January 11th, 2010

Activist video reveals study in contrasts in a pair of Tennessee cops 0

By Carlos Miller

Just over a year ago, a 60-foot dam broke in a power plant in Tennessee, dumping more than a billion gallons of toxic coal ash into a nearby river and community in Roane County.

But the Tennessee Valley Authority, the federally owned corporation that owns the power plant, has insisted that coal ash is no more toxic than dirt. And it has done nothing to clean up the spill.

Meanwhile, residents report a wide range of health problems, including nose-bleeds, coughs and headaches. And the arsenic, lead, mercury and selenium that have been found in the coal ash has previously been linked to cancer, liver damage and nervous system disorders.

Last year, 60 Minutes did an extensive segment on the disaster and the failure of the Tennessee Valley Authority to remedy the situation as well as its denial that coal ash is toxic.

So in comes the United Mountain Defense, a civilian activist group that is striving to help the residents of Roane County by collecting data and samples in the area to be tested.

Last year the group was invited on the property of one of the residents to test the air with air monitoring devices.

Within minutes after setting up the air monitors, police officers from the Roane County Police Department as well as the Tennessee Valley Authority swarmed on the property and began hassling the UMD members.

At one point, as can be seen in the above video, a cigar-chewing ignoramus of a cop demands to see a picture identification of one of the UMD members. The UMD member hands the cop a U.S. Passport, which anybody with any sense knows it is an acceptable form of identification anywhere in this country.

But the cop acts like he has never seen a passport before. And he continues to demand “a picture ID.” When informed that the passport is a picture ID, the cop then demands a driver license. But the man tells the officer that he is not driving and that the passport is a valid picture ID.

The cop, whose name is Robert Childs, according to a comment on the Youtube video, then snatches the man’s camera and orders the air monitors to be taken down.

The situation was apparently resolved by another cop who doesn’t come across as abrasive as Childs, telling the UMD members that they have “been nothing but peaceful to us.”

The cops eventually leave without further incident.

If anything, the video shows a startling contrast between police personalities.

On one hand, you have the abrasive sonofabitch who escalates a peaceful situation and appears to have an IQ of an ant. And on the other hand, you have an officer who at least seems to have a sense of professionalism and basic people skills.

If if weren’t for that officer, no telling how that situation would have turned out.

January 8th, 2010

Popular war blogger handcuffed, detained at Seattle airport 0

By Carlos Miller

Michael Yon, a popular war blogger and former Green Beret, was handcuffed and detained this week at Seattle’s airport when he refused to disclose his salary to federal agents.

Yon told the Custom and Border Patrol Agents that his salary had nothing to do with national security.

He also refused to tell them for whom he was working, which prompted them to lead him into a back room for further questioning.

The following is according to Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government blog, who claims they had an exclusive interview with him:

According to Yon, “they handcuffed me for failing to cooperate.  They said I was impeding their ability to do their job.”

Yon described the CBP officials as noticeably frustrated by his refusal to answer their questions: “I always assume everything is being recorded.  I was trying to be professional.”

Yon continued, “They said I wasn’t under arrest, but I’m handcuffed.  In any other country, that qualifies as an arrest.”

He was eventually released by Port Authority Police, but now the incident has created a political fray between conservative and liberal pundits over who is to blame.

It was just over a year ago when Yon criticized Homeland Security officials for coercing a female friend into giving them her password to her email account, which showed correspondences between Yon and his friend.

The latest incident comes on the heels of an incident in which the Transportation Security Administration served subpoenas on two travel bloggers in an attempt to find out who leaked a security directive to them.

Blogger Chris Elliot refused to cooperate and the subpoena was withdrawn. But travel blogger Steven Frischling complied with the request. Agents ended up destroying his laptop. It is not clear if they will compensate him for the broken computer.

January 7th, 2010

Man gets harassed for photographing elevator in Virginia courthouse 0

By Carlos Miller

I really need to stress that if people are going to shoot video for Youtube, for fucks sake, please hold the camera steady. Please point the camera at your subject. And please learn to edit the damn video if you haven’t done any of that.

