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Friday June 29, 2012

Not making any sense out of the causeway cannibal's autopsy report

Rudy Eugene So, Obamacare, right guys? But also the face cannibal. Maybe especially the face cannibal, since right now the Obamacare thing is getting lots and lots and lots of attention. (Although maybe not one particular aspect, which being how fucked up it is that Anthony Kennedy voted against it.) So the autopsy report of Rudy Eugene, the causeway cannibal, was released. The Miami Dade Medical Examiner brought in an outside toxicology lab to assist, and together they found nothing but pot in his system. The Google is not strong with me this morning, and I’ve not found the report, or even a press release, on the medical examiner’s web site. But here is the quote being repeated on numerous news sites:

The laboratory has tested for but not detected any other street drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs, or any adulterants found in street drugs. This includes cocaine, LSD, amphetamines (Ecstasy, Meth and others), phencyclidine (PCP or Angel Dust), heroin, oxycodone, Xanax, synthetic marijuana (Spice), and many other similar compounds … within the limits of current technology by both laboratories.

Now let’s recall the timeline leading up to this incident. Rudy lives in Broward. He wakes up at 5:30 am during Urban Beach Weekend and heads to South Beach with his bible. He spends the morning there and when he tries to leave in the early afternoon he finds his car broken down. Next we have him walking back toward the mainland along the MacArthur Causeway, shedding his clothes, swinging from lamp posts, and tearing pages out of his bible. At around 2 pm he crosses the bridge to the mainland and finds a homeless guy, attacks him, strips off his clothes, and bites off pieces of his face in a prolonged attack. Eventually a police officer arrives at the scene and orders Rudy to stand down, and when he doesn’t the officer shoots and kills him.

There was all sorts of speculation that Rudy had done drugs on the beach that caused him to go psychotic, and an initial coroner’s report indicated that there were undigested pills found in his stomach. (The coroner’s report released this week doesn’t appear to mention this, which is extremely odd. If the initial report was wrong, why not say so to clear it up?) But here’s the thing: the bible. It was there at the end, and it was with him when he left the house in the morning. That’s the key to the whole thing, because it suggests that the attack wasn’t caused by something that happened on South Beach, but something that happened prior to everything else in this story.

He shed his car, his clothes, and even his gold teeth. Everything except for his bible. It was next to him when they hauled away his shot-up body. He tore pages from it ceremonially as he walked across the causeway. (Have you walked the MacArthur Causeway? I’ve walked it. I’ve biked it. I drove across it twice a day for years. It is maybe the most beautiful stretch of road. Walking it is not untranscendental.) Rudy was clearly having a psychotic/religious experience. (Or as Eowyn puts it, “demonic posession.”) Check out Brief Psychotic Disorder. (“Grossly disorganized” behavior? Check.) The guy lost his mind, quite possibly due to brain damage or a brain tumor, which are headline causes of Psychosis. I’m assuming the coroner would have mentioned a tumor if they’d found it, so it’s something that does not show up in this kind of autopsy.

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Monday June 23, 2008

Amid news of Carlos Miller being found guilty of resisting arrest in his police-photographing case, we have this: Artist Momoko Sudo harassed and intimidated by Coral Gables police for looking funny and photographing their motorcycle. (via Artblog)

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Thursday April 24, 2008

John Timoney update: still our police chief. Stunning. Latest development: the Florida Commission on Ethics has preliminarily found him to be guilty of violations of the State’s ethics laws. Comes next: a formal finding, and a recommendation as to punishment. What the hell is Pete Hernandez thinking?

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Thursday March 27, 2008

Michael Lewis writes a plaintive appeal to Chief Timoney to testify before the CIP, which he has been refusing to do on the cynical “principle” that he can’t testify before them because they report to him (a notion that Lewis expertly refutes).

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Monday March 24, 2008

The West Palm Beach sheriff’s department sent in 100 deputies to break up a fight at the Sunshine Flea Market yesterday. That’s how you do it, folks: nothing beats a small army.

