Paid informant plants crack on innocent man: Maybe it’s time to stop paying people to ‘find’ drugs?
05:34 am



Scotia informant
As if US drug laws weren’t already bafflingly punitive, here we have a prime example of another terrible method of enforcement.  A few months ago, the owner of a head shop in Scotia, New York was arrested for possession of crack cocaine after being apprehended by an informant.

Except what actually happened is that the “informant,” (who was being paid for his services), just threw a baggie of crack on the counter and took a picture of it as “evidence.” Yeah, remember that Dave Chappelle bit about the cops sprinkling crack on black people? Totally a real thing!

Luckily, store owner Donald Andrews had security video of the entire thing. Despite having no prior record, Andrews faced up to 25 years on felony drug charges and spent three weeks in county jail before his lawyer got through to the grand jury with the exonerating footage. The incident didn’t really make waves until recently, as community groups and activist organizations are citing the case as evidence against the use of paid informants.

This particular paid informant has been used in seven other operations, two of which lead to convictions. The police were quick to assure reporters that no other cases were compromised, at least, “to the best of [his] knowledge,” but they can’t exactly conduct a full investigation, since the informant skipped town, and has yet to be apprehended. Way to go, Scotia, PD! Serve and protect!

Via AlterNet

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Occupy your police department: A useful reminder

Teargas at 14th & Broadway in Oakland, October 25 2011
This may strike some as trivial, but it can have important implications. YouTube user BLKPXLS brings us a bit of footage from the evening of Occupy Oakland’s General Strike, about which he notes:

This how to properly engage with police when they do suspicious things. We were riding by on bikes and noticed hes hiding his name and has no badge number. SO we decided to ask him. He did not answer, we asked a ranking officer is that policy? The LT. quickly went about fixing his attitude. This is a common practice among cops at occupy’s around the US .That way he/she cannot be named or referenced if he participates in police miss-conduct . Its in most police departments policies that all officers in uniform must show some form of identification. OPD does not wear badges with #‘s, how do we hold anyone accountable?

THANKS OPD LT C.WONG for stepping up and holding the officer accountable on camera!

This might remind us of the extremely salient fact that as investors in society and our police departments, we have a right to know the identity of EVERY officer enforcing the law.

Unfortunately, depending on the general temperament of the PD in your area, this could be a risky move. So be careful, and big up BLKPXLS and all camera-armed cop-watchers on the ground.


Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Woman arrested while trying to close her Citibank account

This is a video from today’s Occupy Wall Street protest in New York, at Citibank near Washington Park Square. Protesters were at the bank to close down their accounts and this shows a female customer of the bank, in a business suit, being manhandled and then arrested with what is quite clearly excessive force. She doesn’t appear in the video until 1:24. I wonder if the woman in this clip is the person mentioned as “resisting arrest” in this Associated Press report?

24 people were arrested at a Citibank branch when they refused a manager’s request to leave. Activists had entered the bank to close their accounts in protest of the role big banks played in the nation’s financial crisis.
Police say most of the people arrested were detained for trespassing. One was arrested on a charge of resisting arrest.


Thanks to Paul Shetler.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
The Rave Years Pt 2: BBC North’s ‘Rave’ 1992

Skip along four years since “A Trip Around Acid House (which I posted yesterday) and you can see the changes which had occurred within the UK’s dance scene. By 1992 raves had become massive outdoor events attracting thousands of punters, they had been cracked down on heavily by the police, and promoters had begun to put on licensed raves with professional security, a police presence and mandatory drug searches to minimise trouble and maximise profit.

BBC North’s Rave follows the set up, running and aftermath of one of these very large (but legal) outdoor raves, and highlights how attitudes had changed between 1992 and 1988. The moral panic surrounding acid house and ecstasy culture had peaked by this point. The police were aware that this new outdoor dancing movement was not something that was going to go away any time soon, so rather than trying to stamp it out they instead focussed on regulating it. It’s interesting to see the individual police officers interviewed in ‘Rave’ and their opinions on the culture - unnerved by the “spaced out” demeanour of the participants, but also very aware that they are not violent and cause very little trouble. There were still the supposedly “moral” campaigners who saw the trend as entirely negative, of course, and campaigned to have any event of this nature shut down due to the supposed dangers of drug “pushers”. The inability to compute that people were taking drugs of their own free will, combined with the relatively harmless effects of those particular drugs, give these campaigners distinct shades Mary Whitehouse. It’s all about looking good rather than engaging with reality.

By 1992 the music had now morphed too - four years on from the happy-go-lucky spirit of acid house (with its sampling of different genres and its embracing of the Balearic scene) the music is more streamlined, and beginning to form more regimented genres like techno and rave itself. DJ Smokey Joe does a pretty good job of describing the difference between the German and Belgian strands of techno in this show:

Parts 2 & 3 after the jump…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Aliens, bleeding walls and too many cops: The amazing public light art of Madrid’s luzinterrup

The global metropolis is seeing a golden age of street art nowadays, as seen in the evolution from spraycan through stencil/wheatpaste and on to other outdoor installations. The Luzinterruptus crew from Madrid has been doing some amazing light-work lately with some compelling underlying themes.
Their latest, Ejército de platillos volantes desechables (above), saw them land an army of disposable flying saucers in Parque del Oeste, the home of the rebuilt ancient Egyptian Temple of Debod.
Before that, the Luz’ers’ Publicidad herida de muerte (Mortally Wounded Advertising) commented on the thick layer of posters that cover the city’s walls by making them bleed fire.
Some months ago, curator Sebastian Buck in Good Magazine surfaced Luz’s Tanta Policía, para tan Poca Gente… (Lots of Cops for So Few People), in which the crew protested the increased police presence in their East Villagesque Malasana neighborhood by decorating 50 random cars with homemade replicas of the city’s official blue siren.


Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment