Rutherford Institute Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Rein in Aggressive, Coercive, Potentially Violent Knock-and-Talk Practices by Militarized Police

by Rutherford Institute


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Warning of the danger to the public from the increasing use of “knock and talk” tactics by police, The Rutherford Institute has asked the United States Supreme Court to rein in aggressive “knock and talk” practices, which have become thinly veiled, warrantless attempts by which citizens are coerced and intimidated into “talking” with heavily armed police who “knock” on their doors in the middle of the night.

In asking the Court to review the case of Young v. Borders, Rutherford Institute attorneys denounced a lower court ruling that failed to hold police accountable for banging on the wrong door at 1:30 am, failing to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shooting and killing the innocent homeowner who answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense. Although 26-year-old Andrew Scott had committed no crime and never fired a single bullet or lifted his firearm against police, he was gunned down by police who were investigating a speeding incident by engaging in a middle-of-the-night “knock and talk” in Scott’s apartment complex.

n an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court, Institute attorneys argue that the police violated the Fourth Amendment in conducting the “knock and talk” because the late-night raid at Scott’s home was an abuse of society’s norms and a trespass on Scott’s property. The Institute has also issued constitutional guidelines to educate the public about what they can do to preserve their constitutional rights against the coercive use of “knock and talks” by police as a means of sidestepping the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against warrantless, unreasonable searches.

The Rutherford Institute’s amicus curiae brief in Young v. Borders is available at www.rutherford.org.

“Government officials insist that there is nothing unlawful, unreasonable or threatening about the prospect of armed police dressed in SWAT gear knocking on doors in the middle of night and ‘asking’ homeowners to engage in warrantless ‘knock-and-talk’ sessions,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “However, as Andrew Scott learned, there’s always a price to pay for saying no to such heavy-handed requests by police. If the courts continue to sanction such aggressive, excessive, coercive tactics, it will give police further incentive to terrorize and kill American citizens without fear of repercussion.”

On July 15, 2012, Deputy Richard Sylvester pursued a speeding motorcyclist, which he later had cause to believe might be armed and had been spotted at a nearby apartment complex. Around 1:30 a.m., Sylvester and three other deputies began knocking on doors in the apartment complex in the vicinity of the parked motorcycle, starting with Apt. 114, which was occupied by Andrew Scott and Amy Young, who were playing video games and had no connection to the motorcycle or any illegal activity. The deputies assumed tactical positions, guns drawn and ready to shoot. Sylvester, without announcing he was a police officer, then banged loudly and repeatedly on the door. Unnerved by the banging at such a late hour, Andrew Scott retrieved his handgun before opening the door. When Scott saw a shadowy figure holding a gun outside his door, he retreated into his apartment only to have Sylvester immediately open fire. Sylvester fired six shots, three of which hit and killed Scott. A trial court subsequently ruled in favor of the police, ruling that Scott was to blame for choosing to retrieve a handgun before opening the door. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit ruled that Sylvester was protected by “qualified immunity,” reasoning that the use of excessive force did not violate “clearly established law.”



Appeals Court: Police can violate our rights without fear of being sued

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple


For those of you that claim we don’t live in a police state, I give you this recent Michigan Appeals Court ruling.

In 2015, Deputy James Dawson went to Joshua Brennan’s home and knocked on his door trying to obtain a breath sample. When Brennan did not answer, Dawson spent an hour and a half knocking at his doors and windows.

Officer Dawson also put crime-scene tape over Brennan’s security cameras to conceal his actions and used his siren and cruiser lights in an attempt to rouse him.

When Brennan finally opened his door, officer Dawson forced him to take a breathalyzer and arrested him for a probation violation even though he blew a 0.000.

All of this was done without a warrant. (Warrantless breathalyzer tests was not a condition of Brennan’s probation.)

If you think, it is obvious to any reasonable person that his rights were violated. Then you don’t know how the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals interprets the Constitution.  The fact that this even went to an Appeals Court, speaks volumes about our justice system but I digress.

