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Old 07-09-2013, 12:28 AM   #1
Dennis Hultman
Police seize homes, arrest owners to investigate neighbor

http://www.dailypaul.com/291788/laws...ment-violation

Quote:
Lawsuit: Police seize homes, arrest owners to investigate neighbor

A family is suing the city of Henderson, Nevada for violating their Third Amendment rights — the constitutional prohibition against quartering soldiers in a private home during peacetime without the owner’s consent.

The Mitchell family says that’s essentially what happened when Henderson police allegedly arrested them for refusing to let officers use their homes for a “tactical advantage” in a domestic violence investigation into a neighbor, according to an official complaint.

Police officers contacted Anthony Mitchell on July 10, 2011, with a request to use his house as a lookout while investigating his neighbor. When Mitchell told police that he did not wish to be involved, the complaint alleges, police decided they would use the residence anyway.
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013...ird-amendment/

Quote:

A Nevada family is using a rare legal argument in a lawsuit claiming police tried to commandeer their homes for a surveillance operation and then arrested the homeowners for resisting -- invoking the Third Amendment, which bars soldiers from being "quartered" in a residence without permission.

The Mitchell family, in a lawsuit filed July 1, detailed the incident from July 10, 2011. According to the complaint, it all began when the Henderson city police called Anthony Mitchell that morning to say they needed his house to gain “tactical advantage” in a domestic violence investigation in the neighborhood.

The situation turned ugly when Mitchell refused repeated requests to leave and police smashed through the door, the 18-page complaint states.

Mitchell alleges the police, upon entering his home, forced him to the floor at gunpoint, then shot him and his “cowering” dog with a few rounds of pepper-spray pellets. Police then allegedly handcuffed and arrested Mitchell in connection with “obstructing a police officer” before occupying his home.

It didn’t end at Anthony Mitchell’s house in suburban Las Vegas, the complaint continues. That same day, the officers also took over the home of Mitchell’s parents, Linda and Michael Mitchell, who live in the same neighborhood and are named as plaintiffs.

The police department declined Monday to comment on the case when reached by FoxNews.com, leaving the matter to the court should the case go to trial.

However, the more compelling questions appear to focus on whether the Third Amendment strategy can work, considering the courts would have to consider the police officers as soldiers.

The amendment states: "No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

“I’m confident the Mitchells have a good case,” said Frank Cofer, a partner in the firm Cofer, Geller & Durham LLC representing the plaintiffs.

Cofer told FoxNews.com that what struck him about the case was the officers’ use of military-style tactics.

“And after entering the houses, they drank water, ate food, enjoyed the air conditioning,” he said. “That struck me as quartering.”

The suit alleges that, at the parents' house, police lured Michael Mitchell from his home to a nearby “command center” by saying they needed him to get the neighbor involved in the domestic violence case to surrender. When officers began to backpedal, Mitchell eventually attempted to leave, which resulted in him being handcuffed and eventually charged with obstructing an officer.

Police then returned to Mitchells' house where they allegedly yanked wife Linda from the premises after she refused to let them in without a warrant.

She was not arrested, and police have dropped all charges against the family.

However, the Mitchells are still suing for an undisclosed sum, saying their rights as citizens were violated under the Third Amendment -- as well as the Fourth and 14th amendments -- and that the incident resulted in physical injury, malicious destruction of property and “extreme emotional distress.”

Anthony and Michael also had to pay a bond to secure their release, the suit alleges.

John Yoo, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley’s law school, wasn't so sure about the family's argument. He said the Mitchells may have claims under other federal and state laws “but their chances are very, very low on the Third Amendment.”

Yoo, a visiting scholar for the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute and former Justice Department official, told FoxNews.com the most difficult challenge for them is that there were no "soldiers" in their house, before the court gets into the question of whether "quartering" occurred.

“Local police on law enforcement missions are not soldiers,” he said. But “Nevada should compensate the Mitchells’ for the temporary use of their home and for any damages caused in the operation.”

Among those named in the suit are the city of Henderson, the city police department, the police chief, five officers and the North Las Vegas Police Department.

The suit also alleges both police departments “developed and maintained policies and/or customs exhibiting deliberate indifference to the Constitutional rights of United States citizens, which caused the violations of the plaintiffs’ rights.”
 
