Wednesday, September 15, 2021

DOJ to Limit Chokeholds, No-Knock Raids

No knock raids are a gross breach of civil liberties (4th amendment) and can easily be abused. It's time they were stopped. All evidence obtained via them should be deemed inadmissable on Miranda grounds. Too bad if a few druggies get time to hide their stash

The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it would be imposing limits on federal law enforcement's use of chokeholds, carotid restraints and no-knock warrants going forward.

Chokeholds and carotid restraints only be authorized if police officers find themselves in a situation that requires the use of deadly force, which is defined as a "reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person."

The new policy will also limit no-knock warrants to times in which "physical safety is at stake," but would still be required to get approval from both a federal prosecutor and the agent’s law enforcement component.

"Building trust and confidence between law enforcement and the public we serve is central to our mission at the Justice Department," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. "The limitations implemented today on the use of ‘chokeholds,’ ‘carotid restraints’ and ‘no-knock’ warrants, combined with our recent expansion of body-worn cameras to DOJ’s federal agents, are among the important steps the department is taking to improve law enforcement safety and accountability."

This comes in response to several deaths in recent years that occurred from the use of these police tactics.

In 2014, Eric Garner died after New York Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a chokehold and compressed his chest against the ground while arresting him for selling loose cigarettes. Pantaleo was subsequently fired but was not charged for Garner's death.

Outrage over no-knock warrants came after Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her home last year during a botched police raid.

The new policy comes as national police reform legislation has stalled in Congress.


Why Freedom Is in Serious Jeopardy

There is a three-pronged left-wing assault on liberty.

Dennis Prager

There are many ways in which to divide humanity — the decent and the indecent, the happy and the unhappy, the cowardly and the courageous, those who lead and those who follow, etc.

Two major divisions that are less often noted but highly consequential are between those who want to control others and those who have little interest in controlling others, and between the related categories of those who are comfortable with being controlled by others and those who detest being controlled by others.

Those who seek to control others and those who seek to be controlled by others would seem to be on opposite ends of the political spectrum. But they are not. Both groups are overwhelmingly populated by individuals on the Left.

They currently dominate four of the five English-speaking countries (the United Kingdom may be the one exception). The ease with which Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders have accepted the loss of liberty in their respective countries has been the saddest and most frightening development since the rise of totalitarianism in the early 20th century.

Even sadder and more frightening has been the acceptance of authoritarianism by half of the American people. America has been the beacon of liberty in the world. America was the country to which France gave the Statue of Liberty. America has been, as President Abraham Lincoln characterized it, “the last best hope of Earth.” America’s self-image has been that of a “sweet land of liberty” and of “the land of the free and home of the brave.”

Then came a new virus (one with a survival rate in the 99% range for nearly all age groups except older adults who are also very sick), and suddenly, in the name of “public health,” no amount of suppression of liberty, no matter how irrational, has been resisted by the majority of Americans or almost any citizens of the other English-speaking countries.

The citizens of Australia’s biggest states are not allowed to leave their homes for more than a few hours a day, not allowed to congregate with other citizens even outdoors, not allowed even to speak with one another outdoors. For more than a year and a half, Australians have not been allowed to leave their country without the express permission of their government, which will decide whether they have a good enough reason. And, of course, church services are forbidden. Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders, most of whom are thoroughly secular, have only contempt for their compatriots who wish to attend religious services.

In many arenas of life, most Australians have fewer rights than most Soviet citizens did. Like Australians, Soviet citizens could not leave their country without permission, but they were allowed to leave their homes, to speak with people in the street and to visit dying relatives in hospitals.

Meanwhile, a large percentage of Americans support a president of the United States who offers government and an enormous number of private-entity workers a choice between getting vaccinated — no matter how young they are, and whether they already had COVID-19 — or losing their job. In other words, many Americans support firing any unvaccinated fellow citizens who work for the government, the medical professions or privately owned companies with 100 or more employees.

Half of America supports a president who portrays the other half of America as an enemy, their fellow Americans as people for whom they should have hatred. No American president has ever given as divisive a speech as the one in which President Joe Biden announced his vaccine mandates (something he denied wanting to impose only nine months ago, in December of 2020). Lincoln, despite the Civil War, a war in which more Americans were killed than in all other American wars combined, called on Americans to have “malice toward none.” Biden, as mean-spirited a president as this country has ever had, has called for malice toward 100 million Americans, declaring, “our patience is wearing thin.”

