Tag Archives: Police

Tunisian Rappers Sentenced for Song “Police Are Dogs”

On Monday, Tunisian rappers Ala Yaacoubi, known as “Weld El 15″, and Ahmed Ben Ahmed, known as “Klay BBJ”, were sentenced to twenty-one months in prison. They were convicted of insulting the police and undermining public decency after their performance at a concert in Hammamet on August 22.

Ala Yaacoubi is a Tunisian rapper well-known for his criticism of the police. (Photo Courtesy of AFP)

The court’s ruling was in absentia. According to the rappers’ defense lawyer, Ghazi Mrabet, the two artists were never summoned to appear.

“We are surprised by this verdict…Our clients have not been summoned for trial as it is stipulated by law,” Mrabet told the private radio station Mosaique FM.

Following the concert, the artists were detained by police and questioned before being released. Mrabet added that his clients were physically assaulted by police during the detainment and that a doctor had documented Yaacoubi’s injuries.

In June, Yaacoubi made headlines when he was convicted of insulting police and sentenced to two years for his song “Police Are Dogs” (Boulicia Kleb). The anti-police song has a music video that has a montage of police beatings. After outrage from human rights and censorship groups, Yaacoubi had his sentenced reduced to six months and suspended.

The authorities have accused Yaacoubi and Ahmed of performing “Police Are Dogs” at the August 22 concert.

Both rappers are  in hiding while they await the appeal process, despite demands to turn themselves in. Mrabet was adamant that the court’s decision violated free speech and would be appealed. “I will speak to my clients to challenge this ruling, but jail sentences demonstrate that the relentless campaign against artistic freedom, freedom of expression, continues,” said Ghazi Mrabet.

Prime Minister Ali Larayedh denied that freedom of expression is an issue in Tunisia, pointing to Yaacoubi’s June conviction “for inciting hatred and calling for the death of police and magistrates.”

Via Impunity Watch.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, International Justice, Music, World

Men Arrested in Tulsa Shootings

Tulsa Police Department (Oklahoma)

Tulsa Police Department (Oklahoma) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two men were arrested early Sunday in connection with shootings in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that left three people dead and two wounded, authorities say.

The suspects have been identified by the Tulsa Police Department as nineteen-year-old Jake England and thirty-two-year-old Alvin Watts.

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ACLU: Police Use Cellphone Tracking without Warrants

mobile phone masts

mobile phone masts (Photo credit: osde8info)

Law enforcement tracking of cellphones has become a powerful tool for police, with hundreds of departments using it with little or no court oversight.

The practice has become big business for cellphone companies, with a handful of carriers marketing a catalog of “surveillance fees” to police departments to find a suspect’s location, trace phone calls and texts, or provide other services.

The police call phone tracing a valuable weapon in emergencies like child abductions and suicide calls and investigations in drug cases and murders.

Civil liberties advocates say cell tracking raises legal and constitutional questions, particularly when the police act without judicial orders. Many departments require warrants to use phone tracking in nonemergencies, but some claim broad discretion to get the records on their own, according to internal records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union from 205 police departments.

The documents open a window into a cloak-and-dagger practice that police officials are wary about discussing. The A.C.L.U. documents show that the practice is in much wider use than officials have acknowledged.

The issue has taken on new legal urgency in light of a Supreme Court ruling in January finding that a Global Positioning System tracking device placed on a suspect’s car violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches. While the ruling did not involve cellphone, it raised questions about the standards for cellphone tracking.

Via The New York Times.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, National, Technology

What Will It Take to Fight the Gun Lobby?

Law enforcement officers investigate the crime...

Law enforcement officers investigate the crime scene on January 8. Photo by Steve Karp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the wake of the Tucson massacre, you would have thought we could have a dialogue about extended magazine clips, which were illegal until George Bush let the assault weapons law expire in 2004. There is no reason any non-law enforcement would need such a weapon.

