Gun Runner Uses Instagram Account To Sabotage Own Criminal Enterprise, And Bloomberg Still Thinks It's A Win For Stop And Frisk

from the I'm-beginning-to-wish-the-term-'Bloomberg-Terminal'-was-a-headline-i dept

The largest gun bust in New York City’s history is the culmination of two factors: regular police work and one stupid criminal. 19 indictments and 254 guns seized — and it all started with an aspiring Brooklyn rapper who started selling guns out of his studio.

Neno Best, another hip hop artists who seemingly believes “Scarface” is a blueprint for success rather than a cautionary tale of unchecked excess, began uploading videos and photos of guns and cash to his Instagram account. These were spotted by NYPD narcotics officers (don’t Instagram your drug purchases, kids) who passed it on to undercover agents who soon were all over Best and his studio visitors.

When criminals use social media to brag about their exploits, the police are never far behind. There’s an entire body of work just here at Techdirt that testifies to that fact. Best’s attempt to outdo the TSA’s collection of Instagrammed guns brought down an entire criminal enterprise. There was plenty of solid investigative work along the way as well, as NYPD undercover officers tracked suspects as far south as South Carolina.

What this isn’t, however, is what Bloomberg is trying to spin it as: a stop and frisk triumph. The mayor desperately needs a win chalked up in this column as a circuit court and his own city council have turned against the (officially) unconstitutional program. But even for this avid police statist, the following statement is a stretch. (CAUTION: linked article contains autoplay video because USA Today’s web team is presumably composed of misanthropes and sociopaths.)

Bloomberg also provided a transcript of a comment attributed to suspect Campbell in a wiretap that indicated the city’s controversial “stop and frisk” policy made selling weapons in the city more difficult: “I can’t leave until you come, cause I can’t take them (guns) to my house, to my side of town cause I’m in Brownsville (a section of Brooklyn). So we got like, whatchamacallit, stop and frisk.”

Yeah. This hastily applied bit of post hoc narrative directly follows Bloomberg’s statement that court-ordered wiretaps helped identify the suspects. All this shows is that a court-ordered (i.e., compliant with the Fourth Amendment) wiretap caught someone deciding not to move guns around the city at one point in time. This had nothing to do with capturing these suspects — the wiretaps did all the heavy lifting. It didn’t even make it that much tougher to sell the weapons — Campbell just needed to wait for a ride.

In Bloomberg’s mind, a gun runner deciding to keep the illegal guns in one place momentarily is a win for stop and frisk. This is just as lousy as Kelly’s post-circuit court decision press conference statement that pursuing a suspect that was already running from the police (because he had just dropped a duffel bag full of heroin into his vehicle’s trunk) was a victory for stop and frisk.

In the first, the statement is caught on a court-ordered wiretap as part of an ongoing investigation. In the latter, the patrolling officers had plenty of probable cause. Neither situation involved grabbing a random person and patting them down.

If anything, both instances show that regular, constitutionally-compliant police work still captures plenty of criminals. And both instances undercut their defense of the program, something neither official seems to realize.

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Comments on “Gun Runner Uses Instagram Account To Sabotage Own Criminal Enterprise, And Bloomberg Still Thinks It's A Win For Stop And Frisk”

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Anonymous Coward says:

It’s very apparent the mayor is being selective with the facts and economical with the truth.

He doesn’t question how the guns got to this location. I guess the magic fairy poofed them into existence. He questions one single individual’s reasoning while ignoring an armory of weapons. There is no setup to why this reasoning. I mean the individual stating that about ‘stop and frisk’ may have been looking for a reason not to meet up on the other side of town and one justification for not doing so is just as good as another. He could have said ‘I’m worried about flying saucers highjacking me’ if it would have sounded acceptable. We don’t get that info.

For one individual using that as a reason but no individuals pointed to for espousing the violations of personal freedom is willfully one sided.

Oblate (profile) says:

The stop and frisk policy has had other wins too, such as:

The weather in NYC today is 85 F and mostly sunny, in another clear victory for stop and frisk.

NY Daily News calls NJ Gov Christie a “fatso” in yet another victory for stop and frisk.

My favorite:
Homicides in NYC drop sharply after reduction of stop and frisk and an increase in other anti-gang strategies, in a landslide victory for stop and frisk.

Loki says:

So let’s see if I have this straight. Stop-and-frisk, despite pushing these crimes further underground where they will likely be harder to detect, if not for some idiot doing the digital equivalent of standing on a street corner in a trench coat occasionally flashing his wares at passersby, is largely responsible for cracking this case.

That sort of delusion general requires significant psychiatric care.

DB (profile) says:

Errrmmm, didn't that quote prove S-n-F fails?

That phone transcript just showed that real criminals can and do easily evade stop-n-frisk.
Even ones that are so dumb they post their criminal enterprise online.

It also helps me understand why the program is so offensive. If you can afford a car, you can pretty much avoid being subjected to ‘random’ searches.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Upon reading the article, one bit jumped out at me.

No, it wasn’t the attempt to say this was all due to Stop and Frisk.

No…it was the mention of a court-ordered wiretap. I honestly had to go back and re-read that, to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. In 2013, in a criminal case, there was an actual honest court-ordered (i.e done with a warrant) wiretap, instead of all the no accountability bullshit we always hear on Techdirt.

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