As the Police State continues to spiral out of control (nationwide of course but specifically here in Virginia), with little accountability, the rising militarization of the police along with continued police brutality towards individuals who simply utilize their First Amendment right to record the police, NEW, local, Virginia Cop Block Chapters are rising up! The demand for Public Servant accountability isn’t just within Law Enforcement Agencies, it’s public-sector wide, but most especially and concernedly in the “Justice System”. If you haven’t realized there is something wrong with our “Justice System” yet, you’re probably watching to much American Idol.
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!
Last week concluded Virginia Cop Block’s “Liberty Empowerment Project”, well at least the full-time effort behind it. We finished up the last two days in Oregon Hill and Hillside Court. Each morning we started about 8:30am outside of a court-house, handing out packets to folks going into court. We primarily did outreach at the John Marshall Court House and the Manchester General District Court House, with the exception of Henrico County’s Court House off Parham Road on the last day of the project. Read more
Written by: Nathan Cox Edited by Meg McLain & Chris Staples
On Memorial Day weekend,May 26th, I was coming home from a side-job I had picked up. Quickly noticed that Interstate 295 was being HEAVILY Policed by State Troopers. Here is my initial CELL PHONE Video):
“I passed 3 state troopers just 50 meters from the Pole Green Road Exit on 295. They were conducting a traffic stop, funny thing was, 2 of them were conducting the stop, while a third was on the opposite shoulder. As I drove by one of the cops stared me, or my vehicle down. The next thing I knew one of those cops came up fast behind me while I was still on the phone. She moved over the adjacent lane and proceeded to pass me, just enough to see my State Inspection sticker which expired March 1. Then she pulled behind me and blue lighted me. She came up to my door, opened the door and aggressively asked to get out of the car. After I complied and stepped out of my car, she had her hands all over me trying to prevent me from recording her. After I signed the tickets she claimed my muffler sounded loud (it’s a stock muffler on a 08 civic Si). As I tried to capture some video of all the cruisers that came to the scene, she threatened me with a citation for being a “pedestrian on the highway” you can see that in the next video. 3 more cops came to the scene. The entire stop was not caught on MY phone because one of the male cops turned my phone upside down when they noticed it filming. I’m hoping to get the dashboard cam via FOIA after the criminal charges are dealt with.”
After going to court about this, I was able to get the inspection sticker citation dismissed but was found “guilty” on the charge “Failure to Display Front License Plate”. Following these court proceedings over these charges, I filed an official complaint with the Virginia State Police concerning the aggressive nature of State Trooper McKenney. I also filed a Freedom Of Information Act Request in hopes to obtain Trooper McKenney’s Dashboard Camera, as well as any other communication about me via, phone, text, email and radio. Also, I tried to recover previous complaints Trooper McKenney may have received, but was denied that request.
Approximately August 22nd I received the FOIA Request Package from the Virginia State Police. After reviewing the information we received, being the Dashboard Camera and text messages that was sent to/received from McKenney validated my account of what happened and provides enough evidence that could make a case for a 4th Amendment Rights Violation. If you have not yet seen MY video of the traffic stop yet, you can watchthe video here and you will notice at the 7:27 mark someone violates my 4th Amendment Rights by trespassing against my property (My Phone). As well as a short clip here of trying to get footage of the cop cars after recovering my phone, she then threatened to cite me for “being a pedestrian on a highway”. What you’ve been waiting for – State Trooper McKenney’s Dashboard Camera: Read more
To educate people about their rights, and empower them to be active in the protection and preservation of liberty.
The creation and targeted distribution of 10,000 educational packets consisting of literature on the following subjects: -The Philosophy of Liberty/The Nonaggression Principle -Police Accountability/Know Your Rights When Encountered by Police -Never Take a Plea Deal Concept -Jury Nullification
We feel these subjects are the most critical to convey to the public; as they offer the most direct, immediate, and individually beneficial results in dealing with the ever expanding police state.
How it’s going to work:
To start every morning we will be handing out this literature in front of various court-houses and police stations from roughly 8/ 8:30am – 10/ 10:30am – which allows us the chance to then go into the neighborhoods mid-morning, keeping in consideration residents who may be late sleepers, or not “morning people”. We will target everyone out in the street, sidewalks, pedestrians as well as go door to door handing out literature, and if not home leave the literature in a bag hanging on the door handle. We will be on foot doing outreach, educating an activism 8-10 hours a day. If we encounter anyone whom we get a very positive reaction out of we will ask to do a quick video interview (and will try and do this as much as possible.) We will also make a quick 2-5 minute AAR (After Action Review) video at the end of each day explaining what we accomplished for the day, if we ran into anything positive or negative, police, etc. At the end of every week we will make a 5-10 minute AAR video covering/ releasing anything not included in those daily updates. We will be making live/ real-time updates throughout the week. EVERYTHING will be transparent.
-The Philosophy of Liberty (trifold brochure)
is the fundamental message behind our movement. This brochure breaks down the principles behind liberty in a very easy and eye catching manner and it also is paralleled with a brief explanation of the Non-Aggression Principle. Statism is running rampant in this country and educating people on these basic principles is a MUST if we want to see further growth in the Liberty Movement.