Here we are again, and we can’t even review the “Stand Your Ground” law, which was misapplied by the Sanford Police Department. If the police work under the misconception that the law means you can shoot anyone and claim self-defense and they can’t arrest you, can’t we admit that we have a problem?

What will it take?

There is no tragedy big enough to push back against the NRA. What’s to stop another tragedy like this? What comfort can citizens take when the police misapply the law or have been misled

about its intentions and nuances?

The co-sponsor of the law said that it does not prohibit the police from arresting George Zimmerman, but he derided the notion that it needed to be reviewed.

This law fell down in its writing, passage, and implementation. It is misused and was written poorly to allow such misuse, but we can’t get a review of it.

Of course, there will be the usual screams about the second amendment, as if that were the only right granted to us and as if it were the only sacred amendment.

What about Trayvon Martin, Gabby Giffords, Christina Taylor Green, and many more? What about their rights? Are we going to swallow that the second amendment is so precious that we can’t discuss reviewing a gun law?

It is not so sacred that it should never be weighed against the other rights of citizens. Furthermore, gun rights do not grant the right to be a vigilante. No one has that right; and to argue so is to stand against the rule of law.

If someone is against the rule of law, they can hardly take honest refuge in the second amendment.

Via Politicus USA.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Law, Sick Sad World

75% of Americans Think Trayvon’s Killer Should Be Arrested

Three in four Americans think police should arrest George Zimmerman after the shooting of Trayvon Martin one month ago, according to a CNN/ORC poll.

In the same survey, only about one in four felt that neighborhood watch members should carry guns, but a little more than half approved of “stand your ground” laws.

Mr. Martin was walking to his father’s fiancée’s home in a gated Sanford, Florida, community, when neighborhood watch volunteer Mr. Zimmerman shot the unarmed teen. He has not been charged. The U.S. Department of Justice and Florida officials have launched investigations into the shooting.

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Filed under Civil Rights, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist, Polls, Sick Sad World

Police Chief in Trayvon Martin Case Steps Down

View of Park Avenue, Sanford, Florida

View of Park Avenue, Sanford, Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The police chief in Sanford, Florida, says he is temporarily stepping aside because his role in the Trayvon Martin case has become a “distraction.”

Bill Lee’s announcement came a day after the Sanford City Commission gave him a no-confidence vote over his handling of the teenager’s fatal shooting.

Justice Department officials planned to meet with the parents of Mr. Martin, who was unarmed when he was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer last month. The federal agency has launched a civil rights investigation into the case.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist, Sick Sad World

Police Pepper Sprays Student at School

In a Birmingham, Alabama high school, a girl named Gloria turned around to face a boy who pushed her. When she went up to her attacker, a police officer stationed in the school pulled her from behind and shot her with pepper spray directly in her face.

Gloria’s mom, LaTonya Stearns, said seeing her daughter after she was pepper-sprayed was “like a nightmare.” “I couldn’t believe how red and swollen her face was,” she said.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, nearly 200 other Birmingham students have been pepper-sprayed by police officers in the last five years. They’ve been unable to find any other school system that allows pepper spray use this often.

Ms. Stearns thinks it’s ridiculous that Birmingham schools allow police officers to use pepper spray on students, so she wants to work with her city’s mayor to change the policy. She started a petition asking Birmingham’s Mayor to work with police and school officials to stop pepper-spraying students. Click here to add your name.

After she was pepper-sprayed, Gloria’s face was red, swollen, and covered in welts for days. The welts turned into black scabs that didn’t go away for weeks. It hurt to wash her face, as water made the pain worse. She soon refused to come out of her room.

Birmingham’s use of pepper spray against students is not a secret to the city’s mayor, school board, and police department. Local media have reported on the city’s trend, but city officials have yet to respond with a way to stop the pepper spray attacks on students.

Ms. Stearns wants to work with Birmingham’s mayor, city council, and school officials to make sure that Birmingham students no longer have to fear being attacked by police officers in schools.

 

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Filed under Education, Sick Sad World