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Tom You're Up - Police gone wild, confiscating and fining their asses off


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https://jalopnik.com/this-tiny-alabama-town-of-1-200-has-been-overrun-by-pol-1848389331

By 2020 Brookside made more misdemeanor arrests than it has residents. It went from towing 50 vehicles in 2018 to 789 in 2020 – each carrying fines. That’s a 1,478% increase, with 1.7 tows for every household in town.

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Police stops soared between 2018 and 2020. Fines and forfeitures – seizures of cars during traffic stops, among other things – doubled from 2018 to 2019. In 2020 they came to $610,000. That’s 49% of the small town’s skyrocketing revenue.

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"And yet in 2018, the police force was expanded from one full-time police officer to eight full-time officers and several part-timers."

For a town of 1,200 people???  That is beyond ridiculous, bordering on facism!

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26 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

https://jalopnik.com/this-tiny-alabama-town-of-1-200-has-been-overrun-by-pol-1848389331

By 2020 Brookside made more misdemeanor arrests than it has residents. It went from towing 50 vehicles in 2018 to 789 in 2020 – each carrying fines. That’s a 1,478% increase, with 1.7 tows for every household in town.

...

Police stops soared between 2018 and 2020. Fines and forfeitures – seizures of cars during traffic stops, among other things – doubled from 2018 to 2019. In 2020 they came to $610,000. That’s 49% of the small town’s skyrocketing revenue.

They did the same thing in a little town outside Gainesville, that happened to be a place you needed to go through to get to Jacksonville.  It took the State a couple of decades to shut that department down.

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2 hours ago, Fakenews said:

They did the same thing in a little town outside Gainesville, that happened to be a place you needed to go through to get to Jacksonville.  It took the State a couple of decades to shut that department down.

It was in a couple of the towns between Jax and Gainesville.  Waldo and Lawtey.  Lawtey is still somewhat active.

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17 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

https://jalopnik.com/this-tiny-alabama-town-of-1-200-has-been-overrun-by-pol-1848389331

By 2020 Brookside made more misdemeanor arrests than it has residents. It went from towing 50 vehicles in 2018 to 789 in 2020 – each carrying fines. That’s a 1,478% increase, with 1.7 tows for every household in town.

...

Police stops soared between 2018 and 2020. Fines and forfeitures – seizures of cars during traffic stops, among other things – doubled from 2018 to 2019. In 2020 they came to $610,000. That’s 49% of the small town’s skyrocketing revenue.

The article that one draws from has more details.

Naming a drug dog "K9 Cash" is remarkably honest about his purpose.

The charge of marijuana possession for the weed plus the paraphernalia charge for the rolling paper around it was creative.

Not sure why this story merits a new thread when we already have a perfectly good drug war looting thread. By the way, it could also go in the Qualified Impunity thread.
 

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Archibald reports the terrible tale of Rev. Vincent Witt, who was pulled over at a stop sign in Brookside by a cop because he had a paper tag. Witt's car was a new purchase, and the tag was legitimate. Witt says he asked if Brookside pulled everybody over like this and says the police officer called him a racial slur and told him to stay out of the town.

Witt called the police department to file a complaint and was told he would have to do so in person. Then things turned bizarre. Witt and his sister (who was not even in the car with him) were subsequently charged with impersonating police officers. Brookside put their pictures up on their Facebook page, and web site Crime Stoppers featured their photos as suspects. The case was eventually dropped after damaging the Witts' reputation.

Witt and his sister have sued in federal court for malicious prosecution. Brookside has claimed that the officers involved are entitled to qualified immunity from the lawsuit. As perhaps an indicator of how big the problem is in Brookside, District Court Judge Abdul Kallon for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama only allowed immunity for the stop itself.  He ruled that the "bizarre" police behavior afterward was not protected. "Given the alleged and, truthfully, bizarre conduct—issuing and approving fabricated charges against Pastor Witt and Ms. Witt for impersonating police officers, without probable cause, and publicizing the charges on Facebook and Crime Stoppers in retaliation for Pastor Witt's complaint—the court is unconvinced that [the officers] are entitled to qualified immunity."

