Posts Tagged ‘Transparency’

Connecticut Female Cop Arrested for Punching Man in Face, Busting Lip

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

The Office of the Chief State’s Attorney confirmed that a New London, Connecticut police officer was arrested on Monday for punching a man in the face giving him lacerations on his lip.
NBC Connecticut reports that Officer Deana Nottand, 50, was charged with third-degree assault in the June 2016 incident. Now, over a year and a half later Nottand is finally being formally charged for her actions. Nottand has been with the New London Police Department for 17 years.
In June 2016 a man was being placed under arrest for an assault charge that incurred during a bar fight. Once in handcuffs and in the back of a police cruiser, the man was punched in the mouth by Officer Nottand.
And as a result, the 37-year-old man sustained a laceration to his lower lip.
In December 2017 Nottand was suspended for the excessive force incident. 
But on Monday Nottand was officially arrested for the encounter by inspectors from the Statewide Prosecution Bureau in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, on a warrant charging her with third-degree assault. Her court date is scheduled for February 1.
 
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Miami Officer Arrested for Running Ponzi Scheme on Other Cops

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

A Miami cop was arrested by the FBI this week at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as he tried to board a flight to Costa Rica– skipping town to avoid prosecution for his Ponzi scheme loan company.
Miami Police Department Officer Dermis Hernandez, 41, ran a Ponzi scheme that targeted active and retired cops. But it was one of Hernandez’s colleagues who tipped off investigators that something wasn’t right about the officer’s investment practices.
Hernandez is the second Miami police officer arrested in 2018 so far. Officer Adrian Santos was arrested in January for doing cocaine at popular Miami nightclub E11even.
The Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office reports that Hernandez owned and operated a Costa Rican loan company that deceived clients into expecting returns of over 20 percent.
But federal prosecutors said his company was a scam. He used the proceeds from his company to enhance his personal lifestyle and payback early investors.
FBI Agent Sarah Halleran said,
“In truth, Hernandez and his co-conspirators used the investor funds for personal enrichment and to pay the returns of other investors.”
Hernandez lured clients to invest in his company; he claimed the investments carried little to no risk. Hernandez’s company purportedly provided high-interest loans to property owners in Costa Rica.  But Hernandez showed potential clients fake papers that depicted that his company had property rights in Costa Rica.
Clients would then invest in Hernandez’s company under the guise that they were going to be repaid.
One of Hernandez’s clients paid him $10,000 from a personal police retirement fund; the client expected a 20% return on the investment per year, but of course that investment return never came.
Another victim told FBI agents he was guaranteed a 24 percent return on his personal investment of $125,000, but only received $17,000 back in interest payments.
An officer that invested with Hernandez didn’t get his expected return and then went

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California Cop Arrested for Inappropriate Contact with Minor

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

A California cop was arrested over super bowl weekend for sexual crimes involving a minor.
The Sacremento Bee reports that on Saturday, Officer Matthew Huff of the Stockton Police Department was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on charges, including contacting a minor to commit a felony, sending harmful matter to seduce a minor and annoying or molesting a child under 18.
“These actions are a major departure from the values and professionalism of the Stockton Police Department. Accountability is critical to maintaining public trust,” said Joe Silva, public information officer with the department.
The department said that the charges reveal intent, but that Huff never acted on the intent.
No details have been released pertaining to the nature of the crimes, nor have police released information on how they became aware of the officer’s actions.
Officer Huff’s father is a detective with the police department. Officer Huff also has a brother that happens to be an officer with the department. They are the first family to have three members sworn into the Stockton Police Department.
Huff is married with a young child. 
Huff was released on a 253,000 bond and has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation. 
The post California Cop Arrested for Inappropriate Contact with Minor appeared first on Photography is Not a Crime.

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North Carolina Cop Robs Bank and Gets Arrested 5 Min. Later

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

Desperate people do desperate things. A North Carolina cop acted under that notion when he robbed a bank at gun-point on Tuesday afternoon.
Deputy Jeff Athey, 51, of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office was arrested for robbing the F&M bank in Rockwell, NC.
Athey’s past includes working as a private security contractor for Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan during the wars.
WXII 12 News reports the robbery happened at the F&M Bank just after 3:30 pm. According to Rockwell police, Athey walked into the bank and pulled out a black Glock 42 handgun.
Athey then pointed the gun at the clerk and demanded money. Athey got away with only $1,000 before driving away in a silver Mustang vehicle. But just 5 minutes later he was arrested at an intersection. The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office fired Athey hours after his arrest.
Davidson County Sheriff David Grice released this statement:
“I am shocked and appalled as anyone else about Mr. (Jeff) Athey’s behavior. During his employment with our agency he gave no indications that this type of behavior could occur. We’re not going to tolerate this kind of behavior, obviously, and we don’t tolerate anybody who violates the law or violates the policies at the sheriff’s office. They’re not going to be employed with me if they do.”
Athey was taken to the Rowan County Detention Center, charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and placed under a $500,000 bond.
The Rockwell Police Department was assisted by the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department, Granite Quarry Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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Seattle ICE Immigration Attorney Arrested for Stealing Immigrants Identities

