National Park Service, special team called American Gestapo

National Park Service, special team called American Gestapo

This is a discussion on National Park Service, special team called American Gestapo within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; http://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont/node/3020 American gestapo July 28, 2007 - 4:02am. Abuse of power by National Park Service police By DOUG THOMPSON The last place you expect to ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    National Park Service, special team called American Gestapo

    http://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont/node/3020

    American gestapo
    July 28, 2007 - 4:02am.

    Abuse of power by National Park Service police

    By DOUG THOMPSON

    The last place you expect to run into a federal government goon squad is the Blue Ridge Parkway, the scenic highway that runs through Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

    But the abuse of power spawned by the Bush administration and the rights robbing USA Patriot Act runs rampant throughout the federal bureaucracy, as I learned this week while traveling the Parkway to get to an assignment photographing a summer music festival for my newspaper.

    The festival, FloydFest, draws thousands of people each July to a picturesque patch of land just off the Parkway not far from the Blue Ridge hamlet of Floyd, VA. Now in its sixth year, the festival enjoys a national reputation. It also provides an opportunity for the National Park Service police to harass patrons of the festival.

    For the last two years, the Park Service has brought in its "CIT" (Criminal Interdiction Team) from Asheville, North Carolina, to police crowds that use the Parkway to reach the festival. The team, composed of swaggering young officers with little regard for due process or civil rights, is the embodiment of federal excess.

    As I drove towards the site Thursday, I passed two CIT Park Police officers that had pulled cars over and were forcing the occupants to pull everything out of the car so they could search coolers, back packs, luggage, glove boxes and consoles.

    I pulled off the road ahead of the second NPS patrol car, grabbed my camera and headed back to take a photo of the police action. As I approached, the Park Service officer wheeled around and pointed at me.

    "Sir, if you raise that camera to take a photograph I will place you under arrest," he barked.

    I identified myself as a working journalist on assignment and said I was simply covering a news event.

    "Sir," he retorted, "this is U.S. government property and under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act you cannot take photographs of official government activity without authorization. Put your camera down now!"

    I could not believe what I was hearing. I grew up in this part of the country and have photographed on the Blue Ridge Parkway since my days as a high school student. I asked for his badge number. He refused to reveal it.

    "Sir, you have 15 seconds to leave or you are under arrest." He had his hand on his gun so I left. Media General, our newspaper's owner, has strict rules about interaction with police. At the top of the hill, I stopped and shot some photos back towards the scene.

    At the festival, patrons told numerous horror stories about encounters that day with the Park Service Police. One young woman was pulled over because she had beads hanging from her rear view mirror. They detained her for more than an hour while they searched her car and found nothing. Another young man was stopped because he had a bolt missing from his license plate frame. When the cops found no drugs or alcohol, they ticketed him for "improper equipment."

    On Wednesday night, the CIT cops pulled over a car driven by Shannon Zeman, the sheriff of Floyd County, VA. Zeman later told Virginia State Trooper Andrew O'Connor that the parkway cops were rude and abusive, even to a fellow cop.

    Calls to the Park Service police headquarters were not returned Friday. I called the office of Congressman Rick Boucher and they promised to check into the situation. According to the National Park Service web site, park police "provides highly trained and professional police officers to prevent and detect criminal activity, conduct investigations, apprehend individuals suspected of committing offenses against Federal, State and local laws."

    Nice to know the park service cops have professionals on board. Next time, let's hope they send the pros instead of the goon squad from the Criminal Interdiction Team in Asheville.

    UPDATE -- 07/29/2007: The National Park Service recalled their CIT unit and ordered them back to Asheville after Congressman Rick Boucher, who represents the area, intervened on behalf of the festival. Boucher's office received numerous calls of complaints about the NPS police activity on Thursday and Friday and called the director of the National Park Service. Security for the remaining two days of the festival was turned over to the Virginia State Police who patrolled the Parkway but did not harass festival attendees.

    UPDATE -- 07/30/2007: Talked with Congressman Boucher today. He is "very upset" over the actions of the Parkway Rangers and says he will meet personally with the director of the Parkway to "make sure nothing like this happens again." Boucher said he does not believe the Patriot Act gives a Park Ranger the authority to prohibit a person from taking pictures and he will insist of a "full and complete investigation" of the incidents of this past weekend.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Andy W.'s Avatar
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    I'm glad to hear that your congressman is on the ball.
    America: Your government is not ignoring you, it's insulting you.

