Thursday, August 26, 2010
Six white police officers to sue Britain's Metropolitan Police for racial discrimination
Six white policemen are suing their force for racial discrimination after being cleared of an alleged racially aggravated assault. The officers, all members of Scotland Yard’s Territorial Support Group, have launched employment tribunal proceedings against the Metropolitan Police.
They claim they were subjected to racial discrimination following the incident in June 2007 that led to their arrest and trial.
PC Mark Jones, was among the six officers who spotted a group of youths allegedly mouthing obscenities at them as they were on patrol in central London. When they came to a stop, three teenagers were allegedly taken into the van one by one and subjected to taunts.
PC Amechi Onwugbonu, the van driver, who is black, gave evidence against PC Jones during the trial. He said the officer swore at and kicked one teenager and walked over another youth as he lay handcuffed on the floor of the vehicle. He claimed a third teenager was sworn at, punched, kneed and slapped in the face.
But PC Jones denied acting in an unprofessional manner. PC Onwugbonu later admitted that he and PC Jones were ‘not best buddies’.
The case came down to one officer’s word against another’s and the jury took five hours to clear PC Jones of two charges of racially aggravated common assault. His colleagues who were accused of covering it up were found not guilty of misfeasance in public office.
PC Jones and the other officers, Sergeant William Wilson, PC Steven White, PC Giles Kitchener, PC Simon Prout and PC Neil Brown, have all launched tribunal proceedings against the Met. The employment tribunal proceedings were filed in mid-July and no date has yet been set for a hearing.
A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: ‘I can confirm that PC Mark Jones and others have submitted an employment tribunal claim citing racial discrimination.’
In a separate case, PC Jones is one of four officers accused of attacking terrorist suspect Babar Ahmad during a raid at his home in Tooting, South London, in 2003. The officer, who is on restricted duties, is accused of assault causing actual bodily harm and will appear before magistrates in Westminster on September 22. He will be joined in the dock by PCs Nigel Cowley, 32, and Roderick James-Bowen, 39, and Detective Constable John Donohue, 36.
The TSG came under scrutiny last month when the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute PC Simon Harwood who was filmed striking newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson during last year’s G20 protests moments before he collapsed and later died.
Another TSG sergeant, Delroy Smellie, was previously cleared of assaulting a protester during a vigil for Tomlinson that took place the day after his death.
The Met has previously paid out to a white officer who claimed he had suffered racial discrimination. Detective Chief Superintendent Barry Norman led the investigation into a senior officer, Ali Dizaei, for alleged corruption when Dizaei was acquitted of criminal charges. Dizaei was convicted and jailed this year for a separate offence.
Mr Norman’s supporters claimed he was ‘hung out to dry’. He said his career suffered as a result of the £2.2milllion inquiry and he was subsequently awarded £40,000.
The U.S. Government's New Right to Track Your Every Move With GPS
The 9th circus again
Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway - and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements.
That is the bizarre - and scary - rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants - with no need for a search warrant. (See a TIME photoessay on Cannabis Culture.)
It is a dangerous decision - one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich.
This case began in 2007, when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents decided to monitor Juan Pineda-Moreno, an Oregon resident who they suspected was growing marijuana. They snuck onto his property in the middle of the night and found his Jeep in his driveway, a few feet from his trailer home. Then they attached a GPS tracking device to the vehicle's underside.
After Pineda-Moreno challenged the DEA's actions, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled in January that it was all perfectly legal. More disturbingly, a larger group of judges on the circuit, who were subsequently asked to reconsider the ruling, decided this month to let it stand. (Pineda-Moreno has pleaded guilty conditionally to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and manufacturing marijuana while appealing the denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained with the help of GPS.)
In fact, the government violated Pineda-Moreno's privacy rights in two different ways. For starters, the invasion of his driveway was wrong. The courts have long held that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes and in the "curtilage," a fancy legal term for the area around the home. The government's intrusion on property just a few feet away was clearly in this zone of privacy.
The judges veered into offensiveness when they explained why Pineda-Moreno's driveway was not private. It was open to strangers, they said, such as delivery people and neighborhood children, who could wander across it uninvited.
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, who dissented from this month's decision refusing to reconsider the case, pointed out whose homes are not open to strangers: rich people's. The court's ruling, he said, means that people who protect their homes with electric gates, fences and security booths have a large protected zone of privacy around their homes. People who cannot afford such barriers have to put up with the government sneaking around at night.
