Beneficiary Of First Amendment Protections Says Fourth Amendment Shouldn’t Be Respected By Cops, Courts

from the you-absolute-idiots dept

The New York Post editorial team has apparently decided some rights are more important than others. The Post has the First Amendment right to publish its opinion on other rights, even when it’s clearly in the wrong. And it’s willing to do so because it has long enjoyed an unhealthy relationship with the city’s police force, which often makes the Post appear to be part of the NYPD’s PR unit.

A recent arrest of a 16-year-old rap artist has triggered the Post’s editorial team. Not the arrest itself, which resulted in a struggle between NYPD officers and Camrin “C Blu” Williams that ended with an Williams allegedly shooting a cop by [checks report] shooting himself in the groin.

Here’s how the NY Post reported the aftermath of the alleged shooting:

A 16-year-old reputed gangbanger charged in the shooting of an NYPD cop was ordered held on $200,000 bail Thursday — despite a request by prosecutors that he be locked up.

Camrin Williams — an up-and-coming rapper known as C Blu — was arraigned on charges of felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon in Bronx court for the Tuesday night tussle with police in Belmont that left a 27-year-old cop with a wounded leg.

He could also face an attempted-murder rap from a grand jury, law-enforcement sources said.

The Bronx prosecutor wanted Williams held without bail and tried as an adult. The judge — Naita Semaj — disagreed. It wasn’t because Judge Semaj thought Williams was being treated too harshly. It’s because the cops lied.

“There was absolutely zero reason for any of those officers to approach this individual. They approached him, they detained him, they searched him, and no officer even bothered to come up with a halfway legitimate reason for any of that,” Semaj said, making an emotional ruling in Bronx Supreme Court Tuesday.

Recordings of the incident contradicted testimony given by officers, who claimed Williams refused to take his hands out of his pockets when being questioned by police during their policing of a “disorderly crowd.” The judge noted the recording showed Williams being extremely cooperative and that it was officers that not only searched him without probable cause but escalated the situation.

“While there is no disputing the fact that Mr. Williams had a gun on him that night… He literally does everything you tell your child to do when they’re approached by cops. He literally kept his hands up. He literally tried to record to make sure there was proof. He answered questions he had no obligation to answer,” Semaj said.

Without calling the testifying officer a liar, Judge Semaj called the officer a liar.

“I cannot state how absolutely incredible his testimony was. It was inconsistent with the video, it was inconsistent with his fellow officer’s testimony, it was self-serving, it had no value,” she said.

So, instead of being tried as an adult and held without bail, Williams is out on bail and will be tried as a juvenile. Somehow, police officer perjury has led the NY Post editorial board to call for an end of respect for the Fourth Amendment, both by police officers and the courts handling their cases. (Emphasis in the original.)

[Judge] Semaj seems to think that, even if someone is doing something illegal, and even if there’s “no disputing” it, a police officer still can’t make a quick decision based on intangibles to take action. She doesn’t even seem to provide a definitive standard under which an officer might have validly stopped and searched Williams. 

If public order’s to be restored, cops must be able to use their professional instincts on the street, in real-time. And no judge who thinks otherwise should be anywhere near criminal or even family court.

This is completely wrong and it basically calls for the Fourth Amendment to be ignored in favor of inarticulable hunches, allowing cops to work their way backwards from their stops and seizures should they happen to result in the uncovering of criminal evidence.

Here’s Scott Greenfield, explaining one of the many ways this NY Post editorial board hot take is completely fucking stupid.

On the contrary, it’s not up to the judge to provide a definitive standard when the Constitution already does so. In the absence of probable cause, there is no authority to search and seize. Whether Williams was doing something illegal is irrelevant if the police are incapable of articulating the basis for their actions. Of course, here they tried, but the darn video proved they were lying about it. That’s a different problem.

But that’s what the NY Post apparently believes: cops should have free reign to perform stops and seizures at their discretion. And any judge that attempts to hold them to constitutional standards should be removed from their position. That opinion is inconceivably stupid. And that it’s held by the entirety of the Post’s editorial board is inexcusable. A beneficiary of constitutional rights shouldn’t be declaring other rights less important than the ones that shield it from government overreach.

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Comments on “Beneficiary Of First Amendment Protections Says Fourth Amendment Shouldn’t Be Respected By Cops, Courts”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

NY Post: ‘The only rights that count at the ones that we personally are benefiting from at a given moment!’

If public order’s to be restored, cops must be able to use their professional instincts on the street, in real-time.

Given those ‘professional instincts’ apparently include lying under oath to a judge I’m pretty sure we can toss those as wildly unreliable and not to be trusted.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonmylous says:


Apparently the writer simply believes that “existing while black” is a crime in and of itself. And that every officer in the NYPD are familiar with each and every single parolee and probationer in the city.

