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'Uh-Oh They're Here' A persistent blogger annoys police -- and winds up in jail.

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posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 04:54 PM
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'Uh-Oh They're Here' A persistent blogger annoys police -- and winds up in jail.


www.washingtonpost.com

A 34-YEAR-OLD woman, the mother of a 12-year-old girl, has been locked up in a Virginia jail for three weeks and could remain there for at least another month. Her crime? Blogging about the police.

Elisha Strom, who appears unable to make the $750 bail, was arrested outside Charlottesville on July 16 when police raided her house, confiscating notebooks, computers and camera equipment.
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 04:54 PM
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Although the Charlottesville police chief, Timothy J. Longo Sr., had previously written to Ms. Strom warning her that her blog posts were interfering with the work of a local drug enforcement task force, she was not charged with obstruction of justice or any similar offense. Rather, she was indicted on a single count of identifying a police officer with intent to harass, a felony under state law.


This is ridiculous. If a lone blogger is impeding police work that very badly, then there's something wrong with the force. This is a trumped up charge, and a violation of this woman's First Amendment Rights. This woman needs to be released, have her property returned, and her record cleared of this "offense" immediately.


TA



www.washingtonpost.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 05:02 PM
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reply to post by TheAssociate
 


I disagree. She was told to stop, and given a reason why. She decided to ignore the warning and continued on. She took her fate into her own hands. The charge they gave her was pretty lenient. The obstruction of justice charge would have carried a stiffer penalty.

Would be so forgiving if some one was physically following around undercover police officers and yelling "HEY THESE GUYS ARE COPS!!!"?



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 05:06 PM
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Originally posted by TheAssociate

Rather, she was indicted on a single count of identifying a police officer with intent to harass, a felony under state law.


This is ridiculous. If a lone blogger is impeding police work that very badly, then there's something wrong with the force. This is a trumped up charge, and a violation of this woman's First Amendment Rights. This woman needs to be released, have her property returned, and her record cleared of this "offense" immediately.

I had no idea the police have their own harassment laws. Identifying a police officer with an intent to harass is a felony? I had no idea there was such a law and even more shocking is that they call it a felony the same as an armed bank robbery or something.

One thing that works against her in my opinion, is if they warned her, and she ignored the warning, then I suppose she realized she could get in trouble if she continued.



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 05:09 PM
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reply to post by Rook1545
 

The point is that "identifying a police officer with intent to harass" is an Orwellian law and a violation of the First Amendment. That is punishing thoughts, rather than actions, and that is unacceptable.


TA



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 05:10 PM
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reply to post by Rook1545
 


In some places it is perfectly legal to do just that. And I personally don't favor making the police equivalent to an ultra-high-tech pseudo-military force in each of our towns, cities and counties, which is fascism to me, when both the power AND the responsibility of defending your body, family and home should be a liberty/responsibility of the private citizen, not the state. Private citizens should arm themselves and take care of themselves. Then there is never police brutality against non-violent offenders, or any of the other nasty garbage that earns these officers the name "pigs."



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 05:17 PM
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Originally posted by TheAssociate
reply to post by Rook1545
 

The point is that "identifying a police officer with intent to harass" is an Orwellian law and a violation of the First Amendment. That is punishing thoughts, rather than actions, and that is unacceptable.


TA


It is not punishing a thought, it is punishing an action. She did not get arrested for thinking about publishing police activity, she actively did it, that is an action. I bet you think that it is unfair what happened to Scooter Libbey too.



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 05:18 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


Yea, some states and US laws are a little to quick to upgrade a nominal crime to the felony status, I do not think they realize the actual severity of a felony charge, let alone a conviction.



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 05:19 PM
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What she did could possibly endanger police lives. Following the police around, taking pictures? What was she doing, stalking them? That is so weird. Sounds like she may need some mental help.



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 05:22 PM
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reply to post by Rook1545
 


Pointing out the fact that someone is a cop should not be a crime. Period. As for Scooter Libby, I really couldn't care less.

If I want to point to someone I know to be a cop and say "hey look, it's a cop" I should have the right to do so. This case is BS.


TA



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 05:26 PM
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reply to post by TheAssociate
 


Do the cops not have the right to do their job, and do it safely? It says in the article that they were drug task force. Generally drug dealers are not the nicest guys in the neighborhood and would probably shoot up the cops, their houses, and their families. So, I would say that whatever it is you think should be allowed, is wrong. This lady's stupidity could have cost people their lives.



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 05:31 PM
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reply to post by Jessicamsa
 


What is so weird about taking pictures of the police and monitoring them in an era when police brutality and corruption is almost a daily news story?

For example, the DEA will regularly use infra-red or heat vision to illegally look through random peoples' houses looking for people growing pot, and then will lie on a search warrant and say they smelled it outside the house or something. So not only do they break the laws they are supposed to enforce, they could very well be watching you when you shower or have sex or any number of other private things and who would know better unless someone were watching them more closely?

Who is protecting us from the protectors? I will say it again: it is a matter of PERSONAL responsibility to protect yourself, not the police state's responsibility. Police state = Bad. You people don't remember? You keep giving them more guns and more rights and taking away rights from private citizens and taking away their guns, what do you HONESTLY think is going to happen in this country? It's going to be worse than Great Britain, where you can't even carry a knife of a certain length. You people who suckle up to the police really are wusses.



