Archive for August, 2014

Romney 2016: Say It Ain’t So

Yesterday afternoon, on the Fox News show The Five, Bob Beckel predicted that Mitt Romney will again seek the Republican nomination for President in 2016.   For a number of reasons, SF believes another Romney run would equate to yet another loss to a Democrat Party challenger.

Mitt Romney is a class act, which is part of the problem.  Any serious candidate for President must be willing to take the proverbial gloves off to defeat an ethics-less Democrat Party candidate.   In the last election, Romney’s challenge to Obama was akin to taking one’s fists to a gunfight.  The goons from the Chicago political machine claimed the former Massachusetts governor was waging a war on women. Obama himself lampooned Romney for suggesting that Russian might be a geopolitical threat, while Harry Reid spread the big lie that Romney paid no federal income taxes.

With nine of ten members of the mainstream media voting Democrat, the Fourth Estate gave Obama and his operatives a free pass to campaign like the goons from the Chicago political machine that they are.

Meanwhile, Romney gave Obama — a President who makes Jimmy Carter look like Genghis Khan — a pass on the Iranian nuclear program.   Besides talking loudly while carrying a wet noddle, Obama has done little besides appease the Iranians.  Now, the mullahs are only months away from having nuclear weapons.  Instead of producing a Lyndon Johnson like daisy-ad depicting an Iranian nuclear weapon exploding in an American city or over the Middle East, Romney did little to call out Obama.

The Romney/Ryan ticket also refused to make Eric Holder a campaign issue.  In 2014, Holder, the most partisan Attorney General in American history, has sent dozens of FBI agents to investigate local police shootings and has sued states over voter ID laws, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld such laws in the past.  An author of a book about Holder insists that the AG had carried a card in his wallet for 30-years proclaiming his sympathies with the African-American criminal.

Because Mitt Romney refused to take off the gloves and fight like a serious political candidate, the nation is now saddled with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Russian invasion of the Crimea and the Ukraine, China threatening our Japanese and Filipino allies over islands, and a porous southern border that leaks to the tune of 1,100 illegal immigrants each day.

Quite frankly, if Romney was unwilling to take the good fight to Obama, why would Americans believe that the GOP standard bearer is willing to stand-up to the Iranians, the Russians, the Chinese, and ISIS?  No matter how the Republicans try to parse Romney’s failed campaign, weakness is a character flaw.  In a world full of despots, butchers, thieves and thugs, the timid soon become the trampled.  In 2016, the U.S. hardly needs a Soeren’s Ford nice guy as President.

Contemporary U.S. history shows that only a handful of Presidents, such as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, could campaign and, then once elected, govern effectively.  Romney would have probably been a good President; however, politicians who run poor campaigns rarely get the opportunity to govern.  Others, like Obama, are great campaigners but are inept at governing.  In this respect, the 2012 race for President produced two duds.

What is clear is that this nation is in need of new blood with a fresh set of ideas.  Hillary Clinton with her Chinese manufactured Russian “reset” button hardly fits this bill.  On the other hand, Mitt Romney is not a candidate who has proposed bold ideas to fix a broken nation that, under Obama’s leadership, is in full retreat.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


Police Use of Force: A Wedge Issue for Grievance Politicians

The use of force by law enforcement has been the issue du jour in the news lately.   While Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri has dominated national headlines, the shooting death of unarmed Dontre Hamilton, a troubled 31-year-old man killed by a police officer at Milwaukee’s Red Arrow Park in April, resulted in a smaller, yet similar, protest last Friday.

Some of the African-American political officials present brought a litany of complaints to the table: the high rate of joblessness in the black community, poverty, ignorance, and despair.  While serving in their public capacities, however, many of these same African-American officials have actually done little to pass laws that would significantly curb the use of excessive police force.

For instance, state legislatures can pass laws that expand the rights of individuals beyond those that are constitutionally protected.  One example is Wisconsin state statute 946.75, which criminalizes an officer’s denial of an individual’s request “…to consult and be advised by an attorney at law at personal expense, whether or not such person is charged with a crime” while in police custody.  From my experience, though, the most effective way to curb police abuse is not the criminalization of some forms of law enforcement conduct.   After all, how many officers have ever been convicted for violating § 946.75?  None that I know of, even though there have been documented instances of police officers violating this statute.

Some, especially civil rights attorneys, believe lawsuits are the answer, even though the vast majority of the monetary costs and damages associated with police officer lawsuits are absorbed by a municipality’s insurance.  Consequently, the only persons actually feeling any pain from police officer use of force lawsuits are the taxpayers.

Most law enforcement officers and district attorneys are going to cringe when they read this; nevertheless, the most effective way to marginalize the use of excessive force is the suppression of evidence.  The U.S. Supreme Court appeared to steer the nation’s courts this way in Graham v. Conner, 490 U.S. 386 (1989); whereby, the Court shifted the constitutional protection of an excessive use of police force (for those not incarcerated in jails or prisons) from the Fourteenth Amendment to the Fourth Amendment, in effect, making an excessive use of force tantamount to an unlawful seizure.