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Wednesday March 19, 2008

So, you want to know why South Florida has crappy drivers? Well, I managed to pull the answer out of this seemingly innocuous article about DUI checkpoints. Peep: “One out of every four people stopped by a [Florida Highway Patrol] trooper has a suspended license,” BUT “when you make an arrest, you’re taking a police officer off the road for a couple of hours.” Those are quotes from FHP spokescop Lt. Pat Santangelo, and what he’s telling you, folks, is that when they pull over someone with a suspended license, they let them get right back on the road.

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Wednesday March 12, 2008

Jesus Christ, the fucking police in Palm Beach. I mean, really? (via) Update: Carlos deleted the post. Here’s why. The gist was that he was on assignment to photograph a mansion, cops were called in and told him he couldn’t stand on the sidewalk and photograph the house, and issued him a written warning.

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Monday March 10, 2008

Update on the Edison Case: the school police are so disgusted with the way the situation was handled they’re holding a vote of no confidence in the chief. In other news, the arrest records from the brawl are a mess, which will make it almost impossible to try any of the students. To me, the latter news suggests the police arrested way more people then they should have — had they cuffed only those they knew had done something violent the records would be easy to produce correctly.

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Monday March 3, 2008

“The tenth grader said a pizza was thrown over his head at an officer and that he was then told by an officer he was not getting out of the way fast enough. He said an officer slammed him off a table.” — Incident at Edison High School. A confrontation between a vice-principal and a student on Thursday led to a sit-in protest by many students in the lunch hall Friday, for which over 60 police were called in, resulting in a violent melee. Update: Does this look like “nothing more than a classic example of kids fabricating a story to justify their own misdeeds”?

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Friday February 15, 2008

A directory of spots in Florida where there are frequently speed traps, organized by city.

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Friday February 1, 2008

Things not looking so hot for our pal John Timoney. Docked a week’s pay ($4,348, which if you’re all mathematical means his yearly salary is $226,000) plus a little extra, and he’s been persuaded to testify before the citizen’s panel, which makes recommendations to the city commission. Update: Actually, he didn’t testify. Can you believe this asshole?!

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Wednesday January 16, 2008

Last Friday, a guy got rowdy at a UM house party. The police were called, and they tased him to death.

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Monday January 14, 2008

You know how Miami Police Chief John Timoney was driving that free SUV around for like a year? Well, the city’s Citizen Investigative Panel asked him to come before them and testify, and he was all “no thanks,” so they subpoenaed his ass, and he still refused to come, so they went to a judge, who ordered him to show up, and guess what? He still refuses. Dear Mr. Mayor: why does this fucktard still have a job?

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Tuesday November 13, 2007

All charges against Jeff Weinsier have been unceremoniously dropped. It is now this guy’s responsibility as a journalist to sue the police for false arrest. Update: Bob’s got the full text of the SA Maggie Gerson’s memo. I love her for her common sense (Rick should read this twice): “As to the . . . Failing to Obey a lawful command charge, the arrest may have been lawful had there been a lawful command. However, the command does not appear to be lawful in this case since being on the sidewalk in and of itself is not illegal.”

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Wednesday November 7, 2007

Incident at Whole Foods and followup. A woman is arrested in the parking lot (apparently somewhat roughly) after a food fight(!) inside the store. Our own Genius of Despair reports, and is told off by a WF manager for taking pictures in front of the store.

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Monday October 29, 2007

The Jeff Weinsier incident

Jeff Weinsier gets arrested Last week, Channel 10 reporter Jeff Weinsier was arrested in front of Miami Central Senior High. By now everyone knows what happened, but let’s recap: 1) Weinsier and his cameraman, while shooting from the sidewalk, are ordered, and more or less forced, by police to go across the street; 2) Weinsier calls his station, who calls the police department, and they’re “given permission” to go back; 3) upon returning to the sidewalk on the school’s side, another confrontation with the police ensues, and Weinsier is arrested; 4) upon being searched, he is found to be carrying a concealed weapon, which is illegal on school grounds.

