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RFK VS. HOFFA: A CLASH OF TITANS: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on December 10, 2014 at 12:10 am

Long ago, in an America increasingly far away….

A young, idealistic attorney named Robert Francis Kennedy declared war on James Riddle Hoffa, the president of the Mafia-dominated International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union.

As chief counsel for the Senate Labor Rackets Committee, Kennedy was appalled at the corruption he discovered among high-ranking Teamster officials.  As he saw it, under Hoffa’s leadership, the union was nothing less than “a conspiracy of evil.”

Robert F. Kennedy as Chief Counsel, Senate Labor Rackets Committee

Hoffa, in turn, held an equally unflattering view of Kennedy.  “A rich punk,” said Hoffa, who didn’t know or care about “the average workingman.”

In 1983, Blood Feud, a two-part TV mini-series, depicted the 11-year animosity between Kennedy and Hoffa.  Although it took some dramatic liberties, its portrayal of the major events of that period remains essentially accurate.

Today, labor unions are a rapidly-vanishing species, commanding far less political influence than they did 50 years ago.  As a result, young viewers of this series may find it hard to believe that labor ever held such sway, or that the Teamsters posed such a threat.

James Riddle Hoffa testifying before the Senate Labor Rackets Committee

And in an age when millions see “Big Government” as the enemy by millions, they may feel strong reservations about the all-out war that Robert F. Kennedy waged against Hoffa.

The series opens in 1957, when Hoffa (Robert Blake) is a rising figure within the Teamsters. Kennedy (Cotter Smith) is chief counsel for the Senate Labor Rackets Committee.

At first, Hoffa tries to ingratiate himself with Kennedy, telling him: “I know everybody who can help me and anybody who can hurt me.”

A wily Hoffa decides to parley Kennedy’s anti-corruption zeal into a path to power for himself.  Via his attorney, Eddie Cheyfitz, he feeds Kennedy incriminating evidence against Dave Beck, president of the Teamsters.

Robert Blake as James Hoffa

Confronted with a Senate subpoena, Beck flees the country–paving the way for Hoffa to assume the top position in the union. Hoffa believes he has solved two problems at once.

With the ousting of Beck, Kennedy should now be satisfied: “He’s got his scalp.  Now he can move on to other things while I run the union.”

But Hoffa has guessed wrong–with fatal results. Realizing that he’s been “played” by Hoffa, a furious Kennedy strikes back.

Cotter Smith as Robert Kennedy

He orders increased surveillance of Hoffa and his topmost associates.  He subpoenas union records and members of both the Teamsters and Mafia to appear before his committee in public hearings.

And he tries to enlist the aid of legendary FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (Ernest Borgnine).  But Hoover wants no part of a war against organized crime, whose existence he refuses to admit.

Meanwhile, Kennedy’s confrontations with Hoffa grow increasingly fierce. In open hearings, Kennedy accuses Hoffa of receiving kickbacks in the name of his wife.  Hoffa damns him for “dirtying my wife’s name.”

Kennedy secures an indictment against Hoffa for hiring a spy to infiltrate the Senate Labor Rackets Committee. He’s so certain of a conviction that he tells the press he’ll “jump off the Capitol building” if Hoffa beats the rap.

But Hoffa’s lawyer, Edward Bennett Williams (Jose Ferrer) puts Kennedy himself on the witness stand.  There he portrays Kennedy as a spoiled rich man who’s waging a vendetta against Hoffa.

Hoffa beats the rap, and offers to send Kennedy a parachute.  But he jokingly warns reporters: “Hey, Bobby, you better have it checked.  I don’t trust myself!”

By 1959, Kennedy’s work as chief counsel for the Senate Labor Rackets Committee is over.  But not his determination to send Hoffa to prison.

Throughout 1960, he manages the Presidential campaign for his brother, John F. Kennedy (Sam Groom).  By a margin of only 100,000 votes, John wins the election.

Hoffa thinks that his troubles are over, that “Bobby” will move on to other pursuits and forget about the Teamsters.

Kennedy moves on to another job–the office of United States Attorney General.  For Hoffa, it’s a nightmare come true.

JFK, needing someone in the Cabinet he can trust completely, browbeats Robert into becoming the the nation’s top cop.

As Attorney General, Kennedy must no longer beg J. Edgar Hoover to attack organized crime.  He can–and does–order him to do so.

Throughout the country, the Mafia feels a new heat as FBI agents plant illegal electronic microphones (“bugs”) in their innermost sanctums.  Agents openly tail mobsters–and sending them to prison in large numbers.

And Kennedy sets up a special unit, composed of topflight prosecutors and investigators, to go after just one man: James Riddle Hoffa.  The press comes to call the “Get Hoffa” squad.

Hoffa continues to beat federal prosecutors in court.  But he believes he’s under constant surveillance by the FBI, and his nerves are starting to give way.

Convinced that the FBI has bugged his office, he literally tears apart the room, hoping to find the bug.  But he fails to do so.

What he doesn’t know is he’s facing a more personal danger–from one of his closest associates.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FIRST THUG FAMILIES OF THE UNITED STATES!

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on December 9, 2014 at 12:55 am

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus want President Barack Obama to invite the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner to his State of the Union address in January, 2015.

Chief among these is Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), who said: “I think that would be appropriate and fitting.  It would help educate and sensitize other members and humanize some of the issues that we’re going to confront.”

And Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) stated: “Those families are symbols of an issue that needs to be urgently addressed in America.”

If Obama does not invite the families, Black Caucus members suggested that they might use their guest tickets to invite them.

But they claimed that no invitations have yet been extended for the President’s speech.

Obama is expected to speak about the Brown and Garner deaths during his speech.

The State of the Union address delivered by the President of the United States to a joint session of Congress every January.

The address not only reports on the condition of the nation but also allows Presidents to outline their legislative agenda and their national priorities.

President Barack Obama giving his State of the Union address

The address fulfills Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which requires the President to from time to time give Congress information on the “state of the union.”

For decades, Presidents have invited specific guests to join the First Lady in the gallery of the House of Representatives. These guests enable the Chief Executive to symbolize the policy points he wishes to make.