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

Chief Counsel Raphael Sanchez for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Seattle was arrested for stealing immigrants’ identities and then paying his bills with the stolen information.
Sanchez resigned on Monday and had his first court appearance on Thursday.
Sanchez devised a scheme to use immigrants’ identities in order to defraud financial institutions including American Express, Bank of America Citibank, Discover, and JPMorgan Chase, according to a charging document, which was entered in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Sanchez stole the identities of seven people in various stages of immigration proceedings to defraud credit card companies.
Prosecutors with the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section investigated the incident. The Public Integrity Section pursues efforts to combat corruption by public officials.
In or around October 2013 to October 2017 Sanchez stole and used the identifies of seven immigrants for his own financial benefit.
The charging document contained few specifics about the allegations, but did give one example: It said that in April 2016 Sanchez stole the name, Social Security number and birth date of a Chinese national.
Sanchez then sent an email from his government account to his Yahoo account that included personal information pertaining to the Chinese national identified only as R.H. The information Sanchez sent included an image of R.H.’s U.S. permanent resident card, the biographical page of R.H.’s Chinese passport and a utility bill in R.H.’s name from Puget Sound Energy.
Sanchez is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, both are felonies.
ICE in Seattle has been at the forefront of illegal immigration. They arrested dozens of undocumented immigrants in September’s Operation Safe City, which was a four-day effort in which the administration targeted “sanctuary cities” around the country, including Seattle, where local officials do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
Sanchez negotiated a

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Seattle ICE Immigration Attorney Arrested for Stealing Immigrants Identities

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Chief Counsel Raphael Sanchez for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Seattle was arrested for stealing immigrants’ identities and then paying his bills with the stolen information.
Sanchez resigned on Monday and had his first court appearance on Thursday.
Sanchez devised a scheme to use immigrants’ identities in order to defraud financial institutions including American Express, Bank of America Citibank, Discover, and JPMorgan Chase, according to a charging document, which was entered in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Sanchez stole the identities of seven people in various stages of immigration proceedings to defraud credit card companies.
Prosecutors with the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section investigated the incident. The Public Integrity Section pursues efforts to combat corruption by public officials.
In or around October 2013 to October 2017 Sanchez stole and used the identifies of seven immigrants for his own financial benefit.
The charging document contained few specifics about the allegations, but did give one example: It said that in April 2016 Sanchez stole the name, Social Security number and birth date of a Chinese national.
Sanchez then sent an email from his government account to his Yahoo account that included personal information pertaining to the Chinese national identified only as R.H. The information Sanchez sent included an image of R.H.’s U.S. permanent resident card, the biographical page of R.H.’s Chinese passport and a utility bill in R.H.’s name from Puget Sound Energy.
Sanchez is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, both are felonies.
ICE in Seattle has been at the forefront of illegal immigration. They arrested dozens of undocumented immigrants in September’s Operation Safe City, which was a four-day effort in which the administration targeted “sanctuary cities” around the country, including Seattle, where local officials do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
Sanchez negotiated a

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North Carolina Cop Robs Bank and Gets Arrested 5 Min. Later

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Desperate people do desperate things. A North Carolina cop acted under that notion when he robbed a bank at gun-point on Tuesday afternoon.
Deputy Jeff Athey, 51, of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office was arrested for robbing the F&M bank in Rockwell, NC.
Athey’s past includes working as a private security contractor for Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan during the wars.
WXII 12 News reports the robbery happened at the F&M Bank just after 3:30 pm. According to Rockwell police, Athey walked into the bank and pulled out a black Glock 42 handgun.
Athey then pointed the gun at the clerk and demanded money. Athey got away with only $1,000 before driving away in a silver Mustang vehicle. But just 5 minutes later he was arrested at an intersection. The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office fired Athey hours after his arrest.
Davidson County Sheriff David Grice released this statement:
“I am shocked and appalled as anyone else about Mr. (Jeff) Athey’s behavior. During his employment with our agency he gave no indications that this type of behavior could occur. We’re not going to tolerate this kind of behavior, obviously, and we don’t tolerate anybody who violates the law or violates the policies at the sheriff’s office. They’re not going to be employed with me if they do.”
Athey was taken to the Rowan County Detention Center, charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and placed under a $500,000 bond.
The Rockwell Police Department was assisted by the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department, Granite Quarry Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The post North Carolina Cop Robs Bank and Gets Arrested 5 Min. Later appeared first on Photography is Not a Crime.

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California Cop Arrested for Inappropriate Contact with Minor

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

A California cop was arrested over super bowl weekend for sexual crimes involving a minor.
The Sacremento Bee reports that on Saturday, Officer Matthew Huff of the Stockton Police Department was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on charges, including contacting a minor to commit a felony, sending harmful matter to seduce a minor and annoying or molesting a child under 18.
“These actions are a major departure from the values and professionalism of the Stockton Police Department. Accountability is critical to maintaining public trust,” said Joe Silva, public information officer with the department.
The department said that the charges reveal intent, but that Huff never acted on the intent.
No details have been released pertaining to the nature of the crimes, nor have police released information on how they became aware of the officer’s actions.
Officer Huff’s father is a detective with the police department. Officer Huff also has a brother that happens to be an officer with the department. They are the first family to have three members sworn into the Stockton Police Department.
Huff is married with a young child. 
Huff was released on a 253,000 bond and has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation. 
The post California Cop Arrested for Inappropriate Contact with Minor appeared first on Photography is Not a Crime.

