Watch out for those teenagers with Puppies….. Miami Newtimes: Miami-Dade Police Choke Black Teenager Because He Was Giving Them “Dehumanizing Stares”


Fourteen-year-old Tremaine McMillian didn’t threaten police. He didn’t attack them. He wasn’t armed. All the black teenager did was appear threatening by shooting Miami-Dade police officers a few “dehumanizing stares,” and that was apparently enough for the officers to decide to slam him against the ground and put him in a chokehold.

During Memorial Day weekend, McMillian was rough-housing with another teenager on the sand. Police approached the teen on an ATV and told him that wasn’t acceptable behavior. They asked him where his parents were, but MicMillian attempted to walk away. The officer jumped off the ATV, and tried to physically restrain the teen. According to CBS Miami, police say the 14-year-old kid gave them “‘dehumanizing stares,’ clenched his fists and appeared threatening.”

McMillian says he was carrying a six-week old puppy at the time and couldn’t have been clenching his fists because he was feeding the dog with a bottle. He claims that during the confrontation the dog’s front left paw was injured while officer forcibly separated him from the dog.

The officer then forced McMillian to the ground and put him in a choke hold.


The Liberty Report Take: So basically all Teens carrying a puppy must be threats, or just black ones?  What was it again?  Those poor police officers better watch out.

Click below for article on the Miami NewTimes’ website.


CNN: Most individual health insurance isn’t good enough for Obamacare

If you buy your own health insurance now, you’ll be in for a big change when you sign up for coverage in 2014.

Just over half of the individual plans currently on the market do not meet the standards to be sold next year, when many key provisions of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act kick in, according to a University of Chicago study. That’s because the law sets new minimums for the basic coverage every individual health care plan must provide.

“They will offer a lot more financial protection,” Jon Gabel, the report’s lead author, said of the individual plans that will be available next year. His team drew its conclusions from 2010 data supplied by health insurers.

Some 15 million Americans, or about 6% of non-elderly adults, currently buy coverage on the individual market. Starting this fall, they’ll be able to shop for and enroll in health insurance through state-based exchanges, with coverage taking effect in January. By 2016, some 24 million people will get insurance through the exchanges, while another 12 million will continue to get individual coverage outside of them, the Congressional Budget Office estimates.


Click below for he full article and video on CNN’s website.

ACLU: Following Texas’s Lead on Location Tracking; Texas to Warrants To Track Cell Phones

Yesterday, the Texas House of Representatives passed the first bill in the nation that would require law enforcement to obtain a probable cause warrant before tracking individuals’ location by collecting their cell phone location data. As Rebecca Robertson, legal and policy director for the ACLU of Texas put it, “By approving this amendment, our legislators would take a significant step to preserve the Fourth Amendment rights of Texas citizens, protecting them from potential unreasonable searches and seizures that could take place entirely outside judicial review.” They would also set a precedent that the rest of the country should be quick to follow.

We’ve been talking about location tracking for a long time now, because where you go says a lot about who you are—are you going to gay bars, a mosque, a fundamentalist church, a gun store, an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting, a political protest, etc.? In August 2011, 35 ACLU affiliates filed over 380 public records requests with state and local law enforcement agencies to ask about their policies, procedures and practices for tracking cell phones, and in April 2012, an additional affiliate filed 27 requests. What we learned is alarming: the laws and policies guiding cell phone location tracking across the country are in a state of chaos, with agencies in different towns following different rules — or in some cases, having no rules at all.

We believe that law enforcement agents should be obtaining location information in investigations only with safeguards—the probable cause standard and review by a judge—to ensure that while legitimate investigations can proceed, innocent Americans will be protected from unjustified invasions of their privacy. We’ve known that this standard is workable, because law enforcement agencies in every region of the country—from Denver, Colo. to Hawaii County to Wichita, Kan. to Lexington, Ky.—already obtain a probable cause warrant to track location and still do effective law enforcement. And, in the Jones Supreme Court case, a majority of the justices (in two concurrences) recognized that long term monitoring of an individual’s travels, no matter what technology is used, impinges on that individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy. Nonetheless, Texas could soon be the first state to actually legislate on this issue.

It’s been a long slog to get to this point. Despite having over 100 co-sponsors in Texas’s 150-member House, the original cell phone location tracking bill, HB 1608, was not brought up for a vote before Texas’ deadline for moving legislation through its first chamber. But, not to be deterred, the amazing bill sponsors, Rep. Hughes and Sen. Hinojosa, the ACLU of Texas, and the rock star Texas Electronic Privacy Coalition got the legislation added as a House amendment to a Senate bill, SB 1052, that requires a warrant for access to electronic communications content. (Congress, are you taking notes? Texas is about to show you how to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the outdated federal law that governs access to communications content and is, as of yet, silent on location tracking.) The Texas bill still has to go back to the Senate to approve the House amendments before making it to the governor’s desk.

If you’re from Texas, you can help your state make history by reaching out to your senator and ask him/her to support the House amendments to SB 1052. (You can find your senator’s contact info here.)

If you’re not in Texas, you can ask Congress to update ECPA, and if you happen to be from Maine, your legislature is poised to vote on this issue also, so please tell them to follow the Texas’ House’s lead and pass warrant protections for location tracking.


Click below for the full article. ACLU Calls Bullshit on Obama’s Drone ‘Due Process’ Promises

As Ed Krayewski noted yesterday, not everybody was impressed by President Obama’s national security speech, in which he vowed to make himself be extra specially careful when raining death from the sky on suspected terrorists (and collaterally damaged civilians), including American citizens, with drones. Sen. Rand Paul may have been the pithiest, when he remarked, “I still have concerns over whether flash cards and PowerPoint presentations represent due process.” At greater length, the American Civil Liberties Union also expresses some doubts that “Presidential Policy Guidance,” whatever in hell that is, is the same as due process.

Says, in part, Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU:

To the extent the speech signals an end to signature strikes, recognizes the need for congressional oversight, and restricts the use of drones to threats against the American people, the developments on targeted killings are promising. Yet the president still claims broad authority to carry out targeted killings far from any battlefield, and there is still insufficient transparency. We continue to disagree fundamentally with the idea that due process requirements can be satisfied without any form of judicial oversight by regular federal courts.


Click below to read the full article.