Let’s get back to the ruling;  judge John Nalabandian said that officer Dawson did violate Brennan’s Fourth Amendment rights by searching him without a warrant. All is good so far, right?

Not quite, Nalabandian went on to say “police actions that violate the Constitution do not lead to liability.”

The court also ruled that since officer “Dawson’s implied license was not clearly established” and because of that old police standby, “deficient training” he cannot be sued.

To say that the court’s reasoning is frustrating is an understatement. The court said that because “Wilson and Clare County were not on actual or constructive notice that the deputy training was deficient they could not be liable.”

Does anyone really think police are held to a higher standard when they constantly use the “deficient training” excuse?

If you are upset by the court’s ruling that police are not liable for violating the Constitution I warn you, it only gets worse.

Citizens must prove to judges that violating out rights is unlawful

According to the Sixth Circuit and this speaks volumes about our justice system “the plaintiff bears the burden of proving that the right was so well settled that every reasonable official would understand that what he is doing is unlawful.”

In other words, citizens must prove to a “reasonable official” [judge] that a police officer violating the Constitution is unlawful.

The Sixth Circuit claimed that since the Hardesty v. Hamburg Twp. ruling did not set a limit on how long a police officer can harass people at their homes Brennan cannot sue the police.  Even though they admitted that “absent a warrant a police officer has no greater license to remain on the property than a Girl Scout or trick-or-treater.”

The ruling repeatedly admits that “Dawson arguably violated the Constitution.” but states for a second time that “even if a government official violated a constitutional right, that official is entitled to qualified immunity.”

The Sixth Circuit refused to view the “constitutionality of the officer’s conduct or the continuing viability of Hardest and Turk.”

Not only did the Appeals court rule that Brennan cannot sue the police for violating his rights but they dismissed his unlawful arrest claim as well.

Only one judge, Karen Moore dissented and agreed like any “reasonable official” should, saying Brennan’s rights were violated and the officer could be sued.

Why is the media silent when rulings as egregious as this are taking place across the country?

Proving to “reasonable officials” that violating our rights is unlawful? America is fast on its way to becoming a police state.

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Nurses and Midwives in Nazi Germany: The Euthanasia Programs

Edited by Susan Benedict and Linda Shields

The ethics of nursing and midwifery, and how these were abrogated during the Nazi era. Nurses and midwives actively killed their patients, many of whom were disabled children and infants and patients with mental (and other) illnesses or intellectual disabilities. The book for the first time, explains the role of one of the world's most historically prominent midwifery leaders in the Nazi crimes... "a groundbreaking and chilling historical analysis of a medical system in which death becomes a medical cure and nursing professionals view their allegiance to the state, their superiors and society above that of individual patients."


Introduction


The role of physicians in the crimes of the Nazi era in Europe has been extensively studied, but nurses and midwives have been largely ignored. Many of the crimes for which doctors were charged and punished occurred in hospitals, and nurses make up the main work force in any hospital; ergo, they, too, were at least complicit in, and often primarily responsible for,
many of the same crimes. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the so-called "euthanasia" programs, where people, including children, were systematically killed because they were considered "life unworthy of life" or "useless feeders". (It is worth noting here that the term "euthanasia" is a misnomer. While the word means "a good death" there was nothing
good about how these people died. However, it continues to be used in the context of these crimes.)

Midwives were mandated to report infants born with deformities so they could be killed, and the midwives were paid per capita to do so. Psychiatric hospitals were cleared of their patients and used for barracks to house soldiers. Killing took place in the hospitals, and often a crematorium was built on site to dispose of the dead. A telling film exists-now held by and publicly available from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum-which shows a nurse in uniform helping naked men and
boys into a gas chamber. The care she takes to put a blanket around their shoulders makes us wonder how a nurse, who is educated and trained to think that caring is the platform on which her/his work is based, can regard killing as a legitimate part of that caring. This is the essence of this book. 

