25 August 2006

Abusing the Authority

Whether it's you local constable, or a TSA screener, or the ATF, we're living in times when the trust between the law enforcement and the public is really important. That means that events like these do no good at all:

Earlier this year, Nashua police confiscated video recordings of two officers being rude to a citizen at his own home. Though police dropped all charges against Michael Gannon and admitted they could not prove the recordings were illegal, they still kept the tapes.

If someone is found with cocaine or any other item clearly illegal to possess, confiscation is easily justified. But the illegality of these items was never proven, and mere possession was not itself illegal. If the government can seize and keep a citizen’s property by simply asserting that it is contraband, even when the assertion is unsupported by the facts, then we have entered into dangerous territory.

The article, of course, mentions Ray Nagin's illegal firearms round-up. Law enforcement has to make sure they have the horese before the cart when it comes to things like where their authority comes from.

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