Federal Civil Rights Suit – FBI Targeted Innocent College Student With Warrantless GPS Tracking Device On His Car

March 3, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – A community college student who says he’s never done anything that should attract the interest of federal law enforcement officials filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the FBI for secretly putting a GPS tracking device on his car.

Yasir Afifi, 20, says a mechanic doing an oil change on his car in October discovered the device stuck with magnets between his right rear wheel and exhaust. They weren’t sure what it was, but Afifi had the mechanic remove it and a friend posted photos of it online to see whether anyone could identify it. Two days later, Afifi says, agents wearing bullet-proof vests pulled him over as he drove away from his apartment in San Jose, Calif., and demanded their property back.

Afifi’s lawsuit, filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, claims the FBI violated his civil rights by putting the device on his car without a warrant. His lawyers say Afifi, who was born in the United States, was targeted because of his extensive ties to the Middle East – he travels there frequently, helps support two brothers who live in Egypt, and his father was a well-known Islamic-American community leader who died last year in Egypt.

FBI Spokesman Michael Kortan declined to discuss the lawsuit or the agency’s investigation into Afifi, but said, “The FBI conducts investigations under well-established Department of Justice and FBI guidelines that determine what investigative steps or techniques are appropriate. Those guidelines also ensure the protection of civil and constitutional rights.”

(AP) In this Jan. 5, 2011 photo shows Yasir Afifi with his car at his home in San Jose, Calif. Afifi…
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Afifi, who is a business marketing major at Mission College and works as a computer salesman, said at a news conference to announce the suit that the agents never gave him a clear answer as to why he was being monitored.

“I’m sure I have done nothing wrong to provoke anyone’s interest,” Afifi said, although he noted that his family is from Egypt, he’s a young man and he makes a lot of calls overseas. “So I’m sure I fit their profile.”

Judges have disagreed over whether search warrants should be required for GPS tracking. Afifi’s lawyers say they are filing this lawsuit in hopes of a decision saying that any use of tracking devices without a warrant in the United States is unconstitutional.

The federal appeals court in the Washington circuit where Afifi’s case was filed ruled in August that the collection of GPS data amounts to a government “search” that required a warrant. The Obama administration asked the court to change its ruling, calling the decision “vague and unworkable” and arguing that investigators will lose access to a tool they now use “with great frequency.”

The lawsuit says the agents who showed up to collect the device were “hostile,” threatening to charge Afifi if he didn’t immediately cooperate and refusing his request to have a lawyer present. The suit also says agents showed they knew private details about his life, such as which restaurants he dined at, the new job he’d just obtained and his plans to travel abroad.

“At first I was really confused,” Afifi said at the news conference, adding that he finally decided to turn over the GPS. “I did give it back to them after a lot of pressure.”

Appeared Here


Galveston Texas Police Go To Wrong Address Looking For 3 White Women, Attack A 12 Year Old Black Girl And Her Father, And Falsely Charge Them With Resisting Arrest – City Doesn’t Have A Problem With The Officers Actions…

December 19, 2008

GALVESTON, TEXAS – It was a little before 8 at night when the breaker went out at Emily Milburn’s home in Galveston. She was busy preparing her children for school the next day, so she asked her 12-year-old daughter, Dymond, to pop outside and turn the switch back on.

As Dymond headed toward the breaker, a blue van drove up and three men jumped out rushing toward her. One of them grabbed her saying, “You’re a prostitute. You’re coming with me.”

Dymond grabbed onto a tree and started screaming, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.” One of the men covered her mouth. Two of the men beat her about the face and throat.

As it turned out, the three men were plain-clothed Galveston police officers who had been called to the area regarding three white prostitutes soliciting a white man and a black drug dealer.

All this is according to a lawsuit filed in Galveston federal court by Milburn against the officers. The lawsuit alleges that the officers thought Dymond, an African-American, was a hooker due to the “tight shorts” she was wearing, despite not fitting the racial description of any of the female suspects. The police went to the wrong house, two blocks away from the area of the reported illegal activity, Milburn’s attorney, Anthony Griffin, tells Hair Balls.

After the incident, Dymond was hospitalized and suffered black eyes as well as throat and ear drum injuries.