-Police Accountability/Know Your Rights (4″x6″ flyer & business card)
The Country has literally become a Militarized Police State that has very little accountability. It appears the police have thrown their oaths out of the window and have chosen to “serve and protect” Lobbyists, Law Makers, themselves & The State – Instead of the people whom are coerced to pay for their “services”. It’s been my personal, second hand and thirty party experience that many people whom are encountered by the police simply DO NOT know their rights, and because of this they are either victimized by police abuse or misconduct OR they are taken advantage of and get locked up or some sort of citation simply because they incriminated themselves by talking or allowing for a search of their person or property. We MUST educate and empower people. The literature we plan on handing out from this comes from CopBlock.org and VirginiaCopBlock.Org. It explains the mission of Cop Block, being police Accountability, it encourages people to film the police, most especially their interactions with the police as well as educating individuals on what to do/ not do and say/ not say when talking with the police.
-Don’t Take the Plea Deal (trifold brochure)
The idea behind this initiative is that if enough people (not necessarily a majority) STOPPED pre-paying their pre-payable traffic “violations” (or any victimless crime for that matter) and insisted on battling it out in court even if the likelihood of being found guilty is still imminent, the idea is to CLOG the system. Who knows how many people, probably countless amounts pre-pay their tickets, or go to court and inter a “Plea Deal”. Take a second and think about this, if you’ve ever been in a court room, you know they are already backed up with all sorts of cases and there are always delays and they have an increasingly harder time trying to manage their dockets because of how many people they coerce into these unpleasant appointments with the State. Imagine If more and more people stopped prepaying those tickets, and stopped taking plea deals and exhausted the State by fighting for their innocence. The Court system would be shut down, they’d have to figure something out.. or stop arresting/ issuing citations for so many people. The Fact of the matter is non-violent offenders make up more than 60 percent of the prison/ jail population. Nonviolent drug offenders now account for about one-fourth of all inmates, up from less than 10 percent in 1980. FACT: There are 2.1 MILLION people caged up in a Prison — or in Jail, awaiting trial. FACT: More than 40% of the prison population are African American despite African American’s making up only 12% of the American Population. The U.S has about 5% of the world’s population, yet 25% of the world’s prison population
-Jury Nullification (trifold brochure)
To educate individuals regarding their full powers as jurors, including their ability to rely on personal conscience, to judge the merit of the law and its application, and to nullify bad law, when necessary for justice, by finding for the defendant. When every American juror is aware of and permitted to exercise all of his and her rights, the final judgment of law will return to where it was always intended to be located…in the hands of the people. Once again our jury system will function as our country’s founders intended it to function as people’s final check against the government’s tendency to encroach upon the rights of its people. Jury Nullification is another effective way and essentially our last resort to restore the republic, to salvage and take back our freedoms and to strike the root of the State.
How to make this project possible:
I (Nathan) initially thought of this idea or similar version of it, near the beginning of this year or late last year but it was for a 6-12 month plan, plus I was working two jobs. Now that I lost my full-time job (about 4 weeks ago) I have the opportunity to do FULL-TIME Activism. This idea I have, the project I’m pitching is for ONE MONTH of Full-time 40+ hour a week educating, outreach and activism. Meg McLain along with myself will be on the street of Richmond, targeting inner-city neighborhoods, residents, etc combined with a number of “part-time” activists/ educators whom are eager to help as well.
Expenses: All donations will first go to cover material expenses, then personal expenses.
Materials Philosophy of Liberty (trifold brochure) x 10,000: $463 Don’t Take the Plea Deal (trifold brochure) x 10,000: $463 Jury Nullification (trifold brochure) x 10,000: $463 Virginia CopBlock (business card) x 10,000: $139.15 Police Accountability/Know Your Rights (4″x6″ flyer) x 10,000: $261.88 Cover (4″x8.5″ flyer) x 10,000: $301.92 Bags (6″x9″ clear bags w/ handle) x 10,000: $209.60 TOTAL = $2,301.55
Personal Cell Phone (Verizon): $109.38 Car Insurance (Progressive): $85.92 Rent: $700 Electric (avg of last 3 months): $115 Water (avg of last 3 months): $69 TOTAL = $1,079.30 (does not include things like gas, food, etc…)
GRAND TOTAL = $3,380.85
To help fund this project, we have come up with several different ad options. These spots will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. Print ads range from $25 to $500, depending on size and location. Please see images for size/price options.
