares state of emergency over bird flu outbreak

Gov. Mark Dayton has declared a state of emergency over a bird flu outbreak that has killed more than 2.5 million turkeys in Minnesota and has for the first time this week stricken a Minnesota chicken farm.

The governor’s order activates an emergency operations plan to support the state’s response to the epidemic. It also calls for National Guard personnel to be ordered to duty as needed, but the governor is not calling up troops.

He’s now called up the National Guard as support for the whole operation – especially providing water tankers for the foam spray used to kill the birds.

Minnesota is the nation’s largest turkey producer, and 45 commercial farms have now been hit by the highly pathogenic H5N2 virus, including one more announced Thursday. Also, the first Minnesota outbreak in a “back yard flock” of poultry — 151 birds — was reported Thursday in Pipestone County.

And a farmer in northwestern Minnesota said Thursday that his egg-laying operation with 300,000 chickens has been stung by the flu.

“This is a moving target, and the number of farms affected has continued to increase,” Dayton said. “We don’t know what the ceiling will be.”

Dayton said the order will tighten lines of authority in state and local government and allow his office to properly coordinate planning between the Board of Animal Health, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management…

The bird flu poses a low risk to human health and the H5N2 strain currently spreading across North America has not caused any illnesses in people. The 140 people in Minnesota who have worked directly with sick birds have been monitored by the Minnesota Department of Health. None has tested positive for bird flu.

State officials reiterated Thursday that the bird flu is not a food safety risk either. Sickened birds are destroyed, and turkey shipments are tested, said Dave Frederickson, commissioner of the Department of Agriculture. “The poultry on grocery store shelves is safe and will continue to be safe…”

The bird flu has appeared in 16 states, including striking a 3.8 million hen farm in northern Iowa — the largest single outbreak nationwide — and two more egg-laying operations in Wisconsin, which has also declared a state of emergency. Now, Minnesota’s egg industry, the eighth largest in the nation, has become a victim.

Still, pretty scary. Most farmers rely on composting the dead birds to rid infection dangers while providing some cost relief. None are allowed to restock their farms until they can prove the virus is absent.

Court upholds racial profiling charge against Arizona sheriff

An appeals court has upheld key findings in a 2013 ruling that deputies under Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio systemically committed racial profiling of Latinos

It wasn’t immediately known whether the ruling by the three-judge appeals panel would affect a contempt-of-court hearing scheduled by Judge Snow…on Arpaio’s acknowledged violations of court orders in the case.

Arpaio’s appeal didn’t contest Snow’s ruling on the immigration patrols known as “sweeps” in which deputies flooded an area over several days to seek out traffic violators and arrest other offenders. Instead, the sheriff appealed the judge’s conclusions on only regular traffic patrols…

The decision by Snow marked the first time that the sheriff’s office known for immigration enforcement had been found to have racially profiled people. The judge is requiring Arpaio’s officers to video-record traffic stops, collect data on stops and undergo training to ensure they aren’t acting unconstitutionally.

Hard for some folks to admit; but, creeps like Arpaio stay in office through the grace of voters supporting the bigoted practices of sleazy coppers. Arizona remains the Mississippi of the West for good reason.

Secret deal between FBI and police hides spying from the courts

Innovation = police state
Innovation + Police State = Lots of profits + no oversight

The FBI is taking extraordinary and potentially unconstitutional measures to keep local and state police forces from exposing the use of so-called “Stingray” surveillance technology across the United States, according to documents obtained separately by the Guardian and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Multiple non-disclosure agreements…revealed in Florida, New York and Maryland this week show federal authorities effectively binding local law enforcement from disclosing any information – even to judges – about the cellphone dragnet technology, its collection capabilities or its existence.

In an arrangement that shocked privacy advocates and local defense attorneys, the secret pact also mandates that police notify the FBI to push for the dismissal of cases if technical specifications of the devices are in danger of being revealed in court.

The agreement also contains a clause forcing law enforcement to notify the FBI if freedom of information requests are filed by members of the public or the media for such information, “in order to allow sufficient time for the FBI to seek to prevent disclosure through appropriate channels”.

