A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Minnesota’ tag

Being the Designated Fall Person is Lucrative

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After Officer Noors gunned down Justine Ruszczyk the mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges, sought out a sacrificial lamb that she could toss to the public to appease their anger. The sacrificial lamb she found was Janeé Harteau, the now former police chief for the City of Minneapolis. Initially it looked like a pretty raw deal but it turns out that being the sacrificial lamb can be quite profitable:

Former Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau would receive $182,876 in separation pay plus 12 months of health benefits under a severance deal with the city released Friday.

The deal must earn City Council approval. It includes a sweeping mutual non-disparagement clause: Harteau must say nothing negative about Mayor Betsy Hodges, the City Council or other high-ranking city officials, and they must say nothing negative about her.

Shielding the mayor and City Council for criticism doesn’t come cheap.

These deals always amuse me. On the one hand, a person in a management position is terminated because they supposedly did a bad job. On the other hand, their severance package is so good that they’re actually rewarded for doing a bad job. It’s like the people above the sacrificial lamb want to have their cake and eat it.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 5th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Retroactive Justice

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After Castile was murdered the State went through his and his girlfriend’s social media records with a find toothed comb. Ultimately, as we learned during the Yanez trial, the defense wanted information to use to assassinate the characters of Castile and his girlfriend during the trial. This was a form of retroactive justice. The crime, the shooting of Castile, was justified by going through the victim’s history to find dirt to use against him. Although the murderer had know way of knowing any of the discovered information at the time of the crime it still allowed his defense to poison the well so to speak.

History may not repeat itself but it does rhyme. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was granted permission to search the home of Justine Ruszczyk, the woman murdered by Officer Noor:

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) investigators were granted permission to search Justine Damond’s home hours after she was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer, according to court records.

A criminal law expert can’t understand why.

“I don’t understand why they’re looking for bodily fluids inside her home,” said Joseph Daly, an emeritus professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, referring to one of two recently-released search warrant applications.

[…]

According to court documents, investigators applied for the warrant on the following grounds:

  • The property or things above-described was used as a means of committing a crime
  • The possession of the property or things above-described constitutes a crime.
  • The property or things above-described is in the possession of a person with intent to use such property as a means of committing a crime, or the property or things so intended to be used are in the possession of another to whom they have been delivered for the purpose of concealing them or preventing their being discovered.
  • The property or things above-described constitutes evidence which tends to show a crime has been committed, or tends to show that a particular person has committed a crime.

Professor Mitchell doesn’t understand what the BCA is looking for because he’s look at the warrant through the lens of justice, not he lens of retroactively justifying a murder. The search warrant was issued in the hopes of finding dirt on Justine. With dirt in hand Officer Noor’s actions can either be written off as justified outright or, if the case goes to trial, justified to a jury by assassinating the character of Justine and anybody connected to her.

Actions like this will continue to widen the rift that already exists between the public and law enforcers. Unfortunately, I see no signs that law enforcers or their employers care. If they cared about such things, they would have taken steps to reprimand the bad actors in their departments early on. Instead they’ve either stood aside or directly assisted in shielding those bad actors from consequences. With this being the situation I feel justified in saying that The United States is already beyond the point where law enforcement can be reformed.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 26th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Cops Helping Out the Suicidal

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Are you felling suicidal? Call 911 and officers will be dispatched immediately to help you shove off of your mortal coil:

WILLMAR, Minn. (KMSP) – Two police officers are on standard administrative leave after a shooting that injured one man in Willmar, Minnesota Sunday night.

Two Willmar Police officers responded to a 911 call of a suicidal man at a home on the 400 block of 11th Street Northwest around 5:30 p.m. Upon arrival, the officers found the man in the backyard holding a gun.

I’m sure somebody is going to claim that the fact the suicidal man was in possession of a firearm demonstrated that he meant to commit suicide by cop. However, I feel the need to point out the fact that suicide by a cop is a thing. If you stop and think about the phrase “suicide by cop,” you will probably come to the realization that such a mechanism could only be reliable if the police were sufficiently trigger happy. If police officers weren’t sufficiently trigger happy, calling them in the hopes that they will kill you would be unreliable and suicidal individuals would likely opt for another method.

If you are concerned that somebody may be suicidal do not call 911. The operator who picks up will likely send a couple of police officers who will end up trying to kill the suicidal individual. While it’s true that such action technically prevents the suicide it doesn’t solve the actual problem, which is saving the individual’s life.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 25th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Remember That Officers are Easily Spooked

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A few days have passed since an innocent woman was gunned down by a rabid Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officer. Conveniently both officers’ body cameras and the car’s dashboard camera were turned off and the only other witness is dead so the only account we can get is that given to us by the officers. Now that a few days have passed the officers have had a chance to get their stories straight and their excuse for this shooting is even more feeble than most excuses given to us by cops who gunned down a person under extremely questionable circumstances:

As they reached West 51st Street, Officer Harrity indicated that he was startled by a loud sound near the squad. Immediately afterward Ruszczyk approached the driver’s side window of the squad. Harrity indicated that Officer Noor discharged his weapon, striking Ruszczyk through the open driver’s side window.

