Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cops Charged After Botched Pot Raid

You hear this kind of stuff all the time but this is especially blatant. Cops decide to help themselves to a persons personal property without any justification whatsoever.

Raiding someones house and finding a negligible amount of marijuana does not allow government employees a right to plunder everything they can from a suspect's home.

The war on drugs is truly a war on our rights.

Here is the story:

Graphic: Action News
The corrupt cops were caught on tape discussing the spoils of their "drug raid" -- which netted a quarter-ounce of marijuana.
​​Two Michigan police officers have been criminally charged after being caught on tape during a botched marijuana raid.

Lt. Luke Davis and Lt. Emmanuel Riopelle face dozens of charges in the case, reports Action News WXYZ. Davis headed the undercover narcotics unit. The indictment alleges that he and the others sold drugs and confiscated goods for personal profit.

The rogue cops were caught on audio tape by a local man, Rudy Simpson, during a pot raid (you can hear the audio at the end of this story). Simpson alleges he was the victim of heavy-handed and unprofessional police tactics during the raid on his home. Of course, it was just business as usual for the cops -- except this time, a tape was rolling.

Photo: Action News
Drug Task Force head Lt. Luke Davis, right, allegedly sold drugs and confiscated goods for personal profit.
​The case centers around Lt. Davis, who now faces corruption charges. The OMNI Drug Task Force, headed by Davis, executed a search warrant on Simpson's Monroe County home in June of 2008. They based the search on an anonymous tip and a single marijuana stem they claimed they found in his garbage.

When the cops busted in, Rudy's band was practicing in his basement recording studio.

What the dumb-ass police didn't know is that the microphones were on, and everything was being recorded.

"They have a recording studio? What the fuck," said one cop.

"I hope they're not mixing," said another.

But they were mixing, and the two clueless cops take turns (badly) singing on the microphone, unaware that their "performance" is being recorded.

While those cops were goofing in the basement, Rudy, his friend Jeremy and members of the band were taken upstairs, where Lt. Davis and other task force members were tossing the house.

They said they were shocked by the behavior of the police.

"Very unprofessional, almost thuggish," Simpson said. "I felt violated, and almost like it was a game to them."

The cops were "going in the kitchen cabinets, eating cookies," said Simpson's friend. "Going in the refrigerator, eating stuff out of the refrigerator.

"It was very unprofessional," he said.

And what did these big, tough "Drug Task Force" cops find? Only a quarter-ounce of marijuana, 12 tiny sprouts in a pot which they claimed were marijuana, and half of a pain pill -- for which Rudy later produced a prescription.

The men said the cops seemed more interested in Rudy's costly music equipment than in the scant amount of marijuana they found.

"Basically what I heard them talking about is what equipment, what materialistic stuff they could take out of my house," Simpson said. "It seems like ... that they were just trying to figure out what they could come out of here with."

"At least a quarter-ounce here; he's gonna give us a chance to frickin' take all this stuff, according to Luke," one of the cops is heard saying on the tape.

The police wound up stealing, I mean "confiscating" three pages' worth of stuff from the home, including a generous helping of Rudy's personal property: a 52-inch flat-screen TV, a DVD player, two computers, a camera and a bunch of DVDs.

Under the law, police are only supposed to confiscate property that was purchased with money earned from drug sales.

"Where was there evidence that you were distributing or selling drugs?" asked Action News investigator Scott Lewis.

"There was none," said Simpson. "There was no sales, there was no undercover cops. There was nothing on paper ... it was basically an anonymous tip, they said."

The corruption charges surrounding Lt. Davis raise serious questions, according to Action News, not only about the thuggish conduct of the officers but also about Michigan's drug forfeiture laws.

A report from a civil liberties group called The Justice Institute grades the forfeiture laws of each state. Michigan gets a "D minus."

In Michigan, cops can seize your property with nothing more than "probable cause," and they are well aware of this. They don't need any proof beyond a reasonable doubt, as they do in many other states.

They can even take your property without charging you with any crime! And as Action News learned, that's what apparently happened.

Rudy Simpson was charged for the quarter-ounce of marijuana and half a pain pill, even though he had a prescription for the pill. Simpson had another marijuana charge from years ago, and he said the prosecutor was playing hardball.

"You either take the charge for half a Lorcet (from the prescription I had) or we're gonna hit you as a habitual, and you're looking at prison time for a quarter ounce of weed," he said.

Simpson, believing he had no choice, pleaded guilty and did some time in a halfway house. He said he decided to come forward with his story after he heard Action News was investigating the Luke Davis corruption case.

