Posts Tagged ‘Ithaca NY’

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.

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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.

Liberty for the New Year

January 3, 2010

The New Year has kicked off with a couple of encouraging announcements of Liberty minded people entering the political ring. On New Year’s day Logan Bell took to the cold snowy Ithaca Commons to announce his intention to run for Congress in the 24th district of New York. I was pleased to meet Logan and listen to his message of courage and liberty. I look forward to hearing more from him in the near future and hope he will be able to attend our Campaign for Liberty Meetup on Jan. 10th. He is off to a good start with coverage by the Ithaca Journal and Livingindryden.org. I certainly wish him well covering this large Gerrymandered congressional district.

Liberty lovers also have a possible candidate for Governor. Thanks to Rich Cooper for his Ground Report article covering Warren Redlich’s intention to run for Governor of New York. Warren has a long history in the struggle for liberty and access to the ballot for parties outside the oligarchy. As people become aware of our one party system, the Dem/Rep con job will lose support and their bogus divisive issues will lose traction. Well, that’s my dream. Good luck Warren.

Political class more important than the People

May 19, 2009

I had business in Ithaca yesterday that took me to the city hall. It has been a little while since I’d been there and there are changes. The front door is now locked a sign directs ‘All Persons’ to the side entrance. I’ve been casually studying a bit of law and I find this use of the term ‘person’ odd in this context. Why did they not simple have their sign say ‘Please use side entrance’? The term ‘person’ used in law may not mean what most people think it means, as a ‘person’ in law may be a legal entity such as a corporation. It is possible that the term ‘person’ does not refer to a man or woman, they are sometimes termed ‘natural person’. It’s part of a little game legislators play to steal the rights of those not paying attention.

I went around to the side entrance to enter the land of the bureaucrats. Another change is the officer and metal detector. Ladies and gentlemen if you’d like to do your public business, it would appear that you will need to forego your inalienable right to privacy. I didn’t get my chance to question this new system as my business was in an office to the side of the detector and I just walk around.

I seems that this grand security measure came about as the result of a shoe throwing episode this past February. The article does say whether or not the said shoe was a steel toed projectile. I didn’t notice a shoe check station, maybe they hand out fluffy slippers to wear into the city hall. I presume the grand mayor of Ithaca has a security detail with her outside the safety of the castle.

Are these people idiots, or are we?

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2008

Our last Freedom Friday. Celebrating whatever freedom we can find while we still are able.

Liberty sign wave for Halloween.

Liberty sign wave for Halloween.

The Campaign for Liberty

October 21, 2008

Our Ithaca Ron Paul Meetup has moved on to become a Campaign for Liberty Meetup. One of the things we have discussed recently is starting a political discussion blog for the Ithaca area. That brings me to wordpress to get a taste of blogging. I hope to learn a bit here and share my experience with our group.

Meetup group at Farmer's Market

Meetup group at Farmer's Market