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Friday, November 14, 2008

On The Web And In Seattle


California Blogger Stalked Over Article About Officer's Sexual Assault Charges


Five Before Midnight, a blogger in Riverside California who covers the inner-workings of the local government and police conduct issues, seems to be the target of a creepy stalker because of the in-depth coverage written about the Riverside officer who is facing trial over multiple charges of sexual abuse... It's disturbing, to say the least.

Bloggers who cover issues of police brutality and misconduct are often the target of police harassment and several have shut down in just this last year (as I wrote about here). Earlier this year I received death threats from officers in Chicago and a police officer in Iowa calls me "The Enemy" on his personal blog...

It's a disturbing trend and officers seem to be pretty free to harass critics in an attempt to silence stories of misconduct with impunity. So FBM definitely has our support and I hope the harassment stops soon.

Seattle Councilmember Nick Licata Seeks Alternatives To Spending Millions On A New Jail, Mayor Against The Idea

The city of Seattle has been in the process of determining where to build a new 7 acre jail in the face of the expiration of a contract between the city and King County over the use of the King County Jail to house detainees for the city. The renewal of the contract is under question as older King County projections stated that there would be insufficient room to house detainees by 2012, citing increases in jail populations as the cause.

Some of these projections have been called into doubt, but the push towards making it's own jail has Seattle set to spend 4.5 million next year to study site viability, $110 million estimated for construction, and $19 million a year to operate it's own jail. Surely a daunting set of numbers while facing an oncoming recession.

However, Councilmember Nick Licata has made a suggestion in his latest newsletter, Urban Politics, that might save the city the bulk of that money through the use of diversionary programs that offer non-violent offenders the choice between jail or rehabilitation... a program apparently based on an existing small-scale trial that has seen a very successful 82% success rate in keeping offenders from re-offending.

Licata, however, is facing opposition from the mayor in his attempts to get a proviso put on the budget for next year's jail assessments in order to give this idea a shot, even though the provisio wouldn't affect jail planning. The council is set to vote Monday on the budget action that appears to be in everyone's best interests.

Seattle Police Declare Open Season On Cyclists

Earlier this year the SPD refused to press charges against a motorist who ran over a Critical Mass bicyclist in what the riders described as a fit of road rage, but SPD officers did arrest several of the cyclists who chased down the motorist when he tried to flee the scene and started beating on his car and allegedly hit him once with a bike lock.

Well, seems that the cyclists might have had reason to be angry at the police for the apparent act of selective enforcement. The Stranger's Jonah Spangenthal-Lee has an article this week about cyclists who have been complaining of police harassment and officers who ticket them when they have been hit by cars pulling out of parking lots while they were on a stretcher being taken away.

That article apparently sparked other harassed riders to step forward and give even more accounts of SPD officers showing an aggressive bias against cyclists in a city that supposedly prides itself in being bike friendly.

The bulk of stories are seeming to suggest that the SPD is sending a message to motorists that cyclists are fair game for a hit and run when that road rage has got you down.

2 comments:

Sandalou said...

FBM has been targeted for harassment by the sicker members of the Riverside Police Department for years. Since most of them appear to have the sophistication and emotional maturity of your average four year old, it's often not that difficult to figure out who the guilty parties are. Some of them are actually stupid enough to use company computers on company time to spew their filth and threats.

Spend some time reading her blog. They are frightening in a way foreign terrorists could never be. They are totally uninterested in 'serve and protect', rather their interests lie in complete domination over anyone not white or male enough.

Packratt said...

Thank you for the comment, Sandalou.

Sadly, this seems to be more and more common in so many different departments. As I mentioned, so many different writers have been silenced by harassment or worse that it really is worrisome and I try to point out when it happens whenever I become aware of it...

I only became aware of FBM's site this year, so I wasn't aware of anything that happened before, though I noticed some mentions of past issues. I wish I had more time in the day to monitor all the sites out there and all the stories in the news of people being harassed, threatened, and worse just for speaking out.

It's always my hope that more police officers will someday understand that part of enforcing the law means enforcing it in regards their own officers, and that silencing critics is not part of their job or even compatible with the laws they are entrusted to enforce.

In any case, I know how disturbing it can be to have police officers do this, so FBM has my full support and I hope I can help out in some way.

Thanks again for taking the time to comment here and for keeping watch over FBM's site, I appreciate it.

 
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