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Archive for September 24th, 2014

Chicago Police Sued for Refusing to Disclose Extent of Cell Phone Spying

Posted by Admin On September - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on Chicago Police Sued for Refusing to Disclose Extent of Cell Phone Spying

Privacy activist Freddy Martinez sued the Chicago Police Department to force release of records showing the extent of its use of sophisticated spying equipment that can trick residents’ and visitors’ cell phones into transmitting personal information to the police.

The Freedom of Information Act suit also aims to discover whether the CPD has any procedural safeguards in place to protect the public’s Constitutional rights.

Cell site simulators, also known as IMSI catchers or stingrays, masquerade as cellphone towers to obtain data secretly from nearby cell phone users.  In a lawsuit filed in June, Chicago resident and privacy activist Freddy Martinez sued the Chicago Police to find out whether the department had purchased any of this equipment.  Records produced by the department have since shown that it has in fact acquired this equipment.

“Under FOIA, the public has a right to know the extent to which the police are secretly taking information from their cell phones and whether their Constitutional rights are being protected in the process,” said government transparency attorney Matt Topic of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, which represents Martinez in the suit. “The Chicago Police Department has refused to produce a single document that would show the extent this is happening and with what Constitutional safeguards.”

“Given the Chicago Police Department’s history of illegally targeting political activists for surveillance, people should be very concerned about its use of this equipment, which could be used to identify people who attend political protests and the people they’ve contacted,” said Martinez.  “It was only a few years ago that the courts dissolved the consent decree in the ACLU’s suit against the department for years of this kind of unconstitutional targeting.”

Mr. Martinez filed a FOIA request with Chicago Police looking for records showing when, where, how, why, and by whom the Chicago Police deployed this equipment, any court orders allowing it, any policies governing the deployment, any records discussing the constitutionality of its use, and records showing exactly what happens to the data that the department obtains using this technology.  The CPD has refused to produce a single record in response.

The suit comes only a few months after the Supreme Court acknowledged in Riley v. California that cell phones are “now such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy.”  The Court held that police therefore need a warrant before searching cell phones incident to an arrest.

“The public ought to know whether the Chicago Police Department is engaged in wholesale violations of the Fourth Amendment right to privacy,” said Topic.

A copy of the new suit, No. 14CH15338, is posted here: Freddy Martinez vs. Chicago Police Department. Documents showing the CPD’s purchase of the spying equipment can be viewed here:  CPD Stingray Purchase Records.

For more information:

Matt Topic, Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, 773-368-8812 (cell), 312.243.5900, matt@loevy.com

Andy Thayer, Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, 773.209.1187 (cell), 312.243.5900, andy@loevy.com

President Obama’s Statement on Airstrikes in Syria

Posted by Admin On September - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on President Obama’s Statement on Airstrikes in Syria

President Barack Obama’s statement:

Good morning, everybody.  Last night, on my orders, America’s armed forces began strikes against ISIL targets in Syria.  Today, the American people give thanks for the extraordinary service of our men and women in uniform, including the pilots who flew these missions with the courage and professionalism that we’ve come to expect from the finest military that the world has ever known.

Earlier this month, I outlined for the American people our strategy to confront the threat posed by the terrorist group known as ISIL.  I made clear that as part of this campaign the United States would take action against targets in both Iraq and Syria so that these terrorists can’t find safe haven anywhere.  I also made clear that America would act as part of a broad coalition.  And that’s exactly what we’ve done.

We were joined in this action by our friends and partners — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, and Qatar.  America is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with these nations on behalf of our common security.

The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone.  Above all, the people and governments in the Middle East are rejecting ISIL and standing up for the peace and security that the people of the region and the world deserve.

Meanwhile, we will move forward with our plans, supported by bipartisan majorities in Congress, to ramp up our effort to train and equip the Syrian opposition, who are the best counterweight to ISIL and the Assad regime.  And more broadly, over 40 nations have offered to help in this comprehensive effort to confront this terrorist threat — to take out terrorist targets; to train and equip Iraqi and Syrian opposition fighters who are going up against ISIL on the ground; to cut off ISIL’s financing; to counter its hateful ideology; and to stop the flow of fighters into and out of the region.

