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Baton Bob Strikes Back Against Police That Coerced Facebook Post From Him 203

Posted by timothy
from the bizarro-world-southeast-division dept.
McGruber (1417641) writes "In June 2013, Atlanta police arrested costumed street performer "Baton Bob" during the middle of a street performance after Baton Bob was allegedly involved in a verbal altercation with mall security guards. Now, a year later, Baton Bob has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Atlanta police of violating his constitutional rights, assault, discrimination, privacy violations and identify theft. Atlanta Police allegedly forced Baton Bob to make a pro-police statement on his Facebook page before officers would allow Bob to be released on bond. According to the lawsuit: "At approximately 3:40 p.m., while Plaintiff sat handcuffed and without an attorney, he was told to dictate a public statement to Officer Davis, who then typed and posted the message to the Baton Bob Facebook account. The message read: 'First of all, the atl police officer that responded to the incident thru security has been very respectful and gracious to me even in handcuffs. So, the situation escalated from a complaint from a security officer in the area and for some reason she rolled up on me like she didn't know who I was and like I had not been there before. For them to call police to come to intervene was not necessary. So, out of it, because of my fury, the Atlanta police officer did not understand the elements of the situation, so he was trying to do his job, respectfully and arrested my ass!!!!!!!!! I'll be out tomorrow so look out for my show at 14th and Peachtree. So now I'm waiting to be transported so I can sign my own bond and get the hell out of here. I want to verify, that the Atlanta police was respectful to me considering the circumstances. See you when I see you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!' As promised, Plaintiff was then given a signature bond and released from jail."
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Baton Bob Strikes Back Against Police That Coerced Facebook Post From Him

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  • Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by c6gunner (950153) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @10:48AM (#47360693)

    Is there so little happening in the world right now that the best "story" you can come up with is a guy with obvious mental issues claiming police made him post Facebook comments?

    • by ClintJCL (264898)
      There's nothing obvious about it. Why the hell do you think they didn't do this? This is par for the course for news you hear every week from American police.
      • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Informative)

        by McGruber (1417641) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @11:43AM (#47361203)

        Why the hell do you think they didn't do this? This is par for the course for news you hear every week from American police.

        It seems to me that it would be easy to convince a jury that the Atlanta police actually did this -- the FB post is timestamped, as was the record generated when Baton Bob was actually released on bond.

        Back in 2006, the Atlanta police executed a 92-year-old elderly woman, during a "botched" drug raid. They fired 39 shots at her, killing her with the 5 or 6 that hit her. After the shooting, one of the Atlanta officers planted marijuana at the house. Wikipedia: Kathryn Johnston shooting [wikipedia.org]

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Back in 2006, the Atlanta police executed a 92-year-old elderly woman, during a "botched" drug raid. They fired 39 shots at her, killing her with the 5 or 6 that hit her. After the shooting, one of the Atlanta officers planted marijuana at the house. Wikipedia: Kathryn Johnston shooting [wikipedia.org]

          Definitely fucked up what the police did to this poor old woman. It is important to mention that the gunfire was not completely unprovoked, as she did fire one shot first.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Well, when armed men come storming into your house after they break down the door, do you expect someone not to defend themselves? Also, I like that the one shot was responded to with "39 shots, five or six of which hit." That's a lot of lead flying around.
            • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Informative)

              by Rakarra (112805) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @04:19PM (#47363769)

              Yeah, I hate to do this too, but the chronology of events seems to be:
              *) Police cut off burglar bars, smash in door.
              *) Police announce themselves, then enter.
              *) Grandmother fires shot.
              *) Police fire back.

              "39 shots, five or six of which hit." Some of those hits were on each other, further cementing their reputation as Keystone Kops.

          • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @02:58PM (#47363149)
            Note the only claim that she fired first is by police, who were prosecuted for the act. They claim she fired after they announced themselves. For all we know, they never announced themselves, or while planting the marijuana, found a gun in a different room and fired one shot with it and planted it on her.

            What amazes me is that after everything else is proven a lie, they still took the convicted criminal's words for the sequence of events.
            • by c6gunner (950153)

              There's definitely plenty of room for questioning police actions, but when you find yourself suggesting that they executed a grandmother in cold blood and then made it appear that she fired first ... you've probably gone a bit past the point of "reasonable questioning" and strayed into "fuck the pigs" land.

              • by AK Marc (707885)
                So you trust the cops word, even after a criminal conviction for their actions? Plainclothes police in a no-knock raid, and you still trust their professional judgment?

                The "evidence" shows that the police executed an illegal raid, and executed a civilian during that illegal home invasion. They confessed to planting drugs. They didn't confess to planting a gun. So is that is proof in your eyes that they'd never plant a gun, just drugs?

