The weird and weak legal case against me, the worst daily paper in Buffalo, destruction of evidence by police, and the brutal irony of the American Surveillance State.
[UPDATE: My estimate below of 48-hours to recover the lost footage was wildly optimistic. The program's been running since 7/29, and it's processed 953 files out of 1049 total as of 8/2. Sorry for jumping the gun.-IM]
AS I TYPE THESE WORDS, The BEAST’s pro-bono by contract scientists, previously employed by the Army Security Agency (ASA) and the Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), are utilizing advanced forensic data techniques to recover our camera footage which was so ineptly and illegally erased by the Buffalo Police Department.
(For those of you not in the loop regarding my unlawful arrest, and why the BPD erased our camera footage, see here. Or if you’re too lazy to read that, the cops arrested me because I filmed them while covering a gay marriage protest.)
The video recovery will take up to 48-hours, so in the meantime, I feel compelled to address the following bizarre report summary that BEAST lawyer Paul Fallon retrieved from police on Friday (the red marks are obviously mine):
The complainant is listed as “Sony”. What? My camera is the victim of my “crimes?” My camera ratted me out to the fuzz? What?
And race “unknown”? Really? It’s Japanese!
Now on to the charges. Yes, I’ve already addressed them, so the red notes I made will suffice. However, the above report’s “Narrative” section is so preposterous as to merit further comment.
I used no abusive language. I did call the cops “assholes” after they implied they would break my face against a wall. However, this did not happen at Niagara Square, it was at the Erie County Holding Center—after I was arrested, for no reason.
I was not asked to quiet down. I wasn’t being loud. Some of the counter-demonstrators were vocal, and they were asked to quiet down. Bunting was told not to film this by officer Donna Donovan. He stopped. I filmed her later and was arrested for it.
I did not shove any persons in the crowd. Well, again, according to the above report, the complainant in this case is “Sony”. This is who I shoved. My camera. OK. It’s odd that if I shoved someone, that that someone would not give his or her name to police when complaining about the incident. It’s just fucking bizarre that instead of leaving the “complainant” section blank, which would mean that no one complained about my behavior, they chose to put a camera in that spot. I don’t even.
Another point worth reiterating is that, if I was “disrupting a religious service” and the counter-demonstrators were across the street from this “religious service”, who the fuck was I shoving? The people in Niagara Square were the good guys—the people who believe in human rights. Even Sony is in favor of gay marriage.
I was not asked “several times to stop”. Of course I wasn’t because I didn’t shove anyone. But how many times do the Buffalo Police usually let someone shove someone else—or a camera? Is it typical for Buffalo cops to linger about as someone repeatedly shoves people? In my world, “several” starts at four. Once is once; twice is a couple; three times is a few; and more than that is several. Regardless of our semantic differences on this, why do the cops use such a vague term? To seem like nice guys? It actually makes them seem kind of irresponsible. I mean, if someone were repeatedly shoving me (which is assault), and cops on the scene just kept telling that person to stop I’d be both shocked and outraged.
I did have a dildo in my possession, and I did tell the cops it was a “microphone”. This deserves a big asterisk, for a few different reasons.
Firstly, the dildo was in my bag until the cops found it at the station–after the arrest.
Secondly, these reports are supposed to be as detailed and accurate as possible. Since they couldn’t arrest me and be accurate, you’d at least expect some creative flair. Why not write that I “directed a sex toy toward officers and told them that it was a microphone”? That’s what the Buffalo News wrote, citing the above report.
I’ve asked Deputy Managing Editor Stan Evans if I’m not privy to the same report that his writer Kevin Bargnes referenced. But I’ve received nothing back so far. I initially emailed Bargnes about this, but he forwarded it to Evans. At the time, I had not, in fact, read the above report. I was reading the arrest report I posted here. Evans told me Bargnes got the info from a summary report downtown. So when my lawyer got the summary report from downtown, I was again miffed by the Buffalo News report:
Police said in a report that Murphy, 35, of Amherst, was using abusive, obscene language and shoved a person in the crowd.
Officers asked Murphy several times to stop, according to the report. Instead, Murphy directed a sex toy toward officers and told them that it was a microphone, the report said.
Also, I don’t know why Bargnes chose to go with 35 instead of 32. Maybe he didn’t notice. Maybe he’s too fucking lazy to type my name into Wikipedia. No big deal. And no mention of Sony being the complainant. He did not find this at all strange or worthy of reporting. OK. Cameras get attacked on his beat on the time. Not worth mentioning.