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 05:37 PM
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reply to post by Rook1545
 




It says in the article that they were drug task force. Generally drug dealers are not the nicest guys in the neighborhood and would probably shoot up the cops, their houses, and their families.


And the cops were well aware of that (or should have been) when the signed up for the job.

(from the article)
In a nearly year-long barrage of blog posts, she published snapshots she took in public of many or most of the task force's officers; detailed their comings and goings by following them in her car; mused about their habits and looks; hinted that she may have had a personal relationship with one of them; and, in one instance, reported that she had tipped off a local newspaper about their movements.

All this information was publicly available, including the photograph, which Ms. Strom gleaned from municipal records. The task force's officers may have worked undercover on occasion, but one wonders about their undercover abilities, given that Ms. Strom was able to out them so consistently. Chief Longo warned Ms. Strom that her blog posts were scaring off informants and endangering the officers and their families, but he provided no evidence. At no point did Ms. Strom's blog express a threat, explicit or otherwise, to police or their sources.

But the real problem here is the Virginia statute, in which an overly broad, ill-defined ban on harassment-by-identification, specifically in regard to police officers, seems to criminalize just about anything that might irritate targets.

It should not be a crime to annoy the cops, whose raid on Ms. Strom's house looks more like a fit of pique than an act of law enforcement. Some of her postings may have consisted of obnoxious speech, but they were nonetheless speech and constitutionally protected. That would hold true right up through her last blog post, written as the police raid on her home began at 7 a.m.: "Uh-Oh They're Here."

The photos she took were in public, the information she provided was readily available elsewhere, and the cops provided no proof that she had endangered anyone. She got arrested because she annoyed some cops. If you don't feel that's wrong, so be it, but I do.


TA




[edit on 19-8-2009 by TheAssociate]



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 05:39 PM
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Originally posted by TheAssociate
Pointing out the fact that someone is a cop should not be a crime. Period.


You're not understanding your own story - pointing out that someone is a cop is NOT a crime - but using that information to harass IS a crime, the statute is quite clear on that.

So if you post a random photo of a cop saying "isn't he cute" there's no offence. But if you follow patrol cars and photograph the same police officers doing their work when parked up on surveillance in unmarked cars (which she did) then you're impeding law enforcement.

And that is the question here, exactly what is her motive for posting all that information about the JADE officers?

Is she just a love sick pup with designs on a police officer, or does she have an issue with JADE that she is pursuing through her blog.

I think she will have a hard time proving that she did not intend to impede their work with her blog entries and photos.

Act like an ass, and you'll get kicked like one.



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 05:43 PM
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reply to post by bsbray11
 





Who is protecting us from the protectors?


Excellent point. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't hear about someone getting tased for little or no real reason. Someone (actually all of us) needs to keep an eye on the cops.


TA



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 06:05 PM
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When a government...

Places a sector of itself...

In a position OVER the common citizen...

To enforce...

Or to protect...

/

Yet, When a government...

does not have an enforcing or protecting arm...

What is it?



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 06:19 PM
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reply to post by Misanthropically Enhanced
 


The United States has the most armed citizenry in the world.

Any nation would be foolish to try to invade and occupy us for any amount of time. Like Iraq but 1000x worse.

So our biggest threat is domestic corruption, threatening to destroy us from the inside, from within our own collective identity. We can't easily unite against a part of our own selves, or what we perceive to be a part of us. And historically the biggest nations always collapse from internal corruption and degradation, not from any truly external threats. Babylon, Greece, Rome, Spain, all had their time on top of the world but lost it due to their own destructive politics and internal affairs.


Arm the citizens. Make them learn that they are their own primary protector. Give us back all the personal responsibilities and liberties we used to have, before Big Brother stepped in to do all these things for us. Because 1) Big Brother always screws it up somehow, and there's nothing you can do about it when it's not YOUR own responsibility, and 2) Big Brother is our own biggest threat as a nation at this point.



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 06:21 PM
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What if someone went in the cop's house and killed off his family to 'set an example'?
Or to start a trend? It was her own stupid mistake to post personal info on a blog with a personal vendetta that may or may not involve romance/stalking.

If we want to do something about police brutality or the police state, this is not the way.



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 06:32 PM
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Originally posted by Psynarchist
What if someone went in the cop's house and killed off his family to 'set an example'?


Are you really going to defend this woman getting a felony for blogging, disabling her ability to ever vote or own a firearm again, among other things, with a "what if" question?

What if someone used the officer's address to deliver them some flowers and a thank you note for their service? What if? Will this woman be able to vote in 2012?



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 07:56 PM
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reply to post by bsbray11
 





Are you really going to defend this woman getting a felony for blogging, disabling her ability to ever vote or own a firearm again, among other things, with a "what if" question?


Trust me, I'm no fan of the long arm of the law, and I think the War on Drugs is useless and hypocritical considering pharmacies and liquor stores, but I'm not prejudiced against all cops and there might have been romance/stalking involved.

I do not like the court system or the punishment system, but right now it's what we have and she's probably aware of it.

You and I probably agree that a felony is too harsh, and that it's ridiculous that we as citizens are expected to know each and every single Law, including updates, but in this case she had a warning, but she persisted, crossing a line.

Drug Law Enforcement is a job with lots of enemies, many of them violent and/or tweakin out on god knows what, so she shouldn't have put personal info of narcs out in the public domain. My 'what if' is in this case not entirely unlikely or impossible. If you play with fire, don't cry when you get burned.



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