NYC Cops Learn a Little - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 02-03-2006, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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NYC Cops Learn a Little

February 3, 2006
Surveillance Prompts a Suit: Police v. Police

The demonstrators arrived angry, departed furious. The police had herded them into pens. Stopped them from handing out fliers. Threatened them with arrest for standing on public sidewalks. Made notes on which politicians they cheered and which ones they razzed.

Meanwhile, officers from a special unit videotaped their faces, evoking for one demonstrator the unblinking eye of George Orwell's "1984."

"That's Big Brother watching you," the demonstrator, Walter Liddy, said in a deposition.

Mr. Liddy's complaint about police tactics, while hardly novel from a big-city protester, stands out because of his job: He is a New York City police officer. The rallies he attended were organized in the summer of 2004 by his union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, to protest the pace of contract talks with the city.

Now the officers, through their union, are suing the city, charging that the police procedures at their demonstrations — many of them routinely used at war protests, antipoverty marches and mass bike rides — were so heavy-handed and intimidating that their First Amendment rights were violated...

The lawsuit by the police union brings a distinctive voice to the charged debate over how the city has monitored political protest since Sept. 11. The off-duty officers faced a "constant threat of arrest," Officer Liddy testified, all but echoing the complaint by activists for other causes that the city has effectively "criminalized dissent."

...In 2003, a federal judge eased longstanding and strict limits on surveillance of political activity at the request of lawyers from the city's corporation counsel office, who argued that the Police Department needed broader authority to use such tactics to fight terrorism.

After antiwar rallies in February and March 2003, 12 people who were arrested said they were questioned on their political thinking by detectives...

The dozen people who submitted affidavits said the interrogations went far beyond basics. Among the questions, they said, was whether the country would be better off if Al Gore had been elected, whether they hated President Bush, whether they belonged to other antiwar groups, what schools they attended, and whether they were politically active. The police denied asking those questions.

The judge, Charles S. Haight of Federal District Court in Manhattan, noting that all the protesters gave roughly the same version of events, said he believed that they were telling the truth, even if Commissioner Kelly and his deputy for intelligence, David Cohen, were not aware of the practice.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 02-03-2006, 04:57 AM
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RE: NYC Cops Learn a Little

I thought the article was going to be about another shooting in NYC. Only this time the cops had actually been to the range and did not miss with over 80% of their shots.
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