Defense attorneys soon realized that a remedy to an unlawful seizure might be the suppression of evidence, and cases began working their way through the courts.   In U.S. v. Watson, 558 F.3d 702,  the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals abruptly put the kibosh on such a defense by finding no casual connection between the evidence collected and the seizure of a defendant via an excessive use of police force, even though the sole purpose of suppression is to discourage police misconduct.  The Wisconsin Court of Appeals used the Watson decision as a catalyst to negate the suppression of evidence based on excessive police use of force in State v. Herr, 346 Wis. 2d 603.

Regardless of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling or a Wisconsin court’s finding in State v. Herr, the state legislature can — when it sees fit — offer more rights by law than the Constitution or the courts grant.  If the Milwaukee delegation in the state legislature is so outraged by what it sees as a pattern of excessive force on the part of the police, why is it then that not one Democrat has offered a bill to suppress evidence seized after a police use of excessive force, not even during the Doyle years when the Democrats controlled all three branches of government?

Some officers believe that the police use of force is being used by Democrats as a wedge issue.  In other words, African-American lawmakers use these protests to garner some street credibility and to gin-up their political base, but, when the rubber meets the road, they fail to propose legislation that would suppress evidence gathered as a result of an excessive use of police force.  In this way, the issue of excessive force stays alive for yet another day to be used whenever the grievance political community sees fit.

Unfortunately, based on the turnout at Friday’s protest at Red Arrow Park, it appears that Democrat lawmakers from Milwaukee are playing their base like a fiddle.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


The Media Embarrasment in Ferguson

Watching “Fox and Friends” this morning made me realize why I rarely watch television. The topic du jour, of course, was the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.   Here is some advice to television hosts who know very little about law enforcement and criminal investigations: before asking questions or making ignorant statements, get a grasp on the issues at hand.

For example, much as been made about the police releasing the video of a man, reportedly Michael Brown, acting thug-like while stealing some cigars from the store.  From the video, the item being removed appeared to be a box of Philly Blunts. These cigars are known to have their tobacco removed and marijuana inserted.  More importantly, the video depicts the mindset of Mr. Brown moments before he was stopped by the officer.  Statements from the Ferguson police chief indicate that the officer was stopping Brown and his friend for walking in the middle of the street.  The officer apparently had no knowledge of the strong-arm robbery that had occurred moments earlier; however, Brown allegedly did.  As such, Brown might have reacted in a manner consistent with an individual involved in a robbery.

Thus, the reason the police released the video is to illustrate that Brown might not have been the gentle giant — simply minding his own business — when he had police contact.  The video does exists and does not disparage the robber; the robber disparaged himself.  Moreover, in the immediate aftermath of the Rodney King beating, the media and the public had no issues with the video of the officers beating King being released.  Video is not an allegation but an illustration of what actually occurred.  After watching the video, members of the public are free to draw their own conclusions.

Showing a significant lack of understanding regarding the criminal justice system, one of the “Fox and Friends” hosts wondered, aloud, why a warrant had not been issued for the officer who shot Brown, leading readers to believe that the officer had been charged.  At this point in time, I am unaware of the results of Brown’s autopsy or that statement of the officer investigators. This is a complicated process.  Internally, the officer might have been ordered to provide a statement. When this is done, the officer is typically read a “Garrity warning,” which states that any information provided by the officer during an internal investigation cannot be used in any subsequent criminal proceeding.  This warning is the result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Garrity v. New Jersey; whereby, the Court held that statements obtained by threats of discipline would violate the officer’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if admitted in a criminal case.

The next issue is the police response to the protestors and the looters.  From my experience, these issues need to be dealt with separately.  Missouri’s governor should have called out the National Guard to protect Ferguson’s businesses, which would have enabled civilian law enforcement personnel to focus on order maintenance matters. Instead, law enforcement has refused to protect area businesses, even suggesting that the business owners arm themselves. The last time I checked, businesses paid property taxes and, as such, deserve to have their property protected against looters. Moreover, if one of the business owners had shot a looter, the level of violence would surely escalate.

In regards to the shooting of Michael Brown, the investigation will work its way out.  Forensics and ballistics will provide more detailed information, which is important because physical evidence does not lie.  In the interim, the media — seeking ratings during the doldrums of August — will, no doubt, continue its uninformed coverage of events in Missouri.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

 


Clarke v. Baldwin? An Election for the Ages

After thumping his opponent in the Democrat Party primary Tuesday, there is a lot of speculation about the political future of Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.  Some talking heads think the sheriff will enter the race for Milwaukee mayor.  Others believe that after this term, Clarke will simply ride his horse into the sunset and take a talk-radio gig.