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Miami Officer Arrested for Running Ponzi Scheme on Other Cops

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

A Miami cop was arrested by the FBI this week at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as he tried to board a flight to Costa Rica– skipping town to avoid prosecution for his Ponzi scheme loan company.
Miami Police Department Officer Dermis Hernandez, 41, ran a Ponzi scheme that targeted active and retired cops. But it was one of Hernandez’s colleagues who tipped off investigators that something wasn’t right about the officer’s investment practices.
Hernandez is the second Miami police officer arrested in 2018 so far. Officer Adrian Santos was arrested in January for doing cocaine at popular Miami nightclub E11even.
The Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office reports that Hernandez owned and operated a Costa Rican loan company that deceived clients into expecting returns of over 20 percent.
But federal prosecutors said his company was a scam. He used the proceeds from his company to enhance his personal lifestyle and payback early investors.
FBI Agent Sarah Halleran said,
“In truth, Hernandez and his co-conspirators used the investor funds for personal enrichment and to pay the returns of other investors.”
Hernandez lured clients to invest in his company; he claimed the investments carried little to no risk. Hernandez’s company purportedly provided high-interest loans to property owners in Costa Rica.  But Hernandez showed potential clients fake papers that depicted that his company had property rights in Costa Rica.
Clients would then invest in Hernandez’s company under the guise that they were going to be repaid.
One of Hernandez’s clients paid him $10,000 from a personal police retirement fund; the client expected a 20% return on the investment per year, but of course that investment return never came.
Another victim told FBI agents he was guaranteed a 24 percent return on his personal investment of $125,000, but only received $17,000 back in interest payments.
An officer that invested with Hernandez didn’t get his expected return and then went

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Connecticut Female Cop Arrested for Punching Man in Face, Busting Lip

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

The Office of the Chief State’s Attorney confirmed that a New London, Connecticut police officer was arrested on Monday for punching a man in the face giving him lacerations on his lip.
NBC Connecticut reports that Officer Deana Nottand, 50, was charged with third-degree assault in the June 2016 incident. Now, over a year and a half later Nottand is finally being formally charged for her actions. Nottand has been with the New London Police Department for 17 years.
In June 2016 a man was being placed under arrest for an assault charge that incurred during a bar fight. Once in handcuffs and in the back of a police cruiser, the man was punched in the mouth by Officer Nottand.
And as a result, the 37-year-old man sustained a laceration to his lower lip.
In December 2017 Nottand was suspended for the excessive force incident. 
But on Monday Nottand was officially arrested for the encounter by inspectors from the Statewide Prosecution Bureau in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, on a warrant charging her with third-degree assault. Her court date is scheduled for February 1.
 
The post Connecticut Female Cop Arrested for Punching Man in Face, Busting Lip appeared first on Photography is Not a Crime.

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NORTH CAROLINA FEMALE COP KILLS HUSBAND, HUSBAND WAS COP TOO

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

It is not often that a cop kills a cop, especially when they are married to each other.
But a North Carolina sheriff’s deputy killed her husband in a domestic dispute on the Martin Luther King holiday. The police department revealed today that no charges have been filed yet and the case is still under investigation.
Deputy Sheriff Rataba Hawkins shot and killed her husband, Deputy Sheriff James Hawkins.
Rataba Hawkins has been with the Mecklenburg Sheriff’s Office since 2002 and is assigned to field operations. James Hawkins was with the office since 2005 and was assigned to arrest processing.
The shooting took place at the couples home on Ashley Meadow Drive in Charlotte, NC. on January 15, 2018.
Officers responded to a domestic violence assault with a deadly weapon 911 call. Officers then located Deputy James Hawkins inside the house with an apparent gunshot wound. Deputy James Hawkins was pronounced deceased on scene by Medic.
Rataba shot her husband with her sheriffs department issued gun. Apparently the too were fighting with each other and Rataba felt threatened for her life and fired fatal shots at her husband.
Spokeswoman for the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Department Anjanette Grube released this statement:
The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) is saddened to learn of the news concerning an open homicide investigation involving two MCSO deputies. Our hearts go out to their family as they cope and grieve with this tragedy. This is a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police investigation so any questions concerning the investigation should be directed to CMPD. Because the MCSO family grieves with the Hawkins family, we will have chaplains available for our staff.
No arrests have been made yet. The Charlotte Police Department is investigating this case as an homicide. PINAC will stay on top of this story.
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Arizona Man Sues Prosecutor for Wrongful Arrest that Kept him in Jail for Two Months

Friday, January 5th, 2018

Imagine spending two months in jail for a robbery that you didn’t commit. Well, that is exactly what happened to an Iowa man after he was falsely charged with first-degree robbery.
Now he is suing the prosecutor that threw him in jail.
Joseph McBride, 23, was arrested for his assumed role in a January 2017 home invasion robbery in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
McBride was in Phoenix at the time of his August 2017 arrest, several months after the original crime was committed.
And he showed authorities a time-stamped cell phone selfie proving he was in Arizona at the time of the Iowa home invasion, but they remained steadfast that they had the right guy.
MeBride is from Cedar Rapids but he moved to Phoenix in November 2015.
He was one of three people arrested for the crime.
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden is the prosecutor that brought charges on McBride. Sanden alleged in court documents that social media posts and phone records suggested that McBride was involved in the home invasion robbery.
Sanden says the charge was based on a, “good-faith belief that the victim was correct in the identification.”
But as it turns out, the only evidence Sanden and police relied on was the victim pointing to a facebook photo of McBride, claiming he was involved in the crime.
The victim, identified as 27-year-old Tristan Hermann, told police that an acquaintance he knew as Elizabeth came to his apartment. Two men then forced their way in Hermann’s apartment, beating him with a handgun, and stealing his money and cellphone.
Hermann identified the woman as 22-year-old Elizabeth Navarro and said she set him up.
Hermann, who is bipolar, told police days later that he “had done his own investigation” and concluded the men involved were Navarro’s boyfriend, Austin Foster, and a man with the Facebook name “Jody Holliday.”
Police used photos and

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Motel 6 Chain Sued For Releasing Guest Information to Feds