Well, WPLG 10 has now released the raw video of the incident, and C.L. Jahn breaks it down. C.L. Points out the obvious — that the video doesn’t show Weinsier ever setting foot on the school’s property. This misses the rather obvious point that we don’t know what happened before the camera started rolling. Video footage and photography are like that: our brain is tricked into thinking we’re seeing all there is to see. It’s completely possible that Weinsier was standing on the grass before the video we see was shot. And if he wasn’t, the police can certainly claim so, which may give some legal standing to their “lawful order” for him to stay across the street.

The law here is murky: schools are surrounded by a 500 foot “school safety zone,” and in some regards this zone is considered an extension of school grounds. Carlos Miller addresses the various laws that come into play here and here. It seems clear that Weinsier violated the law by carrying the gun near a school. But if that’s the only thing he ends up guilty of, it may very well overshadow the much larger issue: whether the police were right in ordering him off the sidewalk, and in arresting him. Carlos says:

According to Florida Statute 810.0975, which defines trespassing in “school safety zones”, a person is committing an unlawful act if he loiters in the school safety zone, but “does not have legitimate business in the school safety zone”.

The emphasis is his, and with good reason: a possible hinge-point is whether television reporting constitutes “legitimate business.” The common-sense answer would be ‘yes,’ but of course common sense is irrelevant. What’s relevant is how all the various facts of the case, and the relevant laws, are going to be interperted here. If the officer had a legitimate reason for ordering the reporters to leave (despite the fact that he doesn’t give one on camera, he of course had a reason — TV reporters file reports from schools all the time with no trouble), does disobeying the order actually constitute trespassing? Will they continue to insist that Weinsier stepped on the grass? Is it legally relevant that the Police Department’s own Public Information Officer told the station that it was OK for Weinsier to be on the sidewalk?

Perhaps most important: will the WPLG stick up for their reporter, and fight this case hard? On Friday, the station suspended Weinsier for two weeks for carrying the concealed weapon, a violation of their company policy. Fine; they may just be erring on the side of caution in preparation for the fight to come. But barring more information, this is a clear first-amendment issue, and the station — we all — need to pursue it to make sure it’s resolved properly. If the police were not right, there needs to be a major counter-suit. And remember: if the only charge that sticks is the concealed weapons violation, the police were wrong. In this case, that constitutes a technicality, because it wasn’t discovered until after the arrest. We’ve all seen how well police reports can spin police behavior even when it is obviously and clearly wrong. Let’s not stand for that this time around.

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Thursday October 25, 2007

Boyton Beach police to reporters: shave your heads and we’ll give you special scoops. Did I miss a memo about this officially being a police state?

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Wednesday October 24, 2007

Jeff Weinsier, a reporter for Channel 10 news, was arrested for “trespassing” while standing on the sidewalk in front of Miami Central High. After the arrest, police found a gun on him, so charged him with possession of a firearm on school property. Police say he had previously stepped on the grass, but the video clearly shows them arresting him on the sidewalk (“which is usually considered public property,” as the report incredulously puts it) after he refuses to cross the street. (Via Carlos Miller, who unpacks some of the law around this.)

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Wednesday October 10, 2007

Now I’m getting all verklempft: two Broward Sherrif’s officers bought a bicycle for a boy who had his stolen and broken. I’m glad the BSO has a blog to keep us up to date on their deeds. No mention of the rubber bullets incident, but you can get a kick out of those who think this excuses any future police abuse. That’s right Rick, you remind us about this incident every time a cop tases someone for hogging a microphone or beats up a kid for riding a skateboard.

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Friday October 5, 2007

The City of Miami will pay $160,000 and the county $300,000, in a settlement with 20 victims of police brutality/abuse during the 2003 FTAA protests. Our pal Tamara even throws in a few choice Chief Timoney quotes from back then, like calling protesters “pussies.”

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Tuesday September 18, 2007

Student tasered for asking John Kerry questions at UF

More, um, very nice police officers acting very nice in this story and video from a John Kerry speech at U/F yesterday. Student Andrew Meyer gets on the microphone and accosts Kerry for not contesting the 2004 elections, asks if he’s a member of Skull and Bones, and generally tries to get all loud and protesty. At this point campus police try to arrest him, and he sort of waves them off and continues his questioning. More police arrive and try to arrest him, and Meyer questions them, yelling “what did I do, what did I do?”

