B. Hussein Obama is looking to provide federal money (read taxpayer money) to equip police departments across the nation with body cameras that are worn by police officers so that everything they do (every encounter) is recorded.
It is not the place of the federal government to be doling out our money for things that affect state and local law enforcement. If individual states or localities want these cameras then they should pay for them. Federal tax dollars do not belong paying for these things but that is an issue for another day.
For today I am wondering how Obama or anyone else thinks cameras worn by police officers would make a difference. I have no issue with police officers wearing body cameras though I fail to see what value they have.
Let me explain. The body camera would record what the officer and the person with whom that officer interacted did. It would show who did what and it would either corroborate or refute the stories of the participants. So far that all seems good and who could argue with that? Hell, if Officer Wilson had been wearing a body camera we would know exactly what happened between him and Michael Brown.
But would it have mattered?
A camera in the Ferguson case might have shown Wilson to be lying but would it have resulted in an indictment? Given the evidence presented in the absence of a video I feel he should not have been indicted but I also know, based on cases where video IS available, he would likely not have been indicted even if the entire encounter had been recorded.
There are ample cases on the internet where police officers are recorded clearly violating the law and the rights of citizens. There are videos of officers shooting people (and dogs) for no reason. These police officers who are armed with batons, heavy flashlights (that can be used as a baton), Tasers, pepper spray and a firearm need only say they feared for their lives and they are deemed to have been justified in their actions even though these actions are taken against people who are UNARMED (since that seems to be a buzz word in the Brown case). I know I have said that unarmed does not mean harmless and I have seen plenty of videos where offices were perfectly justified in shooting unarmed people.
In those cases it is usually pretty clear. In those where the outrage is present it is usually obvious that the officer used excessive force. In these cases, where it is all caught in video, the officers are not indicted and are deemed to have acted appropriately and “within their training and department guidelines.”
So would a body camera make a difference?
The city of New York is having its turn at outrage over a Grand Jury decision. In this case an officer was not indicted for the death of a person who resisted arrest, was encountered by the officer and taken down. The guy ended up dying and it was all recorded. In the recording the person is taken to the ground and placed in some kind of choke hold and he is heard gasping and wheezing and saying that he can’t breathe. At what point does it become obvious the guy is in distress?
If this were a lone cop (the suspect was quite large) one might conclude that he did not let go because that could have been a ruse to attack the officer. But there are several other police officers present. All the cop on the ground has to say to his fellow officers is grab his arms guys, sir I am going to let you go so you can breathe but if you resist we will be right back where we started. With several other cops present there was no reason for this. [Please police officers save your righteous indignation and don’t waste my time telling me how tough it is on the street. Four or five armed to the teeth guys can handle a man who is having trouble breathing and who is NOT fighting. If not, turn in you badges.]
“All over America, cops are getting away with this,” added 22-year-old Demetri Green. “They’re the real gang in New York City. They’re the real gang in this county.” New York Daily News
In my opinion those who said Trayvon was shot for carrying Skillets (Skittles to the literate among us) and that Mike Brown was shot for walking in the street are idiots and ignored the facts in the case. Both of the people killed in these cases were VIOLENT. They were attacking someone. The guy in New York was not attacking anyone. He was selling an untaxed tobacco product.
The question should not be whether the officer followed procedure it should be was his response appropriate for the infraction and was the result of his actions an acceptable consequence of the person’s crime. In other words, was too much force used for a guy allegedly committing a non violent crime? Hell, they don’t treat people carrying small amounts of marijuana in New York the way they treated the victim here and he had a LEGAL product when the police killed him.
Given the video that shows the entire episode (the video came from a bystander) and given the reality that a lot of force was used for a non violent crime and given the man can be heard gasping and wheezing and saying he could not breathe and given the medical examiner ruled this a homicide a reasonable person could conclude that the officer went overboard and caused this man’s death. The Grand Jury did not see it that way and refused to indict.
It is rare for a police officer to go before the Grand Jury for these things and it is rare for any officer to be found guilty of a crime when he uses force while doing his job even if it is clear that what he did was wrong (and would be illegal if we did it). This is true even when video evidence is present.
So I ask, what good would body cameras do?