Old 07-09-2013, 01:27 AM   #2
Clay Davenport
I just got finished reading about this case and am genuinely appalled. I'm not entirely sure they will succeed with the third amendment violation claim, but there are 12 separate charges listed in the court filing, the rest of which should definitely stick as gross violations of their civil rights.

I hope a jury awards this family with the maximum monetary compensation and every offending officer be fired as well as prosecuted where applicable.
In all probability though the family will be intimidated, perhaps thrown a little hush money and the entire episode swept under the rug.
This SWAT team is an absolute disgrace to their profession as more and more of them are beginning to be.
 
Old 07-09-2013, 03:08 AM   #3
Dennis Hultman
Quote:
I just got finished reading about this case and am genuinely appalled.
Appalled here as well.
 
Old 07-09-2013, 03:18 AM   #4
Dennis Hultman
I find myself feeling that way about incidences that happen on almost a daily basis now. There needs a big dose of common sense injected into every aspect of life.
 
Old 07-16-2013, 11:34 AM   #5
Clay Davenport
College Girls, Bottled Water and the Emerging American Police State

Since this thread is essentially about out of control law enforcement, I thought I'd add this one here.
This is becoming an almost daily occurrence with LEOs somewhere over stepping their authority, brutalizing citizens, or otherwise ignoring the entire concept of "protect and serve".
And they wonder why regular citizens are more and more prone to dislike and distrust the uniform.

http://www.theblaze.com/contribution...-police-state/

Quote:
What do college girls and bottled water have to do with the emerging American police state? Quite a bit, it seems.

Public outcry has gone viral over an incident in which a college student was targeted and terrorized by Alcohol Beverage Control agents (ABC) after she purchased sparkling water at a grocery store. The girl and her friends were eventually jailed for daring to evade their accosters, who failed to identify themselves or approach the young women in a non-threatening manner.

What makes this particular incident significant (other than the fact that it took place in my hometown of Charlottesville, Va.) is the degree to which it embodies all that is wrong with law enforcement today, both as it relates to the citizenry and the ongoing undermining of our rule of law. To put it bluntly, due in large part to the militarization of the police and the equipping of a wide range of government agencies with weaponry, we are moving into a culture in which law enforcement officials have developed a sense of entitlement that is at odds with the spirit of our Constitution—in particular, the Fourth Amendment.

The incident took place late in the evening of April 11, 2013. Several University of Virginia college students, including 20-year-old Elizabeth Daly, were leaving the Harris Teeter grocery store parking lot after having purchased a variety of foodstuffs for an Alzheimer’s Association sorority charity benefit that evening, including sparkling water, ice cream and cookie dough, when they noticed a man staring at them as they walked to their car in the back of the parking lot.

According to a local newspaper account:

Daly said she and her friends were “terrified” when a man and woman in street clothes began knocking on her car windows in the darkened Harris Teeter parking lot… When Daly slipped her keys into the ignition to crack the windows, a male agent yanked at the door handle, banged on the window and yelled at the women to exit the vehicle… When he began to yell, other men positioned themselves around the car and the woman yelled at Daly to “go, go go,” court records state. One drew a gun. Another jumped onto the hood of the car as Daly and her friends dialed 911 to report the incident, according to the records. The women apologized repeatedly minutes later when they stopped for a car with lights and sirens on, prosecutors said. Daly’s passenger said she was handcuffed without explanation and did not get one until a Charlottesville police officer arrived.

“They were showing unidentifiable badges after they approached us, but we became frightened, as they were not in anything close to a uniform,” stated Daly. “I couldn’t put my windows down unless I started my car, and when I started my car they began yelling to not move the car, not to start the car. They began trying to break the windows. My roommates and I were … terrified.”

It wasn’t until police arrived with flashing sirens and lights that Elizabeth finally learned the identity of her attackers – they were ABC agents. Likewise, it wasn’t until the arrival of the police that the ABC agents were able to delve into the contents of the girls’ groceries, revealing their suspected contraband to be cans of LaCroix sparkling water.

Despite the fact that Daly and her friends did exactly what any young woman should do when confronted by threatening individuals in a dark parking lot, they were handcuffed and forced to spend the night in jail, with Daly being charged with three felonies—two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer and one count of eluding police—carrying a potential of fifteen years in jail.

In justifying the agents’ actions, ABC officials point to a protocol that relies on agents having “reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause to approach individual(s) they believe have violated the law.”