Eventually they get him down, and the, um, six of them have trouble getting his hands behind his back, and I guess they’re pissed that he still hasn’t shut the fuck up, because another cop calmly walks over with a taser. “Don’t tase me, bro!” we hear Meyer yelling, as he’s held down by a bunch of the cops, but bro goes ahead and gives him a good jolt anyway, and we hear Meyer howling in pain.

OK, so a few things.

  1. What’s most remarkable about this is that somehow Meyer is on the microphone during the whole thing — we hear him clearly, and so does the whole room. Without that this whole incident would have looked very different.
  2. Is it a crime to “disturb” public events (where “disturb” = not shutting the fuck up when told to do so)? I guess, but this is at best a marginal case.
  3. We’re pretty numb to seeing absurd police cruelty and violence directed at anyone getting uppity, but campus police? You’d think they’d see this stuff all the time, and shrug it off. Nope.
  4. What’s up with the rest of the students? They sit there like a bunch of obedient little sheep. Why aren’t they all standing and yelling at the cops?
  5. And what’s up with dude Kerry? Clearly he sees what’s going on, and he tries to act like nothing’s happing, telling the crowd to calm down, that it’s a good question and . . . WTF, he’s got people’s attention, how about “LET THAT GUY GO, HE’S ASKING IMPORTANT QUESTIONS QUESTIONS!” How about getting off the stage and intervening in the situation (maybe he’s afraid they’ll taser him, too)? What a coward; thank god we didn’t elect this guy president. Geez.

(thanks, Gabriel)

Update: A different video of the same incident.

Much more at EKBTV: 1, 2, including the following:

Please call to express your concerns about this horrific incident:

University of Florida Police Department: (352) 329-1111

University of Florida main switchboard: (352) 392-3261

Update: Andrew Meyer’s website (via Bob, who is exactly right)

Update: I’ve no idea why the moron editors at the Gainesville Sun took down the story at the original link, but their reporters have been all over this, issuing several stories a day on various angles of the story. They’re pretty easy to find on the website (search “Andrew Meyer taser”), but here’s an overall follow-up.

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Thursday August 30, 2007

“With a few more words it would have been an appropriate letter of resignation.” – an anonymous commenter on Timoney’s letter of appology.

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Wednesday August 29, 2007

Michael Lewis is disturbed by the surveillance cameras that are going up all over downtown. I’m with you, Michael, but as far as the cameras go, I think that battle is lost.

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Monday August 27, 2007

New speed-limit enforcement procedures on I-95?

So, this was the scene on I-95 Northbound around 9 am Friday. Notice the Miami-Dade Police cruiser around the middle of the photo above, and the empty stretch of road in front of him? OK, so this guy’s going about 60 or 65 mph. For awhile I was behind him, as were a few other people, sort of contemplating passing him. Then he flashed his lights a couple of times. No idea what that was supposed to mean. I changed lanes, and very slowly crept past him on the right. When I was next to him, he turned on his siren for a couple of seconds.

I looked over, and dude is giving me a “slow down” hand guesture! It’s official: here’s a Miami-Dade cop who’s decided he’s going to single-handedly tame I-95! It’s not his jurisdiction, but of course he can pull anyone over. I backed off, and got back into the huddle. That’s when I took this picture. The scene continued to be pretty crazy. At one point a plumber’s van tried to pass on the cop’s left, and the guy turned on his lights again and actually swerved into the left lane to cut the van off! So there he is, like a herder leading a flock of sheep, which got thicker and longer as it went (maybe the Pied Piper is a better analogy). This went from around I-195 to the 135th street exit, when he got off and the clump dispersed.

I wonder if this is standard policing procedure. I’d think the FHP troopers who patrol here would have something to say about it — average speed on ’95 during this time is about 75, and it seems to work pretty well. The FHP seem happy with this, and they don’t seem to ticket anyone going under 80. Weird.

