Archive for Activism

SB 552: the Dawn of Virginia’s Secret Police

We’ve been hearing a lot about criminal justice reform, a movement with support from both republicans and democrats who acknowledge the myriad problems with the huge numbers of people we spend to jail and prison each year, why we send them there, and how we send them there. However, this is a movement that has apparently not reached Virginia, a state whose legislative body seems to be intent on doubling down on costly (in financial and human terms), ineffective, and harmful “tough on crime” bills that undercut government accountability and transparency and attack our civil liberties.

One of the worst examples of this is Senate Bill 552, which aims to exempt the “names, positions, job classifications, and other identifying personal information” from being released under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act. This bill has already been approved by the Virginia Senate, and if the Virginia House of Delegates passes it, it’s likely Governor McAuliffe will happily sign it into law, based on his previous actions regarding law enforcement and release of information.

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reports that this “Secret Police” law would be the first of its kind in the nation. What an ignoble distinction for a state that so proudly refers to itself as a commonwealth, “a state in which the supreme power is vested in the people,” and boasts “Sic Semper Tyrannis (Thus Always to Tyrants)” for a state motto.
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An Open Letter to Governor McAuliffe and Attorney General Herring

Dear Governor McAuliffe and Attorney General Herring;

It’s clear that you want to build a legacy as gun control trailblazers in Virginia. What’s not clear is why you both seem entirely disinterested in adopting or advocating for meaningful control measures for those who are entrusted with guns and the authority to take lives with near-impunity by the government. You can be counted on to stand with the grieving families of gun homicide victims…so long as they are not the victims of police abuse and overreach. In those cases you are nowhere to be found.  The hypocrisy is galling. And telling.

Furthermore, your recent move to end concealed carry permit reciprocity with 25 states targets a population that is known to be much more law-abiding than the general public, and does nothing to increase public safety. According to the Washington Post, the Attorney General’s office “could not say how many people are suspected of crossing into Virginia with concealed weapons to commit crimes office cannot even say how many people are suspected of crossing into Virginia with concealed weapons to commit crimes.”  The fact that you cannot provide the very information that should have informed your move to restrict CHP holders in the state implies that you either did not bother to research this because you knew it was a non-issue, or you did research it and found no evidence that there was an issue. Read more

Help Bring Yosue Joel Rios Home for the Holidays

The enduring popularity of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and recent proliferation of programs like National Geographic’s Live Free or Die shows that many people have a deep yearning to escape the consumerist hamster wheel we’re all trapped on by transitioning to living off the land and their own hard work. While watching the show it’s often struck me that, thanks to the state, such a lifestyle is not really possible for most people in this day and age.

Even if you have the formidable skill and character required for this lifestyle, and land of your own to work and live on, you still have to have the means to pay the property taxes each year, and manage not to run afoul of all the state and local restrictions most people aren’t even aware of. You most certainly are not allowed to Rewild on public lands either.

live-free-or-die

We grow, raise, scavenge and barter for everything we need, but still have to earn enough money to pay taxes to the state every year for the land we “own.”

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Fairfax County Officials—So Transparent, You Can See Right Through Them

That Was Then

Barely a week seems to go by without a public statement being issued by officials in Fairfax County that includes some now-obligatory remark about transparency. They really seem to think that if they say the word enough, the public will actually be fooled into thinking that is the same as being transparent.  It’s a tactic that’s worked before, but residents have seen this particular dog and pony show too many times before.

Here’s the Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, trying to pull the wool over our eyes by saying this is a fairly new problem, going back only 2 years.

This is a deliberate, blatant lie. Fairfax County’s secrecy and cover up attempts are legendary, leading local reporters to dub the Fairfax County Police Department “the Secret Police.”

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Fairfax, Virginia — a Sanctuary County for Killer Cops

To remember the many victims of police violence in Fairfax County, and to continue to press for justice and accountability for these deaths, Northern Virginia Cop Block is holding a protest on Tuesday, August 4th in front of the judicial center that houses the police headquarters,  the sheriff’s office, county courthouse, and jail.  This date coincides with National Night Out, an event that the Fairfax County Police Department has been promoting relentlessly on social media, perhaps in the desperate effort to draw attention away from their many transgressions against residents. However, messages like the one below only serve to highlight their staggering hypocrisy in refusing to hold the killer cops in their own ranks accountable for their crimes against the community.

FCPD_NNO

This was one order we couldn’t resist.

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What the Fairfax County Police Department has Learned Since Killing John Geer

What has the Fairfax County Police Department learned in the aftermath of John Geer’s unjustified death? If you read Iraq vet Alex Horton’s article in the Washington Post yesterday, you know the answer is “absolutely nothing.” Of course, this would have also been obvious to anyone paying attention over the past 2 years, but Horton’s experience provides striking evidence that the FCPD is still carelessly aiming weapons on unarmed residents, and sees no issue with doing it.

We learned from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) review of the FCPD’s use of force policy and practices that the first thing new recruits go through at the police academy is firearms training. They apparently don’t bother going over the basic firearm safety rules that you see posted at every civilian gun range:

basicgunsafety

If FCPD officers Adam Torres and Deval Bullock had followed these rules, John Geer and Sal Culosi would be alive today.

