This is becoming an old story. Blogger gets fed up with an out-of-control police department and starts exposing their actions to the public, police department proves the blogger right by trying to prosecute the blogger for vague crimes that really amount to "saying bad things about powerful people." But in this case, the police actually raided the blogger's home and seized virtually everything.In what should send a frightening chill down the spine of every blogger, writer, journalist and First Amendment advocate in the United States, Phoenix police raided the home of a blogger who has been highly critical of the department.
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.[snip]
The warrant apparently listed "petty theft" and "computer tampering with the intent to harass" as the probable cause for the warrant, neither of which would justify seizing so much material. And the petty theft charge is truly absurd:The allegation of "petty theft" against Pataky stem from photos he posted on his blog of police name plates that appear to have been taken from within the department. He said he actually made the plates himself.
Interestingly, almost everything he gets on the department comes from good cops within the department blowing the whistle:"We were going to shut down the website after that but then all of a sudden all these good cops started hitting the site and sending us tips," he said.
He said they would also deliver all kinds of internal documents from within the department exposing everything from a cop with multiple DUIs to another cop whose son was a child molester and was trying to get on the force (and was eventually arrested).
"We have about 50 to 100 retired and active cops who provide us information," he said.
Phoenix has a serious problem. And now they've ensured their dirty laundry's aired far and wide. This may be news to them, but there's too many bloggers on the intertoobz to intimidate us all, or even enough.
To which all I can say is, good.