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Tuesday August 21, 2007

So, Rick has been following the case of Miami Police Chief John Timoney and the Lexus SUV he’s had on “loan” from a local car dealership for over a year (without pay), including the pathetic excuses his department came up with when CBS4 called them on it. Well, John, the shit has hit the fan: your boss just told you to give back the car, and called for an ethics investigation. (BTW, in no way does this confirm, I’m sure, my long-standing assertion that all cops are assholes.) Update: He paid for the car. Two contrasting opinions in the Herald today: Ana Menendez is critical of the chief, drawing the comparison to the FTAA protests (see the link to the video in the comments), while the official editorial seems to hold that everything is fine now. Update (8/23): A vote of no-confidence by the police union is scheduled for September 4th. I hope this ends up sinking this asshole.

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Thursday July 12, 2007

Hey look, Onajide spotted one of those black helicopters they keep telling you don’t exist. Think, indeed.

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Monday July 2, 2007

Interview with Miami Police Chief John Timoney re. terrorism threats during July 4th on NPR.

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Monday March 12, 2007

An update on the Carlos Miller case. The attention seems to be on the charges filed against him, rather then charges against the police. And how’d Homeland Security get involved?!

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Friday March 9, 2007

Priceless: “While hundreds of U.S. law enforcement agents intercepted imaginary Cuban migrants during a massive training exercise in south Florida, two boatloads of actual Cubans sneaked ashore on Miami Beach on Thursday.”

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Monday March 5, 2007

Miami-Dade PD's new MySpace page

MDPD myspace page

Miami-Dade PD’s new MySpace page. Via Rick, who perfectly sums up how stupid this is.

Update: OK, so the rationale is that if parents allow their kids to use MySpace on the condition that they add MDPD as a friend, it might give predators pause. Maybe that makes sense?

Update: Actually, no, it doesn’t. This is completely ridiculous. Heck, it looks like something somebody did as a joke! Pimp-my-profile? Really??

And the more I think about it, the more I suspect that in practice this will be used to bust kids for inappropriate activity revealed by their MS pages much more often then it’ll nab a predator.

I have no idea how much money was spent on this page, but if you think they just had someone whip it up in an afternoon think again. I have a MySpace, and you don’t get all that over-the-top crap happening in an afternoon. This is serious business: they obviously either hired someone who knew how to use MySpace, or trained someone, and the page is part of that person’s permanent job (updating the page, adding friends, reading messages, etc.). A consultant was probably hired. Meetings of top-level staff. A PR campaign. Remember — this is the government at work.

I recognize that the police needs to deal with MySpace, and the internet generally. But this is just security theater. And bad theater at that.

(And look what I just noticed: The MDPD’s regular web page is completely down and/or broken right now — it redirects to a Miami-Dade County error message! Maybe they phased out the regular department’s website because MySpace is the future?)

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Tuesday February 27, 2007

City of Miami police beat up photographers

Miami Police

OK, first of all photographers have the right to take photos anytime they are on public property. Andrew Kantor lays out the law pretty well, and links to some great resources, including the photographer’s pocket guide. Unless you’re photographing a military installation, or using a zoom lens to get at someone where they have an expectation of privacy, you can do whatever you want. This applies in particular to photographing the police, who are granted extraordinary power by the public — they are supposed to serve us, but we know that they have a tendency to abuse their rights. Photographing the police isn’t just a right — it’s an important check on their power, and lets them know they can’t get away with doing whatever they want (at least not in public).

The City of Miami police ought to know this, but they repeatedly ignore it, regularly harassing photographers on the street (I’ve been the subject of such harassment), and sometimes meeting having these rights pointed out to them with brutal beat-downs.

OK, so a photographer who was in town photographing the Anna Nicole Smith mess decided to come down to Miami to photograph the transition along Biscayne Blvd. He came upon five City of Miami cops who were apparently questioning someone. He began photographing them, and, well, here’s his account:

One of the cops told me to keep walking because this was a “private matter”.

I said that I will not keep walking because this is a “public street”.

Within seconds, the five officer left the first man alone and came after me. One cop escorted me across the road. As I stood on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the road, the cops began surrounding me, which was when I shot several more shots.

That was when they slammed me against the pavement even though I offered no resistance, causing a deep abrasion on my right knee. One officer grabbed me by the back of the head and repeatedly bashed my forehead against the sidewalk, causing abrasions and swelling to the right side of my forehead.

