The prosecuting attorney for the city of Renton, Washington is investigating an anonymous cartoonist who created several videos mocking the Renton Police Department. The prosecutor and the police, in a gross and disturbing abuse of power, convinced a complicit judge to sign off on a search warrant that would force Google to turn over the identifying information that would lead to the identity of the anonymous cartoonist. In a ridiculous stretch of an already ambiguous law, the the city prosecutor wants to pursue “cyberstalking” charges against the cartoonist. The charges are so ridiculous that the Renton Police had to do some prosecutor shopping to even find someone that would pursue the case.
The videos (one of which can be seen here) feature an animated police officer making comments that apparently match up with some of the indiscretions of Renton police officers or other city employers. The videos themselves do not name a particular city, police department, or individual, but this is not stopping the petty tyrants of Renton from claiming that what is clearly satire is a crime worthy of jail time.
In the affidavit (see below) for the search warrant, Officer Ryan Rutledge, of the Renton Police Department states that “three people have come forward and have identified themselves as being persons targeted by embarrassing and emotionally tormenting comments about past sexual relationships or dating relationships that were discussed within some of these videos… they would like to be considered victims of Cyberstalking.”
All three of the so-called “victims” have been subjects of previous internal investigations involving inappropriate relationships, including a relationship with a murder suspect. They all still work for the Renton Police Department, so we know how those internal “investigations” turned out. It appears that the Renton Police take poking fun at a police officer’s misconduct more seriously than the actual misconduct. How dare a mere mortal air the police’s dirty laundry for all the public to see.