November 18th, 2009

Judge finds Arizona detention officer in contempt of court 0

By Carlos Miller

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s detention officer who was caught on video swiping a document from the case file of a defense attorney was found in contempt of court Wednesday.

But in typical fashion, he will get off with a slap on his wrist under Judge Gary Donahoe’s ruling.

All Adam Stoddard needs to do to put that charge behind him is to call a press conference and make a public apology to defense attorney Joanne Cuccia.

If he fails to do that by December 1, he will be ordered to report to jail.

So you would think he would comply with the judge’s order and be done with it.

Not if Sheriff Joe Arpaio has anything to do with it.

“My officer was doing his job and I will not stand by and allow him to be thrown to the wolves by the courts because they feel pressure from the media on this situation,” Arpaio said in a press release. He further said, “I decide who holds press conferences and when they are held regarding this Sheriff’s Office.”

Considering Arpaio runs the jails, he will probably ensure that Stoddard never serves a day in jail.

Under Arizona law, contempt of court is considered a Class 2 Misdemeanor and punishable by up to four months in jail.

November 17th, 2009

Arkansas police Taser 10-year-old girl 0

By Carlos Miller

Anthony Medlock says his ten-year-old daughter sometimes shows signs of having emotional issues.

But that was before an Arkansas cop used his Taser gun on her.

Now it’s no telling how she will turn out emotionally.

The girl was throwing a tantrum at her mother’s house when the mother called police. The cop showed up and noticed the girl kicking and screaming.

Ozark police Officer Dustin Bradshaw claims the girl’s mother gave him permission to tase the girl. The officer then said the girl kicked in in the groin.

“He had no other choice. He had to get the child under control,” said Ozark police Chief Jim Noggle.

Noggle said the officer shocked the girl for about a second.

Ozark police said it is their policy to use a Taser on someone who is a threat to others, no matter their age.

Noggle said simply restraining the child could be harmful.

“Well, if he tried to restrain her, he might hurt her by restraining her. If you grab somebody, you can slip an arm out of joint. They can slip from you and fall on the ground,” Noggle said.

But the girl’s father is infuriated.

“I would like to say Ozark police Tased this little girl right here. Ten years old and [they] shot electricity through her body, and I want to know how the heck in God’s green earth can they get away with this,” said the girl’s father, Anthony Medlock.

“If you can’t pick the kid up and take her to your car, handcuff her, then I don’t think you need to be an officer,” Medlock said.

November 17th, 2009

Las Vegas court officer detains journalists in courtroom 0

By Carlos Miller

Earlier this month, we saw a video of a detention officer swiping a document from the case file of an attorney during a legal proceeding in an Arizona courtroom.

Now we have a Las Vegas court officer detaining a group of journalists inside a courtroom to allow Michael Jackson’s former doctor to leave without being followed.

If Constitutional rights can be so blatantly abused in our courtrooms, then what can we expect in our everyday life?

The latest incident occurred Monday when Dr. Conrad Murray and his attorneys left the courtroom after a hearing over back child support payments. He is also a focal point in the investigation into Jackson’s death but has not been charged.

When a pool of reporters, videographers and producers from, The Associated Press and other media organizations attempted to follow him outside to attempt an interview, they were blocked by Dennis Curran, a uniformed court marshal.

Curran, who held them for several minutes as Murray was able to get into his car and drive away, said he was following orders from his supervisor, Sgt. Steve Rushfield, who did not respond to messages seeking comment.

A lawyer for the AP said it is illegal to detain journalists from lawfully pursuing a story.

Whoever ordered this improper and possibly unlawful detention has some explaining to do,” AP associate general counsel Dave Tomlin said.

Clark County courts spokesman Michael Sommermeyer was among the group detained. He said he didn’t know why they were detained but gave the usual spiel about it having to do with “safety and decorum.”

“They’re police officers,” he said. “I guess they can deem what is necessary for public safety.”

In the previous incident, Judge Lisa Flores defended the detention officer swiping the document from the case file by stating the following:

“I do just want to say for the record that the deputies in my courtroom are responsible for courtroom security and they have a quite a lot of leeway to do what they think is necessary in a situation.”

See the problem we’re facing?

November 17th, 2009

The snitches among us 0

By Carlos Miller

Update: Does Kurt Greenbaum need to resign?

St. Louis Post-Dispatch social media editor Kurt Greenbaum proudly tells the story of how he caused a man to lose his job after the man posted a vulgar comment on the newspaper’s blog.

