Can you say Police State? It's here!

A police state is a term for a state in which the government exercises rigid repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the citizens, especially by means of a secret police "Homeland Security" which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by the U.S. Constitution.

Can you say Police State? It's here!

Postby KC » 08 Jun 2008, Sun 9:57 pm

Can you say Police State? The Examiner has the scoop on a controversial new program announced today that would create so-called "Neighborhood Safety Zones" which would serve to partially seal off certain parts of the city. D.C. Police would set-up checkpoints in targeted areas, demand to see ID and refuse admittance to people who don't live there, work there or have a “legitimate reason” to be there. Wow. Just, wow.

Some of the words used to describe such a plan by those quoted in the Examiner story include "breathtaking" and "cockamamie," but that hardly begins to scratch the surface. Interim Attorney General Peter Nickles actually said that measures of this sort have "been used in other cities.” Which cities are those, Mr. Nickles? Warsaw?

Today's proposal appears to be a desperate attempt by the city to tamp down recent violence that has ravaged the city, especially in Ward 5. The "Neighborhood Safety Zones" would last up to 10 days. It's a struggle to think of words to describe such a plan other than authoritarian or ghettoization.

The full description of this plan from the mayor's press release is below.

The Neighborhood Safety Zone initiative has been developed to help increase security for those who live in high-crime areas around the city and to help residents reclaim their communities. The program will authorize the Metropolitan Police Department to set up public safety checks to help safeguard community members and create safer neighborhoods in the District by increasing police presence aimed at deterring crime.

The safety zones will be established only upon request by a District Commander where there is evidence to support the existence of neighborhood violent crime, such as intelligence, violent crime data, police reports and feedback and concerns from the affected community.

Potential Neighborhood Safety Zones must be approved by the Chief of Police, and will be in effect for a maximum of 10 days. Public safety checks will be established along the main thoroughfares of the established neighborhoods. Anyone driving into a designated area may be asked to show valid identification with a home address in that neighborhood, or to provide an explanation for entering the NSZ, such as attending church, a doctor’s appointment or visiting friends or relatives. Pedestrians will not be subject to the public safety checks.

“The Neighborhood Safety Zones is just another tool MPD will employ to stop crime before it happens. The Neighborhood Safety Zone initiative will help residents terrorized by violent crime to take back their neighborhoods,” said Chief Lanier.

Initiatives such as the Neighborhood Safety Zones have been accepted by federal courts as a legitimate law enforcement practice in keeping with the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. The constitutionality of the NSZ initiative has been reviewed by the D.C. Office of the Attorney General.

The NSZ will be launched next week in the Trinidad area.

http://dcist.com/2008/06/04/mpd_to_seal_off.php
http://www.policecrimes.com

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Postby WaTcHeR » 14 Jun 2008, Sat 9:48 pm

Police in Washington, DC, have abandoned checkpoints it established in an unsafe neighborhood after a night of violence saw eight shootings elsewhere in the city. The checkpoints were criticized by civil libertarians as "police state" tactics more appropriate for Baghdad or Soviet-era East Berlin than the nation's capital.

Local authorities offered few specifics as to why they decided on Thursday to stop checking identification for every person driving into a neighborhood in Northeast DC, but they claimed the mission was a success because there were no shootings in the neighborhood, known as Trinidad, during the six days the checkpoints were in place. On Wednesday night, eight people, including an 11-year-old girl, were shot elsewhere in the city; none died.

The Washington Post reports that some local officials criticized the heavy-handed police tactics and noted that such authoritarian approaches would be unlikely to decrease crime overall.

The program, in which all drivers must justify their purpose for being in a targeted area, has been criticized by civil rights groups, D.C. council members and residents who said police are overstepping their power.

"As crime occurs elsewhere in this city, they're going to have to go back to community policing," said council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), who is holding a hearing Monday on the initiative.

"Checkpoints aren't going to stop crime," Mendelson said.

Under community policing strategies, officers work with residents to find solutions. Lanier did not seek community input before launching the checkpoint, a source of complaint from some residents. But other residents praised the effort.