For his 2002 State of the Union speech, President George W. Bush invited Hamid Karzai, the interim leader of Afghanistan. This underscored the commitment of American troops to ridding that country of its Talibanistic elements.

Inviting members of the Brown and Garner families as Obama’s favored guests would send a message to both Americans and the world beyond.

But it would prove a highly controversial act of symbolism.

In the case of the family of Michael Brown:

Michael Brown (left) roughing up a store owner

Lesley Mcspadden

Louis Head calls for arson in Ferguson

Does the President of the United States really want to link himself to this family of thugdom?

Then there is the family of Eric Garner, who died in a police chokehold on July 17.

While no incriminating evidence has yet come to light concerning his relatives, Garner himself had a lengthy police record.

State of the Union addresses are occasions where the President seeks to rally Congress–and, more importantly, the nation–behind goals that are certain to have widespread support.

Congressional Republicans fiercely oppose Obama’s unilateral decision to shelter up to five million illegal aliens from deportation and enable them to work in the country legally.

They have heatedly debated various ways of opposing him on this–including once again shutting down the government, forbidding him to appear before Congress to give his State of the Union address and cutting off fuel to Air Force One.  Click here: Ground Air Force One? GOP Proposals to Stop Obama on Immigration – Washington Wire – WSJ

Inviting as his guests members of families whose members have a documented history of lawbreaking would prove widely divisive along racial lines.

Overhwleming majorities of whites continue to believe that Obama is “not one of us.” And members of law enforcement of all races would believe that Obama was taking the side of known criminals against them.

With only two more years in office, Obama will need all the unity he can create if he hopes to enact much of his remaining agenda. 

RACE AND CRIME

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on December 8, 2014 at 12:00 am

Are some races more prone to crime–and especially violence–than others?

It remains a hotly-debated topic.  But while the origins of crime remain debatable, the races of its perpetrators and victims can be–and have been–statistically tabulated.

And those statistics haven’t changed much during the last 40 years.

Consider this:

In 1971, Robert Daley, a reporter for the New York Times, became a deputy police commissioner for the New York Police Department (NYPD).

In that capacity, he saw the NYPD from the highest levels to the lowest–from the ornate, awe-inspiring office of  Police Commissioner Patrick Murphy to the gritty, sometimes blood-soaked streets of New York.

He spent one year on the job before resigning–later admitting that when he agreed to take the job, he got more than he bargained for.

It proved to be a tumultuous year in the NY’D’s history:  Among those challenges Daley and his fellow NYPD members faced were the murders of several police officers, committed by members of the militant Black Liberation Army.

Two of those murdered officers were Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini.  Jones was black, Piagentini white; both were partners.  Both were shot in the back without a chance to defend themselves.

Writing about these murders in a bestselling 1973 book–Target Blue: An Inside’s View of the N.Y.P.D.–Daley noted:

  • Jones and Piagentini were the sixth and seventh policemen–of ten–murdered in 1971.
  • About 18 men were involved in these murders.  All were black.
  • The city’s politicians knew this–and so did Commissioner Murphy.  None dared say so publicly.

“But the fact remained,” wrote Daley, “that approximately 65% of the city’s arrested murderers, muggers, armed robbers, proved to be black men; about 15% were of Hispanic origin; and about 20% were white [my italics].

The overall racial breakdown of the city was approximately:

  • Whites, 63%;
  • Blacks, 20%;
  • Hispanics 17%.

Stated another way: Blacks, who made up 20% of the city’s population, were responsible for 65% of the city’s major crimes.

Or, as Daley himself put it: “So the dangerous precincts, any cop would tell you, were the black precincts.”

That was 42 years ago.

Now, consider the following statistics released by the NYPD for “Crime and Enforcement Activity in New York City” in 2012.  Its introduction states:

“This report presents statistics on race/ethnicity compiled from the New York City Police Department’s records management system.”

Then follows this chart:

Misdeanor Criminal Mischief
Victim, Suspect, Arrestee Race/Ethnicity                                                                  

American Indians:            Victims:  0.7%   Suspects:  0.3%   Arrestees: 0.3%

Asian/Pacific Islanders:  Victims:  8.4%     Suspects: 3.2%    Arrestees: 3.9%

Blacks:                         Victims: 36.5%  Suspects:  49.6%  Arrestees:  36.5%

Whites:                        Victims: 28.9%   Suspects: 17.0%   Arrestees:  22.9%

Hispanics:                   Victims:  25.4%  Suspects:  29.8%  Arrestees:  36.4%

Total  Victims:        40,985       

Total Suspects:     11,356  

Total Arrests:         7,825

Then come the guts of the report:

Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter Victims:

  • Black (60.1%)
  • Hispanic (26.7%)
  • White victims (8.7%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders (4.2%)

Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter Arrestees:

  • Black (51.4%)
  • Hispanic (36.7%)
  • White (9.2%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islander (2.6%)

Rape Victims:

  • Black (37.9%)
  • Hispanic (36.9%)
  • White victims (19.2%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders (5.4%)

Rape Arrestees:

  • Black (48.6%)
  • Hispanic (42.8%)
  • White (5.0%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islander (3.1%)

Other Felony Sex Crimes Victims:

  • Black (40.7%)
  • Hispanic (33.6%)
  • White victims (19.6%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders (5.9%)

Known Other Felony Sex Crime Arrestees:

  • Black (42.3%)
  • Hispanic (39.8%)
  • White (12.6%)
  • Asian /Pacific Islander (5.1%)

Robbery Victims:

  • Hispanic (36.1%)
  • Black (31.9%)
  • White victims (18.3%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders (12.8%)

Robbery Arrestees:

  • Black (62.1%)
  • Hispanic (29.0%)
  • White (6.2%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islander (2.5%)

Felonious Assault Victims:

  • Black (47.8%)
  • Hispanic (33.6%)
  • White (12.4%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders (5.5%)

Felonious Assault Arrestees:

  • Black (52.3%)
  • Hispanic (33.6%)
  • White (9.4%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders (4.5%)

Grand Larceny Victims:

  • White (42.4%)
  • Black (25.0%)
  • Hispanic (20.1%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders (11.8%)

Grand Larceny Arrestees:

