Edited: Monday October 28th, 2013 to add updates of Ocean Township Police Departments’ prompt & professional reply. Added to the end of the post.
It all started with a strange and unexpected phone call. On Thursday October 24th, 2013 at 4:46pm a very close friend, Erica [not her real name] called me and said, after a few pleasantries and small talk, that the Spring Lake police just came by looking for you. Erica asked if I went to Wegman’s today and I said yes earlier, “why”? She told me that officer Michael Palmer Jr. received a call from a lieutenant from the Shrewsbury police department. An unnamed woman whom I’ll refer to as Suka Bliat thus using her initials S.B. for the duration of this article. So S.B. saw me at Wegman’s Thursday afternoon which is located in Ocean, New Jersey thus falling under the jurisdiction of the Ocean police department [please see update on Ocean. police departments correspondence to me at the end of this article] S.B. must have been at Wegman’s sometime around 2:30pm. My receipt for the 4 items that I purchased at Wegman’s has a time stamp of 2:36pm earlier that same day.
So I asked Erica why did the police come looking for me? She said that S.B. said that I had “snapped” at my daughter. I told Erica that I was shocked. I said that I didn’t even raise my voice nor did my daughter have a tantrum nor shed a tear which is not uncommon for 3 year olds. As I was talking to Erica my phone started beeping. I said it must be the police and said I’ll call you back later.
I answered, “good afternoon officer Palmer.” He said something to the effect that I guess you were expecting my call. In light of the events that transpired, I said “It was an educated guess.”
The officer was very polite, friendly as well as apologetic. It was a very cordial conversation and the officer even said that he had a child and that parenting and / or disciplining your child is not a crime. I told him that I was very disturbed that a call was made, especially today when not only did I not snap at my daughter but did not even raise my voice. I even offered to drive to the Spring Lake police station and tell him face-face as well as offering to take a lie-detector test. I said to him that this doesn’t make any sense except that S.B. which I understand is an older caucasian women, whom saw a large African-American or possibly Latin American looking male with a white blond-haired girl. PERIOD! Officer Palmer agreed! I do not remember what he said verbatim but something like, you are probably right. Now I didn’t have a chance to tape our call with Google Talk but I know that it was taped by the Spring Lake police department, so they will have the ability to transcribe the exact language.
I then mentioned to the officer that Wegman’s has many surveillance camera’s that can be used as evidence. After this the officer seemed to back off quite a bit. Then officer Palmer went on to say that you can tell me anything, you can even tell me, “to go sniff paint.”
It is not the particular phrase that I would chose if I were to engage in an heated or adversarial conversation. It was obvious that the officer felt uneasy and / or embarrassed about the task that he was assigned. It was evident by the specific wording that he chose as well as his apologetic tone. Officer Palmer apologized for bothering me and then said that there is no further action being taken and that it ends here. At this point I thought to myself, “No further action on what?” Nothing happened nor was their anything that got started. Nothing official or legal that is. Our call ended shortly after this. We spoke for a duration of 6 minutes and 11 seconds. Ironically officer Palmer and I are very similar in height, build and weight, we could almost be brothers except that I have facial hair, he wears his shorter and our skin color is different.
The next day I chatted with Erica and she told me that the officer was indeed extremely uneasy about why he was sent and what he was doing. According to Erica he expressed this several times verbally as well with his body language. I told her it was probably because he knew very well that his superiors assigned him a task that was illegal and a violation of privacy and civil rights. Not to mention harassment of myself whom did not commit any crime as well harassment of Erica and her family whom have lived at the house longer than officer Palmer has been alive. Most importantly my private information that officer Palmer was given from an unnamed Shrewsbury police lieutenant was obtained without following protocol in addition to being obtained unethically, unprofessionally as well as illegally!
From the intelligence and facts that I obtained, this is what happened: S.B. just an average citizen for a reason unknown to me followed me to my car and / or followed my vehicle and took down and / or relayed my license plate number and called a personal friend whom is a lieutenant at the Shrewsbury police department and then S.B. gave the officer my tag number. S.B. to the best of my knowledge did NOT make an official complaint with the Ocean police department [there was no action that warranted a legal complaint nor any crime or violation that occurred] within the jurisdiction where I was physically located. In fact not only did I NOT go to Shrewsbury, I drove away in the complete opposite direction toward Spring Lake. My last known address registered with the DMV was located in Spring Lake. According to officer Palmer of Spring Lake police department, the lieutenant from Shrewsbury then proceeded to relay my personal information obtained illegally without any probable cause to an officer at Spring Lake police department at which point then sent an officer to go the residence that they believed I lived.
I contacted the Spring Lake police department twice on Saturday the 2nd call was exactly at 8am when I tried again to obtain the lieutenant’s name at Shrewsbury police department that was passing around my personal and private information like a $2 hooker on a Saturday night.
The person that I spoke to that stonewalled me and offered absolutely no assistance was detective Christopher Kucinski. Kucinski offered to give me the Shrewsbury police department phone number. I declined and said I can find that myself and then said thank you and hung up the phone.