Friday, January 5th, 2018

Motel 6 is known for being a cheap motel.
But now the national chain is being sued by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson for handing over thousands of motel guest’s information to federal officials.
Several Motel 6 locations in Washington routinely provided U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with confidential guest information, some of which occured on a daily basis. Some guest were even arrested based on the information provided.
PINAC News obtained the lawsuit which was filed on Wednesday in Seattle. The lawsuit details how since 2015 Motel 6 gave 9,000 guest’s information to ICE without any search warrants being issued for the information.
Motel 6 responded to the lawsuit saying: “[The information released was limited to] the local level without the knowledge of senior management. Motel 6 takes this matter very seriously, and we have and will continue to fully cooperate with the Office of the State Attorney General.”
Initial allegations from The Phoenix New Times pointed to Motel 6 locations in Arizona that were giving information to ICE. When Ferguson heard of the allegations in Arizona, he launched his own investigation into Washington Motel 6 locations that engaged in the same practice.
In fact, Motel 6 employees from Washington locations told Ferguson that “ICE agents circled any Latino or Latina-sounding names on the guest registry, and returned to their vehicles.” The agents would then run background checks on the circled names without any reasonable suspicion or probable cause.
“Washingtonians have a right to privacy, and protection from discrimination. I will hold Motel 6 accountable and uncover the whole story of their disturbing conduct,” Ferguson said.
The attorney general noted in the lawsuit that Motel 6 used unfair and deceptive business practices and violated Washington state privacy laws, while also noting that Motel 6 engaged in discrimination based on nationality. The Washington State Supreme Court considers guest information

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Miami Officials Vote to End Revenue Generating Red Light Camera Program

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

City commissioners in Miami agreed on Thursday to pull the plug on their red light camera program early next year.
The city voted unanimously to cancel its contract with American Traffic Solutions, which operates has 147 cameras placed around the city.
Ninety-eight of them are operational.
Now the company has 60 day to discontinue its lucrative operations in the city.
Citations of $158 per ticket will stop after the program vanishes.
But anyone who receives a ticket before the program ends will be responsible for dealing with it.
So-called activists who profit from the program, along with an ATS spokesman, criticized the move.
“Don’t be responsible for more people losing their lives,” Marc Buoniconti, an activist for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, said.
“Are you going to go to the funerals of these families if you turn these cameras off?”
American Traffic Solutions spokesman Charles Territo said in a written statement that videos from the cameras were used for nearly 2,500 police investigations, according to the Miami Herald.
Territo said fatal crashes at intersections equipped with red light cameras fell from 16 in 2015 to four in 2016.
“Nearly 65 percent of the violations issued were given to drivers who didn’t even live in the city,” Territo said.
“Regardless of today’s decision the fact remains that Miami is one of the most dangerous cities in the nation for pedestrians and bicyclists.”
“We wish them the best on their efforts to reduce traffic related collisions, injuries and fatalities,” Territo added.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, along with City Commissioner Joe Carollo can now say they kept a campaign promise.
City of Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo and Mayor Francis Suarez discuss the red light program at Miami City Hall on December 14. (Photo from Miami Herald)
“We have a very poor city,” Commissioner Carollo said, who campaigned on the fact Miami has more red light cameras than any

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Homestead PD Still Doesn’t Know Photography Is Not A Crime

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Homestead Police Department (HPD), in South Florida, has myriad problems respecting the First Amendment. I went to HPD this week to serve some officers in a civil rights suit, the story was covered earlier. While entering I discovered that HPD still has not learned that photography is not a crime.
I covered HPD officer John Frank, last year, him initially claiming that I could not take his picture. He quickly backed down once I started recording the video below. HPD adopting a policy such as shown in the sign above makes it understandable that some of their officers would fail to realize that photography is not a crime.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WixzsV0H-A8?feature=oembed&w=620&h=349] However, HPD officers such as Tony Sincore realize that it is our right to record them and to record within the station. The below video was taken by another local victim of HPD abuse.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeZ5Ioy1ZSc?feature=oembed&w=620&h=349] Photography Is Not A Crime, is not only our name as an organization, it’s the law. It is also part and parcel of our First Amendment right as Americans to gather information on governmental affairs. First, I will address briefly herein the legal issues of video recording with sound which is legally equivalent to audio recording. Then I will cover photography which is legally equivalent to video without sound.
The Florida wire tap statute, FSS. 934.03, makes it illegal to intercept an “oral communication”, i.e. voices, without the consent of all parties. In this way video recordings having audio and/or audio recordings could be a crime, in some cases. Yet, the definition, FSS. 934.02, of “oral communication”, excludes conversations having no expectation of privacy, see also State v. Inciarano. Additionally, what can be plainly seen or overheard in public is covered by the plain view doctrine.
Katz v. United States establishes that no person in the publicly accessible lobby of the police department would have an expectation of privacy. Further, it must be noted that Constitutional rights, such as privacy, protect citizens from

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Florida Man Fights Extensive Public Records Request Abuse

Friday, May 26th, 2017

INTRODUCTION
 
The City of Homestead has a torrid reputation, and a pattern of willfully refusing to comply with the public records law. Homestead is a little town at the southern end of Miami-Dade County, rarely receiving the scrutiny it deserves as a cesspool of public corruption and maleficence.
 
I have used the records request process, as a pre-discovery method for investigating my civil rights claims. Homestead has failed to comply with the public records law on the majority of the nearly one hundred requests I have filed.
 
Homestead has a pattern and practice of unlawful noncompliance as it relates to the records law including but not limited to: excessively overcharging for records, claiming inapplicable exemptions, creating automatic and/or unreasonable delays in production, claiming incriminating records do not exist, falsifying records and destruction of records.
 
Florida has some of the strictest public records laws in the nation. The records law is thoroughly explained in the Government in the Sunshine Manual (GSM), and the city owns several copies. Yet, you could be easily fooled into thinking otherwise, based on the behavior and actions of Homestead and their attorneys.
 
