Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

The Political Vine is the home of political news, satire, rants, and rumors.

HB 56: How the State wants to legalize more killings of innocents by police

Bill Simon, February 17th, 2015

HB 56: Purposely Designed for Subterfuge & Misdirection

Introduction

If you were to go on Yahoo, Google, or Bing search engines, and type “kevin tanner habersham baby” in the search bar, what will display is a wide assortment of article titles of the following nature:

“Tanner proposes bill to limit no-knock warrants”
“NE Ga lawmaker files “Baby Bou Bou bill”
“Bou Bou” family gratified as Georgia considers no-knock …”
“Toddler Maimed by SWAT Flash Grenade Sparks Georgia Bills on ..”

After scanning the article and reading some of them, you MIGHT have concluded that the legislation is an attempt to limit “bad results” like the Habersham County incident in mid-2014 where Bou-Bou was burned by a flash-grenade tossed into a room by SWAT executing a no-knock warrant on a house where they received a tip from a source of drugs being sold out of the house. (A case currently under investigation by the US Attorney’s Office)

You might have concluded that, and I don’t fault you for that…because that is what I assumed the bill was going to attempt to do.  But, this bill, as written now, does nothing that will address the problems with law enforcement personnel executing a no-knock warrant.  Absolutely NOTHING to prevent preventable death and/or injury to both Law Enforcement Personnel (“LEO”) and innocent people who are involved in such a process through absolutely no fault of their own.

HB 56 is a bill designed to white-wash decades of judicial activism that enabled LEO to obtain and execute illegal search warrants, which are referred to as “no-knock warrants” in the common environment.  HB 56 is a whitewash because it actually amends current law to define “no-knock warrants” where no such term currently appears, and it obliterates the existing law (OCGA 17-5-27) that prohibits warrants that allow no verbal announcement from LEO before they breach a door.

This is what existing Georgia law is with regards to Search Warrants:

OCGA 17-5-27. Use of force in execution of search warrant

All necessary and reasonable force may be used to effect an entry into any building or property or part thereof to execute a search warrant if, after notice, an attempt in good faith to give verbal notice by the officer directed to execute the same of his authority and purpose:

(1) He is refused admittance;

(2) The person or persons within the building or property or part thereof refuse to acknowledge and answer the verbal notice or the presence of the person or persons therein is unknown to the officer; or

(3) The building or property or part thereof is not then occupied by any person.

As no-knock warrants have been being executed in Georgia (like the one in 2006 that killed an innocent homeowner Kathryn Johnston during a drug raid on her home in Atlanta, and many others, “no-knock” means “no verbal notice given at all.”

How did the LEO community obtain these illegal search warrants? They went to their respective jurisdiction’s judges and concocted a bunch of weak evidence (a “tip” by a known criminal in every case I will discuss), and then they added language (likely what they learned by watching Crockett & Tubbs on Miami Vice reruns) to the Warrant Request that would make the judge think that a full-on violent breach of the home is fully justified, and the judge would sign-off on them being allowed to ignore OCGA 17-5-27.

And, so, now, State Rep Kevin Tanner is on the verge of amending Georgia law to make no-knock warrants easier to obtain without any repercussions to “bad acts” by LE in the execution of those warrants. (Yeah. “Subterfuge” is an understatement,right, Rep. Tanner?)

State Rep. Kevin Tanner

People may or may not be aware that Georgia State Representative Kevin Tanner spent about 18 years in law enforcement, working for the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office (“DCSO”) prior to being elected state rep from that neck of the woods.  Most of the readers of the Political Vine are familiar with an incident back in August of 2014 involving an officer with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office named Captain Tony Wooten. (If you are not familiar, go to the PoliticalVine.com website, and type-in “PumpkinGate” in the Search bar on the right-side of the site, as there are several stories about this incident in Dawson County).

Now, Kevin Tanner was not present at the PumpkinGate incident…however, coincidentally, his direct history as a law enforcement officer with the DCSO is connected to both this story involving Wooten, as well as HB 56.

In this article I wrote regarding the cover-up by the DCSO personnel on Wooten’s acts in PumpkinGate, I described a document I had received via Open Records filings with the DCSO.  That document is referred to as “G-335D: OFF-DUTY, EXTRA-DUTY EMPLOYMENT.”

In that article, I detailed what the “written policies” are that DCSO personnel who are on Off-Duty or Extra-Duty are to follow when engaged in any kind of law-enforcement-related activity while not being “On-Duty.”

And, basically how Wooten, who was on Extra-Duty, had not followed those written procedures, and how Sheriff Carlisle and Major Goodie also simply ignored those written procedures as well to help cover-up Wooten’s actions.

So, how does Rep. Tanner fit into all this? The original Word document of G-335D that I was emailed from the DCSO was last touched by…”Kevin Tanner” who had last revised it on June 6, 2009. (Here is a link to that original Word Doc that has his name as the “Author”).

So, Kevin Tanner knows fully well exactly the kind of bullsh*t, do-nothing language he sticks into the language of HB 56 that (Lines 118-121) gives people like Wooten and EVERY OTHER LEO the right to give the middle-finger to any violations of any LE department’s “written policies” as follows:

<“The failure to comply with written policies adopted pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection (e) of Code Section 17-5-21 shall be considered a technical irregularity within the meaning of this Code section.”

Technical irregularity?” You mean “technical irregularity” of ignoring this part of your new language via HB 56 (Lines 63-74), Rep. Tanner:

“(e)(2)(A) The law enforcement agency that employs the officer seeking such warrant has adopted written policies for using no-knock that comply with paragraph (3) of this subsection;

“(e)(2)(B) It requires execution between 6:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M., unless the judge for good cause expressly authorizes execution at another time; and

“(e)(2)(C) The affidavit or testimony supporting such warrant establishes by probable cause that if an officer were to knock and announce identity and purpose before entry, such act of knocking and announcing would likely pose a significant and imminent danger to human life or imminent danger of evidence being destroyed.

“(e)(2)(3) Not later than September 1, 2015, any law enforcement agency that may seek a no-knock shall adopt guidelines and procedures that shall include, but shall not be limited to:”

Just call it for what it is, State Rep. Tanner. Do you have the balls to do that? Calling the ignoring of written policies a “technical irregularity” is an OPEN INVITATION (just like what your pal Tony Wooten and your other pals at the DCSO did, and continue to do) for every single law enforcement officer and/or LE Department ​in this state to ignore their “written policies” and ratchet-up the no-knock warrants and kill and maim and beat anyone to death that they please in their fervent efforts to collect their asset forfeiture plunder. Which leads me to…

Asset Forfeiture: The Racket

Nowhere in the language of HB 56 is any reference to “asset forfeiture.”  But, yet, I know (as does Kevin Tanner…and every prosecutor, former or otherwise, and every LEO in support of this bill knows) it is the reason why Rep. Tanner is proposing this bill.  NOT to “save lives” or any such other bullsh*t lies coming from Tanner, et al. who supports this bill.  Those claims are all part of the subterfuge.  And, any legislator who has co-sponsored the bill is either as fully knowledgeable as Tanner is, or they are gullible to believe every word he says. (Legislators?  Gullible?  Say it ain’t so!)

Want proof? Consider the case in Habersham County in mid-2014: A petty criminal acting as an informant to the Habersham Sheriff’s office claimed that he had purchased drugs from the occupant living at the house.  A “tip” from one crook is enough “probable cause” for a SWAT team to be armed to the gills and get a no-knock warrant to raid a house?  Really?  Why the f*** are cops now relying on ONE CROOK’S word that illicit activities are occurring at a house in order to justify their acts?

Were drugs found?  Nope.  Was someone harmed who didn’t have a gun and body armor?  Yep, an 18-month old baby sleeping in a crib in the house.

Why would cops just take the word of a crook? A person who kinda…sorta…has a record of being deceptive?  Because, this is what very likely went on in the mind of the lead drug investigator when he got this “tip”: “Drug dealer?….Money…lots of money…Drug dealers have lots of cash on them….we can hit that house, get evidence of the drugs…and confiscate under asset forfeiture ALL the money and property in that house.  Let’s get that judge to sign-off on the no-knock so we can ALL have a pay-day in this county!!!”

And, how do I have any inkling as to what went thru that guy’s mind (along with his direct report’s mind)?  Because of the extremely callous nature of the Habersham County’s Sheriff who uttered these words in relation to incident: “Bad things can happen. That’s just the world we live in.”

No, Sheriff of Habersham County. YOU and your asset forfeiture-hungry LEOs caused that “bad thing to happen.” That was no ‘Act of God’ like a tornado is.

And, not even a glimmer of responsibility from that guy. Is that the type of environment that you are okay with, Rep. Tanner? How about you, Rep. Golick?

Rep. Efestration? Is that what you learned working for DA Danny Porter?