There is a three-pronged left-wing assault on liberty: in the name of public health (COVID-19); in the name of “anti-racism”; and in the name of saving the planet (climate change). By ratcheting up fear and hysteria, the Left is using each to end individual liberty, including freedom of speech, for the first time in American history.

Will the Left succeed?

Unless Americans fight the Left as hard as the Union fought the slave states, the answer is yes.


Crime soars in Minneapolis as cops fear being unfairly targeted in woke viral videos: Traffic stops drop by 74% and problem area patrols by 76% in wake of George Floyd death and de-fund police movement

Proactive policing in Minneapolis plunged dramatically following the murder of George Floyd last year, even as violent crime soared, a new analysis reveals as the city prepares to vote on a ballot initiative to abolish the police department.

In the year following Floyd's death, traffic stops in Minneapolis plunged 74 percent, patrols of known problem areas were down 76 percent, and stops of suspicious people plunged 75 percent, according to a Reuters investigation.

Confidential police sources said that part of the slowdown was due to a staffing shortage amid an exodus from the department, but that much of the reduction in policing was due to a fear of being caught up in an incident that could go viral in a climate of anti-cop sentiment.

One officer said that some Minneapolis cops even deliberately take a longer route than necessary to respond to 911 calls, in the hope that whatever the emergency is, it will be resolved by the time they arrive.

In April, the average police response time to priority 911 calls was 40 percent longer than it had been a year earlier, Reuters found.

With fewer police stops, cops have fewer chances to recover illegal drugs and guns, and violent crime has soared, with the murder rate in Minneapolis on pace to hit a 20-year high. Some residents now call the city a 'gangster's paradise'.

While criminals have reveled in the police slowdown, honest residents living in dangerous neighborhoods have borne the brunt of rising crime.

One evening this summer, bullets crashed through the walls of Brandy Earthman's house on Minneapolis' north side. The shots sheared through the door of the living room where her children were playing. One severed a bone in her 19-year-old son's arm.

Earthman and others complain that even with shootings soaring, the police are frequently nowhere to be seen. 'They don't care anymore,' she said. 'They're just going to let everybody kill themselves.'

In the months that followed Floyd's death last May, few cities wrestled more with the question of what the future of American law enforcement should be than Minneapolis.

Officials here floated attempts to overhaul, shrink or even abolish the city's besieged police force, with early voting set to start Friday on a ballot initiative to replace the police with a nebulous department of public safety.

On Monday, a judge heard arguments that the ballot language is too vague and misleading. The judge has not yet issued a decision on the question.

In the meantime, an examination by Reuters found, Minneapolis' police officers imposed abrupt changes of their own, adopting what amounts to a hands-off approach to everyday lawbreaking in a city where killings have surged to a level not seen in decades.

Almost immediately after Floyd´s death, Reuters found, police officers all but stopped making traffic stops. They approached fewer people they considered suspicious and noticed fewer people who were intoxicated, fighting or involved with drugs, records show.

Some in the city, including police officers themselves, say the men and women in blue stepped back after Floyd's death for fear that any encounter could become the next flashpoint.

'There isn't a huge appetite for aggressive police work out there, and the risk/reward, certainly, we're there and we're sworn to protect and serve, but you also have to protect yourself and your family,' said Scott Gerlicher, a Minneapolis police commander who retired this year. 'Nobody in the job or working on the job can blame those officers for being less aggressive.'

In the year after Floyd´s death on May 25, 2020, the number of people approached on the street by officers who considered them suspicious dropped by 76 percent, Reuters found after analyzing more than 2.2 million police dispatches in the city.

Officers stopped 85 percent fewer cars for traffic violations. As they stopped fewer people, they found and seized fewer illegal guns.

'It's self-preservation,' said one officer who retired after Floyd´s death, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He said the force's commanders didn't order a slowdown, but also did nothing to stop it. 'The supervisor was like, `I don't blame you at all if you don't want to do anything. Hang out in the station.´ That's what they're saying.'

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the force encountered many challenges since Floyd's death drew national scrutiny to officers' conduct.

'Our city and our officers are having to handle a host of issues that no other jurisdiction wants to touch with a pole,' he told Reuters.

