Amy Goodman Is Facing Jail Time for Reporting on the Dakota Access Pipeline. That Should Scare Us All.
“The charges against Goodman are a clear attack on journalism and freedom of the press.”
“Goodman had the audacity to commit this journalism on September 3, when she was in North Dakota covering what she calls “the standoff at Standing Rock”: the months-long protests by thousands of Native Americans against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The $3.8 billion oil pipeline is slated to carry barrel after barrel of Bakken crude through sacred sites and burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and tribe members fear it could pollute the Missouri River, the source not only of their water but of millions of others’, should the pipe ever rupture. Their protests, which began in April and ballooned through the summer months, represent the largest mobilization of Native American activists in more than 40 years—and one of the most vital campaigns for environmental justice in perhaps as long.”
Houston, TX — A completely innocent man was shot, tasered, brutally beaten, and had stun grenades thrown at him by vicious and incompetent SWAT officers. Then, those same officers tried to cover up their mistake by charging the victim, Chad Chadwick, with six criminal offenses including felony assault on a police officer.
This incident happened in 2011, but it has taken Chadwick three years and his entire life savings, to finally beat the charges that he was falsely accused of. Last month, a jury found Chad Chadwick not guilty of interfering with police. With tears in their eyes members of the jury offered the exonerated defendant comforting hugs, according to My Fox Houston.
“They tried to make me a convict. It broke me financially, bankrupted me. I used my life savings, not to mention, I lost my kids,” said Chadwick.
Chadwick had been drinking and went to sleep in his bathtub on the night of September 27, 2011, when police were given a tip from a friend of Chadwick’s who said they were concerned with his emotional well-being. So naturally the police responded by mobilizing a heavily militarized SWAT team.
“They came in did what they did, figured out that they messed up and now they are doing everything they can to cover it up. They treated a normal American citizen like an animal. It’s not right,” Chadwick said in an interview with FOX 26.
The SWAT team lied to the judge to get the warrant by telling the judge that Chadwick had hostages. “
They told a judge I had hostages. They lied to a judge and told him I had hostages in my apartment and they needed to enter,” said Chadwick.
When SWAT broke down his door without identifying themselves, they launched a stun grenade into his bathroom, according to Chadwick.
“While I had my hands up naked in the shower they shot me with a 40 millimeter non-lethal round,” said Chadwick.
Another stun grenade was fired.
“I turned away, the explosion went off, I opened my eyes the lights are out and here comes a shield with four or five guys behind it. They pinned me against the wall and proceeded to beat the crap out of me,” said Chadwick.
That’s when SWAT officers shot Chadwick at point blank range with a taser in the back of his head.
“They claimed I drew down with a shampoo bottle and a body wash bottle,” said Chadwick.
Tased, shot and with multiple SWAT officers smashing him into a corner with a shield, a brutal beating ensued.
“They grabbed me by my one hand that was out of the shower and grabbed me by my testicles slammed me on my face on the floor and proceeded to beat me more,” said Chadwick.
Chadwick was then hauled off to Ft. Bend County Jail with a fractured nose, bruised ribs and what’s proven to be permanent hearing loss. He was kept in an isolation cell for two full days. Remember, Chadwick has never broken a law; he had committed no crime.
“Instead of apologizing to this man and asking let us see what we can do to help you to make you whole again, they concocted criminal charges against this man, one after another, after another,” said activist Quanell X, who believes the prosecution of Chadwick was designed to fend off civil liability.
The SWAT team that took Chadwick into custody and testified against him was comprised of officers from Missouri City, Sugar Land, Stafford and the Ft. Bend County Sheriff’s Department. To this date, none of them have faced any disciplinary action.
According to FOX 26, Ft. Bend County District Attorney John Healy declined to comment on camera, but did say he stands by his decision to prosecute Chadwick, despite the multiple no-bills and not guilty verdict. Asked how much the case cost taxpayers, Healy said “I wasn’t keeping a tally.”
Chadwick is now pursuing a civil suit against the police agencies involved and they will most assuredly know how much money that will cost the taxpayers.
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/innocent-man-raided-tased-beaten-shot-corrupt-swat-team-lied-raid/#KxW8PAJLkFqXR6EE.99
Spirit Lake, Iowa: Mrs. Lady’s Mexican Food has been owned and operated for 38 years by Carole Hinders. Carole has always preferred to accept only cash payments, so frequent bank deposits were necessary in order to keep from having too much cash on hand at her restaurant. One day in August 2013, the IRS unexpectedly seized her entire bank account, totaling just shy of $33,000. It was a clear-cut case of civil forfeiture abuse. Read more about it at Breitbart.
