For taking a photo of a parking infraction a Fort Lee, NJ bureaucrat threatens to have me locked up, calls cops

Posted on September 10th, 2009 by bile
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To recap: Around the corner from where I live there is a section of road which had been three’ish parking spots. A white curb, a sign indicating it was for residential parking and one indicating when the town cleans the street. There are also two sign posts on either side of that section of the block which indicate the flow of traffic. Recently “No Stopping or Standing” were added to the outside posts and several individuals on the block have found out the hard way that that now means no parking. Given most people on the block has gotten ticketed you rarely will see a car parked there.

So I get off the bus yesterday (2009-09-09 ~6:05pm) and I see that there are two cars parked on that section of the block. I notice that one of them is the same vehicle we’ve seen parked there times before without receiving a ticket. A car which has a sign on the dashboard saying “official police business.”

Fort_Lee_bureaucrats_car PoliceBusiness

I took out my camera to record the fact that this town or bureaucrat owned and “officially” used vehicle was parking in a location which had been designated, at least in practice, as not for parking and it had been parked there regularly negating the likelihood it was actually parked there for “official police business.” I took two quick photos and was turning to leave when I hear yelling coming across the street. I look up to see a woman walking down the steps of a house coming toward me. The footage below is what transcribed after I got the chance to switch on video.

The camera started in my hand and then was clipped to my shirt so please excuse the awful video footage. It may as well been audio but more information the better. Additionally the video was edited for time not content. It’s largely unedited with only the time between the woman’s call to the the police and continued dialog cut. Therefore it may be considered repetitive and long winded due to the constant back and forth. I didn’t have the time to edit it for only the good parts.

Highlights:

  • The woman refused to tell me who she is. (Update: On a second listening of the first video it appears her first name is Donna. At about 8m10s in you can hear her as she talks on the phone with someone at the police station. Danny or Daren?)
  • She refuses to tell me what official police business she’s claiming to be involved in at that moment.
  • She implies that because her car is private property I can’t photograph it while it’s parked on a public street.
  • She threatens to have me locked up.
  • When I attempt to make the point that her business, in regard to potential illegal parking, is my business because she’s supposedly a public servant and that has a different standard from those who work in private institutions she informs me that I belong in an institution.
  • In an accusatory tone asks me if I’m a good Samaritan? Don’t I have a life? A job? Something better I could be doing? Why it’s my business? Why am I looking out for my neighbors? “You trying to get into heaven?”
  • She calls the Fort Lee Police department. She appears to do so in a personal rather then professional capacity as any other third party to the police would. Two officers in seperate vehicles show up. Officer 220 (Ordonez (sp?) Part 2 10:15) and 224 (Kutrabenous (sp?) Part 3 3:30).
  • Officer 220 started off with an attitude. Informed Laur and myself that “She can park where ever the hell she wants. She works for the city.”
  • Officer 220 blocked traffic and when informed was completely unconcerned leaving individuals stuck behind him.
  • Laur called him out for being confrontational and his demeanor changed. He ended up agreeing that the signs were contradictory and told us that he’d tell other officers that there was an issue with that section regarding parking and not ticket anyone until the appropriate changes were made to the signs/curb.
  • We are told we can’t rely on calling the town to get anything done. It must be done in person. Obviously speaking highly of the town bureaucrat’s level of service.
  • Officer 220 claims he generally doesn’t give tickets unless it’s unsafe.
  • Officer 224 says at one point that she shouldn’t be parked there regardless of signage due to it being effectively a turning lane.

The woman was totally out of line. I can understand questioning the taking of photos or being ignorant of the others who had received tickets but her attitude was completely uncalled for. Clearly she should not have the “official police business” sign in the window of the car if she is in fact not performing official police business and since it seems obvious she was not in fact performing official police business she was caught lying. She made threats and threw insults. And rather then deal with the supposed issue like mature individuals she called for backup. Called her friends / coworkers at the FLPD likely to come intimidate me. Makes me happy to know I’m forced to pay for her “services.”