Moments before detective Kucinski and I disengaged our conversation he told me that I have to call the Shrewsbury police department because that is where the incident occurred. I politely told him that he had his facts incorrect and that no incident occurred in Shrewsbury other than the possible criminal action of one of its officers for violating my privacy and civil rights and civil liberties.
My very first encounter in my life with the police was over 30 years ago when I was 15 in High School dating a girl named Deirdre who was half-Hispanic and half-White. She was very faired skin and most people wouldn’t guess that she was Hispanic. We used to skip school sometimes and go to the top of the World Trade Center and sit inside the huge windows and make out. One day in either Brooklyn or Manhattan on a subway platform, Deirdre was very angry [the temper she told me was from her Spanish-half] and kicked a glass bottle very hard about 20 feet that went smashing to bits against the back wall across the tracks. Obviously it was very loud. All the way at the extreme end of the platform was a NYC transit cop. He walked up to us and said to me, “why did you kick that bottle.” I told the officer that I didn’t kick the bottle. I grew up in Brooklyn and learned street ethics from some of the nicest guys that happened to be in the Italian mafia. The officer then proceeded to tell me that. “I saw you kick it!” WOW, I was flabbergasted. The hopeless exchange went no where. He asked me for I.D. and I told him that I was a student and didn’t have any except a monthly train pass. Finally to avoid arrest for a crime I did not commit I lied to the officer and said that I did it and had to apologize profusely. That memory has left a deep impression on me from that day on. I am still quite proud that I didn’t give Deirdre up to the cops. But it wouldn’t have mattered to that particular cop because all he saw was a guilty black boy. One of the things that breaks my heart the most is that ALL these years later my African-American sons have to endure the same biases and racism.
I blame officer Palmer the least. He is a young cop on the force doing what he is told by his superiors. I have no quip with the Spring Lake police department. Although they could have done much more due diligence and questioned the basis and motive of Shrewsbury’s police department as well as outright refuse their request. That does make them culpable as well as an accomplice should any future criminal and / or civil action be taken. As far as Shrewsbury’s police department, I can not make a blanket judgement of the entire police department due to the potential criminal actions of one rogue cop gone mad. As far as S.B., a third party and I are exploring all potential legal possibilities against her. I have no idea what she actually said to the rogue Shrewsbury cop. I am solely going on what officer Palmer told me as well as what she told Erica and her mother. I just learned that Erica’s mother was present for most of officer Palmer’s visit. But I know that S.B. didn’t tell the rogue Shrewsbury cop gone mad that it was kidnapping. I know for a fact that is the F.B.I.’s jurisdiction and there happens to be a F.B.I. field office one town over from Shrewsbury in Red Bank.
Unfortunately as a man of color, I have suffered numerous violations, harassments, being profiled and pulled over for nothing other than the color of my skin. I have traveled to over 30 different countries, lived in several countries as well as having lived in at least 4 different states. New Jersey is ranked the absolute highest racial injustices from my experiences as well as that of others that I know personally.
What the lieutenant did was no different that what has recently been dubbed, LOVEINT [<– click on link for the full story]. LOVEINT stands for Love Intelligence. The National Security Agency recently admitted that several employees were illegally spying and abusing their powers to keep tabs on girlfriends, spouses and more often than spying on Ex’s. Many investigations are ongoing due to the abuse of power by small percentage of The National Security Agency.
I am of the school that if I do not legally fight and explore all potential criminal and civil violations against me then I am as guilty as those that have committed the crimes. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.”
I am for a strong National defense and all for our countries 16 intelligence agencies protecting us and our national security. As well as an avid Patriot and staunch supporter of The Constitution of The United States. Unlike that rogue lieutenant from Shrewsbury, Cops Gone Mad! He has taken an oath to defend and uphold the constitution instead he chooses to violate it. Instead of uphold the law he breaks it! There are too many rogue cops breaking the law and violating the Constitution of The United States that should be held accountable and punished to the full extent if the law.
To ALL the law abiding officers that serve and protect and that understand the meaning of words like Honor and Valor, I SALUTE YOU! For Instance Captain Gifford, Operations Commander at the Ocean Township Police department. He acted professionally, courteously and promptly in my letter addressed to the 3 police departments mentioned in this article. Not surprisingly, I have not heard a word from Shrewsbury and Spring Lake Police departments. My guess is that they are collaborating and devising a fictitious story and / or phony alibi to cover their tracks?
The others disgust me and make me ashamed to be an American! If you have a son or daughter, a husband or wife that has cancer — would you want them to die OR would you try everything you could to cure the cancer to make them “healthy“? I choose to make my country healthy and one day I hope to be able to travel internationally without lying about where I am from out of concern for my life. It’s time to weed out the cancer making our country sick! Most people in the world hate us mostly for our foreign policy. However, when I have traveled to those 35+ different countries, person by person I restore peoples faith about America. At the very least, I ALMOST always have people not judging ALL Americans by the actions of a few but to judge us individually.