                I didn't see any reports of GSR on the deceased. Nor was there a r
                • by c6gunner (950153)

                  So you trust the cops word, even after a criminal conviction for their actions?

                  No, I weigh the evidence based on the most likely scenario. Never met a cop who would blow away grandma for no reason. If you can introduce me to some, I may change my mind.

                  The "evidence" shows that the police executed an illegal raid

                  Come again? I think these kinds of statements are why the [citation needed] tag was invented.

                  And the cops hit their target 10% of the time. If they weren't fired and in jail, they could have used more time on the range, anyway.

                  Spoken like someone who's never been in a firefight. 10% is actually well above what I would expect.

                  • by AK Marc (707885)

                    Never met a cop who would blow away grandma for no reason.

                    Then you never met a cop.

                    Even if it played out as they describe, they weren't justified.

                    Come again? I think these kinds of statements are why the [citation needed] tag was invented.

                    The police admitted it was an illegal raid, and the participants in it were convicted of criminal charges. That was cited previously in this thread. What are you unclear about?

                    Spoken like someone who's never been in a firefight.

                    [citation needed]

                    You assert a firefight. There is no "evidence" that happened. At most she fired one shot before they entered (possibly not even in their direction, hoping to scare off invaders), and they came in on a person who was, at that

              • by wvmarle (1070040)

                More likely: the killing of the granny was indeed an honest mistake, and then they tried to cover up their mistake by making her look like a criminal by planting drugs and the gun, in an attempt to justify their actions.

                Not trying to say what those cops did is good. Mistakes happen, sadly, and they should take all precautions to prevent that from happening.

                Firing 39 shots sounds totally excessive - the hit rate is also pretty bad indeed. That indeed leaves some 33 stray bullets, no telling where they ended

                • by c6gunner (950153)

                  More likely: the killing of the granny was indeed an honest mistake, and then they tried to cover up their mistake by making her look like a criminal by planting drugs and the gun, in an attempt to justify their actions.

                  Yes, that's quite possible, if unlikely. Thanks for being one of the fee reasonable commenters.

                  Firing 39 shots sounds totally excessive - the hit rate is also pretty bad indeed. That indeed leaves some 33 stray bullets, no telling where they ended up.

                  They ended up inside the house. The hit rate is actually quite good. Take it from me. On the range I get every round in the bullseye. In a kinetic situation I'm lucky if I get 1 out of 4 on target. And I'm a guy who has better training than the police.

                  Civvies seem to expect every cop to be trained to special-forces standards. That expectation is ... unrealistic, to say the least.

                  • by wvmarle (1070040)

                    Which still makes me question: why 39 shots when the victim (allegedly) shot only once?

                    They don't have to start shooting back (certainly not 39 times). Maybe shoot once or twice, and demand the suspect to drop their weapons and surrender to them. As you say, they have no special forces training. So if the suspect doesn't respond, they take cover, keep an eye on the suspect, don't allow him/her to leave, shoot back only when absolutely necessary (e.g. when the suspect opens fire they may fire back), and call

        • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Informative)

          by HeckRuler (1369601) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @01:59PM (#47362593)

          Hey, that story isn't all sad:

          "Three officers were tried for manslaughter and other charges surrounding falsification and were sentenced to ten, six, and five years."

          The entire narcotics department (that weren't in jail) was flushed with new hires replacing them and no-knock warrents are more restricted.

          So far they're doing better than LA cops...

          • I'll agree it isn't that sad the day I hear the ex cops were killed in prison. Until then, it was a sad day.

  • by Phrogz (43803) <!@phrogz.net> on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @10:49AM (#47360697) Homepage

    What'd he say, "so he was trying to do his job comma respectfully and arrested my ass exclamation point exclamation point exclamation point exclamation point exclamation point exclamation point exclamation point exclamation point exclamation point"?

    Or was it more, "and then just dump a sh!tload of exclamation points down".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @10:57AM (#47360783)

    Great post McGruber, thanks for selecting it timothy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by McGruber (1417641)

      Great post McGruber, thanks for selecting it timothy.

      If you don't like the stories you're reading here, then submit a better one!

    • by Fjandr (66656) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @02:25PM (#47362825) Homepage Journal

      You've either never lived in a decently-sized city, or aren't paying attention if you really need citations to believe it happens. In my city, there are roughly a half-dozen fatal police shootings of unarmed suspects every year. Only one officer has ever been indicted, much less convicted (and is fortunately in prison currently), in the nearly ten years I've lived here.

