Last year I received a letter in the mail from the Washington D.C DMV claiming I was speeding. As you can see it was one of those Photo-Enforced Speeding Tickets and they had multiple pictures of my CAR. I knew better to just submit and pay a fine like the majority of people do in
By Chris Staples Attorney Andrew Bodoh presents the facts concerning the Richmond Police Department’s lawsuit against Virginia CopBlock, Virginia CopWatch, Nathan Cox, Moriah Karn, and ten unnamed defendants. Please repost, reblogg, and spread the word about this issue. The City of Richmond has chosen to sue residents for writing articles that they do not like.
Here are the papers I was served the second time they served me. If you missed the video of me getting served, go here. Again, this entire thing was over a BLOG I wrote, which if you have not read it, can be found here. The ACLU of Virginia has recently contacted me, in response
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC The Richmond City Police Department and the City of Richmond have alleged, based on speculation, that the one or more of the defendants in this action (they don’t identify which one) have converted (taken possession or exercised dominion and control over) a portable hard drive that is apparently missing. Of
Last year I received a letter in the mail from the Washington D.C DMV claiming I was speeding. As you can see it was one of those Photo-Enforced Speeding Tickets and they had multiple pictures of my CAR. I knew better to just submit and pay a fine like the majority of people do in this country, unfortunately. I am in the habit of not taking “plea deals”, and I am always in the habit of fighting my tickets and NOT pre-paying them so I don’t have to go to court – like many folks do. I just about always record my interactions with the police, whether it’s a traffic stop or not, that way it keeps the entire situation objective, transparent and I can hold the public servant accountable if he/ she violates my rights.
So I got this letter in the mail:
I can’t recall why I got the next letter, but I think it was because I didn’t respond promptly enough.
As you can see these criminals issuing these tickets are hoping that the people will just get scared and pay, or not want to waste their time with it. However the government has to provide evidence that it was actually ME driving, it’s their burden of proof. Just because they got pictures of my car doesn’t mean I was driving. So, in response to the first letter, I mailed them back the following letter (copied and pasted):
To Whom it May Concern,
I received a letter claiming I committed a violation of a speeding law in the District of Columbia on 04/21/2012. As per the instructions, I am writing to plead ‘not guilty’ to this charge. Although this option is said to result in this matter going to court; it is my suggestion that the charges simply be dropped. This suggestion comes out of respect for tax payers, and my request that their hard earned money not be wasted in such proceedings. As there is no evidence of my involvement with this alleged ‘crime’, as well as the fact that I am not granted my 4th amendment right to face my ‘accuser’ (a camera); I see no way the government could prove my guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I also see find no legal requirement for me to implicate someone else in this process, as it is the government’s responsibility to prove a person’s guilt. It is also my 5th amendment right to remain silent on the matter.
If it is the government’s decision to move forward in this matter, I would request copies of any evidence the prosecution may have of my involvement in the “offense”; as well as, all maintenance records for the camera(s) involved.
United States Army Veteran
HUGE thanks to super activist Meg McLain. I was slammed with work and was about to miss the deadline to mail the rebuttal letter in. She was my roommate at the time, I told her about how I needed it to read and she came up with a fantastic piece. I HIGHLY recommend Meg for any of your Graphic Design or Video Animation needs – She’s stellar!
After sending that letter I received this post card:
MANY months later (much more than 6 months), just the other day I get this post card showing that the ticket is DISMISSED.
Just the other day (A year later) I get this post card:
So PLEASE, NEVER EVER opt to pay these Photo Enforced Speeding AND Red Light tickets! You do NOT have to incriminate yourself OR implicate anyone else. It’s the government’s responsibility to provide evidence that YOU were the person driving, don’t help them in their “investigation”. ALWAYS go to court and fight your tickets, if there is NO VICTIM.. there is NO CRIME!