It is a big—or medium sized—deal that Bargnes made the creative leap from:
Def did have a dildo in his possession and did tell officers it was his “microphone”.
Murphy directed a sex toy toward officers and told them that it was a microphone…
It’s a nice touch, I admit. I hope one day, when people start confusing my record with my legend, it’d be cool if people thought I had the balls to interview cops with a dildophone. That’s bad-ass. I should also put it out there that I’m ten-feet tall, and I sprinkle blue oxen seeds throughout the countryside. I do that. I also beat the hell out of a yetti once. It was all, “You gotta problem, punk?” And I was all, “Maybe I do!” And I kicked its snow-white ass! All true.
Anyway, I don’t blame Bargnes for reporting the inaccurate claims that the cops found the dildo in my possession at Niagara Square. How was he to know that that was complete bullshit? I do blame him, for his lack of journalistic integrity.
Maybe changing “dildo in his possession” to “directing a sex toy at officers” isn’t that big a leap. But, as I mentioned, these reports are supposed to be as accurate and detailed as possible. Accuracy notwithstanding, this is a detail that I’d expect from the BPD. No?
Maybe cops are different than us, but if I were patrolling a protest and a guy who kept yelling and shoving people then stuck a dildo in my face, I would include this detail in the report. Actually, I probably would have arrested the idiot for repeatedly shoving people—or cameras. It seems pertinent. I mean, maybe the dildo was covered in Super AIDS? They could pin some sort of terrorist charge on me using the Patriot Act! Right?
Of course, the News “coverage” is the molehill. The mountain is the pile of false charges against me. But contrary to claims that Mr. Sony is my victim and enemy, we are actually staunch allies in this war against the highly unreasonable and hypocritical American police & surveillance state. And with the help of BEAST scientists we should have a proper video expose to report within the next 48 hours. Mr. Sony has a lot of buried secrets and it’ll take a while for him to spill his guts. And BEAST scientists should know that the woman in that…um…one recording is not, I repeat, is not Oprah.
Watching the Watchers
The American citizen has slowly resigned to life in the panopticon. Or they don’t even know they live there. Most don’t even know the word.
9/11 helped implement a slew of pernicious surveillance methods with the justification of fear. Your phone can be tapped at any time. The Feds and police can just search you, for no reason. Hell, they might fly you off to Somalia and have you tortured. Or they might just shoot you on the spot. And in the final civil liberty straw they now want access to your internet history, for an entire year. Your pron!
“The arrest the past weekend shows that our surveillance camera system of over 120 cameras is successfully enhancing our anti-crime efforts,” said [Buffalo Mayor Byron] Brown. “This video clearly demonstrates a textbook operation that resulted in a criminal being apprehended from one of Buffalo’s most popular entertainment districts because of advanced security technology.”
Surveillance protects people—well, it doesn’t protect people, but it does bring guilty parties to justice. But according to some lady in this Buffalo News report:
“The cameras we have are helping to deter it,” Wesolowski said. “And while I don’t have statistics to prove it, my good sense tells me crime is decreasing. The city is doing it right in this regard.”
Even if we don’t challenge this woman’s “good sense”, we may presume that the presence of cameras might also lower the number of crimes committed by police. But in Buffalo, and elsewhere, cameras seem to make cops abuse their authority. Or, you know, it’s way worse when cameras aren’t around. This is possible—probable.
Take the case of this 2010 footage of a Transit Authority cop telling a camera operator that “If you take my picture again, I’m going to fucking break your face. That’s not as a police officer, that’s as a person.”
Or the recent case of Emily Good, a Rochester woman, who shot video of a cop making a traffic stop from her front lawn:
The cops keep telling Good that they “don’t feel safe” with her videotaping them, as a means to bully her. She sounds much more frightened than the cops, and for good reason. The cops were already violating her civil liberties. There’s something terrifying about being arrested—meaning, being forced to go into private quarters with the same people who have already trampled your rights—because it’s hard to know where the cops will draw the line. I know I was wondering that during my unlawful arrest. If they were willing to lock me up without just cause, what else might they do involving my head and a brick wall?
And what did they do to the evidence of my innocence? They deleted it. That’s the mountain here.
But BEAST scientists are on the case…
Will the ridiculous charges be dropped?
Will the Buffalo police face justice for unlawful arrest and destroying evidence?
Will the Buffalo News continue to suck?
What will I wear to my Kafkaesque trial?
STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT!
[Read Murphy's Law 2.5]