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Renton Police Shopped Around Until They Found A Prosecutor Who Would Go After Anonymous Critic

from the shameful dept

On Friday we wrote about the Renton City police in Washington, who were somehow able to get a city prosecutor to issue a warrant to get information from Google about supposed “cyberstalking.” Of course, the “cyberstalking” really just turned out to be some anonymous, mocking Xtranormal videos — the kind people put up all the time. These were almost certainly done by someone inside the police force who was frustrated about some random day-to-day politics in the force. Going after them with felony charges is crazy. The chief of police isn’t backing down, now that the case has generated a lot of attention, claiming ridiculously, “I would rather err on the side of investigating all complaints (and) alleged criminal misconduct rather than risk failing to investigate a crime that’s been reported.”

But that’s ridiculous. You can investigate the misconduct pretty easily, by watching the videos, and recognizing that they’re not cyberstalking. And that’s it.

That’s not at all what the Renton Police did. Instead, it’s now come out, they tried back in May to get a similar warrant from the King County Prosecutor’s Office… and it was rejected. The police then asked another officer to make the case for the city prosecutor, who did issue the warrant. Of course, the real person who should be scrutinized here is the city prosecutor who clearly never should have issued such a warrant. KIRO 7, the local TV news station that broke this story and continues to be the best source of information on it, asked the police chief, who goes by the unfortunate name Kevin Milosevich, about this obvious prosecutor “shopping,” and he said that reporters were “overreacting.”

Of course, if anything, it seems they’re underreacting. Shopping for prosecutors in a blatant attempt to unveil the identity of a critic for no reason other than that he’s a critic seems like a massive abuse of power. If Milosevich had any idea how this was being viewed by most legal critics, his response would have been to say they were asking prosecutors to drop the case.

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Comments on “Renton Police Shopped Around Until They Found A Prosecutor Who Would Go After Anonymous Critic”

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12 Comments
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Methinks she doth protest to much.

Given the short list of topics covered in these videos, do you find yourself leaning more towards the idea the Chief was the one –

a. arguing with outside agencies while in a drunken stupor off duty

b. having inappropriate relationships with coworkers and committing adultery

It is a tossup, but it seems the Chief is way to invested into finding the person responsible, and I doubt it is to congratulate him for bringing to light several deficiencies in the department.

lucidrenegade (profile) says:

“RCW 9.62.010 Malicious prosecution. Every person who shall, maliciously and without probable cause therefor, cause or attempt to cause another to be arrested or proceeded against for any crime of which he or she is innocent: (1) If such crime be a felony, is guilty of a class C felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in a state correctional facility for not more than five years; and (2) If such crime be a gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. [2003 c 53 ? 40; 1992 c 7 ? 15; 1909 c 249 ? 117; Code 1881 ? 899; 1873 p 203 ? 98; 1854 p 92 ? 89; RRS ? 2369.] Notes: Intent — Effective date — 2003 c 53: See notes following RCW 2.48.180.”

Seems to me that anyone involved in that bogus warrant is guilty of at least a misdemeanor. Good luck ever seeing those charges brought.

Anonymous Coward says:

Police State

Meanwhile, back at the political level, nothing much seems to be going on. Politicians are voted in and given power, precisely so they can deal with out-of-control bureaucrats. What should be happening is that the chief of police should find himself being interviewed, in a hostile manner, by a committee of politicians, who are determined to find out what is really going on. Then if the chief’s answers are not satisfactory, he gets sacked.

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