Last night, we also took strikes to disrupt plotting against the United States and our allies by seasoned al Qaeda operatives in Syria who are known as the Khorasan Group.  And once again, it must be clear to anyone who would plot against America and try to do Americans harm that we will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people.

I’ve spoken to leaders in Congress and I’m pleased that there is bipartisan support for the actions we are taking.  America is always stronger when we stand united, and that unity sends a powerful message to the world that we will do what’s necessary to defend our country.

Over the next several days I will have the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Abadi of Iraq, and with friends and allies at the United Nations to continue building support for the coalition that is confronting this serious threat to our peace and security.  The overall effort will take time.  There will be challenges ahead.  But we’re going to do what’s necessary to take the fight to this terrorist group, for the security of the country and the region and for the entire world.

Thanks.  God bless our troops.  God bless America.

State’s Attorney Hosts Unity Conference

Posted by Admin On September - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on State’s Attorney Hosts Unity Conference

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, along with members of the office’s Advisory Councils, presented a one day seminar aimed at informing and empowering community members on the topic of internet crimes.

“Exploring Internet Crimes: Law Enforcement and Community Crime Prevention Strategies,” was the theme for the 6 th Annual Unity Conference, held in commemoration of Unity Month.  The conference gave participants the opportunity to learn how law enforcement is combating internet crimes and tips on how not to become a victim of them.

During the conference, State’s Attorney Alvarez presented the Community Empowerment Award to Laurie Nathan, Deputy Director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for the organization’s work to protect children from internet predators.

The Unity Conference was held September 10th at the UIC Forum in Chicago.

Photo Caption: Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez (left) presented the 2014 Community Empowerment Award to Laurie Nathan, Deputy Director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for the organization’s work and partnership withthe State’s Attorney’s Office to protect children from internet predator

Better Business Bureau Warns Consumers: “Diploma Mills” Can Damage Your Future

Posted by Admin On September - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on Better Business Bureau Warns Consumers: “Diploma Mills” Can Damage Your Future

CHICAGO, IL – Having a high school diploma is essential if your plans include entering college, the military or the workforce. However, promises of getting that diploma with ease are being offered by fake online schools which have been identified as “diploma mills”. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers to look for “red flags” when they are online looking for schools.

Yesterday, at the request of the Federal Trade Commission a Federal Court Judge in Florida issued a temporary restraining order against two organizations that the FTC has identified as “diploma mills.” According to the FTC over the past several years these fake schools have defrauded individuals out of more than 11 million dollars.

Individuals are told you can graduate and earn an “official” diploma by completing their multiple choice test and paying $200-300. These schools exist solely to make money, not to provide and education.

“There are legitimate online schools out there,” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “However, in order to find these schools and not get scammed, be sure to look up the program on the BBB website.”

Bernas, noted, “these schools often claim to be “accredited” however their accreditation comes from other fraudulent organizations they have set-up.

Here are ways to spot a “diploma mill”:

  • If you see diplomas that are awarded based on “life experience” and require very little or no work.
  • The website guarantees you will receive a diploma within a few days, weeks or months.
  • Addresses are for administration buildings that include P.O. boxes or suite numbers.
  • Prices are stated per diploma instead of per credit hour.