Greenbaum says the man used a single word, “a vulgar expression for a part of a woman’s anatomy,” which got deleted within a minute of it being posted. The man then left the same comment again, which Greenbaum says he deleted.

Kurt Greenbaum

Kurt Greenbaum

In the process, Greenbaum noticed that the commenter’s email address came from a local school, so he felt he had no choice but to call the school and inform them of the situation.

School officials asked him to forward them the email, which he did. They ended up tracking the comments to a single computer and confronting the employee, who resigned on the spot.

And newspapers wonder why they are dying.

While I sit here trying to decide whether or not to call Greenbaum a pussy, I realize he is much worse than that. He is a disgrace to journalism. He violated the confidentiality between his readers and the newspaper.

His response might be understandable if the reader had threatened his life. But the reader was simply responding to a blog post titled “What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten?”

The commenter was obviously trying to be funny, even if his humor was juvenile and sophomoric.

Greenbaum, who calls himself STL Social Media Guy, should understand that blogs attract all kinds of diverse personalities and for the most part, they are harmless because these are people who are only spewing words.

Although the reader might have been breaking school policy by leaving vulgar comments on a newspaper blog during work hours, he was not breaking the law, so it is not the newspaper’s role to snitch on him.

If the word pussy bothered him so much, Greenbaum could just have left a warning in the comments section asking the reader not to leave profane comments anymore.

And if the reader continued to do so, all Greenbaum had to do was block his IP address where his comments would be held in moderation. After all, this is a guy who claims on his resume to be “a proven leader in online and media-related organizations with a record of progressive responsibility.”

Causing a guy to lose his job for using the word pussy is not progressive responsibility. It’s the complete opposite.

I’ve blocked a few IP addresses of commenters who continually left vulgar comments that had nothing to do with the discussion at hand. And I only did so after deleting several of their comments and realizing they were not going to stop. And this only holds the comment in moderation, allowing me to choose whether or not I want to post it.

The worst that happens is that the comment doesn’t get posted, causing the commenter to get frustrated and leave more comments which never get posted and forcing the commenter to finally give up. If that commenter decides to leave a normal comment, then it gets posted and life goes on.

One of the commenters was posting from the Miami Police Department. Another was posting from a local church. Another was posting from a prison in Northern California.

And another was posting from the federal reserve, which I ended up calling him out on the same thread. But that’s where it ended. He never left another comment again.

I guess I could have contacted their employers and asked them to investigate but that is just not my style. I grew up learning you don’t snitch unless your life depended on it. Otherwise, you handle your own conflicts.

Obviously, not everybody thinks as I do.

November 17th, 2009

Man arrested after refusing to show TSA his identification 0

By Carlos Miller

Anybody who has done any traveling since 9/11 knows that you can’t get board a plane without showing ID and disposing of your toiletries and surrendering to a cavity search.

However,  frequent traveler Phil Mocek discovered there is no law requiring you to show your identification between interstate traveling, despite the numerous signs in airports ordering you to present your ID before boarding.

The Arizona Daily Star even confirmed his discovery last year, stating that not producing an ID might lead to additional screening but would not necessarily ban someone from boarding the plane.

But that didn’t stop Mocek from getting arrested yesterday at Albuquerque Sunport Airport after he refused to show Transportation Security Authority inspectors his identification.

In a case that is burning up the Flyer Talk forum, but has been largely ignored by the mainstream media, Mocek was charged with “concealing identity, disorderly conduct, refusing to obey an officer, and criminal trespass.”

His traveling buddy, Jesse Gallagos, was detained and banned from the airport for 24 hours after attempting to film Mocek’s arrest.

However, prior to the incident, Mocek apparently confirmed that photography was not banned in the airport, according to Philosecurity, the site that broke the story.

Mr. Mocek had previously contacted TSA personnel at the Albuquerque International Sunport Airport(ABQ) to find out if photography was allowed, and was clearly told by local TSA officer Susanne Spencer that advance notification was recommended, but not required.

Mocek, who was held on a $1,000 bail, was released after supporters raised money on the internet.

He is already in contact with an attorney, according to a post he made on the Flyer Talk forum.

Besides the fact that there is no law requiring one to show their ID before boarding a plane between interstate travel, the main issue here is whether or not providing an ID actually keeps us safer.

The 9/11 hijackers all had valid identifications, so it wouldn’t have made a difference there.

And even if they do cross-check your ID with the terrorist watch list, is that keeping us safer considering they will put you on the list for the simple act of taking photos inside a subway station?

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