If the FBI agents tasked with investigating the Habersham County incident were smart, they should check into all the bank accounts that the Habersham County Sheriff has access to. Because I’ll bet dozens of donuts that there is some illicit activity going on with bank accounts in that jurisdiction that causes people like that sheriff to remark in such a callous way about the injury his actions caused that resulted in no crime being discovered that justified that injury.

See, I bring-up bank accounts because part of the proposed amendment of Georgia’s asset forfeiture law in 2013 involved controls put on sheriffs and other LEO chiefs on how they could handle their “pirate finds” of money and assets.

From my 2013 story on this issue, here are some aspects that the Georgia Sheriffs Association found of particular concern with (and, then-Association President/Sheriff Howard Sills of Putnam County getting quite…angry on camera) the 2013 proposed legislation…and, when people get angry like Sills did, to me it signified something else was going on that he wasn’t going to let the committee know:

“HB 1 clarifies some current provisions regarding reporting and eliminates confusion over what the funds may be used for by explicitly defining the specific use of money confiscated — the same as federal law.

“HB 1 will create more transparency and accountability by strengthening the mandatory reporting requirement of all law enforcement agencies.

“HB 1 strikes a much needed balance in forfeiture law by protecting individual property rights and public safety against those involved in criminal enterprises. “

You see, the Sheriffs’ Association didn’t like the prospect of people looking over THEIR shoulder at their accounting of finances and money collected via asset-forfeiture processes. And, the Prosecuting Attorneys Council (then-represented by DA Danny Porter on that hour-long video linked in the comment regarding Howard Sills’ testimony) certainly didn’t want any interruption of their sharing of the plunder with their local sheriff’s operations.

Then, there’s the incident in Laurens County in late 2014 that involved the killing of an innocent homeowner named David Hooks. Here’s the short synopsis of that incident: A thief (yes, another crook) picked-up by Laurens County LE for stealing from David Hooks told the cops that a car that he stole from Hooks had a bag containing 22 grams of meth in it…thus implying that Hooks was involved in drug distribution.

Did the Laurens County cops think “Hmmm…maybe we need to stake this guy’s house out and see if we can catch him in the act?”  NOPE!  They get a no-knock warrant, suit-up in their fancy-dancy federally-issued SWAT toy attire and proceed to raid the house, and kill David Hooks.  You can read the fuller story on this link, but the fact of the matter is, as was reported in multiple news sources, no drugs, not even a nanogram (a billionth of a gram) was found in Hooks’ house after the cops murdered him.

Even the GBI came on that scene and helped searched the house…and not a trace of drugs was found.

In stories you can find on the Web about this incident in Laurens County, they remark how successful a businessman David Hooks was. My contention is that the Laurens County cops knew exactly who David Hooks was, and exactly how wealthy he was…and that the following is very similar to what went thru the mind of that Sheriff (and his fellow LEOs) to justify his department’s acts in getting the illegal (according to Georgia law now) no-knock warrant: “Rich guy….really rich mother-f***er…we can get ALL his assets, his house, his bank accounts, his cash in the house…rich guys like that always have money in their houses….he’s likely got a safe with thousands of dollars in it..that’s going to be OUR money!  Let’s raid this f*cker’s house and get OUR PAY DAY!!!”

Because, if they had found ANY drug in that house, by way of asset forfeiture laws in this state, all of David Hooks’ property and bank accounts could be tied to “drug distribution” and all would have ALL become the Sheriff’s own Pirate Booty. To use in any manner he (and his other county pals…the DA…the judges…the county commission…whatever and whoever he wanted to share it with) decided.

I’m sure that since the Institute for Justice has been exposing outlandish uses of forfeited assets (several notable ones in Georgia), a lot of the more outlandish uses of money from asset forfeiture-based raids has gone “underground” so to speak by these sheriffs and other LE organizations. But, like termites, just because you cannot always see them, you know that there is abuse going on with both the raids (like these two previously discussed in Georgia) and the handling of all that confiscated money and property…all confiscated because they claim “We’re here to make you, Joe/Jane Public, safer.” Yeah, right.

How HB-56 Should Be Written

So, let me reiterate the main point you need to understand (“you” being everyone concerned with their life and limb in Georgia) about HB-56: It will actually put into the Official Code of Georgia the “no-knock warrant” law that does not exist now. Rep. Tanner (and his fellow co-sponsors, gullible or not) are intent on allowing more no-knock warrants to be issued under the specific guise of “protecting more people” while at the same time inserting a CYA note that allows the cops to ignore their required “polices”, call it a “technical irregularity”, and proceed to MURDER ANYONE THEY DARN WELL PLEASE. (Hey, Sheriffs gotta pay the bills, right? Go for that asset-forfeiture route whenever you can, how ever you can accomplish it, right?)

If you go back in time to the Atlanta City PD incident involving a nice black lady named Kathryn Johnston in 2006, you might be surprised to find out that the “tip” those cops reportedly acted upon to bust down her door was also from a “police informant.” You know what the street-definition of a “police informant” is?  It is a crook…a criminal himself/herself!!!

So, since the common thread in Georgia appears to be that the cops are ALL operating (2006, mid-2014, September 2014,etc.) from “tips” they receive from people who have a proven track record of LYING, it kinda seems to me….I don’t know…maybe I’m reaching here…I’m just going to go out on a BIG limb here and say that the qualifications are not stringent enough in the evidence/tips that cops receive, is it?

I know this: Reform the asset-forfeiture law, and a lot of these bullsh*t, killing of innocent people incidents will come to an abrupt halt. (But, that will happen right after Barack Obama declares himself a Republican, right?)

So, barring the reformation of asset-forfeiture laws to remove the obvious temptation from going thru the mind of the crooked-minded, blood-thirsty sheriffs (and any other LEO in Georgia) who do NOT give a damn about anything but making headlines and capturing someone else’s assets , golly, what other ways could we reduce these types of incidents from happening? How about:

1) Rather than allow police to ignore written policies, require them to a) develop them, and b) require every LEO to read them, and c) require every LEO to follow them or else get charged with a felony. After all, they’re the ones with the gun, licensed by the State to enforce the law. Why should they not be required to FOLLOW a law designed to protect the innocent among us?

2) Require that more evidence from OTHER than a criminal be required by law to be offered for proof that the intended target poses a danger to the officers intent on breaching the door without an announcement of why they want to come in.  Something like…three independently-verified sources? Is the life of the next David Hooks not worth that kind of insurance? (Or, do just “bad things happen?”)

3) You know what the best option is for HB 56?  Kill it.  Its design is to specifically allow more innocent killings to occur in the hope of capturing more money and assets from others.  That is its specific purpose, plain and simple.

Tomorrow (February 18, 2015) there is a hearing on HB 56. This bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, chaired by Rep. Rich Golick (a co-sponsor of HB 56). Don’t know which room the hearing is being held or at what time, but below is a list of the members of this committee, along with their House Office phone numbers. If you are concerned with HB 56, and its repercussions, you should call these folks’ offices below, and tell them (or whoever will take your message since they will not likely have time to call you back) how you feel about more no-knock warrants being legalized in Georgia:

Rich Golick (Chairman): 404.656.5943
B.J. Pak (Vice Chairman): (404) 656-0254
Dustin Hightower (Secretary):  404.657.1803
Stacey Abrams 404.656.5058 
Alex Atwood (404) 656-0152 
Mandi Ballinger 404.656.0254 
Christian Coomer 404.651.7737 
Sharon Cooper 404.656.5069 
Pam Dickerson 404.656.0314 
Micah Gravley 404.656.0325 
Dar’shun Kendrick 404.656.0109 
Matt Ramsey 404.656.5024 
Nikki Randall 404.656.0109 
Bert Reeves 404.656.0287 
Ed Setzler 404.656.7857 
Brian Strickland 404.656.0109
Robert Trammel 404.656.0314

Anything else that Tanner claims, or any LEO, or any DA, or whoever appears before this committee hearing tomorrow in support of this legislation claims is part of the “agenda of misdirection” for this bill.

If you want a more eloquent presentation on the hazards of this bill, you can read this piece authored by Catherine Bernard (who is way nicer than I am in presentation) regarding the long history of rights that citizens have (going back 400 or so years) regarding being secure in their own home:

http://politicalvine.com/politicalrumors/law-and-justice/no-knock-warrants-should-remain-illegal-in-georgia/


Follow PV on Twitter: @PoliticalVine2


No-Knock Warrants Should Remain Illegal in Georgia

PV, February 10th, 2015

[PV NOTE: The letter below was authored by Catherine Bernard on 2/10/2015]

“…the house of every one is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence as for his repose.”
-Sir Edward Coke, Attorney General of England, Semayne’s Case (1604)

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, I attended the House Judiciary Non-Civil Subcommittee hearing on HB56, Representative Kevin Tanner’s no-knock warrant bill. This legislation has been touted as a restriction on raids such as the one in Habersham County where 2 year-old Bou-Bou Phonesavanh was severely injured by a stun grenade.