I hope the information provided herein, while extensive by nature, will educate the readers on the public records law and how some public entities create costly issues.
 
BACKGROUND
 
PINAC published the original story of my abuse by Homestead officer Alejandro Murguido, beginning in 2012. I was falsely arrested in April 2013, after attempting to file a complaint, and charged for simply asking my neighbor to not speed and recklessly drive his city owned police car, in our community. Children regularly play in the street, and Murguido had previously asked me to contact him directly versus filing a formal complaint with his department.
 
I met with Homestead Chief of Police Alexander Rolle to file a complaint in February 2014. All false charges against me had been dismissed shortly

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Ohio Cop “Accidentally” Deleted 100,000 Dash Cam Videos Dating Back to 2015

Friday, March 24th, 2017

An Ohio cop deleted an estimate 100,000 dash cam videos of Columbus Police Division traffic stops and call responses after a sworn officer working in the Technical Services Bureau made a few errant key strokes on March 8.
The mass deletion has caused skepticism and distrust among many community members and activists who don’t believe the vanishment of 100,000 videos was an accident.
Police officials didn’t even realize the files disappeared until March 13, which prompted an internal affairs investigation to look into whether or not it was actually an accident.
The officer, who so far has not been named, deleted all videos from 2015 and about 500 videos from last year. It’s not clear whether the deletions were made as an honest mistake or if a the cop deleted the videos in an attempt to hide evidence of wrongdoing.
“We have taken a number of other steps. And there are more to come. That includes finding out what the employee did know, or should have known, whether or not this would occur,” said Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs during a press conference, calling the deletions a “significant loss.”
“We don’t believe the system informed our employee that this would the result of the change process of the system he was using,” the chief said. “(We also want to) find out if that deletion was not accidental, as we believe, but instead was purposeful.”
The chief stated she was coming clean about the blunder in front of the media in order to be transparent.
“While we don’t think it’s going to have a big impact on prosecutions, we did believe it was important to say this now rather than waiting for somebody else to discover it,” the chief said at a press conference.
“We believe that transparency means acknowledging our mistakes.”
The deletions were made on March 8 after the officer attempted to simplify the classification of thousands of cruiser video files,

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Bad nursing homes benefit from AHCA’s passive-aggressive war on #transparency

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Somebody please give Shelisha Coleman a big fat raise.
The Agency for Health Care Administration’s (AHCA) high profile flack works hard duty playing hardball with some of Florida’s best reporters, but makes tens of thousands of dollars less than men paid by taxpayers to tell tall tales about #Transparency.
Coleman had to drop a whopping load of horsefeathers on the Orlando Sentinel last week in a laughable effort to justify AHCA’s unlawful redactions to public records.
Taking up the cause of families who love their grandparents, reporter Kate Santich asked AHCA to explain why inspection reports are being scrubbed of “dates, places and pivotal words” that make it possible to gauge the quality and safety of Florida’s nursing homes.
People who pay attention to Transparency and Accountability (T&A) in Florida had no trouble believing the attorney who told Santich “I’ve been looking at these reports for 20 years, and I know what they used to look like and what they look like now. It has become arbitrary and inconsistent what they redact — but I think it’s all part of a bigger purpose to confuse people and make the reports useless.”
Like a lamb to the slaughter, Coleman was dispatched by her better-paid bosses to tell the Sentinel that state officials are merely trying to “provide additional protection of personal health information” as required by federal privacy laws.
After she stopped laughing, First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Petersen pointed out the holes in the rationalizations, prevarications and passive aggressive sandbagging served up by Coleman to justify AHCA’s “new redaction process.”
That new redaction process is good news for bad nursing homes. We can hope Santich’s story will embarrass the legislature into doing something about it. But don’t bet Grandpa’s life on it.
The post Bad nursing homes benefit from AHCA’s passive-aggressive war on #transparency appeared first on Florida

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House panel votes to raise the bar for proposed constitutional amendments

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

A lively debate on governing principles broke out Thursday as a House committee voted unanimously to ask the voters to raise the threshold for amending the Florida Constitution.
HJR 321 would require approval by 66 2/3 percent of the voters to change the state’s foundational document. At present, that requires 60 percent approval.
Sponsor Rick Roth, a freshman Republican from Loxahatchee, acknowledge his proposal would make it harder to change Florida’s basic law.
“I watch politics very closely, and have for 30 years, and it seems like it’s becoming, more and more, who has the money to put something on the ballot,” he said following the 14-0 vote by the Oversight, Transparency, & Administration Subcommittee.
“This is a great opportunity for debate, actually,” Roth said.
As his proposal advances through the legislative and, potentially, electoral process, “people will become more informed, I hope, of what kind of government we have and how important the Constitution is,” he said.
The proposal advances to the Rules & Policy and full Government Accountability committees. There’s a Senate companion bill — SJR 866 by Dennis Baxley.
The change would go to the voters in 2018 if approved by three-fifth of the House and Senate. Of course, more than 60 percent of the voters would have to agree to raise the bar against themselves.
Critics argued the measure would weaken voters’ control over government.
“Why are we continuing to make it harder for our citizens to get something on the ballot in Florida?” wondered Kelly Quintero, of the Florida League of Women Voters.
“We have the most stringent citizens’ initiative in the United States,” said Gail Marie Perry, of the Communications Workers of America.
Medical marijuana activist Melissa Villar called the proposal “an affront to democracy.”
In fact, the medical marijuana initiative on last year’s ballot would have met the proposed threshold — it won 71

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Florida Cops Keep Innocent Man in Jail for Eight Months, Resulting in $150,000 Settlement

