EMTs Complaint After Cops Punch Mentally Ill Patient For Spitting at Them

NYPD Squad CarThe
latest police brutality reporting from the New York Daily
News
is about an incident that happened July 20, three days
after
Eric Garner
died after being placed in a chokehold by cops from
the New York Police Department (NYPD), and comes not via video but
because of a complaint filed by emergency medical technicians from
the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), who say they had to
intervene when cops got too violent. The Daily News

reports
:

The emotionally disturbed patient was punched multiple times in
the face by the cops on July 20, according to FDNY documents
obtained by The News. The cops only stopped when the EMTs bodily
intervened, the report said.

The violence broke out when the patient spit at the Emergency
Service Unit officers and swore at them. The officers responded by
hitting him in the face, hauling him off the stretcher to the
ground and then tossing him back on the stretcher, the EMTs said in
written statements submitted to the FDNY.

Bill De Blasio insists that “the
law’s the law
,” although that seemingly strict worldview
doesn’t apply to immigration laws—New York remains a sanctuary city
under De Blasio. The police commissioner, Bill Bratton, suggests
people “correct their behavior” when approached by police but the
flurry of news about
police brutality by the NYPD in the wake of Garner’s death suggests
the department, and the city government, ought to think about how
to correct their behavior. 

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Common Core: Is it the Solution Reformers are Hoping For?

“You just cannot unify standards and run roughshod over
what has always been considered a local obligation–which is
schooling,” declares Andrew Ferguson, senior editor
at 
The
Weekly Standard

Ferguson sat down with Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie to
discuss Common Core, why teachers and parents are beginning to sour
on the new rules, and the perpetual nature of education reform.

View this article.

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With 'Operation Torpedo', FBI Malware Infiltrates Dark Web

Just when you thought it was safe to surf the Silk
Road-replacement sites… Wired’s Kevin Poulsen
reported
this week on the FBI
 using hacker-like techniques to track
Tor users, in an effort the agency calls “Operation Torpedo.” So
far the agency says it has only tracked computers accessing
underground child pornography sites. But some privacy advocates
worry that the FBI’s antics could easily be expanded—or already
have. 

Tor is the
software and open network that allows for anonymous web browsing
and accessing the so-called
“dark net”
or “deep web”. It works by bouncing your
communications around a distributed network to effectively keep
your IP address from being linked to your web activity.

In 2012, the FBI busted a Nebraska man, Aaron McGrath, who was
hosting three dark-net child porn sites via three separate servers.
A federal magistrate
gave the FBI permission
to modify the code on these servers to
deliver a malware program to any computers accessing those sites.
The “network investigative technique” (NIT), as the FBI calls it,
allowed the agency to identify IP addresses for these computers and
eventually led to 14 arrests.

While it’s hard to disagree with busting kiddie-porn proponents,
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) technologist Chris Soghoian
said there needs to be “a public debate about the use of this
technology … and whether the criminal statutes that the
government relies on” even permits it.

It’s one thing to say we’re going to search a particular
computer. It’s another thing to say we’re going to search every
computer that visits this website.

Soghoian noted that “the mere act of looking at
child pornography is a crime,” but “you could easily imagine (the
FBI) using this same technology on everyone who visits a jihadi
forum, for example. And there are lots of legitimate reasons for
someone to visit a jihadi forum: research, journalism, lawyers
defending a case.”

Let’s note that these “legitimate reasons” could all apply to
child porn sites, too, even if it may be less likely. In terms of
Jihadi sites: why should anyone need a ‘legitimate reason’ to
visit? Maybe you’re just curious. Maybe you’re thinking of joining
al Qaeda. Until you start engaging in criminal activity or the
planning of it, then the FBI has no right to just up and install
secret spyware on your computer.

Soghoian’s worries over the FBI spying on non-criminal Tor users
may have sounded paranoid until not too long ago. Post Edward
Snowden, they seem not just plausible but likely. 

The National Security Agency (NSA) is admittedly monitoring
servers running TOR—though this week a Department of Defense (DOD)
spokeswoman
said neither the NSA or the DOD
had received personal data on
Tor users during this monitoring. “This particular project was
focused on identifying vulnerabilities in Tor, not to collect data
that would reveal personal identities of users,” she told
Reuters. This particular project…

Reuters also notes that “she did not rule out the FBI or other
agencies obtaining the data.” The FBI declined to comment to the
news agency. The U.S. State
Department, meanwhile, has
 been funding Tor, while the
Russian govenrment
is offering a prize
for cracking the Tor code. 