The writer claims the officer “spotted something off” and completely ignores the very long list of contradictory and comprehensive actions police have claimed in the past as probable cause. Nervous? Calm? Argumentative? Cooperative? All reasons claimed to be probable cause. And this officer failed to cite a single one of them. This writer simply believes police have psychic powers and we should all trust that.

They should probably avoid breaking any real stories, they’ll never be able to hide their sources from the psychic police.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Perhaps the Bronx prosecutor would like to file perjury charges against someone with authority who went rogue, violated a citizens rights, and then LIED in legal documents & testimony about that.

But then we are being to hard on the poor poor cop who only violated well defined rights, harassed a citizen, and then LIED to try to make charges stick.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Playing word games as usual, these "bad apple" sympathizers.

If public order’s to be restored, cops must be able to use their professional instincts on the street, in real-time.

Too often, “professional instincts” in cops is actually internalized racism.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Please keep in mind, though, that the First Amendment was written in a time before electronic equipment even existed. There were small newspapers, why is why freedom of the press was a thing, but they were not owned by major corporations like they are today.

Many countries that have adopted Constitutions in the last 100 years or so have included provisions making “hate speech” a criminal activity. Now of course such provisions can be misused; in the hands of a dictator “hate speech” could be interpreted as any speech the government doesn’t like. But then dictators don’t need any good reason to ignore their country’s constitution, they just do what they want to do.

My point is that our Constitution was a best effort of people who lived almost 250 years ago and could not even begin to imagine the rise of mega-corporations, or radio, television, cell phones, or the Internet. Many of the devices we have today would seem like magic to them. A child with a remote control would seem like a sorcerer with a magic wand. And yet we act as though the laws they wrote back then need no adjustment for our changes in technology and lifestyle, or to account for the rise of “super-persons” (persons and corporations that have thousands of times more influence than the average person).

Back in those days if you wanted to get an opinion out to the people you could grab a soapbox and stand in the town square and proclaim your message. Today if you do that you are likely to be viewed as having a possible psychiatric disorder. All the real expression takes place in spaces that the common person has no access to. And you might say, “well anyone can post online” but really, how many people take an online post seriously if it’s not coming from some news source that they trust?

I would say that both the first and second amendments (at least) are in dire need of modernization. Not only that, I think there should be a constitutional amendment to reverse the terrible “Citizen’s United” decision, and to emphatically state that Corporations are NOT persons and are NOT entitled to all the constitutional rights afforded to persons. The PEOPLE that are employed at such Corporations would still retain their individual rights, but they could not hide behind the “corporate shield” when doing evil.

The problem, of course, is you will never get people to agree on exactly how to amend the Constitution, and I think ultimately that will be the downfall of the United States of America. The founding fathers, many of whom were not exactly moral people themselves, wrote a document that was a mess of compromises even in its time, but they were at least unified by a desire for the new nation to succeed. But they did not want to make it easy to amend the Constitution. And that can be a good or bad thing, depending on the motives of those wanting to do the amending. But the sad reality is that some of those cherished amendments are hopelessly out of date. You know this is true when people with hate in their hearts hide behind the first amendment while spewing hate speech. Or when we can’t get automatic and semi-automatic weapons out of the hand of those who would shoot as many people as possible in a church, school, or shopping center. Or when police can brazenly get away with enforcing laws much differently depending on the color of a person’s skin. Or when corporate officers can live in lavish luxury while their workers can barely afford food and housing. I could go on, but in my opinion many European countries have far better constitutions than the United States, simply because they were able to learn from our mistakes before writing theirs. And now we are stuck with a Constitution we can’t fix.

Anonymous Coward says:

Too late

We don’t need an article calling for cops to simply disregard the fourth amendment… we already have far too much of that already. It’s a serious problem and anyone that’s not seeing this is probably some sort of biggoted, racist, marxist, butt plug licking idiot. (and usually very middle aged, male, white and affluent)

In my Not Even Close To Humble Opinion, anyone that agrees that cops should be able to disregard the fourth amendment should be kept away from any sort of law enforcement… if you don’t think you need a reason to search an individual, then you’re in the wrong f%ck!ng line of work.

Anonymous Coward says:

forgot how the 4th amendment works

i don’t see why this case wasn’t dropped! the blue lies mafia criminal didn’t have reasonable suspicion for a search. then the blue lies mafia criminal LIED on the police report! (felony, falsifying a police report) lied in court! (perjury) i suspect that if he’s not on the BRADY list already, he soon will be!

what we have here now is the fruit of the forbidden tree! for a terry frisk, there needs to be certain elements. for a brief detention, there needs to reasonable articulable suspicion. the blue lies mafia had none of that!!!!
as for the stop and frisk thing they had. it was declared unconstitutional!

