Six Legal Ways for Cops to Abuse You

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I ran across the article 6 Completely Legal Ways The Cops Can Screw You while writing another article today and found it quite alarming. It makes it clear that the United States we live in today is by the government, for the government, and against the citizens and US Constitution.

A quick summary:

  1. The police can take your things, sell them, and keep the proceeds. All they have to do is state they suspect your property was used while a crime was committed, even if they don’t think you committed the crime. They don’t have to charge or convict anybody of a crime to do this, just state a suspicion.
  2. Police in Ohio can give you a ticket for speeding and get a conviction against you with no objective speed measurements, only an “expert observation” that you were speeding.
  3. Police in Texas can arrest you for drinking even if you are of legal age in a legally operated bar. This law has reportedly been used to harass gays and Hispanics by rounding them up in bars and arresting them.
  4. Police in Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, and several other states can arrest you for filming or video recording them and confiscate the films and recordings, even if they are breaking the law and abusing somebody. Nobody seems to have considered how this may make legal surveillance cameras suddenly illegal if the police show up.
  5. In Washington, D.C., police can arrest women who carry more than two condoms. They can legally assume any woman carrying more than two is a prostitute.
  6. In Ohio, police can obtain your identifying information including name, address, and social security number without your permission and then use it just like an identity thief. One woman found this out after the cops used her name, address, and social security number to pay and plant an undercover stripper in her community while other cops watched the performances live and via the Internet. They are under no obligation to clean up the mess they made of your identity.

While all of these laws are ridiculous, the civil forfeiture and anti-recording laws are the most worrisome. That’s in part because they are becoming increasingly common as cops continue their efforts to pump up their finances and shut up people who expose their criminal activities.

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Civil Forfeiture Turns Your Property Into Cash For Cops

The civil forfeiture tactics are particularly likely to be used against you and your family. Consider the sorts of mischief that teenagers commit. You son or daughter could have a friend riding along in your car and get stopped for speeding. During the stop, the cops notice an empty beer can on the floor of the car. Even if your green-minded kids may have not had anything to drink in the car and simply found the can and wanted to recycle it for a tiny profit, the cops can seize your car and refuse to return it because they have suspicion the car was used by somebody who was drinking and driving. Nobody has to be charged or convicted to do this.

One they sell your property, they can use the proceeds in various ways. In some areas, there are almost no restrictions. Such proceeds have been used to pay for sporting events for police officers, buy new patrol cars, or pay the chief’s salary. You, the victim, have to prove your property wasn’t used in a crime to get it back. In these budget-crunched times, police across the nation are using this to pump up their budgets by robbing citizens in their communities.

It is up to you to prove your property wasn’t used during the commission of a crime. This is likely something that you will never be able to do, especially in a tyrannical nation like the United States in which it is all too common for state and county judges to be friends and former associates of local prosecutors and to conspire to deprive people of their rights and freedoms. In a corrupt community, if you decide to challenge a civil forfeiture, the judges can simply rule the local cops can seize and sell your property and then expect a nice endorsement or campaign contribution coming back at them as a reward.

The government’s message is clear:
Crime can pay well if you are a cop, prosecutor, or judge.

Anti-Recording Laws Allow Cops to Treat Citizen-Journalists As Criminals

The use of anti-recording laws against citizens filming police stems from their recordings showing the police committing crimes. Several of these recordings have been instrumental in obtaining criminal convictions against abusive cops. Therefore the cops want to shut down the recordings, seize, and destroy them.

(from Are Cameras the New Guns?)

Carlos Miller at the Photography Is Not A Crime website offers an explanation: “For the second time in less than a month, a police officer was convicted from evidence obtained from a videotape. The first officer to be convicted was New York City Police Officer Patrick Pogan, who would never have stood trial had it not been for a video posted on Youtube showing him body slamming a bicyclist before charging him with assault on an officer. The second officer to be convicted was Ottawa Hills (Ohio) Police Officer Thomas White, who shot a motorcyclist in the back after a traffic stop, permanently paralyzing the 24-year-old man.”

When the police act as though cameras were the equivalent of guns pointed at them, there is a sense in which they are correct. Cameras have become the most effective weapon that ordinary people have to protect against and to expose police abuse. And the police want it to stop.

Even if you have installed home security cameras and are robbed, you are not safe from these anti-recording laws. In Nashua, New Hampshire, cops showed up to respond to robbery call and treated the victims poorly, something their home security camera caught. When they complained to police about the misconduct and showed them the videos as proof, the cops decided to press wiretapping charges for illegally recording them. They seized the recordings to suppress public awareness of their abusive nature.

(from No police scrutiny: Drop the camera and back away)

In Nashua in 2006, police charged Michael Gannon with wiretapping after he brought surveillance video from his home security cameras to the police station to show police brass how poorly he said officers treated his son while they investigated a robbery charge. The wiretapping charge was later dropped, but police kept the evidence — the security video recordings.

When even local cops can now legally intimidate and arrest witnesses and seize and destroy evidence in their quest to hide the abuses they inflict upon citizens, you know that nobody in the United States is really safe any more.

Further Reading

Custom Search

Governments and Rent-A-Cops Harass Photographers

Are Cameras the New Guns?

No police scrutiny: Drop the camera and back away

Forfeiture Endangers American Rights

Report Blasts States for Abusing Civil Forfeiture Laws

Cop Walks Into a Bar And…Arrests You. For Having a Drink.

Woman’s identity taken by state agents

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