“IF YOU DON’T STAND FOR SOMETHING YOU WILL FALL FOR ANYTHING”
[UPDATE 5/22/16] The jail is now reporting the Bond is $900,000.00 again but can not explain why the Court Documents explicitely state $300,000.00.
[UPDATE 5/23/16] Credible sources say THE GoFundME page started by Soto’s family has been removed at the direction of the Philadelphia Police Department. Further updates on crowdfunding will be updated on the Tony Soto Facebook page.
FIRST: Soto’s family vehemently asserts the allegations by the Philadelphia Police Department(hereinafter “PPD”) saying that they are a “complete fabrication” and another attempt to set him up. It should be noted that this is not the first time that the PPD has attempted to advance illegitimate charges against Soto to shut the outspoken civil rights activists mouth with trumped up criminal charges.
Have you ever met someone that can never get their [a]ct together because “The Man has got them down”; And your first thought is “this person won’t take responsibility for their actions?” Well, this isn’t one of those situations, so get some coffee and get ready to take a journey into the City of Philadelphia where it appears “The Man” does have them down and moreoever, Soto with a $300,000.00 bond and incarceration after an incident outside his home on May 18,2016.
Before you read the Philadelphia NBC10 article, as stated above, Soto and his family contest the absurdity in these allegations. His mother witnessed the incident in question and after reaching out to her, it became very clear that NBC10 omitted the other side of this story and further, printed verbatim the entirety of the PPD’s allegations via a press release by the public information officer. You may think this to be irrelevant but, as you will see, there is no love lost between the PPD and Tony Soto even though Soto has reached out with proverbial olive branches on many ocassions.
Without concentrating on the diatriabe and meandering in the NBC10 article, Soto’s mother did record the alleged incident; however, PPD confiscated her phones during an unlawful search of her home without a search warrant issued by a competant magistrate judge. She, however, did state the following earlier this evening:
and we appreciate your help…..believe me when i say Everythg they are alleging is fabricated….he had No weapon n and No time did he identify himself as an officer….so many ppl r quick to read lies n believe them without just using common sense….the police Hate my son…if at any point he had drew a weapon or pointed a weapon they would have Killed Him…..i hate to say it but thats the truth….they Hate him that much
Soto’s mother has setup a crowd fund to assist Tony in fighting the charges alleged by PPD —>> HERE
Approximately a year ago, Soto emerged on the Civil Rights scene with a succinctly instructional viral video depicting a traffic stop in Philadelphia. Though PPD has maintained that they lawfully stopped Soto for window tint during the stop supra, the Commonwealth’s Attorney withdrew those charges, effectively dismissing everything against Soto. Apparently, PPD has been harrassing Tony Soto and others in Philadelphia due to their stand on the Fourth Amendment and more specifically due to noticeably organized protests surrounding the unjustified police homicide of Brandon Tate Brown(and HERE) a very close friend of Tony Soto’s.
Further, Tony Soto regularly drew attention to PPD following him, harrassing him with no lawful justification; and overall just being a complete nuisance causing him severe apprehension. See here —> HERE. However, even in that, Soto has maintained throughout that his mission is “bridge building” yet Soto argues that the PPD has systemically used “C4″(dynamite) to foreclose his attempts to address the Pink Elephant in the room; to further the public dialogue and conversation about law enforcement abuse and oppression in the ranks of PPD and systemically throughout the country. See the PPD officer criminally convicted several weeks ago for assaulting a man in Philly for filming him in 2013 –> HERE
Clearly, Tony is no dummy. He is well spoken, respectful and highly cerebral. He forced the public conversation when PPD and other agencies similarly situated did their best to change that focus off of them and quench the material issues all together. Many in the civil rights movement agree that Soto’s approach to the 4th Amendment, Police Brutality and overall law enforcement corruption is arguably necessary to the extent that it eviscerates the wide spread practices, unwritten policies and agency wide customs which have created a culture of constitutional corruption in local police departments around the country.
Unsurprisingly, Soto and his message have not been well recieved by Philadelphia law enforcement and local officials. Indeed, this is not uncommon for civil rights activists who become targets because of their messege. Tony would be likened to a Whisteblower in the civil realm of employment; however, he is with little remedy absent a large “war chest” of money to sue those that violate his First Amendment rights protecting his freedom of speech, freedom to protest; and freedom to redress his grievances with law enforcement and the City of Philadelphia. There is a heavy price to pay for speaking up and standing for something bigger than yourself. The age-old adage “If you don’t stand for something then you will fall for anything” couldn’t ring true[er] for Soto right now as he goes through this fire.
