Archive for the ‘Law Enforcement’ Category

This Washington Post editorial, published in the Star Tribune, highlights what passes for liberal logic. First, it’s worth highlighting some of the statements made in the editorial.

The editorial says “Citing ‘insufficient evidence,’ Judge Barry G. Williams on Thursday found Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr. not guilty of all charges in the April 2015 death of Gray.” That’s the Post’s way of saying the prosecution couldn’t prove that Freddie Gray’s rebellious actions didn’t cause his own death.

What the Post omitted is the fact that Mosby’s office conducted their own investigation and that police questioned the thoroughness of that investigation. In fact, this article highlights the rift between Mosby’s office and the Baltimore PD.

Specifically, Detective Dawnyell Taylor said “As I read over the narrative it had several things that I found to be inconsistent with our investigation,” adding: “I thought the statements in the narrative were misquoted.” It gets worse:

The claims in her account underscore a rift between prosecutors and police that began in the spring of last year, when the two agencies worked together on parallel tracks to investigate Gray’s death.

Some police officials believe prosecutors moved too quickly and have questioned their findings, while prosecutors have raised questions about whether police were seeking to absolve the officers of wrongdoing. Prosecutors have accused Taylor in court of trying to sabotage their case.

Here’s Det. Taylor:

Frankly, Mosby’s prosecution of these police officers is a sham. A year before the first case went to trial, legendary law professor Alan Dershowitz criticized Mosby’s office:

The mayor outrageously said we’re going to get justice for the victim, the family and people of Baltimore, never mentioning the defendants. Under our Constitution, the only people who are entitled to justice are the defendants. They are presumed innocent, they need due process of law, and the mayor and the state attorney have made it virtually impossible for these defendants to get a fair trial. They have been presumed guilty.

More than a few attorneys have suggested that Mosby should have her license suspended. Others have said she’s committed an offense that warrants disbarment.

Prosecuting police officers is always difficult and, as former state Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell IV pointed out, it showed “courage to bring charges when it appeared that the police had done something wrong.”

It didn’t take courage to railroad these officers. It took a reckless disregard for the rules of evidence. The fact that Mosby’s office hasn’t convicted the officers of a single criminal count shows that the “$6.4 million settlement” to the Gray family was meant to taint the jury pool. That strategy apparently failed.

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Predictably, the DFL is faking outrage over Chairman Cornish’s op-ed. Rep. Cornish is the chairman of the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee. Predictably, the NAACP heard a loud dog whistle when they read Chairman Cornish’s op-ed.

There’s nothing in Chairman Cornish’s op-ed that’s controversial to people with common sense. For instance, a bit of advice from is “Don’t be a thug and lead a life of crime so that you come into frequent contact with police.”

Nekima Levy-Pounds wasn’t the only person who threw a hissy fit over the word thug. Rachel Wannarka and Jason Sole threw hissy fits, too, writing “On June 8, an offensive letter by state Rep. Tony Cornish, a former law enforcement officer, appeared in the Star Tribune. The letter, headlined ‘Really, this isn’t complicated,’ purportedly aimed at helping ‘reduce the use of force by police,’ but in reality blaming the victims of police brutality using racially coded rhetoric such as ‘Don’t be a thug’ and non sequiturs such as ‘Don’t hang out on the street after 2 a.m.”

This isn’t surprising. In fact, it’s predictable considering the fact that “Rachel Wannarka is a member of the Minneapolis NAACP Criminal Justice Reform Task Force and a special education teacher at Boys Totem Town in St. Paul. Jason Sole teaches criminal justice at Hamline and Metropolitan State universities and is chair of the task force.”

Here’s the text of Chairman Cornish’s letter:

For the record, here’s what Ms. Levy-Pounds said in reacting to Chairman Cornish’s op-ed:

As an elected official in this state, Tony Cornish had a prime opportunity to demonstrate positive leadership on matters of race and policing. Instead, his divisive rhetoric showed disdain for the African-American community and the serious concerns surrounding the inequitable treatment and racial profiling we often face at the hands of law enforcement. His comments are also a distraction from the real issues related to the need for an overhaul of our system of policing.