Three weeks later, according to the lawsuit, police went to Dymond’s school, where she was an honor student, and arrested her for assaulting a public servant. Griffin says the allegations stem from when Dymond fought back against the three men who were trying to take her from her home. The case went to trial, but the judge declared it a mistrial on the first day, says Griffin. The new trial is set for February.

“I think we’ll be okay,” says Griffin. “I don’t think a jury will find a 12-year-old girl guilty who’s just sitting outside her house. Any 12-year-old attacked by three men and told that she’s a prostitute is going to scream and yell for Daddy and hit back and do whatever she can. She’s scared to death.”

Since the incident more than two years ago, Dymond regularly suffers nightmares in which police officers are raping and beating her and cutting off her fingers, according to the lawsuit.
Griffin says he expects to enter mediation with the officers in early 2009 to resolve the lawsuit.

We’ve got calls in to the officers’ lawyer; we’ll let you know if we hear something.

Update: This is from the officers’ lawyer, William Helfand:

Both the daughter and the father were arrested for assaulting a peace officer. “The father basically attacked police officers as they were trying to take the daughter into custody after she ran off.”

Also, “The city has investigated the matter and found that the conduct of the police officers was appropriate under the circumstances,” Helfand says. “It’s unfortunate that sometimes police officers have to use force against people who are using force against them. And the evidence will show that both these folks violated the law and forcefully resisted arrest.”

Appeared Here


Galveston Texas Police Go To Wrong Address Looking For 3 White Women, Attack A 12 Year Old Black Girl And Her Father, And Falsely Charge Them With Resisting Arrest – City Doesn’t Have A Problem With The Officers Actions…

December 19, 2008

GALVESTON, TEXAS – It was a little before 8 at night when the breaker went out at Emily Milburn’s home in Galveston. She was busy preparing her children for school the next day, so she asked her 12-year-old daughter, Dymond, to pop outside and turn the switch back on.

As Dymond headed toward the breaker, a blue van drove up and three men jumped out rushing toward her. One of them grabbed her saying, “You’re a prostitute. You’re coming with me.”

Dymond grabbed onto a tree and started screaming, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.” One of the men covered her mouth. Two of the men beat her about the face and throat.

As it turned out, the three men were plain-clothed Galveston police officers who had been called to the area regarding three white prostitutes soliciting a white man and a black drug dealer.

All this is according to a lawsuit filed in Galveston federal court by Milburn against the officers. The lawsuit alleges that the officers thought Dymond, an African-American, was a hooker due to the “tight shorts” she was wearing, despite not fitting the racial description of any of the female suspects. The police went to the wrong house, two blocks away from the area of the reported illegal activity, Milburn’s attorney, Anthony Griffin, tells Hair Balls.

After the incident, Dymond was hospitalized and suffered black eyes as well as throat and ear drum injuries.

Three weeks later, according to the lawsuit, police went to Dymond’s school, where she was an honor student, and arrested her for assaulting a public servant. Griffin says the allegations stem from when Dymond fought back against the three men who were trying to take her from her home. The case went to trial, but the judge declared it a mistrial on the first day, says Griffin. The new trial is set for February.

“I think we’ll be okay,” says Griffin. “I don’t think a jury will find a 12-year-old girl guilty who’s just sitting outside her house. Any 12-year-old attacked by three men and told that she’s a prostitute is going to scream and yell for Daddy and hit back and do whatever she can. She’s scared to death.”

Since the incident more than two years ago, Dymond regularly suffers nightmares in which police officers are raping and beating her and cutting off her fingers, according to the lawsuit.
Griffin says he expects to enter mediation with the officers in early 2009 to resolve the lawsuit.

We’ve got calls in to the officers’ lawyer; we’ll let you know if we hear something.

Update: This is from the officers’ lawyer, William Helfand:

Both the daughter and the father were arrested for assaulting a peace officer. “The father basically attacked police officers as they were trying to take the daughter into custody after she ran off.”

Also, “The city has investigated the matter and found that the conduct of the police officers was appropriate under the circumstances,” Helfand says. “It’s unfortunate that sometimes police officers have to use force against people who are using force against them. And the evidence will show that both these folks violated the law and forcefully resisted arrest.”

