Crazed Aurora Colorado Police Stop And Handcuff Everyone Arriving At Intersection For Hours And Search Their Cars – Didn’t Know Race, Gender, Or Have Description Of Who They Were Looking For

June 5, 2012

AURORA, COLORADO – Police in Aurora, Colo., searching for suspected bank robbers stopped every car at an intersection, handcuffed all the adults and searched the cars, one of which they believed was carrying the suspect.

Police said they had received what they called a “reliable” tip that the culprit in an armed robbery at a Wells Fargo bank committed earlier was stopped at the red light.

“We didn’t have a description, didn’t know race or gender or anything, so a split-second decision was made to stop all the cars at that intersection, and search for the armed robber,” Aurora police Officer Frank Fania told ABC News.

Officers barricaded the area, halting 19 cars.

“Cops came in from every direction and just threw their car in front of my car,” Sonya Romero, one of the drivers who was handcuffed, told ABC News affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver.

From there, the police went from car to car, removing the passengers and handcuffing the adults.

“Most of the adults were handcuffed, then were told what was going on and were asked for permission to search the car,” Fania said. “They all granted permission, and once nothing was found in their cars, they were un-handcuffed.”

The search lasted between an hour and a half and two hours, and it wasn’t until the final car was searched that police apprehended the suspect.

“Once officers got to his car, they found evidence that he was who they were looking for,” Fania said. “When they searched the car, they found two loaded firearms.”

The actions of the police have been met with some criticism, but Fania said this was a unique situation that required an unusual response.

“It’s hard to say what normal is in a situation like this when you haven’t dealt with a situation like this,” Fania said. “The result of the whole ordeal is that it paid off. We have arrested and charged a suspect.”

The other people who had been held at the intersection were allowed to leave once the suspect was apprehended.

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New York City Police Continue Warrentless And Without Probable Cause Searches Of Pedestrians – 10 Percent Rise From Same Period 12 Months Ago – 90% Of The Searches Result In No Charges Or Other Action Against Those They Harassed

May 12, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – New York police conducted more than 200,000 frisk searches in the first three months of this year, a 10 percent increase from the same period last year, even as critics say the practice often is racial profiling.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have long defended the program as one that saves lives and has helped bring violent crime down to historic lows, making New York one of the safest big cities in America.

But the New York Civil Liberties Union and other groups say that black and Latino New Yorkers are stopped with alarming frequency, even though in the great majority of cases they are found to have done nothing wrong.

Last week, the organization released a study that found that in 2011, police performed more stop and frisk searches of young black men than the total number of young black men living in New York.

So far this year, almost all of the stops have involved men, while blacks made up more than half of the stops and a third involved Latinos. About one in ten of those stopped were white and 3 percent of the stops were Asian.

Police spokesman Paul Browne said the demographic breakdown corresponded to crime data. The department provided the data to the New York City Council on Friday and to reporters on Saturday.

Nine in ten stops resulted in no further police action. An arrest was made in five percent of the stops, and a summons was issued in another five percent of cases, down slightly from 2011, police said.

There was a 31 percent jump in the number of illegal firearms confiscated from suspicious individuals, compared to the same period last year.

There were 129 murders through Friday in New York this year, representing a drop of more than more than 20 percent compared to a year ago, police said.

According to Kelly, the fact that crime is down as stop-and-frisk incidents are up is no coincidence.

“If history is a guide, the vast majority of those lives saved were young men of color. Last year 96 percent of all shooting victims in New York were black or Hispanic, as were over 90 percent of murder victims,” Kelly said.

The highest number of murders was recorded in 1990, when there were more than 2,200 homicides. Since 2002 there have not been more than 600 murders in a single year. That is the year Bloomberg took office and named Kelly the head of the city’s police force.

But the stop and frisk program has vocal critics.

“This program is not an effective crime-fighting tool,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU. “And yet it takes a monumental toll on the freedom and dignity of hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers of color every year.”

Some say the stop-and-frisk program is alienating the support of minority communities and undermining community-based policing.

“We cannot continue to stop, question and frisk nearly 700,000 New Yorkers in this way without doing harm to the relationship between police officers and the people they are protecting, particularly in communities of color,” said New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Quinn, a likely candidate for mayor in 2013, released a statement in response to the data, calling for “significant reform,” including better monitoring, supervision and accountability.

