REVOLUTIONARY TACTIC ANGERS THE POLICE AND ACHIEVES UNPRECEDENTED SUCCESS IN THE BATTLE FOR POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY:
OFFICERS' "PRIVATE" INFORMATION POSTED ON THE WEB
BREAKING NEWS ANALYSIS:
SEATTLE, Washington: (an editorial) Utilizing information obtained via the Washington State equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act, supplemented with data purchased from a variety of information-brokerage companies, William A. Sheehan III, (a certified network engineer), and his associate, Aaron Rosenstein, are working on a webpage which contains large quantities of "private" information ( including the home addresses, home telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, bankruptcy filings, divorce filings, criminal records, and other court records) regarding every single cop in a number of Washington State municipalities.
All of the information presented on the website is either a matter of public record, or is available for purchase from commercial sources. It's important to note that similar information is publicly available regarding every person in the United States.
As usual, the police seem to believe that they deserve to be treated differently from the citizens they are sworn to protect, and are backing a lawsuit demanding that their personal information be declared sacrosanct and removed public view.
We completely disagree with the cops' self-serving, hypocritical demand. If maintaining personal privacy in modern America is a problem, (and we do not disagree that this is the case), it is a problem that is faced by all Americans, not just police officers. If something needs to be done to ensure that personal privacy is restored, then the solution must protect us all, not just the cops. Rather than clamoring for special treatment, the cops should be working to protect the rest of us from that which they have clearly deemed to be invasive, if not dangerous.
In fact, given the cops extensive record of abusing government databases, it is ironic for them to complain at all. While there has not been a single documented instance of the information contained on justicefiles.org being misused in any manner, the same cannot be said of the police and their databases. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of documented cases in which police officers have illegally used government databases for nefarious objectives.
Thanks to the controversial nature of its content, justicefiles.org has generated extensive media coverage on multiple continents, and has received over a million hits in under 4 months.
The local cops are infuriated and frightened, primarily because they can now be easily served with legal process. (See our Crucial Reforms section for details regarding this issue).
The city of Kirkland, demonstrating high-handed contempt for both its residents and for the 1st Amendment, has bowed to police pressure and retained Seattle's largest law firm to target Mr. Sheehan, at a cost to taxpayers of over $300,000.00. Kirkland is seeking $609,000.00 in damages, a wholly baseless sum that can only be intended to intimidate Mr. Sheehan and dissuade others from following his example.
It's shameful that an American city would collude with its police department to perpetuate a dysfunctional departmental culture infected by a paranoid obsession with secrecy and anonymity. The attitude evinced by Kirkland and its police force is reminiscent of that which produced the Stasi, the Gestapo, and the KGB.
We are forced to wonder who's in charge up there in Kirkland- the elected government, or the Police Union?
Fortunately, this David versus Goliath battle is likely to end in the same manner as the original. Despite Kirkland's virtually unlimited resources, made possible by its reckless disregard for fiscal responsibility and inexcusable willingness to plunder taxpayers' pockets to fund this ludicrous suit, Sheehan will probably prevail. Not only does Sheehan have the weight of Constitutional authority on his side, he has also retained Elena Garella, who is widely recognized as one of the top civil-rights attorneys in Washington State, to mount his defense.
We are extremely impressed with Mr. Sheehan's contributions to the cause of police accountability, and offer our wholehearted support. If more individuals would emulate Mr. Sheehan and selflessly donate their time, expertise, and money for the betterment of society, the myriad problems with our government and police would soon be solved.
Do yourself a favor and check out the website. Some of the data is absolutely fascinating. If you can afford to contribute any money to help defray Mr. Sheehan's legal expenses, please do so. (In addition to numerous other negative consequences he has suffered in this battle, Mr. Sheehan was fired when his employer was allegedly contacted by an anonymous police officer).
In recognition of their inspirational achievements, we have extended executive memberships in Copwatch.com to Mr. Sheehan and Mr. Rosenstein.
All possible assistance should be rendered to them.
NOTE: If you are interested in pursuing a similar course of action against your own local police department, see our Fight Back section for instructions. We will be happy to chronicle your efforts on this site, and might even publish the results of your research.