Unfortunately, HB56 would actually expand law enforcement’s authority to conduct no-knock raids – because right now, no-knock warrants are specifically prohibited by Georgia statute.

A “no-knock warrant” is when a judge authorizes law enforcement to forcibly enter a home without first announcing their presence and identity. It’s easy to see how dangerous this can be, and indeed there are countless cases of both law enforcement officers and homeowners killed or injured in the chaos accompanying a forced, unannounced entry. Avoiding this predictable outcome has been a priority of the Western legal system for centuries; the “knock and announce” rule was articulated by Sir Coke in 1604:

“In all cases when the King is party, the sheriff may break the party’s house, either to arrest him, or to do other execution of the King’s process, if otherwise he cannot enter. But before he breaks it, he ought to signify the cause of his coming, and to make request to open doors…”

The U.S. and Georgia Constitutions both absolutely prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures. A forcible entry with no prior announcement of authority or identity is per se unreasonable – something well understood by generations of Georgia legislators: according to the Official Code of Georgia, no-knock warrants are illegal. OCGA 17-5-27 plainly states that when executing a search warrant, law enforcement officers are required to give verbal notice before entering a home by force.

So why are dozens, if not hundreds, of no-knock search warrants being served around the state of Georgia on a daily basis? Judicial activism. Though the legislature made no changes to the verbal notice requirement of the search warrant statute, after a 1970 ruling by the US Supreme Court, these “exceptions to the knock-and-announce rule” began to creep-in on a regular basis. Rep. Tanner said that the “clear precedent set by the courts” makes it ridiculous to think that no-knock warrants aren’t legal – but that’s a huge violation of separation of powers.

We’re seeing a lot of terrible things happen with no-knock search warrants, one of which is the trend for knock-and-announce search warrants to be served in substantially the same manner – such as the 11pm raid that killed David Hooks in Laurens County. It’s admirable that we have legislators who want to step up and address the problem. But it is imperative that we not make the problem worse in an attempt to fix it.

As well-intentioned as HB56 and SB45 are, they both specifically legalize no-knock search warrants. A concept that currently does not exist in the Georgia Code, that goes against every principle of our Founding, and even centuries of English common law, would be given the official approval of the people of Georgia. This would be a tragic step backwards for our civic freedoms.

I have talked to many law enforcement officers who insist that they need no-knock search warrants in order to protect themselves. I have talked to many others who are deeply concerned about the practice and would like to see it ended for everyone’s safety. (One woman speaking at the hearing yesterday was the mother of a police officer who said her son and his friends get carried away and need more restrictions.)

But the injuries and deaths speak for themselves – this is a dangerous practice for all parties, and should not be given further legal sanction. Our legislators need to have the vision to see beyond the immediate demands of agencies that have been flooded with cheap military equipment by the federal government, and are looking for reasons to justify its use and presence.

Of further concern are the provisions in HB56 requiring that all agencies adopt regulations regarding no-knock search warrants by September 2015. This is passing the buck – if there are procedures that need to be in place limiting search warrants, then that’s what the legislative process is for. It’s also a huge windfall for the contractors who will be able to write these regulations and sell them to local agencies, with little to no oversight. And while the reporting requirements are admirable, there is no enforcement mechanism.

The core issue here is that everyone agrees no-knock warrants are problematic: they are routinely justified by saying “it’s only a small percentage of warrants” (not true in my experience, though different jurisdictions have different setups), and even the law enforcement community is supporting restrictions.

But we KNOW they’re problematic – that’s why they’re illegal! The sponsors of HB56 want to skip the hard task of justifying the legality of the practice in the first place, and skip ahead to saying that it’s time for regulation to fix the problems. This is the perfect opportunity to talk about why we’ve gotten so far away from our actual laws in the first place.

In sum, this isn’t a matter of objecting to incremental change because it doesn’t go far enough – this is an objection to a threat to the core of our constitutional freedoms and citizens of Georgia and the United State. No-knock warrants are dangerous and antithetical to our founding principles. It’s time to reverse decades of judicial activism fueled by federal government intrusion, and end the practice entirely. At the very least, don’t make it officially legal. Please email Rep. Tanner and tell him not to legalize this dangerous, unconstitutional practice.

Sincerely,
Catherine Bernard
Attorney At-Law

PS: For more on these criminal justice reform issues, please follow my new legal defense nonprofit on Facebook, Spartacus Legal.

The Origination of SB 72 (aka “Police Dogs are Human Beings”)

Bill Simon, February 9th, 2015

Prelude

Now, just, for a moment, picture the scenario we have in this state with regards to our public school education system: We still rank somewhere in the bottom 10-percentile (46th, 47th, 48th, 49th or 50th) where we have been for, likely, at least 50 years.

Every budget year, we hear cries and lobbying for MORE money to be spent on education in the hopes that we “fix” our system so that our state’s children learn better and get smarter and are able to compete better when they grow-up, etc.

And yet, this year, 2015, we have a bill proposed and backed by 6 State Senators, who each represent a varied population of Georgia, who are attempting to write a law that gives police dogs the status of a human being. Six state senators, Ladies & Gentlemen, who are supposed to “represent” their districts. Meaning, theoretically, if one were to randomly select the average person in each district, they would likely get, at minimum, someone of equal life skills and intelligence as any one of these senators who represent their respective districts.

Let’s say that Moses of The Old Testament received The Ten Commandments from God around 1500 B.C. One of those Commandments was ‘Thou shalt not murder.’ “Murder” meaning the “unlawful killing of a human being.” So, for close to 3500 years, civilized societies have had an understanding that murder is the unlawful killing of a human being. Not my definition; this is God’s Definition of what murder is.

Section 16-5-1 of the Official Code of Georgia (currently) defines Murder; malice murder; felony murder; murder in the second degree as follows: (a) A person commits the offense of murder when he unlawfully and with malice aforethought, either express or implied, causes the death of another human being.”

And yet, SB 72 is literally proposing REVISED law that “A person commits the offense of murder in the second degree when such person causes the death of a police dog irrespective of malice while such police dog is in the performance of its duties.”

If we have 6 state senators who are so stupid as to propose such a law, in writing, then there is NO amount of money that can EVER be spent to “fix” our school system in this state. You cannot possibly “fix” that level of low-intelligence human being. It is fruitless, and every increased dollar spent on such an endeavor is a provable waste of taxpayer money. So, STOP wasting money on our public school system because we cannot fix stupid when stupid advances as far as these 6 state senators have advanced.

Read the rest of this entry »

The State Senate of Georgia: Overdosing on the Stupid Pills

Bill Simon, February 6th, 2015

Rumors have it that the Georgia State Senate is set to pass a bill that will turnover thousands of years of societal and legal precedent in this country (if not, perhaps, the entire world and/or universe) that will officially award “person” status to the species of animal known as the canine.

State Senator Jeff Mullis (R) is the lead sponsor on this bill, and his fellow senator sponsors include:

(2nd Sponsor) Harper, Tyler 7th (Republican)
(3rd Sponsor) Watson, Ben 1st (Republican)
(4th Sponsor) Albers, John 56th (Republican)
(5th Sponsor) Seay, Valencia 34th (Democrat)
(6th Sponsor) Jones II, Harold 22nd (Democrat)

The bill is Senate Bill 72, which specifies that anyone responsible for killing a police dog can be charged with murder. Don’t believe me? Here, you go read the online text version: http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20152016/SB/72

And, the PDF version (in case that online version magically disappears)

Here is one such example (Lines 32-34):

“A person commits the offense of murder in the second degree when such person causes the death of a police dog irrespective of malice while such police dog is in the performance of its duties.”

Do you know what the longstanding definition of “murder” is? It is the unlawful killing of a human being. Period. It is not the “killing” that constitutes a murderous act, but the unlawful killing of a human being is where “murder” is a crime.

In Georgia law, OCGA 16-5-1 defines murder as: “A person commits the offense of murder when he unlawfully and with malice aforethought, either express or implied, causes the death of another human being.” Human. Being.

There is already existing law that punishes people for acts taken against a police dog or a police horse that is involved in official duties. SB 72 refers to OCGA 16-11-107 that already lays-out punishment for “destroying or injuring” a police dog or horse. And, it’s already a felony. On. The. Georgia. Books.

But, these state senators (whom I think I can safely refer to them as people who have lost their freaking minds, a/k/a “whackjobs”) are of the belief that they, as legislators, should bring the same level of significance of life that a dog has to the level that the human race currently maintains.

Now, just to be clear….I love dogs. Always have. Had dogs growing-up, and had one dog that passed away in 2010. I’m not anti-dog.