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With ‘Operation Torpedo’, FBI Malware Infiltrates Dark Web

Just when you thought it was safe to surf the Silk
Road-replacement sites… Wired’s Kevin Poulsen
reported
this week on the FBI
 using hacker-like techniques to track
Tor users, in an effort the agency calls “Operation Torpedo.” So
far the agency says it has only tracked computers accessing
underground child pornography sites. But some privacy advocates
worry that the FBI’s antics could easily be expanded—or already
have. 

Tor is the
software and open network that allows for anonymous web browsing
and accessing the so-called
“dark net”
or “deep web”. It works by bouncing your
communications around a distributed network to effectively keep
your IP address from being linked to your web activity.

In 2012, the FBI busted a Nebraska man, Aaron McGrath, who was
hosting three dark-net child porn sites via three separate servers.
A federal magistrate
gave the FBI permission
to modify the code on these servers to
deliver a malware program to any computers accessing those sites.
The “network investigative technique” (NIT), as the FBI calls it,
allowed the agency to identify IP addresses for these computers and
eventually led to 14 arrests.

While it’s hard to disagree with busting kiddie-porn proponents,
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) technologist Chris Soghoian
said there needs to be “a public debate about the use of this
technology … and whether the criminal statutes that the
government relies on” even permits it.

It’s one thing to say we’re going to search a particular
computer. It’s another thing to say we’re going to search every
computer that visits this website.

Soghoian noted that “the mere act of looking at
child pornography is a crime,” but “you could easily imagine (the
FBI) using this same technology on everyone who visits a jihadi
forum, for example. And there are lots of legitimate reasons for
someone to visit a jihadi forum: research, journalism, lawyers
defending a case.”

Let’s note that these “legitimate reasons” could all apply to
child porn sites, too, even if it may be less likely. In terms of
Jihadi sites: why should anyone need a ‘legitimate reason’ to
visit? Maybe you’re just curious. Maybe you’re thinking of joining
al Qaeda. Until you start engaging in criminal activity or the
planning of it, then the FBI has no right to just up and install
secret spyware on your computer.

Soghoian’s worries over the FBI spying on non-criminal Tor users
may have sounded paranoid until not too long ago. Post Edward
Snowden, they seem not just plausible but likely. 

The National Security Agency (NSA) is admittedly monitoring
servers running TOR—though this week a Department of Defense (DOD)
spokeswoman
said neither the NSA or the DOD
had received personal data on
Tor users during this monitoring. “This particular project was
focused on identifying vulnerabilities in Tor, not to collect data
that would reveal personal identities of users,” she told
Reuters. This particular project…

Reuters also notes that “she did not rule out the FBI or other
agencies obtaining the data.” The FBI declined to comment to the
news agency. The U.S. State
Department, meanwhile, has
 been funding Tor, while the
Russian govenrment
is offering a prize
for cracking the Tor code. 

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Politicians Deny Compensation to Man Wrongfully Incarcerated for 11 Years

BuckleyLooks like Arkansas
politicians don’t like admitting they were wrong, let alone making
up for past mistakes. The Arkansas Project‘s Nic Horton
reports on the story of Gyronne Buckley, who was wrongfully
imprisoned for more than a decade and is now seeking compensation
after the state’s Supreme Court ordered him released. Buckley’s
compensation has been denied so far, and one member of the
legislature even told reporters that the man should consider
himself “blessed” that he was released at all.

The facts of the case,
according to Horton
:

In 1999, Buckley was convicted of two counts of “delivery of a
controlled substance” and sentenced to two consecutive
life sentences
. The Arkansas Supreme Court vacated Buckley’s
sentencing in 2000 and ordered the lower court to resentence him:
the Clark County Circuit Court responded by resentencing him to two
consecutive terms of 28 years.

Buckley was originally convicted based on audio tapes that
allegedly captured conversations of two drug deals between Buckley
and an undercover agent. But — after Buckley had already served
more than a decade in prison — it was discovered that evidence had
been withheld from Buckley’s attorneys by the state during his
initial trial. 

The withheld evidence included significant proof that an
informant’s testimony was unreliable: The informant misremembered
key detail of his accusations against Buckley and was coached by
the police to give the desired answers. One of the undercover
narcotics agents involved in Buckley’s conviction was also found to
have falsified evidence and lied on the stand in another case.

Buckley is now a free man. He should also be compensated for his
time behind bars, which was the result of gross misbehavior on the
part of law enforcement. The claim he put forth was $400,000, which
is about what the average resident of Arkansas would have made over
the course of Buckley’s 11 years behind bars.

