RANT: If the Police Police the Police, Who Polices Them?

“The department is conducting an internal investigation into the shooting to determine whether they were justified.”

Read that again. Let it sink in.

“The department is conducting an internal investigation into the shooting to determine whether they were justified.”

That little gem of absurdity has been included in every single article I have read recently regarding a police shooting of an unarmed person.

Let me start by saying this: It is possible for an unarmed person to be a threat to your life, and there are circumstances when shooting an unarmed person can be justified.

However, this line appears underneath dashcam footage showing literal executions of people with their hands up or who are being otherwise nonthreatening.

Here is one example, but certainly not the only.

So often, this will happen, and so rarely will anybody be charged, even in the face of this kind of evidence. We cannot let this continue.

Murder is murder, whether you’re wearing a funny costume with a shiny pin or not.

Do you know any cops who are friends with other cops? Better question, do you know any cops who are NOT friends with other cops? Have you heard of the ‘thin blue line’? Do you think it is common knowledge that cops do not get traffic tickets, that cops cover for other cops when they do stupid things that would normally land the average citizen in jail or with a hefty fine?

I bet I know how you answered all of those questions.

Now consider this. When “The department” conducts “an internal investigation into the shooting to determine whether they were justified”, what you have is these people who don’t give each other tickets, cover for each other’s stupidity from racist comments to drunk driving and more [too many to cite, I’m sure you can find some], who refuse to cross that thin blue line and take out their own trash, and they are the ones deciding whether their fellow officers were justified.

Now let me show you this definition of a term you’ve probably heard before:

Conflict of Interest

noun
1.
the circumstance of a public officeholder, business executive, or the like, whose personal interests might benefit from his or her official actions or influence:
The senator placed his stocks in trust to avoid possible conflict of interest.
2.
the circumstance of a person who finds that one of his or her activities, interests, etc., can be advanced only at the expense of another of them.

If “The Department” conducting its own “internal investigation” to determine whether to imprison the people who have been refusing to fine and imprison them does not qualify under that definition, then I don’t know what does.

Anybody who knows me, however, knows that I try not to offer problems without potential solutions

One Suggestion:

Privatized IA. Those investigations are not handled by the department, and they do not have monetary incentives. They are to be performed by volunteers, perhaps selected similarly to a jury and viewed as your civic duty. Lets see how many of these shootings go unprosecuted then.

Have a better idea? Let me know in the comments.

-EC

Arrested Open Carry Activist Found NOT GUILTY

From Elijah Woody’s attorney, Jim Makowski of Dearborn, MI:

PEOPLE v. WOODY AAR

On September 13, 2014, Elijah Woody, Jr., a 24 y.o., African-American male, was hanging out chatting with 4-5 friends on the sidewalk of an inner city neighborhood in Detroit. WOODY was open carrying a Glock 23 in a Blackhawk Serpa OWB holster and wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a light jacket buttoned all the way up.

At approximately 7:50p, a car containing three officers from the Detroit Police Department’s Tactical Response Unit, rounded the corner and approached the group. The TRU officers dress in BDUs and typically act in a paramilitary fashion.

As everyone in Detroit knows but most of us from the suburbs do not, it is common for DPD officers to stop, frisk, demand identification and conduct illegal, unconstitutional searches of any group of black males on public property. If they find anything illegal or questionable they will then lie as to how they learned of the offense.

True to form, the officers stopped the car, jumped out and demanded everyone produce ID. Officer James Taylor went straight to WOODY and asked him “you got some bullshit on you there,” referring to the Glock. WOODY is immediately disarmed, cuffed and placed in the back of the squad car. The officers did not inquire whether he had a CPL until after transporting him to the Detroit Detention Facility, and charging him with the five-year felony of Carrying a Concealed Weapon.

When the police wrote their report they had to come up with a story to justify their encounter with WOODY. The officers claimed they observed the group drinking from red Solo cups and, as they drove up they “smelled the strong odor of burning marijuana” from a moving car about 15’ away (must be some bloodhound genes there). Officer Taylor claimed that when WOODY noticed their approach he “bladed” his body to limit their ability to see his right hip and started “backpedaling.” Taylor claimed that WOODY then turned full face on, lifted the right side of his jacket and exposed the Glock hidden under his jacket, stating he was “open carrying.”

Shortly after the arrest I was contacted and advised about this gross abuse of WOODY’s rights. I reached out to my good friend Terry Johnson, a fellow 2A defense lawyer, to see if he was interested in jointly defending WOODY. He agreed so we took the case.

