LAPD Officers Removed Antennas from Police Cars in Black Areas to Disable Recording Devices
Apr. 8 2014
Los Angeles police officers removed antennas from police cars in several predominantly Black neighborhoods to disable the recording equipment and avoid being monitored while on duty, according to an inspection by LAPD investigators.
The department review found about half of the 80 cars in the Southeast division—which includes Watts and the Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens housing projects—were missing the antennas that help capture what officers say in the field. The review discovered at least 10 more cars in nearby divisions also had antennas removed.
Members of the Police Commission, which oversees the department, said they were alarmed by both the actions of the officers and the failure of the department to reveal their actions when they were first detected.
“On an issue like this, we need to be brought in right away,” commission President Steve Soboroff told the Los Angeles Times. “This equipment is for the protection of the public and of the officers. To have people who don’t like the rules to take it upon themselves to do something like this is very troubling.”
But LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the department did not purposely try to hide the matter from the commission and pointed out that he has always been a strong advocate of the recording devices. LAPD officials decided it would be futile to try to figure out which officers were responsible for removing the antennas, since so many of them use the cars during their shifts. Instead the department warned officers about removing the antennas and put checks in place to account for the equipment at the start and end of each patrol shift.
One of the main reasons a federal judge agreed to lift the Department of Justice’s oversight of the notoriously corrupt LAPD last year, after more than a decade, was because of safeguards such as the cameras.
The cameras turn on automatically whenever an officer activates the car’s emergency lights and sirens or can be activated manually. They are used to record traffic stops and other encounters that occur in front of the vehicle.
In addition, officers wear small transmitters on their belts that relay their voices back to the antennas in the patrol car. Sgt. Dan Gomez, a department expert on recording devices, told the Times that regardless of whether they are in front of the camera, officers’ voices can be recorded hundreds of yards away from the car—but that distance is severely curtailed by as much as a third without the antennas.
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The Mercatus Center has scored all 50 states on over 200 policies encompassing fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom. You can also personalize the ranking by picking and choosing which aspects of freedom you value most and see how the states stack up. Some of my top picks ended up as Tennessee, Alaska, New Hampshire, and North and South Dakota.
A US federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against the government by the families of three American citizens killed by drones in Yemen, saying senior officials cannot be held personally responsible for money damages for the act of conducting war. (x)
One of the victims of these…
The Complete Interactive Guide To How The NSA Spies On Everything You Do
With all the hoopla about missing airplanes, renewed wars of the cold variety, and rigged markets, it is easy to forget that America is now officially a totalitarian state of the Orwellian kind, where the population has - involuntarily - ceded all of its privacy in exchange for… something. Because it certainly isn’t security. So we are happy to provide a reminder of just this, especially since as BusinessWeek notes, it gets harder to keep track of all the bizarre ways the National Security Agency has cooked up to spy on people and governments. This may help.
Data in Motion
NSA’s spies divide targets into two broad categories: data in motion and data at rest. Information moving to and from mobile phones, computers, data centers, and satellites is often easier to grab, and the agency sucks up vast amounts worldwide. Yet common data such as e-mail is often protected with encryption once it leaves a device, making it harder—but not impossible—to crack.
Data at Rest
Retrieving information from hard drives, overseas data centers, or cell phones is more difficult, but it’s often more valuable because stored data is less likely to be encrypted, and spies can zero in on exactly what they want. NSA lawyers can compel U.S. companies to hand over some of it; agency hackers target the most coveted and fortified secrets inside computers of foreign governments.
Where the Data Goes
Much of the data the NSA compiles from all these efforts will be stored in its million-square-foot data center near Bluffdale, Utah. It can hold an estimated 12 exabytes of data. An exabyte is the equivalent of 1 billion gigabytes.
And some of the specific methods the NSA uses to spy on US citizens and the occasional offshore “terrorist”:
- Call Recorder - The agency can intercept and store for up to a month 100 percent of a foreign country’s telephone calls, which can be sorted and played back.
