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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Portantino Late Convert To Openness Issue | CalWatchDog

Can justice be served when police commit crimes in CA? Or, Portantino may look heroic to the taxpayers now for standing up to Perez and the Democratic leadership in the Legislature over secrecy of the personal bugets, but those budgets are chump change and his actions that secured unparalleled secrecy for police accused or suspected of committing a crime are proving dramatically harmful to the ...civil liberties and due process of Californians. A powerful hard hitting opinion by Steven Greenhut. Here are a few excerpts: "...Portantino [was involved] in 2008 over perhaps the most significant open-records issue the state has faced in decades. Portantino was working at the behest of the police unions to keep information quiet about abusive police officers following the Copley Press v. Superior Court of San Diego County decision.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, “In that case … the court prohibited public disclosure of personnel records of a sheriff’s deputy appealing his discipline...


Click to read the article.

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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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