Video Of Dotcom Raid Revealed, As NZ Police Admit It Was 'Over The Top'

from the ya-think? dept

Yesterday we noted that government officials were seeking to suppress video and images from the raid on Kim Dotcom’s home. As a bunch of folks have been sending in all day, New Zealand’s 3NEWS has revealed some of the footage in a video interspersed with video from the courtroom hearings and a tour they did a few months ago of the room in which Dotcom hid. It’s interesting to note that, contrary to some reports of law enforcement having to “break in” to a “safe room,” the reality turned out to just be a hidden room which Dotcom left unlocked. But, much more telling is the ridiculous level of force that the government used to arrest someone for copyright infringement — which even New Zealand law enforcement admitted was “over the top.”

Other reports have noted that Dotcom’s security staff includes a police officer who could have been approached. Police also admitted that the effort was rushed and done with much less planning than they would have liked (which supports the notion floated by some that the timing was designed to happen right after the massive SOPA protests). Oh yeah, you’ll notice in the video that two helicopters (and many police vehicles) were used — but in court it was revealed that NZ law enforcement had said that “a full tactical response was not appropriate.”

Perhaps they just wanted to look good on camera for the MPAA folks who were so infatuated with going after Kim Dotcom. Certainly, Americans were on the scene. NZ law enforcement admitted that the FBI came along for the ride…

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Comments on “Video Of Dotcom Raid Revealed, As NZ Police Admit It Was 'Over The Top'”

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132 Comments
art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Words Fail

grrr…
‘local law enforcement’ is a goon squad for Empire to keep the rabble in line…
‘on the job deaths’ are more for retail clerks than kops…
should all store clerks pack a glock ? ? ?
cabbies are about 4-5 times more likely to be killed on the job; should every cabbie have a small tank ? ? ?
we’ve been a militaristic nation so long, and most are so thoroughly propagandized, we can’t even recognize/admit it is so…
authoritarianism is the enemy, not freedom…
art guerrilla
aka ann archy
eof

Minimum Wage Shill says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Words Fail

“it was a small tank.”

That’s not enough!!! They should have sent in the entire military!!!! DANG PIRATE!!! THOSE BLOODY PIRATES ARE VIOLENT AN DANGEROUS, AND SO IS MIKE, AND THE ENTIRE MILITARY SHOULD HAVE BEEN SENT TO DETAIN THESE PIRATES BEFORE THEY COST THE ECONOMY MORE TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS A SECOND IN INFRINGEMENT THEFT!!!!

Baldaur Regis (profile) says:

Dotcom: “Within two seconds they were there and all over me. I had a punch to the face, I had boots kicking me down to the floor, I had a knee to the ribs. My hands were on the floor, one man was standing on my hand.”

New Zealand: “Shocking!”

USA: “That’s it?”

Glad to see not all the world shares Americas’ attitude to aggressive police actions.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

note: if he was Actually a threat holed up in a easily defended area with guns etc. NZ AOS have been known to call in military AFVs (22mm or so auto-cannons as main armament).

they then, to my understanding, again demand the surrender of the individual in question. the idea being that, at that point, said individual comes out un-armed and with his hands viable or the auto-cannon starts firing (and it’d chew straight through the walls quite happily). though, admittedly, in that instance i believe there was no one else in the building. the incident where this took place involved an individual who had apparently been shooting at random people/objects on the street from inside the house.

That guy didn’t get roughed up as much as Kim Dotcom apparently did. (mind you, i think there were reporters and associated cameras on-site by that point. not sure though.)

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

the FBI doesn’t have jurisdiction in Canada.
they don’t have jurisdiction HERE either (New Zealand).
doesn’t seem to stop them.

(and aren’t they supposed to be limited to domestic stuff? they seem to be getting involved with NZ issues a lot lately. our exchanges already have taps in them (‘oh, but we won’t USE them, don’t worry’) which they helped set up… oh, but of Course they didn’t leave themselves a back door. eesh. how stupid are the people in charge here? (don’t answer that. we already know the answer is ‘very’ and/or ‘corrupt.))