And, if I still had a dog, and both Jeff Mullis and my dog were drowning, and I could only save one of them, it’d be my dog that got saved. (And, if I could save both of them, I’d go look for another dog to save…).

I love dogs. And, I’m sure police officers love their police dogs, and refer and think of them as their “working partner” and all that. But, dogs are trained by humans to be effective police tools, much like a police car, a radar-detection gun, a gun, or whatever. They are not human beings, and do not deserve human status anymore than a car driven by a police officer deserves human status.

David Hooks got mowed-down by crooked Georgia sheriff deputies executing a search warrant based on the word of a thief who had robbed Hooks two days before, and the deputies did not bother checking out anything before busting in the door, shooting Hooks….and neither they nor the GBI could find any drugs claimed by the thief to be in the house.

For the past 4 some-odd months, the DA down in Dublin has been scratching his rear-end and twiddling his thumbs on it because, well, you know, crooked DAs gotta stick together with crooked sheriffs when they demonstrate, at the very minimum, their incompetence in carrying out their duties.

State Senators, why don’t you OUTLAW the unlawful killing of human beings like David Hooks by law enforcement officers abusing them?

You can refer to the following section of the Georgia Constitution if you’d care to start passing laws that protect your constituents from the same bullcrap that David Hooks suffered and the baby in Habersham County, and the litany of abuse that Georgia “Law” Enforcement officers up and down this state inflict on people every single day:

“Article I, Section I, Paragraph XVII. Bail; fines; punishment; arrest, abuse of prisoners. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted; nor shall any person be abused in being arrested, while under arrest, or in prison.

The killing of David Hooks constitutes unconstitutional abuse. The killing of a police dog, while being an unfortunate and sorrowful event, does not constitute “abuse” under the Georgia Constitution. Nor does the dog have any enumerated Constitutional rights.

You six senators should resign, effective immediately. You’ve lost your sanity. No one can or should trust you to represent them.

And, if you don’t resign, no worries. Someone a lot smarter than you (granted, you 6 have set the bar pretty low now) will run against you, and kick your stupid, insane ass out of office for writing a law that actually gives human status to dogs. Kudos on that.

Special Report: Refugee Resettlement in Georgia

Bill Simon, November 20th, 2014

[Note: The following is a reprint from an emailed newsletter I sent back on February 20, 2014, but that article never got republished to the Political Vine website.]

“Follow the money.” — attributed to “Deep Throat,” the inside source in the Watergate scandal.

“No matter what they say it’s about, it’s always about money.” — Bill O’Neil, American Businessman

Introduction

Ever heard of “refugee resettlement?” Few people have outside of a smattering of government and political entities…and even within those categories, even fewer have ever heard of the term or understands what it means…and most importantly, what it costs. What it costs the U.S., and, what it costs the local and state (“Georgia”) taxpayer.

There will be lots of people in the legislature, along with lobbyists of the NGOs that receive beaucoup money from the government(s), and representatives of NGOs who claim that the money to resettle/relocate refugees to Georgia “…comes from the Feds and is therefore free money we don’t have to come-up with.”

There is an initial chunk of money that comes from the Feds…that lasts about 90 days….AND then, where do the refugees go for financial help? Your local pocketbook, of course.

There was a very good article about refugee resettlement in Georgia published in the Marietta Daily Journal a few days ago. It was written by Joe Newton, Chairman of Citizens for Refugee Resettlement Relief in Georgia. The whole piece is good, but I found the following the most significant as it directly relates to the burden on the local and state jurisdictions:

“In 2010 the welfare cost to Georgians was $17 million, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Counties chipped in $4 million of your money — most of which came from your property taxes. The federal government pays most of the cost for 90 days, and then Georgians absorb the welfare cost in perpetuity. Estimates show that the Georgia welfare cost is now approaching $40 million annually and rising exponentially.”

And, it’s not just hard dollars that it is costing Georgians. When “refugees” are depicted in movies and documentaries, they seem to always paint the scene as though these are people seeking a new and better life and will love their new country and their “rescuers.”

But, in fact, there is likely to be a higher percentage of them who may not be the type of person you think they are…and what ends-up happening is that they add to the law enforcement and public safety resource burden as well.
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PumpkinGate: The Cover-ups – Part 2

Bill Simon, October 24th, 2014

Cover-up By Dawson County Sheriff’s Office (“DCSO”) Personnel

For nearly the past two months since August 23rd, I have been engaged in filing different Open Records Requests (“ORR”) with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.

To those people who are not part of the Georgia GOP Republican establishment (who are, for the most part, good little Fascists who believe the use of police is perfectly justified in destroying people you perceive to be political threats and enemies), several odd things occurred in the arrest of Nydia Tisdale.

In no particular order of importance, the first thing to discuss is the confiscation of her video-camera. She, along with the ENTIRE “public” was invited to a “public event.” What’s the difference between someone filming anything happening in a “public event” and anyone attending the event?

Here’s the copy of the Facebook invitation to this event to make sure we don’t forget that it was an open invitation by the Deal Campaign for Governor: Facebook Event Announcement.

So, Clint Bearden kicks off the rally on August 23rd, and while looking straight at Nydia’s camera, proceeds to introduce people to the event, and where the restrooms are, etc. (you see this transpire in Tisdale’s recording of the event).

Everyone should be wondering why, exactly, Nydia Tisdale’s video camera (her privately-owned property) was confiscated by Tony Wooten, the arresting officer, and not returned for 6 days?

In one of the Dawson County newspapers, I read a blurb that Sheriff Billy Carlisle claimed that the DCSO had obtained a search warrant to “legally” search the video camera. What right did they have to confiscate the video-camera in the first place? Anyone interested in the concept of “private property” should have been concerned with that confiscation (unless you are one of those people who conclude that everyone arrested should immediately be forfeited all their rights…e.g., if your name is Jon Richards, Seth Weathers, et al. in Ga. GOP politics).

So, I filed an ORR for a copy of this “search warrant” because I want to know the legal basis the DCSO had to confiscate and “search” the video-camera, and I wanted to know which Judge signed the warrant. This is the PDF response I received.

Recall that the premise of Nydia’s ejection was that (according to Bearden) they didn’t want anyone recording the event, and Bearden’s claim is that he and Wooten talked to Nydia and “politely” (in the words of Bearden and Johnny Burt, as written in newspapers) asked her to put down the camera and stop recording.

But, as we know from several sources, there were other recordings of the event. Brian Pritchard of FetchYourNews.com was there recording the event via an audio recorder. He was not told to stop recording. No one else was either.

If Bearden had been telling the truth about “Well, we were trying to make sure no Democrat trackers were there recording,” he would have made an announcement at the beginning that “You are not allowed to record this event, everyone please turn-off your cameras.” No such statement was ever made.

Seems to me (as it will seem to most juries) that singling-out one person in a roomful of people recording will not meet the burden of one person engaged in “criminal trespass” while the others recording the event didn’t meet that burden.

This story by Jim Galloway of the AJC describes the issue and the differences between the two recordings made at the event (Brian Pritchard’s and Nydia Tisdale’s). There are six screams from Nydia Tisdale in the Pritchard recording that were mysteriously missing from Nydia Tisdale’s camera after she got it back from Sheriff Carlisle.

Six screams she uttered in the course of experiencing Deputy Captain Tony Wooten physically assault and engage in what may have been froetteurism while Tisdale is helplessly pinned and bent over the counter in the barn.

That missing footage from Tisdale’s recording points to evidence tampering by one or more persons with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.

Most recently, the story leaking-out from several sources in Dawson County is that Tisdale’s video record was deliberately tampered with by DCSO personnel because they figured that District Attorney Lee Darragh could get it ruled to be inadmissable in court…thus denying Nydia Tisdale any semblance of a fair trial in Dawson County.

One wonders if this plot was dreamed-up entirely by DCSO personnel all on their own, or if Darragh suggested it to them, or if Bearden (who works for David Ralston, who is an experienced criminal defense attorney) may have suggested it, or who “dreamed” it up.

Makes one ALSO wonder how many times in the past has the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office engaged in evidence tampering to wrongly convict someone charged in the Dawson County jurisdiction?

But, evidence tampering is only part of the cover-up by the DCSO. To understand the rest, you need to understand what these three terms mean with regards to the official status of whether Tony Wooten was actually qualified to be making the arrest in the manner in which he made it:

1) On-duty
2) Off-duty
3) Extra-duty

In every single law enforcement department in this state, an employed law enforcement officer (“LEO”) is either On-Duty, Off-Duty, or on Extra-Duty (these are standard terms).

On-duty means the officer is on official duty, being paid with taxpayer dollars in his/her assigned role as an official LEO, acting on behalf of the public. That is, driving on public roads, monitoring public property, responding to emergency calls, etc., assigned by his/her supervisor.

