Welcome to UNKNOWN NEWS "News that's not known, or not known enough."
Helen & Harry Highwater's cranky weblog of news and opinion.
    ... with a tip of the hat to The Agitator, Photography is Not A Crime, and Jonathan Turley.    

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Some recommended resources

The Agitator:
Top-notch libertarian blog with a passion for revealing abuse of police power. Frequent updates, written with passion by Radley Balko.

American Civil Liberties Union:
I wish they had the funding and attitude to fight harder, but they do accomplish a lot of good and I'm a card-carrying member and if you're not you should be.

Americans for Effective Law Enforcement (AELE) is a group that supports law enforcement, almost invariably taking the cops' side in any controversy unless there's a vivid or videotaped violation of police proticol or ethics. AELE also publishes Police Use of Force Law Instructor’s Guide and does good work following legal rulings regarding police and corrections powers.

America's toughest Sheriff?
The truth about Arizona's nutty, cruel, unAmerican and quite possibly insane Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Are you required to produce ID if a cop demands it?:
Depends on what state you're in.

Bad Cop, No Donut:
A regular feature on The Bitter End radio show.

Blue Must Be True:
"... to hold law enforcement officers and government officials accountable when police performance lacks integrity and professionalism."

Keeping an eye on police corruption in the United Kingdom.

Cop Block:
"Something must be done about vengeance, a badge, and a gun"

Fights police abuse, brutality, and corruption. It's a national group with lots of local chapters, but it started with Berkeley Copwatch (I was a member when I lived there), and that's probably still their most effective local group. "Policing the police."

Drue Myers Journal:
Ongoing coverage of official corruption cases, with a strong interest in criminal cops, prosecutors, judges, and jailers.

Flex Your Rights:
Protect your rights during police encounters.

Info & advice about California red light camera tickets.

Injustice Everywhere:
"... gathering information about reported incidents of police misconduct across the US, analyzing and compiling statistics based from several sources, and then publishing the results of all this information in a reader-friendly way in order to encourage informed debate where it was once impossible to do.

The Innocence Project:
Last chance after a guilty verdict.

Judicial Transparency now   and   San Diego Judges:
These sites track crooked judges, focused in the San Diego area.

National Lawyers Guild:
Lawyers with consciences, and a track record of decades of standing up for liberty and justice for all.

Photography is Not a Crime:
Activist Carlos Miller's blog keeps an eye on the more egregious cases of police misconduct, especially in interactions with reporters and photographers.

Well-funded organization runs video stings of police operations.

Police Brutality & Atrocity Blog:
Very good in-depth look at selected out-of-control police incidents.

News and information on police brutality and criminality.

"... allows registered users to leave written feedback about their interactions with police officers, and rank the officer's service based on three criteria: Professionalism, Fairness and Satisfaction."

Real cover-up and corruption by law enforcement. Real family frustration and heartbreak.

Roadblock Revelations:
"General information and discussions regarding growing threats to our right to privacy & travel".

What to expect and how to handle the situation

Simple Justice:
A New York criminal defense blog, with a healthy distaste for police corruption and misconduct.

Stop the Drug War:
"Raising awareness of the consequences of prohibition — news and activism supporting sensible reform".

Truth in Justice:
An educational non-profit organized to educate the public regarding the vulnerabilities in the U. S. criminal justice system that make the criminal conviction of wholly innocent persons possible

What Happened to Protect and Serve?:
Good blog covering police crime and corruption.

When the police don't take no for an answer
by Claire Wolfe, Backwoods Home Magazine
Excerpt: "During searches you should just sit there and wait for it to get over with. Your work of resistance should go on before and after the search not during it. During the search you should say nothing significant but you should make it clear that the stop or search are not voluntary. This has big legal implications."

©   Helen & Harry Highwater and the individual authors.

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About this
"bad cops" page

Cops are very nearly worshipped in our society. On endless TV shows, in movies, police procedural novels, in the newspapers and on the nightly news, police are usually presented as virtue personified -- as if it's heroic to button up a blue shirt and pin on a badge.

It's not.

What some cops do while wearing the uniform makes them heroes ... and what other cops do, on-duty and off, reveals them as thugs.

So if you're looking for more news of police heroism, you've come to the wrong place. If you want to be told again that the policeman is your friend, that cops are the good guys and robbers are the bad guys, you'll find such reassurance on every newscast around the clock, and on every cop show from Dragnet to CSI: Miami.

