Cop Block Week In Review: May 27 – June 3

Keeping up with all the police related stories, events and more can be a difficult tasks. Therefore, with the intention of keeping the readers of CopBlock.org informed about the most recent stories, videos and happenings – not only at CopBlock.org but the extended CopBlock offshoots as well – we’ve decided to start a “CopBlock Week in Review” series. Each week a CopBlock contributor will publish a post that highlights the blogs published at the site throughout the week, short stories about other CopBlocker activities and more. So without further ado, lets get into this week’s review.

WHAT OTHER COPBLOCK OFFSHOOTS ARE UP TO:

Hypocritical Police Issue Seatbelt Tickets and Harass Minnesota CopBlocker

Andrew J Henderson from  Minnesota CopBlock reached out to us recently with this story

On Monday, May 18th, various local law enforcement agencies conducted a seat belt enforcement detail in Saint Paul where officers stood on 2 street corners and looked for drivers not wearing their seat belts. When spotted, they would radio to their coworkers and colleagues to pull them over and issue them citations. In a 4-hour period they made 227 traffic stops and issued 244 citations, totaling more than $15,000 in fines. As I have seen many officers drive without seat belts, I found this to be a double standard and an unethical means of revenue generation.

On Friday, May 22nd, I decided to stand on a street corner outside of the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center with a camera to document officer seat belt use. This is the composition I captured that day.

In the below video Andrew handles the situation quite perfectly and asks all the right questions when interacting with police like “Am I being detained?” and “Am I free to go?” Great job Andrew!

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TOP COPBLOCK.ORG STORIES THIS WEEK:

The TSA – Keeping You Safe Five Percent of the Time

News broke recently about the findings of just how effective the TSA is at finding weapons. In 70 different tests undercover DHS agents ran realistic weapons through screeners, the TSA failed to see weapons in 67 of those tests, or a 95% failure rate.

Not exactly shocking numbers to anyone paying attention, this story comes to us from The Huffington Post

As thorough as the Transportation Security Administration screeners may be as they rifle through your belongings, the agency isn’t performing where it counts.

In a series of trials, the Department of Homeland Security was able to smuggle fake explosives, weapons and other contraband past airport screeners in major cities across the country, according to ABC News. Officials briefed on the Homeland Security Inspector General’s investigation told the station that the TSA failed 67 out of 70 tests conducted by the department’s Red Teams — undercover passengers tasked with identifying weaknesses in the screening process, NJ.com reports.

During the tests, DHS agents each tried to bring a banned item past TSA screeners. They succeeded 95 percent of the time…

In one test an undercover agent was stopped after setting off an alarm at a magnetometer, but TSA screeners failed to detect a fake explosive device that was taped to his back during a follow-on pat down.

Southern Nevadans No Longer Required to Register Handguns

On June 3, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed 2 bills that overturned gun registration laws in Clark County (Las Vegas).

Nevada law states that counties and cities are not to pass gun laws stricter than what is written at the state level, however Clark County had previously been given an exception to that. Before anyone moving into the county had 60 days to apply for a “blue card” and anyone wanting to open carry in local parks needed to go through a 3-day waiting period, both these requirements have been waved with the signings of Governor Sandoval.

From the Nevada Carry blog:

The Details

Here is a summary of what the new language of the state preemption statues say in detail:

  • Only the legislature can make laws regarding transfers, sales, purchases, possession, carrying, owning, transporting, selling, registering and licensing, firearm accessories and ammunition.
  • All local laws, regulations, rules or ordinances on guns, except for unsafe discharge of firearms, are null and void. This means they are unenforceable as if they didn’t exist.
  • Any actions taken to enforce the preempted local laws (arrest, detention, citation) are null and void.
  • Clark County’s previous exemption for handgun registration is eliminated.
  • All local ordinances or regulations must be repealed and signs contrary to state law taken downLas Vegas
  • Metro PD must destroy all handgun registration records (one year to comply).

Read the full text of Nevada Senate Bills 175 and 240 by following the links

WEEKLY CORRUPT COPS STORIES

Each week we gather stories about corrupt cops across the country published weekly by StopTheDrugWar.org. This week they did not post a weekly roundup but here is one story from their website that is important to share due to the failure of the drug war and the unintended consequences it brings with it

Six Philly Narcotics Officers Acquitted in Racketeering Case

On May 14, six former Philadelphia narcotics officers were found not guilty in a major federal police drug corruption case. Although prosecutors could not win convictions, the case has prompted scores of convictions to be overturned and prosecutions dropped amid allegations that the dope squad beat suspects, perjured themselves to win convictions, and stole more than $400,000 in drug money.

From NBC Philadelphia:

Former officer Jeffrey Walker told jurors that he had committed “thousands” of crimes on duty during his years with the squad. He said he never worried about sending people to prison based on planted evidence or perjured testimony because he did not consider drug dealers “human.”

The 26-count federal racketeering indictment, based largely on Walker’s account, accused his former colleagues of planting evidence, roughing people up, and lying to win convictions.

“I was very loyal to the guys,” Walker testified. “I would lie for them. I would steal for them. I would abuse people for them. I wanted to be part of the squad.”

The defendants cleared Thursday are squad leader Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Perry Betts, Michael Spicer, Linwood Norman and John Speiser.

Defense lawyers called Walker, a 24-year veteran, a lying thief and lone actor.

“When you’re dirty and despicable and dumb and arrogant, it’s easy to get you,” lead defense lawyer Jack McMahon told jurors.

Many of the other government witnesses acknowledged selling drugs and one, a college graduate, said he made about $50,000 a month selling marijuana. He said he knew he might face arrest someday — but did not expect to be threatened and leaned over a high-rise balcony in the process. He said the officers returned to his apartment after locking him up and stole a safe containing $80,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen McCartney said the witnesses, whatever their criminal behavior, told jurors “shockingly similar things to what Jeffrey Walker had told them.”

The criminal trial follows years of complaints and lawsuits about Licardello’s undercover squad. About 160 convictions were overturned amid Walker’s plea in 2013 and the racketeering indictment a year later.

Spicer was the only one to testify, telling jurors that Liciardello was an aggressive leader who sometimes bragged of making big arrests, but never crossed the line.

Defense lawyers argued that the squad did difficult, dangerous work and did it well. Some of the defense oratory in closing arguments brought family members in the courtroom, and at least one juror, to tears.

Former Darien police officer Nick Roundtree indicted on theft charge in drugs missing from evidence room

In Darien, Georgia, a former Darien police officer was indicted Tuesday on charges he stole drugs from the evidence room. Nicholaus Odell Roundtree is charged with single counts of theft by conversion and violating his oath of office. He is accused of stealing more than $1,500 worth of drugs for his own use. He is now out on bail.

From the story:

The indictment accuses Roundtree of taking for his own use more than $1,500 worth of drugs that had been in the evidence locker.

It also says he had a legal obligation to act as the city’s custodian of evidence.

Roundtree resigned in June, the month after Police Chief Donnie Howard asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to probe the disappearance of drugs that were being held as evidence in criminal cases.

Howard had placed Roundtree on administrative leave in May, and the GBI secured a warrant in September charging him with a single felony of theft by conversion.

When he learned of the arrest warrant, Roundtree surrendered to the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office and, court records show, he remains free on $11,100 bail.

Thanks again to all the donors, contributors and supporters of the CopBlock Network who make it such a huge success.

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