- Clone Phones - Foreign targets’ cell phones can be surreptitiously swapped for an identical model with built-in listening and data collection devices.
- Fake Shops - Diplomats at the 2009 G-20 summit in London were tricked, with the NSA’s help, into using an Internet cafe that had been rigged to send data to British intelligence.
- Travel Trackers - The NSA has several ways to follow the movements of intelligence targets as they get off planes, drive across borders, or move around a city, including an implant that directs a cell phone SIM card to send geolocation data via text message.
- Special Delivery - Spies intercept computers that foreign targets buy online, fit them with devices that send data to the NSA, and box them back up for normal delivery.
- X-Ray Vision - Radar waves beamed into a room can detect what is being typed on a keyboard or displayed on a computer screen.
- Credit Cards - The agency tapped into the network of Visa and major banking systems to collect troves of transaction data.
- Satellites - The NSA infiltrated German satellite communications used in remote locations such as drilling platforms—and by the country’s diplomats.
- Gamer Spies - Agency employees join World of Warcraft and Second Life communities, hunting for criminal networks and recruiting informants. They’ve also infiltrated Microsoft’s Xbox Live network.
- Cell Towers - Base stations mimicking cell towers siphon location data from targets’ phones. Agents can also intercept mobile calls with a shoe-box-size receiver.
- Submarines - The agency can collect worldwide Internet traffic with a modified nuclear submarine that taps undersea fiber-optic cables—allowing spies to vacuum data from millions of users.
- Secret Selfies - Malware planted in an iPhone can secretly activate its camera and microphone, turning it into a listening device. Malware for Windows mobile phones enables complete remote control of the handset.
- Fake Rocks - Transmitters hidden inside rocks and other objects can receive information from NSA taps implanted in nearby computers even if they’re “air gapped” machines or networks that aren’t hooked up to the Internet—among the hardest of all digital targets.
The Stasi is spinning in its grave… with jealousy. The full interactive presentation can be found [here].
Federal snipers with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) trained guns on members of a family yesterday after they dared to stop and take video footage of cattle outside the bounds of a designated “First Amendment Area,” before arresting one of the men for non-compliance.
Police in Henry County, Ga., reportedly harassed a group of pre-teen boys who were building a tree fort in the woods behind their house after a neighbor called 911 on them (!). According to Omari Grant, the 11-year-old who came forward,
two officers, one with his gun drawn, rolled up on him and a few of his friends as they built a fort in the trees behind his home.
“I was thinking that I don’t want to be shot today, so I just listened to what they said,” Omari said.
Omari said the officer holding his gun also used foul language and made him and his friends lay down on the ground.
“I learned that they’re supposed to help you not make you feel scared to even come outside,” Omari said.
Omari’s mother filed an internal affairs complaint with the police department, and police say they’re now investigating the incident to see if it was “justified” or not.
The husband of the neighbor who called 911 said police pulling a gun on a child was “shocking,” but that his wife called because of “falling hazards, tripping hazards, all types of hazards.” His wife’s primary concern, he said, “was concern for the children and concern for the environment.” So instead of calling her neighbors, or going to warn the children about “hazards,” she called police on a group of kids.
After the incident, which the child called terrifying, Omari says now he knows it was a bad idea to cut down branches for a tree fort. It’s never too early for police to compel compliance in you.
The police department refuses to identify the cops involved, but says they remain on the job.
They’ll name they child, but they won’t name the officer. Sounds legit.
The Barack Obama administration, determined to thwart the attempt by other plaintiffs and myself to have the courts void a law that permits the military to arrest U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and indefinitely detain them, has filed a detailed brief with the Supreme Court asking the justices to refuse to accept our petition to hear our appeal. We will respond within 10 days.
What the heck IS this crap???
This isn’t the first time a police camera has malfunctioned at a critical time.