Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Censorship Your Rights Online News

Phoenix Police Seize PCs of a Blogger Critical of the Department 515

logicassasin sends in a story about a blogger in Phoenix, AZ, who runs a site that is critical of the local police department. The police recently raided his home and seized his computer hardware. "Jeff Pataky, who runs Bad Phoenix Cops, said the officers confiscated three computers, routers, modems, hard drives, memory cards and everything necessary to continue blogging. The 41-year-old software engineer said they also confiscated numerous personal files and documents relating to a pending lawsuit he has against the department alleging harassment — which he says makes it obvious the raid was an act of retaliation." A local publication quotes Pataky saying, "We have heard internally from our police sources that they purposefully did this to stop me... They took my cable modem and wireless router. Anyone worth their salt knows nothing is stored in the cable modem."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Phoenix Police Seize PCs of a Blogger Critical of the Department

Comments Filter:
  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:12PM (#27458055) Homepage Journal

    This guy's obviously already been in court. ACLU time, and even up to the supreme court. The Phoenix police department is about to get a federal raping.

  • The real question is (Score:3, Interesting)

    by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:14PM (#27458075)

    How long before people understand the Streisand Effect??

    This just seems like bullying(who started it and why is something else). Do cops not know of internet cafe's? freedom of speech? or are people just willfully ignorant of reality around them. Like the town that tossed out google streetview. If I close my eyes the bad people can't see me cause i can't see them?

    one day I hope humanity grows up? unfortunately I will have been long since dead.

  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:26PM (#27458163) Homepage Journal

    I moved out of Phoenix 12 years ago, but I never actually had problems with them aside from 1 traffic ticket the whole time I was there. I did have to call them to, my truck was broken into, I was actually surprised they finger printed when they were obviously dealing with a junky stealing stereo's for a fix.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:27PM (#27458171)
    I am so glad I do not live in Phoenix anymore. My friend who has HIV was on his way to the doctors when he got pulled over and arrested for a suspicion of a DUI and had to spend 24 hours without his medicine. They laughed at him in his holding cell and said things like, "Cold enough for you faggot?" when he started shivering from lack of his meds. If you are considering raising a family there remember Phoenix is one of the #1 places in the country for shooting underage suspects, often unarmed. Almost no one ever gets prosecuted for police misconduct there. Scary fucking place.
  • grain of salt (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:33PM (#27458205) Homepage Journal
    First, as shown the power of the government is out of control. Homeland security and the like began this trend, and people were happy with it which certain parties were in power because it was used to harass certain other parties they did not like. However, in America giving too much power to the government is dangerous because control shifts and such expansions of power can come back and bite you in the ass. Given that the second hit on google news for this story on a site that advertises the item "The Obama Deception" and has many survivalist stuff, one might assume that the slant in the story is derived from one being hoisted on one's own petard. To be fair though, it seems like the site does speak out against government excesses in general, but it did have a Nazi ad at one reload.

    Second, this appears to be a simple domestic dispute. Guy gets a divorce and wife starts accusing him of what he says are false claims. Judge, probably just seeing that this couple can't stand each other, and probably does not want to waste time sorting out the truth, just drops the charges. Who knows who is telling the truth in such cases. I know people who have been accused of cutting other peoples phones off to harass them. I know for a fact that they didn't do it how can you prove it one way or another?

    So what does this guy do. Start collecting 'tips' from persons inside the department and posting these accusations online. OK, that makes sense, you get slandered by unsubstantiated charges, so you go out and do the same? This is a good way to make friends with the police. Tell the world that one of them is a child molester, even though it may or may not be true. I telling you this is what I live for. Trying to do my job by helping two people that are too immature and uncivilized to get along with each other, I mean the police are required to investigate any reasonable charge, and then what do I get. My face plastered on the internet as a child molester. Oh yeah, that brightens my day.

    Predictably this guy goes too far and gets himself in trouble and the police uses the excuse to take out a problem. Again, overkill, but so is calling a soon-to-be cop a child molester on the internet is not the way to go, especially when all the documentation is apparently yet to be delivered.

    Arizona seems to have it's share of messed up policing, but there must be a better way to go about this than ranting on the internet with unsubstantiated claims.

  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:34PM (#27458211) Journal

    How long before people understand the Streisand Effect??

    Perhaps it is too soon, but a search on Google news suggests that this story is getting little attention in news media.

  • by linzeal ( 197905 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:35PM (#27458215) Homepage Journal
    Um, the whole fucking county is crooked [] and they are bad at their jobs []. I would not step foot into that county if you paid me a 1000 bucks, well also because that is where all my ex-gf live.
  • by AmigaHeretic ( 991368 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:43PM (#27458263) Journal []

    Check out the video. Some college kids from the UofO are out in the "Ken Kezzie Free Speech" plaza in Eugene protesting the spraying of pesticides and get harassed by the cops and the taserd.

