ce399 | research archive: (anti)fascism

Man Charged with Threatening to Arrest Kirkland, WA Mayor (Kirkland Reporter 8/10/10)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 16/10/2010

Redmond resident David Russell Myrland, who allegedly made threats to Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride and Assistant City Attorney Oskar Rey, was charged with two counts of intimidating a public servant in King County Superior Court Sept. 24.

He learned of the charges when Reporter staff called his home to get his reaction.

Myrland’s alleged threats against McBride came via e-mail around Aug. 30 as he alleges he has a Writ to arrest the mayor as a city leader.

The e-mail was in response to his arrest by a Kirkland Police officer in August, resulting in the impounding of his vehicle for driving with a suspended license and expired vehicle-license tabs. At the time of Myrland’s arrest he was found to have an unloaded handgun on the front passenger seat with a loaded magazine lying next to the firearm, according to court documents. The gun was initially taken for safe keeping but later returned to Myrland.

Myrland, 52, said police wrongfully took his handgun, which compromised his safety when he encountered a threatening stray dog soon after.

He stated that Mayor McBride is an offender of Washington State felony statutes and is a threat to the safety of all residents of Washington State, according to court documents. He went on to say that he was going to arrest the mayor and warned McBride to leave her doors unlocked and to not resist arrest.

“Fifty or more concerned citizens with knowledge of your crimes will enter your home and arrest you, take you to competent authorities as provided by law,” said Myrland in the e-mail. “DO NOT RESIST as these Citizens will be heavily armed and will meet all resistance with all necessary force, as provided by law.”

He also told the Reporter: “We will publish a Writ that these people are subject to arrest. Where the mayor shops, where the mayor works, where the mayor lives – anytime, any day, without a knock, you’re coming with me by necessary force.”

McBride told Kirkland Police that upon receipt of the e-mail she became fearful for her safety, as well as the safety of her family. She was unaware of Myrland’s arrest. She was so fearful that she obtained a Temporary Anti-Harassment Order against Myrland, according to court documents.

McBride chose not to give a statement to the Reporter and referred staff to a City of Kirkland spokesman.

“We obviously take threats against city officials seriously,” said city spokesperson Marie Stake.

Rey, who lives in Seattle, received a voicemail message from Myrland on his home phone on Sept. 20, found by his wife. The caller ID had Myrland’s name and phone number listed and the message stated: “Keep your doors unlocked. Don’t resist. You’re going to be meeting people.”

Fearful for his family’s safety, Rey contacted Seattle Police.

Kirkland Police contacted Myrland about both incidents and he admitted authoring the e-mail and phone message. According to investigation documents, Myrland told detectives that “the Kirkland Police Department illegally arrested and kidnapped him, stole his motor vehicle, disarmed him by taking his handgun and allowed fines to be incurred against him in both tow impound fees and illegal traffic citations in Kirkland Municipal Court.”

Myrland said that he has every right to carry out the “arrests” for the “felonies” that the city officials have committed and he is going to carry them out.

Long history with city

When the Reporter contacted Myrland on Wednesday afternoon, he claimed he was confused about an unopened letter he received from the King County Prosecutor’s Office recently.

“I thought it was good news from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, when in fact it was a criminal complaint,” he said. “What can’t I say about them now. The temperature has been turned up.”

Myrland had not opened the mail sent to his house, presumably informing him that he had been charged, he told the Reporter. He thought the letter he received was a response to an earlier complaint against the city.

The self-described legal advocate and consultant has a long history with the City of Kirkland and contends that the city has performed unlawful actions against him since 2002. He sent a letter to Gov. Chris Gregoire, among others, Sept. 20 seeking an investigation into a “half dozen” Kirkland City employees.

“I am forming a group of private individuals to conduct the arrests of felons in public office as permitted by RCW 9A.16.020 … so I presume that federal felonies permit invocation of such arrest dominion over the offender,” Myrland wrote in the two-page letter.

He said officials would rather criminally charge him than look into ongoing complaints he’s had with the city.

“They’re going to arrest me and put me in King County Jail, search my apartment, it’s what they do. Nobody is safe,” the former Kirkland resident said.

Myrland will be arraigned on Oct. 7 and King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff asked for bail to be set at $50,000 as “The defendant does not believe that State laws apply equally to him.” Instead, a King County judge ordered Myrland to appear for arraignment and issued a restraining order, directing Myrland not to contact McBride and Rey.

http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/east_king/kir/news/104047203.html

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Civilians Tapped for Police Duties (USAToday 10/11/10)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 11/10/2010

Police agencies across the country are recruiting thousands of civilians for a growing number of duties previously performed by uniformed cops, in an unusual concession to local budget cuts.

The positions — some paid and others volunteer — are transforming everyday citizens into crime-scene investigators, evidence gatherers and photographers in what some analysts suggest is a striking new trend in American policing.