For more tips, visit www.bbb.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Civil Rights Coalition Urges National Reforms and Recommendations to Address Police Abuse

Posted by Admin On September - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on Civil Rights Coalition Urges National Reforms and Recommendations to Address Police Abuse

Coalition of National Civil and Human Rights Organizations Applaud Justice Department’s Announcement of Racial Bias in Law Enforcement Study and Civil Rights Investigation of Ferguson Police Department

Coalition Continues to Urge National Reforms and Recommendations to Address Police Abuse

WASHINGTON, D.C. -– A coalition of national civil and human rights organizations and leaders concerned about police abuse commends last week’s announcement by Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. launching the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice.  The initiative will enlist a team of criminal justice researchers to study racial bias in law enforcement in five U.S. cities and will focus on training to reduce bias and ensure fairness in law enforcement. The group also applauds the federal investigation by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division of the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department following the August 9, 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager, by a Darren Wilson, a white police officer. The weeks following Mr. Brown’s death have seen protests, unrest and further police-related incidents in the area, underscoring a deep schism between the police and the communities they are supposed to protect and serve.

Lawyers’ Committee President and Executive Director Barbara Arnwine and Public Policy Director Tanya Clay House, originally convened 14 national civil and human rights organizations and leaders to issue a Unified Statement of Action to Promote Reform and Stop Police Abuse on August 18, 2014.  Two of the coalition’s recommendations have come to fruition:  an independent and comprehensive investigation by the DOJ of Michael Brown’s shooting death and the use of body-worn cameras by Ferguson police officers. The group continues to call for the use of police officer body-worn cameras nationally and commends the White House’s recent announcement of testing of body-worn cameras by the U.S. Border Patrol.  Notably, five additional groups, including the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and more than 340 independent signatories, have joined the open letter which was sent to the White House and the DOJ.

The coalition is also encouraged by Attorney General Holder’s emphasis on the need for diversity across police departments and his description of the proactive steps that the DOJ has taken to engage the St. Louis County Police Department during his remarks regarding the civil rights investigation.  Yet while the investigation of Mr. Brown’s death, as well as the racial bias study and its associated results are significant steps forward, the groups continue to call upon the DOJ, FBI, and police departments across the country to comprehensively address the ongoing killing of unarmed African American and Latino youth and adults by police and civilians alike that may have been motivated by racial bias, and to effect universal and long-term systemic reform to end police killings and the use of excessive force.  In addition, the group continues to urge release of the federal racial profiling guidance, improved community policing, federal oversight of the distribution of federal weaponry and Congressional hearings on the use of excessive and deadly force by police.

The coalition, which remains in conversation with the White House, the DOJ, Ferguson and St. Louis County officials, and community groups and leaders, will continue to closely monitor related police-involved shootings and brutality nationwide.  Likewise, the group will remain a vital part of ongoing reforms, recommendations and actions.

“As the federal investigation of the Ferguson Police Department continues, revealing the actual practices by the police department, including patterns of racially disproportionate policing, and as the Department of Justice’s study of racial bias in law enforcement gets underway, the Lawyers’ Committee remains hopeful that the application of the rule of law will yield a just and fair result for Michael Brown and his family and former and pending police lawsuits and internal investigations nationwide.  Also, the Ferguson tragedy heightens national awareness of the criticality of voting.  It is your right and your duty to make your voice heard by exercising the fundamental right to vote to effect change in your community and in the nation.”
-Barbara R. Arnwine, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

“Attorney General Eric Holder’s plan to investigate racial bias among law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, is a bold first step towards justice for thousands of victims of racial profiling throughout the country.  The  NAACP Missouri State Conference has been a leader on this front, filing five complaints with the Department of Justice, with regards to cases in St. Louis County. We applaud Attorney General Holder for his leadership in investigating the police interactions that resulted in the death of Michael Brown and that of others across the country. ”
-Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO, NAACP

“The A. Philip Randolph Institute supports the recommended strategy of reform to ensure that the problem of police abuse is addressed at the highest level. We applaud the swift action of President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. and the Department of Justice for taking a strong stance against violence and for speaking in favor of restructuring the current landscape to encourage diversity within law enforcement so that the true healing of our communities can move forward.”
-Clayola Brown, President, A. Philip Randolph Institute

“The Department of Justice should be commended for responding swiftly to the tragedy in Ferguson and for taking steps to address racial bias in policing, which undermines effective law enforcement and leads to the victimization of entire communities. The need for sensible reforms is urgent and we urge the administration and Congress to respond accordingly.”
-Wade Henderson, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