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Maybe the most damning part

The other interesting part is that the operation/threat was considered “low risk” so they didn’t bother to wear full tactical gear. However, they still needed 2 helicopters to conduct the raid, assault rifles, and multiple dog teams.

Clearly a low risk arrest requires these things.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Maybe the most damning part

I believe it was the FBI that actually seized all the servers, not the NZ LEA’s.

Still, the point remains, and I hope Dotcom’s lawyers really hammer at it: if the whole reason to go rambo on the mansion and Dotcom was to ‘prevent the destruction of evidence’, and they’d already seized everything beforehand, making it impossible for him to do anything to/with the servers… that kinda blows a semi-truck sized hole in their excuse there.

I can only assume that they are either:

A. Lying through their teeth when they say that is the reason.

or

B. Have watched more B-movies than is healthy, and thought that he would somehow be able to affect a system that had been disconnected, through the magic of hacking or something.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Maybe the most damning part

Or that the information would be unrecoverable even if “deleted” from a computer.

It also seems like he never thought he was violating any laws related to copyright. Mega did comply with takedowns and other issues in a way they thought they were legally required to do. So why would he immediately run and kill “evidence” if he saw police? Would that be your first thought?

velox (profile) says:

Re: Re: Maybe the most damning part

” the whole reason to go rambo on the mansion and Dotcom was”…

Because they’re grown up boys who saw an opportunity to demonstrate they’re part of something big… And they’re tough too.

Because they own a bunch of cool Rambo shit, and what fun is having it if you never get a chance to use it?

Oh yeah, and if it wasn’t really necessary, at least its ‘good training’ to be able to use the gear and tactics once in a while.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Maybe the most damning part

Which might have been an acceptable excuse if they hadn’t already seized the servers beforehand.

Considering they already had the servers, if they were truly worried about him wiping them, they would have(and I’m sure did) simply disconnected the servers so they couldn’t be remotely accessed.

The point was to make an example out of him, the ‘we had to send in the swat teams to keep him from destroying evidence’ thing is just a sad excuse for after the fact justification.

aerilus says:

Re: Re: Maybe the most damning part

which to me would mean that they should arrest him out in public away from his home just keep an eye on his cell phone possibly grab it first if he had it on the table at a restaurant. you have moved what appears to be a 10-20 officer multiple helicopter urban assault that cost tax payers god only knows how much to a quite arrest that two plain clothes officers could do.

Loki says:

Re: Maybe the most damning part

Perhaps because it seems quite obvious to most free minded people that the raid had nothing whatsoever to do with preventing the destruction of evidence.

From the general consensus of almost everyone I’ve talked to who is aware of this case (maybe in the neighborhood of 100 people) the raid was intended to accomplish 2 things:

1) Prevent to establishment of real competition to the established corporate interests to whom the established political infrastructure of federal government is essentially beholden too, and scare off anyone else who might have ideas of follow suit with plans to compete fairly in the marketplace.

2) Show quite clearly that the US Federal Government is more than capable of violating the rights of people from other countries (see also the O’Dwyer extradition attempts), so as make Americans aware their rights are even more easily disposed of.

Of course even if either of these perceptions is proven not to actually be true, the politicians don’t really care if they exist at all, or that they are becoming increasingly reviled by their own citizens (much less the rest of the world), because come November most of them are going to retain their positions of power, and the handful that do get removed in most, if not all, cases, simply be replaced by drones from the opposing parties, and will continue on with business as usual.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: Maybe the most damning part

I should point out that there were also servers at the mansion, including the ones holding the security camera footage (like that shown here). There is a separate complaint about copies of the data off those being supplied to the FBI in the US when there was a clear understanding that they would not leave NZ jurisdiction without permission from a court.

Gothenem (profile) says:

Way to go FBI! Now you have shown your true colors. Dotcom will walk free after all of this, not because he is guilty or innocent, but because of the bad decisions made in his arrest.

