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Tag : police


A fine example of investigative journalism in the East Bay Express reviews internal communications and other public records from city staffers and Oakland PD bureaucrats discussing the Domain Awareness Center, a citywide surveillance hub that’s currently under construction in Oakland. Oakland is a city with a decades-long problem with gang violence and street violence, and the DAC is being touted as the solution to this serious problem.

Internal documents tell another story. Though the City of Oakland’s public-facing DAC message is all about crime fighting and anti-terror surveillance, the internal message is very different. City bureaucrats and law enforcement are excited about DAC because it will help them fight protests. Analysis of the internal documents found almost no mentions of “crime,” “rape,” “killings” — but city officials frequently and at length discussed the way the DAC could be used to thwart street protests, future Occupy movements, and trade union activity including strikes:

Other records echo this political mission. In meeting minutes from a January 2012 meeting of the San Francisco Maritime Exchange’s Northern California Maritime Area Security Committee, Domingo and Mike O’Brien, director of security for the Port of Oakland, described the DAC system as a tool that would help control labor strikes and community protests that threaten to slow business at the port. Following security reports from the US Border Patrol and the FBI, Domingo told the committee that Oakland law enforcement was “hoping that things would quiet down with the Occupy movement in the new year,” according to the official minutes. Domingo thanked the Maritime Exchange for its support of Oakland’s port security grant projects, which includes the DAC.

O’Brien went further, explaining that the port’s Emergency Operations Center (which now feeds into the DAC) “made use of seventy new security cameras” to track the protesters, and added that the system will ensure that “future actions [do] not scare labor away.”

Dan Siegel, a longtime civil and workers’ rights attorney in Oakland, said the city staffers’ focus on political unrest, even at the port, is disturbing. “There’s a huge difference in protecting the port from potential acts of terrorism than from spying on port workers and others who may have political or economic conflicts with port management and the companies that operate the terminals,” said Siegel. “What we see taking place is a complete blurring of that line where port security now includes tracking Occupy, longshore workers, and now recently the Port Truckers Association.”

During construction of the first phase of the DAC, from roughly August 2012 to October 2013, city staffers repeatedly referred to political protests as a major reason for building the system. Emails to and from Lieutenant Christopher Shannon, Captain David Downing, and Lieutenant Nishant Joshi of OPD and Ahsan Baig, Oakland’s technical project leader on the DAC, show that OPD staffers were in the surveillance center during the Trayvon Martin protests this year, and that they may have been monitoring marches in Oakland. In the same chain of emails, Shannon asked if the Emergency Operations Center and the DAC control room’s layout had “changed much since May Day,” referring to yet another large political rally in Oakland when the DAC appears to have been used by OPD to monitor demonstrations.

The Real Purpose of Oakland’s Surveillance Center   [Darwin BondGraham and Ali Winston/East Bay Express]


A pair of videos posted online show police probing the genitals and anal regions of three women they claim to suspect of possessing marijuana. In one video, a woman is seen bent over and grimacing as an off camera police officer conducts the search. Shortly before this search, a male officer explains to the woman that he is calling a female officer over “because I ain’t about to get up close and personal with your woman areas.”

The videos depict two vehicle stops, one for speeding and another for littering. In both videos, a male officer asks the women if they have any marijuana in the vehicle, suggesting that the purpose of their search is to find evidence of this drug. At one point, immediately before conducting her search of a woman’s genitals, a female officer warns the woman that if she “hid something in there, we’re going to find it.”

These searches almost certainly violate the Constitution. Although police do have broad latitude to search a vehicle when they have probable cause to believe that they will uncover contraband within, it is quite a stretch to extend these precedents to this most intimate of searches. As the Supreme Court explained in a 2009 decision regarding a student who was strip searched by school administrators, “both subjective and reasonable societal expectations of personal privacy support the treatment of such a search as categorically distinct, requiring distinct elements of justification on the part of school authorities for going beyond a search of outer clothing and belongings.”

Admittedly, that decision rested in part upon factors specific to that case, such as the youth of the person subject to the search. Nevertheless, the Court placed a great deal of weight on the fact that authorities had no “reason to suppose that [the student] was carrying pills in her underwear.” In other words, if officials want to conduct an unusually intrusive search into a suspect’s most private areas, this strip search case suggests that they must have particular reason to believe that contraband will be found in those private areas. It is doubtful that Texas police had any reason to specifically believe that the three women searched in these videos were carrying marijuana in their vaginas or their rectums.

The New York Daily News identifies one of the officers involved in these incidents as Trooper Jennie Bui, and reports that she was fired on June 29. Another officer, Trooper Kelley Helleson was also fired and charged with two counts of sexual assault. Two other officers are suspended.


A string of robberies by people “dressed as police” led the people of Detroit to believe there were “fake cops” out robbing people at gunpoint,  it turns out they were “not fake after all,” MyFoxDetroit reports:

A second officer, a 17-year veteran from Saint Clair Shores, has been arrested accused of robbing unsuspecting drivers at gunpoint.

On Saturday, Fox 2 also reported a Detroit police sergeant was arrested at the 12th precinct. A tip sent to Fox 2 helped lead to the arrests. We forwarded a photo from one scene to Detroit Police. They recognized one of their own in the photo.

More information is expected Monday during a press conference scheduled for Monday at 3 p.m.

The first incident took place at a Citgo gas station near French and I-94 on Detroit’s east side last Sunday. The clerk says two white men in a black Ford F-150 with police lights allegedly pistol-whipped customers pumping gas. The men stole cash and cell phones from their victims. A warning went out to be on the lookout for “fake cops” but it turns out those officers were not fake after all. It appears the sergeant in this case was driving his personal vehicle.

There were at least two reports of men posing as police officers and robbing unsuspecting drivers at gunpoint. The men had police badges, bullet proof vests and guns. They looked very official and police considered them armed and dangerous.

A second incident happened near Harper and 3 Mile Drive. A man says he was pulled over by three men in a unmarked Crown Victoria. The man was searched and while he answered questions, his wallet and CDs were stolen.

So, what can you do? Even police say you have permission not to stop if you don’t believe a real police officer is trying to pull you over. Instead, call 911 and ask the dispatcher for assistance. If all else fails, drive to the nearest precinct.I like this advice, that is if the police actually tolerate it (which I find it hard to believe they would).  I wonder how much revenue they could extract if every tax-slave being pulled over drove all the way to the nearest precinct to check-in.

While these cops who robbed people at gunpoint acting in an unofficial capacity have been caught, real police who do the same in their official capacity through traffic-ticket extortion will remain at large.

via informationliberation & activistpost