“The National Bar Association applauds the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s civil pattern or practice investigation into allegations of unlawful policing by the City of Ferguson.  Such an investigation was needed and long overdue.  African American communities, such as Ferguson, have routinely been subjected to Investigatory Stops without reasonable suspicion or probable cause.  Stops resulting in unconstitutional detentions and searches. Accordingly, The National Bar Association encourages the DOJ to launch similar investigations in the 25 cities that it has sent Open Records Request. More important, the Association demands Congress to enactment of federal legislation: 1) making it mandatory for police officers to wear body monitors and any violation of this requirement would result in automatic suspension and/or termination; 2) developing and implementing an Early Warning System be to identify officers who are prone to emotional instability or behavior problems; 3) reviewing the use of Deadly Force policies; and 4) mandatory reporting of incidents by race.”
-Pamela Meanes, President, The National Bar Association

“We are encouraged by the Attorney General’s plan to investigate racial bias in law enforcement in select U.S. cities and hope to see such actions replicated nationally. The Department of Justice must use all of its power to implement systemic policing reforms so that the federal government is able to monitor discrimination and use of excessive and deadly force by local police agencies. These investigations are an important first step to help avoid the all too familiar deadly consequences of these unchecked systems.”
-Laura W. Murphy, Director, Washington Legislative Office, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Florida A&M, Bethune-Cookman Make Enhancements to Florida Blue Florida Classic Game Experience

Posted by Admin On September - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on Florida A&M, Bethune-Cookman Make Enhancements to Florida Blue Florida Classic Game Experience

The matchup between Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University will be the first event held at the all-new Orlando Citrus Bowl

Orlando, FL (BlackNews.com) — The fall football season marks the return of the nation’s largest HBCU rivalry as the Florida A&M University Rattlers take on the Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats at the Florida Blue Florida Classic game on November 22, 2014 at the all new Orlando Citrus Bowl in Orlando. With Kellen Winslow, Sr, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, as the new Athletic Director at FAMU and the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats coming off of a strong 2013 football season, the excitement for this years matchup intensifies as this is the first game to be played at the newly built stadium that was demolished earlier in the year. Tickets are on sale now and start as low as $15.

This years Florida Classic features an enhanced fan experience, an exciting lineup of weekend and pre-game events, and something for everyone from students, families, sports enthusiasts, alumni, and supporters of both universities. Attendees can expect a better game experience in the brand new 65,000-seat stadium, which features larger, more comfortable seats with chair backs, and an additional six inches of legroom in the lower bowl. Additionally, the bigger and better stadium includes multiple club and suites, new and improved concessions, a party deck area, new team facilities, and better views of the game from any point in the stadium thanks to multiple video displays on each upper deck.

“This year we are completely focused on giving fans the best game experience and making this the most talked about HBCU game of the year and the place to be,” shares Marah Beltz, Bethune-Cookman University.

In addition to the big game, the weekend lineup of events begins on Friday, November 21st and includes the Florida Consortium Kickoff Luncheon presented by Florida Blue, the Career Expo and Job Fair, and the Florida Blue Battle of the Bands featuring crowd-pleasing dance teams, high-stepping drum majors, precision drumlines, and roaring brass sections. Game day activities include FanFare with activities for the entire family, a pre-game performance featuring 2 Chainz and a day party in the stadium, in addition to the halftime performance by the Marching 100 and the Marching Wildcats.

“You can always expect a great game at the Florida Classic, but this year is even better,” shares Angela Suggs, Florida A&M University Assistant Athletics Director. “In addition to the exciting new energy that both teams are bringing to the gridiron, the fan experience has something for everyone from the pre-game concert and the day party, the Battle of the Bands and FanFare, to a bigger and better stadium.”

This years game is touted as the cant miss event of the year and will be focused on giving fans the best high-energy football experience. Tickets are on sale now for the game and weekend events and can be purchased online at www.FloridaClassic.org.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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