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Article posted May 10 2013, 12:56 PM Category: Tyranny/Police State Source: Techdirt Print

NYPD Sergeant Says 'Guilty Until Proven Innocent' Is Just The Price We Pay For A 'Free Society'

by Tim Cushing

We've been dealing with the New York police department lately, thanks to the mayor and the police chief using the recent Boston bombing as an excuse to increase surveillance efforts and enact other policies to further encroach on New Yorkers' civil liberties. Whenever something terrorist-related occurs, it seems as though the NYPD's reps can't keep their opinions to themselves, even as the department itself drifts further and further away from being a sterling example of How Things Should Be Done.

In a recent Christian Science Monitor article dealing with "teenagers, terrorism and social media" (focusing on the recent Cameron D'Ambrosio arrest for making "terrorist threats" via some improvised rap lyrics posted to Facebook), Sgt. Ed Mullins of the NYPD shows up to make some very disturbing statements about your rights and responsibilities as a (mere) citizen. It starts with the worst kind of "policy" and goes downhill fast.
Using a zero tolerance approach to track domestic terrorists online is the only reasonable way to analyze online threats these days, especially after the Boston Marathon bombing and news that the suspects had subsequently planned to target Times Square in Manhattan, Mullins says. The way law enforcement agencies approach online activity that appears sinister is this: “If you’re not a terrorist, if you’re not a threat, prove it,” he says.
"Zero tolerance" is never "reasonable." It never has been and it never will be. In fact, it's the polar opposite. Zero tolerance policies simply absolve the enforcers of any responsibility for the outcome and grant them the privilege of ignoring mitigating factors. It allows them to bypass applying any sort of critical thinking skills (the "reason" part of "reasonable") and view every infractions as nothing more than a binary IF THEN equation.

Mullins goes even further than this, though, asserting that the burden of proof lies with the person charged, not the person bringing the charges. This flips our judicial system on its head (along with the judicial systems in many other countries) and, if applied the way Mullins views it, puts accused citizens in the impossible position of trying to prove a negative. This is just completely wrong, and it's a dangerously stupid thing for someone in his position to believe, much less state out loud. (Mullins also heads the Sergeants Benevolent Association, the second-largest police union in New York City.)

Believe it or not, Mullins is not done talking. What he says next doubles up on the "dangerous" and "stupid."
This is the price you pay to live in free society right now. It’s just the way it is,” Mullins adds.
No. It isn't.

This is the price Mullins is charging to live in the NYPD's severely stunted version of a "free" society. The NYPD has been harassing young minorities at the rate of 500,000 impromptu stop-and-frisks per year for the better part of the last decade. For the past 10 years, the NYPD has been regularly trampling citizens' civil liberties simply because they attend a mosque. The NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg have worked ceaselessly to make New York the most-surveilled city in the U.S.

That's the price New Yorkers are paying. It has nothing to do with living in a free society. The NYPD takes liberties away and high-ranking cops like Mullins have the gall to suggest there's some sort of equitable exchange occurring. Mullins doesn't seem to understand (or just doesn't care) that if you take away freedom you no longer have a free society.

It has been said that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, but "eternal vigilance" isn't shorthand for oppressive surveillance and zero tolerance policies that make freedom less "free." "Eternal vigilance" isn't treating the Constitution like a relic too worn and tattered to serve any purpose in these "dangerous" times. And being an officer of the law isn't an excuse to shut your intellect off and allow your brain stem and broad policies to "work" in concert in order to treat loudmouth teens on Facebook like a guy with a trailer home full of explosives.

This "vigilance" is supposed to be put to use by citizens in order to prevent authorities like Mullins from encroaching on our liberties. It's not solely limited to a united military effort against foreign powers. There are plenty of people apparently willing to attack our freedom from the comfort of the home front.





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Comments 1 - 10 of 10 Add Comment Page 1 of 1
Anonymous

Posted: May 11 2013, 8:38 AM

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80202 Uh....oh, I see. Not being free is the price you pay for living in a free society? This goes even beyond Orwell. It's also about as illogical as the "your refusal to let me search you without reasonable suspicion, gives me reasonable suspicion" that folks seem to believe to be true.

When cops spout moronic crap like this, it's over.
dougo

Posted: May 11 2013, 8:23 PM

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687 80202.thats funny.but all to true.
L.S.

Posted: May 12 2013, 2:05 AM

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"Zero tolerance" is never "reasonable." if i weren't completely drunk right now, i'd explain this quote - why it's a con.
Anonymous

Posted: May 12 2013, 6:38 PM

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173242 Okay, we're paying the price. Now where's our free society?
Anonymous

Posted: May 13 2013, 4:43 PM

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76197 NY Constitution: ARTICLE I, Bill Of Rights, Section 1. No member of this state shall be disfranchised, or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land, or the judgment of his or her peers...
§8. Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press.
Anonymous

Posted: May 13 2013, 4:44 PM

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76197 NY Constitution
§12. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable interception of telephone and telegraph communications shall not be violated, and ex parte orders or warrants shall issue only upon oath or affirmation that there is reasonable ground to believe that evidence of crime may be thus obtained, and identifying the particular means of communication, and particularly describing the person or persons whose communications are to be intercepted and the purpose thereof
Anonymous

Posted: May 13 2013, 4:47 PM

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76197 NY Constitution: [Powers and duties of governor; compensation]

§3. The governor shall be commander-in-chief of the military and naval forces of the state. (Militia - which is ALL able-bodied people batween the ages of 18 - 48)
Anonymous

Posted: May 13 2013, 4:50 PM

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76197 NY Constitution, ARTICLE XII, Defense; militia]

Section 1. The defense and protection of the state and of the United States is an obligation of all persons within the state. The legislature shall provide for the discharge of this obligation and for the maintenance and regulation of an organized militia.
Anonymous

Posted: May 13 2013, 4:51 PM

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76197 NY Constitution, ARTICLE XIII, Public Officers
[Oath of office; no other test for public office]

Section 1. Members of the legislature, and all officers, executive and judicial, except such inferior officers as shall be by law exempted, shall, before they enter on the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the State of New York, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of ......, according to the best of my ability;" ...
Anonymous

Posted: May 14 2013, 4:29 PM

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136200 when are we going to start unloading these morons when we find them?
Comments 1 - 10 of 10 Page 1 of 1


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