  • Black (52.0%)
  • Hispanic (28.5%)
  • White (14.6%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders (4.8%)

Shooting Victims:

  • Black (74.1%)
  • Hispanic (22.2%)
  • White (2.8%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders (0.8%)

Shooting Arrestees:

  • Black (75.0%)
  • Hispanic (22.0%)
  • White (2.4%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islander (0.6%)

Drug Felony Arrest Population:

  • Black (45.3%)
  • Hispanic (40.0%)
  • White (12.7%)
  • Asian Pacific Islanders (1.9%)

The Drug Misdemeanor Arrest Population

  • Black (49.9%)
  • Hispanic (34.5%)
  • White (13.3%)
  • Asian Pacific Islanders (2.1%)

The Felony Stolen Property Arrest Population:

  • Black (52.5%)
  • Hispanic (28.9%)
  • White (14.5%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders (4.0%)

The Misdemeanor Stolen Property Arrest Population:

  • Black (47.1%)
  • Hispanic (30.2%)
  • White (16.9%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders (5.4%)

Violent Crime Suspects:

  • Black (66.0%)
  • Hispanic (26.1%)
  • White (5.8%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders (1.9%)

Reported Crime Complaint Juvenile Victims:

  • Black (43.5%)
  • Hispanic (38.7%)
  • White (11.6%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islander (5.8%)

Juvenile Crime Complaint Arrestees:

  • Black (58.6%)
  • Hispanic (32.6%)
  • White (5.8%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islander (2.8%)

Appendix B of the report offers a breakdown of New York City’s racial makeup:

                                                                Total Numbers        % the City’s Population  

  • White                                               2,722,904                         (33.3%)
  • Black                                               1,861,295                         (22.8%)
  • Hispanic                                          2,336,076                         (28.6%)
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders                     1,030,914                          (12.6%)

Thus, while Blacks make up 22.8% of New York City’s population, they comprise

  • 51.4% of its murder and non-negligent manslaughter arrests;
  • 48.6% of its rape arrests;
  • 42.3% of its known other felony sex crime arrests;
  • 62.1% of its robbery arrests;
  • 52.3% of its felonious assault arrests;
  • 52.0% of its grand larceny arrests;
  • 75.0% of its shooting arrests;
  • 45.3% of its drug felony arrests;
  • 49.9% of its drug misdemeanor arrests;
  • 52.5% of its felony stolen property arrests;
  • 47.1% of its misdemeanor stolen property arrests;
  • 66.0% of its violent crime suspects;
  • 58.6% of its juvenile crime complaint arrests.

While Hispanics make up 28.6% of the city’s population, they account for:

  • 36.7% of its murder and non-negligent manslaughter arrests;
  • 42.8% of its rape arrests;
  • 39.8% for its known other felony sex crime arrests;
  • 29.0% of its robbery arrests;
  • 33.6% of its felonious assault arrests;
  • 28.5% of its grand larceny arrests;
  • 22.0% of its shooting arrests;
  • 40.0% of its drug felony arrests;
  • 34.5% of its drug misdemeanor arrests;
  • 28.9% of its felony stolen property arrests;
  • 30.2% of its misdemeanor stolen property arrests;
  • 26.1% of its violent crime suspects;
  • 26.1% of its juvenile crime complaint arrests.

In short:

During the first six months of 2012, 96% of shooting victims were blacks or Hispanics–and in 97% of all cases, the shooters were other blacks or Hispanics.

Blacks and Hispanics comprise 89% of murder victims–and 86% of murder suspects.  Of felony assault victims, 81% are non-whites, as are 88% of the suspects.

INFORMANTS VS. RATS

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement on December 3, 2014 at 12:00 am

In the 1981 police drama, “Prince of the City,” both cops and criminals use plenty of four-letter words.

But the word both groups consider the most obscene is spelled is spelled with three letters: R-a-t.

The movie is based on the true-life story of former NYPD detective Robert Leuci (“Danny Ciello” in the film, and played by Treat Williams).  It’s based on the best-selling nonfiction book, Prince of the City, by Robert Daley, a former deputy commissioner with NYPD.

Leuci/Ciello volunteers to work undercover against massive corruption among lawyers, bail bondsmen and even his fellow narcotics agents.

Along the way, the movie gives viewers numerous insights into not only how real-world cops work but how they see the world–and their role in it.

Robert Leuci (“Danny Ciello” in “Prince of the City”)

In its first scenes, “Prince” shows members of the elite Special Investigating Unit (SIU) preparing for a major raid on an apartment of Columbian drug-dealers.

Ciello, sitting in a restaurant, gets a tip on the Columbians from one of his informants.  He then phones it in to his fellow officers.  Together, they raid the apartment, assault the dealers, and confiscate their drugs and money.

The film makes it clear that even an elite detective squad can’t operate effectively without informants.  And in narcotics cases, these are either addicts willing to sell out their suppliers or other drug-dealers willing to sell out their competitors.

For the cops, the payoff is information that leads to arrests.  In the case of the SIU, that means big, headline-grabbing arrests.

Drug raid

With their superiors happy, the stree-level detectives are largely unsupervised–which is how they like it.  Because most of them are doing a brisk business shaking down drug-dealers for their cash.

For their informants, the payoffs come in several forms, including:

  • Allowing addicts to continue using illegal drugs.
  • Supplying addicts with drugs, such as heroin.
  • Allowing drug-dealers to continue doing business.
  • Supplying drug-dealers with information about upcoming police raids on their locations.

All of these activities are strictly against the law.  But to the men charged with enforcing anti-narcotics laws, this is the price to be paid for effective policing.

But not all police informants are criminals.  Many of them work in highly technical industries–such as  phone companies.

A “connection” such as this is truly prized.  With it, a detective can illegally eavesdrop on the conversations of those he’s targeting.

He doesn’t have to go through the hassles of getting a court-approved wiretap.  Assuming he has enough evidence to convince a judge to grant such a wiretap.

A top priority for any cop–especially a narcotics cop–is protecting the identities of his informants.

At the very least, exposing such identities could lead to embarrassment, unemployment, arrest and imprisonment.  At worst, it could lead to the murder of those informants by enraged criminals.

