Be sure to check out the illustration which accompanies this article (see below).
DETROIT, Michigan: (An editorial): An article published in the July 31, 2001, edition of the Detroit Free Press has reaffirmed the disturbing fact that police officers regularly utilize law-enforcement databases for a frightening variety of illegal purposes.
The investigation discovered that:
"Police throughout Michigan, entrusted with the personal and confidential information in a state law enforcement database, have used it to stalk women, threaten motorists and settle scores.
Over the past five years, more than 90 Michigan police officers, dispatchers, federal agents and security guards have abused the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN), according to a Free Press examination of hundreds of pages of LEIN records and police reports.
In many cases, abusers turned a valuable crime-fighting tool into a personal search engine for home addresses, for driving records and for criminal files of love interests, colleagues, bosses or rivals."
Though the article focuses primarily on Michigan, there is no plausible reason to believe that such law enforcement abuses are any less common elsewhere. In fact, many of the officers who illegally accessed the system were federal agents, including members of the FBI and the Border Patrol.
Already viewed with suspicion and contempt by many leading Americans as a result of its years-long record of abuse, incompetence, wanton slaughter, lies, corruption, treason, and cover-ups, the FBI sure to see its pathetic image further eroded as a result of these frightening revelations.
Even the police themselves are forced to admit that rampant abuse of their databases is far more common than the public could ever imagine.
"Police said they think the system, which is used to make about 3 million background checks each month, is more widely abused than anyone knows.
'I wouldn't doubt that it happens very often,' said Lawrence Carey, who retired this month as Plymouth Township's police chief."
The motives behind such incidents of abuse range from the relatively mundane to the overtly threatening and subversive. Unbelievably enough, one purpose for which the system is often exploited is to retrieve the phone number of an attractive woman in a passing car.
"RUNNING A PLATE FOR A DATE"
"Despite rules limiting LEIN use to law enforcement purposes, police told the Free Press their colleagues use LEIN to check out attractive people they spot on the road.
'I'm not going to be so naive as to say an officer hasn't seen a pretty girl and run her plate,' said Carey, who also was once chief in Troy.
Former Memphis Police Chief Phillip Ludos said the practice is so common it is known simply as 'Running a plate for a date.' ***"
"Part-time Memphis police officer Scott Woods -- also known by his Internet nom de plume, BRN 2B NAKED -- used the LEIN to find out personal information about a woman he met on the Internet around March 1999, according to Memphis police reports.
Officer Woods, who was also working as a Macomb County Jail guard, asked a friend in Detroit's 9th (Gratiot) Precinct to get information on a St. Clair Shores woman, according to a Memphis police incident report and Macomb County sheriff's investigation report. ***
Officer Woods later told the woman he had followed her home the night before, according to police records. He called her by her middle name, which she had not told him. He described her height and weight. And he went on to call her at home and work up to three times a day, according to police and sheriff's records. ***
As is often the case, the Detroit officers accused of abusing the system to help Woods were not prosecuted. ***
Illustration courtesy of "Maryland Speedster". Our thanks for his skill in accurately rendering a frightening scenario which is probably played out dozens of times each day.
Without question, if a civilian had engaged in this type of activity, he would have been arrested, prosecuted, and jailed. In addition, he would most likely have forfeited his right to carry a concealed firearm.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: If Mr. Sheehan, (webmaster of Justicefiles.org ), were to engage in this type of activity against a police officer, he would be locked up forever.]
But when the perpetrator is a cop, he escapes scot-free. And his fellow police officers, who are co-conspirators and accomplices in the unlawful activities, (stalking, harassment, and trespassing), avoid prosecution as well.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: COPWATCH.COM has developed a series of reforms designed to help prevent such abuses.]
NO ONE IS SAFE...
The bottom line is this: no one is safe from the illegal, invasive prying of criminal cops- neither the poor, nor the rich, nor the pretty, nor the politically-connected. Your most sensitive, personal, and private information may be plundered at any time by a rogue cop bent on criminal activities.
The illicit use of the database is not curtailed even when an officer's target is a member of the judiciary.
