Cato – Baltimore Police Admit Thousands of Stingray Uses

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by Adam Bates, Cato @ Liberty, Apr. 9, 2015, 10:56AM


It’s been a bad week for Stingray secrecy.  Following a court-ordered document dump in New York earlier this week, a Baltimore detective yesterday testified in court that he had personally used a Stingray between 600 and 800 times during two years as a member of the Baltimore Police Department’s Advanced Technical Team. He also testified that the unit has used such devices 4,300 times since 2007.

Stingrays are handheld or vehicle-mounted surveillance devices that operate by mimicking cell towers.  They have the capability to force cell phones within their range to connect with the Stingray and transmit ID information from the phone.  Some models – the technology is constantly being upgraded to keep pace with advancing telecommunications infrastructure – are suspected of being able to intercept content, but the true extent of the capability is a closely-guarded secret. What is increasingly not a secret is that dozens of law enforcement agencies around the country have been using these devices for years to sweep up swaths of cell phone data, much of it from innocent people, with little to no transparency or oversight. Continue reading →

Daily Signal – How a Bystander’s Video of the Deadly South Carolina Police Shooting Reignited Debate Over Body Cameras

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by Josh Siegel, Daily Signal, Apr. 8, 2015


The stark visual of watching a white policeman fire eight shots into the back of a fleeing black man in North Charleston, S.C. this weekend would not have been known to America if not for a bystander capturing the scene on video.

Those precise details as shown in the video allowed the state to charge the officer, Michael T. Slager, 33, with the murder of Walter L. Scott, 50, and reignited a national discussion on police reform. Continue reading →

Guns in schools

The cafeteria footage of the shooting has becoming an iconic image associated with the event; it shows the two students with guns, in the mass chaos of the cafeteria in the minutes after their initial shootings and before they committed suicide.

On October 1, 1997, 16-year-old Luke Woodham began to shoot his fellow-students and classmates at his school – Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi. Earlier that day, he had murdered his own mother, then retrieved a .30-30 lever action deer rifle and ammunition. As soon as the gunshots began to ring through the school facility, Vice Principal Joel Myrick ran to his truck to retrieve his Colt .45 pistol to fight back. While he did so, Principal Roy Balentine called 9-1-1.

Woodham’s rifle was neither semi-automatic nor automatic, requiring reloading after each shot. Woodham methodically thumbed rounds into the gun, “all business, no play […] just shooting and reloading, shooting and reloading.” (Laugesen, “A Principal and His Gun”) He shot until he could hear police sirens, than ran to his car to escape. Woodham later confessed that he had planned to drive to Pearl Junior High School and shoot even more kids until the police could show up. This plan was foiled by Principal Myrick. Two people had already been killed and seven more injured before Myrick returned to find Woodham racing to his vehicle to escape to Pearl Junior High. Myrick drew his pistol on Woodham and brought him to bay. Continue reading →