This page is for readers brave enough to face facts:

All cops are not heroes and that's a fact, but because of the myth that "all cops are heroes," there's minimal call for disciplining bad cops, and maximal call for "forgiving," and "understanding" the tough work of being a cop. And that's despicable, and terrifying.

Police work is tough, of course. It's among the most difficult jobs in the world, work that deserves our respect. And turning a blind eye toward police misconduct -- allowing crooked, corrupt, outright criminal cops to have long careers in law enforcement -- only makes it more difficult and dangerous for the good cops.

Letting cops get away with crime, or "punishing" police misconduct with long, leisurely paid suspensions, or probation, or sweet deals that allow a policeman's own police record to be expunged, or any of the other special treatments cops typically receive when they're accused of wrongdoing, is assinine and counterproductive.

We'd like to see good cops get a raise, and bad cops held accountable for their crimes. Any other policy is an invitation to savages and brutes -- to button up a blue shirt, pin on a badge, and break the law with impunity.

--Helen & Harry Highwater, Unknown News

The bad news we're presenting here is, of course, only the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

As with any crime, only a tiny fraction of police misconduct is ever caught, and we can only guess what fraction of what's caught actually makes it into the newspapers, and of the rare police misconduct that  
is  reported in the media, surely we stumble across only a tiny sliver.

Of that sliver, these are just a few selected highlights.

We welcome your clippings and comments. Please send them to unknownnews at inbox.com, and we'll say thanks on our main page if we use your link.

Like the URL says, this website is about unknown news.

Our news comes only from mainstream, professional journalists or (rarely) other sources we trust entirely, with no nuttiness and no interest in the same news you see everywhere else.

What we believe

We believe in liberty and justice for all, so of course, we oppose many US government policies. This doesn't mean we're anti-American, redneck scum, pinko commies, militia members, or terrorist-sympathizers. It means we believe in freedom, as more than merely a cliché.

We believe you have the right to live your own life as you choose, and others have the equal right to live their lives as they choose. It's not complicated.

We believe freedom leads to peace, progress, and prosperity, while its opposite -- oppression -- leads to war, terrorism, poverty, and misery.

We believe it's preposterously stupid to hate people because of their appearance, their race or nationality, their religion or lack of religion, how they have sex with other consenting adults, etc. There are far more apropos reasons to hate most people.

We believe in questioning ourselves, our assumptions, each other -- and we especially believe in questioning authority (the more authority, the more questions). We believe obedience is a fine quality in dogs and young children, but not in adults.

Like America's right-wingers, we believe in individual responsibility, hard work to get ahead, and stern punishment for serious crimes. We believe big government should not be blindly trusted.

But unlike most right-wing leaders, we mean it.

Like America's left-wingers, we believe in equal treatment under law, war as a last (not first) resort, and sensible stewardship of natural resources. We believe big business should not be blindly trusted.

But unlike most left-wing leaders, we mean it.

Like libertarians, we believe it's wrong and reprehensible to arrest people for what they think, believe, look like, wear, eat, smoke, drink, inhale, inject, or otherwise do to themselves.

But unlike many libertarians, we're not obsessed with the gold standard, we don't believe incorporation is humanity's highest achievement, and we don't believe everything in life comes down to dollars and cents. We've read and enjoyed Ayn Rand's novels, but we understand that they're works of fiction.

We're skeptical, and we're sick of so-called 'journalists' who aren't skeptical at all.

A reader asks, what are our solutions?

We propose no solutions except common sense, which is never common. We like the principles of democracy, and the ideals broadly described as 'American'. The US Constitution is a fine and workable framework for solutions, when it's actually read and thoughtfully understood by intelligent statesmen and women. So, no manifestos from us. We don't dream that big, and if there's one thing the world doesn't need it's yet another manifesto.

Our suggestion is: think.

A fact-based instead of faith-based approach leads to solutions for most of the recurring issues of our time, from abortion to global climate change, pollution to universal health care, careful but real regulation of industry and economy, hunger, war, terror, human rights for humans not for corporations, science not religious doctrine in public schools, equal protection and prosecution under law, etc. Approach problems without glorifying stupidity, without demonizing intelligence, and answers usually come into focus.

These pages are published by Harry and Helen Highwater, happily married low-income nom de plumes and rabble-rousers from Madison, Wisconsin (with a few friends scattered around the world helping out).

We try to spotlight news that hasn't gotten enough (or appropriate) attention in American media, along with our opinions and yours.

We bang our keyboards against the wall, because it doesn't hurt as much as banging our heads.