The rhetoric used by Levy-Pounds was almost as incendiary as the rhetoric used by Wannarka and Sole:

Cornish seeks to place the full blame for police brutality on those being victimized.

Chairman Cornish wrote “Don’t be a thug and lead a life of crime so that you come into frequent contact with police.” Wannarka and Sole insist that that meant Chairman Cornish sought to “place the full blame for police brutality on those being victimized.” To people with a grasp of reality, it sounds like common sense.

Next, Cornish said “Don’t rob people, don’t use or sell drugs, and don’t beat up your significant other.” Next, Cornish said “Don’t hang out on the street after 2 a.m. Go home.” After that, Cornish said “Don’t make furtive movements or keep your hands in your pockets if told to take them out.” Finally, there’s this:

Don’t flap your jaws when the police arrive. Don’t disobey the requests of the police at the time. If you think you are wrongfully treated, make the complaint later.

That last bit of advice is important. “If you think you are wrongfully treated, make the complaint later” is great advice because it shows restraint. If there is wrongdoing on the police’s behalf, the right time to deal with it is after the situation is defused.

We should start calling the NAACP ‘Team Dog Whistle.’ Let me hear your opinions.

Anyone that thinks Roger Stone doesn’t still work for Donald Trump is kidding themselves. More importantly, anyone that thinks that they aren’t cut from the same immoral cloth is delusional. Media Matters has posted a video of an interview Stone did with Stefan Molyneux. During the interview, Stone lays out his plan to threaten and intimidate “anti-Trump delegates.”

Nobody questions whether Stone is an expert in exaggeration. What people need to know about Stone is that he’s one of the most ruthless people in recent American political history. During his interview with Molyneux, Stone said “You may have seen recently that, although Trump handily won the Louisiana Primary, the Party mechanism sat non-Trump delegates in those seats. Trump initially threatened to sue only to learn that the Republican National Convention isn’t governed by state or national law. It’s governed only by its own rules. The court has no jurisdiction in party matters. Only the temporary convention rules committee, and the full convention itself, in a vote of ratification, can determine who will and who won’t be allowed to vote in Cleveland. So I have warned the public, I have warned Trump supporters, of what I believe is ‘The Big Steal’. One of two things will happen here, Stefan. Either Trump will have 1,237 votes, in which case the Party will try to throw out some of those delegates in a naked attempt to steal this from Donald Trump or he will be just short of 1,237, in which case many of his own delegates, or I should say people in his delegates’ seats, will abandon him on the second ballot. So the fix is in.”

That’s breathtakingly dishonest. First, let’s deal with the notion of “Trump’s delegates.” Delegates to the National Convention are state party delegates. They don’t belong to anyone except that state. By RNC rules, those delegates are apportioned to candidates based on how they finished in that state’s caucuses or primary. For instance, in Wisconsin, the candidate that wins the most votes statewide wins 18 delegates. The candidate who receives the most votes in each of Wisconsin’s congressional districts gets 3 delegates per congressional district. They are required to vote for that district’s winner on the first ballot. Nothing more, nothing less.

Here’s the video of the interview:

Next, Stone’s statement that “the Republican National Convention isn’t governed by state or national law” is misleading. The Democratic National Committee isn’t governed by state or national law, either. Ditto with the Libertarian Party. It’s been that way since the founding of the Republic.

Third, saying that Trump won Louisiana handily is subjective at best. Trump won with 41.4% of the vote, compared with Cruz’s 37.8% of the vote. While that isn’t a squeaker, it certainly isn’t a landslide, either.

Fourth, Stone intentionally tried inflaming Trump’s supporters when he said that “the Party will try to throw out some of those delegates in a naked attempt to steal this from Donald Trump” if Trump has 1,237 or more delegates. Stone knows that’s BS because it’s irrelevant who’s sitting as delegates on the first ballot. Those delegates are bound to Trump on the first ballot. Period. Simply put, if Trump gets to 1,237 delegates, he’s the GOP presidential nominee.