I first heard the term ‘Blowback’ in 2011 from mentor, friend, role-model and fellow investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill. Scahill gained famed and notoriety from his book, ‘Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army’ and more recently in his new acclaimed film and book, ‘Dirty Wars’. In simplest terms Blowback refers to the cause and effect of certain aspects of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, basically we are creating more enemies and / or terrorists than we are killing. Especially in regards to our governments covert drone program run by the CIA. With the overwhelming amount of strikes targeting Yemen, Somalia and of course Pakistan. Every time a hellfire missile misses its intended target and /or accidentally kills children, women [sometimes pregnant] elderly etc., it creates animosity toward our country as well as those victims entire families. Thus the term Blowback. A recent article that was published less than a week ago is titled, Every Yemen Drone Strike Creates 40 To 60 New Enemies, Former U.S. Official Says. I will share just one excerpt from the article and you can read the rest if the topic interests you:
Nabeel Khoury, the deputy chief of mission in Yemen from 2004 to 2007, writes, “Drone strikes take out a few bad guys to be sure, but they also kill a large number of innocent civilians. Given Yemen’s tribal structure, the U.S. generates roughly forty to sixty new enemies for every AQAP [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] operative killed by drones.”
My purpose today is not to debate the CIA drone program. I am here to say that illegal actions, harassment and crimes committed by those rogue and corrupt cops do have very real consequences. I can tell you as an African-American male that I was NOT born with any ill-will or hate towards law any enforcement official. Nor do I make a blanket judgment against all law enforcement due to racist and criminals running around with a gun and a badge. Even after I became a target of continued and blatant and completely unwarranted racism by bad cops, I still don’t judge all as criminals due to the illicit activity of a minority of law enforcement officials.
I am assuming that the Shrewsbury police department has nothing to do with this and it was one rogue lieutenant that acted illegally and criminally without the departments consent. However, evidence can easily be procured to see if the entire department was complicit or the sole act of an individual. Forensic analysis can be done on their computers, internal video can be monitored, phone records can be reviewed etc. So until proven otherwise I am under the assumption that the Shrewsbury lieutenant acted alone.
In fact, I have many friends, acquaintances and colleagues that served and continue to serve with Honor and Valor! Including both former and current U.S. Navy Seals, including security personnel that work for Academi [formerly XE & formerly Blackwater], Dyncorp and Triple Canopy. As well as many current and former intelligence officials both domestic and foreign.
Am I as a United States citizen by birth supposed to now think twice before I leave the house with my daughter when my wife is not present? Am I to second guess where I should go and not go? Is that freedom and liberty? All because some sick and confused woman calls a rogue cop that decide to violate my privacy, my civil liberties and my civil rights? Absolutely not! I will fight and defend the Constitution of The United States as long as I am alive, especially from those in power that abuse their power illegally!
That is why racism is both scary and dangerous and blind. S.B. made all kinds of wrong assumptions based solely on the color of my skin! And the rogue Shrewsbury cop gone mad took her word for it. I am not a mind reader but even Ray Charles who is both blind and dead, could see that he didn’t hesitate to violate police protocol & procedure, that it was okay to illegally search my private information without any just cause and then pass it around as he deemed fit, solely because I was black / minority.
The rogue Shrewsbury police lieutenant has not only acted in a criminal manner but has caused damage to myself and my entire family. His criminal actions have caused real and measurable consequences. My wife is a nervous wreck since the violation occurred and my 3 year old is biting her lip and showing signs of emotional stress. I have not slept properly and have suffered both physical and emotional stress. My crime was going alone to a grocery store with my white daughter!
S.B. should have been laughed at by the Shrewsbury Cop Gone Mad or been told to report the Non-Incident [I call it that because absolutely nothing remotely illegal occurred] or at the very least told to call the Ocean police and report that a black or Hispanic looking man was with a white baby. Hmmm, I wonder why that didn’t happen?
Unfortunately racism is alive and well in our society. Some laws and the language in which they are written actually encourage and promote while, un certain instances making racism legal. For instance the stop & frisk in NY as well as the NYPD’s collusion with the CIA and targeting Muslim’s and their mosques in NYC. The NYPD have set up surveillance camera’s targeted at certain religious institutions as well as Mosque crawling, that is having undercover agents infiltrating Mosques in order to gather intelligence. I am not against under cover surveillance per se but I am absolutely against it when it is targeting ANY individual based on race, religion, sexual orientation or political affiliation.
The astronomical shift of our country from being the land of free to a police state has drastically eroded all Americans liberties and freedoms. But when you add racism to the volatile equation then it has to the potential to highly combustible.
To answer the question in my title, Is America Becoming Like Nazi-Germany? In terms of the overt and covert racism that continues to flourish and goes unpunished and unchallenged, I am afraid the answer is simple but unpleasant, we are already there!
**On Monday afternoon I received a very professional, courtesy and prompt reply to my information request from the Ocean Township police department that was sent earlier that day. I simultaneously sent the request about some missing facts and information to the Spring Lake and Shrewsbury police departments as well as to Ocean. Neither one has complied nor replied. It appears that it will take F.O.I.A.’s to get anything out of the those two departments. Here is an excerpt of the letter from the Ocean Township police department:
“In this case I do not see the relevance to Ocean Township, other than the fact that Wegmans is within our jurisdiction. I see no calls for service for our agency at Wegmans during the date and time you referenced in your email.” **