Monday, January 9th, 2017

The Fort Lauderdale police department got it wrong when they arrested the wrong man thinking he was a burglary suspect.
But the Florida police department still kept him in jail for eight months for the crime he did not commit.
Dmitry Lyubimov was not released until authorities finally acknowledged that they lacked physical and DNA evidence.
Now the city has reached a wrongful arrest settlement of $150,000 with the 26-year-old man.
Lyubimov was minding his own business on the streets of Fort Lauderdale when he was arrested by police in July 2011, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.
Police claimed Lyubimov matched the description of the real suspect, Justin White. Both are pictured above with Lyubimov on the left.
A 911 call was made because White was walking on someone’s property with a gun. Officers Jesus Gonzalez and Felicia Barnwell responded to the scene and tried to stop White, who then fled on a stolen scooter.
White ditched his scooter, then hopped over a fence, leaving only his hat behind.
As the officers searched the streets for him, they came across Lyubimov, who was dressed in similar attire, mistaking him for White, and arresting him.
Lyubimov denied the allegations. And his phone records even showed that he was on the phone with his girlfriend during the police chase.
But authorities did not buy it.
“So with cops still chasing me I am dialing my girlfriend and talking to her for 25 min instead of thinking how to escape police,” he wrote while in jail in 2011.
“It don’t make no sense. I am just frustrated with all this. It all is like a bad dream or [something]. OK, hopefully it will end soon,”
The scooter that the real suspect had left behind was tested for fingerprints days after the incident, but they did not match Lyubimov’s fingerprints.
It was not until seven months after Lyubimov’s arrest that

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Visit Florida housecleaning continues: Rick Scott calls on chief Will Seccombe to resign, board to publish business

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Gov. Rick Scott called on Visit Florida’s Executive Director Will Seccombe to resign Friday afternoon, continuing a bloodbath at the pseudo-state agency that saw two other top executives fired earlier in the fallout from how it handled a marketing contract with Miami rapper superstar Pitbull.
In a letter the governor sent to Visit Florida’s board chairman, Scott called on a complete overhaul of how it does business, telling the board he wants to see it publish details about how it spends money, including contracts. And Scott said that in order to do so, Seccombe has to go.
“The major changes outlined above require new leadership and ideas at the agency, and I believe it would be best for the future efforts of Visit Florida for Will to step down and allow new leadership to come in at this critical time,” Scott wrote to Visit Florida Chairman William Talbert III of Miami. Seccombe was also sent a copy of the letter.
“The notion that Visit Florida spending would not be transparent to the taxpayers is just ridiculous,” Scott wrote. “We must have major reforms at Visit Florida in the weeks ahead that require new leadership.”
The action comes just hours after Scott confirmed that Seccombe had fired two of his top executives, Chief Operating Officer Vangie McCorvey and Chief Marketing Officer Paul Phipps.
Seccombe has been president and chief executive officer since Nov., 2012, of Visit Florida, a non-profit company set up by the state to promote tourism to Florida.
Scott did extend some credit to him.
“The mission of Visit Florida is crucial to the economic growth of our stature and Will Seccombe has played a major role for many years in helping Florida attract record numbers of tourists,” Scott wrote.
However, Scott concluded, “Visit Florida’s mission is imperative to the continued success of Florida’s economy and record growth in

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Visit Florida housecleaning continues: Rick Scott calls on chief Will Seccombe to resign, board to publish business

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Gov. Rick Scott called on Visit Florida’s Executive Director Will Seccombe to resign Friday afternoon, continuing a bloodbath at the pseudo-state agency that saw two other top executives fired earlier in the fallout from how it handled a marketing contract with Miami rapper superstar Pitbull.
In a letter the governor sent to Visit Florida’s board chairman, Scott called on a complete overhaul of how it does business, telling the board he wants to see it publish details about how it spends money, including contracts. And Scott said that in order to do so, Seccombe has to go.
“The major changes outlined above require new leadership and ideas at the agency, and I believe it would be best for the future efforts of Visit Florida for Will to step down and allow new leadership to come in at this critical time,” Scott wrote to Visit Florida Chairman William Talbert III of Miami. Seccombe was also sent a copy of the letter.
“The notion that Visit Florida spending would not be transparent to the taxpayers is just ridiculous,” Scott wrote. “We must have major reforms at Visit Florida in the weeks ahead that require new leadership.”
The action comes just hours after Scott confirmed that Seccombe had fired two of his top executives, Chief Operating Officer Vangie McCorvey and Chief Marketing Officer Paul Phipps.
Seccombe has been president and chief executive officer since Nov., 2012, of Visit Florida, a non-profit company set up by the state to promote tourism to Florida.
Scott did extend some credit to him.
“The mission of Visit Florida is crucial to the economic growth of our stature and Will Seccombe has played a major role for many years in helping Florida attract record numbers of tourists,” Scott wrote.
However, Scott concluded, “Visit Florida’s mission is imperative to the continued success of Florida’s economy and record growth in

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Visit Florida housecleaning continues: Rick Scott calls on chief Will Seccombe to resign, board to publish business

