Docs Show Police Also Sought (And Obtained) Phone Records For Police Shooting Victim's Girlfriend

from the Sprint-totally-cool-with-indefinite-gag-orders dept

As we recently covered, Minnesota law enforcement tried to snatch victory from the expiring body of a black driver shot by a St. Anthony police officer by immediately asking an uninvolved social media company to turn over information on Philando Castile's girlfriend. The reason for this? The "affiant" swore criminals often used social media services to discuss criminal activities. This was an attempt to mine for dirt that might be used to justify an unjustifiable shoot.

One warrant was served to Facebook, along with an indefinite gag order. Facebook challenged the gag order. Ill-prepared for pushback and having no solid reason to demand the release of Facebook posts and private messages, the warrant was rescinded.

Unfortunately, another company was far more compliant.

Facebook opposed the gag order and, after weeks of discussion between the BCA and a lawyer at Facebook, the warrant was rescinded altogether. Sprint, however, complied with the warrant, and turned over Reynolds’ call records, voicemails, and cell tower information that revealed her location.

Facebook, on one hand, has a policy of notifying users about law enforcement requests for their information. Sprint, apparently, does not. That's why the gag order became a point of contention and resulted in the warrant being withdrawn. Sprint did not challenge the gag order and three days' worth of phone records -- including location info and text messages -- were turned over to law enforcement whose primary interest was finding some reason for Officer Yanez to have shot a compliant Philando Castile.

This highlights a major difference between internet service providers and telcos. Sprint may be in the cellphone business these days, but it's the offshoot of an 118-year-old phone company. The history of telcos' close relationship with law enforcement is long and unseemly. Cell service providers are more than willing to act as proxy Stingrays and provide near real-time location info to law enforcement. Both AT&T and Verizon voluntarily handed over more than the NSA was demanding, paving the way for a successful exploitation of Section 215 until its recent shutdown. AT&T was behind the inadvertently-disclosed "Hemisphere" program, which allowed federal law enforcement agencies to warrantlessly trawl its millions of phone records to search for almost any form of criminal activity.

That Sprint would put up less of a fight than Facebook is disappointing, but it's far from surprising. Similarly unsurprising is law enforcement's kneejerk response to the killing of a citizen by a police officer: disparage the dead as quickly as possible using any means necessary.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 9:38am

    Gangs, Gangs and more Gangs

    It seems pretty clear at this point that a straight substitution of the cops for the hells angels would be a big step up, after all I've only every hear of one death of someone while they where on duty and that was back in the '60's and they where cleared by trial

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

    • icon
      Hugh Jasohl (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 10:07am

      Re: Gangs, Gangs and more Gangs

      The police need someone to police them. They are doing such a poor job themselves, that they regularly break laws and civil rights and no one ever calls them on it. At least no one with any power to actually make them stop.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 10:22am

        Re: Re: Gangs, Gangs and more Gangs

        So maybe the hells angels should make up the civilian oversight?, though my comment may sound hyperbolic the fact is that cops live in a blue bubble, they rarely live in the communities they patrol and they have a huge class difference with most of the people they interact with, this isn't true with hells angels, so in a sense I am serious they at least have real connection to the community.

        I'm not suggesting that they are ideal arbiters of justice but they actually would be better that the current state of the Legal Industrial Complex(LIC)tm.

        Bikers may kill you, bomb you and sell your kids meth, but they don't mostly murder people because they are a-scared or slaughter uninvolved people because they can with no consequence, so in that sense they are a big step up from what is happening now.

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

        • icon
          Bergman (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 10:37am

          Re: Re: Re: Gangs, Gangs and more Gangs

          There's definitely something to that. Most bikers I've ever met would suffer a MASSIVE hit to their reputation if they ever claimed they feared for their life when confronted by a small yappy dog or a scrawny teenager. Or even most large, burly men for that matter.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:01am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Gangs, Gangs and more Gangs

            Well maybe that is a tick to how to solve the problem, don't promote cops that do this sort of thing.. It will never happen since they are doing exactly their job, which is being mercenaries for the Dons for the 7000 or so people that own around 90% of the economic activity of the planet.

            Hessian lives matter

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

            • icon
              Bergman (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 12:16pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Gangs, Gangs and more Gangs

              Cops have been promoting from within for so long, that the problems in the public-facing ones are pandemic. And the ones deciding on who gets promoted now are the same ones who were promoted for being afraid of their own shadows.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 10:20am

      Re: Gangs, Gangs and more Gangs

      whats even more surprising is people are actually still using Sprint!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 9:51am

    Perhaps someone needs to inform sitting judges that "was shot by police" is not the same as probable cause for issuing a warrant. Much less "knows somebody who was shot by police."

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 10:05am

      Re:

      well if you were not doing anything wrong you would not have been shot.