That being said, the above video is revealing as it is, even if it jarring and frustrating to watch.

A man named Andrew who calls himself an “elevator photographer” gets chased out of the Campbell Court Building in Roanoke, Virginia by a janitor because he was, well, taking photos of an elevator.

Rather than swing the video camera everywhere and at nothing, he should have pointed the camera directly into the janitor’s face while he was being threatened and ordered to leave the building. It just makes for a much better video.

The photographer then steps out of the sidewalk and calls the cops but the janitor apparently has also called the cops, so the cops pull up and naturally harass the photographer.

For a few seconds, Andrew actually points the camera at the cop, but the cop orders him to shut the video camera down.

Thankfully, he at least keeps the camera running even if he doesn’t point it at the cop’s face.

Now I people might disagree with me, but I would have continued filming the cop even after he ordered me not to. I would have informed him I’m doing it to protect myself.

I might end up getting arrested but cops eventually have to learn that photography is not a crime. And they have to learn that it is an unlawful order to order someone to stop filming or taking pictures of them.

So we are treated to a black screen for several minutes while we hear Andrew explaining himself in the background. He does do a good job of asserting his rights to the officer, informing the officer that he is well aware of his right to take pictures.

But the cop tells Andrew that he shouldn’t be surprised that people get upset at him for taking their picture because for all they know, he might “put their face on a naked body or something.” No, I’m not kidding. He actually said that. What a dumb ass.

The cops eventually give him a “trespass bar letter,” which apparently means he is no longer allowed in the courthouse. After all, the letter says, photographing an elevator is “suspicious activity.”

January 6th, 2010

Lying South Florida cops will finally be fired … supposedly 0

By Carlos Miller

Six months after a group of South Florida cops were exposed on a dash cam recorder conjuring a lie to protect one of their own, they are on the brink of getting fired.

Obviously, things work a little slow in the city of Hollywood.

Although the evidence against the cops is overwhelming, the police union is claiming that they are helpless victims of political persecution.

And The Miami Herald is touting Chief Chad Wagner’s decision to fire the officers as a “major crackdown” in the ‘scandal-plagued department.”

Nobody is pointing out that these five officers were sitting at home on paid administrative leave for the past six months while the chief sat on his decision.

And even when he finally made his decision, it came in a letter stating “I intend to terminate your employment” as if they needed more warning. Imagine that happening in the private sector.

Hell, all I got was a fucking phone call from NBC the morning after I pulled a weekend shift when they sacked me.

You may recall the story of how a cop rear-ended a woman who had been drinking. The accident was clearly his fault because the woman had been stopped at a traffic light.

But the arriving officer on the scene, Dewey Pressley, decided to twist the truth. Or in his own words,  to “do a little Walt Disney to protect the cop.”

“Well, I don’t want to make things up ever, because it’s wrong, but if I need to bend it a little bit to protect a cop I’m gonna.”

So they introduced a cat to the scenario even though there was no cat at the scene. They claimed the lady had been driving with a cat on her lap when it jumped out the window into the lane of the officer.

They claimed the ever-cautious officer swerved to avoid hitting the cat – because as one of them said, it could have been “a fucking kid” – and ended up crashing into the woman’s car.

The whole scheme was caught on their own dash cam video recorder. One of the cops conjured the story while the others went along with it without hesitation, proving that these types of schemes are not that uncommon, despite the Herald’s claim that this was “an unusual incident.”

In fact, the officers laughed as they agreed to go along. And they probably laughed for the past six months as they sat on their ass collecting their tax-funded salaries. And they are probably laughing now as the union fights for their job.

But this is no laughing matter.

Not only should we be outraged but every police officer in this country should be outraged. Well at least the ones who actually abide by the oath they swore to uphold.

Because it is videos like this that makes them all look bad.

"We’ll do a little Walt Disney to protect the cop"
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