The strikingly similar NDAs, taken together with documents connecting police to the technology’s manufacturer and federal approval guidelines obtained by the Guardian, suggest a state-by-state chain of secrecy surrounding widespread use of the sophisticated cellphone spying devices known best by the brand of one such device: the Stingray.

“The device has the ability to pull content, so all the sudden your text messages are at risk, your phone calls are at risk, and your data transmission, potentially,” said John Sawicki, a former police officer who consults attorneys on technological evidence, of the Stingray device made by Harris Corporation…

The ACLU has shown that at least 48 agencies across 20 states likely use the devices. Documents obtained by the Guardian show police from states as such as Texas, Florida, Washington, Minnesota, Virginia, Florida, Maryland, Illinois,Arizona, and California utilize the devices.

The Florida agreement – obtained from the Hillsborough County sheriff’s office by the Guardian after a series of Stingray-related Freedom of Information Act requests sent over the past seven months – reads in part:

“The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will, at the request of the FBI, seek dismissal of the case in lieu of providing, or allowing others to use or provide, any information concerning the Harris Corporation wireless collection equipment/technology, its associated software, operating manuals, and any related documentation.”

Law enforcement agencies that sign NDAs similar to the one in Hillsborough County are barred from providing “any information” about the Stingray-style devices in search warrants, pre-trial hearings, testimony, grand jury proceedings, in appeals or even in defense discovery. Per the agreement, police can only release the “evidentiary results” obtained with the device.

RTFA. Just in case you mistakenly thought you lived in a country where constitutional freedoms were honored and the government is working to bring a new level of transparency to law enforcement.

California Deputies caught on camera beating a suspect

Cops beat crook on camera
Cops too dumb to realize that News Choppers may have cameras

An alleged horse thief went down in a swarm of San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputies Thursday while an NBC helicopter captured the brutal scene from above.

NBC reports the cops began chasing the man when he fled the scene of a search warrant—apparently in a Dodge minivan. Eventually he abandoned the car and continued his escape on stolen horseback.

Officers were eventually able to tase him off the horse—and thus commenced a two-minute beatdown so large some officers had to step back to let other officers get a chance to hit and kick the man.

The group surrounding the man grew up to five sheriff’s deputies as several appeared to kick, hit, and punch him dozens of times over a two-minute period. In the two minutes after the man was stunned with a Taser, it appeared deputies kicked him 12 times and punched him 29 times. Eleven blows appeared to be to the head as seen from aerial footage…

After the frenzy subsided, the man reportedly lay still, without any medical attention, for more than half an hour. A sheriff’s spokesperson tells NBC two officers were treated for dehydration and one may have been kicked by the horse.

I’m surprised the deputies didn’t shoot and kill the horse.

Dumb cop crook of the day

What are the chances of two men who say they were carrying a large amount of cash and transporting marijuana being pulled over twice by police on the same day on interstate highways in New Mexico…?

At the I-40 stop by a State Police officer, the men in the green 1995 Nissan sedan with Arizona plates claimed have to been hauling marijuana purchased legally in Colorado. They said they’d already been stopped a few hours earlier by another officer, hundreds of miles northeast, on Interstate 25 near the New Mexico/Colorado border.

That officer, they said, confiscated their marijuana and seized more than $10,000 from them without giving them a receipt or issuing a citation. But he did give them “$600 back in order to pay for their travel expenses on their way back to Arizona,” says an FBI statement filed in federal court.

The two men described the officer who took their pot and money as driving a “new, white Ford Explorer with blue writing on the side” and that the officer “had mentioned something about a DEA (federal Drug Enforcement Administration) investigation…”

After that, the FBI and State Police started an undercover investigation…Vidal Sandoval, of Cimarron, was arrested without incident on March 13 at the Colfax County Sheriff’s Office in Raton by FBI agents and State Police officers. His charge, previously reported as aiding and abetting a drug trafficking crime, is actually attempt to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, online court records show…

On Dec. 15, two undercover agents from the FBI and State Police, respectively, drove around Cimarron where Sandoval was known to patrol. Their undercover vehicle contained “a hidden compartment in the rear of the vehicle under carpeting and outfitted with several air fresheners, which are commonly used to mask the smell of narcotics, and a digital scale of the type often used to weigh narcotics.”

