Court Rules in Favor of Police Who Pounded on Wrong Door, Didn’t Identify Themselves, Then Killed Innocent Man for Holding a Gun
ATLANTA, Ga. — According to a federal appeals court, police will not be held accountable for banging on the wrong door at 1:30 am, failing to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shooting and killing the innocent homeowner who answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense. Although 26-year-old Andrew Scott had committed no crime and never fired a single bullet or lifted his firearm against police, he was gunned down by police who were investigating a speeding incident by engaging in a middle-of-the-night “knock and talk” in Scott’s apartment complex.
In ruling in favor of qualified immunity for police, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has given law enforcement agencies further incentives to engage in aggressive “knock and talk” practices, which have become thinly veiled, warrantless exercises by which citizens are coerced and intimidated into “talking” with heavily armed police who “knock” on their doors in the middle of the night.
“Government officials insist that there is nothing unlawful, unreasonable or threatening about the prospect of armed police dressed in SWAT gear knocking on doors in the middle of night and ‘asking’ homeowners to engage in warrantless ‘knock-and-talk’ sessions,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “However, as Andrew Scott learned, there’s always a price to pay for saying no to such heavy-handed requests by police. If the courts continue to sanction such aggressive, excessive, coercive ‘knock-and-shoot’ tactics, it will give police further incentive to terrorize and kill American citizens without fear of repercussion.”
On July 15, 2012, Deputy Richard Sylvester spotted a speeding motorcycle while on patrol in Lake County, Florida. Sylvester pursued the motorcycle in his patrol car but lost sight of it. Subsequent reports caused Sylvester to believe that the motorcyclist might be armed, was wanted by another police department, and had been spotted at a nearby apartment complex. Arriving at the complex around 1:30 a.m., Sylvester and three other deputies began knocking on doors close to where a motorcycle was parked, starting with Apartment 114, where a light was on inside. Apartment 114 was occupied by Andrew Scott and Amy Young, who were playing video games and had no connection to the motorcycle or any illegal activity.
Assuming tactical positions surrounding the door to Apartment 114, the deputies had their guns drawn and ready to shoot. Sylvester, without announcing he was a police officer, then banged loudly and repeatedly on the door, causing a neighbor to open his door. When questioned by a deputy, the neighbor explained that the motorcycle’s owner did not live in Apartment 114. This information was not relayed to Sylvester. Unnerved by the banging at such a late hour, Andrew Scott retrieved his handgun before opening the door. When Scott saw a shadowy figure holding a gun outside his door, he retreated into his apartment only to have Sylvester immediately open fire. Sylvester fired six shots, three of which hit and killed Scott. A trial court subsequently ruled in favor of the police, ruling that Scott was to blame for choosing to retrieve a handgun before opening the door.
On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit ruled that Sylvester was protected by “qualified immunity,” reasoning that the use of excessive force did not violate “clearly established law.” Four judges dissented with the majority’s ruling, likening the “knock and talk” to a “knock and shoot” and rejecting the idea that Scott caused the shooting by exercising his Second Amendment right through his possession of a firearm.
There’s something to be said for an informed electorate, although it really shouldn’t be elected officials advocating for it. They’d benefit least from people knowing more about sausage and the making thereof. And legislators definitely shouldn’t be robbing the First Amendment to pay for better information, as a few California lawmakers are attempting to do.
A new bill, pointed out by the EFF’s Dave Maass, seems to be a response of sorts to “fake news” and other political detritus of this highly-partisan system. Ostensibly, the bill is aimed at keeping voters from being misled on issues that affect them. The problem is, this bill would allow the government to determine what is or isn’t misleading and apply to a citizen’s social media posts, blog, etc.
California’s existing “political cyberfraud” law (yes, really) already contains wording that forbids cybersquatting, misleading redirects, and otherwise tricking internet users who are seeking information on ballot measures. The existing law is more concerned with acts along the lines of false impersonation and deliberate fraud. The amendment, however, isn’t. It adds a couple of new aspects, both making the bad law worse.