In fact, in its most recent article, NBC10 parroted an obscure public service announcement from the Fraternal Order of Police in Philadelphia who issued this year old statement which read:
“Please be aware of any interactions with Tony Soto,” the FOP’s post from March 30, 2015 read. “This individual is intent on baiting police officers and attempting to embarrass our members on video, which he then turns over to media outlets.
This statement doesn’t appear to be well grounded in facts or the law and is at best “very odd”. It is unclear how a citizen baits a police officer into pulling him over for a headlight being out — that “is not really out” as in the incident infra. The only conclusion that seems plausible is PPD is unable to control the narrative in the media evidenced by the plethora of blogs covering Soto’s activism; Hence, it appears they’ve likened their own public safety objective which they enforce at their discretion — with Soto ‘baiting’ them and embarrassing them.
In truth, there is no lawful public safety purpose for issuing such a statement other than – it’s a woeful attempt at a political hit on Soto. Otherwise, one would have to conclude that Soto was setting up PPD. The enormous volumes of video captured by Soto make it obvious that is not the case; however, one could make the case that PPD has set themselves up for their misconduct being exposed when they failed to properly train and internally investigate their own inner mechanics as they related to the bill of rights and specifically the fourth amendment.
Indeed, Soto regularly catches bike cops, cops on foot and other law enforcement constantly following him while he’s minding his own business. See this video —>> HERE. and HERE. There is no question from the perspective of a citizen’s rights to move freely of his on volition, Soto is demostrably exposing the issues within the ranks of the PPD training policy as well as rogue and spurious individuals with an (invidiously descriminate animus) towards Soto and others similarly situated. At the beginning of the video, PPD states to Tony “You people….” implicitely referring to african americans in the Philadelphia community. Further its clear that the cops in Philadelphia need oversight by the D.O.J. (See Cops making egregioius racist comments to citizen while he violates his 4th Am. Rights) (More racist Philly Police –> HERE) (This PPD Officer said he hated black people and they were disgusting –> HERE)(And HERE)(And an Internal Investigation surrounding racism – HERE) (Outrage over PPD Racism)(Philly the Most Racist City in America)
In light of Philadelphia’s ongoing racist faction in law enforcement, it’s not suprising that the Philadelphia Police Department wants Tony Soto off the street. Imagine if everyone Tony Soto has educated had the same trusty dash-cam Soto is armed with in his vehicle. I’m sure PPD has a severe apprehension of the same. Here, Soto captures the PPD tasing and beating a helpless man relentlessly in the middle of a street intersection. See HERE. With evidence such as that presented to the Courts of Public opinion, by Soto, he makes a strong case for widespread and systemic breach which has begun to threaten a long standing policy in Philadelphia that protects law enforcement’s use of excessive force against lower socio-economical citizens.
Here’s the [infamous] traffic stop and HERE on Soto’s Facebook profile, where his activity initially sparked and went viral on the internet. Within a day, he reached over 5000 friends and to date he’s amassed 32,000 followers and millions of views on his videos. Tony’s activism in Philadelphia has been educational to those that don’t know how to deal with their rights being violated by police and it has enraged the PPD to the point that (one or more officers) may have set Tony up in this latest incident.
Tony Soto also expresses his faith in Jesus Christ while teaching by example to the inner city and those throughout the country. Regularly posting video’s which pertain to spiritual messages, Soto’s intentions become apparent by the love he’s shown towards the cause and those affected by unconstitutional breaches by the police. Many people contact Virginia Copblock when they’ve experienced similar situations and have been unclear on how to deal with those types of law enforcement encounters. Not knowing those “magic words” or their “constitutional rights” well enough to make sure the bright line is not crossed by law enforcement, can be very oppressive for citizen’s who have been unwillingly thrust into an encounter with law enforcement.
Statements such as:
- “I don’t answer questions”;
- “Am I being detained or am I free to go”;
- “What is your reasonable and articulate suspicion that have, am or will be committing a crime, Officer?”‘
- “I do not consent to any searches”;
- “I want my attorney”;
are the magic words for citizen’s to maintain constitutional integrity of their person, privacy and end a law enforcement encounter. Even in the most emotional examples on Soto’s social media pages, he has made significant progress in answering the law enforcement “bully technique”. Officers presume citizen’s don’t know their rights. Many times they don’t ask for permission; instead they couch questions as “demands” and citizens are then tricked into believing they have no choice of “refusal”. More times than not, if a citizen is not doing anything wrong, then no compliance is necessary and no obedience is required. Unlawful orders are mostly seen with demands to talk or answer questions; 2) detainment rather than walking away; and 3) committing warrantless searches when there is no probable cause that a crime has been committed or that there is a reasonable apprehension for a brief “pat” down or a Terry frisk.