It will be interesting to see what happens in Ohio where it is obvious a cop murdered a child. The kid was playing with a toy gun and the police were called. When they arrive one of the Miami Vice wanna be cops shoots the kid dead seemingly before the police car comes to a stop. If this guy is found to have acted appropriately then maybe we really do need to burn the place to the ground and start over…
Obama Body Cam Request Takes a Hit
Never surrender, never submit.
May 2, 2013 Political
We already know that social media like Facebook and Twitter as well as Google’s services are used to spy on Americans (and users around the world). Law enforcement agencies scan these outlets looking for people to profile and use data, provided either by the user or by the company, to keep data bases of folks that are of interest to the agents of government.
Make no mistake, whenever there is any kind of activity that collects data or asks for information the legitimate use is not the ONLY use. Agencies keep the information.
In Maryland the site that is used by hunters and outdoorsmen collects email addresses and the site specifically states those will only be used for the purpose of whatever transactions take place. The Governor of Maryland used that database to send emails out to people in a push for support of his unconstitutional gun grab. He violated the law in using the information for reasons that are outside those stated.
This happens all the time and I would not be surprised if the federal and state governments have massive databases of people who own firearms. They are supposed to destroy the paperwork generated when a firearm is purchased but you can bet they have kept it.
All new laws being proposed by government at every level includes provisions for the collection of information and incorporation into databases. Despite what they tell you, the information is being kept.
These items are usually generated through some feel good legislation that proposes some action that seems to be in the best interests of the people. In reality, this is not the case.
In Palm Beach County Florida the Sheriff has been awarded 1 million dollars for a new violence prevention program.
Wow, that sounds great. What will they do with the money to prevent violence? Well, it looks like they will be setting up a snitch site where people can call and report anyone they feel is violent. People will be encouraged via public service announcements to report their neighbors and coworkers if there is ANY concern. So if a guy loses his temper at work or goes on a rant because someone’s dog dropped a deuce on his lawn, they could be reported to the police.
This will result in a knock on the door with concerned officers asking if all is OK? There will be no arrests, just a caring, concerned government agent asking if all is well and providing resources in case someone needs help. The people will not know who reported them or why so there will be no way to explain (as if you should have to) why you were reported.
Here is the rub. The sheriff says that this will also allow the agency to collect information:
The goal won’t be to arrest troubled people but to get them help before there’s violence, Bradshaw said. As a side benefit, law enforcement will have needed information to keep a close eye on things. [emphasis mine]
Did you get that? As a result of the campaign the police will have information to keep an eye on people. He says things but things do not cause violence; people do so he is really saying they can keep an eye on people, period.
This program sounds wonderful to the uninformed but it will do nothing more than give police information to keep in a database. This will allow them to surveil people for no particular reason and without any probable cause. It is not probable cause just because some person reported you. What evidence is there that you are a danger? What indication, other than the report of a person who saw you, is there that you might be dangerous?
Will the information be used to confiscate firearms a person might own? Will the police look at the database and determine that someone reported that they FELT you might harm yourself or others be enough for them to take away your firearms or perhaps, your children?
This is dangerous and nothing more than an escalation of the police state we saw blatantly displayed in Boston.
We already have a system where people can report something they feel is a problem. They can call the police as they have been doing for decades on end. Police can take a report and determine if some kind of crime occurred. This new program encourages people to seek out and report others who might be doing nothing more than having a bad day. It allows officers to knock on the door to check people out but most concerning is the compilation of data that can be used against people in any fashion government chooses.
Free people do not live like this.
Many of the people who have committed these mass casualty crimes were on the radar of law enforcement and nothing was done about them. So contrary to the sheriff’s claim that someone knew and could have reported it, the reality is the police knew and did nothing about it.
Therefore, the entire scheme is nothing more than a data collection operation that will provide more information on people so government can further violate their rights.
Freedom is not free. It costs a lot in blood, sweat, and tears. It costs way too much to give it up without a fight…
Never surrender, never submit.
Jun 27, 2012 Political
The Federal Government runs a lot of programs and it continually looks for more and more to get involved in. While government tells us that it is capable of running things it fails us when it comes to running things well. Every program in the government has waste, fraud, and abuse. The programs get so big and have so many layers of red tape that money is wasted left and right and the government only finds out (if it ever finds out) after millions of dollars have been lost.