But there is another reason for protecting the identity of informants: The cop who amasses a roster of prized informants is seen as someone special within the police department, by colleagues and superiors alike.

He knows “something” they do not.  And that “something” allows him to make a lot of arrests–which, in turn, reflects well on the police department.

If those arrests end in convictions, his status within the department is further enhanced.

But while a cop is always on the lookout for informants against potential targets, that doesn’t prevent him from generally holding such people in contempt.

“Rats,” “finks,” “stool pigeons,” “canaries,” “informers”–these are among the more printable terms (for most media) cops use to describe those who betray the trust of others.

Such terms are never used by cops when speaking to their informants.

For cops, the most feared- and -hated part of every police department is its Internal Affairs Division (IAD).  This is the unit charged with investigating allegations of illegal behavior by police.

For most cops, IAD represents the devil incarnate.  Any officer who would be willing to “lock up” a “brother officer” is considered a traitor to the police brotherhood.

Even if that “brother officer” is engaging in behavior that completely violates his sworn oath “to protect and serve.”

In “Prince of the City,” Danny Ciello gives voice to just these feelings.

He’s preparing to betray the trust of his fellow narcotics officers by exposing the massive corruption among them.  Yet he fiercely rejects the idea that he is a “rat.”

“A rat is when they catch you and make you an informer,” he tells his wife.  “This is my game.”

Ciello has volunteered to obtain evidence of corruption; he’s not under some prosecutor’s thumb.  That, to him, makes him different from a “rat.”

Of course, once Ciello’s cover is blown and his fellow cops learn what he has done, they will forever brand him a “rat,” the worst sort of turncoat.

The movie ends with Ciello now teaching surveillance classes at the NYPD Academy.  A student asks: “Are you the Detective Ciello?”

“I’m Detective Ciello.”

“I don’t think I have anything to learn from you.”

For viewers seeking to learn the workings–and mindsets–of real-world police agencies,  “Prince of the City” has a great many lessons to teach.

IN THE NAME OF SAINT MICHAEL THE THUG

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Social commentary on December 1, 2014 at 12:00 am

A grand jury declined to indict a white police officer, Darren Wilson, for the killing of Michael Brown, a black teenager.

And blacks in Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in looting and arson–with demonstrations breaking out in cities across the country.

These events have dominated news coverage–especially on TV–since November 24.

But there has been much that the media has not dared to mention.

Most importantly: From the beginning, a double standard has reigned in this case:

CHARGE: Shortly after the killing of Michael Brown, police released a video showing him robbing a grocery store and manhandling the its owner.

Click here: SURVEILLANCE VIDEO: Police say Michael Brown was suspect in Ferguson store robbery – YouTube

TRUTH:  Blacks were outraged–not because they believed it wasn’t Michael on the videotape, but because it showed their anointed hero as a robbing thug.

Michael Brown (left) roughing up a store owner

CHARGE: Following the shooting of Brown on August 9th, police deployed massive force to prevent rioting. Ferguson’s blacks charged that it was militarized overkill.

TRUTH: When the grand jury released its findings on November 24, Ferguson blacks started looting and burning stores.

Then blacks raged that the police should have had a massive presence to keep their brethren in line.  No one has conceded that originally deploying large numbers of anti-riot police had been a good idea after all.

CHARGE: Many Ferguson blacks complained that the grand jury was taking too long (three months) interviewing scores of witnesses before reaching its verdict.

TRUTH: When the verdict was released, Ferguson blacks said the grand jurors should have examined less evidence, so they wouldn’t have been confused by conflicting statements.

CHARGE: Ferguson blacks generally and the Brown family in particular have repeatedly called Michael Brown “a child.”

TRUTH: Michael Brown was 18–legally an adult who could obtain a credit card, enter the armed forces and drive a car.  He also stood 6’3″ and weighed 300 pounds.

CHARGE: The Brown family has claimed that Michael didn’t have a criminal record as an adult.

TRUTH:  But he may have had a juvenile one.

The citizen journalism website GotNews has filed a lawsuit against St. Louis authorities seeking the release of Brown’s juvenile record.  The suit alleges that Brown was a gang member and faced a second-degree murder charge.

If true, it would explain why he was determined to avoid arrest–it would have meant his being tried as an adult.

Click here: Lawsuit seeking release of Michael Brown’s juvenile records claims slain teen was a murder suspect – AOL.com

CHARGE: Michael’s mother, Lesley Mcspadden, has appeared on a series of news and interview programs, including “Today” and the prestigeous PBS “Charlie Rose Show.” As the parent of a dead son, she has been treated with great deference, even when making such charges as “My son was running for his life.”

TRUTH:  But what has not come up in any of these interviews is this: She herself could face felony armed robbery charges.  She has been accused of attacking people in a Ferguson parking lot for selling “Justice for Mike Brown” T-shirts.  Among the victims: Her former mother-in-law.

Click here: Michael Brown’s mom may face robbery charges: report – NY Daily News

CHARGE: Michael Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, is a victim of his emotions of rage and grief.  At least, that’s the official line of Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Brown family:

“God forbid your child was killed …and then they get that just devastating announcement in the manner it was announced, and somebody put a camera in your face. What would be your immediate reaction?”

TRUTH: On the night of November 24, Louis Head urged his fellow residents of Ferguson to “burn this bitch down!”  By “bitch” he meant Ferguson itself.

Standing atop a platform in the midst of several hundred frenzied protesters, he screamed at least 10 times: “Burn this motherfucker down!” and “Burn this bitch down!”

Head may well find himself the target of criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits.

Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has called for Head’s arrest for inciting to riot.

And those whose stores were burned and/or looted could file civil lawsuits against Head as being liable for their losses.

A legal precedent for such lawsuits emerged 24 years ago, and still remains viable.

On November 13, 1988 in Portland, Oregon, three white supremacist members of East Side White Pride and White Aryan Resistance (WAR) beat to death Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian man who came to the United States to attend college.

Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a civil suit (Berhanu v. Metzger) against Tom Metzger, founder of WAR.  They argued that WAR influenced Seraw’s killers by encouraging their group, East Side White Pride, to commit violence.

Tom and John Metzger were found civilly liable under the doctrine of vicarious liability, in which one can be liable for a tort committed by a subordinate or by another person who is taking instructions.