This is similar to the reasons OJ Simpson got to walk free for murder. You botch up arresting the suspect (in the OJ Case it was the gathering of the evidence that was botched). And you give the accused all the leverage they need to force the courts to let them walk. And since this is a criminal case, not a civil one, Double Jeopardy applies.

Anonymous Coward says:

this raid was executed to be similar to TPB ‘spectrial’. it was done intentionally how it was to instill as much fear, intimidation and theatrics as possible, not just in Dotcom as Megaupload founder/operator but in as many other site operators that the entertainment industries dont like. it didn’t/doesn’t matter whether Mega was legal or not or whether the other sites were or not. what is more scary is the level the US government had in the instigation and execution of the raid and the level of lies told to get the NZ government and law enforcement agencies involved as well. as admitted by NZ officers, it was well OTT, all over so-called but unproven file sharing and copyright infringement accusations. hell, there isn’t this level of cooperation between countries, let alone the respective law enforcement agencies over anything that is truly illegal!

MrWilson says:

Re: Re:

“I have a basic question here?”

I’m guessing the answer is yes since you’re asking one.

“Or, is there something going on in which the police actions are appropriate and that we are unaware and ignorant of?”

The problem is not whether or not we know that there was something that in our minds would make us think that the police actions were appropriate.

The problem is that the search warrants were invalid, so they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Assaulting the guy when they find him, unarmed and not resisting, is definitely inappropriate and should be actionable by Dotcom if NZ’s laws have any true force of justice.

And worst of all, they admit that the entire thing was driven by the FBI and the DOJ has shown that they act on the unverified claims of the media companies.

Even if you could argue that the police actions were appropriate, you can’t legitimately argue that NZ’s police should be puppets for the US DOJ who are themselves puppets for media companies.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The arrest was over the top.

We know this for a fact because if such violence was actually necessary because the kind of threat that would make it necessary would have made for much better PR for the cops involved. They would be shouting from the hilltops about the clearly dangerous threat they protected the public from.

That they aren’t doing this but are instead sitting back and looking like stupid, overbearing thugs, says that there was no such threat.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: Was the arrest over the top?

As was clear from the footage and from the testimony by the STG cop:

1) They came armed and prepared to shoot.
2) They didn?t come with body armour. In other words, they were not prepared to be shot at.

Draw your own conclusions about what the threat level was, and from where.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Was the arrest over the top?

Tactical gear that SWAT teams wear is different than the bulletproof vests worn by traffic cops. They easily (and likely) could have been wearing those. And in terms of weapons, these aren’t crossing guards, they’re an arrest team set to apprehend an armed felon. I suppose you think they should have brought slingshots instead?

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: Re: Was the arrest over the top?

>Tactical gear that SWAT teams wear is different than the
>bulletproof vests worn by traffic cops.

Your traffic cops wear bulletproof vests!? What country do you live in?

>They easily (and likely) could have been wearing those.

The STG cop testified that they were not.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Was the arrest over the top?

Every police officer is wearing bulletproof vests here in Brazil because they are constantly at risk of being shot due to a lame judicial system that allows criminals to be released very early among other absurds. Security is an issue here. Not as bad as the rest of the world thinks but worse than it could be.

Also, it’s interesting to note that a while back there was a statement of participants of the raid that they were not expecting women and children, they didn’t have details on the operation. I need citations for that but I remember reading about this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well there is a reason they did this to prevent him from destroying evidence. Have any of you ever seen Andrew Dice Clay – I’m over here now?
If you have you would know it’s very easy to be in one spot then a distance away in a matter of seconds. How is this done? Fuck if I know… All I know was one second he was there and then he was over there O_O

Could we really afford to give Dotcom a chance to use such witchery?

In conclusion from watching that I learned three things.
1. It’s easy to be here and then over there.
2. It looks like Bozo between a redheads legs.
3. I can put my hand around the back of my head and light my smoke like I’m from Jersey. What’s up with that?

