Posts Tagged “Police”
Better than a cup of coffee, the Morning Digest will provide you with what you need to be prepared for the day: a daily round-up of links, local news, and important events on campus and around D.C.
Today will have scattered clouds with a chance of rain, with a high of 75.
To masticate today:
- OCAF, Student Housing do the bureaucracy shuffle: Yesterday, Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson and Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey announced that OCAF and Student Housing would be moving to the Division of Student Affairs effective July 1, 2013, among other office changes.
- Question Time: Jim Coury (SFS ’15) has advanced to the semifinals in the College Championship of the show Jeopardy. Tune in on May 15 to watch the semifinal round.
- May Madness: Point guard Tre Campbell confirmed that he has committed to play basketball for Georgetown, last night via Twitter . He joins power forward Isaac Copeland as part of the incoming class.
What to look out for:
- Going to get law schooled: Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed two separate cases against Metro Transit officers. The teenagers represented in the cases allege that Metro Transit officers assaulted them, then invented charges in order to justify the arrests.
- Bus-spotting: Several changes to the D.C. Circulator have been proposed this week. Under the new plan, put forth by Councilwoman Mary C. Cheh (D-Ward 3), Circulator fares could double, from the current fare of $1. The revenue from the increased fare would go towards expanding Circulator routes, including the Georgetown-Rosslyn and Georgetown-Union Station loops. Of course, if public transport is just too plebeian for you, D.C.’s cabs will be taking credit cards by the end of August, so buckle up.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered by students at Georgetown.
We the people…
Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the government may not search a person or seize their effects in a place where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as a dorm room or a telephone booth, unless a judicial authority grants police or other agents of the state a specific authorization based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
Under the Exclusionary Rule, law enforcement may not use evidence against a person if it was obtained during the course of an illegal search.
These include a “stop and frisk” based on reasonable suspicion, seizure of contraband in plain view, search of a place in order prevent an emergency or secure volatile evidence, and searches conducted with the consent of the occupant.
Also, excessive noise, the smell of smoke, or any other indication of a potential safety risk will also allow any agent of the state to enter your room.
Students’ rights in dorms
Students have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their dorms, and the state may not violate it without warrant, period. There is no unified case law, but state and federal courts have held that the Fourth Amendment also applies when university officials are sworn officers of the state , they conduct searches accompanied by law enforcement , or when their primary purpose in conducting a search is to enforce of local law .
However, a housing contract can waive certain Fourth Amendment rights and allow University officials to enforce student conduct policy .
Several courts have also held that a university can legally turn over to police any evidence it obtains in the course of a search pursuant to its conduct policy .
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This week in D.C. news, featuring the MPD’s acknowledgement of the First Amendment, more on Mayor Gray madness, and the latest Amtrak upgrade.
Yes, the First Amendment still holds.
Washington, D.C.’s Police Chief Cathy Lanier issued an order earlier this week specifically permitting citizens to photograph metropolitan police officers while they are present in a public space, so long as it doesn’t interfere with their police work.
“The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) recognizes that members of the general public have a First Amendment right to video record, photograph, and/or audio record MPD members while MPD members are conducting official business or while acting in an official capacity in any public space, unless such recordings interfere with police activity,” the official order reads.
The general order clarifies police policy regarding photography, and even goes as far to say that police cannot ask that individuals stop recording, detain individuals for exercising this right, view photos on a camera without a warrant, or intentionally block cameras. However, the policy does not permit bystanders to enter an area taped off by police simply by virtue of having a camera.
The order stems from a case last year when in Alexandria, a man accused MPD of wrongfully arresting him for photographing a traffic stop in Georgetown. With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, he sued and the matter was settled out-of-court. Even so, MDP officers allegedly illegally confiscated a citizen’s cell phone last Friday—one day after the order went into effect.
Gray’s 2010 campaign used database of residents in public housing.
The Washington Post reported last Sunday that they had uncovered a list of D.C. public housing residents in a cache of campaign documents that they had obtained from former campaign officials. The list includes the private information of residents names, addresses, and phone numbers. Use of this information by a political campaign could constitute breach of local and federal privacy law.
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While Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was meeting with President John J. Degioia and other University officials inside warm Healy Hall, Vox was shivering beyond the DPS barriers, waiting in vain to take a good photo of the Iraqi leader. However, the morning was not a complete bust because we were joined by a truly spectacular German Shepherd Dog.
The canine was part of the U.S. Secret Service team protecting the Iraqi leader during his visit to the United States. If any foolhardy Hoyas had breached security, they would’ve become better acquainted with this elegant yet unforgiving beast.
Vox is going to assume his name is something totally badass, like Gunther, Maximus or Panzer. We didn’t ask him what his name was because that would probably have been the last question we’d ever ask. We’ll call him Khan.
Khan was so cute Vox just wanted to love him up and coo in a baby voice, “Who’s the most ferocious dog in Georgetown? You are! That’s right! Such a fierce wittle puppy!” But he’d probably rip our face off.
More photos of Khan after the jump!
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A still from the police car’s dashboard camera
Georgetown student Alexandra Torrens-Vilas is suing police in Hollywood, Fla. after they allegedly faked a police report about an accident involving her and a police officer, according to the Associated Press.
When she pulled over to the side of the road while driving home from a party in February, officer Joel Francisco allegedly rear-ended her car. The AP reports that Vilas admitted to having a few beers at the party, and police officers slapped her with a DUI and accused her of causing the crash.
Things were looking pretty bad for Vilas—she was facing four counts of drunken driving and cited for an improper lane change—until last week when her attorneys obtained video from the dashboard cam of the officer’s car.
The footage shows officer Dewey Pressley faking the police report to protect his partner and foist the blame on Vilas, calling his cover-up “a little Walt Disney.” Turns out Francisco, the officer driving the car, has been involved in seven accidents since 2000, according to personnel records. Although Vilas’ blood alcohol content was reported to be twice the legal limit, the breathalyzer test was administered and recorded by Pressley, and thus is also under question.
Since the tapes were released, all the charges against Vilas have been dropped, five members of the police force involved in the case have been suspended. The case forced her to take time off from Georgetown (she was studying international economics) and she now plans to file a civil suit against the police, according to an interview with the Today Show.
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The Georgetown Business Improvement District, an association of neighborhood business owners, is devoting $100,000 to hire off-duty police officers to patrol the neighborhood, according to the Georgetown Current (PDF). According to the article, the BID is hoping an increased police presence will mitigate the uptick in criminal activity that general accompanies economic downturns.
“Unfortunately when the economy goes down, criminal activity goes up,” said Crystal Sullivan, the vice president of the group’s board … “The intent is that we will have a greater police presence in the peak hours of the Georgetown community.”
[BID director of operations John] Wiebenson declined to say what times of day the officers are working, saying it could reduce the program’s effectiveness.
The BID already has six officers on foot patrol through its existing reimbursable police detail program. According to some estimations by the Georgetown Metropolitan, the $100,000 would probably cover one additional officer for a year (or perhaps two if the BID is participating in the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration’s matching program). The off-duty officers have full arrest powers.
According to the article, the BID also budgeted $10,000 to study the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of installing a camera system.
Via the Georgetown Metropolitan.
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Everyone’s got Van Slyke fever, and the only cure is more handguns. GW now has a task force looking into whether to give its police force handguns, and the kids don’t like it.
Now’s a good time to point out that, thus far, no one’s been hurt from DPS pepper spray and batons. Watch this space, though.
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