Rudy said the OMINI Narcotics crew also took $400 cash and a gold ring that was never even listed on the search warrant return. That allegation, of course, was denied by the prosecutor in court records.

Expect this to keep happening until you get sick enough of it to do something.

Tags: caught on tape,michigan,raid

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cyber Vigalantes/Hacktivists: Good or Bad?

This is a question that seems to be going around the country lately. With Anonymous completely owning security firm HBGary by releasing all their private emails to the world, several illegal plots were discovered. These are discussed further in depth in the article.

Revealing this is definitely a benefit to the public good especially since these corporations provide services to the Federal Government. But in the end, does having groups of vigilantes with different agendas lead to a better world? I personally think its greater. Anything spreading information and encouraging transparency is a good thing.

Anyway, heres the article. Tell me what you think:

Should we cheer or fear cyber vigilantes like Anonymous?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Best Internet Connection

I ran across this article not to long ago. The summary of the story is that the Federal government did a study and created a map of internet connections throughout the country. It is useful for a couple different reasons, like showing how far we are behind the rest of the developed world in terms of internet connectivity. But it has other uses as well.

You can actually use it to find the best internet connection in your area. All the isps promise the world but never deliver. With this tool you can find the one that is the most likely to get you decent speeds.

Anyway, let me know what you think. I think this is going to save my ass when my contract expires with ShitBC.

How-to find the fastest wireless carrier or wired Internet where you live and work

February 23, 2011 —

Getting the best performance and coverage is a key part of choosing a wireless carrier. Yes, there are plenty of other important questions to consider. What phones, smartphones, tablets, USB modems, netbooks, or MiFi cards are available? What individual, family, and business plans are available? Is data use unlimited, pay-per-GB, or throttled after a cap has been reached? What are the international roaming charges?
Whether your phone or device will get coverage where you live, work, and frequently travel, however, is paramount. All the other decisions are secondary.

Up till now, all consumers have really had access to is the coverage maps that carriers provide. Most carriers do a decent job of including zip code and city/town locators that give relatively granular answers to whether or not a given location has coverage (as opposed to just showing a giant national or regional map on a brochure). They also typically illustrate where coverage is limited to voice and 2G data versus 3G or 4G.
What carriers don’t show is how well their data service performs in any given area where they have coverage. Sure, I can look at Verizon's site, for example, and see where 3G/EVDO coverage is and which metropolitan areas I can get 4G/LTE coverage (LTE is a great many miles from where I live in the Adirondack mountains of NY, by the way). What I can't see is how fast the 3G service around my house is likely to be. At best, I can ask my neighbors for their experience, provided they use the same carrier or even use a smartphone or other data-intensive device.
Thankfully, this state of affairs is no longer the case. In order for the FCC to tackle its mandate to create the National Broadband Plan, it had to get accurate information about the state of wired and wireless broadband access across the country. It needed to conduct a broadband census, if you will. Not only did the agency do that, it did it to a very granular level of detail. Then it put that information online for everyone to access. The result is the National Broadband Map.
The National Broadband Map has all manner of interesting statistics and information that you can view. For example, you can see which parts of the U.S. have access to varying types of high speed Internet and at what speeds each operates.
More importantly, you can enter and city/town, zip code, or address in the country and see what the average wired and wireless speed for broadband Internet access is at that location. The best part for consumers is that you can also see the average speeds for every wireless carrier's data service in that spot. That shows you not just if you have data coverage from a carrier, but how fast it is likely to be – and since you see every available carrier, it's a great comparison shopping tool.
Of course, since you can see wired Internet access options as well, it's equally great for choosing the fastest wired Internet connection. You may even find that there are wired providers you didn't even know about.
There are a couple of caveats, of course.
One is that the you see speed but not price. That means the average or potential speeds you see may be speeds you need to pay more to get (particularly for wired access, which is usually priced based on connection speed).
Another is that only the wireless carriers that own the towers and spectrum are listed. Any companies that rely on another carrier's network won't be listed. Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile, for example, won't appear because they use Sprint's network (though the Sprint information will apply to them). You may need to do a little homework if you don't see certain carriers to discover who's network they use.
Whatever opinions you might have about the FCC or the National Broadband Plan and its mandate, you have to acknowledge that the agency and program has created an immensely valuable tool for every American consumer.
Ryan Faas writes about personal technology for ITworld. Learn more about Faas' published works and training and consulting services at Follow him on Twitter @ryanfaas.

Sunday, February 27, 2011