Officer 220 was out of line too. He obviously was acting with a bias due to his relationship with the woman. Not only was his demeanor unbecoming but his initial defense of her action and claims she is effectively above the law was a clear sign that they see themselves to be of a privileged class. Not unlike how the NYC traffic cops see themselves. The officer attempts to make lite of the fact that these admittedly “bullshit” tickets will have to be fought in court and likely dropped. As if calling out of work to attend said court date is not often a larger cost then just paying the ticket. Unlike those in many government jobs, those in the productive sector of the economy generally can’t afford to randomly take off to fight a $28 ticket regardless of whether the ticket will be waved or not. He also admits that “for the first couple times” getting a ticket I’ll have to be “inconvinenced” and fight it. Why should I have to be inconvenienced? They made the mistake. They are costing myself and others time and money. Both of which we will never be compensated for. And as many know bureaucrats tend to look out for themselves and while I’m unaware of what goes on in Fort Lee many towns will drop tickets against officers and their friends automatically so the claim they’ve gotten tickets before is likely irrelevant. If indeed these tickets are “bullshit” all “No Stopping or Standing” violations issued in the past month or so should be dropped without any effort required by those who had been issued them.

Officer 224 seemed more calm and reasonable. I was a bit startled though when he lightly grabbed my shirt and leaned in to clearly speak his name into the camera. I honestly didn’t hear his name the first time. He probably shouldn’t have done that but given they didn’t make any issue otherwise of my recording and it was probably completely innocent I’m happy to ignore it. NYPD tend to be far more concerned with cameras and confrontational about them.

So any employees of the FLPD, other officers or random bureaucrats… no hard feelings but know that you aren’t above the law.  You’re supposed to work for us and if you step out of line there will be those of us who will record your digressions and publicize them. I would hope that you’d agree that this oversight is necessary and beneficial for all involved. We don’t want any corruption and you shouldn’t want to be associated with corruption. And please learn to regulate yourself in such situations. I’ll admit I got a bit testy but I was the one being threatened, insulted, cut off while speaking and had the cops called on for merely looking out for my neighbors well being.

I’ve considered issuing an official complain against the woman especially since she claimed to be acting in her official capacity. However, this post and video are likely to make their way back to the FLPD and to her and I think her behavior speaks for itself.

New money making scheme: ticket people for parking in their own driveway

Posted on June 16th, 2009 by bile
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http://apnews.myway.com/…

Residents of Toledo, Ohio, are complaining that they received $25 tickets for parking their vehicles in their own driveways.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner (FINK’-by-ner) says he stands by the citations handed out last week by the Division of Streets, Bridges and Harbor. He says the tickets were issued under a city law against parking on unpaved surfaces, including gravel driveways.

During a news conference Monday, Finkbeiner ignored a reporter’s question of whether the crackdown and fines were related to the city’s budget crisis.

The three-term mayor faces a recall vote in November. Critics have claimed he’s wasted city money.

City Councilman D. Michael Collins calls the ticketing “Mickey Mouse nonsense.” He has told residents he’ll try to have the citations rescinded.

That law is so ridiculous it had to be made to collect revenue. My question though is did the city council really have so much hubris to think they could really get away with enforcing it?

Michael Moore’s eco-fascism

Posted on June 2nd, 2009 by bile
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http://www.michaelmoore.com/…

Goodbye, GM …by Michael Moore

1. Just as President Roosevelt did after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the President must tell the nation that we are at war and we must immediately convert our auto factories to factories that build mass transit vehicles and alternative energy devices. Within months in Flint in 1942, GM halted all car production and immediately used the assembly lines to build planes, tanks and machine guns. The conversion took no time at all. Everyone pitched in. The fascists were defeated.

We are now in a different kind of war — a war that we have conducted against the ecosystem and has been conducted by our very own corporate leaders. This current war has two fronts. One is headquartered in Detroit. The products built in the factories of GM, Ford and Chrysler are some of the greatest weapons of mass destruction responsible for global warming and the melting of our polar icecaps. The things we call “cars” may have been fun to drive, but they are like a million daggers into the heart of Mother Nature. To continue to build them would only lead to the ruin of our species and much of the planet.

The other front in this war is being waged by the oil companies against you and me. They are committed to fleecing us whenever they can, and they have been reckless stewards of the finite amount of oil that is located under the surface of the earth. They know they are sucking it bone dry. And like the lumber tycoons of the early 20th century who didn’t give a damn about future generations as they tore down every forest they could get their hands on, these oil barons are not telling the public what they know to be true — that there are only a few more decades of useable oil on this planet. And as the end days of oil approach us, get ready for some very desperate people willing to kill and be killed just to get their hands on a gallon can of gasoline.