    I mean look at the kids out there, 18 or 19, doing one of the great things about this country and that is letting you're thoughts be voiced.

    This is crazy!
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:54PM (#27458375) Homepage

    Yes, this is the Streisand effect on steroids. The dirty cops and the people who would otherwise be embarrassed are obviously trying to find the leaky cops. But the more of a ruckus they stir up, the more people who are going to notice.

    This is what brought U.S. Federal attention to Dallas.

    An interesting thing though. Village Voice Media (formerly New Times before they bought VVM and took their name) is HQ'd in Phoenix... They own papers in several major markets which includes Dallas. I haven't checked yet, but I wouldn't be surprised to find a story or two surrounding any police corruption in Phoenix in the New Times publication in Phoenix.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 04, 2009 @12:55PM (#27458389)

    Another hint, if you start poking a sleeping bear with a stick, the bear eventually will wake up and eat your ass for breakfast. I suspect his blogging resulted in roughly the same result.

    I have an anti-authority complex which basically makes me mad at any larger entity that sets the rules then can hurt me if I break them. I tend to always want to poke the bear for the simple reason that I don't think its fair that the bear has more power.

  • by EWAdams ( 953502 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @01:03PM (#27458445) Homepage

    The guy was, at best, running an ongoing campaign of character assassination against certain Phoenix police officers. No crime there, although what he said may have been libelous. But if he was accusing police officers of breaking the law, then it is his duty as a citizen to present his evidence to whatever the local equivalent of the Internal Affairs Department is. If he was withholding that evidence, he was obstructing justice.

    Bloggers aren't journalists. They don't have to live up to any standards of ethical journalism, and so they don't get protection for their sources. If that's what he's claiming, he's going to get a rude shock.

    Bottom line is, we don't have all the facts. Phoenix isn't some podunk town. It's hard for me to imagine that both the cops and a judge in a large metropolitan area would do something this egregious.

  • If they paid you $1,000, they'd stop you there and seize the money for being "probable drug-related"

  • by pedrop357 ( 681672 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @02:27PM (#27459133)

    The Atlanta police "picked on" Kathryn Johnston and I never read anywhere that she did anything wrong or had any prior contact with them.

    It doesn't matter what you did, what you were accused of, or how many times you've been to court in the past. The police are not allowed to harass, assault, "pick on", or take any unlawful action against you.

    Your post is very similar to the posts I would expect from people who say things like "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about" or "I don't get harassed by the police because I follow the law", etc. A lot of times, I find that they suggest or imply that it's OK for the police to violate someone's rights if they've "done something to deserve it"; this isn't true. Just because a person gets an attitude at a traffic stop, or was accused years ago of crimes and cried holy hell against the police department and city, does not mean 'the gloves come off' and the police can do what they want. That would allow them to come down on anyone, anytime as long as they can manufacture some flimsy justification.

    The police have rules to follow regardless of whether you the other person does or not and they are obligated to follow the law to the same degree they expect us to follow it. You can't really be enforcing the law if you break it.

    This guy is also doing the same thing some people do when they've been dealing with abusive government officials for so long, telling anyone who will hear.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @02:41PM (#27459257)

    Uh, I wouldn't go so far at this point as to say they're not a protector.

    They may not always protect your personal liberty with every single action, but they do protect society, which ultimately protects your liberty in real terms.

    Your ability to blog whatever you want is no good if hackers keep breaking into your web hosts servers and deleting all your content.

    Your ability to blog whatever you want is no good if some stranger keeps breaking into your house and stealing stuff.

    The very existence of police is a deterrant for burglars, rapists, muggers, killers, and fraudsters. I.E. The "REAL" criminals who will readily conduct the most damaging activities to society, if not prevented.

    And certainly despite the cases of abuse, the police do sometimes manage to actually investigate some crimes, bring the perpetrator to justice, and (where possible, i.e. cases of theft, where the stolen item is found) help make the victim whole again.

    Police are absolutely essential in a civilized society, due to the existence of certain criminal behavior.

    As are military.

    The problem occurs when they are allowed to be too aggressive -- for example, police disrupting the lives of ordinary citizens to investigate crimes that are less destructive than that of the investigation effort itself.

    The problem is either too many things are criminal, or the police has too much search and seizure power for possible offenses that wouldn't seem to warrant it, or a combination of both.

    Problem is it's TOO easy for the police to just get a search warrant to go on a fishing expedition.

    They love to seize computer equipment, because they have a pretention that they are just seizing one item -- but in fact, they're seizing ALL their files (it's like seizing a shelf full of books and all your records of all natures)

    It is a bit absurd that they are allowed to do this without proving good reason.