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  3. #3
    Member Array prawls's Avatar
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    They'll probably just send the Hatteras to harass the folks on the beach.
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    Whoa! Glad to hear enough complained and something was done about it...
    For God, Family and Country!

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    Senior Member Array sui-juris's Avatar
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    Close to where I live they have the sleeping bear dunes, and we often hear of the jack booted thugs that police that area.. I know quite a few people who've had bad run ins w/them..

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    Well, the truly ODD thing here is why were the Feds there in the first place? Ever since the regime of Bill Clinton, all national parks aren't part of the United States of America anyway. They're "Biosphere's of the United Nations!" So there ought to be Pakastani Peace Keepers and their baby blue helmets out there harrassing US citizens. Somebody notify the Secretary General! This is an outrage!
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

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    Senior Member Array Sig229's Avatar
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    The LEO's in the story were actually the ones breaking the law.
    They are legally required to give their badge numbers and names when a citizen asks for it.

    Also, as long as your not interfering with an investigation (traffic stop) or blocking traffic (both foot and road) you are 100% legally allowed to film a LEO doing his/her job.

    Its sad that LEO's nowadays are using the "Patriot Act" to pretty much do anything they want. Its sad that so many Americans fall for that line of BS too.
    Maybe we should all carry copies of it, and when a LEO spews that line we can ask them to point out the exact place in the P.A.

    The REAL problem is, modern LEO's (not all of them) do not respect or fear us citizens.
    As front line Government officials, they forget that WE, the American public are supposed to be in charge.

    I really wish I could say what I really want here on the board about how the American people should handle the overstepping of our LEO's and Government.
    But I respect the TOS.
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    Not firearm related. Moved to OT.
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  9. #9
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    All members are reminded to review this thread, especially paragraph #2, before you post a reply here.

    This is not intended to discourage discussion on this topic, just refrain from the "Gestapo" and "Jack-Booted Thugs" rhetoric.
    Last edited by Captain Crunch; July 31st, 2007 at 03:12 PM. Reason: Add disclaimer


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    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your God like a soldier.

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    I have to say this Try walking a Mile in a LEO's Shoes, There NOT
    perfect And they are part of the Human race. Before judging to
    harshly.
    quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array Sig229's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enigmaone View Post
    I have to say this Try walking a Mile in a LEO's Shoes, There NOT
    perfect And they are part of the Human race. Before judging to
    harshly.
    While that is totally true, there is NO excuse for outright harassment and trampling upon the rights of citizens.
    Far too many people think its okay and excuse this behavior just because a person is wearing a badge.
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  12. #12
    Member Array Gadfly's Avatar
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    I believe "if you can keep it" were Ben Franklin's words of warning describing our nascent Republic. IMHO, we're on a slippery downslope and headed for the serious doo-doo at the bottom, folks.

    "Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument." -- Marbury v. Madison (1803)
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  13. #13
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    Talking Absolutely!

    Quote Originally Posted by enigmaone View Post
    I have to say this Try walking a Mile in a LEO's Shoes.
    Absolutely! Before you criticize, walk a mile in his shoes. That way when you DO criticize, you'll be a mile away and you'll have his shoes!
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array Herknav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enigmaone View Post
    I have to say this Try walking a Mile in a LEO's Shoes
    (sic)

    Sorry, I don't buy this one. I understand your thought process, but if the story is true as told by the OP, these guys are out of line.

    Funny, I'm held to a high standard in the military. How exactly is it different here? If this guy is truly a "professional", he should act like one.

    Again, we only have one side of the story.

  15. #15
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    Exclamation Interesting Idea...

    Quote Originally Posted by Herknav View Post
    (sic)

    Sorry, I don't buy this one. I understand your thought process, but if the story is true as told by the OP, these guys are out of line.

    Funny, I'm held to a high standard in the military. How exactly is it different here? If this guy is truly a "professional", he should act like one.

    Again, we only have one side of the story.
    I'd like to see if the problem is systemic in the doctrine of the agency. I remember once when it was suggested a long time ago the possibility of folding BATF into the US Marshal Service. You know how the head US Marshal replied to that idea: "What do you get when you mix clean water with dirty water? The answer is DIRTY WATER. I'll not be accepting any of THEM into my agency!"

    BATF are not known as the American Gestapo for nothing. The abuses of civil liberties are well documented there. I wonder if they screen their applicants to winnow out the folks who are pro 2nd Amendment. I also wonder if the leadership climate in this agency has led to this attitude that running roughshod over the public is not only acceptable....it's expected for satisfactory job performance.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

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