Either ABC officials are being deliberately disingenuous or they don’t understand that there is a distinct difference between reasonable suspicion and probable cause, the latter of which is required by the Constitution before any government official can search an individual or his property. Then again, this distinction is often overlooked by many law enforcement officials.

In the context of police encounters with citizens in public places, probable cause is required in order for police to conduct surveillance or search an American citizen. The standard of probable cause requires that government agents and/or police have reliable evidence making it probable, i.e., more likely than not, that a crime has been committed by the person to be searched.

Reasonable suspicion, in contrast, requires less in terms of evidence and allows an officer to rely upon his experience and instincts, which, as we have seen, can often be wrong. Yet even at the lowest “reasonable suspicion” standard, an officer must have specific articulable facts supporting his belief that criminal activity is being engaged in – mere hunches or “good faith on the part of the arresting officer” is never sufficient.

While this particular incident did not end in senseless violence, it very easily could have if Daly had confronted her pursuers with any of the legally available non-lethal weapons young women are encouraged to carry today as a defensive measure.

Indeed, as incidents across the nation make clear, law enforcement officials are increasingly responding to challenges to their “authority” by using their weapons. For example, in Long Beach, California, police responded with heavy firepower to a perceived threat by a man holding a water hose. The 35-year-old man had reportedly been watering his neighbor’s lawn when police, interpreting his “grip” on the water hose to be consistent with that of someone discharging a firearm, opened fire. The father of two was pronounced dead at the scene.

These are not isolated overreactions on the part of rogue officers. As I document in my new book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, they are emblematic of a growing tension over the use of militarized police to perform relatively routine tasks, resulting in situations fraught with danger to both civilians and police alike. From full tactical SWAT teams executing no-knock search warrants on the homes of law-abiding citizens over nothing more than a suspicion that the occupant owns a gun to the unlawful arrest and forced institutionalization of decorated military veterans over Facebook posts critical of the government, the events described above are becoming all too familiar in cities and towns across the country.

Moreover, in light of shooting incidents across the country involving unarmed citizens and heavily armed police, increasing numbers of Americans are understandably concerned about whatever factors, whether it’s an arsenal of militarized weapons and an increasing reliance on lethal weapons or insufficient training in nonviolent conflict resolution, are contributing to a seemingly “trigger happy” tendency on the part of some law enforcement officials.

This begs the question, what constitutes a threat to an officer or resisting arrest?

Among the charges levied at Daly were that she allegedly assaulted an officer and attempted to elude police, never mind that the “assault” constituted her car brushing against plainclothes, unidentifiable officers who had been banging on the windows and climbing on her car. It is particularly telling that ABC officials believe “[t]his whole unfortunate incident [involving Daly] could have been avoided had the occupants complied with law enforcement requests.”

The key word here is comply meaning to obey, submit or conform. Increasingly, law enforcement officials operate under the assumption that their word is law and that there is no room for any form of disagreement or even question. Anything short of compliance is now perceived as resistance and a potential threat.

For example, Miami-Dade police slammed a 14-year-old boy to the ground, putting him in a chokehold and handcuffing him after he allegedly gave them “dehumanizing stares” and walked away from them, which the officers found unacceptable. According to Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta, “His body language was that he was stiffening up and pulling away… When you have somebody resistant to them and pulling away and somebody clenching their fists and flailing their arms, that’s a threat. Of course we have to neutralize the threat.”

This mindset that any challenge to police authority is a threat that needs to be “neutralized” is a dangerous one that is part of a greater nationwide trend that sets law enforcement officers beyond the reach of the Fourth Amendment. It also serves to chill the First Amendment’s assurances of free speech, free assembly and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

It’s bad enough that the police now look like the military—with their foreboding uniforms and phalanx of lethal weapons—but they function like them, as well. No longer do they act as peace officers guarding against violent criminals. And no more do we have a civilian police force entrusted with serving and protecting the American people and keeping the peace.

What we are dealing with is a militarized government entity that has clearly lost sight of its overarching duty: to abide by the dictates of the U.S. Constitution and act as public servants in service to the taxpayers of this country rather than commanders directing underlings who must obey without question.
 
Old 07-16-2013, 01:17 PM   #6
JColt
Hoping they make a pretty penny and some lost jobs.
 

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