Some underreported collateral damage from the police state and drug war.
Auburn, Alabama is home to sprawling plains, Auburn University, and a troubling police force. After the arrival of a new police chief in 2010, the department entered an era of ticket quotas and worse.
“When I first heard about the quotas I was appalled,” says former Auburn police officer Justin Hanners, who claims he and other cops were given directives to hassle, ticket, or arrest specific numbers of residents per shift. “I got into law enforcement to serve and protect, not be a bully.” Reason.TV reports
Boston cops are so eager to bust DIY indie-rock shows that they won’t simply wait to respond to noise complaints that might arise. Instead they’re going online posing as punk rockers to bust bands before they perform. It’s part of a citywide effort to crack down on basement and warehouse shows spurred by a recently passed nuisance control ordinance. H/T Reason.TV
You have already seen the private security footage that sparked the manhunt of the two Boston terrorism suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The footage shows the value of cameras in fighting terrorism.
After the images were released by the FBI, representative Peter King of New York praised surveillance cameras, calling them, “a great law enforcement method and device,” and New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, “The more cameras the better and I think the privacy issue has really been taken off the table.”
But civil liberties advocates like Peter Bibring of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California say that there is a big difference between obtaining private security footage and government-run cameras like those praised by Rep. King and Commissioner Kelly. H/T Reason.TV
According to reports, President Obama is close to backing surveillance laws that would make it easier for the FBI to ‘wiretap’ and eavesdrop on the Internet. The FBI says it needs the law to monitor the communications of tech-savvy criminals. But opponents cite this as yet another overreach by the Obama administration, which has shown itself all too willing to trample the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Only three sheriffs patrol Josephine County in Oregon, an area larger than Rhode Island, and those sheriffs only respond to life-threatening calls. To pick up the slack, residents formed Citizens Against Crime, and have begun patrolling the streets themselves. Sam Nichols and the other members of Citizens Against Crime strap on guns, turn on flashing lights mounted on their vehicles and keep an eye out for suspicious activity. H/T Reason.TV
Even with falling crime rates and the emergence of new crime-fighting technology, the FBI reports that more than half of our nation’s violent crimes go unsolved and unpunished. Many thousands of criminals are literally getting away with murder: From 1980 to 2008, nearly 185,000 cases of homicide and non-negligent homicide went unsolved.
And yet distractions abound. From speed traps to seat belt checkpoints, officers’ actions often blur the lines between “peace keeping” and “revenue raising.” Those who helm law enforcement agencies are always looking for the next way to expand their purview. And then there are the long-standing, commonplace distractions, like busting drug users, dealers, and prostitutes. Don’t cops have better things to do?
A real-life superhero in Manchester, England, decided to hang up his Spandex costume and cap after he was beat up. Roger Hayhurst, who called himself the “Knight Warrior,” would wander the streets from 9 pm to 2 am a few days a week, stopping fights and bad behavior.