...

 

You have to bring a really far-fetched argument to lose qualified immunity, so that's an achievement too.

But if you put it in the context of the rest of the looting described in the relevant thread, these podunk idiots are pikers. 600 grand in a year? Going after private vehicles? Real looters go to the source and go after armored cars.

I get why you would think I'm the only person here who might care about this topic. That's unfortunate. In case it's also not true, anyone else who cares could always donate to a four star charity that is a leader in fighting this shit.

 

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Well, the chief resigned.
 

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It turns out everybody else understood the corruption problems with police going around fining people solely for the purpose of funding the police department. Both the state's lieutenant governor (a Republican) and the chair of the state's Democratic Party said they're going to work on legislation to try to stop overly aggressive small-town policing that attempts to milk fines from drivers. There's already a law in the state that stops cities with populations of less than 19,000 from stopping speeders on interstate highways. Brookside's police have adapted to the rule by looking for any other possible justification to pull somebody over instead of speeding, like accusing drivers of following too closely or driving in the left lane (rather than just passing). Lawmakers are considering a bill to ban small police forces from ticketing highway drivers at all.

That would be good—pulling over drivers for minor traffic violations that aren't actual safety threats creates unnecessary opportunities for conflict as it is.

One of the ideas lawmakers noted is the possibility of directing the revenue for fines and forfeitures away from police and general city funds. That's a great thought that's worth exploring. Police being able to keep what they seize is one of the primary motivators for fine and forfeiture abuse, and it's obvious to everybody except for the mayor and the police department that's what was happening in Brookside. Without that incentive, the police would not be sniffing around every single car it comes across for a potential score. And, incidentally, a town of 1,500 people with no traffic lights and only one store probably wouldn't be able to afford 10 police officers, each driving a fancy vehicle.

 

The last paragraph has it right. Podunk speed trap towns are a problem. Equitable sharing and the profit incentive it creates for looting are the much bigger problems. But the looting enjoys blessed bipartisan unity and only a handful of nutjobs object, so it will continue. As will I.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Ease the sheet. said:

Don't break the law.

 

 

Is that too easy?

Won't do any good.

As anyone who pays the slightest attention to this issue would know, the PROPERTY is charged with a crime. The individual who possessed the property often is not, but that doesn't matter. If he can't prove the property innocent, it belongs to the government.

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38 minutes ago, Pertinacious Tom said:

Won't do any good.

As anyone who pays the slightest attention to this issue would know, the PROPERTY is charged with a crime. The individual who possessed the property often is not, but that doesn't matter. If he can't prove the property innocent, it belongs to the government.

I've had several Fiat Multiplas assault and insult me with their uglyness.

How can I file charges?

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37 minutes ago, mathystuff said:

I've had several Fiat Multiplas assault and insult me with their uglyness.

How can I file charges?

Start by working in law enforcement, specifically drug war enforcement if you can get that duty.

The thing is, if you win at this game, your agency owns the car.

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Here on the Shore Centreville has a tiny police department, despite the fact the county sheriff's office is IN THE TOWN :rolleyes: They quite obviously are told their continued employment depends on writing tickets, the other day one of them was in full-on Delta Force tacticool gear looking ready to battle it out in Baghdad. He was hiding in a driveway spying on a stop sign to catch the rolling stop terrorist cell :lol:

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No commission/personal profit for the cops doing the over-enforcing? Sounds like socialism.

The Capitalist American Way is better illustrated by the Miami drug squad in the 80s and 90s, when suitably qualified officers were paying up to $250,000 to get a job, knowing that they would make more than that per year for tipoffs, eliminating competitors and guarding coke shipment offloads.  

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9 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Did you pay ANY attention to any of this?

OF course he doesn't - he's a dedicated law & order man. Anything that the Government says it has to do is just fine with him.

FKT

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23 hours ago, mathystuff said:

So the only winning move is not to play...

I think a winning move would be to get the cops to stop playing. That's why I started a thread on asset forfeiture in 2014.

I wish Americans would vote for people who agree and maybe one day they will. Judging by the level of interest in the topic, I'd guess not soon.