First, the law would no longer be limited to “cyberfraud” related to pending ballot measures. It would expand to protect political candidates from being bested by wily web denizens. Where it really goes downhill is this new clause, which criminalizes even more speech.
Section 18320.5 is added to the Elections Code, to read:
It is unlawful for a person to knowingly and willingly make, publish or circulate on an Internet Web site, or cause to be made, published, or circulated in any writing posted on an Internet Web site, a false or deceptive statement designed to influence the vote on either of the following:
(a) Any issue submitted to voters at an election.
(b) Any candidate for election to public office.
With this law, opinions and misinterpretations of ballot measures/candidates’ political stances are now illegal acts. The law goes further than simply punishing the writer of false statements. It also aims to punish publishers (which could be read as punishing hosts who would normally be protected by Section 230) and anyone who shares the newly-illegal content. If anything in the original post hints of political leaning, it can be construed as “designed to influence the vote,” which would make most heated political discussions a breeding ground for criminal communications.
It would seem the “victims” listed in the proposed amendment aren’t really in need of a free speech-abusing law. If California’s government doesn’t like the tone of online posts about ballot measures, it has plenty of opportunities (and numerous platforms) to set the record straight. Worse, it gives the government the power to shut down speech it doesn’t agree with under the pretense preventing voters from being misled.
As for political candidates, they rarely suffer the problem of having too little speech. Bullshit can be countered with more speech, a rhetorical weapon everyone has access to, but political candidates in particular tend to be especially well-equipped in this department.
How the original law managed to survive a constitutional challenge remains a mystery. This addition has zero chance of being found constitutional if it somehow manages to become law.
Waldomiro Costa Pereira, an activist with the Landless Workers Movement, MST, was killed Monday when gunmen stormed a hospital in Parauapebas in northeastern Brazil’s Para state, activists said in a statement.
Five armed men burst into a small town hospital in the Brazilian Amazon, surrounded security guards and shot dead the prominent land rights activist, in the latest deadly attack on land campaigners.
The motive for Pereira’s murder was unclear, the MST said, but the activist had been recovering in the hospital from a previous assassination attempt.
“This is yet another murder of workers in the state of Para,” the MST said in a statement. “Impunity has become commonplace as has the action of criminal militia groups,” the group said, adding that Pereira was a longtime activist in the “struggle for agrarian reform.”
At the time of his killing, Pereira was not active with the MST and was instead devoting his time to advising the local government on agriculture, the activist group said.
Local officials in the city of Parauapebas condemned the murder and police said they were investigating the killing, the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper reported.
Conflicts over territory are common in Brazil where 1 percent of the population owns nearly half of the nation’s land, according to a 2016 study from the University of Windsor in Canada.
Brazil has become one of the world’s most dangerous countries for land rights activists, with 61 killed in 2016, the highest level since 2003, according to Brazil’s Pastoral Land Commission.
corbettreport | July 5, 2013
Michael Hastings was that rarest of breeds: a mainstream reporter who wasn’t afraid to rail against the system, kick back against the establishment, and bite the hand that feeds him. On the morning of June 18, 2013, he died in a fiery car crash. But now details are emerging that he was on the verge of breaking an important new story about the CIA, and believed he was being investigated by the FBI. Now even a former counter-terrorism czar is admitting Hastings’ car may have been cyber-hijacked. Join us this week on The Corbett Report as we explore the strange details surrounding the untimely death of Michael Hastings.
SHOW NOTES AND MP3: http://www.corbettreport.com/?p=7636
Dear Israeli Government:
You’ve recently banned foreigners who support boycotts against Israel or Israeli settlements from being allowed to enter Israel – even Jewish foreigners, a first for the self-proclaimed Jewish state After all, your “Law of Return” has allowed (and encouraged) Jewish foreigners to freely immigrate to Israel, even as multitudes of Palestinians have been banned from returning to their homes.
People throughout the Western world have objected in outrage to your new law, particularly Jewish Westerners who have family and connections in Israel from whom they’ll be cut off in retaliation for their political positions.
