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Over-the-top crime enforcement

Published by marco on

The article Girl buys water, spends night in jail by Dylan Stableford (Yahoo! News) describes an utterly lunatic crime-stopping scene:

“[…] the student, [20-year–old] Elizabeth Daly, was walking to her car on April 11 at approximately 10:15 p.m. with a box of sparkling water […] when the agents—six men and one woman, all in plainclothes—approached suspecting the box […] to be a 12-pack of beer. One jumped on the hood of her SUV; another pulled out a gun […]”

Seven agents. Tailing and taking down a college student for buying beer 1 year early. That’s what they thought they were doing. They turned out to have been wrong. But even if they weren’t, does our society not have better things to do?

She managed to get into her car and took off, “grazing” one of the agents trying to sprawl across her car to prevent her from absconding with her illicit gains. She was arrested by several other officers with several more vehicles and spent the night in jail before it was reluctantly agreed to drop the charges they filed against her for “two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer and one count of eluding police”. Her only crime was to run when unidentified and ununiformed people assaulted her in a parking lot.

The article The United States of Crazy: You Can Now Go to Jail for a Sarcastic Facebook Comment by William Boardman (AlterNet) isn’t as exciting but is much worse given how long it’s been allowed to continue—especially considering how many law professionals are involved, any one of whom should know better than to let this travesty continue.

An 18-year–old Texan man wrote “I’m f—ed in the head alright. I think I’ma [sic] shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them.‘” on Facebook. There was no reason whatsoever to believe that he had any intention of actually doing this. The context is not important, but exonerates him even more.

What is important is the police and societal reaction. Someone (a woman from Canada) complained and the full force of American justice swept into action. He was arrested and bail was set at $250,000. He had no prior record. Then they let him sit in jail, unprosecuted, unquestioned, “for almost a month”. In the meantime, his apartment was ransacked and, without any discernible reason or supporting evidence, “[t]he state also asked the court to raise Carter’s bail to $500,000”.

Finally, after almost a month, he was charged with “making a “terroristic threat,” a third degree felony […which] carries a potential penalty of 2-10 years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000”. That’s on top of whatever the Texas prison system was allowed to do to him while he hadn’t even been charged yet.[1] All for a sentence written on the Internet, with no other supporting evidence.

The case is still pending as of the beginning of July. The little reporting that has been done by US media is best represented by NPR, which called the story “[a] painful reminder of how online comments can have real-life consequences”. That would be the bastion of left-liberal opinion in America, utterly failing to make a peep about the War on Terror and state power gone absolutely berserk. Charles Cooke of the National Review was much better, writing that “it is not the place of authority to judge what is and what is not acceptable [speech], and it is certainly not the place of the state to designate casual discussion as ‘terrorism.’”

The U.S. is so starved for cases that “prove” that its prosecution of the War on Terror is good and just and effective that it is willing to sacrifice any detritus and build its case on any lies just to justify continued expenditures and giant budgets. An 18-year–old guy with loose lips living on his own and working a dead-end job is perfect fodder for this machine, the poor bastard.


[1]

From the article:

“Without getting into the really nasty details, he’s had concussions, black eyes, moved four times from base for his own protection. He’s been put in solitary confinement, nude, for days on end because he’s depressed. All of this is extremely traumatic to this kid. This is a horrible experience.

“Justin Carter is currently being held in solitary confinement, on suicide watch.”