Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Top 10 things to do until Scandal returns on Janurary 29, 2015

This blog is the lighter side of life - - for those Gladiators who watch Scandal  - - it's on winter break until January 29, 2015.  So, I have complied a top 10 things to do to keep you occupied while you go through "Liv-withdrawal". 

10.  Buy a Olivia Pope suit.

9.   Tell you family that you will "fix" the problem. 

8.   Decide on your next text message if you are willing to answer your significant other or not.

7.  Tell your spouse to buy a piano - - and use it for one thing. 

6.   Have dinner out with your father.

5.   Call your husband, Jake of Fitz

4.  Call your wife Liv

3.  Place mug shots on your wall and analyze them

2.  Look at yourself in the mirror and say "I'm a gladiator and I can fix anything".

1.  Call your computer whiz, Huck,. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa everyone. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What to do (and NOT do) when you are stopped by police.

Nobody likes to be stopped by police but it will happen one way or another.  But if you are stopped by a police officer for any reason - - with or without known cause, you have rights under the laws and the police officer has rights.  Before I elaborate on what to do and not do during a police stop, let's look at Terry v. Ohio or what is known as the "Terry Stop"  which allows a police officer to stop an individual(s) and perform an outer clothing "pat down" if the officer reasonably believes that individual actually poses a threat to anyone - - whether the officer sees the signs of the threat (pacing back and forth in front of a bank, or wearing a winter coat on a hot July day).  A stop can also take place when citizens report the suspected individual to 911, even though their suspicions may turn out to be false.  The officer does NOT have the right to search inside an individual's clothing unless the pat down turns up contraband (drugs or a gun) or the individual is arrested for any crime or violation with a valid and verifiable charge. 

  • The police officer cannot compel an individual to empty his pockets, regardless if no pat down took place or nothing turns up after the pat down and the individual has not created an atmosphere where the officer's life is in danger or the individual attempts to flee.
  • The police officer cannot arrest an individual without a valid and verifiable charge.
  • The police officer cannot ask if the person committed an act which requires the officer's visual observation - and the officer didn't observe the act - - such as smoking in a prohibited area.   
  • The police officer must state the reason why the individual was stopped - - not because solely of race, gender, religion or any of the protected classes .
  • The police officer cannot suppress anyone videotaping the stop, not by the person who is briefly detained, not any witnesses to the stop - - as long as the witnesses do not interfere with the officer's legal duties in carrying out said stop. 
  • In a vehicle, the officer CAN search the car and the occupants - - without a warrant - -  if there is reasonable cause the occupants have committed a crime (other than traffic violation) or the officer observes contraband (gun or drugs) in plain view. 
  • The police officer(s) cannot enter your home unless they have a valid search warrant which matches the residence and purpose of the warrant - - or there is an emergency which requires the officers to enter the premises. 
When you are stopped - - and it's not good when it happens - - you can make the stop as easy for you and the officer(s).

  •  DON'T be belligerent or hostile to the officer - - your chances of getting arrested for anything (even for a nonsense charge) increase tenfold.
  • DON'T walk or run away - - that is automatic ground for the officer to detain you
  • DON"T comply with the officer's request to empty your pockets or open you bag (except where there is public notice that bags may be searched and the search is exclusively to detect explosives or weapons.
  • DON'T interfere with the officer's duties 
  • DON'T ever reach into your pockets when the officer didn't tell you 
  • DO refuse to show your ID unless it's a traffic stop
  • DO be polite to the officer and let him know your constitutional rights
  • DO ask for police ID if plainclothes officers verbally identify themselves without displaying their authorized shields
  • DO videotape the entire stop
  • DO cite the law which legally permits you to do something which the officer tells you that it's illegal.  In the New York City subway system, Section 1050.9(c) of the NYCRR Rules of Conduct shows it's legal for a person to perform non-commercial photography from public areas of the subway system (or from public streets) as long as tripods or other ancillary equipment is not used, nor the photography will interfere with the safe operations of any NYC Transit facility or conveyance (e.g. using flash to take a photo of an approaching train).  However, there have been many incidents where amateur photographers have been harassed by officers - - there is an excellent website Photography Is Not A Crime which posts news and podcasts on anything related to photography and law enforcement. 
  • DO ask to see any witness(es) who reported the individual's likeness (clothing, age, race, height, etc.) when a crime recently took place  
By being polite and cordial to the officer, even if you are in the right, you might be able to walk away happy in most cases.  If you did something illegal (such as smoking in a prohibited area) your politeness may just get you a free pass from the officer, especially if it's your first encounter.  Police officers have a stressful job with lots of uncertainty about whether they can go home each night - - you can make it easier for them.  At the same time, cops have a lawful duty to apply the laws and emergency protocols equally to everyone, and to provide the most professional attitude to the public.  By doing your part in being cordial and amicable to the officer, you can cover yourselves when a high profile incident occurs and you are less likely to be injured or killed by the officer too.   

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Eric Garner and the NYPD, what happened after the chokehold (Warning: Disturbing video content)

Wednesday's "no indictment"  returned by a Staten Island jury against Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who placed a chokehold on Eric Garner on Eric Garner - - who died shortly after the altercation, touched off a firestorm of anger and protests across racial and political lines in New York City and across the nation.  The jury decision comes on the heels of last week's no true bill decision by another grand jury in the Ferguson case - - and nearly 20 years since ex-NYPD officer Francis Livoti placed a deadly chokehold on Anthony Baez in the Bronx (Livoti was cleared on state Manslaughter charges but was later convicted on Federal civil rights violations and sentenced to 7.5 years in prison). 

Now you can take the comments like a grain of salt and say "The cops killed him" or a few like Rep. (R) Peter King saying that Garner was overweight and his obesity contributed to his death along with a crocodile tear jerker "we are sorry for Garner's family" quote.

But the question now lies in not about the chokehold on Garner but how the jury reviewed all of the particulars (evidence, testimony, statements, etc) and concluded that under application of NY State Penal Law, that they could not agree on a true bill against Daniel Pantaleo.  Did the reviewed the video of the chokehold?  Did they also review the video AFTER the chokehold (yes there is another video which shows officers standing around Garner's unconscious body for 5 of the 7 minutes until EMS arrives and they were asking questions to a lifeless Garner - - no CPR, no resuscitation)..

Here is the original video of the events leading up to the chokehold, courtesy of the NY Daily News. - - link in video

And here is the video taken after the chokehold - - you see Garner not responding while one officer holds his cuffed arm - - a pulse is taken and the officer confirms there is no pulse on Garner.  But guess what cops tell the female paramedic/EMT when she arrives, he has a pulse - - and all of the officers stand there doing nothing but control the crowd - - if it was one of their officers, they would put him in a patrol car or  keep calling for the "bus" then rush him to SI University Hospital.

So now, that did the NYPD officers really do?  They treated Garner like a low priority case like he suffered a cold or minor cough instead of treating him like a trauma patient.  This is cold-blooded ignorance at it's worst - if not murder.  The officers left Garner to die instead of trying CPR at least. It doesn't matter about Garner not cooperating during the arrest (he should have just let the cops cuff him - even if he was in the right), it's how cops treat a unconscious suspect in relation to one of their officers under similar circumstances.

Next blog post:  How to deal with law enforcement on a professional level and knowing your rights.