A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Superdickery’ tag

Body Camera Footage of an MPD Officer Trying to Murder Two Dogs

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Remember the story from last week about a Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officer who tried to murder two dogs when responding to a burglar alarm? The entire mess was captured by the family’s security camera but the officer tried to lie by claiming the dogs were acting aggressively anyways. Yesterday the officer’s flimsy excuse was thrown out of the window because the footage from his body camera was released and it clearly shows that the dogs were not acting aggressively:

Mays’ initial report filed that same night contended that the dogs, which he described as large pit bulls, “charged at” him. The police union defended Mays, contending that the first dog growled as it advanced toward him.

LeMay and her attorney, Mike Padden, have scoffed at that version of events, and have called for Mays to be prosecuted for filing a false report. They also suggested Mays be disciplined, possibly even fired.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon in north Minneapolis, where Padden made the officer’s body camera video available to other media outlets, the attorney said the imagery makes it obvious that Mays shot with the intention to kill.

Fortunately for the two dogs and their owners, Officer Mays was a poor shot and failed to kill the dogs. However, that left the family, not Officer Mays, with medical bills. The family was able to crowdsource those funds and hopefully with the release of this video will be able to bring a civil case against Officer Mays and make him or his employer pay for the medical bills.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 21st, 2017 at 10:00 am

To Protect and Serve

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People often think that I’m being hyperbolic when I say that law enforcers will escalate even petty infractions into violence but we continue to see examples of them doing so. The latest example comes from California. A 52-year-old woman was selling flowers without a permit and found out how even minor disobedience is treated by the brave men and women of law enforcement:

A California woman found herself subject to a brutal takedown by a police officer who spotted her attempting to sell flowers without a permit.

Juanita Mendez-Medrano, 52, was arrested after working a sidewalk in Perris near to where a high school graduation ceremony was being held last month.

In an unsettling cell phone video, which surfaced on Monday, Mendez-Medrano is seen holding the flowers in her hands just before an officer is seen grabbing her by the arms, grasping her neck and tackling her to the ground in the violent arrest.

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‘Unlike the other vendors, Ms. Mendez-Medrano refused to cooperate as necessary to allow our officer to issue her a citation. She refused to provide her name, and attempted to walk away,’ the police news release said.

Because she refused to give her name so that the officer could issue her a bullshit citation the officer felt that it was appropriate to smash her into the concrete sidewalk.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 20th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Jeff Sessions Announces Justice Department Will Increase Theft

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Jeff Sessions apparently came to Minneapolis (nobody told me, not that I would have cared). Fortunately, being a government employee, he didn’t have to worry about being murdered by Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers but I digress. During his trip to the Twin Cities he announced that his department is planning to steal more property from innocent people:

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department will issue new directives to increase the federal govenment’s use of civil asset forfeiture, a controversial practice that allows law enforcement to seize property from suspected criminals without charging them with a crime.

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“[W]e hope to issue this week a new directive on asset forfeiture—especially for drug traffickers,” Sessions said. “With care and professionalism, we plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures. No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime. Adoptive forfeitures are appropriate as is sharing with our partners.”

Some people might claim that the people being robbed aren’t innocent because they’ve been accused of a crime but civil asset forfeiture occurs before somebody has been found guilty of a crime, which is the problem. Under a justice system where one is supposedly innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt there is no justification for stealing an accused individual’s property. So, yes, Jeff Sessions announced that his department is going to be stealing from innocent people and that should have everybody up in arms.

What makes civil asset forfeiture more egregious is that the loot is shared with municipal and state police departments (the “partners” Sessions mentioned), which means their officers are motivated to perpetrate more thefts. The practice also skews the focus of police departments. As I’ve pointed out before, police departments make no additional money by solving burglaries, armed robberies, assaults, rapes, and murders. Departments do, however, make additional money by accusing individuals of violating federal drug prohibitions. Since departments are rewarded for focusing on drug-related crimes that is where they invest their resources. Meanwhile people who have actually been victimized are left with little chance of seeing justice served.

When you pay taxes to fund your local police department you’re actually funding the thieves who are motivated to rob you and their motivation comes from the practices being encouraged by government goons like Jess Sessions.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 19th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Your Internet Sucks Because of Government

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When it comes to Internet access parts of the United States often feel like a third world country. If you live in a small town you may be lucky if you can even get digital subscriber line (DSL) service. Those living in larger cities often have access to high speed cable Internet but that is far from the blazing fast fiber connections that people in other parts of the world and a handful of lucky denizens in the United States enjoy. But why does Internet access in the United States suck? Is it due to a failure of capitalism or market forces? No. As it turns out, the reason Internet access sucks in the United States is the same reason so many things suck, government:

Deploying broadband infrastructure isn’t as simple as merely laying wires underground: that’s the easy part. The hard part — and the reason it often doesn’t happen — is the pre-deployment barriers, which local governments and public utilities make unnecessarily expensive and difficult.

