WE ARE ALSO ON THE “THOUGHT STANDARD” WITH REGARD TO OUR SO-CALLED “RIGHTS”-if you think you have rights and a white Government orderly agrees, then you have rights. Constitutional rights are a myth. FUNKTIONARY explains, “an abstract fictional entity “government” cannot give you any rights, and even if reality was inverted to accommodate this illusion, anything functionaries of a government pretend to give you they can take away, and the definition of rights is inherent things that cannot be taken away.” [MORE]
From [HERE] At about 10:00 p.m. Thursday, a swarm of Garner cops banged on Mikisa Thompson’s door, demanding that she and her family step outside. Police cars had flooded the street in front of her split-level house on Vandora Springs Road, red and blue lights flashing. At first, her children hid in the upstairs bathroom. But then they realized that Thompson was alone. So, with a cell phone broadcasting the incident on Twitter, they headed downstairs as she opened the door.
At least a half dozen police officers stood outside. More were waiting in the street, partially blocking traffic. They read her a search warrant. They spread out through the house, seizing a MacBook, an HP laptop, a computer monitor, seven iPhones, computer speakers, an alarm clock, and charging cables. On their way out, they issued Thompson a summons to appear in court on June 24.
Her alleged crime: violating the town’s noise ordinance, a class-3 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine.
Specifically, her white neighbor had complained that she’d played Malcolm X speeches too loudly.“The raid was officially insane and based on an unconstitutional statute,” says Thompson’s attorney, T. Greg Doucette. “Doing a midnight raid with nine officers—over a noise ordinance, of all things—is a disproportionate show of force that shows there’s something else at play. That’s the type of overkill that’s intentionally designed to terrorize and punish people, not to actually do what's necessary for enforcing the case.”
This wasn’t the first time the Garner cops had seized Thompson’s property for allegedly violating the noise ordinance.
On April 22, her neighbor, Don Barnette, called 911 to complain that Thompson, who has a Black Lives Matter sign in front of her house, was playing “loud Islamic-Muslim preaching” in her backyard while she cleaned her patio. That day, officers came, seized Thompson’s stereo, and issued her a $50 fine. Their return visit three weeks later occurred because Barnette complained that Thompson had continued to play “amplified speech being projected by some sound amplification device,” according to the search warrant, which an officer said he could hear from Barnette’s property line.
At no point did the police conduct a decibel reading to see how loud the amplified sound actually was. Under Garner’s ordinance, they don’t have to. The ordinance bans “the creation of any unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise … of such character, intensity, and duration as to be detrimental to the health and welfare of any individual.”
The ordinance cites as an example of forbidden sound the “playing of any radio, phonograph, television set, record player, sound reproduction device or any musical instrument in such a manner or with such volume during the hours between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort, or repose of persons in any dwelling house, apartment or other type of residence.”
None of Thompson’s alleged violations of the ordinance occurred during this time period.
Jonathan Jones, a Durham attorney who specializes in First Amendment law, says the ordinance’s vague wording leaves the question of whether a crime occurred up to police discretion. That, “creates a standard that is too flexible and therefore open to abuse.”
While the ACLU of North Carolina declined to comment on the specifics of the case, field manager Jessica Turner says the situation follows “a disturbing pattern of people calling 911 on black and brown people for simply engaging in everyday life like gardening in their backyard. It’s quite literally life and death for people of color when the police are called on them.”
Thompson says her rights have also been violated.
“I’m a second-class citizen in the eyes of Garner and the Garner PD,” she told the INDY in April, after the police seized her stereo. “It feels like the things that Malcolm X spoke about in the sixties are exactly the same in 2019.”
She recorded her encounter with the police on April 22 and posted it online. An officer told her she was playing the speeches—by Malcolm X and Angela Davis, which she was listening to while she cleaned the back patio, she says—too loudly. In the recording, the speeches are vaguely audible in the background but don’t overpower Thompson and the officer’s conversation.
The police returned several times that day, eventually confiscating Thompson’s $250 beFree stereo. She has not yet gotten it back.
In a statement, Garner police told the INDY the stereo’s speaker was pointed at Barnette’s house.
“Our officers did everything they could at the time to try and bring a peaceful conclusion to this issue before seizing the speaker,” Captain Joe Binns wrote in an email. “First, we warned Ms. Thompson and asked her to turn it down. When she refused and received a second complaint, we issued her a citation for violation of the ordinance. And finally, when she continued the loud and unreasonable noise, a search warrant was obtained and the speaker was seized. While I cannot make an inference as to whether Mr. Barnette took issue with the content of the noise, our officers were only concerned about how loud the noise was and the fact that we had a valid noise complaint from a neighbor.”
It’s clear that Barnette did take issue with the noise’s content, which he described to the INDY as “Islamic Jihadist-type messages.”
“When it’s talking about killing white people and if you’re black and you still work for a white man, you’re a slave, all that kind of stuff, I don't need to hear that,” Barnette says. “My grandkids don't need to hear that mess.”
After the police took her speaker, Thompson kept playing music and speeches from her property, according to the search warrant. On May 16, Barnette contacted the police again. They met him at his house, and an officer reported that he could hear sound from the property line—which, again, is only violating Garner’s ordinance if the police say it is, as there’s no objective standard.
According to the warrant, Barnette showed the police four videos he’d taken that day, time-stamped at 12:46 p.m., 12:49 p.m., and two at 1:22 p.m. Almost nine hours later, the police arrived at Thompson’s house to execute a search warrant.
Binns says the police resorted to the search-and-seizure sweep to “keep the peace” in the neighborhood.
Doucette calls the raid “absolute overkill. All crime in Garner must have been solved” for the police to commit that many resources to a misdemeanor violation, he says. The police took computers and phones “to make their lives harder to make sure they had no way of communicating with anyone,” he adds. An iPhone, he points out, can’t produce that level of disruptive noise; the police also left the family’s televisions.
“It is punitive. It’s not trying to do an investigation, it’s not trying to gather evidence for the district attorney to decide what to do,” Doucette says. “It is trying to use the process to punish someone even though they have not actually committed a crime.”
Though the Garner police say they were only concerned with “how loud the noise was,” the May 16 search warrant notes twice that Thompson was playing Malcolm X.
Jones says that “just sets of all sorts of red flags that perhaps there’s some animus here about the actual content as opposed to just the noise level.” If the content played a role in the police’s action—consciously or subconsciously—that would be a violation of the First Amendment. Courts have ruled that all restrictions on speech have to be content-neutral.
After her first encounter with the Garner police, Thompson told the INDY that she couldn’t sleep.
“I don't feel comfortable here,” she said, “because it’s not just the neighbors. It’s the police that uphold the white supremacist ideology. That’s painful.”
Five hours after the cops raided her house—at 3:00 a.m. Friday—Thompson emailed to say she feared for her life: “There was no provocation or warning,” she wrote. “They were watching the house all day. Garner PD wants to kill me.”