"Former Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Cathy McGuigan said she should not have been surprised when her ex-husband, John Knechtges, [a Troy police lieutenant], ran her new husband's information through the LEIN [with a "friendly FBI agent"].***
'Anybody who's ever been involved with a police officer should be concerned about it happening to them,' said McGuigan.
Knechtges was reprimanded and suspended for a week without pay. FBI agent James Triano, who ran McGuigan's husband through LEIN, received a letter of censure and was put on probation for six months, said Detroit FBI Special-Agent-In-Charge John Bell Jr."
Once again, the familiar pattern repeats itself-- the police, who are sworn to uphold the law, violate it with virtual impunity. They unlawfully abuse government resources to achieve personal and often illegal objectives. They utilize the power of the State to harass and punish their enemies.
The article describes yet another incident in which a police officer accessed the database for unlawful purposes:
"One hour after Carl Daisy exchanged heated words with another motorist in Northville on Aug. 7, 1998, Highland Park Public Safety Officer Eric Hollowell -- who was not involved in the altercation -- asked a dispatcher to run Daisy's license plate number through the LEIN system, state records show.
Less than an hour later, Daisy received the first of many ominous calls. 'You're talking to God. I know everything about you,' the man told Daisy.
On at least one occasion, Carl Daisy said the caller told him he 'had a beautiful wife and that it would be a shame if anything happened to her.'
The caller was never identified.
Hollowell is not suspected of calling Daisy -- and he denies abusing the LEIN system. But Ronald Parham, who was Highland Park Police Chief at the time, said he concluded that Hollowell used the LEIN to help an acquaintance locate Daisy.
Parham said he reprimanded Hollowell, and Wayne County prosecutors declined to prosecute.
That outrages Daisy.
'What would happen if I accessed that information?' he asked. 'There are stalking laws. I'd be creamed.'
Ah, but Mr. Daisy is not a police officer, and does not have the "get out of jail free" card that is apparently issued to cops along with a uniform, a badge, and a gun. Mr. Daisy needs to "get with the program", and accept the fact that cops can do no wrong. After all, they "put their lives on the line every day". Mr. Daisy should be abjectly grateful that "the cops are there to protect him". If he can't "get his mind right", then he should "move to China". (Such is the advice that is typically offered by the police and their know-nothing apologists).
What did Officer Hollowell have to say in his own defense? One need not even ask- he offered "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth", as would be expected of an honorable police officer:
"Hollowell's explanation for being linked to the LEIN check on Daisy: a bookkeeping error or another officer requesting a LEIN check under his name.
'I honestly don't remember running that plate,' Hollowell said. 'If I did run it, it was legitimate. It wasn't for any bull.'"
But of course, Officer Hollowell. That sounds perfectly reasonable. (?!?)
COPS HAVE EXTENSIVE RAP SHEETS
The article goes on to detail a number of other illegal abuses of the database:
- CORRUPTION: Corrupt police officers jeopardized an undercover investigation being conducted by officers from another jurisdiction when they ran the plates of two unmarked vehicles being used by the investigators, and passed the search results to the subjects of the investigation. The undercover cops didn't realize their cover had been penetrated until they raided the subjects' home, and discovered printouts from the police database.
- VOTER INTIMIDATION/ELECTION TAMPERING: An incumbent sheriff running for re-election instructed his deputies to run the license plates of three cars sporting bumper stickers which supported his opponent (another police officer). State police investigated after an anonymous complaint was received. The challenger's supporters were intimidated to learn that they being investigated, and his support evaporated.
A second article in this series tells the story of yet another woman who was terrorized by a rogue cop:
"Amber Thomas always believed police were sworn to serve and protect.
Then she met Louis Tejada.
Tejada, a police officer in Albion, a town of 10,600 near Jackson, met Thomas in March 1999 when he came to her boyfriend's house to take a harassment complaint against her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend.
Although he took her complaint, Thomas said that Tejada didn't make much of an impression on her. Then Tejada sent Thomas, then an 18-year-old cleaner at Albion College, a dozen long-stem roses with a card reading, 'I would like to get to know you better, L.T.'
Even after Tejada showed up on her doorstep around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 27, 1999, Thomas didn't recognize him until he flashed his badge.
