Fair Justice Act would ban enforcing criminal or traffic laws to raise revenue

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by The Wrong Guy, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    Cops Across the Country Being Disciplined, Not for Brutality, But for Not Writing Enough Tickets

    By Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project

    As more and more officers across the country expose quota systems within their departments the mission of the American police officer is becoming quite clear; revenue generator.

    As there is no money in solving murders or preventing rapes, police departments in America have focused their duties on traffic citations and the drug war. Both of these venues are highly profitable for departments.

    City and state governments have become so addicted to these revenue streams that we are now seeing full-on military raids on people in fruitless attempts to find drugs and money. Along with the drug raids, we are seeing police officers forced to collect a certain amount of revenue through traffic enforcement, or risk losing their jobs.

    Over the weekend, 4 more state troopers from Tennessee exposed their department for enforcing a quota system. There would be many more according to the troopers, but their fellow cops are afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation.

    Last week, six cops in Whittier, CA filed a lawsuit against the city after they were retaliated against for refusing to act as revenue collectors by following ticket and arrest quotas.

    Last month, a former Bellefontaine Neighbors cop, ten-year veteran of the force, officer Joe St. Clair was ordered to carry out a policy that he says required cops to issue a certain number of traffic tickets, and even traffic arrests. If the cops failed to do it, they could be fired.

    “I believe the chief put an illegal mandate on his officers. I think it’s unfair to the community,” St. Clair told KMOV.

    Also, in November of last year. The Free Thought Project reported the story of police in Normal, IL. Several cops from the Normal police department sued the city claiming that the department’s policy forced them to make arrests without probable cause.

    These are just a few of the many revenue collection schemes implemented in this “land of the free.”

    Only when these department heads are caught in the act of implementing quotas do they deny their existence.

    Earlier this month, the Free Thought Project was leaked video that shows a Newaygo County Sheriff’s deputy admitting that their department breaks federal and state laws.

    This cop admitted, on camera, that he routinely breaks federal and state law. He wasn’t blowing the whistle either. He was proposing a grant allocation to the Board of Commissioners and using the fact that he enforces quotas as a sales pitch!

    When local news departments caught wind of our story, they interviewed the sheriff, who predictably denied the existence of quotas and assured the public that the deputy in the video has faced proper disciplinary action. However, if that deputy wasn’t immediately fired and arrested for breaking the law, then there was nothing “proper” about it.

    The skewed reality here is that you can mandate that officers enforce illegal ticket quotas, and nothing happens to you. Only when officers refuse to take part in these illegal quota systems, do they become the ones who face any discipline.

    Continued here:

    In response to Ferguson probe, Cleaver to introduce bill to curb policing for revenue

    By Wesley Lowery, The Washington Post

    Just days after a scathing report accused police in Ferguson, Mo., of over-enforcement that is racially discriminatory and aimed at raising revenue for the city, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) will introduce a bill that would make such policing practices a federal civil rights violation.

    The Fair Justice Act would make it a civil rights violation punishable by up to five years in prison for a police officer, chief or department to enforce criminal or traffic laws for the purpose of raising revenue.

    "The time has come to end the practice of using law enforcement as a cash register, a practice that has impacted too many Americans and has disproportionately affected minority and low-income communities,” Cleaver said in a statement provided to The Washington Post. “No American should have to face arbitrary police enforcement whose sole purpose is to raise revenue for a town, city, or state.”

    Much like any other legislation pitched by a Democratic lawmaker, the bill could face a perilous pathway to passage with Republicans now in control of both chambers of Congress. However, some congressional aides think there is bipartisan consensus that some action is needed in light of the national conversation around policing that was sparked by the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

    Continued here:

    Could a Federal Law to Stop Police Revenue-Seeking Actually Work?

    By Scott Shackford, Reason

    Last three paragraphs:

    But how exactly does one prove that the enforcement of the law is solely motivated to raise revenue? From a libertarian perspective, this proposal implicates the entirety of a drug war (technically, not a bad thing, one might argue). The proposed text of Cleaver's bill is not yet ready, but his office is hoping for it to be available by the end of the week. Would a municipality have to prove to the Department of Justice that each law has a valid purpose?

    And this is a proposed criminal law, not a civil law. I am having a hard time visualizing a prosecutor managing to successfully hold any particular individual within municipal government criminally liable for the circumstances by which any particular law is enforced, except in some particularly egregious "smoking gun" cases. And even then, what happens when the officer or clerk or whomever just points to the city's crime rate as justification?

    I'm trying not to be an immediate downer about the bill, but it strikes me being part of a mistaken belief that we can secure more freedom and liberty with even more regulation and rules. I can see this bill, if poorly worded, actually adding to municipal costs as cities find themselves having to produce more and more documentation to prove to the DOJ that they're not revenue-mongering, rather than actually reducing the scope of municipal law enforcement, as Cleaver hopes. We will have to see what the legislation actually says.

    Congressman Proposes Bill to Ban Laws with the Purpose of Generating Revenue

    By Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project

    Last three paragraphs:

    It is important to point out that such a bill is going to be incredibly difficult to write. It will stir up debate not only over seat belts, speeding, and window tint tickets, but also over the drug war, prostitution and other more controversial victimless crimes designed to prey on the less fortunate.

    This bill is hopeful, not because it creates new laws, but because it gets rid of old ones. For too long, Americans have sat back in complacency and spouted out ridiculous idioms such as, “there oughta be a law against that,” without giving any thought to the lives these laws ruin.

    Well, finally, we are moving in the right direction. For once, someone is saying, “you know what, there shouldn’t be a law against that, and I’m going to do something about it.”
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