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