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Gov. Rick Scott called on Visit Florida’s Executive Director Will Seccombe to resign Friday afternoon, continuing a bloodbath at the pseudo-state agency that saw two other top executives fired earlier in the fallout from how it handled a marketing contract with Miami rapper superstar Pitbull.
In a letter the governor sent to Visit Florida’s board chairman, Scott called on a complete overhaul of how it does business, telling the board he wants to see it publish details about how it spends money, including contracts. And Scott said that in order to do so, Seccombe has to go.
“The major changes outlined above require new leadership and ideas at the agency, and I believe it would be best for the future efforts of Visit Florida for Will to step down and allow new leadership to come in at this critical time,” Scott wrote to Visit Florida Chairman William Talbert III of Miami. Seccombe was also sent a copy of the letter.
“The notion that Visit Florida spending would not be transparent to the taxpayers is just ridiculous,” Scott wrote. “We must have major reforms at Visit Florida in the weeks ahead that require new leadership.”
The action comes just hours after Scott confirmed that Seccombe had fired two of his top executives, Chief Operating Officer Vangie McCorvey and Chief Marketing Officer Paul Phipps.
Seccombe has been president and chief executive officer since Nov., 2012, of Visit Florida, a non-profit company set up by the state to promote tourism to Florida.
Scott did extend some credit to him.
“The mission of Visit Florida is crucial to the economic growth of our stature and Will Seccombe has played a major role for many years in helping Florida attract record numbers of tourists,” Scott wrote.
However, Scott concluded, “Visit Florida’s mission is imperative to the continued success of Florida’s economy and record growth in

Vote on this story -->>>

Missouri Police Association Sues Missouri Police Department Over Public Records Violations

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

A Missouri police association filed a lawsuit against the city of Columbia, accusing its police department of violating the state’s public records law by refusing to provide records in a timely manner, then charging an exorbitant amount for the requested records.
Last summer, the Columbia Police Officers’ Association requested two months worth of email correspondence between Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton Deputy Chief of Police Jill Schlude.
But the emails were not produced within three days as required by state law nor did the association receive a detailed explanation providing “reasonable cause” of the delay as outlined in Section 610.023 of the Missouri Sunshine Law.
And when the department finally responded to the records request, it was charging the association $893.59, claiming it will take several high-ranking officers to spend hours compiling the records.
Evidently, they’ve never learned how to use the search function in their email system, which would allow the lowest paid clerk to compile the emails within an hour.
The police association was asking for emails from the months of June and July of this year. And it filed its lawsuit in October, which can be read here.
The Columbia Police Officers’ Association is a private organization that is not part of the Columbia Police Department although the majority of the department’s officers are members.
However, the organization is not a police labor union, even though it is lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Missouri is a right-to-work state and thus does not have collective bargaining. Instead, the police association provides legal services to officers of the Columbia Police Department in the event that an officer is sued or is on trial in need of a defense attorney.
On September 22, the police association submitted a records request for copies of all completed morale questionnaires submitted to the city manager by Columbia Police Department officers.
Earlier that month,

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Senate and House not that different, Joe Negron says

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Senate President Joe Negron said his approach to budgeting isn’t that different from fellow Republican and House Speaker Richard Corcoran.
Negron
Negron met with reporters Tuesday after he officially became president during the Legislature’s biennial Organization Session.
In sweeping changes to the House’s traditional way of doing business, Corcoran said senators would need House sponsors for special spending requests, such as hometown projects, often derided as “turkeys.”
But Negron, who along with Corcoran is a former Appropriations chair, said he “would encourage senators to find someone in the House” to support a budget item, and “we’ve always done that,” he said.
“The chances of an appropriation surviving this process are higher if both chambers are doing it,” said Negron, a Stuart Republican.
He also suggested those who lobby the Legislature for appropriations for paying clients have as much of a First Amendment right to cajole lawmakers as residents who seek money to build a senior center.
“The Capitol … should always be open for comment,” Negron said. ” … I believe that lobbyists and others and constituents have every right to redress grievances and to work in the process. And I believe all of us have a responsibility, myself included, to get information from many different sources to make a decision about voting and on budget decisions.”
The Senate this week adopted internal rules that do not contain the same strict provisions of the House regarding lawmakers’ interaction with lobbyists.
The House, for instance, even forbids members from looking at text messages from lobbyists while they are sitting in committee or a floor session.
“I think the spirit is the same: We all want to operate in a way that would make our constituents proud,” Negron said. “I think both Speaker Corcoran and I agree that we should be held to the highest standard.”
The post Senate and House not that different, Joe Negron says

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Pennsylvania Governor Vetoes Bill that Would have Illegalized Release of Names of Cops who Kill in Line of Duty

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Pennsylvania politicians tried their best to pass a law making it illegal to release the names of cops who shoot citizens that result in death of “seriously bodily harm” for at least 30 days from the incident or until an investigation is completed.
The bill sailed through both the house and the senate with legislators on both sides of the political spectrum saying it was important to hide the identities of cops who kill for their own safety – even though there has not been any documented cases of killer cops being retaliated against for their actions.
But the bill was vetoed earlier today by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf in the name of government transparency.
Thank you, Governor Wolf. You did the right thing.
Read Wolf’s letter here explaining his situation.
The bill was introduced last year by Representative Martina White, a republican, in response to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey’s decision to release the names of officers who shoot or kill within 72 hours.
In October, after the bill sailed through both houses, it appeared as if Wolf might sign it in order not to come across as a “cop hater.”
According to a Philly Mag article from last month:
If House Bill 1538 becomes law, officials – with the exception of the state attorney general’s office and the district attorney’s offices – could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor if they share the name of an officer involved in an incident that has resulted in death or “serious bodily injury” when a gag order has been issued.
The bill has been heavily criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union, which called it “a policy that will heighten tensions between the police and the communities they serve” and “completely tone deaf to the needs of communities that are impacted by police brutality.”
And the ACLU was correct in asserting that

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Philadelphia Cops Threaten to Seize Man’s Phone for Recording them Arresting Other Men