Much like a wild animal, police are apparently easily startled by loud noises. Unlike a wild animal though, when a police officer becomes startled they apparently shoot the first person they see who isn’t also a cop.

This excuse is ridiculous and the fact that it’s the best that they could come up with shows that they aren’t worried about even appearing legitimate. I’m guessing the fact that Yanez got away with murder has emboldened police officers to the point where they no longer feel the need to bother justifying their acts of murder. They know that the chances of them being punished in any meaningful way are roughly equal to those of winning the Powerball lottery.

My hope is that the State sees this situation as egregious enough to toss us lowly serfs a bone and actually punish this officer for his misdeeds. But I’m not going to hold my breath.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 19th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Somebody calls the police to report a potential crime and the police arrive and shoot the person who called them while their body cameras were mysteriously turned off:

Minneapolis police responded to a call of a possible assault. At some point, a weapon was fired and a woman fatally shot. The BCA is now in charge of the investigation. They say the officers involved had body cameras, but they were not turned on.

Last year the City of Minneapolis spent $4 million to equip the officers in its department with body cameras. This was done in an attempt to restore some of the public’s trust in the department after its officers were involved in a serious of very questionable shootings. Here we are over a year later and that $4 million investment has been entirely wasted since when incidents like this happen body cameras are turned off for some inexplicable reason.

Unfortunately, the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), as far as I know, has no policy in place for punishing officers who don’t turn on their body cameras (and if the department does it obviously doesn’t enforce it), which means these officers probably won’t receive any discipline. Moreover, the officers involved will probably say the magical words, “We feared for our lives,” which will ensure that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) absolves them of any wrongdoing.

The only way body cameras can be useful is if departments implement policies that severely discipline officers for using nonfunctional (which would have to cover everything from the body cameras not being turned on to the batteries dying partway through a shift) body camera while on duty. So long as an officer can turn their camera off at will without repercussions they will only serve the purpose of collecting evidence against those who the police interact with. But I’ve said all of this before and I’m sure I’ll have to continue saying it until the day I die.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 17th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Murder Includes a Nice Severance Package

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Killing Philando Castile has been lucrative for Officer Yanez. Not only did he enjoy a paid vacation but he also received a generous severance package:

“A reasonable voluntary separation agreement brings to a close one part of this horrible tragedy. The City concluded this was the most thoughtful way to move forward and help the community-wide healing process proceed.”

According to a copy of the agreement supplied by the city’s attorney in the matter, Yanez will receive a lump sum of $48,500 minus applicable deductions and tax withholdings.

He also will receive payment for up to 600 hours of accrued personal leave. The agreement did not note how much time he has accrued.

Yanez was making $72,612.80 a year when he fatally shot Castile on July 6, 2016, during a traffic stop on Larpenteur Avenue in Falcon Heights.

$48,500 plus 600 hours of accrued personal leave for murdering somebody is a pretty decent deal. Granted, he’ll have to hang low for a while and wait for this entire mess to blow over before another department will likely take him on.

When a police officer screws up they receive a paid vacation until whatever they did falls out of the news cycle. When they screw up more they might get fired and have to wait until their union forces their department to reinstate them. When they really screw up they are brought before a grand jury to be exonerated. When they really screw up they’re brought before a jury to be exonerated and given a nice severance package.

I must say, being a police officer and screwing up sounds like a good gig.

Survival Tips for Minnesotas for the Next Two Weeks

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For the next two weeks the road pirates are going to be increasing their fund raising efforts enforcement of the arbitrarily set speed limits:

On Wednesday, Zak, a lieutenant with the State Patrol, joined with officials from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to put on the demonstration to show how long it takes to stop while traveling at various speeds and how drivers’ reaction time goes down the faster they go. It comes as law enforcement from 300 agencies statewide begin a two-week speeding enforcement campaign from Friday through July 23.

[…]

The state’s crackdown on speeding coincides with a national effort and is paid for using funds allocated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While officers will be on the lookout for lead-footed drivers statewide, target teams will be stationed along routes known to see fast drivers, including I-494 in Bloomington, near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and on I-94 in the construction zone from Minneapolis to Brooklyn Center.

Since the threat of violence against motorists is going to increase I feel the need to point out some survival tips.