Help copwatch fight police brutality. Bad cops must be prosecuted. Police corruption is a major problem- copwatch will root it out. Dirty cops threaten the criminal justice system. Police misconduct is an epidemic. Police abuse innocent citizens all too often. Police harassment is a frequent occurrence. The blue wall of silence protects bad cops, and police culture must be reformed. Deviant cops must be fired. Police deviance cannot be tolerated. Last year saw a bad cop arrested for rape, a dirty cop charged with extortion, police corruption involving drug distribution, a criminal cop jailed for brutality, a disgraced police chief sentenced for domestic abuse, a convicted sheriff guilty of theft, moonlighting police disciplined for misconduct, convicted cops fired for sexual assault, a guilty cop suspended for harassment, a discredited cop charged with perjury, and a law enforcement officer suspended from duty for being on the take. Police corruption is common across the country. Such activities are a disgrace to the badge, and dishonor the uniform, so the offending cop was forced to turn in his badge. Subsequent reports revealed a state patrol officer investigated for arson, a highway patrol officer indicted for fraud, a state trooper jailed for assault, a top cop ousted for brandishing his weapon, a Police Sgt. fired for bribery, (while another Police Sergeant quit the force), a Police Lt. pressured to resign (the Lieutenant is accused of murder), child-molesting police, and a Police Commander crashed his squad car in a high speed pursuit. The police department engaged in a coverup to hide evidence of misconduct, refusing to release relevant public records and public documents, despite the open records law and the submission of a public disclosure request. Finally, Serpico breaks ranks. As the bad cops close ranks, good police put their lives on the line, while an overzealous county mounty (or mountie) is an embarrassment to the force. An ex-cop turns in his gun. Learn how to prevent police brutality. The Police Benevolent Fund manufactures support for the police department- a department under fire amid accusations of misconduct. The Police Guild negotiates a new contract for its members. The Police Union demands raise in overtime pay. Funds are increased with the seizure of drug money. Forfeiture proceedings are instituted, and the police seize the property of alleged drug dealers, including cars, homes, planes, real estate, guns, and drugs. At the same time, police raise funds for charity and participate in public service programs. Community policing resulted in ride-along programs for local citizens, and increased participation in police Explorer programs. But the broken-window, zero-tolerance program is difficult to evaluate. A gun-buyback program was successful, with cops collecting a variety of firearms, including assault rifles, handguns, Saturday night specials, automatic weapons, shotguns, tec-9, glocks, taurus, S&W, .45 caliber, .44 caliber, .357 caliber, 9mm, all military style. The guns were auctioned off or melted down. BATF agents were investigating the sale of handguns. The FBI conducted a background check, so citizens interested in the militia movement attended gun shows, where they were able to purchase handguns from vendors. Issuance of a concealed weapons permit was allowed, and this gun permit allowed the man to use his handgun for concealed carry in a shoulder holster. The national law enforcement memorial fund is a beautiful tribute to the boys in blue who have made the ultimate sacrifice. To serve and protect is their honorable motto. Duty and honor is another. The LAPD scandal tarnishes public perception of police officers. Police brutality is a major issue in minority neighborhoods. Neighborhood watch programs were quite effective in reducing crime statistics and increasing neighborhood safety. Cops shoot suspect, and then the cops shoot suspect again. The suspect is wounded, and then the suspect dies in police custody. This pattern is called custody death syndrome. Positional asphyxiation is often blamed for the death of prisoners, after the prisoners are pepper-sprayed, maced, beaten, handcuffed, and thrown in the back of a police car. Suicide by cop is another term that is becoming popular, as police seek to blame the victim and excuse their unprofessional behavior. These police cover-ups are ineffective, and police brutality is found to be the cause of death. Cops and robbers is a nice game, but when the cops kill or fatally wound a suspected robber, the circumstances are often suspicious. Many cops are drug abusers, some police are drug addicts, many officers are alcoholics. Cops on steroids often exhibit roid rage. Police brutality and racial profiling are two issues that often arise at major metropolitan police departments. Bill Sheehan created a website revealing the social security numbers, home addresses, and home telephone numbers of Kirkland Police Department (KPD) officers. SPD info was scheduled to go live on April 1st. Civil rights abuses probed. Officer convicted of drunk driving. Man killed in police raid. At the N30 demonstrations, cops without nametags beat nonviolent protestors without provocation. The direct action network, DAN for short, was created in response. During the Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday celebrations in Seattle, a roving gang of black thugs beat Kris Kime to death as he was attempting to assist an injured women, and the police stood by and did nothing. This murder is on the hands of Mayor Paul Schell, who refuses to prosecute the perpetrators for hate crimes. Some people have argued that a database of bad cops should be developed. Many authoritative academic studies examine the psychological profile of police officers. There are many deviant police officers. Some police departments foster a culture of police deviance. Where is a free punk music concert? Kids like to thrash on their skateboard. Snowboarding, or boarding, is enjoyed by straightedge skinheads. RATM is phat. The swat team, equipped with military gear, broke down the door and swarmed into the apartment with guns drawn. Dynamic entry police raids are dangerous to citizens. Police brutality is a growing problem.