Friday, April 3, 2009

A Disturbing Little Story Out of Arizona

I hope public officials here don't get any ideas from this shocking little story from our neighbor to the west.

Police in Phoenix Arizona raided the home of a gadfly blogger who runs a Web site highly critical of Phoenix's finest.

The blog is called Bad Phoenix Cops, and is the work of a former software sales and marketing executive named Jeff Pataky.

A March 19 article in The Arizona Republic said:

Investigators confiscated computer material and other items from Pataky's north Phoenix home, which he considered a threat to quit writing.

"We have heard internally from our police sources that they purposefully did this to stop me,"
Pataky said. "They took my cable modem and wireless router. Anyone worth their salt knows nothing is stored in the cable modem."

A post today in a blog called Photography is Not a Crime had more details:

Maricopa County Judge Gary Donahoe signed the search warrant that allowed at least ten cops to raid his home in North Phoenix on March 12 while handcuffing his female roommate for three hours as they tore the place apart.
The assistant police chief told The Republic that the search had to do with a harassment complaint by a police detective, and, "This isn't about the blog. That's just where the investigation led."

The paper noted that police also served a separate search warrant at the home of former homicide detective who was one of the investigators on a local rape case.

That detective was demoted after he went public a year ago "with claims of mismanaged evidence at the city's crime lab."

A legit investigation or a threat to the First Amendment? This one's going to be worth watching.

(Thanks for the Twitter tip, Avelino.)