By Chris Staples
Attorney Andrew Bodoh presents the facts concerning the Richmond Police Department’s lawsuit against Virginia CopBlock, Virginia CopWatch, Nathan Cox, Moriah Karn, and ten unnamed defendants. Please repost, reblogg, and spread the word about this issue. The City of Richmond has chosen to sue residents for writing articles that they do not like. If this action is tolerated, nothing will stop RPD from taking similar action against other residents.
Here are the papers I was served the second time they served me. If you missed the video of me getting served, go here. Again, this entire thing was over a BLOG I wrote, which if you have not read it, can be found here. The ACLU of Virginia has recently contacted me, in response to my request. They are eager to help my attorney’s in any way they can.
In case you weren’t aware this case has received some local press recently.
Style Weekly recently came out with this article titled, “Watching the Detectives”.
The Richmond Times Dispatch also came out with it’s first article, hopefully not the last. “Judge orders online information about Richmond police to be taken down”.
1. Motion to Enlarge Temporary Injunction 2. Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint 3. First Amended Complaing
1. Motion to Show Cause
NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC The Richmond City Police Department and the City of Richmond have alleged, based on speculation, that the one or more of the defendants in this action (they don’t identify which one) have converted (taken possession or exercised dominion and control over) a portable hard drive that is apparently missing. Of course, as they have sued ten individuals whom they do not identify except as “Does 1-10”, so the defendants to this action could be anyone. They do not explain in their pleading how this hard drive was lost, when it was lost, or where it was lost. They do not describe what the hard drive looks like.
They allege that the hard drive contains what they describe as “confidential” information or documents that has made its way into the public domain and was republished on various websites. The Richmond City Police Department and the City of Richmond allege that they are suffering and continue to suffer damages as a result of the alleged conversion of this hard drive and the loss of the documents on the hard drive. If the person in possession of this hard drive (if it exists or still exists) reads this post, some or all of the defendants would probably appreciate it if this hard drive were delivered to the clerk of the Circuit Court for the City of Richmond (see order below).
You may wish to consult an attorney since the Richmond City Police Department has threatened criminal charges in what in the opinion of one or more of the defendants is not only a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, but also an apparent effort to cover up the error related to the dissemination of the information that they claim to be “confidential,” apparently without adequate password protection or encryption. Defendants would appreciate it if you would notify counsel for Nathan Cox and Mo Karn if the hard drive is delivered to the clerk.
Translation: As I have stated from day ONE. I have never ONCE possessed these files or alleged hard-drive. I have never uploaded this information. I have never downloaded this information. I was simply contacted by “ANON” who made me aware that information was being put online. After seeing the RVA Wingnuts original post about the information, I copied and pasted the links from their blog, on to the blog that I wrote and published to let the public know about this information if they wanted to investigate it for themselves. So, ALL I have done is write a blog about the information being online. The local media has continued to be silent on the Richmond Police Department using it’s force to bully me around.
Hi all! I have not been around much, I apologize. There has been a lot of serious troubles going on in my life recently, but it appears that it is passing.
Anyway, when I lived in Georgia, my stepfather was an alcoholic, a bad one. He would hit my mother, throw things at her, threaten her, etc. He did all of this in private though, so there was no proof or witnesses. The police were called to my home thirteen times in two years for domestic violence. They were never able to do anything about it, because there were no witnesses. There were bruises on my mother, but the police were unable to remove my stepfather from the house because, as they said, “she may have done it to herself”.
Anyway, I am in a similar situation now. Well, actually, it is not THAT similar, but somewhat. My ex-fiance and I have recently had a serious falling out. Without going into too much detail, she has threatened to get a protective order against me. I laughed at her, because I have never harmed her, and have no intent to do so. Then, I began studying. Turns out, in Virginia, all a person has to do is feel threatened, or act as if they feel threatened to get a restraining order. This is mind-boggling to me. Essentially, you can block ANYONE from coming within a certain distance of you just by saying that they are menacing you. Apparently, there needs to be no proof, no witnesses, nothing. All that is needed is the words.
Now, she was being very emotional, and did not go through with this action, but she could at any given moment. I am working on moving out as I type this. Just thought I would share.