Before building out new networks, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must negotiate with local governments for access to publicly owned “rights of way” so they can place their wires above and below both public and private property. ISPs also need “pole attachment” contracts with public utilities so they can rent space on utility poles for above-ground wires, or in ducts and conduits for wires laid underground.

The problem? Local governments and their public utilities charge ISPs far more than these things actually cost. For example, rights of way and pole attachments fees can double the cost of network construction.

So the real bottleneck isn’t incumbent providers of broadband, but incumbent providers of rights-of-way. These incumbents — the real monopolists — also have the final say on whether an ISP can build a network. They determine what hoops an ISP must jump through to get approval.

Starting an Internet service provider (ISP) or expanding an existing one normally wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. Digging trenches and laying cable isn’t exactly rocket science nor is it exorbitant expensive. But receiving permission from municipal governments and their utility companies doesn’t come cheap because they have a monopoly.

If a free market existed in utility provision, ISPs would be able to negotiate cheaper right-of-way agreements when they were needed because most companies would be happy to receive a little extra for letting an ISP utilize already existing infrastructure. And if one utility company didn’t want to lease the use of its infrastructure, an ISP could negotiate a contract with one of that company’s competitors. Another possibility under a free market would be utility companies not even bothering to build infrastructure but leasing the use of infrastructure built by companies that specialize in building and leasing it to utility providers, including ISPs.

However, many municipal governments have granted themselves a monopoly on both utilities and the infrastructure. Without any competition these municipal governments can charge ISPs whatever they want for access to their infrastructure. This ends up hurting the people living in the municipality but municipal governments, like all governments, don’t care about the people they claim dominion over.

If Americans want better Internet they need to either take control of their municipal governments’ infrastructure (which was built with money stolen from taxpayers anyways) or bypass it entirely.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 18th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Government Doesn’t Care About Your Privacy

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If you leak personal, often referred to as classified, information about the government you may get kidnapped by its enforcers and thrown in a cage for decades. But the government doesn’t treat your personal information in the same regard as its own:

People who spoke up about their concerns over privacy suddenly found key private details, including their email and sometimes even home addresses, released by none other than President Donald Trump’s administration. The presidential commission charged with investigating alleged fraud that has been plagued by controversy from the start published a 112-page document of unredacted emails of public comment on its work, which to no surprise are largely negative of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. When it published the comments, the White House didn’t remove any of the personal information, meaning many of the comments are accompanied by personal details of the person who wrote it.

This is another reason why I don’t waste my time responding to government requests for public input. Not only is it a waste of time since the government doesn’t actually care about the public’s input but the personal information of anybody who does respond often ends up being publicly released. This is especially dangerous for people who have legitimate threats to their lives such as women who are hiding from abusive exes or a public figure who is being stalked by an obsessive fan.

While Slate implied that this was unique to the Trump administration, it’s actually quite common for the government to release personal information about people who submit comments to its requests as part of the public record. My recommendation for government requests for comment is the same as my recommendation for voting, don’t waste your time interacting with the government.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 18th, 2017 at 10:00 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.

Mistaken Identity

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It’s a day ending in “y” so there must be another “isolated incident” where one of the “rare” bad apples in law enforcement performs a heinous act. Today’s heinous act involves a case of mistaken identity. Officers were searching for a 25 to 30-year-old 5′ 10″ tall 170 pound black male. When they came across a 19-year-old 5′ 2″ tall 115 pound black girl they mistook her for the suspect and served and protected the shit out of her:

On the day Tatyana Hargrove rode her bike to try to buy her dad a Father’s Day gift, temperatures in Bakersfield, Calif., had reached triple digits, so she stopped on the way home to take a drink of water in the shade.

The 19-year-old girl turned around at the intersection where she had paused and noticed three police cars. One of the officers, she said, had already drawn his gun.

What followed, according to both Hargrove and police, was a case of mistaken identity and an altercation in which police punched Hargrove in the mouth, unleashed a police K-9 dog on her and arrested her. Though the incident took place June 18, it gained wider attention this week after the Bakersfield chapter of the NAACP shared a video of Hargrove’s account on its Facebook page that garnered millions of views.

On the day police stopped Hargrove, officers had been looking for a suspect — described as a 25- to 30-year-old, bald black man standing 5-foot-10 and weighing about 170 pounds — who had threatened several people with a machete at a nearby grocery store, according to a police report.

She was black, the suspect was black, and they all look alike, right? According to these fine officers that must be the case but I’d bet money most of us lowly untrained civilians would be able to tell the difference immediately.