Long Island, New York: Bi-County Distributors has been owned by brothers Mitch and Richard Hirsch for 27 years. Their business distributes candy and snacks and other small food items to a number of convenience stores in their area. Many of their clients pay cash on delivery, so that means that they need to make frequent bank deposits for their own safety. Then one day in May, 2012, federal agents seized their entire business bank account, which contained a balance of around $446,000. The federal abuse of civil forfeiture laws was once again the root cause of the near ruination of yet another successful and legitimate family business.
Abusive Federal Authority Again
Those are just two of numerous examples of a growing form of abuse of federal authority. These two cases involved the confiscation of cash assets. Numerous other cases involve the confiscation of property in all forms.
If the term Civil Forfeiture means nothing to you yet, you had better start learning about it fast, especially if you operate business which accepts a significant amount of payment in cash. The IRS is on a mission to find any excuse they can to literally rob you of your hard earned money.
What is Civil Forfeiture?
Civil forfeiture is the act of government confiscation of your property with no accountability whatsoever on their part. All that’s necessary to trigger it is someone in a law enforcement agency who claims suspicion of a victim’s criminal involvement. Your property can be taken without you even being charged with any crime. Depending on conditions of the situation, your vehicle, your home, or all of the cash from your bank accounts could be taken.
Worse yet, because you have not been charged with a crime, civil forfeiture leaves you without the legal protection you would have enjoyed if you really were a criminal! Neither do any rules exist to control what the confiscating law enforcement agencies may do with the stolen, er, I mean, confiscated property.
One might reasonably expect your confiscated property to go into some kind of protected escrow status. But in fact, in 42 states, confiscating agencies simply keep what they have confiscated and use it as their own. No law regulates them. It makes no difference if it is cash, vehicles, real estate, or anything else.
Such a rule of law, if it can be called that, provides law enforcement agencies with an incentive to falsely seize as much property as they possibly can. And they do!
On what basis are bank account assets seized?
Federal law now requires that banks notify federal agencies whenever a cash sum totaling over $10,000 is made into any bank account. Such reporting is designed to tip off authorities to the possibility of illegal business acivity. The war on drugs has contributed to the motivation for such law and invasion of privacy. As invasive as that law is on personal business, did you know that your deposits may be under continual scrutiny by the IRS, whether or not you make deposits over $10k?
If you happen to have a business which generates a lot of income on a cash basis, you can be accused of “structuring” your deposits by consistently keeping them under $10k. There do not seem to be any guidelines for federal agents to use to define what constitutes “structuring”. If you make a series of large deposits of less than $10k, you might be accused of “structuring” your deposits to avoid IRS scrutiny.
In the act of IRS monitoring of your perfectly legal activity of depositing cash sums of several thousand dollars, you have already been scrutinized. In fact it seems perfectly logical that if you were already aware of the $10k trigger value, you might very well for your own good be attempting to structure your deposits to avoid being targeted as a possible illegal operation. Who wouldn’t want to avoid being targeted as an illegal operation, especially if you are really 100% legitimate?
Property owners who find themselves caught up in the forfeiture abuse system often spend weeks, months, sometimes years, without having an opportunity to appear before a judge. Too many victims are compelled to simply give up. They never did anything wrong, but it’s just too pointless and too expensive to continue fighting.
In one well documented analysis of federal civil forfeiture cases, it has been shown that 80 percent of those whose property the federal government seized were not charged with any crime. This is no better than legalized theft!
Make the federal government accountable, and stop the war on drugs
In order to stop the abuse of civil forfeiture, we clearly have two choices. The practice of civil forfeiture must either be totally abolished, or it must be carried out with accountability.
This abuse of property rights could easily be reduced by 80% by making the legitimate criminal arrest of every victim a prerequisite to property seizure.
“Legitimate” is a key word, and that’s why I lean towards its total abolition. Most cases of legally valid civil forfeiture revolve around illegal and victimless drug crimes. The legalization of drugs would result in the elimination of a vast part of the underground syndicate. Grounds would then no longer exist to prosecute the greater portion of the remaining 20% of civil forfeiture cases.
Then the federal government wouldn’t even need to take property away from people anymore, would it? Or did they ever really need to? Liberty makes life so much simpler.