Critics, even some who oppose boycotting Israel and who have had no problem with excluding Palestinians, have called out the law for diverse reasons: its quashing of free debate and political expression, its anti-democratic nature, how it will affect them and others personally.
I support these objections.
But I’m not trying to visit Israel.
I want to go to Bethlehem and Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron, Jenin and Tulkarem. I hope to return to Khan Yunis, Rafah, Gaza City, and numerous other towns and villages in the West Bank and Gaza.
In other words, I want to go to Palestine – a country recognized by 136 countries around the world. But your law, astoundingly, prevents me from visiting that country. You control entry and exit to the places I want to visit, even though they’re not part of your territory, or included in your exclusive democracy.
When I was born, Palestine referred to the whole of the land that your founders then ethnically cleansed and renamed. Now, it officially refers to a few segments of land, surrounded and trapped.
Unlike the residents of every other country on earth, Palestinians are not free to travel to and from their own country unless a foreign country gives them permission – a normally universal right that you routinely deny: to young and old, Muslims and Christians, professors and paupers, men and women.
Visitors are similarly obstructed. You decide whether they can get in, and whether they can get out.
When I try to visit Bethlehem, for example, I must face your armed soldiers manning the Kafkaesque, towering concrete wall you have erected on Palestinian land. These gun-toting youngsters will decree whether or not I and others – including Palestinian descendants of Bethlehem’s ancient shepherds – can pass through.
In other words, Israel is essentially imprisoning over 4 million men, women, and children (with some help from Egypt, its proxy to the south). Israeli jailers, euphemistically “border guards,” determine who may even visit this incarcerated population, and what supplies may reach them.
Over the years I’ve seen you prevent numerous individuals and groups, many bringing medicines and life-saving supplies, from visiting this captive population. You’ve blocked sons from visiting dying mothers, suffering children from receiving critical medical care, malnourished toddlers from receiving help.
It is a profound shame upon the world that this cruel and unconscionable condition has been permitted to persist year after year. There should have been massive and irresistible objections long before your recent legislation.
I remember when the United States opposed the Iron Curtain. Today, the U.S. gives the perpetrator of this current captivity $10 million per day.
Israel already denied me entry once 15 years ago, locking me up for 28 hours in a detention cell in Ben Gurion Airport before expelling me. I remember Israeli officials telling me I was not “allowed into Israel.” They didn’t even supply a reason.
Next time, they may say it’s because I endorse BDS, which I wholeheartedly do.
But I’m not trying to go to Israel. I want to go to Palestine.
– Alison Weir
Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew. She can be reached at: email@example.com.
Basel Ghattas, a member of the Israeli Knesset [arab48]
An Israeli district court in Beer Sheva indicted on Friday the Arab MK Basel Ghattas after a “fierce information war” that aimed to defame him and other Arab MKs, Quds Press reported.
Quds Press cited Israeli radio sources and said that a bargain plea was reached in the case of Ghattas that included his recognition of smuggling mobile phones to “security” prisoners, as well as his resignation from the Knesset.
Israeli radio also said that the Israeli Public Prosecutor would demand a two-year prison sentence for Ghattas.
Meanwhile, Ghattas, a member of the Arab Joint List of the Knesset, said:
Since the first minute I was released from Nafha Prison on 18 December until this minute, I have been exposed to unprecedented measures taken against an MK [by the Israeli authorities].
While speaking in a press conference, he continued: “It was an incitement, racist and aggressive campaign that included spreading lies by different Israeli security branches.”
He added: “The Israeli mass media cooperated with the Israeli security institution and the end was an unprecedented field trial and fierce information war.”
Ghattas said that the procedures he experienced during the recent months, including the stripping of his parliamentary immunity, imprisonment and investigations.
The Arab parliamentarian said that he is responsible for all what he did because that was based on his “humanitarian, conscious and moral duty towards the prisoners,” noting he is ready to bear the full responsibility of his actions.
By Ghattas’ resignation, the head of the public council of the National Democratic Association, Jumaa Zabarqeh, will replace him in the Knesset.