Written and edited by Chris Staples
By now, most readers of Virginia CopBlock have heard the story about the injunction against Nate Cox, ‘Mo Karnage’, the RVA Wingnut Collective, and filebin.net. Yes, the Richmond Police Department actually issued an injunction against an internet domain. Yes, internet domains are inanimate objects incapable of uploading or transmitting data without human action. Filebin.net is a tool of the digital age, no different from a phone, computer word processor, or blog.
RPD’s injunction demonstrates the lengths that governments will go to prevent transparency. With their injunction, RPD is frantically trying to hold back the free flow of information made possible by the digital age. This injunction demonstrates how governments fear the loss of the mainstream media’s monopoly on the news. New media venues like YouTube and podcasts, online news sources like examiner.com and American Daily Herald, and blogging tools like WordPress and BlogSpot destroy the status quo by allowing anyone, anywhere to become reporters.
Reporters need access to write their stories. Finding sources and doing real research takes time. Attending press conferences and going to lunch with government officials is quicker and easier than developing sources and running actual investigations. In the past, local police could control their public image by cozying up to the five or size news outlets in an area. Activist blogs like CopBlock and CopWatch break the stranglehold on investigative journalism.
The injunction represents a deliberate act to suppress a free press. RPD officials understand that independent journalists don’t have the funds to pay for a drawn-out court battle. RPD leaders hope to create enough pain for Virginia CopBlock and the RVA Wingnut Collective to prevent these groups from continuing in their activism. Suppressing these groups would make it harder for future independent journalists to work.
The injunction is a gauntlet thrown in the path of independent journalists. The injunction has a chilling effect, deterring other activists and journalists from demanding government transparency. The injunction is not a matter of the specific files released, nor is it a matter of confidentiality. Ultimately, the injunction is about the need for governments to maintain their status quo of secrecy.
VIDEO: Virginia Cop Block Founder – Nathan Cox gets served Court Order/ Injunction by Richmond Police
Today I was chased down by at least 4 detectives from the Richmond Police Department, while another unmarked cruiser with 2-3 individuals in it, one being in the back seat, possibly being some sort of informant sitting near by. After consulting with my attorney and reaching out to local press, specifically Mark Holmberg (who’s a self-described libertarian and practices peaceful civil disobedience, even in his newscasts) I was ready to make the call to have them meet me at where I work. That was after they went to my previous employer, which they thought I still worked, that was after them showing up at my house, no one home but the pit bulls barking. That was after they went to my grandmothers house looking for me and finally figuring out where I currently work and showed up there. Watch the video of the interaction here.
Well they were trying to serve me Court Orders/ Injunction. I had heard from my friend known as “Mo” earlier that day that cops had been by her residence while she was at work and were apparently tracking her like me, trying to do the same. They are trying to quell my freedom of speech by serving me these ridiculous papers over the post I had published here on this site a couple of nights ago – view it here
The pictures below are of the court order. You can listen to my interview with Free Talk Live that I had tonight here, talking about the situation in more detail.
My Attorney is Tom Roberts, a civil rights defender located in Richmond Virginia. He represented me at the request of the Rutherford Institute with my incident with the VCU Police and did an excellent job. Papers are being filed to a court first thing Monday morning. After this is resolved I’ll be holding them accountable by suing. Victoria Benjamin Pearson you have no case, just give us the money we demand, I promise we’ll put it into much better use than the State would use, I can assure you that. I will keep everyone up to date.
Written by: Nathan Cox
Virginia Cop Block was contacted several days ago by an anonymous person who claimed to have internal information about the Richmond Police Department. We were told that this information would be given first to the RVA Wingnut group, which primarily is a Anarchist Collective in Southern Barton Heights whom are affiliated with and do Cop Watch outreach & activism – as well as Virginia Cop Block. The anonymous individual wanted this information, from their on out, disseminated far and wide for whomever was interested.
This anonymous individual came through and believed it was a necessary course of action, due to the protections of the Police Department that legislatures have kindly given them – transparency and accountability is a MUST in the “public sector”. I share this sentiment as well. Most especially after I realized the police departments can use THEIR discernment when fullfilling/ releasing information via a FOIA Request.