Stone is inflaming Trump’s supporters as part of his plan to intimidate delegates into supporting Trump:

If Trump does not run the table on the rest of the primaries and the caucuses, we’re looking at a very, very narrow path in which the kingmakers go all out to cheat, to steal, and to snatch this nomination from the candidate who is overwhelmingly selected by the voters, which is why I have urged Trump supporters: come to Cleveland. March on Cleveland. Join us in the Forest City. We’re going to have protests, demonstrations. We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal. If you’re from Pennsylvania, we’ll tell you who the culprits are. We urge you to visit their hotel and find them. You have a right to discuss this if you voted in the Pennsylvania primary, for example, and your votes are being disallowed.

Notice the slippery language. Let’s hear Stone explain what he means by people voting in the Pennsylvania primary having their votes be “disallowed.” Is Stone implying that the votes cast in their primary can be ignored? If that’s what he’s saying, he’s lying outright. Coming from a caucus state, I know that endorsing conventions aren’t binding unless all of the candidates agree to abide by the endorsement. The only thing that’s legally enforceable are primaries because they’re governed by state statutes. The Secretary of State certifies that state’s primary results.

Clearly, Stone is attempting to intimidate people into supporting Trump. Anyone who is a delegate to the Republican National Convention should immediately contact law enforcement if they’re visited by one of Stone’s goon squads.

Finally, Stone’s Gestapo-like tactics don’t have a place in American politics. If he organizes non-peaceful protests, he should shoulder the responsibility for the property damage done and for the torment inflicted on delegates.

Friday night, Mary Lahammer’s article for Almanac, which starts 17 minutes into this video. She should be ashamed for airing such a dishonest article. The opening shot in the article shows a group of people singing “I’m gonna let it shine” while holding placards that say “FOR-PROFIT PRISONS ARE IMMORAL. BAN PRIVATE PRISONS. #StopCCA”

Rev. Brian Herron was captured on film saying “Why aren’t we here talking about resolving the disparities? Why aren’t we here talking about prison reform? Why aren’t we here talking about how we uplift people and uplift communities? Why are we here to do more damage? It ain’t right.”

Later, Joe Broge, a corrections officer at Stillwater State Prison said “I’ve talked to a number of inmates who spent time there and it is, without exception, a horrible facility and when they come to Stillwater Prison and say that they’re glad they’re there, that tells you something.”

First, the thought that Officer Broge thinks it’s wise to set public policy based on the input of criminals is frightening. Why would we want prisons designed that meet the prisoners’ approval? (I suspect that Officer Broge is just doing his best to vilify the CCA facility in Appleton. I don’t think it has anything to do with serious policymaking.)

As bad as those things are, though, they pale in comparison with what Tom Roy, Gov. Dayton’s Commissioner for the Department of Corrections, said during his testimony. Commissioner Roy said “The notion that we incarcerate people for profit, for corporate profit, is, I think, the antithesis of America.”

That’s an intellectually dishonest statement. When I wrote this article, I included this legislative language from HF3223:

(j) The commissioner, in order to address bed capacity shortfalls, shall enter into a contract to lease and operate an existing prison facility with a capacity of at least 1,500 beds located in Appleton, Minnesota.

Commissioner Roy knows that CCA would lease the facility to Minnesota’s Department of Corrections and that the Department of Corrections would staff the facility. Further, Commissioner Roy knows that CCA wouldn’t have anything to do with the operation of the facility.

Here’s the questions I have for Commissioner Roy:

  1. Is leasing a private building to hold prisoners “the antithesis of America”?
  2. How is leasing a building owned by a private company the antithesis but spending $100,000,000 of the taxpayers’ money morally justifiable?

Here’s my question for Mary Lahammer: How could you stand behind an article that’s more DFL spin than facts? Ms. Lahammer should be ashamed of herself for not questioning the propaganda contained in this article. It’s a pathetic excuse for journalism.

