police state

NYC: cannabis busts rising again —despite new policy

Posted on June 4th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

New York CityBig Apple tokers exhaled a sigh of relief in November 2014, when Mayor Bill de Blasio instated a new policy barring arrest for possession of under 25 grams of cannabis. New York City had long been the pot bust capital of the USA, and after the new policy the smell of fragrant smoke was present on the city streets on a level not seen since before the get-tough Giuliani era. But a year and a half later—guess what? A new report just released by the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP) indicates that cannabis arrests rose more than a third in the first three months of this year. The NYPD popped 4,225 people for pot possession between January and March, according to state data crunched by the advocacy group. That's a serious jump from the 2,960 arrested during the same period last year. When you add in arrests for small sales, the figures are respectively 5,311 and 3,973. What gives?

Anti-gang 'mega-raids' in crisis-hit Venezuela

Posted on May 16th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

VenezuelaAs Venezuela lurches deeper into political crisis, President Nicolas Maduro has announced a new phase in the government's controversial "Operation Liberate the People" security program, pledging to cleanse the country of gang-related crime. Thousands of elite military troops have been deployed across Caracas, with five new “permanent” bases and over 130 checkpoints established in the city. Perhaps not coincidentally, this comes as Maduro has declared a "state of emergency" throughout the country in response to a supposed US-backed conspiracy against him by the political opposition, earning rebukes from Amnesty International, which called the declaration "alarming."

Surveillance of activists latest Chicago police scandal

Posted on April 14th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ChicagoThis has been a very bad week for the Chicago Police Department. Among the headaches was a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois on "unsettling" reports of Chicago police monitoring peaceful protest groups, and is calling for City Council hearings on the claims. The statement came in response to a Chicago Sun-Times report finding that the department opened seven investigations since 2009 to monitor activist groups. E-mails released by the city under purblic pressure after the 2014 fatal police shooting of African American teen Laquan McDonald revealed that cops kept close tabs on protesters. Undercover officers were sent to monitor meetings of Black Lives Matter and other groups. (AP, April 10)

Alabama prison riot: more to come?

Posted on March 16th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

AlabamaGov. Robert Bentley visited Holman prison in southwest Alabama March 15—in the wake of a bloody uprising at the facility. Inmates stabbed the warden and a guard when the trouble began four days earlier, then seized control of a dorm for several hours the day before the governor's visit. A Correctional Emergency Response Team was sent in to restore control. Both the warden and guard survived, but the facility remains on lockdown, with visitation rights suspended. Bentley pledged to address problems of overcrowding at the state's prisons during his visit, reported local WHNT.

No federal charges in Ramarley Graham case

Posted on March 8th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

New York City The Manhattan US Attorney's office announced March 8 that it will not prosecute the NYPD officer who killed unarmed teen Ramarley Graham—almost four years to the day after he was slain by undercover officers who had chased him into his own apartment in The Bronx. No gun was found—just a small a bag of cannabis, which he was apparently trying to flush down the john. "After conducting a thorough and independent investigation, the US Attorney's Office has determined that there is insufficient evidence to meet the high burden of proof required for a federal criminal civil rights prosecution" of police officer Richard Haste, said a statement from Preet Bharara, federal prosecutor for New York's Southern District. "Accordingly, this office's investigation into Mr. Graham's death has been closed."

Right to film cops at issue in Philly federal case

Posted on March 1st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchPhilly Voice reports that the Pennsylvania ACLU is planning to appeal following a decision last month by a federal court that a citizen has no First Amendment right to record police activity without a specific, critical reason for doing so. In the Feb. 19 decision, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in Fields vs. City of Philadelphia that absent "any state purpose of being critical of the government," your freedom of speech is not applicable when recording the activities of police officers.

Arrested by US Marshals for not paying student debt?

Posted on February 17th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

Shadow Watch"Believe it or not, the US Marshals Service in Houston is arresting people for not paying their outstanding federal student loans." That's the explosive claim of Fox26, the network's Houston affiliate, in a Feb. 15 broadcast that has quickly gone viral on the Internet. Interviewed is area resident Paul Aker, who said he was arrested at his home last week for a $1,500 federal student loan he received in 1987. A team of seven in "combat gear and with automatic weapons" appeared at his door. Related Aker: "I was home, I hadn't done anything, and I was wondering, why are the marshalls knocking on my door?" He was put in shackles and handcuffs, and taken before a federal judge. Also in the studio was Rep. Gene Green, who went along with Aker's story that he "didnt receive any kind of notice" before the raid.

Los Angeles ex-sheriff pleads guilty in prison abuse scandal

Posted on February 10th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

CaliforniaRetired Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded guilty Feb. 10 to lying to federal investigators, in what the LA Times calls a "stunning reversal for the longtime law enforcement leader who for years insisted he played no role in the misconduct that tarnished his agency." In the plea deal filed in federal court for the Central District of California, Baca admitted to lying twice about his involvement in hiding a jail inmate from FBI investigators. In fact, Baca ordered the inmate to be isolated, putting his top deputy Paul Tanaka in charge of executing the plan, the agreement acknowledged. Baca also admitted he lied when he said he was unaware that his subordinates planned to approach an FBI special agent at her home. Baca now admits he directed the subordinates to approach the agent, stating that they should "do everything but put handcuffs" on her.  As part of the deal, prosecutors agreed not to seek a prison sentence of more than six months, Eileen Decker, US attorney for the Central District, told reporters. Tanaka is scheduled to stand trial in March on charges of obstructing the federal investigation into brutality and corruption in the county jails.

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