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“It’s just whining.”

Lemme bust down your door with 30-40 of my friends, terrorize your family, destroy your property, beat you, and just for shits and giggles I will kick your dog.

What is it you have done that deserves such treatment?
Must be a child molester or murderer; right?

Ohhh I ran a website the may or may not be involved in copyright infringement. Ohhhh nooooossssss!!!!!!
Give him death.

“It’s just whining.” – I know but i answered you anyway.

Coyote (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Any logical person cares; typical procedure doesn’t indicate the punching and such were necessary. If a man or woman surrenders, you cuff them; you do not punch them, you do not kick them, none of that. You do not use force when it is unnecessary and in fact, in cases where police use unnecessary force, people have gotten off because of the botched arrest attempt.

Guilty or innocent, Dotcom was treated like shit by the police, and constitutes unnecessary force; he did nothing threatening to the police, he held up his hands like you would when you were being seized as per police proecure, and he surrendered peacefully. If after the fact, they punched and kicked him, it shows use of unnecessary force. That’s pretty important factor. It’s not ‘whining’ when the police uses completely unnecessary amounts of violence against an unarmed man.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You weren’t there. I think its just as likely that fat boy was ordered to hit the deck and didn’t comply so he required some assistance. Christ, he didn’t have any cuts, bruises or broken bones. This feigned outrage is all about your man crush on Fat Bastard. There are people all over the world who are treated far more harshly than this big pussy- why no outrage on their behalf. Why are you hyperventilating over Kimmy? Couldn’t have anything to do with him running one of the largest copyright infringing sites in the world could it?

Michael says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Why are you hyperventilating over Kimmy? Couldn’t have anything to do with him running one of the largest copyright infringing sites in the world could it?”

By that same measure, YouTube should be considered ten times worse than Megaupload ever was as it features far, FAR more copyrighted content, easily accessible to anyone. As a matter of fact, record labels/artists, film studios, TV networks and everyone inbetween upload content all the time to YouTube, content which can EASILY be downloaded or recorded by anyone with even rudimentary understanding of how the internet works. Tell me, how can the legacy groups compain on the one hand about MU being a haven for copyright infringement just for providing a data-storage service (despite having a system in place allowing content holders free reign to take stuff down), yet on the other hand upload content to YouTube of their own accord and say nothing about it? They’re busy doing the very thing they’re accusing MU of.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“You weren’t there.”

Neither were you, yet you seem almost as single-minded in attacking him as those you criticise are in defending him. Interesting, don’t you think?

“There are people all over the world who are treated far more harshly than this big pussy- why no outrage on their behalf.”

There’s plenty of sites that do just that, along with many national and international organisations that people take part in. This is a tech blog, not the place to complain about atrocities carried out by your government and others in the name of other crusades. The outrage is taking place at the appropriate venues – go there if you wish to see it rather than trying to distract from the discussion that’s actually relevant here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Wait no longer, the level of force used, timing and others factors clearly demonstrates that this was not a criminal issue but a political action, which should get everybody worried about.

This was not a criminal investigation, this was not your over the mill criminal being caught red handed, this was a show of political force, a disgraceful display of anti-democratic values and the true rule of law.

That is why it matters.

When Dotcom walks free, people will still wonder why all that was needed to nab that guy, who is not recognized as dangerous, have no history of violence, was at home with his wife and children and had his rights violated because of political reasons. Yes political, because since then the criminal charges and other legal proceedings have not gone well for the governments involved showing the many shortcomings in the way this whole things was conducted.

Then some idiot will say “we need to brainwash the masses with more BS, throw enough and they will believe it” forgeting that people believe almost anything IF they trust the source.

Good luck trying to fabricate trusted sources that the people will believe now.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

He was convicted for very light crimes. In the US specifically you can probably be a felon for urinating on the street.

And yes, he had a gun but as pointed out he never took it out. Many Americans have guns and it’s virtually impossible to know if some1 is armed or not. Are you implying police should use tactics force and smack every suspect down to the ground? I hope you aren’t.