In October 1990, the jury returned a verdict—$12.5 million—against Metzger and WAR. The Metzgers’ house was seized, and most of WAR’s profits go to paying off the judgment.

Thus, a law applied to whites who agitate violence can be applied to blacks who do the same.

SHOUTING “FIRE!” WITH INTENT TO CAUSE IT

In History, Law, Law Enforcement, Social commentary on November 27, 2014 at 1:04 am

“The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”

So wrote United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in the 1919 case, Schenk vs. the United States.

On the night of November 24, Louis Head urged his fellow residents of Ferguson, Missouri, to “Burn this bitch down!”

By “bitch” he meant Ferguson itself.

Louis Head yells “Burn this bitch down!” and soon Ferguson erupts in flames.

The reason: A grand jury had just refused to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who had shot Head’s thuggish stepson, Michael Brown, last August.

Brown had just strong-armed a grocery store for some cigarillos before running into Wilson.

Wearing a white shirt emblazoned with “I AM MIKE BROWN” in black lettering, Head stood atop a platform in the midst of several hundred frenzied protesters.

“Burn this motherfucker down!” and “Burn this bitch down!” he screamed at least 10 times.

At one point he yelled for a microphone so he could reach an even larger audience.

Click here: “Burn this bitch down” – Michael Brown stepfather caught making those comments last night » The Right Scoop -

But Benjamin Crump–an attorney for the Brown family–offered a ready excuse for Head’s incitement to arson.

After saying that Head’s remarks were “raw emotion” and “completely inappropriate,” Crump sought to excuse such criminal behavior:

“God forbid your child was killed …and then they get that just devastating announcement in the manner it was announced, and somebody put a camera in your face,” he said. “What would be your immediate reaction?”

For most people, their “immediate reaction” would not be to incite others to arson.

During the previous week, Michael Brown Sr., father of the slain thug, had recorded a public service announcement: “Destroying property is not the answer.”

So what would Justice Holmes think about Louis Head urging his fellow citizens to “burn this bitch down”?

No doubt Holmes would vote to lock him up.

Holmes did, in fact, cast just such a vote in one of the most famous cases in Supreme Court history: Schenk vs. the United States.

After America entered World War I in 1917, Congress passed the Espionage Act. The law said that, during wartime, obstructing the draft and inciting soldiers to disloyalty or disobedience were crimes.

Charles Schenck, opposing the war, mailed thousands of anti-war pamphlets to men who had been drafted into the armed forces.

The government charged Schenck with violating the Espionage Act.

Schenck’s attorney argued that the Espionage Act was unconstitutional. He said that it violated the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.”

After Sehenk was convicted, his case was appealed to the Supreme Court–which unanimously upheld his conviction.

Holmes–who wrote the decision–said that it did not violate his First Amendment right to free speech.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

“In many places and in ordinary times,” wrote Holmes, Schenck would have had a right to say everything that he said in his pamphlets.

But Holmes added that how far a person’s freedom of speech extends depends on the circumstances.

It’s hard imagining Holmes extending a person’s freedom of speech to include inciting others to arson–and potential murder.

While making his incitements, Head wore a shirt, on whose back was emblazoned: “I AM MIKE BROWN.”

According to The Smoking Gun website:

“Head is an ex-convict whose rap sheet includes two felony narcotics convictions, according to state records.

“He pleaded guilty in 1997 to a marijuana distribution charge and was put in a shock incarceration program and placed on probation for five years. After violating probation, Head’s release was revoked and he was remanded to state prison.

“In mid-2003, Head was charged with narcotics trafficking, a felony count to which he later pleaded guilty. The St. Louis native was sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released in June 2008 after serving about five years in custody.”

Click here: Michael Brown’s Stepfather Urged Protesters To “Burn This Bitch Down” After Grand Jury Announcement | The Smoking

Just before Michael Brown was shot by Darren Wilson, he had stolen a box of cigarellos from a local liquor store.  As he walks out the door, he can be seen on video arrogantly pushing aside the store owner.

In the immediate aftermath of Louis Head’s remarks:

  • At least 29 people were arrested and a dozen buildings damaged or destroyed.
  • At least six businesses were set on fire.
  • Looting was reported at multiple locations.
  • Gunfire was reported throughout the night.
  • At times, the bullets were so thick that firefighters were forced to evacuate the scenes of burning buildings.
  • Owing to gunfire aimed at the sky, the Federal Aviation Administration diverted at least 10 flights from St. Louis.

It will be interesting to see if the St. Louis District Attorney’s Office has the courage to hold Louis Head accountable for inciting the arson, rioting and looting that ravaged Ferguson.

“WE WANT TO GIVE YOU MONEY”: PART THREE (END)

In Business, Law, Law Enforcement, Self-Help, Social commentary on November 7, 2014 at 12:00 am

According to the charity Citizens Advice, online scammers are preying on as many as four million people each year.

How can you protect yourself from becoming one of them?  Look for these characteristics in the emails you receive:

  1. Unsolicited:  You’re told you’ve won a lottery you never entered, or have inherited a fortune from someone you never knew existed.
  2. Addressed Generally: “Attention!” “Dear Friend,” “Attention the owner of this email,” “Hello, Dear.”  Your name is not mentioned, because this email has been mass-mailed to thousands of intended victims.
  3. Appeals to religion: “Hello Beloved in the Lord” or “Yours in Christ” seeks to create a bond with those who deeply believe in God.
  4. Misuse of English: Mis-spellings and faulty grammar usually denote someone–probably a foreigner–using English as a second language.   Examples: Run-on sentences; “you’re” for “your”; “except” instead of “accept”; “Dear Beneficial” instead of “Dear Beneficiary.”
  5. Appeals to Sympathy: “My husband just died” or “I am dying of cancer.”  This is to make you feel sorry for the sender and lower your guard as an intended victim.
  6.  Use of Important Titles/Organizations: “Director,” ‘Barrister,” “Secretary General of the United Nations,” “Police Inspector.”  This is to impress recipients and convince them that the email comes from a trusted and legitimate organization.
  7. Request for Personal Information: This includes some combination of: Name / Address / Telephone Number / Bank Name / Bank Account Number / Fax Number / Driver’s License Number / Occupation / Sex / Beneficiary / Passport Number
  8. Claims of Deposit: “We have deposited the check of your fund to your account” is a typical line to instantly grab your attention.  Someone you’ve never heard of claims he has just put a huge amount of money into an account you know nothing about.  Nor can you access it unless you first pay a “contact fee.”
  9. The “Bank” is in Africa: Unless you know you have relatives there, this should be a dead giveaway to a scam.  Africa is a continent kept alive by the charity of other nations.  It’s not in the business of doling out large sums of money to Westerners.
  10. Overseas Phone Numbers: If you call these, you’ll have a huge bill.  So many people skip calling and just send the money “required” to receive their “cash prize.”
  11. Highly Personal Requests: Asking you–someone they’ve never met–to assume the burden of acting as the executor of their “Last Will and Testament.”
  12. Love Scams: The scammer poses as a man or woman–usually outside the United States–seeking love.  A series of emails flows back and forth for days/weeks, until the scammer says s/he will be glad to fly to the United States to be yours.  All you have to do is put up the money for the flight cost.
  13. “Make Money From Home”: With most employers refusing to hire, “work from home” scams  promise a way to support yourself and your family.  You’re required to provide bank information or pay an up-front “registration fee.”  Then you wait for job orders–that never come.
  14. Debt Relief: Scammers promise to relieve most or all of your debt–for a large up-front fee.  You pay the fee–and are not only out of that money but still in debt.
  15. Home Repair Schemes: Huge down payments are required for home repairs that never happen.
  16. “Free” Trial Offcers: The service or product is free for awhile, but you must opt out later to avoid monthly billings.
  17. The Email Claims to Be From the FBI: Often the “address” includes “Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crime Division.”  One such email was addressed: “Dear Beneficiary” and offered help in obtaining a “fund.”  The FBI is an investigative agency responsible to the U.S. Department of Justice.  It does not resolve financial disputes or secure monies for “deserving” recipients.   If the FBI wants to contact you, it will do so by letter or by sending agents to your address.  The FBI’s own website states: “At this time we do not have a national e-mail address for sending or forwarding investigative information.”
  18. “I Need Help”: You get an email claiming to be from someone you know–who’s “in jail here in Mexico” or some other foreign country.  S/he begs you to send money for bail or bribes to win his/her freedom.  If you get such an email, call the person to make certain.  Don’t rush to send money–chances are it will go directly to a scammer.

FBI Headquarters: Where stopping cybercrime is now a top priority.

There are several commonsense rules to follow in protecting yourself from online scammers:

  • Don’t trust people you’ve never met to want to give you money.
  • Shop online only with well-known merchants who have a good reputation.
  • If an email from a stranger asks you to send money, don’t do it.  If the sender claims to be a friend, call your friend first to make sure it came from him.
  • Don’t click on unknown links–especially those in emails from unknown senders.
  • If you’re required to pay an advance fee–“on faith”–to receive a big amount of money, the odds are it’s a scam.
  • If you can’t find any solid information on a company, chances are it doesn’t exist.
  • Under its new director, James Comey, the FBI is mounting a major effort against cybercrime.  Click on its page at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/cyber for solid advice on how to protect yourself online.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, the odds are: It is untrue.

‘WE WANT TO GIVE YOU MONEY”: PART TWO (OF THREE)

In Law, Law Enforcement, Self-Help, Social commentary on November 6, 2014 at 12:00 am

According to Internet emails, the world is filled with wealthy, generous people who want to make you–someone they haven’t even met–a multi-millionaire.

Here are some more of their emails:

* * * * *

Hello My Dear Winner.

I have contacted you because I have sent you the first transfer of your wining fund sum of $5000.00 from your winning total amount sum of $3.5Million

USD, therefore you need to contact our Western Union agent Dr. Michael David, western union the Manager to give you the transfer payment information and

MTCN to enable you start picking-up your transfer in any Western Union in your city.

Contact Western Union Agent: Dr.Michael David Email;(westerunion005@hotmail.com) Office phone #:+2348166294234

Urgently Contact him to avoid cancelling your wining fund, so try to contact him immediately today for him to forward the MTCN information to you, indicate the Wining Number registration code of EB-2520 to him, when contacting or calling him +2348166294234,

He will be sending you $5000. 00 daily as per our bank discussion with him.

Do get in touch with me once you have received your money complete.

Sinc erely,

Contact him with email below ;(westerunion005@hotmail.com)

Mrs Susan Obrial

* * * * *

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Anti-Terrorist And Monitory Crime Division.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation.
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUNDS
J.Edgar.Hoover Building Washington Dc
Customers Service Hours / Monday To Saturday
Office Hours Monday to Saturday:

Dear Beneficiary,

Series of meetings have been held over the past 7 months with the secretary general of the United Nations Organization. This ended 3 days ago. It is obvious that you have not received your fund which is to the tune of $2.3million Usd due to past corrupt Governmental Officials who almost held the fund to themselves for their selfish reason and some individuals who have taken advantage of your fund all in an attempt to swindle your fund which has led to so many losses from your end and unnecessary delay in the receipt of your fund.

The National Central Bureau of Interpol enhanced by the United Nations and Federal Bureau of Investigation and the International monetary funds have successfully passed a mandate to the current president of Nigeria his Excellency President Good luck Jonathan to boost the exercise of clearing all foreign debts owed to you and other individuals and organizations who have been found not to have receive their Contract Sum, Lottery/Gambling, Inheritance and the likes. Now how would you like to receive your payment? Because we have two method of payment which is by Check or by ATM card?

ATM Card: We will be issuing you a custom pin based ATM card which you will use to withdraw up to $3,000 per day from any ATM machine that has the Master Card Logo on it and the card have to be renewed in 4 years time which is 2018. Also with the ATM card you will be able to transfer your funds to your local bank account. The ATM card comes with a handbook or manual to enlighten you about how to use it. Even if you do not have a bank account.