 

Here are the facts of the case: Alex Horton was staying in a model unit at his apartment complex because management was repairing a leak in his apartment. When he returned home one night, he accidentally left his door ajar, leading a neighbor to believe a squatter might be in the apartment. The resident then called the police. Horton recounts what happened next: Read more

Civil Lawsuit Update: Cox’s Attorney’s respond to $1.35M lawsuit(Updated 12/11/15)

McKenney ordered him from his car, attempted to pull a cell phone from his hands because Cox was video recording the interaction, obstructed the collection of evidence and violated Cox's First and Fourth Amendment Rights.

“McKenney ordered him from his car, attempted to pull a cell phone from his hands because Cox was video recording the interaction, obstructed the collection of evidence and violated Cox’s First and Fourth Amendment Rights.”

(SEE TWO UPDATES REGARDING CASE AT BOTTOM OF ARTICLE)

On June 20th, Virginia Cop Block published the news about Virginia State Trooper Melanie McKenney filing yet another Civil Lawsuit against Virginia Cop Block Founder Nathan Cox; going from a $5K lawsuit to now a $1.35 Million dollar lawsuit.

Cox’s Attorney’s over at Thomas Robert’s and Associates located in Richmond have come out of the gates swinging filing two pleadings along with their own exhibits in hopes of getting this frivolous lawsuit dismissed, this time for good.

The first pleading covers the Statute of Limitations.
Taken from the introduction:

“(1) This Suit is nothing more than a bad-faith, baseless attempt by State Trooper McKenney to hide behind her private persona and silence Nathan Cox – to retaliate against him for his First Amendment protected political activity – by issuing him a million dollar ticket.”

(2) State Trooper McKenney filed suit in small claims court on March 12, 2014. That suit was dismissed, appealed and then non-suited. By the time State Trooper McKenney filed her March 13, 2014 suit, the statute of limitations for any statement complained of had long since run. Complaint 4-9. The Complaint, State Trooper McKenney expressly claims that ‘[t]his case was previously non-suited and is being refiled within six months of the prior non-suit.’

You can read the rest of those pleadings here: Hanover Circuit Filing -1st Special Plea in Bar – Statute of Limitations

As for the second pleadings which had video exhibits, which were that of Cox’s cell phone video and the DashCam video that he acquired by way of a FOIA Request (which the videos can be found on VA Cop Block’s YouTube channel); this pleading goes after the “Truth of all actionable statements.”

The opening Introduction of that pleading states:

“I asked him to get out of the car and he puts a camera in my face” “I don’t want myself on any type of YouTube or whatever.” (Quotes pulled from Dashboard Camera Audio)

“I asked him to get out of the car and he puts a camera in my face”
“I don’t want myself on any type of YouTube or whatever.”
(Quotes pulled from Dashboard Camera Audio)

“(1) In this case, State Trooper M.H McKenney sues Nathan Cox for defamation after Cox shared accounts of a traffic stop in which McKenney ordered him from his car, attempted to pull a cell phone from his hands because Cox was video recording the interaction, obstructed the collection of evidence and violated Cox’s First and Fourth Amendment Rights.

(2) To Prevail, McKenney must show the statements Cox made are both actionable and false. Many of the alleged defamatory statements are not actionable as a matter of law. As for the rest, the video and other documents related to the incident show that these statements are true or substantially true. While McKenney may be personally offended by some of the statements or the mode of their expression, they are not actionable. Indeed, they constitute protected speech under the First Amendment. Therefore this case should be promptly dismissed. Alternatively, any purported statements the Court determines not to be actionable or which are true should be stricken before the case proceeds further.”

Read the rest of these pleadings here:
Hanover Circuit Filing – 2nd Special Plea in Bar – Truth of All Actionable Statements

Cox’s attorney’s will be releasing a video that will be an exhibit in this case and when that video is released, this article will be updated with the embedded video. 

Continue to follow this case by following Virginia Cop Block on Facebook, Twitter and the website. 

Nathan Cox is seeking donations for his Legal Defense Fund to help pay the cost of his attorneys. Consider making a donation and helping Cox protect hist First Amendment rights and perhaps, although it’s not clear, this case could help set a precedent in protecting YOUR first amendment rights in the process.  Click on the image below to make a donation. Cox has stated he’ll be sending personalized hand-written thank you cards, to everyone who donates.

 

Also, to view the Trooper’s 11 page complaint you can find that here: $1.35M Civil Lawsuit / 11 Page Complaint.

UPDATE: November 7, 2015

Yesterday, November 6, Nathan Cox was back in court dealing with this RIDICULOUS 1.35 Million Dollar lawsuit, brought on by a Virginia State Trooper named Melanie McKenney. If you have had a bad experience with Trooper Melanie McKenney, please private message the  facebook page or submit an entry on the website and let us know! The following is what Nathan published regarding the half day in court:

“Today was a great day in court!
My team of attorneys did an excellent job!
The court will be issuing letter opinions on the pleas filed by my lawyers that should get rid of most if not all of this ridiculous case.

