If you haven’t discovered the amazing writers at Techdirt, now would be a good time to to so. Very few news outlets cover these cases well–and amongst the thousands of writers online that are worth reading, I like to recommend Tim Cushing as amongst the top tier legal writers on the internet.
Tim Cushing’s ability to weed through complex legal issues, and come to the correct moral and legal conclusions are noteworthy because he takes no prissoners in his often excortiating critiques of bad laws, bad government policy, and bad actors in the various alphabet agencies who have tipped our frail democracy over the abyss.
Nuff said-here is more spot on commentary from Cushing
DOJ Now Investigating Florida Sheriff’s Office For Using A Federal Grant To Fund Its ‘Predictive Policing’ Harassment Programs.
from the claw-it-back dept
Tue, Sep 21st 2021 3:37pm — Tim Cushing
The Pasco County (FL) Sheriff’s Office believes in “intelligence-led policing.” This is its formal slang for harassing residents until (in the office’s own words) “they sue or move.” The Sheriff’s Office turns anyone with a criminal background into a suspect-for-life. Deputies visit residences and residents on the “intelligence-led” shit list multiple times a month, demanding answers to questions they have no business asking. When residents fail to comply, nuisance (in every sense of the word) citations are issued for things like uncut grass or missing mailbox numbers.
It doesn’t really matter whether the Sheriff’s Office believes its own PR bullshit. It is fully engaged in harassing as many residents as possible. That’s why it’s allowed its so-called predictive policing program to infiltrate local schools, subjecting minors (and their families) to the same harassment previously limited to adults with criminal records. Almost anything can trigger unwelcome interactions with the office’s deputies, including slipping grades, missed school days, or simply being the victim of, or witness to domestic violence.
Local schools are apparently fine with this. They’ve been sharing student records with the Sheriff’s Office. And the Sheriff’s Office has been sharing this info with officers. Both of these actions appear to violate federal and local student privacy laws. Not that the Sheriff’s Office cares. It says it has done nothing wrong — only availed itself of records shared with it (unlawfully) by schools.
The exposure of these programs by the Tampa Bay Times has led to multiple investigations and accusations of lawbreaking. One of these investigations involves the federal government, which makes it clear it’s not just the locals that find the Sheriff’s Office’s programs abhorrent. The Department of Education opened an investigation in April to determine whether the in-school “intelligence-led policing” violated federal student privacy laws.
There’s a new federal investigation underway. The Department of Justice wants to know what the fuck is going on in Pasco County, Florida.