While there is a large literature about the roles of the medical profession in the Third Reich, the reason that nursing and midwifery have been largely ignored until recently is open to supposition. Two authors have been dominant in the area (apart from the contributors to this book). A German nurse, Hilde Steppe (1947-1999), first published reports of the role of German nurses in the Nazi era in the early 1980s in German and then in the 1990s in English. Historian Bronwyn McFarland- Icke published a book about psychiatric nurses in Nazi Germany in 1999. Other investigations in the area have been piecemeal, and a conference held in Limerick in Irelandin 2004 highlighted the dearth of scholarship in this area of nursing and midwifery history. Perhaps this deficit relates to the fact that females have traditionally dominated these professions, and it has been assumed that women would not commit such crimes. It could be due to the fact that
people hold nursing and midwifery in high regard, and believe (as we have been told on several occasions) that "nurses would not do those things". Such unenlightened thinking inhibits full and proper examination of a dark side of the history of nursing and midwifery. Unless this is addressed, we cannot develop the professions to their full potential.

This book has eleven chapters. This first introductory chapter, called "Setting the Scene", does just that, with explanations of the primary political theories of fascism and Nazism, how the Nazis came to power, the role of propaganda in influencing the lives of the German people, and a description of the "T4" programs, which were the planned and systematic killing
of people with a range of illnesses and disabilities.

Chapter 2 examines the role played by eugenics in the development of the racially motivated killings in which nurses were complicit.

Chapter 3 discusses nursing in Nazi Germany, describing how the profession developed and was structured in that era.

Chapter 4 explains how psychiatric nursing was structured in Nazi Germany, and how it was the main specialty of nursing under which the killings were done.

Chapter 5 discusses the "euthanasia" programs in detail.

Chapter 6 explains the actions of nurses at Meseritz-Obrawalde, one of the psychiatric hospitals that were killing centers, and, using trial transcripts, examines the nurses' justifications for their roles in murder.

Chapter 7 includes more detail from another institution and testimonies
of the nurses who killed.

Chapter 8 describes the role of midwives

Chapter 9 is a discussion on how the lessons learned from the euthanasia
program can be taught to nurses and midwives today.

In Chapter 10, there is a discussion of the philosophical and sociological theories that could
account for the nurses' and midwives' actions, while

Chapter 11 rounds off the discussion with some questions as to whether this could happen again,
and some reflections on how similar things are happening in twenty-first century nursing and midwifery practice.

The book is available for download on online reading here.


Susan Benedict is Professor of Nursing, Director of Global Health, and Co­Director of the Campus-WideEthics Program
at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Nursing in Houston.

Linda Shields is Professor of Nursing-Tropical Health at James Cook Uni­versity, Townsville,Queensland,and Honorary
Professor, School of Medi­cine,The University of Queensland.

[Yep.  All over again.  I guess I am particularly sensitive to these seemingly separate issues because as a biochemistry major, and having already published research, my thesis director suggested that I so something more broadly relevant to research ethics.  Bottom line, I finally did my biochemistry thesis on the Nazi medical war crimes, finally narrowing the topic to Mengele's twin (TWIN  TWIN  TWIN) experiments.  It wasn't an "ethical" analysis, but a scientific analysis of his researcher evaluating his scientific method, procedures, data and conclusions.  Spend a year and a half at the Library of Congress researching it.  It has stayed with me all these years, and I finally wrote an article for people who kept wondering why I chose to do the doctoral dissertation I did:  “Me and Mengele” (October 18, 2003), at:  http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_136meandmengele.html  (also attached to this email).  Very worrisome. -DNI]


Rutgers Student Going Public Against Financial Aid for Illegals

by Jack Davis


The bottom line of a new New Jersey law is that breaking the law pays off, according to a Rutgers University student angered over a law that lets illegal immigrants collect financial aid. 

“It’s just absurd that we’re giving illegal immigrants more and more incentives to break the law,” said Nick Knight said, according to Fox News. “I’m going to be paying for that debt after college.”  Knight said putting those who break the law above everyone else is wrong.   “I think they’re taking the word ‘Dreamers’ and trying to put it in a positive light,” Knight said. “But in reality, it’s not fair for everybody else, for people who go through the process, for people who pay taxes and for people who come over here legally.”

Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy put a very different spin on the bill when he allowed New Jersey to become the ninth state in the U.S. to dole out financial aid to illegal immigrants.

“New Jerseyans support the ability of our Dreamers to not only remain in our state but to become a strong and contributing part of our society and economy,” he said, according to NJ.com.  “By allowing them to not only go to college but to qualify for financial assistance, we are living up to that ideal,” he said.

The battle over financial aid to illegal immigrants is currently being fought in New Jersey’s neighbor, New York.

For the past seven years, the Democrat-controlled New York State Assembly has passed legislation that would allow the children of illegal immigrants to receive financial aid. However, the GOP-controlled state Senate has refused to approve the bill, which has received support from Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

Illegal immigrants and their supporters are demanding that New York follow New Jersey’s lead and putting heat on Cuomo, who is facing a primary challenge from actress Cynthia Nixon, to get the job done.

“I am disappointed that Gov. Cuomo and the State Senate have not introduced a similar bill, which would change our lives. New York needs to follow the example of New Jersey and provide the same access to higher education to all students, regardless of their immigration status,” said Jennifer Macías, an illegal immigrant who attends Queensborough Community College, according to Voices of NY

New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has said his GOP colleagues are unlikely to change the stance on financial aid for illegal immigrants. 

“Our members are very strongly opposed to the Dream Act,” he told the Albany Times-Union.

“I’m going to put it in plain and simple terms: There’s tons of middle-class families in the state of New York who are struggling,” Flanagan said. “I met with college students who are working two and three jobs just to go to community college. So my primary obligation, and I think the position of our members is, let’s make sure we’re taking care of the hard-working middle class taxpayers who are struggling right now.”


Overland Park Rental Inspection first steps toward Warrantless Home Invasion

by Allen Williams


Overland Park's rental inspection program is on schedule as work proceeds in identifying the city's property managers and other 'slum' landlords.  The city's propaganda magazine Overview Spring 2017 reports: "Last Month city staff members began reaching out to landlords of single-family dwellings in an effort to verify that the dwelling is being used as a rental. "  The city goes on to reassure residents that ".. this is all part of the initial launch of a new licensing and inspection program that focuses solely on exterior maintenance of residential property (opkansas.org/rentals) beginning July 1, 2017.

However what Overview magazine doesn't tell you is  that the licensing program is just another means of increasing city revenues so expect licensing fees to creep upward several times each decade. But more  importantly Overland Park has paved the way to force redevelopment on the north end of the city.  How's that you say?

Well for starters, how about fining you right out of your rental? What? Well check out This Indiana Town Wants to Fine a Community Out of Existence on Behalf of Private Developers. "Members of a small, low-income community in Indiana are discovering that state-level protections that make it hard for cities to seize their property may not be enough. When city leaders decide to get into bed with private developers, there are all sorts of ways for cronyism to threaten the property rights of owners. " And there's no question that Overland Park has been in bed with developers for years. 

But wait, the Indiana article gets better "While eminent domain was supposed to be used solely for public works projects (roads, schools, et cetera), the infamous Kelo v. City of New London Supreme Court decision set a legal precedent allowing governments to use it to hand over property to private developers for big projects."  That decision has already been put to good use. Remember the Kansas Speedway?  Over 165 homes were seized  to build that monstrosity.  "The condemnation of homes in Wyandotte County for the Kansas Speedway development was one of the more controversial uses of eminent domain power in Kansas."   But Oh, was it rewarding for Wyandotte coffers!: "County officials say the speedway and "Village West" -- the adjoining 400-acre development that includes Cabela's and Nebraska Furniture Mart -- have reinvigorated the local economy, created thousands of new jobs and poured millions of new tax dollars into local coffers."  And there you have it, more money for city coffers, to hell with the people and their homes. It's a small price to pay for economic prosperity, etc.

