Showing posts with label Fourth Amendment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fourth Amendment. Show all posts

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Myth of "Protect and Serve"

This morning, Thursday, May 26, 2011, we're confronted with some intersting prospects as we consider our ever-changing community. What caught my attention today were the words on page A3 of the Times-Standard newspaper right under four pictures of Eureka Police officers' swearing in ceremony that said, "Eureka Police Department: To protect and serve."

To Protect and Serve

Click to Enlarge
Makes you all warm a fuzzy when you see the new officer's girlfriend giving him his new badve. First impressions makes you think the police are there working for our needs, for the best interests of of all us law-abiding citizens, property owners and business people, doesn't it? On the same page, just two days earlier,  we were confronted with this picture and these words: "Suspect with felony warrant arrested." That picture make you feel all safe and secure? This is what happens to BAD GUYS in Eurkea California! 

To read this, you'd think the police had a "felony warrant" in their hands, went out and found this "suspect" and forcefully arrested him on the spot. To see the picture and the headline you would also think our fearless police officers were arresting a really bad person, wouldn't you? Officer Leonard LaFrance has his knee on the guy's head and his other knee on his leg pinning him while wrenching his arm behind his back jamming his body apparently on his other arm. For whatever reason, he is reported to be striking the "suspect" on the back with his fist. All of this is happening to only a "suspect." Notice the report: "He was detained and was found to have a felony warrant for his arrest." They did not know at the time of the arrest that this guy had an outstanding "felony warrant." Since he's a wanted fellon, all is justified.

Think this couldn't happen to you? If so, try "thinking" again.

In view of the above, and how the police edict is that has moved away from "Protect and Serve the tax-paying public citizen" to "Protect and Serve police self-interests," it would be good to review a couple of articles dealing with this very issue and how it is impacting every community across America. When considering these issues it would be good to keep in mind the implications of the Secret Patriot Act that was pushed through right after 9/11/2001 and congress is extending for another four years. Juan Cole concludes:

Congress is set to extend the unconstitutional law, which contravenes the 4th Amendment, for 4 years without debate.

So an elective dictatorship is imposing a dictatorial and unconstitutional law on Americans without so much as a discussion.
Couple that with the recent Supreme Court decision that basically gives the police the legal right to enter your home without a warrant. Not that little technicality really served as much of a protection.

Now read what John W. Whitehead lays out in his article: The Changing Face of the Police and the Death of the Fourth Amendment - This, the complete article, is a REAL EYE-OPENER. He starts by saying:
In early America, citizens were considered equals with law enforcement officials. Authorities were rarely permitted to enter one’s home without permission or in a deceitful manner. And it was not uncommon for police officers to be held personally liable for trespass when they wrongfully invaded a citizen’s home. Unlike today, early Americans could resist arrest when a police officer tried to restrain them without proper justification or a warrant – which the police had to allow citizens to read before arresting them. (Daring to dispute a warrant with a police official today who is armed with high-tech military weapons and tasers would be nothing short of suicidal.) This clear demand for a right to privacy was not a byproduct of simpler times. Much like today, early Americans dealt with problems such as petty thievery, murder and attacks by foreign enemies. Rather, the demand for privacy stemmed from a harbored suspicion of law enforcement officials and the unbridled discretion they could abuse.

The Fourth Amendment, which assures that "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated," was included in the Bill of Rights in response to the oppressive way British soldiers treated American colonists through their use of "Writs of Assistance." These were court orders that authorized British agents to conduct general searches of premises for contraband. The exact nature of the materials being sought did not have to be detailed, nor did their locations. The powerful new court orders enabled government officials to inspect not only shops and warehouses, but also private homes. These searches resulted in the violation of many of the colonists’ rights and the destruction of much of the colonists’ personal property. It quickly became apparent to many colonists that their homes were no longer their castles.

Revolutionary patriot James Otis was Advocate-General when the legality of these warrants came under question by the colonists. Called upon to defend that legality, he promptly resigned his office. After living through an age of oppressive policies under the British empire, those of the founding generation, such as Otis, wanted to ensure that Americans would never have to face intrusive government measures again.

Fast forward 250 years and we seem to be right back where we started, living in an era of oppressive government policies and a militarized police whose unauthorized, forceful intrusions into our homes and our lives have been increasingly condoned by the courts. ...
Read the complete article.

The paranoid fears of some improbable "terrorist" attack are small potatoes (unimportant, insignificant) compared the the occupying army we confront every day as they "Protect and Serve."
--Joe