“It’s all being driven by the economy and we should expect to see more of it,” says University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris, who analyzes law enforcement practices. “As budgets are squeezed, an increasing number of duties are going to be moved off officers’ plates.”

The chief opponents of the movement are police union leaders who say cash-strapped agencies are lowering standards and undermining professionalism in the ranks. In some cases, the civilian positions circumvent pay and benefit obligations outlined in hard-fought labor contracts, says Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).

“You want the real deal when you call 911,” Johnson says.

Among the agencies expanding civilians’ roles:

San Francisco. Police officials plan to hire 16 civilians to investigate burglaries and other property crimes. The $1 million pilot program and others like it aim to allow officers — whose numbers are fewer — to focus on violent crime. Assistant Police Chief Thomas Shawyer says the civilians will save up to $40,000 per person in training, equipment and benefit costs required to hire an officer.

Mesa, Ariz. Eight civilian investigators hit the streets in June 2009 when the department could not afford to hire uniformed police. They respond to property-related offenses, including burglary, fraud and vehicle theft. They lift fingerprints, photograph crime scenes and interview witnesses and victims, but do not carry guns, Sgt. Stephanie Derivan says. She says the department saves about $15,000 per investigator in salary.

Durham, N.C. Civilian volunteers help police canvass neighborhoods after murders and other violent crimes. Police Chief Jose Lopez says other volunteers in city-issued cars patrol shopping centers during the holiday seasons and conduct property checks for residents away from home. “They are additional eyes and ears for us,” he says.

Not everyone is so enthusiastic.

“For most people, the only contact they have with local government is the police department,” NAPO’s Johnson says. “We want a full-fledged police officer dealing with the public.”

Police agencies across the country are recruiting thousands of civilians for a growing number of duties previously performed by uniformed cops, in an unusual concession to local budget cuts.

The positions — some paid and others volunteer — are transforming everyday citizens into crime-scene investigators, evidence gatherers and photographers in what some analysts suggest is a striking new trend in American policing.

“It’s all being driven by the economy and we should expect to see more of it,” says University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris, who analyzes law enforcement practices. “As budgets are squeezed, an increasing number of duties are going to be moved off officers’ plates.”

The chief opponents of the movement are police union leaders who say cash-strapped agencies are lowering standards and undermining professionalism in the ranks. In some cases, the civilian positions circumvent pay and benefit obligations outlined in hard-fought labor contracts, says Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).

“You want the real deal when you call 911,” Johnson says.

Among the agencies expanding civilians’ roles:

San Francisco. Police officials plan to hire 16 civilians to investigate burglaries and other property crimes. The $1 million pilot program and others like it aim to allow officers — whose numbers are fewer — to focus on violent crime. Assistant Police Chief Thomas Shawyer says the civilians will save up to $40,000 per person in training, equipment and benefit costs required to hire an officer.

Mesa, Ariz. Eight civilian investigators hit the streets in June 2009 when the department could not afford to hire uniformed police. They respond to property-related offenses, including burglary, fraud and vehicle theft. They lift fingerprints, photograph crime scenes and interview witnesses and victims, but do not carry guns, Sgt. Stephanie Derivan says. She says the department saves about $15,000 per investigator in salary.

Durham, N.C. Civilian volunteers help police canvass neighborhoods after murders and other violent crimes. Police Chief Jose Lopez says other volunteers in city-issued cars patrol shopping centers during the holiday seasons and conduct property checks for residents away from home. “They are additional eyes and ears for us,” he says.

Not everyone is so enthusiastic.

“For most people, the only contact they have with local government is the police department,” NAPO’s Johnson says. “We want a full-fledged police officer dealing with the public.”

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Steven “SS” Spielberg, Lucas and the Infantilization of Hollywood (Part One)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 07/10/2010

In recent years, the science-fiction film has placed great emphasis upon the child, and this is no accident. Robin Wood has argued convincingly that recent American cinema generally has tended to construct the viewer as childlike, 31 in thrall to the illusion. In science fiction specifically, the generic sense of wonder, and by extension the position of the spectator, has been located in the image of a wide-eyed child.  This development, of course, is largely the result of the huge commercial success of George Lucas’ Star Wars trilogy and Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters and ET: The Extra-terrestrial (1982), all of which rank among the top box-office winners in film history. (The Star Wars cosmology became even more firmly entrenched in American cultural consciousness when former President Ronald Reagan named his national defence programme after Lucas’s film and referred to the Soviet Union as the ‘Evil Empire.’) Subsequent science-fiction movies such as Starman (1984), The Explorers (1985). Short Circuit (1986), Tron (1982),  and The Last Starfighter (1984) exhibited a new adolescent orientation, clearly showing the influence of the Lucas and Spielberg films. Cocoon (1985), with its premise of alien lifeforms that change a swimming pool into a fountain of youth, even manages to make children of senior citizens.

Alien Zone II: The Spaces of Science Fiction Cinema edited by Annette Kuhn. Verso.