      • How big is a 'decently-sized city'?
        My country has only had 7 fatal shootings my police officers in 14 years.
        All but two of them involved the deceased threatening to kill while holding a weapon, pointing a gun at or actually shooting at police officers.
        One was an innocent bystander.
        One was holding a knife to someone after already having stabbed an officer.

        Although... not all of our police carry guns and people require firearms licenses to keep guns.

  • Longtime resident (Score:5, Informative)

    by fightermagethief (3645291) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @11:01AM (#47360843)

    This guy actually doesn't stand out that much in public. There is most likely a hobo relieving himself or having a loud (read: unnerving) argument with the ether within cat-swinging distance. The few times I have seen this guy was around midtown, a magnet gay area, and people didn't even bat an eye. His costumes are maybe 10% more outrageous than what people wear on the weekend.

  • by lsllll (830002)

    I have no idea why ANYBODY would even consent to logging in to his Facebook account on a computer or unlocking his phone while in custody, let alone post a coerced message like that. I'm sure lawyers will hash all this out in court, but my according to the article

    Jamerson was charged with two counts of simple assault and one count of obstruction against the officer, all misdemeanors, Lyon said.

    I am for civil liberties, but I'm not sure I disagree with the charges.

    Having said that, his case is about being coerced. Who's to say he didn't offer to write a nice post himself and the officers laughed and said "sure!"?

    • by Br00se (211727)

      ... Who's to say he didn't offer to write a nice post himself and the officers laughed and said "sure!"?

      The judge and jury.

      The better question is who IS suggesting that he made such an offer?

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      Lots of phones are unlocked. Slide and you're in. Facebook is already logged in.

      There's just no reason to handcuff him and make him dictate something that you're typing. Why not cut out the middleman?

      • Presumably so they can say, without totally lying out their asses, that the message came from his mouth.

        • It's been my experience that government agents don't typically have any reservations about "lying out their asses."

          If you played the "take a shot when an officer lies" game while watching COPS, everyone in the room would die from alcohol poisoning before the first commercial break.

          • by TheCarp (96830)

            This is the drinking game that deserves to turn into a drunken mob crime spree....if for no other reason than so someone can enter a statement into the official record about how the incident started.

      • by Spamalope (91802)

        There's just no reason to handcuff him and make him dictate something that you're typing. Why not cut out the middleman?

        So it's in his own words, phrased the way he would. If he's a bit crazy, then they wouldn't get that right themselves.

    • I have no idea why ANYBODY would even consent to logging in to his Facebook account on a computer or unlocking his phone while in custody, let alone post a coerced message like that. I'm sure lawyers will hash all this out in court, but my according to the article

      Jamerson was charged with two counts of simple assault and one count of obstruction against the officer, all misdemeanors, Lyon said.

      I am for civil liberties, but I'm not sure I disagree with the charges.

      Having said that, his case is about being coerced. Who's to say he didn't offer to write a nice post himself and the officers laughed and said "sure!"?

      You've never been arrested before have you? And by the Atlanta police? Trust me, you'd do a lot more than make a facebook post to get out of that situation.

      • Re:Why (Score:4, Informative)

        by TheCarp (96830) <sjc AT carpanet DOT net> on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @12:33PM (#47361651) Homepage

        And boy can they be dicks when they want to be. Never been arrested myself, but a friend of mine was and called me to bring him some cash for bail. At 3 am, I am in a waiting room, 2 cops come out and let me know "its going to be a while, it could take all night" and "you should just leave, he can get home".....

        Never mind that he was about 40 miles from home and his car wasn't being released....they just wanted him to have to walk. How long was the "long time" I was going to have to wait for the bail bondsman to show up? About 30-40 minutes.

        • Re:Why (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @12:49PM (#47361817)

          Had a friend who was arrested and there was a $15 filing fee.

          They wouldn't make change.
          They wouldn't accept $20's.

          Seriously.

          • Re:Why (Score:4, Interesting)

            by TheCarp (96830) <sjc AT carpanet DOT net> on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @03:25PM (#47363359) Homepage

            So that story was a few years back, a few even before that, I had a friend at my house who was a pot dealer. Now when I say friend, I mean, he pulled out his wad and asked me to count it for him while his hands were busy. Which, is of course, the only reasons I know this story is fact, I counted his wad with my own two hands and eyes.... it was exactly $1000 in $20 bills. Exactly, and ALL 20s.

            After he left my house, he managed to get arrested. The exact details of how this happened are not as important. The key facts are that it was night, the place he was heading was the absolute nearest place to my house where one could spend any money, and he never made it even that far.

            Now where this gets interesting is.... the police report actually said he had $850. Not $840 or $860 but, in fact, $850, an amount that one cannot make with $20 bills....meaning that they did, in fact, make change.