Off-duty means exactly what you think it means.

Extra-duty, for personnel of the DCSO, is defined in one of their policy manuals, a PDF copy available here (obtained via ORR to DCSO).

Under Section E of this DCSO policy manual, Paragraph 2, is this definition of “Extra-Duty”:

“[A]ny employment that is conditioned on the actual or potential use of law enforcement powers by the off-duty employee.”

I filed an ORR to discover what the Duty Roster was for all personnel with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office on August 23rd, 2014.

This is the email verbiage I received from Amanda Martin, Open Records Act Officer, describing the detailed work the human resource people did to compile this information.

This is the Excel spreadsheet she emailed me attached to that email.

For purposes of ease of you folks examining this information, I opened the Excel file, gridded the cells, and printed a PDF version of it, available here. But, if you so choose, feel free to download the Excel file as well.

As you can plainly see, Ladies & Gentlemen, the status of Captain Tony Wooten (shown as the 7th name from the top), as per the official Dawson County Sheriff’s Office Human Resource Records for the DCSO on Saturday, August 23rd, is that he was on “Extra-Duty.”

What does that mean? Well, while I will go thru all the legal detail shortly, in summary, it means Wooten, Carlisle, and maybe one or more other people in the DCSO are in deep sh*t because the DCSO’s own written policies on making arrests were not followed for Tisdale’s arrest. Not only were written policies broken, OCGA law was broken as well.

In that aforementioned Policy Manual for Off-Duty & Extra-Duty personnel, under Section H, this section specifically stipulates the conditions and procedures to follow in the event of an incident that an Extra-Duty LEO must follow:

“H. HANDLING OF INCIDENTS:

1. Whether employed in a regular off-duty/extra-duty position, Dawson County Sheriff’s Office sworn and certified employees shall respond to and take appropriate action when there is reasonable belief that the life or safety of another is threatened or when it is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

2. When the incident is not of a serious nature as described above, requires the employee to leave the scene of the outside employment, or when a vehicle accident occurs, the officer will request that an on-duty unit be dispatched to the scene to take charge of the incident.

3. The on-duty officer who responds to the incident scene will then be responsible for conducting a thorough investigation and will assume responsibility for completing all necessary reports.

5. All personnel engaged in off-duty employment are subject to call-out in case of emergency, and may be expected to leave his/her regular or extra-duty employment in such situations.”

Please note #1: “Whether employed in a regular off-duty/extra-duty position, Dawson County Sheriff’s Office sworn and certified employees shall respond to and take appropriate action when there is reasonable belief that the life or safety of another is threatened or when it is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

Was Nydia Tisdale, while seated and filming speakers, engaged in either a) threatening the life or safety of another, and/or b) about to commit a ‘forcible felony?’

Well, while Wooten fabricated the Offense on the Incident Report as “OBSTRUCTION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS BY THREATS OR VIOLENCE-F”, it is clear in the Tisdale video, as well as other pictures, AND witnesses who were there (those, at least, not intending to commit perjury on the witness stand), that there was no violent act, nor threat of a violent act by Tisdale.

So, since there was no threat to anyone’s safety or life at the time of Tisdale’s arrest, that means Wooten violated #1 of this Section H. In so doing, he also violated Paragraph 2, which stipulated: “2. When the incident is not of a serious nature as described above, requires the employee to leave the scene of the outside employment, or when a vehicle accident occurs, the officer will request that an on-duty unit be dispatched to the scene to take charge of the incident.”

Wooten did not call any on-duty unit before grabbing, mauling, and dragging Nydia Tisdale out of the area. He effected a physical assault all by himself, never told Tisdale she was being arrested, and never bothered to tell her his name.

So, along with violating #1 and #2 of Section H, Wooten also violated #3 because he filled-out the Incident Report, and #3 stipulates the following: “3. The on-duty officer who responds to the incident scene will then be responsible for conducting a thorough investigation and will assume responsibility for completing all necessary reports.”

Again, Wooten was NOT “on-duty” but was on Extra-Duty.

As a side note here, since Wooten falsely claimed Tisdale was involved in “threatening violence”, that falls under a violation of OCGA 16-10-20; knowingly and willfully making a false, fictitious and fraudulent statement. But, that’s not the only OCGA law Wooten violated.

Two other ORRs I made to DCSO involved the request for any documentation of an official request by Wooten that would allow him to BE at the event on Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in the capacity of being an Extra-Duty LEO on the premises. One of my many helpers in my research told me that every LE department had to have a written procedure for how LEOs could be used by private citizens for security, traffic-directing, etc., and that usually there was a requirement for a specific form to be filled-out in advance of the event to get permission.

This is the documentation of my first ORR related to me trying to get a copy of this type of document (read from the bottom email first) and the DCSO response to the first time I asked the question.

Then, when I reviewed that Policy Manual for Off/Extra Duty personnel, I discovered Section F, Application Procedures for any LEO requesting permission for engaging in an Extra-Duty assignment:

“1. GENERAL: Any employee desiring to engage in extra-duty or regular off-duty employment must submit the Off-Duty/Extra-Duty Employment Request to his/her immediate supervisor, through the chain-of-command, to the Division Commander for approval. A copy of the Off-Duty/Extra-duty Employment Request is attached to this SOP as ‘ANNEX A’.”

For his Extra-Duty status to work the Burt’s Pumpkin Farm event, Wooten, according to DCSO written policies, had to fill-out some ‘Annex A Form’ and get it approved. So, I sent another ORR specifically using the term “Annex A Form” to see if that was on record with DCSO, and this is their response again, stating that no such form that Wooten filled-out existed in the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.

Now, is it just a “policy issue” regarding Wooten’s failure to get written permission to engage in Extra-Duty? No, it is not, actually. There is a specific OCGA law that applies. OCGA 16-10-3 applies to any LEO desiring to work off-duty or on extra-duty. Specifically, as it applies to this matter of Tony Wooten’s presence at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm, this is the section that was not adhered to:

OCGA 16-10-3(c)(1): “From being employed by private persons, firms, or corporations during his off-duty hours when such employment is approved in writing by the chief or head, or his duly designated agent, of the law enforcement agency by which such law enforcement officer is employed;”

So, no document currently exists, nor did one get created before the August 23rd event. But, I can imagine Sheriff Carlisle, Tony Wooten and whoever else at the DCSO fabricating a “document we just found!”…then, back-date it, back-sign it, get a notary public to back-notarize it, and continue the cover-up of Wooten’s actions (you know, when you’re already caught violating written policies, fabricating charges in writing against someone in violation of Georgia criminal statutes, engaging in deliberate evidence tampering, and conspiring with other people in violation of Georgia RICO laws, what’s another fabrication to add to the cover-up, right?).

So, one might wonder how it came to be that Wooten did find himself on the property? How does one get an LEO to come and act as security for an event held on private property?

So, another ORR was filed whereby I received this response.

Please take note of the simply fascinating revelation disclosed in the last paragraph that “…the text message is part of the internal investigation and will fall under 50-18-72(a)(8). This information will be available for release after the internal investigation is closed by our office.”

Why is this so fascinating to me? Well, a) that, apparently, someone I listed in my ORR did communicate directly to Tony Wooten via text messages to get him to attend the event on August 23rd, and b) that there is still an internal investigation going on as of October 6th.

Here’s the problem I have with “b”: According to this article in the
DawsonAdvertiser.com
(which has an amazing display of Carlisle’s deep-seated concern for poor Tony Wooten and whether Wooten violated any department policy or procedures), the story makes reference to the fact that the “internal investigation” was turned around in 48 hours, and Wooten was “cleared” by Major Ray Goodie.

And yet, this ORR response I received from Amanda Martin states that as of October 6th, there is still an ongoing internal investigation.

I have to wonder if Major Ray Goodie actually did, himself, complete a full investigation into whether Tony Wooten’s activities broke department policies, and “cleared Wooten” of any wrongdoing, or did Carlisle just put on an act and no investigation was actually performed on Tony Wooten’s acts?

Because if Goodie did do an investigation and “cleared Wooten,” then Goodie also has significant involvement in the cover-up of Wooten’s violations of department policies, procedures, and state law.

Again, just look at the fact that the DCSO Human Resource Department stipulated that Tony Wooten was on Extra Duty, and the existence of Section H’s directives when it comes to LEO Off-Duty/Extra-Duty Employment in their G335-D Policy Manual (signed, by the way, by Sheriff Billy Carlisle). One does not need to “interview witnesses” to determine Wooten was in violation of those policies, along with state law.

BUT, since Carlisle brought it up, one wonders who those “three or four eyewitnesses” were that Carlisle claims he spoke to as published by this DawsonAdvertiser.com article: “Three or four eyewitnesses were interviewed at separate times, according to Carlisle.”

