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Thursday, October 09, 2014

Hammond Police Incident - Excessive Force vs. Video Force

If you think we are seeing a higher frequency of situations where police officers are engaged in activities that many deem excessive or crossing the line of common sense, it's probably not your imagination, from deadly incidents like in Ferguson or traffic stops like the recent one in Hammond.

However, both legal experts and law enforcement officials may agree on one's not that we have an increasing problem, but perhaps we just have increasing video of the problem that has already existed.

Most police officers are professionals, people who risk their lives to protect the rest of us and can be trusted to do the right thing.  Yet, there are police (and prosecutors and judges for that matter) who should never have the power of authority because they will misuse or abuse it.

Most citizens are also just trying to live their life without creating problems for others yet there are clearly bad people out there creating havoc and crime.

The video above from Hammond, Indiana shows a traffic stop for allegedly not wearing a seat belt.  For some reason (not explained thus far), the police not only ask the driver for identification, but the passenger as well.

Passenger says he has none because he got a ticket and says he offered to show the ticket.  Police say he refused to provide information they requested.

Note:  Lawyers representing the passenger and driver say Indiana law says police can ask a passenger for ID, but the passenger does not have to provide.

It's not clear why the police felt it necessary to break the window and use a taser on the passenger, but they claim in a report that they were concerned about safety.

Video was also taken from a police car of the incident, but police have not released that for some reason.

As technology and video becomes embedded in smartphones, clothing, glasses, watches and everything we use, these situations are going to increasingly become a matter of record.

What isn't clear is what the rules of engagement are, what are the lines that should not be crossed by police or the public and how we need to come up with a way to reduce these type of situations from happening.

Learn more on this story from the Chicago Tribune: Lawsuits, videos spark debate about Hammond police, civilian actions during traffic stop

Monday, September 08, 2014

Former Beacon-News Editor John Russell Rewarded with City of Aurora Job at Taxpayer Expense After Cover-Up of Corruption by Mayor Tom Weisner

In recent years, anyone who has read the Aurora Beacon-News, the local fishwrap old media newspaper (tabloid), knows the publication severely deteriorated to the point of having no credibility in reporting and journalistic integrity.

Some reporters were better writers than others.  Ed Fanselow was one of the few examples of any actual talent.  Most, such as Andre Salles, Dave Parro, Matt Hanley and many others turned out not only to be bad reporters, but knowingly would twist facts and stories.

The most recent city hall beat reporter, Stephanie Lulay, quit.  Initially, she promised to be different and she was.  She started asking questions, but soon fell in line with the Aurora Way of ignoring corruption and being friendly with the crooks she was supposed to be objectively and aggressively covering.

Since 2005, Beaconfused reporters would blame editors for not publishing more stories on corruption and changing stories written by reporters to cover-up misconduct by the administration of Mayor Tom Weisner.  And, while there was a problem with the reporters, they were correct there was a problem with the editors, such as John Russell and Denise Crosby.

In the case of the profanity-laced John Russell, he represented the worst combination.  He was old media, part of the Beaconfused since 1974 and a strong supporter of the status-quo, old guard of Aurora that has exploited the city for years.  He was also a close buddy of Mayor Tom Weisner.

After Russell was eventually tossed out by the Sun-Times in 2013, he claimed he was leaving so he could "retire" but that turned out to be untrue.  Just a few months later, he ended up getting a new job, this time as a "grant writer" with the City of Aurora, a gift at taxpayer expense by Mayor Tom Weisner.

Even without this obvious example of corruption by Weisner, it's always been clear John Russell lacked basic journalism integrity, but now they are exploiting you together.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Are You Reasonable or Unreasonable?

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” 
― George Bernard Shaw