The Arkansas Claims Commission approved the amount, but a state
senate committee rejected it. State Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, who
sits on the committee, said Buckley should feel “blessed that [he]
got acquitted on a technicality,” according to the
Democrat-Gazette.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel played a role in
encouraging the legislature to reject the compensation claim—an
unjust outcome, according to Horton.

Buckley will file a lawsuit against the state seeking fair
compensation.

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Connecticut Court Says Cops Can Detain You For Being Near Someone That’s Getting Arrested

Connecticut cops can detain citizens for no
other reason than the suspicion they hold for another person, all
in the name of “officer safety.” According to a recent ruling from
the state’s highest court, if you are in a public place with a
person who the cops want to arrest, they can detain you also—even
if they have no reason to suspect you of doing anything wrong. On
its face the ruling is not all that grandiose, but in a
passionately written dissenting opinion Justice Eveleigh explains
why this verdict tramples on citizens’ Fourth Amendment
rights:

I agree with the majority that the police have a legitimate
interest in protecting themselves. There must be, however, some
restrictions placed on the intent. In my view, there are several
potential unconscionable ramifications to the majority opinion. For
instance, if a suspect with an outstanding warrant is talking to
his neighbor’s family near the property line, can the police now
detain the entire family as part of the encounter with the suspect?
If the suspect is waiting at a bus stop with six other strangers,
can they all be detained?

If the same suspect is observed leaving a house and stopped
in the front yard, can the police now seize everyone in the house
to ensure that no one will shoot them while they question the
suspect? What if the suspect is detained in a neighborhood known to
have a high incident of crime, can the police now seize everyone in
the entire neighborhood to ensure their safety while they detain
the suspect? There simply is no definition of who is a
”companion” in the majority opinion. I would require more than
mere ”guilt by association.” Ever mindful of Franklin’s
admonition, we cannot use the omnipresent specter of safety as a
guise to authorize government intrusion.


As Techdirt.com notes
, such expanded power for the police could
allow them to “use spurious reasons to detain people they just
don’t want around—like
eyewitnesses and photographers.”

The verdict comes from the case
State of Connecticut v. Jeremy Kelly
, where the
defendant was seeking to have evidence thrown out of his trial
because he claims that he was unlawfully detained by police and,
therefore, his fourth amendment right against unreasonable search
and seizure was violated. 

In 2007, Kelly was walking alongside another man into a driveway
when two undercover officers determined that his walking companion
fit the description of a guy they were looking for who had violated
his probation. The officers stopped their car in front of the
driveway, one of them displayed a badge and said, “I’m a police
officer.” The officer then told both men to come over to the
vehicle, even though the cops at that point in time really only had
a particular interest in one of the men. 

Both men did not comply with the officer’s command and
attempted to run away. The cops eventually caught up with the two
of them and that is when they discovered Kelly was carrying
cocaine.

So, he got nine years in prison. And the man that he was with?
He wasn’t the guy police were looking for.

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Bergdahl Finally Telling His Story, Quartet of Gay Marriage Cases Heard, Ebola Deaths Top 900: P.M. Links

  • Oh, hey, remember seven scandals ago?Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is finally
    being interviewed by the Army
    today regarding the manner by
    which he left post in Afghanistan and ended up in the clutches of
    the Taliban five years ago.
  • A panel of federal appeals court judges in Cincinnati is
    hearing arguments about
    four separate states’ gay marriage recognition bans
    today. The
    cases come from Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, and Kentucky.
  • Deaths attributed to the Ebola virus have
    topped 900
    . Saudi Arabia is now investigating a potential
    case.
  • Missouri
    executed its seventh death row inmate
    for the year today. It’s
    the first execution since it took two hours for Arizona to drug a
    guy to death.
  • Everybody is worrying that Russia is going to
    invade Eastern Ukraine
    any minute now, though they’ve been
    worried about this happening for quite some time.
  • The Republican National Committee is
    siding with Uber
    against regulators as a fundraising
    effort.

Follow us on Facebook
and Twitter,
and don’t forget to
sign
up
 for Reason’s daily updates for more
content.

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Brian Doherty on the Latest Progress in ‘Free Cities’ in Honduras

Back in January, the new administration of Honduran President
Juan Orlando Hernandez was hyping the possibility of what
were now officially called Zones for Economic Development and
Employment, or ZEDEs. The concept has been known by many names:
charter cities, LEAP (for “Legal, Economic, Administrative,
Political”) zones, free cities, and startup cities. The
general idea is creating zones within a country that can experiment
with different economic, regulatory, and legal systems than the
rest of the country—with the hope that these innovations might lead
that sector to prosper more than the country at large.