Which esteemed members of the crowd who attended the Burt’s Pumpkin Farm event on August 23rd provided “eyewitness accounts” to Carlisle? And, why doesn’t Sheriff Carlisle know, exactly, whether it was “three” or whether it was “four” witnesses?”

Now, I know what folks like Sheriff Carlisle and Tony Wooten (and, whoever else is involved in the cover-up at DCSO, in coordination with any “eyewitnesses” dumb enough to continue lying in this endeavor) are probably going to do as a result of this publication: Come-up with explanations that neutralize my allegations.

So, in anticipation of those acts, let’s examine possible claims by Sheriff Carlisle:

Excuse #1: “My own department’s Human Resources Department is wrong. Captain Tony Wooten was officially On-Duty on that Saturday.”

Rebuttal: If so, then why was Captain Tony Wooten, who was wearing a police radio with handset, unable to summon help on his own, and directed someone on the Burt’s Pumpkin Farm to call 911?

Here is a photo clearly showing Wooten (shown as the 3rd individual you see, with Clint Bearden being first, Richard Woods is speaking in the foreground as the 2nd person you see) wearing a radio on his left-side with a cord going up and across his chest where the handset is clipped to his shirt placket:
http://www.politicalvine.com/2014/dawsoncounty/Bearden-RWoods-Wooten.jpg

I filed an ORR to obtain a copy of the audio-recording of the 911-call. While that was declined, upon my modifying the request, what I did obtain was a 6-page PDF that was a transcription of the 911-call made from Burt’s Pumpkin Farm. You can read that here.

Now, while what was redacted included the identification of the specific person making the call, there is enough interesting information that was not redacted to get a clue as to what the 911-caller claimed.

First thing that struck me was on Page 1, down towards the bottom, in the Remarks section: “FML ADVISING THERE IS A FEMALE ON THE SCENE THAT BEGAN FILMING AND SHE WAS ASKED TO LEAVE BY THE OWNERS ON SCENE. SHE STARTED RAISING CAIN…FML ADVISING THAT TONY WOOTEN IS ASKING FOR ASSISTANCE AND TO GET PPL THERE NOW”.

Yeah, umm…that “FML” who made the 911 call is a freaking liar as it is clear on Tisdale’s video that she was holding a video-camera, and not uttering one sound, much less “RAISING CAIN” before Wooten grabbed her (but, hey, you folks in Dawson County just keep on lying as often as you folks do).

I’m guessing that in Dawson County, as long as you “good Christian folks” have signs like the one noted below seen on the wall inside the Burt’s Pumpkin Farm barn, you can commit any sin you want to, right? Lie, cheat, steal, molest pumpkins, have intercourse with farm animals and bend women over a counter while assaulting them…it’s all “okay” as long as you have a sign on the wall that is a cite from the Bible, right? Like this one seen over Wooten’s right shoulder: http://www.politicalvine.com/2014/dawsoncounty/Wooten-Christ3.jpg” alt=”Wooten-Christ3.jpg

But, of course, the real issue is why couldn’t Tony Wooten handle a 120-lb woman of which he had one of her arms yanked behind her back while she was shoved against the counter by his body being pressed-up against her rear-end?

A lot of the 911-transcript is “police radio code” that I have no idea how to interpret as is. However, a friend of PV used to work in LE some years ago, and he translated it into “English” as best he could on the codes he recognized. Feel free to browse that here.

From this translation, we have this interpretation: TWO separate, on-duty DCSO officers in separate patrol cars were dispatched at break-neck speed to race to a pumpkin farm because they thought poor, wittle Tony Wooten was in serious trouble or risk of loss of life (from a 120-lb woman he had already had firm control of).

So, again, if he was “on-duty,” then there was no need for a 911-call as Wooten had a police radio attached to his hip. (BUT, I’m certain Sheriff Carlisle will come-up with something to continue the cover-up and multiple lies.)

Excuse #2: “Captain Tony Wooten was not actually on the premises acting as a security guard. He was off-duty, and happened to be driving by the farm, when his sharp hearing (insert Six Million Dollar Man sound-effect here) picked-up a statement uttered by Clint Bearden about a woman illegally filming his candidates and he wished aloud that he had a cop around to eject her. Wooten yanked his steering wheel around and raced to the area of the farm in which the trouble was occurring, bounded over the giant pumpkins in one tremendous leap (again, insert Six Million Dollar Man sound effect here), where he was quickly briefed on the problem and directed by Johnny Burt to remove her.”

Rebuttal: Okay…you got me there. Or, do you? See, there are a few of these photos that show Wooten on the premises before the rally kick-off at 3:30 PM that day. So, you know, Sheriff Carlisle, if you have a plausible explanation for why Mr. Wooten can be seen here, in these various photos, before the event, ON private property (as opposed to “public property”), then, by all means, do share with the Dawson News & Advertiser (or any other news outlet who may ask you) what that explanation is:

Wooten Photo 1:

Wooten Photo 2:

Sheriff Carlisle, if you would like to declare that Wooten was “On-Duty,” then the only way that would work, legally, is that Burt’s Pumpkin Farm would have to be considered to be “public property” for this event (after all, it was, promoted as “Open To Public”). Want to go that route? Let us know.

In Conclusion

Quite the legal conundrum here in Dawson County with regards to the unethical and illegal actions taken by Captain Tony Wooten, Sheriff Billy Carlisle, the Burts, various and sundry “eyewitnesses”, et al. in the assault and arrest of Nydia Tisdale. One wonders WHO would be qualified to investigate the DCSO?

Certainly not the Sheriff’s internal investigation staff. At best, Sheriff Billy Carlisle, after being Dawson County Sheriff for the past 15 years or so, is clueless as to his own department’s policies and the law with regard to extra-duty personnel. At worst, he is the mastermind of the entire cover-up by DCSO.

The DA of Dawson County? Nahhh…because sources say that District Attorney Lee Darragh and Captain Tony Wooten are BFFs (Best Friends Forever). Dawson County has a population of approximately 22,000. Everyone is everyone else’s mother, father, sister, brother, first cousin, etc…no one in Dawson County will do one damn thing to investigate these acts.

Judge Jason Deal of Hall County could request a GBI investigation…(okay, my gut nearly split open on that thought…).

Perhaps Attorney General Sam Olens could recognize a pretty serious breach of Georgia law, and direct the GBI to investigate. Chances are, though, that because Sheriff Carlisle’s name appeared on a list of sheriff endorsers of Olens’ reelection that he will opt to protect Carlisle rather than initiate a GBI investigation on Carlisle and his office.

So, golly…maybe U.S. Attorney Sally Yates and her FBI task force might find enough things out of whack in this Republican stronghold of Dawson County to think there might be enough smoke to uncover the fire and help rectify this situation of a slew of people, from folks in the Georgia Republican Party (as described in Part 1 of these Cover-up stories), to members of law enforcement in the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, who are ALL engaged in the deliberate denial of Nydia Tisdale’s rights to NOT be lied about, and NOT have her name smeared all over this state, and NOT be falsely accused, and NOT be falsely imprisoned, and NOT be facing “felony charges” from a bunch of liars.

Maybe…just maybe…someone with integrity will bring justice to this situation in Georgia.

PumpkinGate: The Cover-ups

Bill Simon, October 23rd, 2014

Prelude

There are people involved in the Georgia Republican Party in this state who think that Nydia Tisdale (her first name rhymes with “Lydia”, but begins with the letter “N”) “deserved” the treatment she got on August 23rd, based on the story that is easiest to believe as told by some “witnesses” of the events of August 23rd.

That, and some are so callous about her treatment by GOP-connected people as to make disparaging comments about her choice of dress for that day of August 23rd…as though that bore some relevance to her getting violently assaulted by a male who refused to identify himself as to why he had her gripped in his arms.

That assault by a cop resulted in scratches to her chest and wrists, and bruises on her arms and pelvis. For over two weeks after the attack, she was unable to eat normally and she could not drink anything but water. For over two weeks after the arrest, she was unable to sleep soundly.

She is still getting over the physical assault, and trying to recover from the mental anguish of being arrested, thrown in jail, and accused of outlandish crap by self-proclaimed “Christians” who appear to enjoy lying at the drop of a hat. (I am not touching pumpkin pie or anything made from pumpkins for fear the pumpkin was grown by the Burts and their dirty, evil hands.)

Those of you who think she should “move on,” well, go talk to women who have been assaulted or raped, and ask them to “move on.” You people who claim to be believers in the “Constitution” but think Tisdale should just “move on” have NO IDEA what the Constitution is all about.

She has yet to be officially charged because, it seems, the Sheriff (Billy Carlisle) is just waiting for more witnesses to stop by his office for a chat. But, she faces charges that she does not deserve to face…in fact, no one deserves to face them for she was doing nothing deserving of these charges, as you will discover in this series of Vines.