Check: To be deposited in your bank for it to be cleared within three working days. Your payment would be sent to you via any of your preferred option and would be mailed to you via UPS. Because we have signed a contract with UPS which should expire in the next three weeks you will only need to pay $280 instead of $620 saving you $340 So if you pay before the three weeks 2011 you save $340 Take note that anyone asking you for some kind of money above the usual fee is definitely a fraudsters and you will have to stop any communication with every other person if you have been in contact with any. Also remember that all you will ever have to spend is $280.00 nothing more!

Nothing less! And we guarantee the receipt of your fund to be successfully delivered to you within the next 24hrs after the receipt of payment has been confirmed.

Note: Everything has been taken care of by the Federal Government of Nigeria the International Monetary Funds, The United Nation and also the FBI and including taxes, custom paper and clearance duty so all you will ever need to pay is $280.

DO NOT SEND MONEY TO ANYONE UNTIL YOU READ THIS: The actual fees for shipping your ATM card is $420 but because UPS have temporarily discontinued the C.O.D which gives you the chance to pay when package is delivered for international shipping We had to sign contract with them for bulk shipping which makes the fees reduce from the actual fee of $620 to $280 nothing more and no hidden fees of any sort!

To effect the release of your fund valued at $2.3million Usd you are advised to contact our correspondent in Africa the delivery officer Mr Danny Blessed with the information below,

Full Name:Mr Danny Blessed
Email: dannyblessed07@gmail.com
Telephone: +1 910-300-7443
You are advised to contact him with the informations as stated below:

Your full Name..
Your Address:…………..
Home/Cell Phone:…………..
Occupation:………………..
Preferred Payment Method (ATM / Cashier Check)

Upon receipt of payment the delivery officer will ensure that your package is sent within 24 working hours. Because we are so sure of everything we are giving you a 100% money back guarantee if you do not receive payment/package within the next 24hrs after you have made the payment for shipping.

Yours sincerely,
Miss Donna Story
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535

* * * * *

Good day;

I wish to inform you that your outstanding debt has been scheduled for immediate payment to you Via Western Union Money Transfer . You are to contact Western Union for your payment of USD$1,500.000.00 USD with the below information’s.

FULL NAME:………………….
CONTACT ADDRESS:…………….
DIRECT PHONE/CELL NUMBER……….(for easy communication)

Send the above listed information’s to the Fund Verification Department Office on the information below:

Contact Person: Mrs.Rosemary Umar
Mobile:  +229 9873 5986
E-mail: ( western.union099@administrativos.com )

“WE WANT TO GIVE YOU MONEY”: PART ONE (OF THREE)

In Law, Law Enforcement, Self-Help, Social commentary on November 5, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Receiving unsolicited, get-rich-quick emails has become a regular headache for millions of Internet users.

And the reason for this is that, all too often, they succeed in defrauding their recipients. In 2013, losses from Nigerian scams totaled $12.7 billion.

What follows is a sample of such emails–and ways to spot their fraudulent characteristics.

* * * * *

Hello Dearest Beloved in the Lord,

Greeting and peace be upon you as you read this message, I know this letter  will come to you as a huge surprise, but I implore you to take the time to go through it carefully as the decision you’ll make will go a long way to facilitate my peaceful repose and the  manifestation of my last wish. I am Mrs. Grace Ford an aging widow of 67 years old suffering from long time chronic organ failure resulting from terminal cancer which has left me paralyzed and bedridden for the past 3 years.

I was recently notified my late husband Mr. Terry Ford who died in the Air France Flight 447 crash had an outstanding and unclaimed cash deposit account worth the sum of US$5,500,000.00 whose deposit documents bears my name as the next of kin and is presently facing danger of being declared a dormant account and returned to the government treasury.

My present state of health does not permit me to take any direct action here and I do not wish to have the wealth of my late husband end up in the hands of undeserving government officials. I need a very honest and God fearing Christian who I can make the executor of my WILL and have this unclaimed funds released to so it could be used for charity works.

MY GREATEST WISH IS TO GIVE THIS FUNDS SECURED AND USED FOR CHARITY WORKS. I choose you from the several email contacts presented to by the nursing staff and after honest prayers to the LORD to bring me a helper and I decided to contact you if you may be willing and interested to handle these trust funds in good faith before anything happens to me.

I am in urgent need of your cooperation and I believe a divine force is driving me to contact you for this noble task; you must not fail me and the millions of the poor people in our today’s WORLD. This is my legitimate inheritance and NOT stolen money and there are no dangers involved as all is 100% RISK FREE with concrete legal proof.

Please if you would be able to cooperate with me as my legally appointed executor of my last Will and Testament and ensure my inheritance is put to good use benefiting the less privileged and victims of natural disasters around the globe.

Yours Sister in the Lord

Mrs. Grace Ford. 

* * * * *

Atten,

Western Union Under Eco Bank Head Office Plc has finalize all the necessary
arrangement and your fund $1.6musd has been approved by the board of directors
of ECO BANK, you will be receiving $5000 per day.

Our attorney will go to the Inland Revenue tax office to obtain a letter of
administration tax clearance approval on your behalf from high Court.

Sender Name: Duray Wilson
MTCN:  619.356.0005
Question: When
Answer: Today

Endeavor to email him the following information for Re- Confirmation,

You’re Receiver Name————–
You’re Country——————–
You’re City———————–
Your Tell———————–
You’re Test Question————–
You’re Test Answer—————-
You’re Id————————-

Forward the information here ( wester20union@yahoo.com ) Or Call Mr.
Kenneth Aka On tell phone: +229-68441938

Thanks
From Hon Mrs. Juliet Adams

* * * * *

Dear Friend,

I want you to know that all my efforts to transfer the funds to you through courier company were of no avail due to the amount of money involved is very large to be sent out through courier company.I was later made to understand by the federal ministry of finance that the funds could not be transfer to you via courier company.

Therefore,in order to transfer the funds to you,I have made all the necessary arrangement with Bank Of Africa here in Benin Republic for the wire transfer of your funds $1.5M US Dollars into your account in your country. Actually,bank to bank wire transfer could be the best way to transfer this funds to you for security purpose.

Meanwhile,I have told Dr. Rev. Stephen Okeke the director of Bank Of Africa here in Benin Republic to transfer the usd$1.5MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS into your bank account in your country through bank to bank ktt wire transfer. However, all the necessary arrangements of transfer the usd$1.5M UNITED STATES DOLLARS into your account in your country was made with Bank Of Africa here in Benin Republic. Infact, I thank God very much for all the improvement that was made from Bank Of Africa Benin Republic because every thing goes normally.