The checkpoint plan followed other civil liberties-unfriendly proposals from DC police struggling to quell violent crime in the city. Previous proposals included a venture that would have had police going door-to-door in rough neighborhoods asking residents to "voluntarily" submit to warrantless searches of their homes. That plan was temporarily abandoned after citizen complaints, but police are moving forward with a plan to centrally network and continuously monitor thousands of closed-circuit video cameras throughout the city.

Police decided to shut down the checkpoint just a day after they said they would extend them through the weekend. Local blog DCist notes the confusion probably wasn't the best way to inspire confidence in the police.

"Way to make everyone feel like this thing has been well thought out, guys," the blog quips.
"Cops that lie, need to die!" A police officer that lies to get an arrest or send someone to prison should be shot.

"In the U.S., a cop with a gun can commit the most heinous crime and be given the benefit of the doubt."

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Postby WaTcHeR » 14 Jun 2008, Sat 9:49 pm

I suppose it's a good thing they stopped, the streets in Washington D.C. would have been layered with dead cops.
"Cops that lie, need to die!" A police officer that lies to get an arrest or send someone to prison should be shot.

"In the U.S., a cop with a gun can commit the most heinous crime and be given the benefit of the doubt."

"The U.S. Government does not have rights, it has privileges delegated to it by the people."
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Postby WaTcHeR » 21 Jun 2008, Sat 11:04 pm

WASHINGTON - A civil liberties group filed a lawsuit Friday seeking an injunction against the District of Columbia police department's vehicle checkpoint program, calling the "military-style" initiative unconstitutional and ineffective.

The class-action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington by the Partnership for Civil Justice on behalf of four D.C. residents who were stopped by the checkpoints earlier this month in the city's Trinidad neighborhood.

The checkpoints were in effect in Trinidad for six days beginning June 7. The initiative requires officers to check drivers' ID and turn away those who don't have a "legitimate purpose" in the area, such as a doctor's appointment or church visit. Police have said the checkpoints could be used in other areas that experience a surge in violence.

The lawsuit also asks the court to throw out data that police collected on law-abiding citizens who were stopped at the checkpoints.

"The District's military-style roadblock system ... is neither constitutional, nor effective," the lawsuit states. "There is an urgent need to tackle the problems of violence, street crime, unemployment and education. This roadblock does not address any of them."

Police say they turned away 46 of the more than 700 vehicles that tried to pass through checkpoints. One person was arrested for driving with alcohol. The neighborhood had no shootings while the checkpoints were in place.

At a D.C. Council hearing Monday, police Chief Cathy Lanier refused to rule out using the checkpoints in the future, despite the pleas of several council members who said the tactic had brought the city a rash of bad publicity.

William Robinson, a retired D.C. schoolteacher who has lived in the Trinidad neighborhood for more than 50 years, is among those suing. He described Trinidad as a mostly safe area where people go about their business and compared the checkpoints to "living in a police state."

Interim D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles defended the program, saying something had to be done after a particularly violent weekend in early June in which eight people were killed, including three in the Trinidad area.

Nickles said the initiative was narrowly focused with one goal — preventing people from driving into the neighborhood, shooting at residents, and then fleeing. He said officials examined other cases to make sure the initiative passed constitutional muster.

"We've heard all his arguments," said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, an attorney who filed the lawsuit. But she maintained that the checkpoints are "flatly unconstitutional."

Nickles cited a case involving New York City police, who once stopped motorists in the Bronx at random hours to curtail drive-by shootings, drugs and robberies. Neighborhood residents and commercial vehicles were allowed to pass, while others were turned away.

A federal appeals court ruled in 1996 that those police tactics were constitutional, saying that the checkpoints "were reasonably viewed as an effective mechanism" to reduce drive-by shootings. But in a Supreme Court case from 2000, justices struck the roadblocks down, claiming they violated the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
"Cops that lie, need to die!" A police officer that lies to get an arrest or send someone to prison should be shot.

"In the U.S., a cop with a gun can commit the most heinous crime and be given the benefit of the doubt."