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Philadelphia cops were arresting two men on a darkened street when one of the men called out to a passing bicyclist, asking him to record the interaction.
The cyclist, Jean-Jacques Gabriel, wasted no time in stopping his bike, pulling out his smart phone and video recording on Facebook Live.
The cops then began harassing him with their usual bullying routine of accusing him of obstructing traffic, even though Gabriel was standing across the street on his bike in a bike lane.
When Gabriel continued recording, the cops then threatened to confiscate the phone as “evidence,” which is another tiresome routine that cops still use, even though the law is very clear that they are only allowed to confiscate cameras under exigent circumstances, meaning they would need to have a reasonable suspicion that the person with the camera is going to delete the footage.
Destroying cameras and deleting footage is what cops do once they confiscate video of questionable arrests, which is why it’s best never to hand over the camera under these circumstances.
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The Philadelphia cop, who identified himself as “Ortega,” badge 2418, was in street clothes with a badge around his neck, and was very cocksure about his right to seize the man’s phone.
But Gabriel was even more confident about his rights to not hand over his phone, so he refused to do so, asking Ortega for a supervisor.
Gabriel remained calm, speaking truths, while the cop remained high-strung, spouting lies about him having to hand the phone over.
At one point, Gabriel informed him that he was recording on Facebook Live, a function that allows users to live stream video on their Facebook timelines.
And it was that mention of Facebook Live that the cop stopped harassing Gabriel for his phone, leaving us with

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PINAC’s Executive Director Sues Miami Beach Mayor over Social Media Censorship

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Like most politicians, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine campaigned on a platform of promising better transparency to his constituents.
And like most politicians, he proved to be a liar.
But unlike most politicians, he is being sued over his broken promise.
The lawsuit, which you can read here, was filed by Photography is Not a Crime’s very own Grant Stern, nonetheless.
Stern, who is PINAC’s Executive Director, filed his lawsuit Monday after Levine blocked him from the mayor’s official Twitter account over the summer, then deleted a comment from the mayor’s official Facebook account before blocking Stern from that page as well.
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Stern then filed a public records request, asking for the mayor’s Facebook block list, but was told by a city attorney that the list is not public record.
But the list is long from what we’re gathering, an ever-growing list that includes dozens of people who have criticized the mayor’s policies at one point or another since taking office in 2013.
And lately, those criticisms have been piling up, especially this year after he was found to be underplaying the number of confirmed Zika cases on Miami Beach as well as the revelation that the city of Miami Beach was pumping sewer-infested water into Biscayne Bay.
But judging by the mayor’s tightly controlled social media pages, everything is fine and dandy on Miami Beach, which is the fourth largest municipality in Miami-Dade County, but the most popular tourist designation, especially its South Beach neighborhood.
The democratic mayor’s Facebook page is filled with photos of himself posing with Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Tim Kaine, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Cuban – all whom he is sure to tag – so he obviously doesn’t want them seeing the growing dissent in his community.
It’s just not good for business.
But neither

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Massachusetts Police Refuse to Disclose How Much it Paid Lawyers to Fight Release of Brutality Video

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

On May 7, 2014, Anthony Ferrier was viciously beaten by a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police detective inside a subway station in Boston, and the entire incident was captured by one of the agency’s surveillance cameras—but the public wouldn’t know the truth for nearly a year.
Instead, the public “learned” in the immediate aftermath of the incident that Detective Sean Conway had heroically saved Ferrier from committing suicide; that Conway’s behavior was, in the words of then-MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan, “tremendous.” Conway even claimed that Ferrier—who suffered multiple facial fractures at the detective’s hands—had thanked him.
The MBTA actually posted some of the video on YouTube, but the beating was edited out. The video does show Conway grabbing Ferrier, who was intoxicated at the time, as he is about to fall onto the subway tracks. But according to David Milton, a lawyer who helped Ferrier obtain the full video, the MBTA’s suicide narrative might not even be true. Milton said that while he wasn’t sure exactly what Ferrier was thinking, the video suggested that he “lost his balance out of surprise when approached by Conway.”
To get the unedited video, Milton sent a public records request to the MBTA. But the agency refused to provide it, claiming it would reveal confidential law enforcement techniques and the MBTA’s internal deliberations. In October 2014, Milton sued the MBTA, which continued to fight the video’s release, even hiring the law firm Seyfarth Shaw to help with the defense. Eventually, the agency relented and agreed to release the video, which Milton’s law firm published in March 2015.
Even then, the MBTA stood by Conway, claiming the detective’s “quick and decisive actions saved a man’s life.” Richard Sullivan, who is now superintendent of the MBTA police, said, “After careful review of the incident by our Use of

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WATCH: LAPD Releases Video Footage from Carnell Snell Police Shooting Showing him Holding Gun

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Los Angeles police released surveillance video from the moments before they shot and killed an 18-year-old man Saturday, showing him wielding a gun.
However, the video does not capture the actual shooting of Carnell Snell, Jr., one of four police shooting deaths in Southern California within a week that sparked protests.
And the word on the street is that Snell ditched the gun as he was being chased.
But LAPD said he turned towards them with the gun in his hand, making them fear for  their lives. And that the gun was found less than five feet from his body.
Whether that’s true or not, the police narrative will be bolstered by the video, which shows Snell pulling a gun out of his waistband and holding it in his left hand as he crouches behind a car before appearing to place it back into his waistband as he continues running.
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The video shows him turning into an alleyway with a cop running behind him. The video contains no audio.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said he chose to release the video in the name of transparency, but that only prompted activists to wonder why hasn’t he released countless other videos that are said to be under investigation.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
Local activists said Beck’s decision shows the department can release footage quickly without impacting an investigation and undercuts the agency’s routine refusal to release video in connection with controversial uses of force. Beck, along with other law enforcement leaders, has said he generally opposes releasing body camera footage, expressing concerns about violating privacy and possibly interfering with investigations.
“Now it just knocks out the rationale that police officials, LAPD officials, have for not releasing video,” said Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a civil rights advocate and

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