Civil Liberties

Arkansas Police Chief Proposes Random ID Checks By Armed Patrols

Militarizing police work, chapter DXXIII.

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The police chief in Paragould, Arkansas, has a plan:

Just a barbed wire fence between us.

[Chief Todd] Stovall told the group of almost 40 residents that beginning in 2013, the department would deploy a new street crimes unit to high crime areas on foot to take back the streets.

"[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck," Stovall said. "If you're out walking, we're going to stop you, ask why you're out walking, check for your ID."

Stovall said while some people may be offended by the actions of his department, they should not be.

"We're going to do it to everybody," he said. "Criminals don't like being talked to."

[Mayor Mike] Gaskill backed Stovall's proposed actions during Thursday's town hall.

"They may not be doing anything but walking their dog," he said. "But they're going to have to prove it."…

Where does this road go?

Stovall further elaborated on the stop-and-ID policy Friday morning, claiming the city's crime statistics alone met the threshold of reasonable suspicion required to lawfully accost a citizen.

"To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason," he said. "Well, I've got statistical reasons that say I've got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you're doing out. Then when I add that people are scared…then that gives us even more [reason] to ask why are you here and what are you doing in this area."

Stovall said he did not consult an attorney before announcing his plans to combat crime. He even remained undaunted when comparing his proposed tactics with martial law, explaining that "I don't know that there's ever been a difference" between his proposals and martial law.

Radley Balko offers some context here. "Using SWAT teams for routine patrols isn't uncommon," he writes. "Fresno did this for several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The city sent its Violent Crimes Suppression Unit into poorer neighborhoods and stopped, confronted, questioned, and searched nearly everyone they encountered….A 1999 report in the Boston Globe found similar units patrolling the streets of Indianapolis and San Francisco, which the reporter noted gave the communities under siege 'all the ambiance of the West Bank.'"

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  1. They’re doing the same thing in the next town over, except that they don’t really have the crime to justify it. It’s more of an overtime thing. As far as probable cause goes, “fuck you, that’s why.”

    1. sarcasmic| 12.18.12 @ 9:57AM |#

      …It’s more of an overtime thing.

      You don’t say. I’ve never heard of that before… police desperately milking their overtime? It would almost suggest that every time an ‘incident’ occurs, a disproportionate number of police would show up at the scene and linger indefinitely for no apparent reason… which is something I’ve definitely never seen.

  2. “We’re going to do it to everybody,” he said. “Criminals don’t like being talked to.”

    There are so very many things wrong with this idea, it’s hard to pick just one to ridicule. Here he seems to be suggesting that it’s a crime to not want to be hassled while you’re out and about.

    1. The Bill of Rights only applies to criminals, don’t you know?

    2. It’s not a crime per se. Just a sign that you’ve committed other crimes. If you have nothing to hide, why would you not want to be talked to?

      1. It’s not the talking to that bothers me, it’s the part where I tell them I’m not interested in their company and they continue to harass me.

    3. Sure criminals don’t like being talked to, but that does not mean that everyone who doesn’t like being talked to is a criminal.

      A implies B does not mean B implies A.

      Someone needs to learn this guy some basic logic.

      1. I believe your first post alluded to his connection to logic.

        What is distressing is that the biggest supporters of this are going to be the same townsfolk who claim to be believe in limited govt and individual freedom.

        1. Ironic how many who preach limited government and individual freedom will support virtually any government action done in the name of “Law and Order.”

          1. Freedom for me, but not for thee.

    4. The innocent have nothing to hide.

  3. “They may not be doing anything but walking their dog,” he said. “But they’re going to have to prove it.”…

    Or else what?

    1. “What are you doing here sir?”
      “I’m walking my dog.”
      “Got any proof?”
      ” As a matter of fact I do have Tippy right here on his leash.”
      “You got a license for that dog?…”

      1. More like….

        “What are you doing here, sir?”
        “I’m walking my dog.”
        bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang
        “NOW what are you doing here? I’m going to have to take you downtown.”