The Arab Joint List has 13 MKs out of 120.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for a crackdown on those who would blaspheme against Islam on social media, and claims to have contacted Facebook and Twitter to ask for their help in suppressing online sacrilege.
“All relevant institutions must unite to hunt those who spread such material and to award them strict punishment under the law,” Sharif said.
Minister of the Interior Ministry (MoI) Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that an official from Pakistan’s embassy in Washington, DC, was dispatched to Facebook and Twitter, asking them to help identify Pakistanis both at home or abroad who have insulted Islam.
He went on to say Pakistan would seek to extradite any Pakistanis living abroad if they were accused of blasphemy so they could be tried in an Islamic court.
Facebook, at least, has answered the call and will send a delegation to Pakistan to help them fight blasphemy, according to a statement from Pakistan’s Interior Ministry. Facebook told the MoI that they were “aware” of Pakistan’s concerns, and wanted to reach a mutual understanding with the Islamic Republic.
Facebook told the Associated Press that it seriously considers requests from governments, but its ultimate goal is to “protect the privacy and rights of our users.”
“We disclose information about accounts solely in accordance with our terms of service and applicable law,” continued Facebook.
Pakistan already extensively censors online content that depicts blasphemy, pornography, suicide and other things deemed objectionable. YouTube was blocked in the South Asian nation from 2012 to 2016, until it agreed to assist the government in censoring their content.
Facebook itself was blocked for a short period of time in 2010 due to it being the platform of choice for many artists participating in “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”. Some sites, such as Reddit and Imgur, remain banned.
Pakistan has some of the world’s strictest blasphemy laws. “Outraging the religious feelings of Muslims” carries a three year prison sentence as well as fines. Defiling a Quran is life in prison. Speaking ill of Mohammed is punishable by death.
Human Rights Watch claims that from 1987 to 2014, more than 1,300 Pakistanis have been accused of blasphemy and more than 60 of the accused have died in extrajudicial killings.
From the Jewish press we learn that Britain’s House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has summoned executives from Google, Twitter and Facebook for a hearing in order to slam the social media giants for failing to block ‘hate speech’ and ‘anti-Semitic’ content from their platforms. It seems that Labour MP Yvette Cooper took issue with the refusal of YouTube to remove a video in which David Duke accused Jewish people of “organizing white genocide” and Zionists of conducting ethnic cleansing.
I’m left wondering, what it is that motivates British MPs to launch a war against freedom of speech?
Can MP Yvette Cooper or any other British MP for that matter, tell us, once and for all, what exactly are the boundaries of our freedom of expression? Is calling Israel an ethnic cleanser a crime in the UK? But what if Israel is an ethnic cleanser? Is truth not a valid legal defence in modern Britain?
Astonishingly, it was, of all people, Stephen Pollard, Britain’s arch-Zionist and editor of the Jewish Chronicle who stood up for Duke’s elementary freedoms. In The Telegraph Pollard wrote. “It’s clear that the video is indeed antisemitic. In it, Mr Duke says: ‘The Zionists have already ethnically cleansed the Palestinians, why not do the same thing to Europeans and Americans as well? No group on earth fights harder for its interests than do the Jews. By dividing a society they can weaken it and control it.’ So there’s no debate that this is Jew hate in all its traditional poison.”
Is it really hateful to admit that Zionists ethnically cleansed Palestine? By now, this is an established historical fact that is sustained by current Israeli Law of Return, designed to prevent ethnically cleansed Palestinians from coming back to their land. Is it really hateful to suggest, as does David Duke that “no group on earth fights harder for its interests than do the Jews.” In fact, Yvette Cooper’s grilling of the Google CEO on behalf of the Labour Friends of Israel only confirms Duke’s observation.
I’m left wondering whether George Orwell was, in fact, the last of the prophets. After all, he did foresee British Labour transitioning into a tyrannical institution.
Yet, later on in his piece, Pollard, takes an unexpected turn. He clearly accepts that interfering with elementary freedom is a dangerous development: “Had the video told viewers that their duty was to seek out Jews and attack them – as many posts on social media do – then clearly it should be banned. Incitement to violence is an obvious breach of any coherent set of standards.” Pollard then concludes that “banning views simply because many, or even most, people find them abhorrent is a form of mob rule dressed up in civilised clothes.”