When I wrote this post about the so-called privatization of the CCA prison in Appleton, MN, I highlighted the legislative language of HF3223. The last paragraph of the bill states “(j) The commissioner, in order to address bed capacity shortfalls, shall enter into a contract to lease and operate an existing prison facility with a capacity of at least 1,500 beds located in Appleton, Minnesota.”

That language made the DFL activists howl with indignation. Minneapolis NAACP head Nekima Levy-Pounds said “Who we do business with is just as important as the business we do. Doing business with the CCA is like doing business with the devil, because their practices are diabolical.” Darnella Wade shouted “You cannot put my kids, my grandkids, in jail to save 350 Caucasian jobs in Appleton. This is abuse.” Imagine the screams Ms. Levy-Pounds and Ms. Wade will cut loose with when they read this article. Just the title alone (Dayton opens door to buying private Minnesota prison, someday) will cause these activists’ blood to boil.

The Democratic governor said the only way he would consider using the Appleton prison “would be to buy it.” He said he understands Correction Corporation of America would be willing to sell the 1,600-bed facility for $100 million. However, he said, the prison would need rehabilitation. “That is a hugely expensive proposition.”

On Twitter and in the article, people argued that leasing CCA’s empty prison was “building an economy on the backs of black and brown lives.” It might’ve been the most terrible thing imaginable. One person tweeted that leasing the building might (gasp!) help CCA profit from the relationship.

Yesterday, DFL activists stopped a meeting of the Public Safety, Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee that was debating HF3223, a bill that would give Tom Roy, currently the commissioner of the Department of Corrections, the authority to negotiate a lease with a company called Corrections Corporations of America. This article contains nothing but spin.

For instance, the article says that “African American mothers, young people and pastors” compared the prison system with “modern-day slavery.” They used this argument to talk “about the evils of CCA, and racial disparities in sentencing and incarceration.”

This type of spin is dishonest to its core. The CCA facility in Appleton, MN, has been empty since 2010. CCA doesn’t operate prisons in Minnesota at this time. That means that the protesters’ complaint against a prison system that these activists criticized while shutting down the hearing are publicly owned and operated prison systems.

Here’s the heart of these activists’ complaint about HF3223:

(j) The commissioner, in order to address bed capacity shortfalls, shall enter into a contract to lease and operate an existing prison facility with a capacity of at least 1,500 beds located in Appleton, Minnesota.

It can’t get much more straightforward than this. Tom Roy, Gov. Dayton’s commissioner of the Department of Corrections, shall sign a lease with CCA, then fill that empty facility with prisoners. Since the Department of Corrections has a contract with AFSCME, it’s assumed that Commissioner Roy will staff that prison with guards who are members of AFSCME.

Saying that these misguided activists’ arguments were incoherent is understatement:

Minneapolis NAACP head Nekima Levy-Pounds and other testifiers who opposed the bill said it didn’t matter that the state would operate the facility — it was still doing business with a private prison vendor. “Who we do business with is just as important as the business we do,” Levy-Pounds said. “Doing business with the CCA is like doing business with the devil, because their practices are diabolical.”

“You cannot put my kids, my grandkids, in jail to save 350 Caucasian jobs in Appleton,” Darnella Wade shouted, adding lawmakers should instead invest in daycare, education and other measures that improve quality of life rather than giving millions to a private prison corporation. “This is abuse.”

“When you open a prison, you’re going to fill it, and it’s going to be filled with black and brown bodies,” testified the Rev. Brian Herron of Zion Baptist Church. “Why are we having discussions about building an economy on the backs of black and brown lives?”

Rev. Herron, the reason why the legislature is debating this is because prisons are filling up. If a higher percentage of people stopped breaking the law, there wouldn’t be an overcrowding problem. Further, it’s insulting to think that the legislature is considering this bill because they want to build “an economy on the backs of black and brown lives?” Then there’s the somewhat more sane side of this argument:

“We vehemently oppose the opening of the prison in Appleton,” testified Stillwater Corrections Officer Joe Broge, a member of AFSCME Local 600. “We simply do not have the logistical support to operate another facility that’s four hours away.” He said correctional officers are already understaffed and stretched too thin, without adding another prison to the mix.