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Feds Made 1,745 Secret Court Requests For Secret Warrants As FBI Issued 16,511 “National Security Letters” Last Year

May 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The Justice Department made 1,745 requests to a secret court for authority to wiretap or search for evidence in terrorism and espionage investigations last year.

That’s according to an April 30 letter from the department to the Senate that was first reported Thursday by the Federation of American Scientists.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which meets in secret to hear classified evidence from government attorneys, did not reject any of the requests, though judges did require modifications to 30 requests.

It was an increase over 2010, when the department made 1,579 requests.

The FBI also made 16,511 national security letter requests for information regarding 7,201 people last year. The letters allow officials to collect virtually unlimited kinds of sensitive, private information like financial and phone records.

That is down from 2010, when 24,287 requests for information regarding 14,212 people were made.

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Tennessee Police To Begin Routinely Stopping And Searching Vehicles Without Probable Cause

October 20, 2011

PORTLAND, TENNESSEE – You’re probably used to seeing TSA’s signature blue uniforms at the airport, but now agents are hitting the interstates to fight terrorism with Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR).

“Where is a terrorist more apt to be found? Not these days on an airplane more likely on the interstate,” said Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons.

Tuesday Tennessee was first to deploy VIPR simultaneously at five weigh stations and two bus stations across the state.

Agents are recruiting truck drivers, like Rudy Gonzales, into the First Observer Highway Security Program to say something if they see something.

“Not only truck drivers, but cars, everybody should be aware of what’s going on, on the road,” said Gonzales.

It’s all meant to urge every driver to call authorities if they see something suspicious.

“Somebody sees something somewhere and we want them to be responsible citizens, report that and let us work it through our processes to abet the concern that they had when they saw something suspicious,” said Paul Armes, TSA Federal Security Director for Nashville International Airport.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol checked trucks with drug and bomb sniffing dogs during random inspections.

“The bottom line is this: if you see something suspicious say something about it,” Gibbons said Tuesday.

The random inspections really aren’t any more thorough normal, according to Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott who says paying attention to details can make a difference. Trott pointed out it was an Oklahoma state trooper who stopped Timothy McVeigh for not having a license plate after the Oklahoma City bombing in the early 1990s.

Tuesday’s statewide “VIPR” operation isn’t in response to any particular threat, according to officials.

Armes said intelligence indicates law enforcement should focus on the highways as well as the airports.

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Los Angeles California Police Under Investigation After Crazed Cops Search Section 8 Homes Without Warrants, Seeking To Identify Motorists Who Live In Section 8 Housing

August 19, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is being investigated for alleged “systemic” civil rights violations during routine traffic stops by trying to identify people who live in publicly subsidized housing, federal officials said Friday.

The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a civil investigation into the alleged discriminatory policing by the sheriff’s deputies in the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale, both in the Mojave Desert’s Antelope Valley, federal officials said.

Deputies from sheriff stations in those two communities also allegedly conducted warrantless searches of African-American families’ homes under the auspices of a housing authority compliance inspection, and housing authority investigators based at the two stations allegedly accompanied deputies during the compliance checks, federal officials said.

Sometimes, the deputies allegedly approached the home of a recipient of what is known as Section 8 subsidies “with guns drawn and in full SWAT armor,” conducted searches and asked questions unrelated to housing programs, Justice Department officials said.

The Justice Department inquiry will focus on whether the two sheriff stations “engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of race or national origin,” federal officials said.

“In interviews with affected individuals and community representatives, we heard troubling accounts of allegedly unjustified stops and searches,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez said in a statement.

“We will be investigating whether there is a pattern of racially motivated stops and arrests,” Perez said. “We intend to peel the onion to its core, and gain a precise understanding of what is happening in these two areas.”

Sheriff Leroy D. Baca appeared at the news conference Friday with Perez in downtown Los Angeles and said his department is cooperating with the investigation.

“We are not going to enforce the laws on the backs of the poor who are in effect obeying the law,” the sheriff said.

The Antelope Valley has experienced explosive population growth over the past two decades, and African-Americans and Latinos now make up almost 60 percent of Lancaster and almost 70 percent of Palmdale, Perez said.

Justice Department officials will also look at whether leaders in the two communities “adopted a policy or practice designed to drive certain residents out of the community,” Perez said.

The cities of Lancaster and Palmdale don’t have their own police forces, and they contract with the sheriff, Perez said. Federal authorities will investigate allegations of deputies working alongside city officials, Perez said.