From SF’s perspective, Clarke needs to think bigger.  The sheriff might want to consider backing Bob Donovan’s candidacy to knock-off Tom Barrett and, instead, finish his term, accept a talk-radio spot, and then challenge Tammy Baldwin, who critics have dubbed Wisconsin’s “do-nothing” U.S. Senator.

Clarke v. Baldwin would be a classic match-up.  The ultra-liberal Baldwin resides, of course, in the ultra-liberal city of Madison.  Clarke lives in Milwaukee, where residents of the metro area roll-up their sleeves and are not afraid to get their hands dirty.  Baldwin lends de facto support to those who belly-ache about racial disparities in the criminal justice system.  Sheriff Clarke makes no excuses for criminals, regardless of their skin color.  Baldwin supports President Obama’s gun control initiatives; Clarke supports thug control.

Tammy Baldwin is not up for reelection until 2018, a non-Presidential year election typically dominated by right-of-center voters.   And liberals probably gave Sheriff Clarke’s state-wide name recognition a huge boost by throwing a kitchen sink’s worth of political resources at him, including a $150,000 from New York City’s former Orwellian, nanny-state  mayor, Michael “Big Brother” Bloomberg.

Traveling the state prior to last Tuesday’s primary, I was surprised to see how many supporters Clarke had in rural areas of Wisconsin.   By raising the sheriff’s profile, the Democrat Party can thank Tom Barrett, Chris Abele, WEAC, and Michael Bloomberg, for a surge in Clarke’s  out-state appeal.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com  and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


Think Officer Safety When Voting Tuesday

In Mitchell Nevin’s book, “Psychic Reprieve,” FBI agents, working in conjunction with a detective from the Milwaukee Police Department, track down a would-be terrorist at a San Diego naval shipyard. The investigation results in the arrest of a man who planned a biological attack of a U.S. Navy ship. As depicted by Nevin, good intelligence is necessary to thwart such plots.

Written in the early Sixth Century B.C., Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu understood the importance of knowing those who would do him harm. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles,” Sun noted. “If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Nevin’s book, which spotlights how a Jihadist terror suspect slipped across America’s southern border, as well as Sun’s quote, illustrates why President Obama’s open borders strategy is so utterly dangerous.

Late last month, Texas Senator Dan Patrick objected to the Obama administration’s unwillingness to adequately vet unlawful immigrants streaming across the southern border of the United States. In just four years, Patrick believes over 143,000 criminal gang members had entered Texas illegally. “We charged them with 447,000 crimes,” said the senator, “a half-million crimes in four years, just in Texas, including over 5,000 rapes and 2,000 murders.”

On Thursday, two unlawful immigrant gang members were charged in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr., who was killed during a bungled robbery attempt. The two alleged suspects, Gustavo Tijerina, 30, and Ismael Hernandez, 40, had been arrested and deported “numerous times.”

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/06/suspected-gunman-in-border-patrol-agent-murder-has-ties-to-gulf-cartel-sources-say/

In an attempt to admit millions of unlawful immigrants he believes will vote Democrat, President Obama and his political operatives know very little about those who are entering this nation illegally, and, from the looks of it, they don’t care. Until our government gets a grip on who is seeking to cross the border and performs its due diligence on those who have already entered the U.S., any immigration bill should be put on hold.

Locally, a similar set of circumstances exist in southeastern Wisconsin. In the Democrat Primary for Milwaukee County Sheriff, Milwaukee Police Department Lieutenant Chris Moews has said that he will not fully cooperate with federal law enforcement if he is elected Milwaukee County Sheriff.

“I don’t think we should be doing the federal government’s job for them,” said Moews, as quoted on the Facebook page of Voces de la Frontera, a radical immigrant group that supports a wide-open southern border.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Voces-de-la-Frontera-Action/152554251431318

“Chris Moews has just sold his soul to a radical group that has no respect for the rule of law,” said Sheriff Clarke. “He is demonstrating that he will say anything and collaborate with a radical group to get elected.”

SF’s concern in the debate over unlawful immigration focuses primarily on one issue: public safety. Quite frankly, I — like the rank-and-file members of the U.S. Border Patrol — am very concerned that law enforcement officers will be the one’s forced to make the ultimate sacrifice as President Obama and Chris Moews’ wink-and-nod as criminal gang members, human traffickers, terrorists, and drug cartel members, stream into the U.S under the guise of garnering future Democrat Party votes.

The first course of action needed is to secure the southern border, even if it means deploying the United States Army. Once the border no longer leaks like a sieve, the nation needs to find a means to recognize those that are here short of full citizenship. After all, citizenship should be reserved for law-abiding adults who came to the U.S. legally, such as the millions of people around the world who are waiting in line to come here, regardless of how they may or may not determine future elections.

For law enforcement officers in Milwaukee County, the safety of those wearing a badge is something to think about when voting in Tuesday’s primary election.
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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.
For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014