  1. Don’t be black. Studies have shown that road pirates tend to respond more violently to black individuals.
  2. Use Waze to both report any road pirates and to receive warnings about any reported road pirates.
  3. Turn on your smartphone’s camera, preferably to livestream the stop, and lock the screen. You want to have a record of the entire stop in case you’re murdered but you don’t want the phone unlocked because the officer might decided to rummage through it for evidence of more crimes. While such a search may be illegal the Supreme Court has ruled that illegally collected evidence is admissible in court.
  4. If you are a permit holder remember that Minnesota law only requires you to disclose if you’re carrying a firearm to an officer if they specifically asks. Don’t volunteer such information. If you do the police officer may panic and fire multiple rounds into you at point blank range. If this happens the officer will be acquitted of any wrongdoing.
  5. During a traffic stop make sure you have your license and proof of insurance out before the officer gets to your window. Failing to do so will require you to move your hands when the police officer is at your window and that might spook them. Like any wild animal, a spooked police officer is unpredictable.
  6. Have both hands firmly of your steering wheel at all times. By firmly I mean gripping your steering wheel so hard that your knuckles turn white. Only consider moving from this position if the officer gives you a direct order to do so.
  7. Assume the most submissive position possible. Police officers like to feel dominant. If they feel that their authority is being questioned in any way they might “fear for their life” and shoot you dead.

While this list could be extended I’m going to keep it brief in the hopes that you’ll be able to remember every point if you’re pulled over. If you follow these tips your chances of surviving a police encounter should increase. If for some reason, say due to your genetic makeup, you’re unable to follow one or more of these tips, well…

Written by Christopher Burg

July 7th, 2017 at 10:00 am

The $3 Million “Justified” Shoot

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One of the more disgusting claims being made by cop apologists is that the jury’s ruling in the Yanez case proves that the officer’s killing of Castile was justified. The jury only ruled that Yanez wasn’t guilty of the crimes the prosecutor brought against him. That’s different from ruling that his actions were justified. Now we have evidence that even the municipal government of St. Anthony thought the actions of its office were in error. How much in error? Roughly $3 million in error:

The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last year, has reached a nearly $3 million settlement in his death, according to an announcement Monday by her attorneys and the Minneapolis suburb that employed the officer.

The settlement to be paid to Valerie Castile will avoid a federal wrongful death lawsuit stemming from Philando Castile’s death. The 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker was killed by St. Anthony officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop July 6 after Castile told the officer he was armed. Castile had a permit for his gun.

Valerie Castile was probably smart in taking this settlement after seeing how the court system works. Between the prosecution being able to select charges based on whether or not they want to win or lose a case; the jury selection process, which usually results in the jury box being stacked with people of low intelligence and high susceptibility to manipulation; the judge’s almost absolute authority in the courtroom; and various other little tricks the State has available to ensure a jury trial goes the way it wants, jury trials end up being a mechanism for the State to reinforce its own policies by claiming they were reviewed by an impartial body.

If Valerie pursued a federal lawsuit, it’s likely she would end up receiving nothing since the State’s courts have an unsurprising tendency to side with the State.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 27th, 2017 at 10:30 am

It’s Not Your Property, Serf

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Can you own property in the United States of America? Many people would make the mistake of answering yes to that question. But the United States itself as well as the individual states that make it up are democracies and democracies mean that individuals cannot own property. At best an individual can lease property from the government. If, for example, an individual fails to pay their rent property taxes the government will revoke their lease. And it’s not even a contractual lease because the rules can change whenever an empowered voting body votes to alter the terms:

Tom Erickson feels like someone is taking a bite out of his front yard.

A 12-foot-wide strip of lawn will become part of a multi-use path, which he says will reduce his front yard by about a third.

“It’s incredible to me that they can just grab your property,” said Erickson, who is fighting Woodbury city officials over the plan to create the path along Commonwealth Avenue.

Mr. Erickson paid a large buy in for the privilege to lease the property he currently lives on. He probably thought that his buy in entitled him to perpetual use of the same amount of property so long as he paid his rent on time. But the city officials voted to change the terms of his lease so now he’ll likely have to pay the same amount of rent (or more if the officials decide the trail increases his property value) for only two-thirds the amount of property.

What Mr. Erickson is experiencing isn’t unusual. City governments are constantly voting to change the terms of their denizens’ leases. Oftentimes they completely invalidate leases so they can be transferred to somebody else (this is usually referred to by the euphemism “eminent domain”). So Mr. Erickson should be grateful that he is being allowed to continue living on any of the property he’s currently paying rent for.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 23rd, 2017 at 11:00 am

Taxes Them Again

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Whenever you mention privatizing roads some statist inevitably says, “But then we’ll all have to pay tolls to use the roads!” This is an especially funny criticism because many states including Illinois, Florida, and Texas charge tolls. And now Minnesota is looking to do the same thing:

State lawmakers have given Minnesota transportation officials an assignment: Study the feasibility of toll roads here and report back by January.

Were this to turn into a law Minnesotans would not only have to continue paying property taxes for local roads and gas taxes for state roads but they would also have to pay a toll on various roads. That is where privatized and government roads differ. On privatized roads you may have to pay a toll. However, unlike tolled government roads, you aren’t required to pay a tax in addition to the toll.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 23rd, 2017 at 10:00 am