Had the arrest not been captured on video it’s likely that this entire incident would have disappeared down a memory hole. Since this was caught on video though it means that there will likely be an internal investigation that will find that the officers followed their training and are therefore innocent of all wrongdoing. But to show how benevolent it is, the department will likely be willing to drop the charges against the girl (as is often the case, the girl was charged for “resisting or delaying an officer and aggravated assault” even though the officers delayed themselves by assaulting her instead of continuing their search for the suspect). With that said, there is a chance that the officers involved will be fired from the department… only to be reinstated when their union strong arms the department into doing so. There might even be a jury trial where the prosecutor brings the most difficult to prove charges they can against the officers, evidence is withheld from the jury, and the jury is given instructions on how to rule based on the letter of a law written in such a way that an officer cannot be charged under it.

You know, when I put it that way, it really sounds like we live in a police state. Weird.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 13th, 2017 at 10:30 am

What’s the Difference Between the IRS and a Thief

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What’s the difference between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a thief? There isn’t one:

The unmarked vehicles arrived in the morning. More than 20 armed agents poured out.

Hours later, Mii’s Bridal & Tuxedo was out of business after serving customers for decades. Its entire inventory of wedding gowns and dresses as well as sewing machines and other equipment were sold at auction.

The hastily-called sale held inside the store netted the IRS about $17,000 — not enough to cover the roughly $31,400 in tax debt alleged, court records show. The balance is now likely unrecoverable.

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Regarding the speed of the sale, the government said in legal filings that the IRS used a special law that allows for a streamlined procedure if the agency determines the goods seized could “perish or waste” or become greatly reduced in value.

As a result, the IRS didn’t have to post advance public notice of the Mii’s sale or wait at least 10 days before selling the goods, as is normally required.

How are tuxedos, wedding dresses, and sewing machines perishable goods? They’re not. The IRS just made shit up so it could perform this act of theft without giving the owners enough time to involve lawyers.

While I spend a great deal of time brining up civil asset forfeiture laws, there are other laws on the books that allow the State to legally steal property without convicting the owner. Arcane tax laws are often used in this way. In this case the IRS once again used, or should I say abused, laws against structuring. I’ve mentioned this before but there is a law that requires people making deposits greater than $10,000 to report them. Many businesses don’t realize this is a law, they only realize that the bank requires them to fill out a bunch of additional paperwork if their deposit is above $10,000. So to avoid paperwork many businesses take deposits over $10,000 and divide them into multiple deposits that are each under $10,000. Doing this violates the law against structuring so the IRS combines the fact that many small business owners are entirely unaware of this law with the fact that it’s illegal to justify rolling in, seizing a small business’s assets, and auctioning them off.

These kinds of laws violate the concept of private property. So long as they continue to exist nobody in the United States can be said to actually own property, they can only lease property for as long as the State permits them.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 11th, 2017 at 10:30 am

But Wait, There’s More

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Yesterday’s story about another puppycide committed by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) was already horrible. However, in the words of the great philosopher Billy Mays, “But wait, there’s more!” Not only did the MPD officer shoot two dogs for no reasons whatsoever, he apparently lied to the owners about having called in to get the dogs medical aid:

The family didn’t instantly take the dogs to the emergency vet because police told the family that “animal control” would be there in minutes to access the dogs’ medical needs. No one showed up, LeMay said.

I’m super sorry I jumped your fence like a burglar and gunned down your dogs. Don’t worry though, I totally called animal control and they’ll get here before your dogs bleed out. I promise.

If history is any indicator, this officer will receive either no punishment at all or a paid vacation while the department waits for this fiasco to fall out of the news cycle. Even if by some miracle the officer is fired the police union will likely step in and get him reinstated. And that is the problem. So long as officers remain unaccountable for their actions they will have no motivation to stop acting badly and stories like this will continue to hit the front page.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 11th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Another Day, Another Puppycide

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On Saturday a 13-year-old girl accidentally tripped her home’s burglar alarm. This accident set into motion a series of events that has become all too common. The Minneapolis Police Department dispatched an officer to respond to the burglar alarm. Instead of walking up to the front door and knocking the officer entered the fenced in backyard, presumably by jumping the fence. Upon seeing the officer two friendly dogs approached him. The officer responded by showing the dogs good old fashion police love by pumping rounds into them:

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A woman in north Minneapolis says a city police officer responding to a home burglary alarm Saturday night shot her two dogs.

Jennifer LeMay posted home surveillance video of the shooting to Facebook, showing what looks to be a Minneapolis police officer firing his gun at two approaching pit bulls in a fenced-in backyard.

After firing, the officer is then seen jumping over the backyard fence.

There is a video of the shooting caught from the woman’s surveillance camera. It’s pretty clear from the video that the dogs weren’t aggressive. Unfortunately, the video doesn’t answer the question as to why the officer decided to jump the backyard fence instead of go to the front door.

The woman setup a GoFundMe campaign to pay for her dogs’ medical expenses. I feel the need to point out that absurdity of having to setup a GoFundMe campaign to deal with the expenses involved in police responding to a burglar alarm. It’s at the point where you’re often better off letting a burglar steal your shit than notifying the police that you’ve been robbed.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 10th, 2017 at 10:30 am