"The U.S. Government does not have rights, it has privileges delegated to it by the people."
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Postby WaTcHeR » 27 Jun 2008, Fri 10:32 pm

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"Cops that lie, need to die!" A police officer that lies to get an arrest or send someone to prison should be shot.

"In the U.S., a cop with a gun can commit the most heinous crime and be given the benefit of the doubt."

"The U.S. Government does not have rights, it has privileges delegated to it by the people."
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Postby WaTcHeR » 21 Nov 2008, Fri 8:37 pm

A federal judge yesterday cleared the way for D.C. police to continue using checkpoints to screen motorists going into neighborhoods beset by crime, saying that the public had an "overwhelming need to be protected" from gunmen in cars.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon strongly endorsed the tactics that were used for 14 days in June and July in the Trinidad area, a Northeast Washington neighborhood near Gallaudet University. Residents there pushed for action after a spate of shootings, including a triple homicide May 31. But the roadblock on Montello Avenue NE drew complaints from those who said the police had no legal right to ask drivers whether they had a legitimate reason to be there.

The Partnership for Civil Justice, an organization that has filed other challenges to the police, sued the District on behalf of four residents and asked the judge for an injunction to stop the checkpoints until broader legal issues are decided. But Leon refused to issue the court order. And, even though he did not make a final ruling on the case, he made it clear that he saw a need for the initiative.

"Suffice it to say that the public's interest in deterring violent crime of this type through a checkpoint program this carefully crafted is overwhelming," Leon wrote in a 31-page opinion. "Simply put, to take this arrow out of [D.C. police's] quiver on such a weak showing as to its unconstitutionality would be injurious not only to [D.C. police's] ability to protect our citizens, but to the public's overwhelming need to be protected from these mobile merchants of violence."

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Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, Acting Attorney General Peter Nickles and other officials launched the Neighborhood Safety Zone effort at the behest of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), who wanted a bold solution to the trouble in Trinidad. The plan was reminiscent of tactics employed by the D.C. police in the 1980s, when crack cocaine led to a much bigger surge in killings and other violence.

Courts have issued conflicting opinions on the legality of checkpoints, with the rulings typically hinging on the purpose of the roadblocks. They cannot be used, for example, to satisfy a "general interest in crime control" but can be set up for specific reasons. In this case, the city argued that it was on solid legal ground because many of the shootings taking place in Trinidad were done by people firing from cars or by criminals who raced off in vehicles after the mayhem. Drive-by shootings have long been a problem in many parts of the city.

Lanier said she was pleased by the decision and would use more checkpoints as the need arises. When she announced the program last spring, Lanier said that police could target other areas, but so far only Trinidad has gotten the attention.

"We really just wanted to stop the violence, and I believe that is why he ruled the way he did," the chief said in an interview. "We didn't harm anyone. We are trying to stop harm. . . . We are not using this willy-nilly."

In arguing its case, the city said that the checkpoints were launched after a year in which Trinidad had recorded 25 assaults with guns -- including five that led to deaths. In a court filing, Lanier said the checkpoints would be a "fence" to keep out violent criminals using cars and not a "net" to capture evidence of ordinary crimes.

All told, police stopped 951 vehicles going into Trinidad, a neighborhood bounded on the west by Gallaudet University, on the east by Bladensburg Road, on the north by Mount Olivet Cemetery and on the south by Florida Avenue. They denied entry to 48, citing the motorist's failure or refusal to provide a valid reason to go there.

Legitimate reasons for entering the area included living in the neighborhood, visiting a doctor, picking up a child or seeing a relative. If people refused to provide such information, they could park and walk into the area.

The lawsuit alleges that the checkpoints led to "widespread civil rights violations" and were not "constitutional or effective." The two sides sparred over whether the strategy was effective. The suspect later arrested in the triple homicide lived in the Trinidad area, leading critics to say checkpoints wouldn't have stopped him from shooting.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... eheadlines
"Cops that lie, need to die!" A police officer that lies to get an arrest or send someone to prison should be shot.

"In the U.S., a cop with a gun can commit the most heinous crime and be given the benefit of the doubt."

"The U.S. Government does not have rights, it has privileges delegated to it by the people."
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