Nice try but that doesn’t justify the excessive power used.

Anonymous Coward says:

A whiner calling others a whiner, how ironic

A pre question setting up the follow up of “why didnt you answer my question” reply, with the classic obligatory insult thrown in, which nullifies the question……..this species is getting well documented and easier to identify it seems

Who will win………we decide…….that means you too monkey boy……….hey, fairs fair

Rekrul says:

I’m still unclear on why all his stuff that was removed from the mansion, hasn’t been returned to him. The court ruled that the warrants for the raid were invalid, which means that anything removed from his home was done illegally, so why haven’t they been ordered to give it all back? Exactly what does having the warrants ruled illegal mean if absolutely nothing changes?

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It hasn’t been returned since there are appeals and also the better reason, it is no longer physically in the control of the Crown any more since it was given to the FBI without consent who took it out of the country.

At the minimum the chain of custody was broken and the authenticity of the evidence is now destroyed, at the worst the FBI individual officers have committed criminal acts that could result in warrants for arrest and are punishable by gaol terms

Wally (profile) says:

My conclusions

I have come to a few conclusions from the video on this case that I hope to point out to anyone who wishes to imply the actions employed by the US DOJ, the FBI, and the police acted entirely appropriate.

The simple fact that the mansion was raided AFTER the FBI went in on an ILLEGAL warrant was infact, revealed in the video. It was VERY unessecery to carry an M4 A1 Semi Automatic Assult Rifle to arrest and kindly, rather large, eccentric man who happens to be a very compliant person.

Earlier in his trial Kim Dotcom clearly stated his compliance by saying if he had been faced with a proper and legal DCMA takedown notice in a fax or other legal documentation.

That being said, it’s safe to say that this should not have happened. The DOJ and FBI here at the federal level are in the pocket of the MPAA and I’m getting tired of the current US Administration’s blind eye towards the matter.

I will SAFELY say that the previous administration was a TON better for blocking this kind of shit behavior.

Oh, just so you all know, the people if the United States that know of this case are just as pissed off as I am about it.

Anonymous Coward says:

What’s even more outrageous is that the govt. established media cartels are practically ignoring this whole issue. This is unconstitutional itself, the govt. established media cartels receive their exclusive broadcasting and cableco distribution position from the government and they are wrongfully abusing the power of the state to censor what’s going on from the public. The government is effectively being used to censor information from various information distribution platforms.

Anonymous Coward says:

All this, and you guys still forget:

The fat fucker built a safe room exactly because he thought he would get taken down. He wanted to hide and sneak away when nobody was looking, but got caught out apparently because he can’t move his carcass fast enough.

For a seemingly nnocent guy, he sure does act guilty!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Don’t be snide Paul. I am not claiming he is guilty or innocent, just pointing out the this repeat felon seemed really concerned with his safety, and seemed to really want to be able hide.

Why would you think that is? Most people don’t have hidey holes in their house, unless they have some reason to hide, right? So what do you think he was hiding from? The cholesterol police?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“I am not claiming he is guilty or innocent, just pointing out the this repeat felon seemed really concerned with his safety, and seemed to really want to be able hide.”

A concern that seems to have been totally justified, don’t you think?

“Most people don’t have hidey holes in their house, unless they have some reason to hide, right?”

A lot of rich people have them to protect themselves in case of burglary, death threats or kidnapping. Are you saying everybody who has one installed has something to hide from law enforcement, or are you only applying that in this case?

You do seem to be launching a lot of attacks in his direction based on your own assumptions. They may be justified, maybe not, but that’;s exactly what you’re doing. Stop pretending otherwise.

Kevin (profile) says:

Meanwhile

No wonder that there is little respect for the law and it’s upholders.
Other questions are did the FBI agents have visas, if so what type and who arranged the granting of them? If they didn’t have any how did they get pass Customs?
External law enforcement officers can only enter a country by invitation. Who invited them.
Was there trade threats made if NZ did not cooperate with USA?
No wonder the USA has move to being the most admired to the most despised country in the world.

