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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 4:28pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Aug 8th, 2011 @ 4:32pm

    Milosevich, that prosecutor, and anyone else involved with this sham of a "case" should be fined, suspended, and investigated immediately.

    This is the kind of crap that makes people distrust law enforcement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    lucidrenegade (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 4:42pm

    "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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2011 @ 4:47pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2011 @ 4:52pm

    Sounds to me like they are stalking him, irl.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Aug 8th, 2011 @ 6:28pm

    Re: Police State

    Politicians are voted in and given power, precisely so they can deal with out-of-control bureaucrats.

    Well if they did that then the bureaucrats would start investigating them back. And we couldn't possibly have a fair system if politicians were held accountable for what they do!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2011 @ 8:14pm

    The cops can only arrest you and shoot you they can't prosecute you, YET.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    NullOp, Aug 8th, 2011 @ 8:30pm


    In business, job "ownership" is considered a positive attribute. Unfortunately, for the general populace, often police departments feel they "own" the law and can do as they please. And all too often they are backed up by the local DA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    The eejit (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:14am


    So Judge Dredd is still, for now, a pipe-dream.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Thomas (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 4:30am

    Corrupt cops..

    only need an equally corrupt prosecutor to make a mess of law and order.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Thomas (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 8:57am


    The cops and the prosecutor will likely be given awards for devotion to duty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 3:43pm

    The judge who signed a criminal cyber-stalking search warrant, seeking the name of an anonymous cartoon animator mocking the Renton police department, has apparently changed his mind.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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