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White House to reconsider ban on military gear for police

Posted on July 25th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

BlackLivesMatter Amid a growing sense of crisis here in the United States, comes the unwelcome news that the White House will reconsider its May 2015 ban on police forces getting armored vehicles and similar military gear from the Defense Department. The leaders of two police organizations boasted of this to Reuters on July 21.  The named sources are Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, and Bill Johnson, that of the National Association of Police Organizations. The ban was instated following a public outcry over use of the military-grade riot gear by police in Ferguson, Mo,, and other cities in protests against police brutality.

SCOTUS deals new blow to Fourth Amendment

Posted on June 20th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

SCOTUS The Supreme Court on June 20 ruled that evidence discovered in a police stop found to be illegal may still be used in court—with the caveat that the officers conducted their search after learning that the suspect had an outstanding arrest warrant. In a 5-3 ruling, the Supremes found that such searches do not violate the Fourth Amendment. The case, Utah v. Strieff, concerned Edward Strieff, who in December 2006 was stopped by an officer staking out a suspected drug-dealing location in South Salt Lake. Grounds for the stop were later ruled inadequate because it was not based on reasonable suspicion. During the stop, the officer ran a check and discovered Strieff had an outstanding warrant for a minor traffic violation, and conducted a search—finding a baggie full of methamphetamines and a pipe that was deemed paraphernalia. A district court later ruled that although the cop didn't have the right to stop Strieff, the evidence was admissible. The highest court in the land has now agreed.

NYC: cannabis busts rising again —despite new policy

Posted on June 4th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

New York CityBig Apple tokers exhaled a sigh of relief in November 2014, when Mayor Bill de Blasio instated a new policy barring arrest for possession of under 25 grams of cannabis. New York City had long been the pot bust capital of the USA, and after the new policy the smell of fragrant smoke was present on the city streets on a level not seen since before the get-tough Giuliani era. But a year and a half later—guess what? A new report just released by the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP) indicates that cannabis arrests rose more than a third in the first three months of this year. The NYPD popped 4,225 people for pot possession between January and March, according to state data crunched by the advocacy group. That's a serious jump from the 2,960 arrested during the same period last year. When you add in arrests for small sales, the figures are respectively 5,311 and 3,973. What gives?

Anti-gang 'mega-raids' in crisis-hit Venezuela

Posted on May 16th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

VenezuelaAs Venezuela lurches deeper into political crisis, President Nicolas Maduro has announced a new phase in the government's controversial "Operation Liberate the People" security program, pledging to cleanse the country of gang-related crime. Thousands of elite military troops have been deployed across Caracas, with five new “permanent” bases and over 130 checkpoints established in the city. Perhaps not coincidentally, this comes as Maduro has declared a "state of emergency" throughout the country in response to a supposed US-backed conspiracy against him by the political opposition, earning rebukes from Amnesty International, which called the declaration "alarming."

Surveillance of activists latest Chicago police scandal

Posted on April 14th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ChicagoThis has been a very bad week for the Chicago Police Department. Among the headaches was a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois on "unsettling" reports of Chicago police monitoring peaceful protest groups, and is calling for City Council hearings on the claims. The statement came in response to a Chicago Sun-Times report finding that the department opened seven investigations since 2009 to monitor activist groups. E-mails released by the city under purblic pressure after the 2014 fatal police shooting of African American teen Laquan McDonald revealed that cops kept close tabs on protesters. Undercover officers were sent to monitor meetings of Black Lives Matter and other groups. (AP, April 10)

Alabama prison riot: more to come?

Posted on March 16th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

AlabamaGov. Robert Bentley visited Holman prison in southwest Alabama March 15—in the wake of a bloody uprising at the facility. Inmates stabbed the warden and a guard when the trouble began four days earlier, then seized control of a dorm for several hours the day before the governor's visit. A Correctional Emergency Response Team was sent in to restore control. Both the warden and guard survived, but the facility remains on lockdown, with visitation rights suspended. Bentley pledged to address problems of overcrowding at the state's prisons during his visit, reported local WHNT.

No federal charges in Ramarley Graham case

Posted on March 8th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

New York City The Manhattan US Attorney's office announced March 8 that it will not prosecute the NYPD officer who killed unarmed teen Ramarley Graham—almost four years to the day after he was slain by undercover officers who had chased him into his own apartment in The Bronx. No gun was found—just a small a bag of cannabis, which he was apparently trying to flush down the john. "After conducting a thorough and independent investigation, the US Attorney's Office has determined that there is insufficient evidence to meet the high burden of proof required for a federal criminal civil rights prosecution" of police officer Richard Haste, said a statement from Preet Bharara, federal prosecutor for New York's Southern District. "Accordingly, this office's investigation into Mr. Graham's death has been closed."

Right to film cops at issue in Philly federal case

Posted on March 1st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchPhilly Voice reports that the Pennsylvania ACLU is planning to appeal following a decision last month by a federal court that a citizen has no First Amendment right to record police activity without a specific, critical reason for doing so. In the Feb. 19 decision, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in Fields vs. City of Philadelphia that absent "any state purpose of being critical of the government," your freedom of speech is not applicable when recording the activities of police officers.

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