I find myself in complete agreement with this ultra-Zionist: “mob rule dressed up in civilised clothes” is a poetic, yet still truthful, description of current progressive populism. Incitement to violence should obviously be strictly banned, but if we wish to maintain Western ‘values’ then surely open debate in our system must be sustained. If Yvette Cooper doesn’t agree with Duke, she should invite him to the House of Commons and challenge him to debate rather than using her political power to silence him, or anyone else.
But one question remains. What led Yvette Cooper to operate so openly in the service of one particular Lobby group. I guess that veteran Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky may have an answer to offer…
An Argentine federal court on Wednesday sentenced former military dictator Reynaldo Bignone to life imprisonment for his role in kidnapping, torturing and murdering anti-government protesters during the 1970s and 80s.
Bignone, along with six other former military leaders, was convicted for “crimes against humanity.” He was also charged for human rights violations against conscripts of Argentina’s Military College that occurred between 1976 and 1977.
Dubbed “Argentina’s last dictator,” Bignone ruled as president from 1982 to 1983, representing the country’s right-wing military dictatorship that arose during the Dirty War.
The Dirty War was Argentina’s offshoot of Operation Condor, a Cold War-era campaign of violence across Latin America. Through the campaign, which resulted in tens of thousands of activist deaths, the U.S. teamed up with right-wing military dictatorships to extinguish leftist movements.
With help from death squads, Argentina’s military dictatorship ruthlessly murdered thousands of left-wing students, journalists, labor leaders and armed militants. Bignone, who played a leading role in organizing the Dirty War, oversaw the mass disappearance of socialist activists throughout his tenure.
“This ruling, about the coordination of military dictatorships in the Americas to commit atrocities, sets a powerful precedent to ensure that these grave human rights violations do not ever take place again in the region,” Human Rights Watch Americas director told Reuters last year, when Bignone was first found guilty.
Last month, Argentina’s former army chief Cesar Milani was arrested on charges related to the kidnapping and torture of three people during the Dirty War. Milani, a retired general who headed Argentina’s military from 2012 to 2015, was arrested in the northern province of La Rioja.
His arrest was part of Federal Judge Daniel Herrera’s investigation into the 1977 kidnapping and torture of Pedro Olivera and his son Ramon, as well as the 1976 abduction of then 17-year-old Verónica Matta.
“We are happy because we believe, somehow, that we are on the path to really having justice done,” Ramon Olivera, one of the accusers, told Todo Noticias television. “It is an auspicious thing that Milani was detained.”
Both Bignone and Milani were close allies of the U.S. during their time in office.
Activists gathered in Leuven’s crowded Oude Markt in the Belgian university city on Thursday, 16 March, to demand an end to participation by KU Leuven (the Catholic University of Leuven) and Belgian police and prosecutors in an EU-funded collaboration with Israeli police. Titled LAW-TRAIN, the project aims to “develop interrogation techniques.” A coalition of groups in Belgium have come together to oppose participation in LAW-TRAIN and end such collaborations with Israeli institutions through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research fund.
Organized by Leuven-based groups, including Comac Leuven, Intal and the Leuven Palestine Action Group, participants from a number of organizations, including Palestina Solidariteit and Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, joined in the awareness-raising street theater-style protest calling on KU Leuven’s rector, Rik Torfs, to pull out of the project.
Students representing ‘detainees’ were tied to chairs in front of a university building in the square as ‘Israeli soldiers’ paced menacingly behind them. Other participants held signs and placards calling on KU Leuven to get out of the LAW-TRAIN project and support Palestinian human rights, while speakers addressed students and others in the busy square in Dutch and English about the LAW-TRAIN program and Israeli torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners. Activists distributed flyers and information and gathered signatures on the petition demanding Belgian institutions stop participating in LAW-TRAIN.
