Asset forfeiture funds help build the ever-growing national surveillance state.
Civil asset forfeiture is a pernicious policy in its own right. It is nothing more than legalized, institutionalized, government-sanctioned theft. Forfeiture laws flip due process on its head and create perverse “policing for profit” incentives.
On top of that, we have long suspected that police departments use forfeiture money to secretly purchase surveillance technology. Recent Chicago Police Department emails obtained from a trove of hacked documents prove this happens, revealing that cops used asset forfeiture money to buy drones off the books with no oversight or accountability.
According to reporting by the Chicago Sun-Times, details of the CPD drone program were revealed in an email sent by the director of police research and development. In the email exchange, Karen Conway told other high-ranking police officials that the department’s counterterrorism bureau “utilized 1505 funds for a pilot Drone program that operates within the parameters of current laws.”
Conway wrote that drones “have been purchased and the Electronic & Technical Support Unit (Counter-terrorism) is in the process of creating a training to start a pilot. Some of the Drone uses will be for missing persons, crime scene photos, and terrorist-related issues.”
The city refused to answer specific questions about the drone program, saying the city would not answer questions relating to hacked emails.
The DHS on Friday issued a terrorism advisory warning that violent “domestic extremists” may exploit the easing of Covid restrictions to plan new attacks.
The DHS also admitted that the agency has zero information to indicate a specific, credible plot.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a new domestic terrorism advisory that is active through August 13, 2021 – JUST BECAUSE.
“Ideologically-motivated violent extremists fueled by perceived grievances, false narratives, and conspiracy theories continue to share information online with the intent to incite violence,” the DHS National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) bulletin reads.
The Mississippi Supreme Court on Friday issued a much-anticipated ruling that strikes down the Medical marijuana program enshrined in the state constitution by voters in November.
The ruling also voids — for now — the state’s ballot initiative process that allows voters to take matters in hand and pass constitutional amendments. The court ruled that the state’s ballot initiative process is “unworkable and inoperative” until lawmakers and voters fix state law and the constitution.
With six of the nine state justices agreeing, the court wrote, “We grant the petition, reverse the Secretary of State’s certification of initiative 65 and hold that any subsequent proceedings on it are void.”
Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler filed a Supreme Court challenge to Initiative 65 just days before voters approved it on Nov. 3. Butler argued that Mississippi’s ballot initiative process is constitutionally flawed and Initiative 65 was not legally before voters. She said a provision requiring an equal number of signatures from Mississippi’s five congressional districts could not be met, because Mississippi has only had four districts for two decades.
Besides derailing the medical marijuana program, the ruling also jeopardizes six pending ballot initiatives, including one to expand Medicaid and others to reinstate the state’s 1890 state flag, allow early voting and to approve recreational marijuana use. The ruling also could open to challenge two constitutional amendments that voters have passed since they were allowed to do so in 1992, one limiting eminent domain powers over government to take private land and one requiring a government-issued ID to vote.
A bar owner in California was arrested for allegedly selling fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards.
On Tuesday, 59-year-old Todd Anderson was booked on multiple charges for allegedly altering a medical record, forgery of a public seal, identity theft and conspiracy, a spokesperson for the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) told FOX Business.
The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case.
In April, ABC began investigating the Old Corner Saloon in Clements after receiving a complaint that fake cards were being sold at the bar, ABC said.
Philadelphia’s health commissioner has resigned after admitting he improperly cremated the remains of victims of a 1985 bombing, Mayor Jim Kenney announced Thursday.
Kenney said he was “disturbed” when he learned that the commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, “made a decision to cremate and dispose of” the remains from the bombing ordered by Philadelphia officials 36 years ago of a home whose inhabitants belonged to a revolutionary group called MOVE.
The bombing killed 11 people, including five children, and sparked a fire that spread and destroyed dozens of homes in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood.
Kenney said in a news conference Thursday that an investigation was underway to find out more about what happened to the remains, adding that they had been described as “bone fragments” and were thought to have been cremated in 2017.
“This action lacked empathy for the victims and their families,” Kenney said, adding that he asked Farley to resign effective immediately. Another official was placed on leave, and Dr. Cheryl Bettigole will serve as acting health commissioner, Kenney said.
A man who says he lost an eye last summer while peacefully protesting has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana against the police officer who allegedly left him partially blind. The officer accused of firing the tear gas round into Balin Brake’s face is requesting qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that often protects state actors from being held accountable in civil court.
Brake, 22, says that on May 30, 2020, he arrived at the Allen County Courthouse in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for a nonviolent demonstration following the death of George Floyd. While standing with his hands up, he claims, a group of officers with the Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD) fired tear gas into the crowd, prompting them to retreat. One tear gas canister hit his right shoe, causing it to burn; he then looked back, at which point Officer Justin Holmes allegedly fired a canister that hit Brake in the face.
Don’t blame Karma. The police dog simply followed his training when he helped local agencies impound vehicles that sometimes belonged to innocent motorists in Republic, Washington, an old mining town near the Canadian border.
As a drug detection dog, Karma kept his nose down and treated every suspect the same. Public records show that from the time he arrived in Republic in January 2018 until his handler took a leave of absence to campaign for public office in 2020, Karma gave an “alert” indicating the presence of drugs 100 percent of the time during roadside sniffs outside vehicles.
Whether drivers actually possessed illegal narcotics made no difference. The government gained access to every vehicle that Karma ever sniffed. He essentially created automatic probable cause for searches and seizures, undercutting constitutional guarantees of due process.
Similar patterns abound nationwide, suggesting that Karma’s career was not unusual. Lex, a drug detection dog in Illinois, alerted for narcotics 93 percent of the time during roadside sniffs, but was wrong in more than 40 percent of cases. Sella, a drug detection dog in Florida, gave false alerts 53 percent of the time. Bono, a drug detection dog in Virginia, incorrectly indicated the presence of drugs 74 percent of the time.