Palmdale City Hall was closed Friday, and officials there and in the city of Lancaster couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.

The sheriff stations in those communities show disproportionately high rates of misdemeanor and obstruction arrests in comparison with other stations, federal officials said. Also, the two cities have “unusually high rates of misdemeanor arrests and particularly high rates of arrests of African-Americans,” Perez said.

The federal inquiry is being carried out under a police reform provision enacted in the wake of the Los Angeles police beating of Rodney King in 1991, and the Justice Department now has the authority to investigate “patterns or practices of the deprivation of constitutional rights or violations of federal law,” Perez said.

In a recent e-mailed letter to the sheriff, Perez wrote that the Justice Department will conduct its inquiry in conjunction with another ongoing investigation begun in June into allegations that the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster violated the Fair Housing Act.

The Los Angeles County Housing Authority is also being investigated for an alleged “systematic effort to discriminate against African-Americans and Latinos,” federal officials said.

“We’ve been working with (Justice Department investigators) cooperatively since we were notified on June 16,” said Emilio Salas, deputy executive director of the Los Angeles County Housing Authority.

His agency looks forward to the inquiry and any recommendations that the Justice Department may come up with, he said.

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Bill Would Require Parental Consent And Supervision For TSA Searches Of Children

April 19, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – In response to a YouTube video of a 6-year-old girl receiving a pat-down from a Transportation Security Administration officer, Congressman Jason Chaffetz is drafting legislation that will require parental supervision during the pat-down of a child.

“They claim there is a modified pat-down for 12-year-olds and younger, but when you see those videos, you realize that just isn’t true,” Chaffetz said.

The proposed legislation would require that a parent must give their consent before a child receives a pat-down, and that the child must remain with the parent while the pat-down is performed.

Chaffetz would like to put an end to those practices and continued his claim that there are better ways to protect Americans in the skies than full-body scans and pat-downs, a process he calls “security theater.” Chaffetz says TSA could protect the country just as well with the use of bomb sniffing dogs and behavioral screenings.

“That is what they do in the White House, the House of Representatives, and in the theater of war,” Chaffetz said about using the dogs. “They aren’t bringing in whole-body scanning machines, they are bringing in dogs.”

Chaffetz admits that his plan to implement the usage of the dogs over the scanning machines will have an uphill battle.

“The dogs don’t have something the scanning machines do have — a lobbyist,” Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz is the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security and has sent a letter to the TSA requesting an investigation of the incident, and asked for a report no later than close of business on Friday.

“I am personally outraged and disgusted by yet another example of mistreatment of an innocent American at the hands of TSA,” wrote Chaffetz in the letter addressed to TSA chief John Pistole. “This conduct is in clear violation of TSA’s explicit policy not to conduct thorough pat-downs on children under the age of 13.”

TSA spokeswoman Carrie Harmon said the administration could not comment on proposed or pending legislation. TSA has commented on the incident with the 6-year-old girl in the video, though. It said it has determined that the officer followed proper current screening procedures. TSA also has said its officers will continue to work with parents to ensure a respectful screening process for the entire family is performed at security checkpoints, including not separating minor children from their parents during the screening process.

The congressman’s family had its own run-in with the TSA not long ago when his 15-year-old daughter was whisked away from the family at the airport security checkpoint to have a private pat-down without a parent present.

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New Hampshire Bill To Criminalize “Security Agents” Viewing Or Touching Genitals Or Breasts Without Probable Cause – Violators To Be Classified As Sex Offenders And Placed On Registry For Life :)

March 1, 2011

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – A House committee held a hearing Tuesday on a bill that would make it a sexual assault for an airport screener to touch or view a person’s breast or genitals without probable cause.

The bill (HB628-FN) includes anyone working as a security agent of the federal, state, or local government, and includes touching or viewing with a “technological device.”

The bill states “discussing or possessing a copy of the Constitution, discussing the security apparatus of an airport, being on the premises of an airport, possessing an airplane ticket or any other type of ticket for access to mass transportation, driving a motor vehicle on a public way, or ownership of firearms” should not be considered probable cause.

Anyone convicted of the offense would be classified as a tier III sex offender. Tier III sex offenders are registered for life and must remain on the public list of sex offenders.

The bill was heard by the House Criminal Justice Committee at 11:15 a.m.

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