The coming fight over "nonlethal neuroweapons"

zombie-man

The Chemical Weapons Convention has a giant loophole in that it allows for the stockpiling and use of chemical agents in law-enforcement; with the Eighth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) coming up next month, there's an urgent question about whether "neuroweapons" (chemical agents intended to pacify or disperse people) will become tools of law-enforcement and "defensive warfare." Read the rest

Social media surveillance software used by cops faces backlash

geofeedia-01
Geofeedia bills itself as a way for marketers to reach potential customers through geotagged "hashtag listening," but they also sell it to police departments for "predicting, analyzing and acting on social media conversations," like, say, peaceful protests. Read the rest

Though crime happens everywhere, predictive policing tools send cops to poor/black neighborhoods

foo

Researchers from the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (previously) reimplemented the algorithm Predpol predictive policing system that police departments around America have spent a fortune on in order to find out where to set their patrols, and fed it Oakland's 2010 arrest data, then asked it to predict where the crime would be in 2011. Read the rest

The FCC helped create the Stingray problem, now it needs to fix it

og-stingrayfcc

An outstanding post on the EFF's Deeplinks blog by my colleague Ernesto Falcon explains the negligent chain of events that led us into the Stingray disaster, where whole cities are being blanketed in continuous location surveillance, without warrants, public consultation, or due process, thanks to the prevalence of "IMSI catchers" ("Stingrays," "Dirtboxes," "cell-site simulators," etc) that spy indiscriminately on anyone carrying a cellular phone -- something the FCC had a duty to prevent. Read the rest

Merciless reporting on the Chicago Police Department's extortion racket, & the senior officials who covered it up

schalliol-chicago-04

The more we learn about the Chicago Police Department, the worse it gets -- there's the sabotage of dashcams, the widespread corruption, the investigators fired for refusing to cover up police crimes, off-the-books "black site" where the CPD kidnaps and tortures suspects, the Accountability Task Force Report that called the force racist, corrupt and broken. Read the rest

Study: with body-worn cameras, complaints against police "virtually vanish"

cambridge-cameras

Complaints against police dropped by 93% when they were wearing body cameras, according to a University of Cambridge study that examined 2,000 officers in the US and UK. Read the rest

Twice, Sacramento cops tried to run down mentally ill man, then they shot him 14 times

animation

Twice, Sacramento police Randy Lozoya and John Tennis tried to run down Joseph Mann with their cruiser, saying "Fuck this guy. I’m going to hit him" and "OK, go for it. Go for it," before shooting him 14 times. Read the rest

Arkansas lawmaker who pushed law protecting right to video police is arrested for videoing an arrest

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

Officer Jeff Thompson of the Little Rock Police Department arrested Arkansas state Representative John Walker for recording their treatment of a black man who had been put in handcuffs during a traffic stop. Read the rest

Hundreds of cops misuse databases yearly, says report

alexis-dekany

An investigation by the Associated Press found 675 police officers were jailed or disciplined for misusing police databases from 2013 to 2015, and that's just the ones who were caught.

Read the rest

El Cajon police say unarmed black man pointed vape at officer before he was shot to death

Agnes Hasam, a family friend of the late Alfred Olango, speaks to protesters at El Cajon Police HQ to protest the killing of an unarmed man Tuesday by officers. September 28, 2016.  REUTERS
Alfred Okwera Olango, who was black, was fatally shot by police in El Cajon, California on Tuesday. Police in the San Diego suburb city say the 38 year old Ugandan immigrant pointed a vape pen or e-cigarette device at them, before police shot the man to death.

Officers were responding to a call of a man behaving erratically, and walking in traffic. Olango's friends and supporters say court records show that he suffered from mental illness, and may have been experiencing a seizure before his death. An El Cajon police officer is believed to have shot Olango within as little as one or two minutes after arriving at the scene.

Read the rest

California will collect public records for all police use of force, using open source software

animation

There are a handful of states that keep records of police force, but they are incomplete records, and they're maintained on paper; contrast that with URSUS, California's new tool that collects every single use of force, storing it in open, transparent free software maintained by Bayes Impact, a nonprofit. Read the rest

Cop fired and denied severance for not shooting suicidal man holding an unloaded gun

050 056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1182

Stephen Mader, a former police officer in Weirton, W.Va, was fired without severance because he decided not to shoot Ronald D. "R.J." Williams Jr, who had threatened to kill himself and was holding a gun that turned out to be unloaded. Read the rest

Leaked Stingray manual shows how easy warrantless mass surveillance can be!

Screen-Shot-2016-09-12-at-10.16.46-AM-1000x591

The Intercept has got hold of a set of Harris's super-secretive manuals for their even-more-secret Stingray devices: fake cellular towers used to spy indiscriminately on whole populations by hacking their cellphones into giving up identifying information and more. Read the rest

It's really easy for fired, dirty cops to walk into a new police job in a new town

11POLICE1-superJumbo-v2

Sean Sullivan was fired from his police job in Oregon in 2004 for sexual contact with a 10 year old girl; in 2005, Cedar Vale, KS hired him to be their police chief, where he was accused of having sexual contact with another young girl, and eventually convicted of burglary and criminal conspiracy -- he's currently doing time in a Washington state prison for meth possession and identity theft. Read the rest

Leaked catalog from UK surveillance arms-dealer full of gadgets sold to US cops

050 056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1173

Cobham PLC is a surveillance vendor who sells to some of the world's most egregious human rights abusing governments; in 2014, they provided a catalog of cyberweapons and spy tools to Florida Department of Law Enforcement, from whom it leaked. Read the rest

Police unions are a public enemy

1200px-Police_sharpshooter_at_Ferguson_protests

Thanks the the contracts police unions get from local governments, it's not only hard to get rid of violent, corrupt cops, but investigating them in the first place is made nigh-impossible. They beat, steal and grift with impunity. The New York Times' editorial board says it's time for legislators to rip up these agreements and force the rule of law on those who represent it.

Across the country, municipal governments have signed contracts with police unions including provisions that shield officers from punishment for brutal behavior as well as from legitimate complaints by the citizens they are supposed to serve.

That may soon change, as public outrage over police killings of civilians is ratcheting up pressure on elected officials to radically revise police contracts that make it almost impossible to bring officers to justice.

The most striking case in point is Chicago, which has been roiled by a police scandal stemming from a cover-up in the case of a 17-year-old named Laquan McDonald, who was executed by a police officer nearly two years ago.

What's changed? Even old white folks are becoming scared of the cops. If it shows just how bad this problem has gotten, it's also a bitter reminder of what it takes to get something done about it. Read the rest

Oklahoma woman, 84 and black, pepper-sprayed in the face by police in her home

Ms. Geneva Smith of Muskogee, OK

Police in Oklahoma pepper-sprayed an 84-year-old black woman in the face, inside her home.

Read the rest

More posts