Appeared Here


Pasco County Florida Deputy Sheriff Matt Kadel Shoots Family’s Dog While Trespassing In Their Yard

December 13, 2008

NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA — A Pasco County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a family’s dog Thursday morning.

The agency says the dog, a Staffordshire bulldog named Ammo, was loose in the yard and bit the deputy twice.

The family says Ammo was on a chain and has never bitten anyone.

“He’s not a vicious dog,” said Robin Lane, 49. “He plays with my grandkids.”

Deputy Matt Kadel went to the house on Adonis Road accompanying a Pasco County building inspector. They were visiting several residences for minimum housing code complaints. The county did not provide details of the complaint, but they generally involve an issue, such as exposed wiring, that could present a health hazard.

Lane said she thought the officials were there because of some problems involving her neighbors. She didn’t know why the deputy had parked in her yard.

The family pet stayed outside, chained to a tree by a big doghouse. He kept burglars away and barked when someone came in the yard.

Lane’s son, Jeremy, heard barking Thursday morning, and when he looked out the window, she said, he saw the deputy raise his gun and shoot Ammo.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kevin Doll said the dog lunged at Kadel, biting him on the arm and leg.

“The dog was supposedly on a 12-foot chain,” Doll said, “but (Kadel) was bit about 23 feet from where (the dog) was supposedly chained up.”

He said Kadel went to the hospital for a tetanus shot and then returned to work.

Lane said when she tried to inquire about why the officials were there, Kadel told her, “Just shut up and go in the house.”

Doll said he couldn’t comment on that point because a report of the incident was not complete Thursday afternoon.

But he said deputies have been to the Lane home numerous times in the past, including several calls this year, for issues such as fights and warrant arrests.

Lane says deputies — eight or nine descended on the house after the shooting — told her a thorough investigation of the incident would be done. But she has her doubts after her son discovered a bullet casing in the yard.

“I don’t know how thorough it can be when they don’t even pick up the bullet casing,” she said.

Doll said the dog will be tested for rabies and a use-of-force investigation will be done to ensure Kadel acted properly when he fired his weapon.

“The bottom line,” he said, “is the deputy has the right to protect himself.”

Appeared Here


Pasco County Florida Deputy Sheriff Matt Kadel Shoots Family’s Dog While Trespassing In Their Yard

December 13, 2008

NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA — A Pasco County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a family’s dog Thursday morning.

The agency says the dog, a Staffordshire bulldog named Ammo, was loose in the yard and bit the deputy twice.

The family says Ammo was on a chain and has never bitten anyone.

“He’s not a vicious dog,” said Robin Lane, 49. “He plays with my grandkids.”

Deputy Matt Kadel went to the house on Adonis Road accompanying a Pasco County building inspector. They were visiting several residences for minimum housing code complaints. The county did not provide details of the complaint, but they generally involve an issue, such as exposed wiring, that could present a health hazard.

Lane said she thought the officials were there because of some problems involving her neighbors. She didn’t know why the deputy had parked in her yard.

The family pet stayed outside, chained to a tree by a big doghouse. He kept burglars away and barked when someone came in the yard.

Lane’s son, Jeremy, heard barking Thursday morning, and when he looked out the window, she said, he saw the deputy raise his gun and shoot Ammo.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kevin Doll said the dog lunged at Kadel, biting him on the arm and leg.

“The dog was supposedly on a 12-foot chain,” Doll said, “but (Kadel) was bit about 23 feet from where (the dog) was supposedly chained up.”

He said Kadel went to the hospital for a tetanus shot and then returned to work.

Lane said when she tried to inquire about why the officials were there, Kadel told her, “Just shut up and go in the house.”

Doll said he couldn’t comment on that point because a report of the incident was not complete Thursday afternoon.

But he said deputies have been to the Lane home numerous times in the past, including several calls this year, for issues such as fights and warrant arrests.

Lane says deputies — eight or nine descended on the house after the shooting — told her a thorough investigation of the incident would be done. But she has her doubts after her son discovered a bullet casing in the yard.

“I don’t know how thorough it can be when they don’t even pick up the bullet casing,” she said.

Doll said the dog will be tested for rabies and a use-of-force investigation will be done to ensure Kadel acted properly when he fired his weapon.

“The bottom line,” he said, “is the deputy has the right to protect himself.”

Appeared Here