The court denied the motion of the plaintiff attempting to deny access to the files of the state police related to Trooper Melanie McKenney. The documents produced will be subject to a protective order to be used only in the defense of the case.

My attorneys have been working hard on the case and need to get compensated. Please consider supplementing what I’m able to pay them. The work that they are doing is vital to protect free speech and the First Amendment, not just for me but for others who choose to criticize the government. You can help protect our 1st Amendment rights by contributing to the legal defense fund here:
http://www.robertslaw.org/defense-fund/

I appreciate the continued support in this matter–it really means a lot. I’m very grateful to those folks who’ve sent me encouraging messages, who’ve chipped in here and there financially and who appreciate the work I’ve done for the cause of freedom. Thank you!

I’ll write an update on VirginiaCopBlock.org after the judge issues his opinion”

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Update: December 11, 2015

Followers & Supporters !!!! We have FANTASTIC news regarding the $1.35 Million lawsuit against Virginia Cop Block Founder, Nathan Cox that was meant to silence him. The following is a statement from him:

“My attorneys really hit a home run in court at the end of last month! The court has issued its (3 page) order which stemmed from my attorneys making a few arguments why it should all be thrown out.

The court found that the Appeal by Virginia State Trooper McKenney was improper, the non-suit was a nullity, and therefore ALL statements/ claims with the exception of just ONE HAVE BEEN THROWN OUT!!

The last existing claim is something I said back on March 28th, 2015 when I was invited to speak to some University of Richmond Law Students.

This statement is: “she pretty much assaulted me.” Which my attorneys should be able to dispose of this claim at a summary judgment. If not before.

I want to give a HUGE thank you to my attorneys over at Thomas Roberts & Associates whom I HIGHLY recommend for especially Constitutional matters and police matters respectively.

I also want to give a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who’s supported me in various ways whether through encouragement, prayers, donations to my legal fund, etc. Your support truly means the world to me.

More updates on the way as they come out and finally get this behind me!”

Round 2 for the Justice for Wayne Jones Protest and March scheduled for June 12, 2015

On May 5th, 2015 activists purposed to raise awareness in Martinsburg WV and the surrounding areas about the murder of Wayne Jones by (5) Martinsburg Police Officers on March 13, 2013. Flustered that the Wayne Jones murder has not received the proper media attention other police shootings have afforded, locals and other citizens say that the Jones shooting should receive similar press and attention if not more than those who’ve been given significant exposure in the national media.  Since October 2014, The Full Court Press covered this case while the public was being misled about the details of the incident.  Several articles by TFCP exposed the anomalies and facts which none of the local media dared to disclose. Slowly, local and mainstream media started reporting the factual inconsistencies and, indeed did some of their own investigative reporting regarding the despicable behavior of the Martinsburg officers. As it stands, the press is now finally catching up. There is no indication that they are further parroting  the content provided in press releases and other documents supplied by the City of Martinsburg and their Police Dept.

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VIDEO: JUSTICE FOR WAYNE A. JONES RALLY A SUCCESS

Written by guest writer: Tony Soto

Had the pleasure to join with the people in City Of Martinsburg West Virginia today to Lead a Protest and Rally bringing attention back to Wayne A Jones an unarmed man who was murdered execution style by 5 Martinsburg Police Officers Known as MP5. As we gathered on the corners of 232 Queen Street we were quickly met with a heavy Police Presence. Yet that didn’t stop the individuals in attendance from gathering and demanding Justice on behalf of Mr.Jones and a transparent Police department that will equally apply justice not by ones skin color or job occupation , but by ones humanity.

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The Problem with VA Senator Bill “Police State” Carrico

State Senator Bill Carrico is a retired Virginia State Trooper. Unfortunately, it appears he has been more interested in representing his old buddies at the VSP in the Senate, than he is in representing his constituents and the citizens of the Commonwealth. 11008910_10101894148333908_718981517_n

The trouble all started in 2013 when Ben Cline’s anti-indefinite detention bill (HB2229) passed the House of Delegates 83-14 on its first attempt. This bill would prevent Virginia citizens from being tossed in a hole without trial, charge, or representation, and place power in the hands of the local sheriff to keep his citizens safe from violations of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments. The bill then went to the senate and passed out of committee 14-1.

Before the bill could be voted on for final passage, it was passed by for the day 5 times. Here’s a hint, that doesn’t happen without somebody pulling some strings. When it finally was given a vote, “Police State Bill” amended it, and it passed the Senate 31-9. His amendments, they ripped the teeth out of the bill and took the sunlight provisions out that would’ve disclosed all of the Memorandums of Understanding between the Commonwealth and the feds. Why would he have done that? The math is pretty simple: the feds didn’t want the bill to pass – even though the bill would’ve done nothing unless the feds violated it, so they went to the VSP to ask them to carry water for them. The VSP went to their good buddy “Police State Bill,” and he decided to emasculate the bill to please the VSP and thus the feds.

Remember, this is Read more