Tony has been relentless in his [call] to provoke the Philadelphia Police Department into constitutional compliance to release some of the oppression on those in his community and others who are unable to grasp what is actually happening in the streets; sort of like knowing something is wrong because it stinks like a 5 day old unrefridgerated dead fish but not having the experience or the understanding to articulate why its wrong or what to do about it. Tony’s viral expressions have bridged that gap. His videos have been highly enlightening in the inner cities around the country. He walks people through his encounters (by example) with law enforcement with 1) what he says; 2) when he says it; and 3) how he presents himself while enthralled in very serious situations. Best of all, viewers see the outcome of what happens after it’s over. Until now, Soto has left encounters unscathed and without further incident.
However, incidents such as these are not limited to Philadelphia. For example, in March 2016, an african american man walking in Cinncinatti was drinking some coffee and in a similar fashion; feeling very apprehensive because officers on bikes were following him. He began video taping the police stalking him while he was minding his own business and drinking coffee and this is what happened. See Here. Incidents like this are popping up all over the country every day.
Moreover, Soto has ventured outside Philly to help others being oppressed by law enforcement. He has been met with open arms by citizens in those communities. For example, Soto helped to organize protests and marches which surrounded the Police Homicide of Wayne Jones in Martinsburg,(See @Justice for Wayne A. Jones) WV. He willingly helped on his own dime and gave freely of his time, effort and heart to teach and reach out to those hurting in the communities. Indeed, he turned a loose and disorganized event into a powerful and productive tool against the Martinsburt Five (5 Officers who shot Wayne Jones 23x in the back for walking down the street in Martinsburg at 1130pm at night). See Here.
During the first protest in March 2015 and the second protest in June of 2015, Soto lead the protests at the Courthouse and organized upwards of 150 people in the main protest and hit the County courtouse with smaller protests throughout the week. In all, the Police Chief resigned from his position as a result of the unlawful conduct of those officers. Soto’s involvement and spirited leadership catalyzed the Department of Justice investigation that lasted for a year but eventually ended with the U.S District Attorney, William J Ihlenfeld II, refusing to uphold his office and prosecute the (5) officers who murdered Wayne Jones. In fact, Tony’s character is seen in this video after the Martinsburg protest where Soto organized a large prayer circle and is seen personally [inviting] Martinsburg Police Officers to join in the prayer.
Clearly, Tony Soto has become a target in Philadelphia as a result of his focussed, outspoken and compelling positions against the Philadelphia Police Department and many other law enforcement agengies. The Philadelphia media as well as other regional media from Washington, NYC, Maryland, West Virgina and other states have covered his pointed civil rights activism. Even Dana Perino from FOX NEWS “The Five” allowed a lengthy article on her social media page about Tony Soto and the protests in Martinburg. Tony has organized protests in front of the Philadelphia Police Dept, shut down the streets in Philly, protesting the oppressive policies and more embarrassingly exposing the PPD’s bad behavior. Indeed, he readily posts all of his accounts, activities and activism of the same on his social media.
In response, it appears that the PPD has been engineering a Public Relations attack on Soto leading up to and including this [latest] falsified arrest against him. It is important to note that Soto’s rap sheet is tattered with arrests and dismissals or withdrawn charges for the most part. Regardless, PPD can only ‘drink from that well’ so many times before people realize that is the only argument they have. Indeed, Soto has built his own record on social media and the internet that dwarfs those allegations of PPD which don’t comport with Soto’s agenda or character. In fact, as seen in the beginning of this article, this new attempt by PPD should be sifted through carefully when drawing conclusions. Any bias PPD has towards Soto far outways any legitimate law enforcement purpose they purport to have in the instant incident.
As quoted above, NBC10 failed to report any of the other facts and only that which PPD forwarded in a PRESS RELEASE. It’s highly likely that this is the front-end of systemic retaliation directive against Soto; however, they’ve taken it to the next level. Tony Soto is presently incarcerated with a $300,000.00 bond and a preliminary hearing on June 3, 2016. PPD was contacted prior to his bond hearing and after — They stated over the phone that Soto had a $900,000.00 bond; however, it appears that it is false per the charging document.
Tony Soto and his family are asking any and all activists to organize and/or assist in his immediate needs for legal assistance. His mother has created a GoFundMe page –> HERE. Any assistance that the community, activists or otherwise those who have been helped by the hard work of Tony Soto should reach out and contact his family on his facebook page. Indeed, this is a significant hit to the constitution and fourth amendment for the Philadelphia and the country.
Any further question or doubt about the authenticity of the NBC10 article and the charging documents are easily summed up with his mother’s own words “This is a fabriciation — PPD hates Tony — He did not have a weapon, They would have shot him if he did”.
Virginia CopBlock Staff Writer