        1. “We’re already downtown.”
          “Oh, smart guy huh?”

          1. Yes, always remember – cops hate being reminded they aren’t as smart as everyone else.

            1. STOP RESISTING! BANG BANG BANG!
              No more walkie walkie

    2. Or else stop resisting.

    3. “Go fuck yourself. Get a warrant and my lawyer.”

      1. Yeah, that’s really the only correct response.

        1. No, no, there’s another correct and totally warranted response, and it involves walls and a firing squad.

          1. That’s so Che, though.

            How about burning at the stake?

            1. I’m for putting them in prison–general population.

              1. That’s cruel and unusual.

                1. The part where it’s unusual needs to be fixed in the case of Chief Todd Stovall. I propose he gets burned at the stake so often it’s no longer unusual.

      2. “I don’t understand any English at all. You must provide me with an interpreter who speaks Chamicuro.”

        1. There are eight people in South America who desperately want to talk with you.

          1. “Well go get ’em, pig.” 🙂

  4. Why does anybody need a machine gun to patrol a piece of shit town in Arkansas?

    1. Because it looks cool.

    2. They aren’t machine guns.

      1. Lots of police departments have select fire toys they got from the feds. Don’t make that assumption. Many people are ignorant of or elide the difference between AR-15 and M16/M4.

        1. Looks like a 14″ barrel in the picture, for example, which is regulated like a machine gun would be even if it’s not. Highly unlikely that it is anything BUT a milspec M4.

          Why bother with an NFA dealer and not buy a select-fire gun?

        2. Silly me, assuming that the article was accurate.

          What could possibly go wrong with cops carrying selective fire weapons on teh streets routinely?

    3. Tim| 12.18.12 @ 10:02AM |#

      Why does anybody need a machine gun to patrol a piece of shit town in Arkansas?

      uhm. Well, in Little Rock at least, I think full-auto is in fact recommended.

      http://www.cityrating.com/crim…..-rock.html

      …but then, a larger question for me is = why does anyone *stay* in Arkansas?

  5. This is what happens when you have a Constitution that has no enforcement mechanism.

    This chief should get 25 to life for knowingly and deliberately violating it. Seriously.

    What good is the rule of law with no way to enforce it?

    1. It’s a living document, BarryD.

    2. But there is an enforcement mechanism:

      18 USC 242 – Deprivation of rights under color of law

      Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

      1. Seems like they’re willfully depriving persons of this right protected by the 4th Amendment to the Constitution:

        The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      2. Interesting.

        10 years at least for the use of weapons.

        Death penalty for kidnapping.

        This actually COULD result in a 25-to-life sentence if carried out.

  6. “We’re going to do it to everybody,” he said. “Criminals don’t like being talked to.”

    I am not a criminal, but I do not like talking to cops.

    “They may not be doing anything but walking their dog,” he said. “But they’re going to have to prove it.”…

    I thought we were presumed innocent until proven guilty.

    This begs for civil disobedience, organizing people to go out walking, but leaving their photo ID at home.

    And why the fuck do you need SWAT gear for this?

    1. And why the fuck do you need SWAT gear for this?

      A show of force. That and I presume that they’re hoping to get an excuse to kill someone. After all, that’s why they took the job in the first place. To kill people.

    2. “””And why the fuck do you need SWAT gear for this?”””

      Because black is slimming and some of these cops don’t exercise as much as they should.

      Also how can they justify SWAT stuff if they don’t prance around town in it.

    3. Why do you need SWAT gear for this?

      Maybe because there are still people in the US who lived under Soviet, East German, Nazi, Khmer Rouge, and similar rule, and someone is likely to “snap” at some point when they have armed cops strolling around demanding that they justify their presence on the streets of their own town?

      1. I wonder what would happen if someone ran away. I imagine one of the SWAT guys would calmly raise his weapon and shoot the criminal (why else would someone run away?) in the back.