The Government Accounting Office released a report that indicated that 1.6 BILLION dollars in Stimulus money went to people who should not have received it. The money was designed to help people who were behind on their mortgages but they had to be current on their taxes. No one bothered to check and 1.6 BILLION dollars of taxpayer money went to people who, like Tim Geithner, cheated on their taxes (whether they committed fraud or just decided not to pay it is still cheating the government out of what is due).
Not only are these people, like the bottom 49% of wage earners, unpatriotic (VP Biden said it was patriotic to pay taxes), they scammed the federal government and the federal government was unable to detect the scam until after BILLIONS had been lost.
Does anyone really think the government will get that money back? It went to people who did not pay taxes in the first place so it is unlikely they would pay anything else they might owe.
Interestingly, those folks were not detected as tax cheats by the government’s money Mafioso, the IRS. In other words, not only did the government NOT detect that the money was going to tax cheats, it did not detect that these folks were tax cheats when taxes were filed.
Once again, government does not run things well.
The Stimulus was a waste of money as any thinking being knew it would be. It is bad enough that the waste of money known as the Stimulus happened in the first place but to have it wasted on people to whom it should not have gone and who are not paying their taxes is ridiculous.
I thought Vice President Joe Biden, Sheriff Joe as it were (not the real Sheriff Joe who actually follows the law) was supposed to be the public’s watchdog. I thought he was supposed to track the money and ensure that it was not wasted.
We need smaller government and we need government to stay out of things it is not designed to “manage”.
Really, does anyone think that a government that can’t find tax evaders and can’t track money that was not supposed to go to such people will be able to ensure there is no waste and fraud in a government run healthcare scheme (Obamacare) that will involve TRILLIONS of dollars?
Hell, Medicare has been around for decades. It has cost many multiples of what was originally estimated (no government estimate is ever right) and it has had BILLIONS in waste over the decades including a recent discovery of fraud worth 4.2 MILLION dollars. It involved penis pumps and seems appropriate considering what happens to taxpayers every time government runs a program.
Remember, the Stimulus (like all Obama spending) is like the Obama Meal. You order and someone behind you has to pay for it…
I recommend that people regularly check in with Citizens Against Government Waste.
Never surrender, never submit.
Apr 25, 2012 Political
The police in Richmond VA have a new initiative to help citizens avoid being robbed. While it is nice that the police want to be proactive the initiative is nothing but harassment.
How’s that? How are the police going to harass taxpaying citizens in the land of the free? Well, the midnight shift will go around neighborhoods looking in cars and if the cars have items in them that might entice a criminal to break in, the cops will knock on the doors of the car owners and awaken them in the middle of the night to inform them they are at risk.
This is nothing more than harassment. If people want to leave things in their cars and those things get stolen then it is their problem. If the police feel compelled to look in cars and inform people (who have no obligation to correct what the police find) then they should leave a note or contact the owners during normal hours.
The police are contacting them in the middle of the night to harass them so they will not leave items again.
When contacted about this an officer in the department said he really did not care about the inconvenience that it causes for people.
Isn’t that nice. The moron who is paid with the money confiscated from taxpayers does not care that his actions are an inconvenience to those people. I have to believe that he also does not care that he is likely violating the people’s rights as well.
We are moving toward a police state where the law abiding are harassed by those who are supposed to protect them, not from themselves but from those who prey upon them.
Perhaps if the midnight shift spent more time looking for people out looking in cars in the middle of the night they could catch those who are breaking into them. Perhaps if the justice system did not keep letting the ones who get caught back on the streets with a slap on the wrist then people would not have to worry about what they leave in their cars.
People in New York are falling asleep on the subway and then thieves are taking their things. Perhaps the police there can ride the subways and wake people up instead of nabbing the criminals who are robbing them.
Maybe this moron cop in Virginia can explain to people how his officers have nothing better to do than to look in cars. Is crime in Richmond so low that the police need to harass the taxpayers who are not breaking laws?
And maybe he can explain how it is that his officers can be in neighborhoods looking but when they are called it takes forever for them to respond…
We are moving toward a police state and something terrible is going to happen. Some elderly person will die of a heart attack because of the middle of the night intrusion or someone will get hurt because they thought the knock was coming from someone intending to do them harm.
What will the police do then?
Probably tell us that it is an inconvenience and they really don’t care much about it.
