police state

NYC: pistol-whipped for cannabis possession

Posted on October 8th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

New York CityTwo New York City cops have been disciplined after a disturbing video surfaced showing a 16-year-old boy pistol-whipped and beaten after being stopped on suspicion of pot possession. A Brooklyn grand jury is to begin hearing evidence in the case to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against the cops, according to the Daily News of Oct. 7. The video, taken around 2:20 AM on Aug. 29, shows Kahreem Tribble running from police, slowing down and apparently attempting to surrender on St. John's Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He'd already come to a complete stop on the sidewalk when one of the cops, identified as Tyrane Isaac, threw a punch to Tribble's head. The teen put up his hands—only to have a second cop, David Afanador, slug him across the face with his sidearm. A third officer, identified as Christopher Mastoros, can be seen taking no action to help Tribble as he is brutalized. Tribble suffered several broken teeth, swelling and mouth injuries. He was arrested for marijuana possession. Police said Tribble tossed a small canvas bag as they gave chase; the recovered bag contained 17 zip-lock baggies of cannabis. "These police officers behaved themselves in a truly deplorable manner," said  Tribble's lawyer, Amy Rameau. "This type of conduct should not be tolerated and I want to see them prosecuted for what they did to my client."

Sequel needed

Posted on October 3rd, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

Dean BeckerDean Becker, a former reporter at non-commercial KPFT in Houston, has produced a worthwhile if deceptively named book in To End the War on Drugs: A Guide for Politicians, the Press and Public. Rather than the activist how-to manual promised in the subtitle, it is a series of interviews with leading lights in the drug policy reform movement. And rather than explaining how, they are mostly making the case as to why the "drug war" must end.

New York City: dissent grows on cannabis enforcement —but Bratton intransigent

Posted on July 10th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

New York CityIn another sign of the new progressive tilt in New York City politics, the New York Post reports July 8 that Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has announced that he will stop prosecuting low-level marijuana cases. Thompson's press release said his new policy is to "prevent offenders—who are disproportionately young men of color—from being saddled with a criminal record for a minor, non-violent offense." But Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said his cops will keep arresting Brooklyn's cannabis tokers anyway. "In order to be effective, our police officers must enforce the laws of the State of New York uniformly throughout all five boroughs of the City," Bratton said in his own statement. "Accordingly, the Kings County policy change will not result in any changes in the policies and procedures of the NYPD."

High court: warrant needed for cell-phone searches

Posted on June 25th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchThe US Supreme Court issued a key ruling in favor of Fourth Amendment rights in the digital age June 25, finding unanimously that police in most cases need a warrant before searching the cellphone or personal electronic device of an arrestee. Chief Justice John Roberts firmly rejected arguments that searches of digital devices are comparable to searches police routinely carry out for contraband after making an arrest. In the cases of Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie (argued separetly, but decided together), Roberts wrote: "Modern cell phones, as a category, implicate privacy concerns far beyond those implicated by the search of a cigarette pack, a wallet, or a purse... The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant."

Federal court: warrant needed for cell-phone tracking

Posted on June 16th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchIn what could turn out to be a landmark case, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta ruled June 11 that police must obtain a warrant to get a person's cell phone location history from the service provider. Police conducting a robbery investigation in Miami had obtained the location histories of four suspects after getting an order from a federal judge. But the standard for getting a so-called "D-order" is that it be "relevant and material" to an investigation—lower than the "probable cause" standard required for a warrant under the Fourth Amendment. The court found "that cell site location information is within the subscriber's reasonable expectation of privacy. The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation." Nathan Freed Wessler, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who helped argue the case, hailed the ruling in United States v. Quartavious Davis as "a resounding defense of the Fourth Amendment's continuing vitality in the digital age."

'Collateral damage' feared in Harlem gang sweep

Posted on June 10th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

New York CityIn a dramatic early morning raid June 4, some 400 NYPD cops wearing bullet-proof vests stormed the Manhattanville and Grant housing projects in Harlem, arresting scores in what was boasted as the largest gang case in New York City history. In what was dubbed Operation Crew Cut Initiative, police commissioner William Bratton announced 103 indictments of accused members of the Make It Happen Boys, Money Avenue and 3 Staccs gangs. Charges in the 145-count indictment include conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit gang assault, and weapons possession. Of those indicted, 41 were already in jail on other charges. The three warring crews are  held responsible for at least two homicides and 19 shootings in and around the housing projects in recent years. The suspects are all between 15 and 30 years old. "If you choose this lifestyle, you will suffer the same fate as these individuals," Bratton said at a news conference later in the day. (Daily News, WABC, Newsday, June 4)

Family seeks federal review of SWAT raid that left tot in coma

Posted on June 9th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

GeorgiaA Georgia family and state lawmakers are demanding a federal investigation into the case of a toddler severely injured by a flash grenade during a drug raid May 28. Bounkham Phonesavanh—19 months old, and nicknamed Bou Bou—remains in a medically induced coma at the Grady Memorial Hospital burn unit in Atlanta. Habersham County District Attorney Brian Rickman told AP his office is investigating to determine whether any officers will face criminal charges. Police said officers were searching for a potentially armed drug suspect at the home and did not know children were inside when they broke down the door and threw in a flash grenade. The grenade landed in the sleeping boy's playpen, according to both authorities and the Phonesavanh family.

SCOTUS deals new blow to Fourth Amendment

Posted on April 26th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

SCOTUSThe US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on April 22 in Navarette v. California that a traffic stop that led to a marijuana arrest was constitutional because police had reasonable suspicion the driver was intoxicated. In 2008, California Highway Patrol officers stopped Lorenzo Prado Navarette's pickup truck on a Mendocino County road based on a 911 tip about reckless driving. The officers said they smelled marijuana when approaching the vehicle. They conducted a search and found 30 pounds of cannabis. Navarette and a passenger were arrested and charged. At trial, they moved to suppress the evidence on grounds that the search violated their Fourth Amendment rights because the officers lacked reasonable suspicion when they pulled Navarette over. But in the opinion authored by conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, the majority found that while an anonymous tip will not always lead to reasonable suspicion, in this case it did. The court found that "under appropriate circumstances, an anonymous tip can demonstrate sufficient indicia of reliability to provide reasonable suspicion to make an investigatory stop." Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a dissent that was joined by the court's liberals, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Conservatives John Roberts and Samuel Alito lined up with the majority, as did swing voters Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy. (Sacramento Bee, This Week, Jurist, April 22)

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