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Sidestepping the (almost) obvious issue for more…

I’ll just assume the kid is black since comments are saying black/colour. The article doesn’t.

We’re back to a Boston Legal (or Practice, can’t recall since JS was on both) that looked into a side issue this case Raises

There’s long been legal debate on cause and effect and affecting.

Playing the left, there is no reason for the stop and thus anything happening because of the stop is excluded.
So any crime commenced during the situation caused by an illegal stop is ignored. Equally to any crime discovered.

Playing the right, it doesn’t matter why they stopped him, a crime happens during the stop.

Playing the visitor from an advanced alien world.
When a cop makes an unprovoked stop do all findings go out the door?
If opening the trunk during a reasonless stop produces a billion on coke and the driver blows the cop’s head off… does the driver walk free?
Using this justification the stop was illegal and thus anything happening because of it is inadmissible and expunged.

Going back to that old show…
Does finding drugs in an illegal stop and the consequential collection of those drugs constitute an illegal confiscation of property and thus result in the drugs being returned as his having the drugs would have remained unknown?

Mind you, Paul et al, I’m arguing here.

Some of our rules and laws are mutually exclusive. These are the kind of questions discussed in law classes.

Oh, and HTF does shooting your own dick off result in attempted murder.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Playing the left, there is no reason for the stop and thus anything happening because of the stop is excluded… Playing the right, it doesn’t matter why they stopped him, a crime happens during the stop.

So by left and right, you mean respect for the Constitution and no respect for the Constitution?

If opening the trunk during a reasonless stop produces a billion on coke and the driver blows the cop’s head off… does the driver walk free?

He should not face charges for the possession of “a billion on coke”, whatever that is, and be arrested and charged with murder for shooting the cop.

Does finding drugs in an illegal stop and the consequential collection of those drugs constitute an illegal confiscation of property and thus result in the drugs being returned as his having the drugs would have remained unknown?

An interesting question. I’m pretty sure police have caught some people by offering to return their illegal drugs to them, and they were dumb enough to take them up on it. My guess is such return is not required.

Oh, and HTF does shooting your own dick off result in attempted murder.

I think that might be one of those “police lies” that were mentioned.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The aspects of tainted results has long been discussed in law classes. And court rooms.
It’s popular enough to have made it to a prime time show.
As does client privilege extend to the head in a bag that is evidence but also private defence material?

I’m attempting to walk down the middle of the fence here.
At what point does the very stop itself become a getoutofjailfree card.

Because resisting arrest is a crime. And disobeying a lawful order is a crime.
But if the detainment is without cause or warrant then anything the police demand ia unlawful itself. At which any premise of constitutional liberty says you have a right to stand your ground. Including lethal force.
So here we would have an armed act of self defence against the criminal loss of liberty?
Armed assault against an officer of the law?

Or, does the legal response to an illegal action cease to be legal if the illegal action is committed by law enforcement?
Can one be liable for committing a crime they would not have committed if not for the other’s crime?

One must remember that despite the nonsense of jury instructions; a jury has every right to judge the law itself. That fact has been upheld by the SCOTUS plenty of times over its existence.

‘Within the confines of the law’ is invalid instruction. If the law is illegal then the jury can, should, and must, overturn the law.
It’s a modern misconception that the judge holds the legal power in a jury case. But that is exactly why not-withstanding rulings are so extremely rare. They are nearly universally shot down on appeal.

Should a person be charged on what happens due to an illegal stop.

Despite the laws, I feel shooting shooting your sick is punishment enough m. No?

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Law of Declining Importance

Come on, everyone knows that, when there is a numbered list of rules, they decline in importance as the reciprocal of their ordinal number.

First Amendment is important, definitely.

Second Amendment is only half as important as the First, still important, but not as much.

Third Amendment would only be one third as important as the First. If anyone could remember what the h*ll it said.

By the time you get to the Fourth Amendment, well, it matters only when the defendant can afford a $gajillion for lawyer’s fees.

I mean, it’s a pretty lame LEO that can’t come up with a legal way to search anything anytime, what with the “I feared for my life” judge brain bypass; parallel construction; paid snitches; and the “somebody called us from here” skit. Plus a thousand more clever tricks.

Higher numbered Rights? Forget about those…

Jackie says:


Naita Semaj is a CORRUPT NYS Judge, she is a shady activist that is now on the bench letting criminals go free. The chickens come home to roost, that is her pay back to the system that oppress certain groups of people. Naita Semaj will make a mockery of the American Judicial System just want and watch the train-wreck!!

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