President Obama, now that he has taken control of GM, needs to convert the factories to new and needed uses immediately.

Read More…

Time to leave Wisconsin? Cops allowed to track you without warrent

Posted on May 12th, 2009 by bile
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/…

Wisconsin police can attach GPS to cars to secretly track anybody’s movements without obtaining search warrants, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

However, the District 4 Court of Appeals said it was “more than a little troubled” by that conclusion and asked Wisconsin lawmakers to regulate GPS use to protect against abuse by police and private individuals.

As the law currently stands, the court said police can mount GPS on cars to track people without violating their constitutional rights — even if the drivers aren’t suspects.

Officers do not need to get warrants beforehand because GPS tracking does not involve a search or a seizure, Judge Paul Lundsten wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel based in Madison.

Just the next step. In NYC they will track your car using cameras which will read the license plate so why not just tagging each vehicle as they enter the Lincoln tunnel? Some states have considered forcing every state resident to have a GPS to track millage for gas taxes. I’m sure that’s all they intend.

Sounds to me that GPS jammer sales may be going up.

EU looking to track you everywhere you drive

Posted on April 2nd, 2009 by bile
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…

Drivers face having their every move tracked by a ‘spy in the car’ black box.

The system will constantly check a vehicle’s speed – making cameras redundant – and allow for pay-as-you-go tolls.

The £36million EU project is partly funded by the UK Government and backed by car makers and the telecoms industry.

It will be unveiled later this year with a view to its integration into future cars. Manufacturers suggest this could be as early as 2013.

Vehicles fitted with the system will emit a constant ‘heartbeat’ pulse revealing their location, speed and direction of travel.

EU officials believe the technology will significantly reduce road accidents, congestion and carbon emissions.

Engineers say the system will be able to track cars to within a yard, making it significantly more accurate than existing satellite navigation technology.

Experts say the system will link up easily with the pay-as-you-drive road tolls being backed by the Government.

The system allows cars to ‘talk’ to one another and to roads wired up to the system. A communication device behind the dashboard transmits the car’s location every half a second.

The messages are transmitted through mobile and wireless networks, as well as on short-range microwave or infrared routes. Vehicles will be able to warn each other if they are on collision course.

I have a hard time believing that the government or those companies contracted to provide this technology could get it to actually do half of what they claim. I do believe that no matter what they end up with it will be used to harm the people of Europe. Big Brother just keeps on trudging along over there.

Now taking bets on how long they look into doing that in the United States. Yes we have Massachusetts and I believe Washington looking to tax people based on miles driven but this EU program is far more serious.

Robert Powell resigns due to Ryan Moats incident

Posted on April 1st, 2009 by bile
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http://www.cbssports.com/…

Police officer Robert Powell, who detained Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats instead of allowing him inside a hospital where his mother-in-law was dying resigned Wednesday.

Officer Robert Powell had been placed on paid leave pending an investigation of the March 18 incident.

“I made this decision in the hope that my resignation will allow the Dallas Police Department, my fellow officers and the citizens of Dallas to better reflect on this experience, learn from the mistakes made, and move forward,” Powell said in a statement issued through his attorneys.

He had stopped Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats’ SUV outside Baylor Regional Medical Center in suburban Plano after the vehicle rolled through a red light.

The officer pulled out his gun and threatened Moats with jail as the player and his family pleaded to be allowed to go inside the hospital. Powell continued writing Moats a ticket and lecturing him even after a fellow officer confirmed that Moats’ mother-in-law was dying.

Jonetta Collinsworth, 45, died of breast cancer before Powell allowed Moats to go inside the hospital.

Powell’s resignation was first reported by Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT. He later issued an apology, and Moats said he would accept it.

“I still hope to speak with the Moats family to personally express my deep regret, sympathy, and to apologize for my poor judgment and unprofessional conduct,” he said in the Wednesday statement.

He also said he wanted to apologize to his fellow officers.

A call to Dallas police was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Good. The camera, media and the internet are our most powerful tools. The more these events get recorded and distributed the easier liberty activists lives will be.