6 Ekim 2014 Pazartesi

(News flash and judicial newswatch) Holy shit. Detroit (and it's cops) feel legally justified in seizing any and all vehicles near an illegal occupation... WITHOUT probable cause

Skip to minute 7:40 for the related story (though the rest is also great, and worth your time to watch)

the Court held Defendant City of Detroit (“the City”) has “a widespread practice, permanent and well settled, that constitutes a custom of: (1) detaining, searching, and prosecuting large groups of persons for “loitering in a place of illegal occupation” based on their mere presence at a blind pig, without probable cause; and (2) impounding all the cars that are driven to such places, based solely on the drivers' mere presence there.”

The City admitted that it was its practice to arrest everyone at a “blind pig” (people buying beer after hours) raid based on mere presence, not individualized probable cause.

Likewise, the City admitted that it was its policy to seize a person's vehicle under Michigan's nuisance abatement statute merely because the individual drove to a “blind pig,” regardless of whether the individual knew the establishment operated illegally. The City argues that it is entitled to seize a vehicle even if there is no probable cause for an arrest. The Sixth Circuit has held that the U.S. Constitution and Michigan's nuisance abatement statute prohibit this kind of seizure. See Alman v. Reed, 703 F.3d 887 (6th Cir.2013).


What's all this about?

The DJ was spinning old records by James Brown and Aretha Franklin during Funk Night at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit in 2008, when the heavily armed cops dressed in commando-style uniforms burst into the gallery on Rosa Parks Boulevard, a nonprofit that for 29 years, has promoted art and art education in Detroit, and exhibits such as the "Architectural Designs to Improve Neighborhoods" is cosponsored by the City of Detroit.

To the police, CAID was a blind pig, where people were buying beer after hours. They handed out 130 tickets for loitering in a place where alcohol was being sold illegally and impounded 44 cars, which cost $900 to get back. Cops found no drugs, no weapons, no people with outstanding warrants. Why did they raid the gallery? Violation of, and failure to pay for, a dance permit. Yup. Kevin Bacon, you missed this opportunity to dance like it's a "Footloose" draconian anti-dancing regime in reality.

The police harassed and assaulted, used excessive force, malicious prosecution and violated constitutional due process PLUS committed unlawful arrest, search, and seizure of property (straight from the court transcript) because someone in the city demands RESPECT (see how I tied in the Aretha Franklin record?) and the money for a dance permit.

BUT, the police did not ticket the gallery for anything. (Child psychology = torment the people for behavior, they'll associate the torment with the location, avoid it, it goes out of business... versus ticketing the location, and it stays in business with a wrist slap)


Why am I posting about it? Detroit seized, and states it has a policy to seize, vehicles with no probable cause. WTF? Corruption in a bankrupt city, say hello to the rest of the world.

Even after charges were dropped, the City felt they could charge for the release of the vehicles, essentially holding innocent people’s cars for ranson.

Hellenberg, who had just started working at the Ferndale Library, did not have the money to get her car out of impound. Like many involved in the incident, her car sat in impound for over 10 months. She walked and shared rides with friends for almost a year while her car was in police custody.

In a 32-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts ruled that the police violated the Fourth Amendment when they arrested everyone at the art gallery merely for being present and seized their cars without evidence that they had broken a law.

In addition, Judge Roberts found that the police misconduct at the CAID was not an isolated incident, but was in fact part of “a widespread practice” and “custom” by the Detroit Police Department of unconstitutionally “detaining, searching, and prosecuting large groups of persons” and impounding their cars based on their mere presence at a raid location.

According to the opinion: “…Mere presence, in and of itself, is never sufficient to establish probable cause that a person knowingly and intentionally was in a place of illegal occupation… even assuming that police had probable cause to believe that some people present had committed an arrestable offense, they nonetheless lacked probable cause for detaining everyone who happened to be at the CAID.

“In a free country, the police may not conduct commando-style raids on innocent people and seize their property without justification,” said Dan Korobkin, ACLU of Michigan staff attorney.


And where are the investigative reporters like the wonderful John Oliver, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert in the tv and newspapers? Underfunded and cut from the business. It takes time and money to do IJ, and local tv, radio, and newspapers can't afford it, when they can - instead - talk about jack knifed tractor trailers, and still bring in the same ratings and advertising dollars. http://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/aclu-saving-our-asses/Content?oid=2196980   Bravo to John Oliver and Jeff Daniels (Newsroom / HBO et al) for keeping investigative journalism alive in the internet age.

According to http://www.warrendaleblog.com/2008/06/raid-caid.html "residents of the Woodbridge neighborhood, which surrounds the CAID, reported a gang of teenagers going through the neighborhood smashing car windows and harassing residents."

"The residents of that neighborhood repeatedly called the police. However, the police never showed up. They were too busy busting the drunk suburbanites to deal with a series of felonies." (the DPD used 24 cops to bus the gallery for a misdemeanor alcohol sale, instead)

oh, and just how pretentious are the Detroit Police Dept and it's DA? They pushed to have the lawsuit appealed, and it was denied, because they feel they have a "qualified immunity as a matter of righthttps://casetext.com/case/mobley-v-city-of-detroit

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