Archive for February, 2010

The War on Drugs II

February 25, 2010

The Tompkins County District Attorney, Gwen Wilkinson, promises transparency in the investigation of the killing of Shawn Greenwood. Then goes on to say in the Ithaca Journal story:

“This investigation will likely end up as a grand jury presentation,” Wilkinson said. “It would be inappropriate for me to taint that process by sharing a lot of details. But I am going to share with you what I can.”

Which is to say, ‘I’ll tell you things I want to tell you but you’ll only get details if there is an indictment and trial’. This will always be the problem when the government is left to investigate its own actions. Grand juries need independence from the District Attorney. Will the grand jury be allowed to report their findings:

  § 190.25 Grand jury; proceedings and operation in general.
    4. (a) Grand jury proceedings are secret, and no grand juror, or other
  person  specified in subdivision three of this section or section 215.70
  of the penal law, may, except in the lawful discharge of his  duties  or
  upon written order of the court, disclose the nature or substance of any
  grand  jury testimony, evidence, or any decision, result or other matter
  attending a grand jury proceeding. For  the  purpose  of  assisting  the
  grand jury in conducting its investigation, evidence obtained by a grand
  jury  may be independently examined by the district attorney, members of
  his staff, police officers specifically assigned to  the  investigation,
  and  such  other  persons  as the court may specifically authorize. Such
  evidence may not be disclosed to other persons without  a  court  order.
  Nothing  contained  herein  shall prohibit a witness from disclosing his
  own testimony.

    6. The legal advisors of the grand jury are the court and the district
  attorney,  and  the grand jury may not seek or receive legal advice from
  any other source. Where necessary  or  appropriate,  the  court  or  the
  district  attorney, or both, must instruct the grand jury concerning the
  law with respect to its  duties  or  any  matter  before  it,  and  such
  instructions must be recorded in the minutes.

That pretty well tells you that the grand jury is just another organ of the state. The purpose of a grand jury is to investigate corrupt government officials as well as standing guard over the People’s right not to be railroaded into court proceedings.

There is a piece in the article that brings to mind a very important point:

In clothing marked with police insignia and badges clearly displayed, the officers approached Greenwood’s van, which was parked but running in a parking spot in front of the liquor store entrance, Wilkinson said. When they identified themselves and tried to persuade him to exit the van, Greenwood resisted arrest, drove over a curb and hit a Dryden police officer with the front of his van. The officer was thrown onto the van hood, then off the hood a few feet onto the grass in front of the van, she said. Officers on both sides of the van screamed for Greenwood to stop as he continued to accelerate toward the downed officer.

The front of the van apparently went over the officer, and Bangs fired his service pistol at Greenwood, Wilkinson said. The incident took about three seconds, and though reports vary, Bangs may have fired three rounds, she added.

“At that moment in time, Sgt. Bangs had to make a decision about the employment of lethal force,” she said. “He made his decision, he discharged his service weapon, and Mr. Greenwood was struck by bullets.” The shooting followed officers’ attempts to pull Greenwood from the vehicle and Taser him, she added.

Now it may just be a reporting style but most people will report an incident in chronological order. I’d really like to here the details of this Taser attempt. Without the details I have to wonder if the victim was in fact shot with the Taser. If he was shot with the Taser he might not be responsible for the accelerating vehicle. I don’t like speculating. We need facts.

The War on Drugs

February 24, 2010

The Ithaca Journal report doesn’t mention whether any drugs were harmed in Ithaca on Tuesday, but one life was lost and many others damaged.  When police attempted to serve a search warrant, Shawn Greenwood tried to flee the scene. It appears that an officer stood or got into the path of Greenwood’s car and was knocked down. Another officer or possibly more fired into the car killing Greenwood.

Ithaca police officers, Dryden Police officers and Tompkins County sheriff’s deputies working with the state police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team were trying to serve a search warrant on the man’s car in the grocery parking lot about 5 p.m., Ithaca police officials said.

The officers had a search warrant on the car. This calls into question why they chose that time and place to execute the warrant. The answer would likely be they wanted Greenwood also.

