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You probably haven't heard of Mr. Fuddlesticks.  S/he is a police officer in a war of attrition where all of the tactics of government overreach, corruption, and obscuration are being employed to violate your rights.  

His/her supporters are a small group, but a dedicated one; to smell the coffee on Mr. Fuddlesticks is to see, in fine detail, exactly how they're screwing us.  

Mr. Fuddlesticks, First Amendment Martyr
It's hard to tell so twisted a tale in brief.  I'll do my best.  The implications for you, the citizen, will be italicized below.

Mr. Fuddlesticks was the name used by a Renton, Washington police officer who made some cartoons and put them on YouTube.  The cartoons were a sort of digital venting about department mismanagement including criminal behavior by police, brutality, cronyism in promotion and discipline, obstructionism, wasting tax money on pet projects, sexual misconduct and more.  No names were named in these cartoons.  One tidbit that came out of all this was the former chief of police, Garry Anderson, throwing a suspect off a bridge -- with no repercussions of any kind.

The department recognized its dirty laundry and came after Mr. Fuddlesticks full force, trumping up a charge of cyberstalking a police department in order to smoke out the cartoonist.  Exculpatory information was excluded from the warrant.  Details were shoehorned to fit the statute.  When the first prosecutor declined to proceed, they found another.

When a local government wants to shut you up, they know exactly how to move you through the criminal justice system in violation of your First and Fourth Amendment rights.

While seeking a warrant to prosecute the cartoonist, the City engaged in what has been called "the largest shredding party in Renton history," destroying the same public records it was citing in the warrant as relevant to the prosecution.  Dozens of confirmed, documented cases of police misconduct were permanently destroyed in violation of the law.

Due to the excellent work of Chris Halsne (mostly) this case garnered some national attention.  In general, however, our media fails miserably at informing us.  This is not a victimless crime.

The charges were dropped when it was expedient to do so, due to public awareness and the legal absurdity of the ploy.  Besides, they'd gotten one person to come forward and take limited responsibility, and they punished him severely.

The threat of criminal prosecution can be used to shut you up, and removed when expedient, i.e., dangled over your head like the sword of Damocles.  If they can do it to an insider who knows the system, the tactics, and the individuals involved, what chance do you, the citizen have?

Mr. Fuddlesticks made enough noise to back them off to some degree.  But in so doing, s/he opened up Pandora's box.  His/her supporters have established an open line of communication, a message board where IP addresses are not captured, and have begun requesting public records.

From Fuddlesticks.com:

There are emails from the Chief of Police advising EVERY EMPLOYEE to clean out their personnel files because of PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST.

At the same time these emails are being sent by the Chief of Police, he orders that internal investigation files be shredded.   Then, to top it off, records are withheld and others redacted beyond any recognition with the thinnest of exemptions applied.   For those records that cannot be withheld forever, they are withheld for years with the excuse of needing to be reviewed for exemptions that will take more than a year.   Even a single cell phone bill has been given an estimate of 12 months to produce.

The only way we know whether or not the City has released the information it is LEGALLY OBLIGATED to produce, is that we have a secured line of communication for people inside the City to compare notes without the City's knowledge.  This is, in and of itself, a revolutionary idea.  

The government has very well engineered the silence of knowledgeable insiders, both amongst themselves and with the public.  The rights of police officers are destroyed as a precursor to destroying the rights of the citizens.

The government is required to release public records on demand.  However, unless you already know what they have, and can prove it, you'll get what they give you, when they give it to you.  If, as in the case of Mr. Fuddlesticks, they choose not to do so timely (or at all) you can try and get them to prosecute themselves.

Support Mr. Fuddlesticks while you still can.

RentonTalk
Fuddlesticks
Renton received public records
Xavier's archive on Fuddlesticks

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Comment Preferences

  •  When the police become the gang , (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, Xavier Onassis EMTP

    they stick together and back each other at the expense of the victim/s . They claim to be the upstanding while in real life they are underhanded bullshit artists . If the guy at the top doesn't / can't control the abusers the system is never going to work . Good honest people will be victimized and people will be run off .  

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 03:47:01 PM PDT

    •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      indycam

      My only disagreement with what you've said is that it's not the guy at the top needing to control the people below; the cancer starts at the top and flows down.  As you've said, the honest people get driven out of the field.  We see this over and over.

      Even worse news, it's the same drill in fire and EMS services.  Keep in mind, local government agencies are the tail end of the government, and fire, police and EMS are just the user interfaces of same.  In other words, it's not a few bad apples.  It's a rotten barrel.

      •  Its not always from the top down . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Xavier Onassis EMTP

        "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

        by indycam on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 05:32:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In my experience (0+ / 0-)

          working within top-down public safety agencies, each person is responsible not only for their own actions, but for the behavior of each person under them.  This is a universal truth in these types of organizations, one that gets drilled into your head literally Day 1 at the academy.

          One of the go-to strategies of the 1% is to deflect accountability as far down the chain of command as possible.  Internally, everyone knows the opposite is true.  It's a paradox, one that I've been very keen to expose.

          Check out this Jason Jones clip at the beginning of the Daily Show, and tell me if it doesn't remind you of anything.

          Thomas Drake on The Daily Show.

  •  An important issue that gets no coverage. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xavier Onassis EMTP

    I did a diary earlier this year about Adrian Schoolcraft, who was locked up in a psych ward when his chain of command discovered he had been making audio recordings of his life in the NYPD. It was obvious enough to his bosses that any recording of what they were doing (kidnapping and imprisoning innocents to meet quotas) would be terrible PR, so they destroyed his career and made a joke of his Rights.

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