Activists across Belgium have emphasized the involvement of the Israeli police in the torture, repression and interrogation of Palestinians from Jerusalem and Palestine ’48, as well as their involvement in home demolitions and destruction of Bedouin Palestinian communities in the Naqab. The Israeli Ministry of Public Security, presided over by far-right minister Gilad Erdan, who also holds the state’s anti-BDS portfolio seeking to suppress the international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions, is also a partner in the project, along with Bar-Ilan University.
“We are protesting the collaboration between KU Leuven and, among others, the Israeli police and Bar-Ilan University. KU Leuven now has ties with the Israeli police and the Israeli security forces, who have been condemned by organizations such as Amnesty International on numerous occasions for their human rights violations and torture practices. We believe it is not OK for a university such as KU Leuven to continue this collaboration. It is condoning and accepting these human rights violations so long as this continues. We want to call on our Rector, who’s been ignoring this whole matter, to end this collaboration,” said Casper Mullie, a student of philosophy at KU Leuven participating in the protest.
“As students, we cannot accept that our universities and institutions where we pay fees every year, to participate in projects that violate Palestinian human rights. In this case, the human rights violations are particularly egregious,” said Ibrahim, a student organizer with Rise Up who traveled from Brussels to participate in the protest in Leuven.
Hundreds of Belgian academics and cultural workers have signed an open letter organized by BACBI,
the Belgian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, calling on the Belgian government and universities to break with the project. In addition, a delegation of high-profile Belgian lawyers and human rights experts traveled to Palestine to study the use of torture by Israeli police and security forces. Israeli Apartheid Week events organized by students at campuses across Belgium had a strong focus on Palestinian prisoners and the campaign to stop LAW-TRAIN.
Samidoun is a member of the coalition against LAW-TRAIN, along with Intal, Comac, Palestina Solidariteit, BACBI, Medicine for the Third World, Vrede, CNAPD, Broderlijk Delen, 11.11.11, Solidarite Socialiste, Een Andere Joodse Stem (Another Jewish Voice), EcoloJ, CNCD 11.11.11, Plate-forme Charleroi-Palestine, Association Belgo-Palestinienne, Leuven Palestine Action Group, Pax Christi Vlaanderen and the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP).
TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition against LAW-TRAIN at http://stop-law-train.be
Major LAW-TRAIN resources include:
- Belgian Coalition against LAW TRAIN
- BACBI archive of LAW TRAIN resources
- BACBI dossier, “The LAW-TRAIN Project: Why a Partnership with the Israeli Police is Indefensible”
- Stop the Wall Campaign, LAW-TRAIN: European License for Israeli Torture
- Stop the Wall Campaign, ECCP, Belgian Coalition Against LAW-TRAIN, “The LAW TRAIN Project: Concerns go Unaddressed“
The leader of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), Igor Plotnitsky, said Friday he was in favor of holding a referendum in Donbass on joining Russia.
“We do not just assume, we are sure that such a referendum will certainly take place. Of course, we will initiate it, but everything should be done at the proper time,” Plotnitsky told Sputnik.
Earlier Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there were no “written scenarios” in Russia regarding the possibility to make the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and LPR part of Russia.
Plotnisky also told reporters Friday that the DPR and LPR considered introduction by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of Donbass blockade as actual recognition of the self-proclaimed republics’ independence.
A German newspaper was forced to remove the name of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from a list of the world’s craziest leaders following diplomatic pressure.
Hamburger Morgenpost had included Netanyahu in a list of “The Seven Craziest Leaders in the World” because he promotes settlement policies and because he tried to convince former US
President Barack Obama to attack Iran.
As a result, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a complaint to the German government and the Israeli embassy in Berlin criticised the newspaper and said in a statement that this is an “anti-Semitic” act.
“The fact that they put an elected prime minister of a democratic Western country… alongside some of the worst dictators in the world, reveals more than anything the newspaper’s level of understanding of what is happening today in the world,” the embassy said in a statement, according to Israel’s Ynet News.
The newspaper was then forced to remove Netanyahu from the list and apologised for including him.
“It was wrong to make @netanyahu part of this list. We apologise,” the newspaper announced.