Another officer grabbed my right hand and bent it backwards in a 90 degree angle, causing me to scream out in pain and continuing to do so even after the handcuffs were placed on me. As I verbally protested, one officer threatened me with a taser gun if I did not stop talking.

The officers charged me with five counts of disobeying a police, one count of obstructing justice, one count of obstructing traffic, one count of disorderly conduct and one count of resisting arrest without violence.

On the arrest affidavit, the officers lied several times in order to justify their arrest. They accused me of photographing them without identifying myself, which is not true (and not even against the law as far as I know). As soon as one of the officers questioned me about taking photos, I immediately identified myself by name and profession.

There is an interesting debate going on on the photo’s flickr page, but one thing is for sure: this is not an isolated incident.

Recently a lawsuit was reported against the Miami Police for actions during the 2003 World Trade Organization protest. Seems they had trouble with what this young lady was doing. Rather then beat her up (how macho would that be?) they destroyed her belongings, including her car (!), detained her for extensive questioning, and then left her stranded in downtown Miami.

Are we surprised? Um, no. Our police officers doing whatever they want is par for the course. What is surprising is how well tolerated this stuff is. The debate linked above is full of “he should have done what the police told him to do” type of comments. This is another indication of how we’re willing to let the government do whatever it deems fit post — 9-11, and not question our “betters,” and it’s disturbing, not just from a civil libertarian perspective, but also from a “we’re giving the terrorists what they want when we sacrifice our freedoms for a false sense of security” perspective.

What we should be doing is holding demonstrations in front of police headquarters over incidents like this, and asking our elected officials to send a message to the police that this stuff will not stand.

Update: The photographer is Carlos Miller, and he was on assignment for Category 305. Read Rebecca Wakefield’s article about the incident, which includes a more detailed description of the incident and comments from Miller.

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Thursday February 8, 2007

Weed and Seed Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force bus.

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Via the radio yesterday, one of the main complaints that out-of-towners had about Miami during Superbowl weekend was the overzealous and unreasonable measures taken by the Miami police. They specifically quoted someone with ESPN, though I’m not sure if he was specifically referring to Miami PD or the County department. Sort of related: Miami’s Operation Tornado results in 101 arrests.

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Monday January 15, 2007

WOW! How much did this cost? Looks nice, can me and a couple hundred of my homeless friends live in it?” Don’t miss the video.

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Sunday January 7, 2007

An 18-year old guy was freaking out, and his family called the police for help. There is some disagreement as to exactly what the police did to restrain him, but whatever it was it killed him. And Miami Police Chief John Timoney says the officers acted properly. (via LAist)

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Friday October 20, 2006

Rick is absolutely right: many anti-child-molester actions the government takes are completely idiotic. If you want to prevent child sex-abuse, there are experts that can tell you what to do. And they’ll all tell you that crap like this is a waste of money that could be used to do stuff that actually helps. Previously.

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Monday September 4, 2006

It’s looking more and more like the case of the Miami terrorists was straight-up entrapment. The FBI rented the warehouse for them? Gave them cell phones and video cameras? Suggested targets??

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Thursday August 24, 2006

DeFede echoes my rant about the peaceful demonstrater that got shot by rubber bullets by cops. “Could it be that these gallant men are really just a bunch of cowards…. and are afraid to meet this woman face to face – without all their guns and rifles, and riot gear.”

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Friday August 11, 2006

Miami International Airport has a SWAT team; they just said so on the Early Show. What’s interesting is that MIA’s web site says nothing about it. The best I could do is this—some reports about the guy shot by Air Marshalls mentioned it.

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Five rubber bullets @ a peaceful demonstrator

Super-quick recap: back in 2003, Miami hosted a meeting of the Free Trade Association of the Americas (FTAA), and hilary ensued. We’ve all read the CIP’s report, so we know the outlines of what happened. I bring up the case of the lady who was hit five times with rubber bullets fired by Broward police because it so succinctly demonstrates my understanding of police mentality. Let’s recap:

Where is the apology for hitting her with rubber bullets? Wait, nevermind that; it turns out that no police officers were disciplined for anything in all of this. OK now I have some observations.

