Same Shit, Different Day

I’ve commented about this in the past but this requires still another heads up to freedom loving people everywhere. LINK

It seems that the Renton, Washington local PD has had issues in the past where they crossed over the line of protecting citizens in the manner expected and prescribed by law. A political cartoonist has lampooned the police conduct, without naming any names, and now faces possible charges and harassment from the police.

As might be expected this has caught the attention of a whole lot of people. From both sides of the issue. That this is an issue at all brings into focus how surely we have a problem with encroachment of a police state. This scares the shit out of me.

I haven’t posted the entire article. Click the link above for the entire thing.

A Renton, Washington native has been accused of felony cyberstalking for making a satirical cartoon depicting local crooked cops. (Source: KIRO 7)

The video reportedly depicts a city bureaucrat, Penny Bartley, talking about covering up wrongdoing. (Source: YouTube via KIRO 7)

The City of Renton’s police department has been the subject of repeated internal affairs investigations. (Source: KIRO 7)

The city’s police chief has defended the search warrant, which many say violates the First Amendment protection of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. (Source: KIRO 7)Police department with long history of internal affairs investigations looks to charge satirist with felony

When cartoonist “Mrfuddlesticks” decided to make a series of animated videos parodying the local police department in Renton, Washington, they had ample source material from the media and the public record — the city had suffered repeated misconduct scandals in recent history. The individual used the popular animation site http://www.xtranormal.com to create a series of videos making fun of the city’s police department. Little did they know, those videos would have them facing criminal charges [Scribd] for “cyberstalking”.

I. Satirist Accused of Felony Crime for Cartoons

In what legal experts are calling a rampant abuse of power, police have taken the first steps towards filing criminal charges against the creator, claiming their creator violated the Washington State cyberstalking statute “RCW 9.61.260.” A local judge at the Superior Court for King County — James Cayce — has signed off on a search warrant sent to Google Inc. (GOOG).

The warrant is designed to obtain the real world identity of the cartoonist, who posted the videos to YouTube. The videos were created using the same free animation suite as the famous viral “iPhone4 vs HTC Evo” video. Two of the videos can be viewed here [1][2].

Legal experts blasted the move. In an interview with a local news network, lawyer Venkat Balasubramani, a Constitutional and cyber-law expert, states, “The cyberstalking angle doesn’t pass the laugh test. It’s a serious stretch. I’d be surprised if somebody looked at it and realistically thought well these acts actually fit the statute and we and could make a violation and hold someone criminally liable. [More likely] they were trying to get at the identity of the speaker and the looked around for a statute to shoehorn their conduct into.”

But while legal experts say the felony charges are laughable, they’re no laughing matter for the accused. The statute lists the type of cyberstalking named in the case as a Class C felony — applicable for up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 USD fine. Drug dealing and major theft are other examples of local Class C felonies.

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2 thoughts on “Same Shit, Different Day

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