    Instead they should have to name what kind of files they would be seizing, and execute their seizure by plugging equipment in, and extracting a copy of the data ON SITE.

    With an obligation to destroy their copy of any materials not related to the investigation. And hold ALL materials as confidential, until/unless trial, and the materials to be disclosed are valid evidence.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @03:04PM (#27459439) Journal

    So if you read the article with any sense of fairness rather than biasing yourself against the police

    You mean, if you read the article biasing yourself in favor of the police...

    # He responds by not following the proper course of action and filing a police report, he instead, in his words:
    So he began filing complaints with everybody from Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon down to Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris to no avail. He was eventually indicted for harassing his ex-wife.
    # Read that again ... he harassed SEVERAL city officials, and then expects them to side with him and understand that he's not doing the SAME THING to his wife.

    In what way is "filing complaints" harassment? If you're getting ignored through one venue, why not try bringing your plight to someone else with power? What exactly would you suggest someone do who is actually being ignored by the police?

    I also have no doubt that this guy is a douche bag who probably deserves more than he's going to get

    You know what? You're a douche bag. That doesn't mean you deserve to have your possessions confiscated by the police. Advocating the abuse of police power because someone is a "douche bag" is way, way out of line.

  • by ushering05401 ( 1086795 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @03:14PM (#27459513) Journal

    As someone who was under L.A. Rampart jurisdiction for a while let me hip you to a little something, pecosdave.

    There was one person who left prints in your car that would require almost no trouble for the police to track down and prosecute for a crime.. YOU.

    A crime scene is a crime scene, you run all the prints - and no, they are not going to be paying lab fees to get an additional minor charge tacked onto a junkie stereo thief's sentence when they finally track him/her down for some unrelated crime.

    This is a tactic pretty much specific to places that have gang/drug trafficking issues - and even 12 years ago the Phoenix street was heavy in that regard.

  • by linzeal ( 197905 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @03:26PM (#27459583) Homepage Journal
    I had a restraining order AGAINST one of my gf, she was an army brat and menaced me with a M14 once. That was enough of that.
  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @03:44PM (#27459695)

    Are you serious? I'm pretty sure they were adults and not 6 year olds saying 'sticks and stones my break my bones'

    You can call me an asshole on slashdot all day long, and you'd probably be right. But when I come take your computer because it was actually stolen from my dad in the first place, doesn't make me a corrupt cop or guilty of being evil, it just means the public isn't aware of the fact that not only are you a name caller, you are a thief and in general a douche bag.

    Instead your just assuming the cops are doing wrong and have no actual idea about what happened. Did you RTFA? He admits he's harassed several city officials in his OMG POLICE ARE EVIL AND RAPED ME! post.

    What would be stupid, and is pretty much whats happened here so far is that I saw you doing something that resembled eating shit, and while my mouth was full of shit I've been eating, I screamed 'OMG HES EATING SHIT THATS WRONG!' and everyone ignores the fact that I have shit dripping from my chin and spewing out while I speak. And then tomorrow we find out that you were eating pudding, not shit. And then you proceed to feel like a douche bag for listening to the stupid blogger in the first place.

    Is this whats going to happen? I have no idea, but neither do you as we have absolutely 0 idea about whats going on in this case, we just have a rant about bad cops who spends his days harassing city officials and blogging about bad cops.

    You'll have to forgive me if I put a little more faith in the police than a douche bag blogger. I've also been around long enough to know these things are very rarely what they seem, thanks to the publics ability to run with sensationalist unverified blog spewings and idiots who blindly believe it.

  • by Q-Hack! ( 37846 ) * on Saturday April 04, 2009 @04:36PM (#27459991)

    Does anyone deserve to be menaced by a gun?

    Yes, there are plenty [] of reasons [] that would cause me to "menace" [] you with a gun...

  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @05:42PM (#27460397)

    What do we do to protect the police from rantings of ignorant bloggers who are pissed off because they got caught breaking the law in the past and can't except the results?

    Well, the standard we hold schoolkids to is to either ignore the taunter or taunt him back. Do you think the police might be able to reach such level of maturity? Or are you seriously suggesting that "he called me names" is an acceptable reason to raid someone's house?

    Seriously, grow a thicker skin. You're starting to sound like the muslims during that whole Mohammed cartoon thing.

    Before you start talking about how we should attack politicians and cops, lets find out if they actually did anything wrong first instead of jumping to knee jerk reactions based on some emotional connection to a technological fad.

    Certainly. Perhaps you should consider extending this courtesy to the blogger?

  • by EEPROMS ( 889169 ) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @06:16PM (#27460617)
    "There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live--did live, from habit that became instinct--in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.