Honduras is—again—a step closer to creating such zones. As
interviews in July with many people involved in the process or
watching it eagerly for signs of real progress showed, it’s still
many steps away from them becoming real. 

It’s not surprising that the kind of radical, perhaps even
desperate, experimentation that ZEDEs represent would get the most
traction not in some place like Switzerland or Sweden, but a place
exactly as troubled as Honduras, as a sort of Hail Mary pass to
create some legal safety and economic sanity.

As Brian Doherty explains, the ZEDE concept has to fight against
local hostility, government corruption, and a possible turn toward
being merely business-friendly and not radically innovative on its
way to reality.

View this article.

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Brian Doherty on the Latest Progress in 'Free Cities' in Honduras

Back in January, the new administration of Honduran President
Juan Orlando Hernandez was hyping the possibility of what
were now officially called Zones for Economic Development and
Employment, or ZEDEs. The concept has been known by many names:
charter cities, LEAP (for “Legal, Economic, Administrative,
Political”) zones, free cities, and startup cities. The
general idea is creating zones within a country that can experiment
with different economic, regulatory, and legal systems than the
rest of the country—with the hope that these innovations might lead
that sector to prosper more than the country at large.

Honduras is—again—a step closer to creating such zones. As
interviews in July with many people involved in the process or
watching it eagerly for signs of real progress showed, it’s still
many steps away from them becoming real. 

It’s not surprising that the kind of radical, perhaps even
desperate, experimentation that ZEDEs represent would get the most
traction not in some place like Switzerland or Sweden, but a place
exactly as troubled as Honduras, as a sort of Hail Mary pass to
create some legal safety and economic sanity.

As Brian Doherty explains, the ZEDE concept has to fight against
local hostility, government corruption, and a possible turn toward
being merely business-friendly and not radically innovative on its
way to reality.

View this article.

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Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales on Censorship of Internet Search Results: ‘History Is a Human Right’

As Scott Shackford
noted
on Monday, enforcement of “the right to be forgotten”
continues apace in the European Union. The Guardian

reports
that as of July 18, Google had received 91,000
requests that it remove links to embarrassing or inconvenient
content from its search results. Those requests become legally
enforceable demands when a country’s privacy protection agency
sides with a complainant, based on a subjective, amorphous standard
established
by the European Court of Justice last May. So far Google has
granted most requests (53 percent) upon receiving them, refused
about a third, and asked for additional information about the rest.
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, who has emerged as a prominent
and passionate critic of this censorship,
condemned it again
today as he released Wikimedia’s first
annual transparency report:

History is a human right, and one of the worst things that a
person can do is attempt to use force to silence another….I’ve
been in the public eye for quite some time. Some people say good
things; some people say bad things…That’s history, and I would
never use any kind of legal process to try to suppress it.

Wales provided
additional information
about 60 or so Wikipedia pages that
Google has agreed not to include in its E.U. search results. Here
are four of them, which are related to four requests:

http://ift.tt/1svb85v
(photo of a guitarist)

http://ift.tt/1zTwqx0
(article about “an Irish criminal, said to have been one of
Ireland’s most successful bank robbers”)

http://ift.tt/1zTwrkw
(article about “a criminal group active in the 70’s in robberies,
kidnappings, drug trafficking and weapons in the northern area
of Milan”)

http://ift.tt/1zTwrky
(article about “a notorious Italian mobster from Milan who was a
powerful figure in the Milanese underworld during the 1970s”)

I found English-language versions of the latter two items, which
is how I know what they’re about. The rest of the pages, all
related to one request, seem limited to the Dutch version of
Wikipedia
. My Dutch is not so good, so I’m not sure what was
offensive about those pages, but they seem to have something to do
with
Guido den Broeder
, whoever that might be.

All of these pages can still be viewed directly at the various
Wikipedia sites, or via non-E.U. versions of Google, so this memory
hole is not very deep. But eliminating the E.U.-directed links
certainly makes the information less accessible, which is the whole
idea. The government-ordered expurgation of search engine results
is an especially insidious and cowardly form of censorship,
stopping short of erasing information completely yet having much
the same impact as far as most Internet users are concerned.

Since search engines are not obligated to disclose censorship
requests to affected individuals or organizations, the full impact
of this policy may never be recognized. “We find this type of
veiled censorship unacceptable,” said Lila Tretikov, executive
director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “But we find the lack of
disclosure unforgivable. This is not a tenable future. We cannot
build the sum of all human knowledge without the world’s true
source, based on pre-edited histories.”

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