Monday, April 6, 2009

This Has Scary Implications

Blogger claims police search of home was a threat

Police officers accused of drunken driving. A female officer's alleged promiscuity and infidelity. A commander whose critics labeled his son a child molester.

Jeff Pataky said he uses negative complaints and anonymous tips to fuel his blogging crusade against Phoenix police. A headline on his Web site suggests rewards would be provided for "dirt" on police indiscretions.

Pataky, a former software sales and marketing executive who now focuses his energy shoveling content on, said he believes his online criticism of the department - along with past criticisms of police investigations - led officers to serve a search warrant at his home last week.

Police officials said Wednesday that a Phoenix detective prompted the investigation after complaining about harassment, though they declined further comment.

Pataky said he felt the investigation was a response to a lawsuit he filed on Monday in U.S. District Court saying he was maliciously prosecuted by police in 2007 after his ex-wife accused him of harassment, a case later dropped. In his lawsuit he's asking for an unspecified amount for damages. City officials declined to comment on pending litigation.

Pataky's blog is known in law-enforcement circles for its off-color language that, according to the blogger, is aimed at Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris, Maricopa County Andrew Thomas and other public officials.

Continue reading:

As usual we have to be careful not to jump to conclusions. Maybe the man searched is doing something wrong and the search is warranted. With that said, it is hard to see anything in the article that says this is nothing less than harassment.

We discussed this here on this blog a while back, what constitutes appropriate blogging? Does the man have an obligation to be truthful in his blogging? What are the limits on blogging?

Whatever the answers to these questions, searching a person's house and confiscating their equipment for writing an unfavorable, or even untruthful, blog is nothing short of police state tactics.


shoprat said...

One does have an obligation to be truthful in blogging and not to give away personal information on others without a very good reason. If one is uncertain on the information they are posting they should say that this is possible but unverified. Guesses should be labeled as guesses etc.

Chuck said...

I agree with you Shoprat. I myself feel that I have an obligation to be honest. People may disagree with my opinions but I do try to do research. The point is though, I don't feel the response equaled the possible crime.

LomaAlta said...

Chuck. I am not familiar with this particular case, but I do know some things about the Phoenix police. It is also troubling to me that the Police Union (who usually defends the worst among them) is questioning if there was sufficient probable cause to search the blogger’s home.

In the case of this blogger, we will just have to wait and see how things work out. With the Union seemingly taking the side of the blogger and some police within the department feeding the blogger information, I think the facts will come out. I sure hope so. Either the blogger is wrong and needs to be brought before the law if his acts were illegal or the police need to be brought up on charges if there wasn’t sufficient probable cause.

Apart from that, the Phoenix Police Dept. is rotten at the top. The rank and file is usually honest and our first line of defense, so nothing I say is against the cop on the street.

But I do know the Police Chief and his top management are working with criminal, illegal aliens. Phoenix is a sanctuary city and the Police Chief is very vocal about it and blatantly breaks federal immigration law. And, it goes even higher in city government than the Police Chief. There are two parallel DUI (drunk driving) courts in Phoenix. One wherein citizens get serious punishment under state and local laws for drunk driving and one where illegal aliens receive more of a catch and release policy. The stated reason is that there so many illegal "migrant" drunk drivers that they would overtax the regular courts and we cannot afford to prosecute and jail all of them. I have posted (with sources) on these facts and similar articles have appeared in print and on broadcast sources.

The result of this official collaboration with criminal invaders has made Phoenix the number two city for kidnappings, second to Mexico City.

I agree that the blogger should verify his facts and not release private information on any citizen (including the police). But I also believe he may be right about Phoenix police, at least at the level of the chief and his top aids.

Chuck said...

LomaAlta, thanks for the insight. Great comments

mksviews said...

It's true that one should not be targeted for simply writing their opinions on matters or you. However if the fellow is making up stuff about the police, perhaps they can sue his ass off.

Flavor Country said...

As I said before, it's a free country and a blog is not held to any factual standards like news organization, it's an expression.

I would not participate in false reporting or posting anything that could not be verified, but there are plenty of wackos out there that do so. More so since Obama won......hint hint :)

DaBlade said...

So is there such a thing as "bad publicity"? I suppose there is if you have an aversion to blogging on cell block H. Excuse me for a moment while I get my IRS audit papers in order.

Randy said...

Chuck, it seems to me that the libel laws might apply. Also, in many states there are laws against electronic harassment.

At least in the latter case, a search warrant may be appropriate.

Always On Watch said...

Blogging, by definition, is a wide-open venue. See Blogger's opening page as to the definition of a blog.

That said, the laws of libel and slander will still apply. If one publishes inaccurate or malicious information, one shouldn't be surprised that law enforcement and the justice system could become involved.

As a blogger, I don't pretend to be a journalist. But I do research and try to be forthright and as accurate as possible considering time restraints.

Chuck said...

MK, I agree, I'm just unsure of searching his house

Flavor, I think we have a moral obligation to tell the truth but I'm not sure about legal. As far as the whackos, I don't know. I don't get around to the liberal sites much :-)

DaBlade, funny. It's either prison or Obama's cabinet for you. Tough choice.

Randy, I do think libel laws should apply. I like the idea of being free-wheeling but I think we should nopt be allowed to intentionally libel someone.

AOW, agreed.

I think my concern is that if they are targeting him because he is blogging about law enforcement. If he is breaking the law, he gets what he deserves. If they are targeting him to keep him quiet, that is a concern.