        1. Did you not see the video yesterday?

          It seems that, when a cop orders you to get out of a vehicle, and you try to get out of the vehicle, your doing so somehow justifies the cop emptying his magazine into you (after which you have to be cuffed, of course).

        2. Perhaps…this?
          In the early morning of February 4, 1999, Diallo was standing near his building after returning from a meal. Police officers Edward McMellon, Sean Carroll, Kenneth Boss and Richard Murphy passed by in a Ford Taurus. Observing that Diallo matched the description of a since-captured well-armed serial rapist involved in the rape or attempted rape of 51 victims, they approached him.[3][4] The officers were in plain clothes.

          The officers claimed they loudly identified themselves as NYPD officers and that Diallo ran up the outside steps toward his apartment house doorway at their approach, ignoring their orders to stop and “show his hands”. The porch lightbulb was out and Diallo was backlit by the inside vestibule light, showing only a silhouette. Diallo then reached into his jacket and withdrew his wallet. Seeing the suspect holding a small square object, Carroll yelled “Gun!” to alert his colleagues. Believing Diallo had aimed a gun at them at close range, the officers opened fire on Diallo. During the shooting, lead officer McMellon tripped backward off the front stairs, causing the other officers to believe he had been shot. The four officers fired 41 shots, more than half of which went astray as Diallo was hit 19 times.[1]

    4. I am not a criminal

      Prove it, civilian.

      God damn this pisses me off – first f’ing thing I read this morning. It’s like Balko never really left, isn’t it.

      1. Oh, he left. He just installed a tiny ball-kicker machine in the waistband of your underwear. Your morning cup of coffee activates the machine.

      2. Just as a sidenote, this is a real tweet from HuffPo last night:

        Huffington Post ?@HuffingtonPost
        Check out @radleybalko’s new blog, The Agitator http://huff.to/U72KKe

        Geez, are you kidding me?

        1. That’s disappointing. I had figured that he had given up the idea of moving the agitator to Huff Post. I wonder if there is any chance that it won’t be completely ruined.

          1. With that Commentariat? I doubt it.

            I like to think Radley’s doing the Lord’s work and bringing enlightenment to the Pwoggies, but any look at the comments or his Twitter feed puts paid to that little piece of fantasy.

            1. Radley didn’t learn from Matt & Tim.

              (Sounds like a weak folkie group that can’t play or write good songs.)

            2. Ugh. Just reading the comments on the introductory post are too much. Oh, well. The Agitator was nice while it lasted. Good for Radley for being successful and everything, but HuffPo blogs fucking blow.

        2. Huffington Post ?@HuffingtonPost
          Check out @radleybalko’s new blog, The Agitator http://huff.to/U72KKe

          Geez, are you kidding me?

          Meh, it’s new to the HuffPo because it moved there. Tough call.

    5. And why the fuck do you need SWAT gear for this?

      Cuz it’s more fun to strut about with an assault rifle while wearing faggoty s&m gear. Plus, the image has to match the attitude. That, and seeing the apprehension, and even fear, in people’s eyes as you approach them, demanding their papers. But on a more serious note, the best part is, they have to do what you say, or you get to do stuff to them.

      1. That’s not faggoty S&M gear, man. Needs more leather straps and chrome rings for that.

        1. That’s not faggoty S&M gear, man. Needs more leather straps and chrome rings for that.

          It’s faggoty s&m gear for the latent homosexual, the one who subconsciously desires the leather straps and chrome rings.

          1. latent?

            You mean Self-Denying.

  7. He even remained undaunted when comparing his proposed tactics with martial law, explaining that “I don’t know that there’s ever been a difference” between his proposals and martial law.

    Is it possible that the high crime rate in the area is linked to the fact that they hired a high-functioning moron to head their law enforcement department?