The agents had $8,000 cash with them and, at about 4:40 p.m., Sandoval pulled the agents over for speeding on N.M. 64. The threesome conversed mainly in Spanish, and Sandoval searched the car and found the hidden compartment. One of the agents was placed in the back seat of Sandoval’s patrol car while Sandoval made a phone call.

During the call, Sandoval told the other party that county dispatch did not know that he was out on a traffic stop, according to the FBI’s affidavit, and then asked the other party to pretend that he was a DEA agent.

Sandoval handed the phone to the undercover agent who, via the phone’s caller ID function, identified the caller as a former police chief in northeast New Mexico, named in the court documents but whom the Albuquerque Journal is not identifying in this article because the ex-chief has not been charged…That person told the undercover officer on the cell phone he was with the DEA.

Sandoval made another call to the same person and again handed the phone to the undercover agent, who was told by the “DEA agent” that cash found by Sandoval would be seized.

Sandoval then turned off his in-car and lapel recorders, and said “he wanted to be part of the criminal narcotics activity (the agent) was involved in and would let him pass through the area undisturbed with money and/or drugs in the future if they provided him with a portion of the profits,” the investigators’ affidavit says. Sandoval returned $500 to the agent and kept $7,500, and the agents left.

Three more of these sham drug deals and guarantees of safe passage for a cut of the cash – Sandoval was busted.

Sandoval was an unsuccessful candidate for sheriff last year. In a campaign statement to a weekly newspaper, he said, “I want to modernize the report taking and record keeping as well as the chain of custody and security of evidence.”

Sandoval pleaded not guilty…

Protect and serve…drug dealers passing through New Mexico.

Weed seeds publicly shared at Washington DC celebration


Potential family gardeners lined up for seedsDC Cannabis Campaign

Residents of Washington D.C. lined up for free cannabis seeds Saturday in a giveaway resulting from last year’s successful ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in the District of Columbia.

The event, sponsored by the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, was held Thursday and Saturday and saw hundreds of 18-and-up D.C. residents line up to receive and trade free seeds…

More than 3,500 people signed up for the giveaway, which saw distribution at Libertine bar and restaurant on Thursday and at D.C. Cannabis Campaign Headquarters on Saturday.

Legalization of marijuana for consumption and growth, known as Initiative 71, was passed 7 to 3 last November by D.C. voters who now join Colorado and Washington state in allowing use of the drug for recreational purposes.

The initiative, which went into effect in late February, allows D.C. residents to use the drug out of view and cultivate six seedlings and up to three mature plants, with a limit of 12 plants per household.

DC coppers were present. No one was bothered. Sharing or swapping seeds isn’t against the law, now.

I wonder if any of the coppers took any of the seeds? It is legal, after all. I wonder if any members of Congress had someone on their staff who is a DC resident pick up a few for the boss?

Protect and Serve at the highest level — emphasis on High!


Bags of heroin recovered from Lowry’s car

An FBI agent in the District fired for stealing heroin, collected as evidence, for his personal use has been charged with 64 criminal offenses and, through his attorney, said he would plead guilty and focus on avoiding a drug relapse.

The 33-year-old former agent, Matthew Lowry, had been part of a team targeting violent drug traffickers who cross between Maryland and the District. His misconduct compromised cases and forced the dismissal of charges against 28 defendants. It also exposed weaknesses in the handling of drug evidence in the FBI’s Washington field office…

The case represents a stunning turn for the Maryland resident, who graduated near the top of his class at the University of Maryland, earned a graduate degree while working full time for the FBI and tried to follow his father’s distinguished career in law enforcement. He was found six months ago, seemingly incoherent, on a lot near Southeast Washington’s Navy Yard with open bags of heroin in his agency car…

Friends had noticed Lowry’s erratic behavior, but knew that he had a new baby at home and was having trouble in his marriage. They took Lowry to a fellow agent’s apartment that night.

But the next day, agents were cleaning out the trash in the car when they found the drugs. Inside were evidence bags, full of heroin, that had been cut open…

The Washington Post obtained more than 600 pages of internal documents, memos and transcripts of interviews with Lowry’s fellow agents that detail how he managed to obtain the drugs and the personal events leading to his downfall.