At the preliminary exam two of the three officers testified and many inconsistencies became evident in their testimony. Despite these obvious falsehoods the judge decided that there was Probable Cause that a crime had been committed and bound the matter over to Wayne County Circuit Court on the felony CCW charge. We flat out refused to engage in plea negotiations and demanded the matter be set for jury trial.

At 4:49p the afternoon before trial the Wayne County Prosecutor filed two Motions in Limine. A Motion in Limine is a pretrial motion generally filed several weeks before trial, used to exclude certain evidence or limit what the jury is allowed to know. The prosecutor sought to exclude part of the dashcam recordings that, to put it mildly, were uncomplimentary about the general public. He also sought an order from the judge PROHIBITING US FROM CLAIMING OPEN CARRY AS A DEFENSE. The judge granted both motions and we were forbidden to explain to the jury that Open Carry differed from Concealed Carry and what the differences were.

At trial the next day Officer Taylor claimed that he decided WOODY had a gun on him based upon his “extensive experience” and the fact he was “blading” his body away. When asked whether he yelled “GUN” or in any way alerted his partners of the presence of a firearm he said no and claimed that he was trying to “deescalate” the situation. Yet when the second officer took the stand, on cross examination he claimed that they had a “code word” to alert the other officers of a gun and that Taylor had given it. Further, the dashcam video showed WOODY being placed in the rear of the squad car with the empty holster clearly visible. The jacket the police claimed was hanging down covering the gun was clearly shown in the video to be buttoned all the way up. It became obvious that the officers had fabricated their story, with jurors shaking their heads in disgust at times. The day ended after the first two officers testified.

The next morning the last officer testified. He was the most truthful, stating that he hadn’t really interacted with WOODY as he was on security overwatch, making sure the other civilians present were not a threat. The prosecution rested and we made a Motion for a Directed Verdict, asking that the judge rule that, as a matter of law, the Defendant could not be found guilty. Since the judge is required to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party the motion was denied.

Our first witness testified how the group had been standing around, talking about the upcoming Floyd Meriwether fight that was going to take place that night when the cops drove up, ordered everyone to put their hands up, and directly approached WOODY. The witness firmly stated that WOODY’s gun was not concealed or in any way hidden by a coat.

The WOODY then elected to take the witness stand to testify in his own defense. The arresting officers had not realized that WOODY had pulled out his cell phone and started recording video. While the video only lasted 13 seconds it completely contradicted the police version of the facts, showing that WOODY had his hands up and was 2-3’ away from the nearest person and not moving away. The video cut off as Taylor slapped the phone out of his hand. It was perfectly clear that the cops saw the gun from the moving car and headed directly to WOODY hassle him.

After we rested we again asked the judge allow us to explain in the Jury Instructions that Open Carry is legally recognized and that the jury should be advised of same but we were again denied. The case was sent to the jury at noon. Shortly thereafter the jury asked to see the videos. It took a while to get the videos set up for the jury to review but, five minutes or so after the jury reviewed the videos they came back with a NOT GUILTY verdict.

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED

1. Always get a CPL.
2. Always record when Open Carrying, especially without a CPL.
3. Detroit Police cannot be trusted to recognize your right to Open Carry.
4. Expect dirty tricks from the prosecutor’s office.
5. Make sure you have competent legal counsel.

http://youtu.be/sbskx8XmE04

ELIJAH WOODY UPDATE

Elijah Woody
Elijah Woody

Elijah Woody, the persecuted open carry activist of Detroit, MI has had his days in court today and yesterday for the malicious and bogus charge of carrying a concealed weapon, when it was in fact carried openly.

The three officers who testified could not agree on the same story. The jury knew they were lying the entire time. After less than an hour of deliberation, he was found NOT GUILTY.

Special thanks to everyone who helped make his freedom possible, including his excellent attorneys Terry Johnson and Jim Makowski.

-EC

RANT: Cops are the only ones ‘trained’ enough to carry guns.

swat_backwards-1024x777

This is a common argument I hear by the anti-gun crowd… You can’t have guns, only ‘highly-trained police officers’ should have them, you know, on account of them being ‘highly trained’.

I call bullshit.

Cops are often highly trained, but not in the use of firearms. They are ‘highly trained’ in psychology and coercion methods. They are ‘highly trained’ in getting you to admit to a crime whether you committed one or not.

But when a cop does have to use their weapon, how often do you see dismal hit ratios? How much time do police really spend training, beyond their ‘requirements’?
I’m sure it varies, like anything, but many times it is not nearly often enough.