As for my agreement with the Bank Of Africa, they promised that your funds will be transfer to your bank account in your country as soon as you supply them your banking information. Dr. Rev. Stephen Okeke the Director of Of Africa Benin Republic said that they need your banking information to able them meet up with the wire transfer of your funds,he also said that a new international(non-resident)account should be opened in their bank on your behalf.I suggest that you should send them an application and give them your banking information where you want to receive the funds to avoid any mistake or wrong transfer.

Please write a letter of application to Dr. Rev. Stephen Okeke the director of Bank Of Africa here in Benin Republic on the given address below.

ATTN: Dr. Rev. Stephen Okeke
Bank Of Africa Benin Republic
E-mail: (bofafrica71@yahoo.com.hk)
TEL: +229-9858-8727

Fill the blank spaces below with your banking information as requested by the bank director Dr. Rev. Stephen Okeke and send the letter of application to the given email address above.

Bank Name=
Bank Address==
A/c Number===
Routing Number=
Swift Code====
Beneficiary==
Age/Sex===
Telephone
Fax Number===
A copy of your Picture====
Home Address=
Occupation:==
Your Country=====

Please, Send them your banking information to able them transfer your funds directly to your bank account without any delay.

I want you to contact the director of Bank Of Africa Benin Republic with their telephone number and email address TEL:+229-9858-8727 (bofafrica71@yahoo.com.hk) once you receive this message.

I am waiting for your urgent response.

Thanks and Remain Blessed.

BEST REGARD
Mr. Mohamad Jawad.

RIDE ON AND KILL ON

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on November 3, 2014 at 1:32 am

San Bruno resident Sutchi Hui, 71, was visiting San Francisco when Death found him-–just before 8 a.m. on March 29, 2012.

No doubt he felt safe before he died.  After all, he was walking through a crosswalk in the affluent Castro District, one of the city’s safest areas.

And it was there that bicyclist Chris Bucchere plowed into him.

Bucchere, a software engineer, was also hospitalized for injuries in the crash. Later that day, he posted his thoughts about the accident to the Mission Cycling AM Riders Google group.

“I was already way too committed to stop.  The light turned red as I was cruising through the middle of the intersection and then, almost instantly, the southern crosswalk on Market and Castro filled up with people coming from both directions….so, in a nutshell, blammo.

“I couldn’t see a line through the crowd and I couldn’t stop, so I laid it down and just plowed through the crowded crosswalk in the least-populated place I could find.”

Bucchere said he lost consciousness and awoke five minutes later.  Someone told him that a 71-year-old injured pedestrian had been taken to the hospital.

“I remember seeing a RIVER of blood on the asphalt, but it wasn’t mine,” Bucchere wrote. “I really hope he ends up OK.”

Bucchere dedicated the post to his helmet, which “died in heroic fashion today as my head slammed into the tarmac…. May she die knowing that because she committed the ultimate sacrifice, her rider can live on and ride on. Can I get an amen? Amen.”

An “amen” would also be in order for the cause of justice.

Although prosecuted by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, what Bucchere got was the following sentence: Three years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service.  He would not serve any jail time.

He might as well have posted that because his helmet made “the ultimate sacrifice, her rider can live on and ride on–and kill on.”

The District Attorney’s office–which has one of the worst conviction records in the country–lost no time in congratulating itself.

“Our goal is to send a message to cyclists about safety,” D.A. George Gascon said. “Just because you are riding a bicycle doesn’t mean all bets are off.  All of the rules of the road that apply to everyone else apply to you, too.”

Gascon said Hui’s family did not want to see Bucchere imprisoned.  Since prosecutors didn’t expect a judge to  sentence him to jail, they offered probation and community service in the plea deal.

That’s what the life of a pedestrian is worth in San Francisco.

In July, 2011, bicyclist Randolph Ang, 23, ran a red light on the Embarcadero–and slammed into 68-year-old Dionette Cherney. She later died of her injuries.

In March, 2012, Ang pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter, as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

Ang faced up to a year in county jail, but a judge sentenced him to three years’ probation and 500 hours of community service, and ordered him to pay $15,375 in restitution to the Cherney family.

According to the website of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition:

“Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way. In the crosswalk or not, bike riders and drivers are required to yield to pedestrians.”

“Stay on the Streets.  It’s illegal and unsafe to ride on the sidewalk if you are over the age of 13.”

So much for the official version.

In reality, pedestrians risk their lives whenever they use the sidewalk–especially on tourist-crowded Market Street.

And what role do police play in enforcing the bike laws?  None.

At best, a San Francisco cop might stop an law-breaking bicyclist and give him a citation. This amounts to a bicycle traffic ticket. The bike isn’t confiscated.

Most cops patrol in patrol cars. If they see a bicyclist whizzing down a sidewalk, they aren’t going to cut him off and slap handcuffs on him.

If police show no interest in protecting pedestrians, it’s largely because the Mayor and Board of Supervisors clearly favor the rights of law-breaking bicyclists over those of law-abiding pedestrians and drivers.

The greatest proof of this comes on the last Friday of every month. It’s called Critical Mass.

In this event, hundreds of bicyclists deliberately–at the height of evening rush hour–overwhelm the streets of downtown San Francisco, bringing vehicular and pedestrian traffic to a halt.

Founded in 1992 in San Francisco, the purpose of Critical Mass is not formally stated but nevertheless clear: To protest against those who use cars and public transit–and intimidate their riders and pedestrians alike.

Critical Mass riders often use a tactic known as “corking” to maintain the cohesion of the group: A few riders block traffic from side roads so that the mass can race through red lights without interruption.

Cars, buses and pedestrians are expected to wait patiently for however long these self-indulgent thugs-on-bikes flood the streets.

In March, 2010, reports in local media claimed that then-Police Chief George Gascon was considering shutting down Critical Mass.

Four years later, the bike-thuggies continue to tie up traffic and threaten the safety of any pedestrians stupid enough to think they have a legal right to stroll sidewalks and cross streets.

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