  1. No apology for the rubber bullets.
  2. No officers disciplined. Ah but of course: we “have no way of knowing which officers fired the rubber bullets.” You know why? Because the the guy standing next to the guy who fired won’t say. And the guy on his other side won’t say.
  3. . . . i.e. when police officers do fucked-up criminal shit their buddies cover for them. This utterly refutes any sort of “it’s just a few bad seeds” argument that anyone would care to attempt to make, right?
  4. And nevermind discipline. I believe we have a name for shooting at someone, and it’s actually a crime. So how about filing some charges. Oh, right: see #3, above.
  5. You know how killing a cop is a worse offense then killing a random person? OK, I understand that rule, and have no problem with it. But by the same token, the police are entrusted by us with special power. I think that when they abuse that power in committing a crime (which is precisely what this was), their punishment should be similarly more harsh.

The worst thing about all of this? For every instance of police abuse of power that gets caught on tape, there are hundreds or thousands that are never heard of. Messed up.

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Friday June 23, 2006

Miami gets terrorized!

swat dudes

The whole entire world is abuzz about the “al-Qaida-inspired terrorism operatives” arrested in Liberty City yesterday. It sounds very large. From the Herald article, get this:

Federal agents, assisted by Miami police’s SWAT team, swarmed in Thursday afternoon, cordoning off several blocks around the building at 6260 NW 15th Ave., in the Liberty Square housing project, known by locals as Pork-n-Beans. Cedric Thomas, a co-owner of Thomas Produce Market, said the area around his store was teeming with federal agents. “There is a ton of guys in uniforms moving around, blocking the streets,” said Thomas, whose store, a Liberty City institution, is at 1376 NW 62nd St., near the area cordoned off by police. [sic]

They didn’t have any guns, explosives, or definitive plans. They did have pictures of the Sears Tower, though, so there’s that. It turns out that the group had been having communications with al-Qaida for awhile, just that the al-Qaida in question was undercover feds. Tricky. I wonder how the feds found about them. Oh, that’s right. Well, I guess everything worked out great.

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Friday June 16, 2006

There are certain intersections around town where the light always seems to change with drivers still stuck in the intersection. Then, the cars going the other way are stuck. Complete gridlock, honking, and pandemonium to the Nth degree ensue. The police’s response? Cops “at busy intersections to help identify which cars can clear an intersection before a light changes and stop those that would otherwise get stuck.” Excuse me? How about cops giving out tickets to the selfish idiots (usually: on the phone in a Lexus SUV) who block the intersections?? They’ll give out tickets to people who don’t get over, but not for this?

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Thursday June 15, 2006

What's up with Johnny Winton?

johnny got his ass beat

Jim DeFede wonders why Johnny Winton hasn’t been charged yet over . . . well, you remember. It’s been four weeks since the incident, and the prosecuting attorneys have not filed any charges. DeFede and others suspect preferential treatment, on account of Winton being a city commissioner. Well, maybe so.

I have another theory, though, and I’m running Johnny’s mugshot just so you can see what he looked like after the incident. The story is that he head-butted one of the cops, kneed the other in the groin, and then, after the scuffle, got loose and “fell against a wall.” That (the wall) is how he allegedly messed up his face. That’s the official version of the story. Well so OK, i’m not buying it. My theory, if you’d indulge some rampant speculation, goes roughly like this: Winton was drunk off his ass, attacked the cops, and they beat the living shit out of him, slamming his head against the wall. Doesn’t that jibe a little better with the photo?

Because I’m sorry, but if you’re drunk and attack two cops, they’ll have you under control very very quickly. How, then, do you subsequently get loose enough to wander around and fall into a wall?

If I’m right and the cops beat him up, then suddenly the lack of charges starts to make sense, no? The prosecutor cut a deal (or is in the process of cutting a deal) with Winton: we’ll let you slide if you let us slide. Works for me.

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Saturday May 6, 2006

The report draft Omar wrote up — about the Miami Civilian Investigative Panel’s report on the 2003 Free Trade Area of the Americas Summit — has been covered in the Herald. Better yet, here’s a pdf of the report itself.