According to the New York Times, in cases where NYPD officers intentionally fired a gun at a person in 2006, they fired 364 times, and hit their target 103 times.
There are a lot of factors that could have been involved there, and I was obviously not at every one of those shootings, or any of them, but that’s a lot of bullets that went who-the-hell-knows-where. Like the bullet in Burlington, IA, that was destined for a family pet but instead lethally struck a woman in the chest in front of her 4-year-old child earlier this week.

Look at the picture at the top of this post… you might have seen this guy if you follow police-related and 2A related news on the web. That is a SWAT officer. He has a very nice EOTech sight mounted on his AR-15 platform rifle.

Backwards.

EOTech sights like that one are holographic… a side effect of which is that they DON’T WORK BACKWARDS, its just like looking through some glass.
This is why you’ll also notice that his rear ironsight is flipped up [instead of down and out of the way like it would be if the sight was functioning correctly]. The sight adjustment controls are facing the front of the rifle instead of the operator.

Another thing many people were too distracted by the sight-mounting debacle to notice is that the weight of the firearm is being rested, not on the handguard, which appears to be of a free-floating variety, but on the end of the barrel, which would cause the barrel not to be in correct alignment, which means that even if the sight WAS mounted correctly, the weapon would not be accurate. That style of handguard was designed to prevent this sort of thing.

I’ve taken many people shooting, and I can confidently say that by the end of their first lesson, if not at the start of it, either my imparted knowledge or their sheer common sense would have tipped them not to do any of these things, and why. This is basic usage, not even something I would consider ‘high training’. And that guy is SWAT… supposedly the ‘highly trained’ pinnacle of heroism selected from the already ‘highly trained’ pool of officers in the department. The ‘Best of the Best’, so-to-speak.

Being a cop doesn’t mean you are ‘highly trained’, and not being a cop does not mean you are not minimally ‘proficiently trained’ if not ‘highly trained’.

Law abiding gun owners generally train more than people who only carry as part of a job. People who spend thousands of dollars on mechanics tools because they love cars and understand the utility of being able to fix your own are generally going to be much more proficient than someone who was issued a basic ratchet set and a half-hour overview on engine mechanics the day they started their job at the tow-lot/impound yard/auto parts store etc. It shouldn’t take much imagination to understand why.

So next time someone thinks that only ‘highly trained’ officers should carry guns, take a step back and think about how many ‘normally trained’ police officers that would exclude.

I would feel far safer around one passionate gun owner who is armed than I would standing in the lobby of a police station. My opinion, worth exactly what you paid for it.

-EC

RANT: The Police Protest Illusion of Ferguson

I am so sick of all this stuff about the police in the media. From Mike Brown to Tamir Rice to Antonio Martin, there’s been a lot of pro- and anti-police rhetoric on both sides. Let me explain:

The people you might consider the typical people to vote for a Democrat, especially some of the poorer Democrat-voting demographics,  are pissed about the police right now. Especially a lot of blacks. A lot, not all. There are people all over the country that are protesting the police. I’ve seen media of human chains blocking roads, protesters throwing fireworks at police officers brawling with protesters near gas pumps, people storming a police precinct, and all kinds of other junk. This is how much of “the left” sees these events.

The people you might consider the type of people to vote for a Republican are supporting the police right now. They see the protesters as irrational, immature, and simply picking a fight.  They are spreading the word that we all should support our police officers in these trying times, especially after the murder of two officers in New York City. This is how “the right” sees much of it.

But here is where the magician tells his secrets: its all an illusion portrayed by government and media to get us all more conditioned for whatever comes in the next few years. The supporters of the protesters are getting an irrational and indiscriminate hatred towards all police, but for all the wrong reasons. The police in the United States are more corrupt than you could imagine, as a general rule. They enforce all kinds of laws all the time that are completely unjust because there is no victim, yet we ignore it. They coerce you to pay the city money for a rolling stop, and will lock you in a cage if you don’t. If you resist this clearly tyrannous act, you will be killed. However, the police that killed Mike Brown and Antonio Martin, for example, are not just normal police thugs! They acted in legitimate self-defense, from what we can see. They ARE NOT worth this kind of protest when you have road pirates harassing people for victimless traffic infractions!

What is even better is that the supporters of the police are being duped with the same media content! Its a double whammy! The police supporters see the Ferguson protesters for what most of them are: irrational and indiscriminate. But they lump all of the corrupt officers into the “good guy” category because the protesters are so obviously flawed! The police supporters will now blindly ignore any real reports of police abuse, because they will now lump it in with Ferguson and Rodney King.

Bottom line is that each political party in the USA is bought and paid for by the same divide-and-conquer elites, and that this is all part of the plan to get us all irrationally fighting with each other. We need to accept that there’s a lot of problems with police, and that sometimes they are NOT murderers.