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  • 2 months later...
On 1/21/2022 at 9:08 AM, kent_island_sailor said:

 

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Residents are hoping something can be done about the situation soon. The sheriff for Brookside’s Jefferson Count, Mark Pettway, thinks everything that’s going on will eventually attract the attention of the federal government:

I think it’s one of those situations … that could possibly bring in the feds with some oversight,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they opened up an investigation. You can’t do what’s going on over there.

...

Here’s hoping Pettway is right and the federal government starts paying attention to Brookside, Alabama.

 

Kinda cute that the sheriff thought the feds would do something other than exacerbate drug war looting. The President helped write these laws, earning praise from Jeff Sessions in the process, and people wonder why AG Garland hasn't reversed what AG Sessions did on drug war looting? Because it's embarrassing to reverse your boss' political legacy, that's why.

Anyway, it's not the feds who will notice something like this and help. It's nutjobs, again.

Institute for Justice Files Class Action Challenging Brookside, Alabama’s Abusive Policing
 

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Six hundred forty percent. That’s how much Brookside, Alabama’s police increased its revenue from fines, fees and forfeitures from 2018 to 2020. This windfall did not happen by accident but is the result of a systematic effort by Brookside’s police department to prioritize ticket collection over the administration of justice. This kind of improper financial incentive not only betrays the duty to protect and serve; it violates the U.S. Constitution. A class action lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice (IJ), a nutjob law firm, and four victims of Brookside’s policing abuses seeks to secure justice for victims of the town’s policing scheme and set a precedent that justice systems perverted by a profit incentive are unconstitutional.

The new federal lawsuit has two primary claims: First, Brookside’s policy, practice and custom of relentlessly towing vehicles for bogus reasons to generate cash for the town violates the Fourteenth Amendment. Second, Brookside’s use of trumped-up criminal citations to maximize fines and fees for its financial benefit similarly violates the Fourteenth Amendment. Both claims maintain that Brookside uses its law-enforcement and municipal-court systems to generate revenue for those in charge.

“Policing for profit preys on the vulnerable, and it subverts public trust,” said IJ Nutjob Jaba Tsitsuashvili. “Courts recognize that generating 10% of revenue from fines and fees raises a presumption of unconstitutionality. Brookside generates nearly five times that.”

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Brookside has not been shy about the intent of its practices. Police chief Mike Jones, who recently resigned, declared the town’s 640% revenue spike “a failure” because the town could be raking in even more cash with “more officers and more productivity.” But even after his resignation the abusive policy and practice continues.

The proceeds of this “productivity” went almost entirely to Brookside’s police department. Of the $610,307 raised through fines and forfeitures in 2020, for example, $544,077 went directly to the police, in the form of training, conferences, vehicles and salaries. These purchases included expensive unmarked black SUVs and military-style equipment. The department even leased a mine-resistant, militarized vehicle, which officers parked outside the town hall and drove around the town as part of their rampant intimidation tactics.

“To make sure the Brookside horror stories don’t repeat there or anywhere else, the courts need to declare that abusive policing is not only wrong, but unconstitutional,” said IJ Nutjob Suranjan Sen. “Holding Brookside accountable will serve as a warning to local governments nationwide who look to taxation by citation as a way to boost revenue.”

...

 

I wish them luck. I also wish my fellow Americans would stop electing drug war looters into high offices.

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47 minutes ago, Pertinacious Tom said:

 

Kinda cute that the sheriff thought the feds would do something other than exacerbate drug war looting. The President helped write these laws, earning praise from Jeff Sessions in the process, and people wonder why AG Garland hasn't reversed what AG Sessions did on drug war looting? Because it's embarrassing to reverse your boss' political legacy, that's why.

Anyway, it's not the feds who will notice something like this and help. It's nutjobs, again.

Institute for Justice Files Class Action Challenging Brookside, Alabama’s Abusive Policing
 

I wish them luck. I also wish my fellow Americans would stop electing drug war looters into high offices.