  8. Tulpa approves.

    1. Dunphy wouldn’t unless the cops shot any dogs they saw as they strolled around.

      1. dunphy could bench press all the dogs in the world while on a jet ski.

        1. more bigotry

          look, there is very little benefit to bench pressing on a jetski

          its much better to do the olympic lifts, cleans, snatches

          lots of olympic athletes gravitate to the jetski cop academy, too

          1. Hear hear!! to cleaning snatches

            1. This is why libertarians can’t have nice wimmens.

        2. Is he on the jet ski, or are the dogs?

    2. Tulpa approves.

      Needs moar cameras.

  9. Remember,

    THESE ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO SHOULD HAVE GUNS!

  10. Where’s Patrick McGoohan when you need him?

    1. I haven’t seen him since he resigned.

  11. What a backward place, progressive places like New York City not only stop and question you, they search you too.

  12. But they’re going to have to prove it.

    I know it’s like, 100 years or something, but I’m pretty sure I read something that said I don’t.

  13. Most people think living with the illusion of security is preferable to liberty.

    1. As long as you don’t do anything wrong you have nothing to worry about.

      Am I right? Do I win?

      1. You win a pair of jackboots delivered to your face, over and over again.

  14. I hope the chief also has a plan in place to start seizing peoples’ assets without trial or even suspicion, because defending this policy all the way to the Supreme Court is gonna be expensive.

    1. Ya I was just thinking that brand new law graduate with a hidden camera could make quite a penny on federal civil rights lawsuits. All he has to do is us H&R to plan his tour of America

  15. “To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason,” he said. “Well, I’ve got statistical reasons that say I’ve got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you’re doing out. Then when I add that people are scared…then that gives us even more [reason] to ask why are you here and what are you doing in this area.”

    This dumbass seriously needs to be canned for egregious failure to understand what “probable cause” means. “Well, there’s a lot of crime and some people are scared” isn’t it.

    1. “Probable cause” is an outdated concept. It’s all about feelings now. That’s why “Reasonable suspicion” is what they use for these type of stops.

      “Is it safe to assume an otherwise scared-shitless officer of the state that has an ingrained distrust of anyone not carrying a badge would have reasonable suspicion to think everybody around them was a criminal? Then these stops are legal.”

      /the court system

  16. “[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck,” Stovall said. “If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID.”

    This country has gone completely insane.

    1. Living…document…

      1. I’m pretty sure chief Todd Stovall just put out a hit on the living document. Before long, it wont be a living document any more.

  17. And why the fuck do you need SWAT gear for this?

    Cowardice.

  18. “”Well, I’ve got statistical reasons that say I’ve got a lot of crime right now, …”

    They don’t have a high crime rate: it’s considerably lower than Boulder, CO, and much lower than Portland, OR:

    http://www.city-data.com/crime…..ansas.html
    (replace the URL’s city-state in the obvious way)

    1. Paragould has a lower violent crime rate than the national average, and it’s been going down every year since 2006.

      Granted, far in the past, it had much less crime than today. And I support any legitimate police efforts to improve this situation. But it’s also a fact that the place has improved a bit every year, for a while. If there IS a crisis that justifies martial law (that’s effectively what this is), it’s already subsiding.

      The place seems to have a lot of arson, though. Perhaps there should be roaming firefighters with hoses instead of cops with SMGs.

      1. Why do you want the criminals to win, BarryD? Why do you hate the children?

      2. 2002, FWIW http://paragouldpolice.org/
        “In 2002 statistics were gathered and declared in 2003 that Paragould was recorded as the Safest City in Arkansas with a population of 20,000 plus.”

        Check out Paragould’s “Most Wanted” – nearly all are wanted for “non-payment of fines”.

      3. Perhaps there should be roaming firefighters with hoses instead of cops with SMGs.

        Who do you think is starting the fires?