Question to the protesters: Is your chief complaint that Minnesota’s legal system is broken? Is it that prisons are understaffed? Or is it that it’s both?

Simply put, yesterday’s DFL protest showed how incoherent their thoughts on this issue are.

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Jazz Shaw’s post about the murder of a Utah police officer is heartbreaking but important within the context of criminal justice reform. Far too frequently, we’ve heard stories about “non-violent offenders” being incarcerated after being convicted for a felony.

Jazz’s post is about how Cory Lee Henderson murdered a police officer Sunday. Henderson allegedly murdered “Scott Barney, an 18-year veteran of the Unified and Taylorsville police departments and a father of three who worked in the Holladay Precinct.” Since then, lots of disturbing information has come out about Henderson. In his post, Shaw wrote that “Henderson was indicted by a federal grand jury on felon in possession of a firearm, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense” on Nov. 24, 2015.

That’s just the most recent incarceration for Mr. Henderson. After being indicted, things take a bizarre twist. On “Dec. 4, 2015, Henderson is arraigned in federal court, pleads not guilty. On Dec. 8, 2015, Henderson is paroled to the Fortitude Treatment Center. Federal court records show U.S. Magistrate Judge Evelyn Furse allowed him to be released from federal custody to go to the treatment center. On Dec. 18, 2015, Henderson is reported as a walkaway from the Fortitude Treatment Center. The Utah Department of Corrections said Henderson checked out in the morning to look for employment but did not return at the end of the day. That night, state dispatch was contacted and notified that he was missing.”

What type of nutjob judge paroles a felon with a lengthy history of convictions? This article is must reading:

Henderson’s criminal history includes arrests for drugs, weapons, assault and theft. He was convicted of possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2015. He was imprisoned for possession of a firearm by a restricted person in 2014 and was jailed on parole violations in November and December last year.

Criminal justice activists will surely attempt to tell the public that he never should’ve been jailed for the drug charges. That’s BS. In this and many other instances, drugs are just the tip of the iceberg. Notice that Henderson’s record includes arrests for “weapons, assault and theft,” too.

Here in St. Cloud, the ISD742 School Board is attempting to lift money from taxpayers’ wallets by writing a bonding proposal so that the taxpayers either accept a massive tax increase or they reject school renovations. I thought that the ISD742 School Board was corrupt. (I still do, actually.) That was until I heard about the outright theft and vandalism campaign being conducted by the Vote Yes people in the north metro. Mitch Berg’s post highlights the DFL’s depravity, including this link to the Washington County Watchdog’s Facebook page. You’ll want to check out the screen grab of a Vote Yes activist (thief?)admitting (actually, bragging is more accurate) that she stole Vote No lawn signs. Mitch further quoted that the “Watchdog confirmed that one of the women is affiliated with/employed by the “Vote Yes” campaign.” Actually, that person was uninhibited enough to say that she “might make a day” of stealing the Vote No signs.

What’s particularly disturbing is Nicole _____’s total disinterest in obeying the law. At one point, she said “Logan and I may go to jail today but at least we have coffee!” Check this screen grab out:

The woman who admitted that she’s stolen Vote No lawn signs isn’t a Republican or an independent. She’s a hardline progressive who thinks whatever she does is justified because it’s done to achieve her goal of raising people’s taxes to pay for a huge bonding referendum.

Theft is a crime. Because she’s already admitted to committing the crime on Facebook, the police should arrest her ASAP. She should then be prosecuted at the earliest possible time without violating any of this activist’s constitutional rights. Then she should be given the maximum sentence/fine allowed by law. It shouldn’t matter if she’s never been arrested before. It shouldn’t matter if she’s been nominated for any civic award.

Clearly, this woman cheerfully violated other people’s constitutional rights (the First Amendment, specifically) without hesitation. She did it to prevent people with whom she disagrees from exercising the same rights the Vote Yes campaign is using.

Further, the legislature should write a law that makes the theft or vandalism of lawn signs a felony. This punishment should be 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Keeping this a misdemeanor with a slap-on-the-wrist fine keeps in place the plan that gives the Nicoles and Logans an incentive to continue vandalizing campaigns. It has to stop ASAP.