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            "I don't need change" didn't work? I'd have followed that up with "OK officer, you are refusing to accept cash for this fee. Is that right?"

            Of course, I may have ended up sitting next to your friend.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I have no idea why ANYBODY would even consent to logging in to his Facebook account on a computer or unlocking his phone while in custody, let alone post a coerced message like that.

      While people are busy ignorantly demanding that NO ONE access their Facebook account and threatening to sue on Constitutional grounds, Facebook is busy whoring out every last click of your data to the highest bidder.

      But hey, let's keep screaming about privacy. Might as well tweet about it too.

      The only issue that should be on the table here is the issue of coercion that appears to have taken place to release a man from jail. Other than that, let's just drop the Facebook privacy bullshit. If you want priva

      • by EvilJoker (192907)

        There is a very big difference between the two scenarios - There was a major shitstorm recently when someone (may have been Facebook itself, I don't remember) was falsely claiming endorsement from people.

        It's one thing for them to gather all sorts of data about me. It's quite another to make it up.

    • I have no idea why ANYBODY would even consent to logging in to his Facebook account on a computer or unlocking his phone while in custody, let alone post a coerced message like that.

      Um gee, I donno. Perhape people can be coerced into doing something like that?

      You know, not everyone is as awesome as you at standing up to police abuse.

    • by Wookact (2804191)

      Who's to say he didn't offer to write a nice post himself and the officers laughed and said "sure!"?

      What flipping universe are you from?

    • by AK Marc (707885)

      I have no idea why ANYBODY would even consent

      Consent to torture? He was threatened with violence if he didn't do what they ordered.

      "I'm going to kidnap you and hold you indefinitely unless you sign into Facebook in my presence" is signing in "consent"? Sounds like rape isn't rape unless she fought back hard enough.

  • by pubwvj (1045960) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @11:21AM (#47361027)

    He's lucky they didn't kill him.
    In our state the cops have killed people with their batons, tasers, pistols and assault rifles for less than this. Of course, every time this happens the cops get off scott free without even a reprimand and with full paid leave during the "investigation" into the "incident". Cops are killing citizens left and right. These are not isolated incidenses but a problem with police mentality. Kill first, ask questions later.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      He's lucky they didn't kill him.
      In our state the cops have killed people with their batons, tasers, pistols and assault rifles for less than this. Of course, every time this happens the cops get off scott free without even a reprimand and with full paid leave during the "investigation" into the "incident". Cops are killing citizens left and right. These are not isolated incidenses but a problem with police mentality. Kill first, ask questions later.

      oh, you must live in Washington State.

  • Now, a year later, Baton Bob has filed a federal lawsuit

    I guess street performing didn't turn out to be the goldmine Bob was hoping for.

    One thing's for sure, we can be absolutely certain he's not doing it for the attention.

    • by EvilJoker (192907)

      The system as a whole moves slowly. A year is actually a fairly short amount of time to try (and fail) to work it out within the system, and then get a lawyer to file suit.

      Of course, this is assuming his claim is legit.

  • We're only getting one side of the story, and that side doesn't add up. This guy is an attention whore from way back.
  • by tekrat (242117) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @12:36PM (#47361677) Homepage Journal

    This guy's first mistake was to assume he had any "rights". Is he "Baton Bob LLC"? Only corporate rights are respected by the law. Individual's rights are whatever the police feel like letting you get with at that moment, which is rapidly less and less.

    Secondly, this is Atlanta Georgia, the deep south, and this guy is black and probably gay as well -- two strikes against him in the eyes of the police. Georgia is notoriously gun-happy as well, the governor having just recently signed a bill that allows open carry just about everywhere.

    Frankly, this guy's lucky he wasn't shot dead on the spot for "resisting arrest". He seems to think we are living in a free country where the people have guaranteed rights. That hasn't been the situation for some time, he'd better get with the program or he'll be assigned to a gulag.

    • by clovis (4684)

      You've obviously never been to Atlanta where the mayor is black as well as almost the entire city government is black.
      The police department is 57% black.

      As for gay being a second strike, well it does turn out that Atlanta is no longer considered the gayest city in the USA.
      http://thegrio.com/2012/01/11/... [thegrio.com]

    • "this guy's lucky he wasn't shot dead"

      The day ain't over yet.

  • The wikipedia entry suggests he likely lives in or near Atlanta. We saw a while back that murder is legal in nearby Florida, and now Georgia just passed a "carry wherever the hell you want" bill into law. If he doesn't want to be shot for being a perceived threat he might want to consider living somewhere else.

    Yes, I know that slashdot's conservative majority will moderate this down because they don't like the truth. They can do their worst, the moderation of this comment won't move my karma.

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin

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