Less than a month later, she went to the police station to file a complaint against Tejada, who had used the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) to locate and begin pursuing her, state records show.***
She said police assured her Tejada would not contact her again.
Within days, however, Tejada stopped by her brother's house. He paged her from a local tattoo parlor and stopped by a cousin's home where Thomas said she'd be baby-sitting, Thomas said.***
Albion Police Chief L.J. McKeown Jr. said Tejada was lectured, suspended for a day without pay and put on probation. He remains on the force.
Thomas said the incident shook her trust in the police. 'It was just too much for me,' she said. 'Who are you supposed to go to when the people you're supposed to go to are causing your problems?'"
A SLAP ON THE WRIST, AND THEY'RE FREE TO RE-OFFEND: COPS RIG THE SYSTEM TO PROTECT THEMSELVES
The typical punishment faced by officers who illegally access the databases is less than a slap on the wrist. According to the third article in this series, "…of the approximately three dozen police officers who misused the system since July 1998, only three have faced prosecution."
Worse yet, the public is rarely able to learn of these transgressions because the system is designed to protect the cops-- regardless of their guilt or innocence. Even on the rare occasion when an incident of abuse comes to light and is actually investigated, no record is kept of the proceedings or of the outcome. All records are shredded. According to the article, the shredding policy is a "compromise" between the Internal Investigation unit and police officials, who "object to providing detailed reports."
Of course they object to providing detailed reports- they don't want to create any records that memorialize this horrific pandemic of police malfeasance.
A lone voice of reason in this widespread fiasco, Michigan State Sen. Chris Dingell, said he does not have much confidence in any department which investigates its own officers.
"The American system of government never trusts a body to investigate itself," he said.
Ever since the "personal" police-officer data now available from Justicefiles.org was first requested from various municipal governments, cries of outrage have been heard from the "Boyz 'N Blu" (ignorant, stylized, gang-style spelling should perhaps be adopted, since the cops persist in acting like gang members):
"We simply won't allow that data to be posted on the internet! We'll be harassed! We'll be stalked! We'll be endangered! Our lives won't be our own!"
Contrary to these scare-mongering predictions, there has not been a single documented instance of the information presented on Justicefiles.org being misused in any manner whatsoever. On the other hand, as shown by this series of articles, the cops routinely abuse their own databases for a wide variety of illegal purposes.
So much for the propaganda campaign expertly orchestrated by the police.
To put it plainly, they're crying wolf, and the public will soon realize that this most vocal and cowardly contingent of cops, who are maliciously persecuting William Sheehan, (webmaster of Justicefiles.org), do not have the best interests of society at heart.
Not only are they demanding special treatment unavailable to anyone else, but they are attempting to subvert the 1st Amendment of the US Bill of Rights (an objective which directly contravenes their sworn oath of office).
There's a well-known psychological phenomenon which impels one to assume that most others share, at least to a certain extent, one's own motives, desires, and observations, regardless of their disparate backgrounds and experiences. For example, we often ascribe to others the faults and negative proclivities we ourselves are hampered by.
This phenomenon is clearly revealed by the hysterical reaction of the police to Justicefiles.org.
Because the cops think nothing of unlawfully using personal and confidential data to harass, intimidate, threaten, abuse, and manipulate, they assume that everyone else shares the same attitude.
They know what THEY do with such data, and they can't help believing that the rest of society is equally unprincipled.
Realizing that they harbor such paranoid convictions renders their concern over Mr. Sheehan's website somewhat more understandable-- in a pitiful way-- but no more valid.
There's absolutely no reason for society to pander to police paranoia. Any capitulation to their unreasonable demands will only increase their baseless sense of entitlement, and increase the dangers they pose to society.
To paraphrase the Christian Gospel, "These hypocrites should first take the gigantic infectious wooden splinters out of their own eyes, and then they could see clearly to remove whatever microscopic mote of dust (if any) that might be in their brother's eye."
Will Justicefiles.org take up the fight to protect the citizens of the Puget Sound by submitting public disclosure requests for information regarding similar abuses by local cops?
Thankfully, it seems safe to assume they will.
Do you want to do the same in your local area? We'd be happy to help you.
This article was simultaneously published on Justicefiles.org
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.