Michael says:

So when do they begin raiding the owners of YouTube? After all, same as Megaupload, they provide a service where anyone can upload content accessible to others.

It’s apparent that the corporate agenda of the **AA groups overlap with law enforcement agencies. That is to say, both have an interest in rounding up anyone who in any way threaten their entrenched money-making schemes.

Regardless whether or not Kim Dotcom is guilty of copyright infringement, this raid serves to prove how overly aggressive the US has become over pathetic copyright laws and how weak-kneed New Zealand is when it comes to protecting its own citizens against foreign aggressors. Should the US allow other sovereign states to send in tactical squads to go after our own citizens?

Michael says:

Re: Re: Re:

Even if that’s the case, they’re still overstepping their bounds. Copyright is treated like some untouchable gold herring which everyone absolutely must bend over to appease. In reality it is construed as a means to regulate media/internet, grant certain corporate entities an unfair monopoly and stifle innovation, to say nothing of all the arrests and seizures committed for its sake. It creates far more problems than it does good.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Even if that’s the case, they’re still overstepping their bounds.

Says who, you? That seems like a matter between governments.

Copyright is treated like some untouchable gold herring which everyone absolutely must bend over to appease. In reality it is construed as a means to regulate media/internet, grant certain corporate entities an unfair monopoly and stifle innovation, to say nothing of all the arrests and seizures committed for its sake. It creates far more problems than it does good.

Well, there’s also the matter of racketeering, money laundering, wire fraud, etc. I guess those slipped your mind.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

The charge is no more or less serious for the existance of other charges. And all those other charges have no real impact on whether or not the laws surrounding the first charge make sense. Which is what the person you responded to was discussing.

Saying “Oh, we need this to be illegal, otherwise we couldn’t also slap them with this other stuff.” is sort of silly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

And all those other charges have no real impact on whether or not the laws surrounding the first charge make sense.

Make sense? I’m not sure that marijuana cultivation laws makes sense, but they are laws nonetheless. I doubt your (or fat boy’s) agreement with the law making sense has any bearing on the trial.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

I doubt your (or fat boy’s) agreement with the law making sense has any bearing on the trial.

Perhaps not, but the way this whole scenario has unfolded does raise questions about the nature of the laws and the lengths that are apparently required to uphold them. I think a discussion about whether or not things have gotten out of hand, and whether or not these laws are a net benefit to society is certainly valid, though.

dxloat says:

You will bow to the whims of the US or else.
I am a US citizen and it saddens me to see we have perverted our democracy beyond repair. We will try to impose our will on every country we can, when things don’t go our way we will ignore the UN and any other governing body to reach our goals. We firmly believe that might makes right, that the end justifies the means. I am ashamed to be American. We have more of our own people incarcerated than any other country in history, including the Nazis. Get the hell out then you might say, well guess what I looked into that but other countries don’t want American immigrants. The sooner the rest of the world distances its self from the US and lets this evil empire die and become the very short footnote in history it is destined to become the better off we all will be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

What type of M4 do you play with? I’ve never seen one with an Auto setting. They have Semi and Burst. Granted, I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen EVERY version of the M4. Same with the M16. Only the M16A1 had automatic. Every other version I ever played with (ex-army) only had Semi and Burst. So at best, it’s only partially automatic ๐Ÿ˜€

The next point to raise is, in the hands of law enforcement/soldiers, Semi is better than Auto. Automatic LOOKS impressive, but is very ineffectual unless you’re in a situation where you need LOTS of bullets fast and can’t possibly miss. Unlike machineguns, the recoil from assault rifles throws your aim off far too fast to be useful. Even 3-round bursts are wasteful. Semi-Automatic is for professionals, Automatic is for fools.

Lastly, who cares how accurate the description of the weapons by the news anchor is? News Anchors are almost always wrong on technical details anyways. It’s like raging at the ocean for being wet.

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