  19. Minneapolis had to disband the city’s anti-gang force as they literally (

    1. Too lazy to fix my html fuck-up.

      1. Well, you could at least tell us.

        1. http://www.startribune.com/loc…..ml?refer=y

          In brief, the Metro Gang Force ripped off people of their electronic devices and cash when they need some loot.

          They targeted Latinos & blacks as nobody gave a shit if it happened to them.

          1. Officers snared people with no ties to gang activity, seized cash, big-screen TVs and other items that couldn’t be linked to crimes and used the property to help sustain the Strike Force and sometimes benefit themselves, Luger and Egelhof concluded

          2. (Ryan being the head of the gang unit):

            Ryan acknowledged the problem, telling examiners that some Strike Force members couldn’t resist the impulse to grab all the “really neat” stuff that was often “better than the stuff the copper’s got in his house

          3. filled with cops obsessed with the unit’s financial problems, and who saw nothing wrong with taking whatever they found, from whoever they wanted, without worrying about the legal consequences. In some cases, the investigators found, these were cops who envied the riches they saw and decided to even the score by seizing jewelry, appliances, computer equipment and big-screen TVs they thought the suspects didn’t “deserve”

          4. In the auditor’s report, the unit was blasted for being unable to account for $18,000 in forfeited cash and 13 forfeited vehicles. More than $5,000 set aside for confidential informants was used for “unallowable or unreasonable purposes,” including $72 for doughnuts.

            I had to throw this one in — bwaHahaha!

            1. Ah, thanks. They were a little more upfront than most about their asset forfeiture program.

  20. “[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck,” Stovall said. “If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID.”

    Dockers are SWAT gear? Is it because they have the comfort waistband for our donut-munchers to grow into from the start to end of every shift? My, our cops have gotten soft.

  21. The standard citizen reply to being randomly stopped and asked where they are going or what they are doing by that police dept should be,”I’m going to your moms house for a roll in the hay, then I’m going to take a dump in her bathroom and not flush. Then I will never call her again.”

    1. “Hostile man shot 27 times by Bushmaster AR-15 (not available to civilians) after confronting police in menacing manner. Next up we begin a twelve part series examining how websites may be collecting information on your browsing habits, and what Congress is doing about it.”

      1. I like how it wasn’t the cop, but the _bushmaster_ that did the shooting. Props for the verisimilitude.

  22. I see a whole bunch of jaywalking charges in Paragould’s residents’ future. There’s your probable cause.

    1. We’re all criminals, when it really comes down to it.

      1. Every cop a sinner…

        …every sinner a saint?

  23. This article out of the LA times (printed in the Seattle Times) hits all the bullet points:

    Mental health issues
    Pictures of military weapons on the wall
    Violent video games
    Bullying

    http://seattletimes.com/html/n…..8web1.html

  24. This is clearly illegal under Terry v Ohio. The city attorney better nip this in the bud or they are going to owe some big time damages.

    1. It’s cool, all the city’s settlement obligations will be abrogated by their upcoming bankruptcy.

  25. Well, I’ve got statistical reasons

    Well, Balko has these other statistics, and that’s why I’m placing you under citizen’s arrest for violating the property and lives of the people who pay your extortion demands salary.

  26. Redneck police chief Todd Stovall is a redneck. Fucking are-kansas.

  27. A few thoughts:

    Recall Mayor Gaskill.
    Impeach Mayor Gaskill.
    Abolish the mayor’s office, the city council and the police department, and buy out all their pensions at ten cents on the dollar.

    Don’t stand for this. Grow a backbone.

  28. Germane to the issue =

    John Gilmore (NOT ME) on ID requests

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..D&index=20

    John Gilmore (NOT ME) on why ID requests ultimately create different classes of ‘freedom’ between ordinary citizens versus the political class

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..D&index=21

    John Gilmore (ME) on being confused for the above, hippy-looking John Gilmore, who’d been suing the TSA and John Ashcroft for years… =

    Suffered constant random searches and “security-risk” status slapped on me by an inept TSA

    But for real, they’re just making us “safer”…

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