Nydia Tisdale was not any kind of “political animal” before this event, and she isn’t now.  Her mind does not work like people who have spent years working on campaigns and such, and following politics.  She processes information by video-recording speeches, and she shares those videos with others.  That’s what she does, and, thanks to effing idiots with the Georgia GOP and the Deal Campaign, she is afraid to engage in what she used to enjoy doing for fear of meeting another psychopath cop who will assault her again at the behest of some sh*thead GOPer.

If you are onboard the train that presumes she “asked for it” or she “deserved it,” then you are a P.O.S. who deserves every misfortune you encounter in life for an eternity.

The Coverups-Part 1

There are a minimum of two (2) cover-ups that are taking place with regards to the events that happened at the Georgia GOP Rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawson County on August 23rd, 2014.

The first cover-up is the cover-up by the Georgia Republican Party in concert with personnel associated with the Deal for Governor campaign.

Sometime in the week after the August 23rd GOP rally, I was engaged in a couple of conversations (one on Facebook and one via text) with someone at the State GOP who emphatically told me “We had nothing to do with the rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm.  It wasn’t our show.”

Same story from Deal spokesperson Jen Talaber shortly after the event, as recalled in the first AJC article about the event: “Jen Talaber, a spokeswoman for the Nathan Deal campaign, kept the ejection at arms’ length. “As this incident was in no way related to Deal for Governor, I am referring you to the owner of the private property at which the event took place.”

It was TOTALLY related to Deal for Governor and the State GOP because both entities were involved in the planning of the event, as well as having significant presence on the premises for the event.

Neil Bitting is the paid Grassroots Coordinator of the Deal Campaign, and coordinated the planning of this event with input by Clint Bearden (Deal’s Dawson County Campaign Chair), a guy who claims in print that Nydia Tisdale was a Democrat tracker when, in fact, she votes Republican much more often than David Perdue ever did.

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Sam Olens & Burrell Ellis: Is there a difference?

Bill Simon, October 20th, 2014

Maybe someone can straighten this out for me because, after spending the amount of time I have spent watching and observing politics in Georgia, my usual fine sense of smell seems to be out of adjustment these days when it comes to smelling corruption.

So, is the deal with DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis the fact that he was caught “shaking-down” vendors for campaign contributions? Is the “shake-down” via phone calls and other types of communications the problem, and not the actual quid pro quo process of vendors contributing money to an elected politician at their request?

I ask this because upon researching some financial items via Open.Georgia.Gov, I’m rather fascinated with how AG Sam Olens runs the State Department of Law.

According to the Open Ga website, in Fiscal Year 2013, Olens had 285 personnel on the state’s payroll that, all total, consumed $16.542 million in legal expenses to staff the Department of Law.

In addition to those 285 people on the state employee payroll, Olens also spent a total of $30.38 million on outside, contract-vendor legal services. A total of, oddly enough, 285 vendors (lawyers and law firms).

Grand total in legal costs to the state taxpayers: Nearly $47 million total.

If Olens has 285 frigging people (lawyers upon lawyers upon lawyers) working (presumably) and getting paid $16.5 million, what the heck is all the $30 million some-odd money doing going to outside legal firms for? Someone is spending money like a drunken sailor in our state government.

And, so, just on a glance of a few of these vendor-contract law firms, I checked the Ethics.Ga.GOV website to see what kind of contributions might be flowing from these contract law firms to Sam Olens’ campaign coffers:

Greenberg Traurig: Collected $1.08 million in fees from Olens’ Law Department in FY 2013. Personnel with GT contributed a total of $30,450 since 2009 to Sam Olens’ campaign.

Arnall Golden Gregory: Collected $356,000 in fees in from Olens’ Law Department in FY 2013. Personnel contributed $4,550 since 2010 to Olens.

Kilpatrick Stockton Townsend: Collected $615,352 in fees from Olens’ Law Department in FY 2013. Personnel contributed a total of $13,850 since 2011 to Olens.

McKenna Long Aldridge: Collected $514,033 in fees from Olens’ Law Department in FY 2013. Personnel contributed a total of $21,400 from 2010 thru 2014 to Olens’ campaign.

One wonders if when Sam Olens calls these vendors (or Sam Olens’ fundraising personnel calls these vendor-contributors), does the conversation EVER cross to the side of “Well, you know, I gave you a pretty good book of business from MY Department of Law…When can I expect your check to my re-election campaign?”

And, yes, I’m certain that Burrell Ellis’s methods of raising campaign contributions goes on ALL THE TIME in this state, at ALL levels of government.

So, I kinda have to ask, what’s the big deal with Ellis doing it? If the state legislature REFUSES to enact true ethics reform (and, the majority of them do…especially the Republicans in office….they hate the prospect of becoming “honest”…duhhh, what’s that word mean?) that would prohibit bribery via campaign contributions to either obtain or maintain vendor contracts with municipalities or the county or the state et al., why is Burrell Ellis being prosecuted?

Who is Paying George Chidi to Hound Tom Owens?

Bill Simon, October 19th, 2014

I think this is a valid question to ask. Because, according to DeKalb County Superior Court records, Mr. Chidi has had a FiFa Lien filed against his home as of August 1, 2014 for non-payment of what appears to be a Capital One Bank credit card balance outstanding of $5390.81.

So, whether Mr. Chidi claims himself to be a blogger, a journalist, a reporter, or a city councilman…one should ask “WHAT are you (Mr. Chidi) doing to financially survive AND seek money to pay-off your credit-card debt?”

Did that 5-page piece Chidi so proudly posted on PeachPundit.com garner Chidi some payola? Has Charlie Harper started paying bloggers to blog on that site?

Is Mike Hassinger, who is consulting for Wendy Butler (another female in the DeKalb Commission race) paying Chidi off-book for Chidi to harangue Tom Owens?

Is Todd Rehm, the unbalanced political consultant for Nancy Jester, paying Chidi off/on-book to inviscerate Tom Owens to put him down?

Is Senator Fran Millar financing Chidi on the side? Is State Rep. Michael Jacobs financing George Chidi’s endeavors? Is State Rep. Tom Taylor paying George Chidi with campaign funds to act like an attack dog against Tom Owens?

WHY would someone in the financial dire straits that George Chidi is in spend A LOT of his time doing what he’s doing, and not get paid for it? How irresponsible would that be for a person to spend his time engaged in political crap and NOT get paid when he has a FiFa on his home, a large credit-card bill, and living expenses to deal with on an ongoing basis?

So, again, I ask, who is financing George Chidi’s activities and what is that person’s stake in the outcome of this race? Inquiring minds should start asking those questions directly of Mr. Chidi the next time he shows his face at any political event.

Nancy Jester: Endorsed by the ‘New Power PAC of Georgia’

Bill Simon, October 19th, 2014

So, according to the Website for Nancy Jester, Candidate for DeKalb County Commission District 1, she has now been endorsed by the New Power PAC of Georgia. Here is a snapshot of her front page with the NPPofGA logo near the bottom (http://www.politicalvine.com/dekalb/NJesterNPPGa.jpg)

Those words at the top of the logo of the NPP endorsement state: “Empowered & Endorsed By New Power PAC.”

Who is the New Power PAC? Well, they are a 527 PAC founded by a group of FAR Left-Wing women. Though the website claims they are non-partisan, you can peruse their website here to get a true feel of who they are (nice people, probably, but left-winged, just the same).

But, as I predict what may happen, a sudden flurry of “Website Down” or other such shenanigans may be employed to hide the fact that Nancy Jester is tight with a bunch of left-wing, liberal Democrats like:

This person, whose resume lays-out her appointments to President Obama’s National Arts Policy Committee, Governor Barnes’ Georgia Council for Arts, Governor Zell Miller’s Georgia Council for Arts.

Or, this person, who has worked with Senator Dianne Feinstein, US Rep Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), was a staff attorney with NOW (National Organization of Women), and various and sundry other left-wing organizations.

Plus…this New Power PAC has the distinction of having as one of its STAR supporters, a certain Member of Congress who believes if the Island of Guam were to have too many U.S. Marines standing on one side of it, it might tip-over: Georgia’s 4th Congressional District US Rep. Hank Johnson.

You see, this PAC is not just focused on getting “women elected” as it claims itself to be. It’s about getting liberal women elected to public office. Which is exactly what and who Nancy Jester is, as many voters in the State School Superintendent’s race knew as well, and that is why she was rejected as a viable Republican candidate for that seat.

And so, how fitting to, especially, some of Jester’s other endorsers like State Senator Fran Millar, State Rep. Michael Jacobs, State Rep Tom Taylor that Jester received this endorsement from the New Power PAC. Because they are all liberal, “let’s build government BIGGER” type of Republicans.