I experienced this personally after I filed my own FOIA Request with the Virginia State Police after my Memorial Day weekend traffic stop. The only piece(s) of information they refused to give me, was regarding Trooper McKenney’s past (history) misconduct and behavioral type of complaints, which I believe the public certainly has a right to know – for safety reasons. (LINKS TO THE FILES ARE LOCATED AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST)
Virginia Cop Block is underway in dissecting these files, SOP’s, GO’s, etc and we can use YOUR HELP. Feel free to download and sift through this information for yourselves. We plan on writing articles about anything pertinent we find in here. If you download the files and review the information and find something pertinent, please let us know! Below is the short blog from the RVA Wingnut about getting this information, and a little more context to why this information fell in our lap. Virginia Cop Block has recently added a Support Page to our website. Please consider making a donation, so we can continue to educate people about their civil rights while dually holding cops and other government bureaucrats accountable.
To read the RVA Wingnut blog about this information go here, or read below:
“You might remember from a couple of years ago that the Wingnut Anarchist Collective and the Richmond Police Department had a tiff regarding some files from the RPD’s General Orders that the Wingnut got a hold of using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). More about that here ( http://wingnutrva.org/2011/01/04/foiad-again/ )
And after the police were forced to drop their case before it even hit the courts, they refused to comply to any FOIA requests coming from members of the Wingnut Anarchist Collective. We didn’t have the legal resources to take them to court over their violation of the FOIA laws. Instead we made multiple online asks for the info if anyone else already had a copy or was able to get one. (http://wingnutrva.org/2012/04/28/rpd-refuses-to-cooperate-with-foia-we-need-these-files-please-help/ ).
Well, someone finally came through, and an anonymous source gave people access to the rest of the General Orders from the RPD, as well as some other files. Since these files regard the rules the police must follow, and since tax money goes to pay for the police, we figure this is public information, and we are re-posting links to it here. We hope it finds you well and helps you protect yourself and your legal rights.
We haven’t actually had a chance to go through these files ourselves, so if you find something particularly interesting or useful, drop us a line to let us know! wingnut_collective @ yahoo.com We;d also love to hear from copwatchers, lawyers, and anyone who finds this information useful, share your stories!
Here are links to some of the new info out there on the web, not sure how long it will stay on those websites, so download your own copy if you are interested!
Written by: Nathan Cox
Hello All, my name is James Boyd. I am the newest writer for the Virginia Chapter of Cop Block. I am glad to be here, and hope that I am able to stick around for a while to come!!
A small blurb about my past and my present:
I was born in Savannah, GA, a historic coastal town in Southern Georgia. (Today is actually my 31st birthday!) I lived in Georgia until I was about 22, then moved to Miami, FL. Things were not exactly working out for me there, so I moved to Falls Church, VA. I have been here for about 9 years now. I have many pets, friends, hobbies, etc. I enjoy making electronic music, going to DC clubs, hanging out with friends, etc.
When I lived in Georgia, the police were always after me. My criminal record is as clean as it could be, however, the police there thought that they kneww that I was up to something. My car was pretty unique, so any time I went anywhere, I had to prepare myself for the fact that I would probably be pulled over and harassed. From the conversations I had with police officers there, I assume that they thought that I was selling or trafficking some sort of controlled substance. Harassment was as far as it ever went, however. They never were able to find anything on my person or in my car. When I moved to Florida, and ultimately Falls Church, all of the harassment stopped. In the past 8 to 9 years actually, I have not had anything but good experiences with the police.
However, I am not out of touch. I am under no illusion that this is how everyone is treated. This is part of the reason why I wanted to do this….to spread awareness that there are still some corrupt cops out there. This is a venue for me to post news stories and post video of the corruption in hopes that the knowledge of the fact that they are being watched and recorded will cause police to get with the program.
Anyway, that’s about it! If you would like to follow/subscribe to me on Facebook, have at it!