The US Supreme Court has sanctioned the seizing of private property for others use in Kelo v New London.  But property seizure for other's benefit alone is a nasty pill to swallow but fining owners into oblivion for building code violations, well that's much more palatable. 

The Indiana article continues: "So property rights-minded citizens might be surprised to hear that the mayor and city officials of Charlestown, Indiana, a rural community with a population of less than 8,000, are trying to arrange to hand over hundreds of homes to a private developer. He's not using eminent domain to do so. Instead, the city stands accused of deliberately finding excuses to burden the community's residents with thousands of dollars of fines that will be waived if they sell their properties to the private developer."

Get the drift or am I going too fast for you?

Well, what a coincidence, Indiana started with exterior inspections, too: "Beginning in the summer of 2016, the city unleashed a torrent of code enforcement targeted specifically at the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood. City officials began performing exterior inspections of properties in Pleasant Ridge and mailing citations to the owners. So far, this campaign has primarily targeted landlords who own multiple rental properties, rather than smaller landlords and owner-occupied houses."   Don't fret, Overland Park will include other properties as soon as it's expedient.

Overland Park concocted a rental inspection scheme a number of years back that evicted renters when interior improvements weren't made not unlike Marietta, George's plan: " The City of Marietta enacted a rental-housing inspection ordinance in 2004, requiring landlords to obtain “rental licenses” for all rental properties. To obtain a license, landlords had to hire and pay City-approved “rental housing inspectors” to inspect and certify that properties were in compliance with all housing codes. Nothing in the ordinance, however, required the landlord or the City to obtain the tenant’s consent before conducting the intrusive inspection. Yet, without inspection, no rental license would be issued, and the City Manager could order the property to be vacated." The OP plan was very unpopular and the city abandoned it for the time being.

Here's how city inspection theft works. "The citations state that the owner accrues penalties of $50 per violation, per day. Multiple citations are issued per property, which means that a single property will begin accumulating hundreds of dollars in fines each day. The fines can be for things as minor as a torn screen, weeds taller than eight inches or chipped paint. In many cases, the fines begin the day the citation was issued, not the day the owner received it. So owners can easily be on the hook for thousands of dollars in fines before they even receive notice, and the fines continue to accrue until the owner is able to repair the property."

Sweet, huh? Overland Park has been fining properties for 8-inch weed height (even if there are as few as 6 weeds per 1/3- acre) since April 2000 often as a consequence of protesting city policies.  And now they expand the program to 'exterior' rental inspection which will eventually include the rental Interior as in Minnesota. "Minnesotans have a new reason to remember to empty their dishwashers and keep their bathrooms clean. That’s because the city of Golden Valley is asking the Minnesota Court of Appeals to grant it a warrant to inspect the rental property of Jason and Jacki Wiebesick to check that their tenants are, among other things, maintaining a clean kitchen and a tidy toilet."

Yes, people, emptying your dishwasher and maintaining a tidy toilet is tantamount to being a good citizen.  The city now has the means to acquire rental property for its developer cronies with out involving eminent domain issues.  Here's the real motive driving rental inspections:: "Mayor Bob Hall decided in 2014 that he wanted to get rid of the houses there and replace it with a more upscale planned community with fancier homes and retail options. But he needed to get rid of the houses (and the people within them) first. Starting in 2016, residents and property owners of Pleasant Ridge discovered Charlestown had a nasty tool to try to get rid of them. City officials started looking for any excuse to cite property owners for code violations. When you're looking at low-income neighborhoods full of working people and retirees, there are likely to be plenty.

Overland Park's north end is full of low income families, obviously another coincidence to Indiana's program. OP has been looking to force the redevelopment of Metcalf avenue on the north end for some years now and it appears that the rental inspection program may be the ticket. 

You can bet the city isn't instituting their inspection program merely to provide renters with a better place to live.  When you have to have a license to rent or to have a home inspection as a rental condition, you no longer live in a free country.

It is a police state.