      /poe (better leave that here or there will be hell to pay, will probably have to pay it anyway!)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 10:05am

    Why do I get the impression that they wanted an excuse to arrest her before she could lodge a complint against the officer?

    /rhetorical

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 10:20am

    You do realize that the telco's get paid for handing over the information, right? They don't do it for free.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:04am

    It's incredibly how cops these days can't stop digging. It was bad enough that the cop shoot the guy in front of her daughter for NOTHING but instead of going the "sorry, we got it wrong and we are ashamed" route they doubled down on bad by trying to protect the cop and then trying to smear the victims. No seriously, you deserve standing ovation for the outstanding crap you have become law enforcement.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:12am

    You recently covered this.

    I guess was good for clicks and safe from more defamation.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:12am

    You recently covered this.

    I guess was good for clicks and safe from more defamation.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:31am

      Re: You recently covered this.

      ...Rule Britannia!, Britannia rule the waves, England never, never shall be slaves!..

      Makes as much sense as your comment and has a better tune

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

    • icon
      R.H. (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 8:25pm

      Re: You recently covered this.

      They recently covered the Facebook part of this. The Sprint part just came to light.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2017 @ 12:18am

      Re: You recently covered this.

      You should take it up with the police. They're the ones that keep making news.

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

  • icon
    Christopher (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:43am

    Amazing

    " This was an attempt to mine for dirt that might be used to justify an unjustifiable shoot."

    Clearly it was justified. Your opinion isn't greater than the findings of a jury in the trial. Too bad for you and your agenda!

    -C

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:49am

      Re: Amazing

      Accountability, it's a radical agenda I know only crazy radicals would be upset by murder by the state

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Massacre

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

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 12:20pm

      Re: Amazing

      A shooting is justified or unjustified by what the officer -- or anyone else -- knew (or thought they knew) at the time they pulled the trigger. That's the law.

      Public opinion runs on a much lower standard of evidence however, allowing the cops to retroactively justify the shooting in the minds of the general public, even though it was completely unjustified at the time.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 4:05pm

        Re: Re: Amazing

        So your saying that the red coats where justified because the I'm a-sacred was the exact justification they used.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 12:31pm

    Sometimes a cop doesn't have time to consider everything, it comes down to a split second decision. It is nice that armchair quarterbacks have the luxury of time and perspective, but when faced with a daily threat, sometimes mistakes are made.

    If you don't believe that, ask Miosotis Familia about the risks.

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

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 1:51pm

      Re:

      If they can't handle the job they should find another. Any claims of split second decisions are most definitely belied by the well documented behavior starting immediately after the incident. This isn't new. And general culture of police behavior is ridiculous much of the time whether or not there was a fatal shooting or even a citation written. They do whatever because they feel like it. And the better ones have to contend with that system.

      If police feel under threat so much, it's probably because they have a collective knowledge that they constantly provoke the public. Yeah, I'd feel threatened that something might happen and it could be any time if i constantly abused people or was part of a system that does.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 4:07pm

      Re:

      I have made many split second decision that could have resulted in peoples deaths.

      Somehow I have manage to not murder anyone is 45 years.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2017 @ 12:54am

      Re:

      It's funny how "oops I'm scared I made a mistake" is an excuse for murder.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 1:00pm

    What Goes Around...

    Some cop-chick got assassinated overnight in New York. One of the first news stories I saw this morning included remarks by some executive cop, saying that the killing was an "unprovoked attack." "Unprovoked"? Cop types still not paying attention...no learning in progress. No matter what we might say about the individual assassins with badges, i.e., cowards, incompetents, fools, bullies, sadists, stupid, the fact that the cop commanders, peers, unions, prosecutors, and juries protect obviously overtly murderous cops constitutes provocation to lots of the angry and disenfranchised. That message will likely continue being sent in the fashion of the NY incident.

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 6 Jul 2017 @ 5:15am

      Re: What Goes Around...

      We're not really getting what the problem is, are we? All that making cops more fearful will achieve is more harsh treatment of us.

      They need a culture reboot and we need to do more to hold them accountable for their actions.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 1:25pm

    Shot a man in the back five times for fleeing form "a broken tail light, or was it back child support?" Life is cheap to some law enforcement, and they all suffer for it. It is better to maim than to kill. You listening in on my phone calls is no better than peeping in my bedroom window at night, fuck off.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 4:49pm

    I shot a man in reno..

    But I went to jail..

    If only cops could be more like the man in black.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2017 @ 10:38am

    And yet 102 people were shot in Chicago over the 4th of July weekend.

    Not by cops of course. Get rid of cops? Bring in gang members? Yeah, that will work.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2017 @ 8:30pm

      Re:

      "And yet 102 people were shot in Chicago over the 4th of July weekend."

      I heard it was closer to a million. And the shooters had all voted for Hillary.

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


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