You folks in DeKalb’s District 1 who wish to elect Nancy Jester as your replacement for Elaine Boyer are going to go from merely bad to the absolute worst in a commissioner choice if Nancy Jester wins election.

Stalking Statute vs. First Amendment: Which should win?

Bill Simon, October 9th, 2014

I am fascinated with the degree of ignorance exhibited by so-called “professional reporters” at media outlets like the AJC. I actually thought Jim Galloway, Dan Malloy, and Greg Bluestein were smart(er) than most of the rest…at least smarter than the Huffington-Post. I’m never making that presumption again.

I have to give credit to a true, smart journalist, for the following statement she made on Facebook regarding this incident with George Chidi and him getting served a Temporary Protective Order initiated by Tom Owens: “Correlation does not mean causation.” (- Benita Dodd, who now works with Georgia Public Policy Foundation)

Meaning, that just because Chidi got served a TPO on Monday…after the time of his publication of the hit-piece on Tom Owens, that does not mean that the publication of the story caused the TPO to be obtained and issued. And, in fact, it did not. The timeline of actual, documented events proves that.

But, before I get to the timeline of events, I wish to offer proof of Tom Owens’ claim that George Chidi did NOT, in fact, identify himself as a journalist, a reporter, or a blogger.

Upon seeing Tom Owens for the first time at the September 18 event at St. Anne’s, Chidi approached Owens and said I know who you are, and I am going to destroy you…” and he said that without identifying himself to be a “reporter” or a “journalist” or a “blogger” with the infamous PeachPundit.Slime blog.

Let me show you folks something. Here is Side 1 of a business card I got from Ariel Hart, Reporter for the AJC back in 2012: http://www.politicalvine.com/dekalb/REAL-AJC-Reporter-1.jpg

Here is Side 2 of that same card: http://www.politicalvine.com/dekalb/REAL-AJC-Reporter-2.jpg

THAT card identifies someone with the media.

Do you want to know what George Chidi provided the Owens’ campaign people with for his “ID” on September 18, 2014? This card: http://www.politicalvine.com/dekalb/GeorgeChidiBC.jpg

His Pine Lake City Council business card. Show me ANY indication on this card that identifies him to BE a “journalist”, a “reporter” or a “blogger.”

Chidi ASSUMED people knew who he was because he ASSUMED he was some great dude in the political blogging world…a world that the real working people in the world ignore because they (believe it or not…I know this will be a shock) have…gasp…other things going on in their lives!

Tom Owens is about 62 years old, has served for 20 some-odd years in the Army, putting-up with ALL kinds of stuff that punk-ass bloggers and reporters for the AJC, et al. have never bothered to do (wouldn’t have the guts TO do), and he had no idea who the “Great (sic) George Chidi” was.

So, Owens had never heard of him, and all he knew of George Chidi inside of 3 minutes was a) Chidi was an asshole, and b) Chidi was a threatening asshole, and c) Chidi was a city councilman of some po-dunk city, and d) Tom Owens did not want ANYTHING to do with Chidi, and he told Chidi to leave him alone.

After telling Chidi to leave him alone, Chidi texted him multiple times, called him on the phone, and addressed him at public events…which all constituted violations of Georgia’s Stalking Statute:

OCGA 16-5-90. Stalking;
Read the rest of this entry »

George Chidi is Gonna Need a Bigger Shovel

Bill Simon, October 6th, 2014

Perhaps if George Chidi was not a Progressive-Communist…and, perhaps if George Chidi did not think that paling around with the likes of Milquetoast Sell-outs of the Republican Brand like State Senator Fran Millar (Common-Core Lover), State Rep. Mike Jacobs, State Rep Tom Taylor, Candidate for DeKalb Commission Nancy Jester, Political Consultant Mike Hassinger, Political Consultant Todd Rehm, and Blogger Charlie Harper of PeachPundit.Slime, et al. was such a euphoric experience, perhaps I would not be experiencing such Schadenfreude that I am currently feeling about Chidi’s situation.

BUT…make no mistake…Chidi knowingly and deliberately brought all of what I am presenting to you on himself for failing to either know or understand the concept of demonstrating respect for other people. So, with that in mind, let’s take a Magical Mystery Tour of an applicable section of O.C.G.A. as it now applies to Mr. Chidi:

OCGA 16-5-90. Stalking;

(a)(1) A person commits the offense of stalking when he or she follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person. For the purpose of this article, the terms “computer” and “computer network” shall have the same meanings as set out in Code Section 16-9-92; the term “contact” shall mean any communication including without being limited to communication in person, by telephone, by mail, by broadcast, by computer, by computer network, or by any other electronic device; and the place or places that contact by telephone, mail, broadcast, computer, computer network, or any other electronic device is deemed to occur shall be the place or places where such communication is received. For the purpose of this article, the term “place or places” shall include any public or private property occupied by the victim other than the residence of the defendant. For the purposes of this article, the term “harassing and intimidating” means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes emotional distress by placing such person in reasonable fear for such person’s safety or the safety of a member of his or her immediate family, by establishing a pattern of harassing and intimidating behavior, and which serves no legitimate purpose. This Code section shall not be construed to require that an overt threat of death or bodily injury has been made.

Recall, if you will, in the Vine this morning that I described Chidi’s first encounter with Tom Owens and the words out of his mouth to Owens were: “I am going to destroy you.”

That fits the definition of “harassing and intimidating” Tom Owens. And, when that happened, Owens told Chidi to leave him alone. Chidi did not heed that request to leave Owens alone.

Chidi continued to make contact with Owens. In this section of a blog post George Chidi made this morning at 9:00 AM on the PeachPundit.Slime website on the 2nd page of this PDF (this has been PDF snapshotted because we’re dealing with a criminal matter now, and I’m not going to give Chidi or any PP pal of his any opportunity to change the record), Chidi admits, on the record, that he contacted Owens after that first meeting by both calling him and texting him.

But, he did not just text him once…he texted several times to Owens. Owens never answered him. All this after being told by Owens to “leave me alone” at the St. Andrews Church event on September 18th after George promised Tom Owens that he would “destroy him.”

So, though Chidi is not yet in receipt of this Notice of a Warrant Hearing to be held on October 18, 2014, that application for a Warrant Hearing occurred on Sunday, October 5, 2014 in DeKalb County Magistrate Court. This happened before Chidi made his 5-page post about Tom Owens on PeachPundit.Slime this morning at 9:00 AM. And, the Magistrate Judge advised Owens to go to the DeKalb Superior Court first thing on October 6, 2014 to get a TPO filed against Chidi.

It’s important to understand that the Date and Time of Chidi’s “big” blog hit-piece on Tom Owens is October 6 at 9:00 AM (see this page).

It is important to know and understand that because at approximately 8:00 AM on October 6, Owens was already at the DeKalb Superior Courthouse applying for a Temporary Protective Order against Chidi to prevent him from harassing and intimidating Owens until the hearing on that TPO to be held on October 22nd, 2014.

Now, Chidi is whining on his Facebook page, and his Twitter account and his own blog that, essentially, “I’m a journalist and I am being prevented from doing my job.”

In fact, he has his own blog, and on it, he stated this: “But if this is allowed to stand unchallenged, it sets a precedent that a politician receiving unfavorable press at a sensitive moment can use the power of the court to bar coverage. The word “chilling” doesn’t cover it. It’s outrageous and dangerous and almost certainly unconstitutional.”

Being a “journalist” (IF, indeed, he even IS one…blogging on PeachPundit.Slime is not “journalism”) does not give one a license to harass, intimidate and/or stalk ANYONE.

If you look at the Date-and-Time Stamp of that TPO, on the 4th Page, it says at the very top: “October 6 9:52 AM.”

This TPO had nothing to do with Chidi’s post on PeachPundit.Slime that was published at 9:00 AM on October 6th. Heck, it would take someone the better part of 30 minutes to attempt to digest his voluminous Diarrhea-of-the-Mouth hit piece against Tom Owens before thinking of anything else.

One would think that for a guy like George Chidi, whose very advertised business repertoire is one of “business intelligence,” would have bothered to take the time to truly examine all parts of the TPO before making a snap judgement that the TPO was related to his PeachPundit.Slime post this morning; it wasn’t.

SO…George Chidi can scream about “unconstitutional restraint of the press”…but, this has absolutely nothing to do with “freedom of the press.” Chidi systematically, and repeatedly, engaged in a deliberate pattern of behavior to intimidate, harass, and cow Tom Owens into submission and cause him emotional distress. THAT isn’t an enumerated right in anyone’s version of either the U.S. Constitution OR the Georgia Constitution.


Amanda Swafford

US Senate Candidate for Georgia



Today's Deep Thought

I wish I had a dollar for every time I spent a dollar, because then, Yahoo! I'd have all my money back.



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