When they approached the man’s car, indentified themselves and attempted to arrest him, he “physically resisted arrest and drove the vehicle over a curb, striking a police officer with the front of his vehicle,” according to a statement from Tompkins County District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson.

Did they have an arrest warrant for Greenwood? I’ll guess here that they wanted him in the car so that they could attach possession to him for anything they found in the car.

The officer fell to the ground directly in the path of the vehicle, which continued to accelerate toward him, and acting upon belief that the police officer’s life was in danger, an Ithaca police officer fired his weapon. The suspect was struck by one or more rounds, according to the statement.

Now when it comes to stopping cars standing in front of it is not the smartest way to go. Shooting the driver of a car that is about to run over someone standing in front of it might stop the operator from breathing but you’re left with an uncontrolled car.

The comments section of the Ithaca Journal story has quickly filled with a battle between “Law and Order” types and “Race Card” users. The  “Law and Order” types won’t stop for a second to see the irrationality of the war on drugs. While I have no idea of the racial feelings of the officers involved, the “War on Drugs” is without a doubt an assault on young black men.

In the end we have one man dead with a family and friends in mourning; police officers dealing with the repercussions of their actions; a divided community pointing fingers and taxpayers picking up the tab for the fallout, all because government declares what you may or may not put in your body even though you harm no one in the process.

The “War on Drugs” is a war that will never be won and causes more damage than the drugs themselves. Let’s end it.

Tea Party Success

February 17, 2010

If the Tea Party concept is going to have any success it will need to quickly put aside stale old GOP ways of the past. As Warren Redlich points out in his blog post, the GOP trots out their old corporate favourites that don’t stand a chance of beating an unpopular incumbent. The meaty middle of the electorate is casting aside the corporate controlled Left v. Right game and pushing for candidates that will actually represent the People and send the lobbyist packing. The GOP can try to get in front of this parade but if they don’t change their ways the People will be marching right past them.

Tea Party

February 16, 2010

The N.Y. Times has a pretty good overview of the Tea Party movement. It’s a slightly lengthy article and I’d quibble over a few bits and pieces. I think this will be good to review at our upcoming Campaign for Liberty Meetup Sunday Feb 21 at 3:00.

Here are a few random paragraphs:

Worried about hyperinflation, social unrest or even martial law, she and her Tea Party members joined a coalition, Friends for Liberty, that includes representatives from Glenn Beck’s 9/12 Project, the John Birch Society, and Oath Keepers, a new player in a resurgent militia movement.

Loose alliances like Friends for Liberty are popping up in many cities, forming hybrid entities of Tea Parties and groups rooted in the Patriot ethos. These coalitions are not content with simply making the Republican Party more conservative. They have a larger goal — a political reordering that would drastically shrink the federal government and sweep away not just Mr. Obama, but much of the Republican establishment, starting with Senator John McCain.

Fear of co-option — a perpetual topic in the Tea Party movement — lay behind the formation of Friends for Liberty.

The new grass-roots leaders of the inland Northwest had grown weary of fending off what they jokingly called “hijack attempts” by the state and county Republican Parties. Whether the issue was picking speakers or scheduling events, they suspected party leaders of trying to choke off their revolution with Chamber of Commerce incrementalism.

Public Wealth

February 5, 2010

Here is a scan of a letter to the editor from the Post-Standard of Syracuse, NY. If I had just retyped it who would believe this was printed in the good old US of A. The message is clear; without government we would all starve and ride donkeys.

A letter to the editor claiming government theft creates wealth.

LTE Post-Standard of Syracuse

Warren Redlich for Governor of New York

February 2, 2010

Gubernatorial Candidate Challenges New York Establishment

Albany lawyer Warren Redlich anounced his candidacy for New York governor on Monday, Feb. 1st at 10am in the Legislative Correspondents Association Press Room in the Legislative Office Building.

I’m glad to hear Warren Redlich has decided to run for Governor of New York. It sounds like he has been convinced that support is in place for his campaign. I’m sure he will attract a lot of support from Tea Party activist looking for real small government candidates.