According to this article, Quentin Tarantino’s movies will be boycotted by police organizations. Since Tarantino accused police officers of being cold-blooded murderers, the protests against Tarantino have multiplied in number and ferocity.

These protests started when Tarantino said “I’m a human being with a conscience. And if you believe there’s murder going on then you need to rise up and stand up against it. I’m here to say I’m on the side of the murdered.” Saying that that touched off a firestorm is understatement. The “National Association of Police Organizations — a group representing 1,000 police units and associations and over 241,000 sworn law enforcement officers,” issued a statement saying “We ask officers to stop working special assignments or off-duty jobs, such as providing security, traffic control or technical advice for any of Tarantino’s projects.”

Here’s NAPO’s full official statement:

Just days after NYPD Officer Randolph Holder was killed in the line of duty, film director Quentin Tarantino bluntly referred to police as “murderers” during an anti-police rally in New York City this past weekend. As a high-profile figure, Tarantino’s language is utterly irresponsible, particularly at a time when the nation is seeing increasing and persistent calls for the killing of officers. Anti-police rhetoric like Tarantino’s threatens the safety of police and citizens alike. The police he are calling murderers are the same officers who were present along the protest route to ensure the safety of protesters, who provide security when he is filming, and who put their lives on the line to protect our communities day in and day out. The National Association of Police Organizations staunchly supports the call of the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the Los Angeles Police Protective League to boycott Tarantino’s films. Furthermore, we ask officers to stop working special assignments or off-duty jobs, such as providing security, traffic control or technical advice for any of Tarantino’s projects. We need to send a loud and clear message that such hateful rhetoric against police officers is unacceptable!

Mr. Tarantino should expect a lengthy, extensive blowback after his comments. These police officers are under siege. The last thing they need is a grandstanding Hollywood nutjob making their jobs more difficult and dangerous. That’s what Tarantino did with his reckless statements.

When Marilyn Mosby made her first public appearance on the Freddie Gray case, she made a huge mistake, saying that she’d “seek justice for Freddie Gray.” That’s a major mistake because ‘Lady Justice’ wears a blindfold. There’s a reason for that. That’s because justice is determined by wherever the facts take investigators.

Ms. Mosby started with the belief that 6 Baltimore police officers were guilty of causing Freddie Gray’s death. Now that the autopsy’s been finished, Ms. Mosby wants to keep the autopsy’s results private:

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby plans to seek a protective order that would block the release of Freddie Gray’s autopsy report and other “sensitive” documents as she prosecutes the six police officers involved in his arrest.

Mosby told The Baltimore Sun that prosecutors “have a duty to ensure a fair and impartial process for all parties involved” and “will not be baited into litigating this case through the media.”

But an attorney for one of the officers said the effort shows that “there is something in that autopsy report that they are trying to hide.” “Mrs. Mosby is the one who did an announcement discussing what she said the evidence was in a nationally televised speech,” said Ivan Bates, who represents Sgt. Alicia White. “Now that it is time to turn over the evidence, to ask for a protective order is beyond disingenuous.

“It’s as if she wants to do everything to make sure our clients do not get a fair trial.”

There’s no questioning whether Ms. Mosby is fighting dirty. She’s made public statements in front of the cameras virtually on a daily basis. It’s astonishing that Ms. Mosby is insisting that the information produced by a public employee shouldn’t be made available to people who are defending the accused. That’s almost Orwellian thinking.

While she’s shot her mouth off, she’s insisting that the defense shut up. That isn’t the pathway to a fair trial. Though I’m not a trial attorney, I can’t imagine what justification a judge might cite in upholding Ms. Mosby’s gag order. In the end, it’s hard to believe that the judge will reject the gag order and order Ms. Mosby to make the autopsy report available to the defense. It wouldn’t surprise me if the judge ruled that the defense had the right to conduct its own independent autopsy.

Finally, it wouldn’t surprise me if Ms. Mosby lost this high profile case. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving person.