If you would like to support this project, donations can be made here:
Here are current AD spaces available: (ALL SOLD OUT) unless otherwise stated, ADs can be purchased for $50 (1.75″ x 2″ – “small”) or $100 (3.5″ x 2″ – “large”) till AD space is filled
-Philosophy of Liberty (trifold): $300 worth of AD space available (SOLD OUT)
-Don’t Take the Plea Deal (trifold): $400 worth of AD space available (SOLD OUT)
-Jury Nullification (trifold): $200 worth of AD space available (SOLD OUT)
-Police Accountability/Know Your Rights (4″x6″ flyer): $100 AD space (SOLD OUT)
-Cover (4″ x 8.5″ flyer): $500 for full page (SOLD OUT)
About a year ago I was pulled over ILLEGALLY by officer Shawn Kelley of the VCU Police Department. He pulled me over because he didn’t like what I had say to him as I drove by him, which was “Stop Harassing People, we pay your paycheck.” To read the original story, updates and to see the video click here:
To give a quick synopsis of what happened though:
I was driving on 7th street headed for I64E when I passed a VCU Police officer who was pulled over to the side of the road. I happened to have a bull-horn in my back seat, so I grabbed it and as I drove by the cop said, “Stop Harassing People, We Pay your Pay Check.” He ended up jumping in his car and coming after me for what I said. The rest is on video He initially issued me a “Obstruction of Justice” charge/ citation, I told him I wanted to see his supervisor and would not sign it until a supervisor came to the scene. After much delay, Kelley finally called his supervisor to the scene. During the 15-20 minutes of waiting for him to come, I could see the officer flipping through books and making at least one phone call while in his car. A FOIA request showed that he actually called up the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to figure out what he could charge me with. The Commonwealth Attorney, or an assistant thereof, told him to change the charge to “Disorderly Conduct”. So the supervisor finally showed up, wasn’t helpful, Kelley issued me a citation for Disorderly Conduct.
My initial court appearance I was found guilty for “being a jerk”. After appealing it, the second Judge, reluctantly dismissed the charge and said my speech was protected under the First Amendment. So the plan was to file a lawsuit against the VCU Police for illegally pulling me over. My attorney, Tom Roberts got everything ready to file and asked VCU if they wanted to settle out of court. After more than a month of negotiating, they settled out of court on $10,000. Unfortunately, I won’t be seeing any of the money because my legal fees were that much – However it’s still a VICTORY FOR JUSTICE.
I’ve tried getting comments from high ranking officers in the VCU PD, asking if they condone officer Kelley pulling me over, no-one is willing to comment. I fear no lesson has been learned from this. All I wanted was for the Officer and the Police Department to simply admit he pulled me over for my speech, resulting in an unlawful traffic stop. This is just one more example, of the Rolodex of examples of Police Officers, abusing their authority and desecrating the oath they took.
To ANY Police reading this: Let this be a warning.. and a lesson learned for you guys in Blue, You may have guns, tasers, batons and other debilitating instruments, but you better think twice about abusing your authority, because more and more people are filming the police. May I remind you police officers reading this post, that YOU are PUBLIC SERVANTS, meaning you’re supposed to work FOR the people, not for the CORRUPT lawmakers & against the people. It IS okay to question orders you are given by your superiors. USE your conscience and common sense. USE discretion when choosing what “laws” to uphold. Ask yourself, is there a victim? Is someone’s property being violated? Someone’s rights being violated? If there answer is NO, then LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE. Are you aware that MOST of your actions violate the oath you took? Are you aware that MOST of your actions help prop up and propel he “Police State” this country is living under? Are you aware that your actions help prop up and propel the Prison Industrial Complex? Are you aware that you RUIN PEOPLE’S LIVES who’ve done NO HARM to ANYONE? Do you realize that you have become MILITARIZED.. and against your own (American) people at that!? I spent 14 months in Iraq and the way the Police operate here in the U.S is IDENTICAL to how the Military operates (most especially overseas). WAKE UP! and BREAK THE CHAIN OF OBEDIENCE
Thanks to generous supporters of police accountability and jury nullification, TWO billboards are up and running for 8 days in the Richmond area of Virginia. One is located on Laburnum Ave next to the bridge where Laburnum intersects with Carolina Ave. You will see the Richmond International Raceway in the background. The other billboard is located on Brook Rd, near Hilliard Ave – but right in front of the furniture store called, The Dump. The ads will be running until January 26th. We have 7 different graphics rotating (10 second spots at a time). You can see/ download the graphics we are using on the press release that was sent out a couple days before the Ads went live.
I took the initiative on this because I am a staunch advocate for Police (and other public servants) accountability and transparency; as well as Jury Nullification which FIJApromotes. If you are looking to get involved in either of these organizations go visit theCop Block and Fully Informed Jury Association‘s websites (respectively)! These reasons are a LARGE part of why I took the initiative on this. The only other reason I wanted to do this, was sort of as a gift for Ademo Freeman. Ademo is the co-founder of Copblock and is facing several a couple years in a cage over CHALKING and wiretapping. I have much respect and admiration for what Ademo does greatly appreciate all the hard work he had done and put into the cause of Liberty.
Virginia Cop Block is on the constant prowl of finding more Virginians who believe in police accountability. So if YOU are one of them, join us on Facebook! As for Jury Nullification, It’s our only way, and our last hope to put an end to Federal or STATE tyranny I want to highly encourage anyone who gets Jury Duty to look into Jury Nullification and check out Fully Informed Jury Association, it’s the people’s way to keep our freedoms and the “Justice System” in CHECK.
Below are pictures of the billboards! Don’t forget, if you want the actual graphics, check out the press release!