Judge Kozinski is a leading conservative, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, but in his dissent he came across as a raging liberal. "There's been much talk about diversity on the bench, but there's one kind of diversity that doesn't exist," he wrote. "No truly poor people are appointed as federal judges, or as state judges for that matter." The judges in the majority, he charged, were guilty of "cultural elitism."
The court went on to make a second terrible decision about privacy: that once a GPS device has been planted, the government is free to use it to track people without getting a warrant. There is a major battle under way in the federal and state courts over this issue, and the stakes are high. After all, if government agents can track people with secretly planted GPS devices virtually anytime they want, without having to go to a court for a warrant, we are one step closer to a classic police state - with technology taking on the role of the KGB or the East German Stasi.
Fortunately, other courts are coming to a different conclusion from the Ninth Circuit's - including the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That court ruled, also this month, that tracking for an extended period of time with GPS is an invasion of privacy that requires a warrant. The issue is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.
In these highly partisan times, GPS monitoring is a subject that has both conservatives and liberals worried. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's pro-privacy ruling was unanimous - decided by judges appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Plenty of liberals have objected to this kind of spying, but it is the conservative Chief Judge Kozinski who has done so most passionately. "1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last," he lamented in his dissent. And invoking Orwell's totalitarian dystopia where privacy is essentially nonexistent, he warned: "Some day, soon, we may wake up and find we're living in Oceania."
More Muslim brutality
Doctors in Sri Lanka have found 23 nails in the body of a tortured housemaid who returned to Colombo from Riyadh, Sri Lankan Embassy sources told Arab News on Tuesday.
“We have received this complaint from the Foreign Ministry in Colombo, who said the maid has been allegedly tortured by her sponsor,” a senior diplomat from the Sri Lankan mission in Riyadh told Arab News. “We are looking for the sponsor. We were able to track down the Saudi recruitment agent in Riyadh and we will summon the sponsor to discuss this issue,” the official said.
Doctors at the Kamburipitya Base Hospital in the Matara district, 140 km from Colombo, said the nails had been hammered into the maid’s body. Dr. Kamal Weeratunge, who was treating the maid, claimed the nails had been heated up before they punctured her skin.
On Sri Lankan television channel Newsfirst Sirasa, the maid showed the marks where the nails had gone through. The maid, identified as 50-year-old Ariyawathie, said that there were too many people to serve in the house where she worked.
“I had to work continuously since I had to do the chores of all the occupants and when I wanted to take rest due to tiredness, they inserted the nail in my body as a punishment,” she said.
“I had to work from dawn to dusk. I hardly slept. They beat me and threatened to kill me and hide my body.” She added that she arranged her travel documents to return home on her own expense. “They were really devils with no mercy at all,” she said.
Fathers 'stereotyped' by Australian Child Support Agency
THE government watchdog responsible for overseeing child support payments has been unfairly focusing on parents who do not pay enough while ignoring those who are getting too much, the Commonwealth Ombudsman says.
In a report that might not be well received by some single mothers, the acting Ombudsman, Ron Brent, found that the Child Support Agency had at times been unduly influenced by stereotypes about fathers not meeting their obligations. He found that, as a result of this and other factors, the agency had "not been even-handed" in its role as an investigator.
Those required to make payments - usually fathers - were made the subject of rigorous investigations including their property holdings, tax minimisation arrangements and involvement in complex corporate structures.
The review found that on some occasions these investigations were intrusive and insensitive - assuming that fathers deliberately rather than accidentally mis-represented their ability to pay child support.
In a number of cases the financial records of a father's new partner were demanded without sufficient explanation as to why they were needed and what they would be used for.
At the same time there were "very few investigations" into those who received payments - usually mothers - to see whether they were getting too much.
"The CSA needs to change its case selection procedures, to be more even-handed in its approach to the two parties," Mr Brent said. "It is also important that investigations are carried out with sensitivity and without implying that all investigated parents are trying to avoid child support obligations. "I do not think that fathers have been victimised, but I can understand why they might have that impression."
While greater balance was needed, Mr Brent said it was right that more attention be paid to fathers because they were more likely to have complex financial arrangements where errors were more common.
He also said that up until recently, government policy had in fact encouraged the agency to focus on fathers rather than mothers.
Elspeth McInnes, a policy adviser to the National Council for Single Mothers and Their Children, said she did not believe the Child Support Agency applied a gender filter to its investigations. "I think the filter is the law," Dr McInnes said.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.