Never surrender, never submit.
Jun 25, 2010 Political
California is in financial trouble and that is an understatement. The state is near bankruptcy and has no viable plan for reducing debt and getting back on sound financial ground. Generous pension plans, unions and out of control spending as well as a welfare mentality has led this state to the precipice of insolvency.
Welfare should be for those who absolutely need a helping hand, or a hand up as opposed to a hand out. It should be sufficient to help people get on their feet and it should be short in duration. The longer people are on welfare the less likely they are to actually go out and make their own money. This leads to generational welfare where the entitlement mentality is passed from one generation the the next.
One would think that people who receive benefits because of the generosity of taxpayers (as if taxpayers actually have a say) would be responsible as to how the money is spent but that is just a pipe dream. Those who receive something for nothing usually care little about how they get “their checks” as long as they get them.
The aftermath of Katrina demonstrated the welfare entitlement mentality as the federal government issued $5000 ATM cards so that people could get necessities and make it during the turmoil. Instead of taking care of their families, many folks used the money to buy alcohol, tobacco products and other non necessities. Some folks spent the money are bars and strip clubs.
Why not? After all, it is free money…
California is experiencing the same issue with its welfare program. At least 1.8 million taxpayer welfare dollars were withdrawn from casino ATM machines. While one can argue that there is no evidence that the money was spent in the casinos a thinking person would have to ask why use the casino ATM when there are plenty of ATM machines around?
Welfare recipients used taxpayer money to gamble, that is the only conclusion that can be reached and while $1.8 million is a small amount of money when compared to California’s entire welfare expenditures, it is a substantial misuse of the money and puts a huge burden on an insolvent system.
The fraud is also not the only that is in the system. How many people use the welfare money to buy booze or cigarettes? Elaborate scams have been developed by welfare recipients and unscrupulous business people to circumvent the system and allow taxpayer provided money to be used for things that are not permitted by law.
Taxpayers in California should be outraged at the fraud in the system and should demand change. Governor Schwarzenegger has put a halt to use of welfare cards in casinos but this will not prevent people who can get cash for the cards from getting the cash and going to the casinos anyway (or from participating in the myriad of fraud schemes that run rampant in such a system).
The state needs to reevaluate the situation of every person on welfare and tighten up on those who should not be in the system or are abusing it. People should sign a contract when entering welfare so that they are clear on what is allowed and what the penalties will be if they defraud the system. Start by removing illegal aliens from the system and working to get them deported.
In addition, people who can work should be forced to get a job. If a job is advertised and they are able to do it (NO MATTER WHAT IT IS) they should be forced to take it. If they get fired or quit they are ineligible for welfare. People on welfare should be randomly tested for drug use and if they test positive they should be removed from the program. People who use welfare money for alcohol, tobacco, or gambling (and this is not an all inclusive list) should be removed and prosecuted. All fraud should be prosecuted in order to foster an environment of fear. People on welfare should fear being caught doing something wrong.
In addition, business people who assist in defrauding the system must be prosecuted. If workers in a business devise a scheme to defraud then they must serve mandatory jail time. If business owners are knowingly part of the scheme they should have their business licenses revoked and their businesses seized and sold to pay restitution. Obviously, they should serve jail time.
Continually rewarding people with “free” money makes them less willing to work and more willing to devise schemes to keep that money coming. They lose the desire to work for something and to contribute to society. Ignoring the illegal things that take place in the welfare system helps to foster this attitude and further degrades the system. It also makes it much tougher for people who actually need welfare assistance.
One more thing that should be considered. California should require people on welfare to work for the money. Obviously there are some people who will not be able (the truly disabled) but most will be able to participate. The state has plenty of roads and parks that need to be cleaned of litter. There are plenty of housing projects and parks that need the grass cut. There is a lot that can be done to earn the money from taxpayers and it is time we forced welfare recipients to do something to earn the money.
Sitting on the couch watching Jerry Springer or Oprah while waiting to squirt out another entitlement baby is not productive work.
And California is not the only state that should be doing these things.
Imagine how much money could have been saved if welfare recipients were required to shovel all the snow from this past winter’s brutal storms…
If we make welfare an uncomfortable way of life fewer people will be willing to go on it.
Who knows, maybe they can get a job at one of the casinos…
Never surrender, never submit.