The mayor said much of the change in policing stems from a shortage of officers so severe - about a quarter of the city's uniformed officers have retired or quit since Floyd was killed - that he had to pull some off investigative duties to make sure 911 calls get resolved. 'Cities do need police officers, and yes there are severe consequences when the numbers get as low as ours,' he said.

A police spokesman, John Elder, said short-staffing meant 'we were running from call to call and didn´t have time for anything else.' He did not respond to additional questions.

Nonetheless, Reuters found, the drop in police-initiated interactions was steeper and more sudden than the drop in the number of officers. By July 2020, the number of encounters begun by officers had dropped 70 percent from the year before; the number of stops fell 76 percent.

Drawing a definitive link between police pullbacks and increasing crime can be complicated. Homicide rates shot up throughout the United States beginning in the summer of 2020 - not just in cities where the police scaled back traffic stops, but also in patches of rural America and other areas where patrolling remained unchanged.

But three law enforcement experts interviewed by Reuters say a less active police force can most definitely impact community safety.

'The evidence that proactive policing works is pretty solid,' said Justin Nix, a University of Nebraska Omaha criminologist. More frequent stops make it riskier for people to carry guns illegally. And residents might be less willing to call for help if they think officers won´t respond.

'If police pull back in the aggregate and they´re also pulling back in areas where crime is concentrated, that can be bad news,' Nix said.

The shooters who came to Brandy Earthman's house one night in July on the far north end of the city approached before dark, she said. They peppered the house with bullets from outside, striking her oldest son - the second time he has been shot.

By the time she made it home from an aunt's birthday dinner, her 3-year-old was throwing up from what she had just witnessed. She counted 10 or 11 bullet holes.

Earthman says she is now looking for a new house, as far from Minneapolis as she can get. Earthman said she did not know whether her house was targeted or why; her son was on house arrest at the time over a probation violation from a juvenile case.

'I'm not sure if this was like something with my neighbors, if they were trying to shoot my neighbor´s house and then hit ours,' she said. No charges have been filed, Earthman said. A police spokesman did not respond to questions about the case.

With police often nowhere in sight, some residents have taken to patrolling streets themselves.

One afternoon in August, Marcus Smith parked a black SUV on a street corner in north Minneapolis in front of a line of brightly colored stuffed toys and candles.

The memorial marks the spot where a 6-year-old girl, Aniya Allen, was shot in the head while eating McDonald´s food in the back seat of her family´s car on May 17. She died a short time later.

Smith, who has served prison time for possessing guns, said after Floyd´s death he gravitated to groups protesting the police. But after Allen´s shooting, he started putting on a Kevlar vest and spending his evenings on the corner he said police no longer seem to patrol.

'It's now safe to carry your firearms legally, illegally. You can do that in Minneapolis,' he said. 'It´s a gangster's paradise.'


British diplomat uses social media to draw attention to removal of Chinese mosque minarets

A senior UK diplomat has taken to social media to comment on the removal of minarets at several mosques in western China, drawing attention to the ongoing crackdown against Muslims in the country.

Britain's deputy head of mission in China, Christina Scott, this week posted a photo on Twitter of the Dongguan Mosque, as it appeared in a guidebook, next to a present-day photo of the mosque without its Islamic-style dome and minarets.

"Guidebook getting out of date. Go to the Dongguan Great Mosque, it advises. So I do. Closed for renovations which seem to have included removing the dome and minarets," Ms Scott wrote. One person replied: "When I was there in July, the minarets were still visible."

Several people replied to Ms Scott's post with older photos of the mosque, showing it once featured a large green dome and two tall minarets, incorporating elements of both traditional Islamic and Chinese architecture.

Dongguan Mosque — the longest standing in Qinghai province, near the Xinjiang region — was built more than 600 years ago in the 14th century during the Ming dynasty.

The changes to the mosques come amid an ongoing crackdown on Muslims and other faith communities under the ruling Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) "Sinicisation" of religion.

"The ultimate hope of the CCP is to eradicate faiths and movements that sit outside of the CCP," Anna Hayes, a senior lecturer in political science at James Cook University, said.

"We saw this with the [ongoing] crackdowns and persecution on Falun Gong in the 1990s, and we've long seen it in terms of Tibetans, house Christians, Muslims and so forth.

"Out of this religious void, the CCP believes the people will replace religion and religious belief with love and devotion towards the party."




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