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.