This is a good thread for this:

https://www.amazon.com/We-Own-This-City-Corruption-ebook/dp/B08BKSW6R8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2H0FY9KQZ3QEH&keywords=we+own+this+city&qid=1649609075&sprefix=we+ow%2Caps%2C198&sr=8-1

I am in the middle of this book and the cops have totally gotten past the silly forfeiture laws and just outright steal what they want.

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17 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I am in the middle of this book and the cops have totally gotten past the silly forfeiture laws and just outright steal what they want.

That's actually an easier situation to deal with in a way. Once exposed, they won't find any defenders at all. Drug war looting, OTOH, enjoys bipartisan political support. Much harder to eradicate.

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The Plaintiffs
 

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Four victims of the constitutional abuses perpetuated by the Brookside Police Department are spearheading IJ’s class action.

Brittany Coleman
On April 4, 2020, recent University of Alabama graduate Brittany Coleman was on her way to celebrate her birthday with breakfast. She and her boyfriend were driving in separate cars, with Brittany following a few car lengths behind. A Brookside officer pulled her over for allegedly tailgating her boyfriend’s car, then forced her to stand handcuffed in the hot Alabama sun for more than 30 minutes as he searched it. He issued her a citation for tailgating and for marijuana possession. The court dropped the possession charge because the police did not actually find marijuana. The officer told her that, if not for the pandemic, he would have arrested her. Instead, he ordered her car towed, even though she was fully able to legally drive it away from the scene. Even though she did nothing wrong, Brookside forced Brittany to pay nearly $1,000 in towing fees, fines and court costs.

Brandon Jones
On December 31, 2021, Brandon Jones was pulled over while driving to his cousin’s home in Brookside to pick up COVID-19 medicine. His wife was in the car, and their three children—ages 11, 6 and 1—were in the back. Eventually, after demanding Brandon’s license and registration, the officer said he pulled Brandon over because the car’s registered owner had a warrant from another jurisdiction. Ultimately, he informed Brandon that he would tow his car because Brandon did not show the “official” insurance card, which was in Brandon’s other car at home. But Brandon had shown the officer other paperwork proving that the car was insured, including proof of payment and the insurance policy number. But the police towed the family’s vehicle anyway, stranding Brandon and his frightened children on a dark, unlit, country road on New Year’s Eve. Nearby relatives had to come pick up Brandon and his family from the roadside.

Chekeithia Grant and Alexis Thomas
On February 15, 2020, Alexis Thomas was driving her mother Chekeithia Grant’s car when Brookside police pulled her over. She immediately called her mom to let her know what was happening. Chekeithia quickly made her way to the scene. The officer said that one of the vehicle’s two tag lights was out, claimed he smelled marijuana, handcuffed Alexis and forced her into a police car. He began searching the car.

Upon Chekeithia’s arrival, an officer demanded identification. She said that it was in the purse in the car Alexis was driving. Without asking for consent, the officer rifled through the purse and wallet (slamming Chekeithia’s phone on the car and breaking it in the process). During this unlawful search, he found a small prescription bottle that he claimed contained marijuana. The officer then arrested Chekeithia and towed both cars. Chekeithia paid hundreds of dollars to retrieve the cars. Two years and several stressful court trips later, Brookside dismissed all charges against both women.

...

 

So two of three are explictly drug war looting, the other is just drug war-enabled looting.

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The town that I live in.... (Actually, I don't live in the town, just the postal designation of the town) had their police dept. closed by the state a few years ago for exactly this sort of shit. Targeting certain people/neighborhoods. There was a particular cop who was nicknamed "ROBOCOP" because he would take any opportunity to beat the shit out of a black person walking on the street after midnight...... And he didn't use his fists.

Well..... The dept. got reinstated this year.... It's smaller, and has less authority than it used to have.... They have no pull over, or stop and frisk authority.... They need to call the Sheriff, or FSP for that..... BUT..... BUT....... Guess who the new chief is?...... Yup..... ROBOCOP.

If you don't have an armed, crack addicted black man raping your innocent church going holier than thou teen aged white daughter at noon on a Sunday in the chicken coop, don't bother calling.

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Reminds me of Russell Perdock, the Lake County Sheriff who rammed his powerboat over a sailboat killing a woman onboard and then had her husband charged with murder. He became mayor of Clearlake.

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