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Friday May 5, 2006

At SunPost, Omar has a draft copy of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel’s report on police behavior during the 2003 Free Trade Area of the Americas Summit. “The overwhelming presence of police dressed in riot gear intimidated demonstrators and deterred them from exercising their First Amendment rights . . . On occasion, indiscriminate use of force was utilized against demonstrators resulting in less lethal weapons being deployed against retreating subjects and bystanders.” (via Pure RHETORIC, who has some good personal recollections of the events)

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Saturday April 29, 2006

YOU get over law

Hey, I have an idea! Why doesn’t the state pass a useless (and possibly dangerous) new law that requires drivers to do something they’ve never had to do before, and then keep ticketing every single person who “breaks” it, until they learn. Oh, nevermind: they already thought of that.

Here’s the deal: if any police, fire, ambulance, tow truck, etc. has it’s emergency lights on and is standing by the side of the road, you have to get out of the MBPD logo lane adjacent to the stopped vehicle, or slow down to 20 mph under the speed limit.

So, picture a routine traffic stop on, say I-95. Say, on the left shoulder. Suddenly, everyone in the fast/carpool lane has to merge with the next lane or slow down to 35 mph. Am I the only one to whom this sounds like a recipe for a massive pile up? If the previous situation was dangerous for police officers, how is this not going to be 10 (100? . . . 1000?) times as dangerous for the regular drivers driving by?

Well, that would only happen if drivers actually followed the law (I find it extremely difficult to remember, even though I’ve known about it for months). And as they begin to, things are going to get dicey, and probably the law will be revoked. But not before police departments get some serious play out of all the tickets they were writing. I passed by that “operation” on MacArthur friday (by the sheer will of God I wasn’t in the right lane, otherwise this would be a much crabbier piece), and there must have been 30 cops on motorcycles there, just pulling over one mark after another.

If police want to be safe during traffic stops without causing mayhem, why not use those PA systems they have in their cars and instruct the poor sap to pull all the way off the highway before stopping? (via Miami Transit)

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Thursday June 30, 2005

Miami Police vs. US Department of Justice

Impressive gear for dealing with unarmed protesters This article in the New Times is a must-read. It concerns a struggle between the City of Miami and the Civilian Investigative Panel. Now, the CIP was created in 2001, when the Miami police were running amok, shooting people and planting guns on them, and whatnot. Well, we all remember the crap that went down during the FTAA meetings in 2003. So naturally the CIP is investigating. In order, we suppose, to determine where the blame for the horrible handling of the protests belongs, the CIP requested the police plan for dealing with the protests, which the City promptly refused to let them see. The CIP sued for it, and won. That’s where the New Times story picks up:

After losing to the CIP in state court, Miami officials contacted various federal agencies and “stated the order might implicate federal documents,” without mentioning which ones, according to the federal motion. Federal officials had to investigate for themselves which documents the police were referring to. And that’s when they learned a seven-page U.S. Coast Guard memo was included in the operational plan. The Coast Guard was responsible for securing the Port of Miami during the FTAA. The memo detailed where personnel would be deployed and what specific tasks they would perform.

Turns out, the CIP isn’t interested in that memo. Oh, ok…

But Miami city attorney Jorge Fernandez decided to play hardball.

“Despite the clear statement from the Panel that it is not seeking access to the Coast Guard memorandum, and although federal law prohibits disclosure of that document, the city nonetheless informed us through its counsel that it will release the memorandum (along with the rest of the Operational Plan), unless a State appellate court reverses the trial court’s disclosure order,” the motion states. “Because of the city’s position, the United States can protect this federal sensitive security information only by intervening in this appeal.”

Hey, that’s great! The City Attorney is bullying the Department of Justice, and toying with our national security, to protect it’s brutal police department.

Fernandez’s tactic of strong-arming the feds into helping him by threatening to reveal sensitive information is hardly improving his popularity. In fact the feds have in essence declared him a potential lawbreaker. After all, when the feds claim in their motion that the U.S. Government has to insert itself into this matter “to prevent the unlawful disclosure of a federal document,” it is Fernandez they are talking about.

I guess you have to admire his chutzpah. CM can’t wait to see how this one turns out.

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