Don’t Look Guilty Department

A motorist who avoids a police car is inherently suspicious, according to a ruling handed down by the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday. A three-judge panel found that even if the officer observed no illegal conduct, a traffic stop and interrogation is justified when a driver seems not to want to be around a patrol car.

A district court noted that Pacheco did not make eye contact with the police and that he had violated no traffic laws and therefore suppressed the evidence obtained from the illegal stop. A three-judge appellate panel disagreed, insisting that the officers had reasonable suspicion that a crime was taking place.

So, does this mean that if a cop is behind me, and I make a right hand turn, I’m trying to evade him?  Probably not, but the courts keep narrowing the zone of non-guilt-associated private actions.


Unusual Photography Department

30 Incredible Long Exposure Photos — worth a look.


Police Good Moves Department

I had not originally reported on the underlying incident in this case, but Carlos Miller’s report of a police chief’s response regarding an officer’s restriction on a videographer’s access to a public demonstration shows that sensitivity to constitutional issues does indeed exist, at least in some police departments.


Who Needs Village Idiots When We Have Lieutenant Governors Department

Story of Tennessee Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, who has proposed that Islam is more a cult than a religion and therefore undeserving of First Amendment protection.  Geez, LG, I’ve got my own problems with Islam, but I’d never say it wasn’t legitimately a religion — go pick on something more worthy, like Scientology.


“Fusion” is Not Just Atomic or Music Department

Back on February 10 I wrote a longish piece regarding how our interactions with police may (and I really mean “may be expected to“) be reported “up the line” to one or more data centers that aggregates these incidents — and especially the identification of those involved — all in the name of Homeland Security.  Those are the so-called Fusion Centers (mentioned in my post).  Now they have been given attention once again in a libertarian, pro-civil liberties publication called The Freeman, in Wendy McElroy’s article, “An American Stasi?,” comparing Fusion Centers to the former East German secret police, the Stasi.  The article covers much of the same ground as my original post.

Lest you think that this is all quite harmless, however, consider the article’s recitation of civil liberties abuses:

Violation of privacy rights, excessive secrecy, lack of congressional oversight, the inevitability of inaccurate and noncorrectable information, the lack of due process for the accused, the encouragement of racial/religious profiling, the creation of a “snitch” nation, the merging of the military with the private sector, the political abuse of dissidents – the objections scroll on. Specific abuses scroll on as well. They include:

Maryland: Fifty-three nonviolent political activists, including antiwar and anti-death penalty activists, were labeled as terrorists and actively surveilled for 14 months.

Minnesota: Eight anarchist protesters who planned to protest the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis were preemptively arrested and charged with terrorism. In Minnesota, a crime can become terrorism if it disrupts the conduct of government.

Texas: A leaked intelligence bulletin from the North Central Texas Fusion System asked police officers to report on Islamic and antiwar lobbying groups

Missouri: Supporters of third party presidential candidates, pro-life activists, and conspiracy theorists were targeted as potential militia members.

Virginia (pdf): A terrorism threat assessment included certain universities as breeding grounds for terrorism, including historically black colleges.

A more comprehensive list of fusion abuse is available in the ACLU’s Survey of Reported Incidents (pdf).  See also the ACLU’s interactive map for what’s happening in your state.

So, of course, the likelihood that you are already in a Fusion Center database is very high.  But why add to the data set?  Don’t voluntarily surrender your ID or personal information.


Worked with her once in 2005; beautiful form, don’t know if she’s still modeling.

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