In those documents, Lowry described how he took advantage of procedures that allowed a single agent to sign out drugs for lab analysis and did not track whether the packages reached their purported destination. As a result, Lowry was able to store drug evidence in his car, sometimes for as long as a year, with no questions asked. Lowry described how he forged signatures of agents on forms and evidence seals, repackaged drugs in bags and used store-bought laxatives to replaced heroin he had taken to avoid discrepancies in package weight…

Many of the 28 defendants whose cases were dismissed had already pleaded guilty and had been sent to prison, some for up to 10 years or more. Within two months, all of them had been freed and sent home with the convictions erased. Those charges had been filed based solely or substantially on drug evidence that Lowry stole from.

A scary example of unintended consequences – even from a drug addict.

Suspending kids for using marijuana leads to more – not less – pot use

Suspending kids from school for using marijuana is likely to lead to more — not less — pot use among their classmates, a new study finds.

Counseling was found to be a much more effective means of combating marijuana use. And while enforcement of anti-drug policies is a key factor in whether teens use marijuana, the way schools respond to policy violators matters greatly.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Washington and in Australia, compared drug policies at schools in Washington state and Victoria, Australia, to determine how they impacted student marijuana use.

The results startled researchers: Students attending schools with suspension policies for illicit drug use were 1.6 times more likely than their peers at schools without such policies to use marijuana in the next year — and that was the case with the student body as a whole, not just those who were suspended

By contrast, the study found that students attending schools with policies of referring pot-using students to a school counselor were almost 50 percent less likely to use marijuana. Other ways of responding to policy violators — sending them to educational programs, referring them to a school counselor or nurse, expelling them or calling the police — were found to have no significant impact on marijuana use…

The researchers were initially most interested in teens’ use of alcohol and cigarettes, Catalano said. But after Washington legalized recreational marijuana use for adults in 2012, researchers decided to take a closer look at the data to determine how legalization might influence students in Washington versus their counterparts in Australia, where pot remains illegal…

Of course, the same applies to alcohol, cigarettes, unneeded stimulants – and watching reality TV.

NYC coppers edited Wikipedia pages trying to hide police brutality

A new report from Capital New York claims thousands of edits to Wikipedia articles related to police brutality can be traced to the NYPD headquarters.

“Computer users identified by Capital as working on the NYPD headquarters’ network have edited and attempted to delete Wikipedia entries for several well-known victims of police altercations, including entries for Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo,” the report says. “Capital identified 85 NYPD addresses that have edited Wikipedia.”

The report claims the NYPD edits also applied to pages referencing the department’s stop-and-frisk policy and certain political leaders. The edits appear to have been occurring for the past 10 years.

“Garner raised both his arms in the air” was changed to “Garner flailed his arms about as he spoke,” the report claims. “Garner, who was considerably larger than any of the officers, continued to struggle with them,” was also added to a page referencing Eric Garner’s death at one point.

All of the edits appear to be an attempt to minimize the controversy related to police killings and to improve the image of people connected to the police department.

At street level, corrupt cops are more disgusting than corrupt politicians. Protect and serve is not supposed to mean “protect bad cops – and serve your political bosses”. Yet – in New York City, Chicago, Ferguson, Confederate states beholden to racism essential to their ideology – it feels like no honest cop is ever allowed to stay honest.

Cops with computers are apparently as willing to lie about history, cover-up their bigotry with lies, as any Texas school board.

Dumb crook of the day

Joey Patterson

An Idaho fugitive was caught Saturday after he made a post on Facebook inviting friends to join him at batting practice in Boise.

KTVB TV station in Boise says…that Caldwell police officers showed up at the softball field after seeing the post on social media and arrested 22-year-old Joey Patterson.

He was wanted on a felony warrant for violating his probation on a fraud case out of Twin Falls. Patterson was booked into Canyon County Jail, where he is being held without bond.

Caldwell Police Sgt. Joey Hoadley says police often use social media to track down a fugitive. Hoadley says “even fugitives can’t keep from updating their Facebook status, and it leads to some great arrests.”

Har!

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. You don’t become a petty crook because you’re extra smart.