Thursday, April 2, 2009

Best publicity for a critic of the police EVER

So the Arizona Republic reports that Phoenix cops raided the home of a man who maintains a Website and blog that are harshly critical of the police department. That man, Jeff Pataky, has apparently cultivated informants inside the informant and broken interesting stories about official misconduct.

Pataky, a former software sales and marketing executive who now focuses his energy shoveling content on, said he believes his online criticism of the department - along with past criticisms of police investigations - led officers to serve a search warrant at his home last week.

Police officials said Wednesday that a Phoenix detective prompted the investigation after complaining about harassment, though they declined further comment. ...

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."

Phoenix Assistant Chief Andy Anderson said the harassment case is unique because of the connection to an unaccredited grassroots Web site. He said the blog is one part of the case, though he did not provide specifics of the ongoing investigation.

"This isn't about the blog," Anderson said. "That's just where the investigation led."

"Unaccredited grassroots Web site"? As opposed to accredited official Web sites? What the hell?

Oh, and "harassment" now sounds like one of those all-purpose complaints meant to justify any official act.

The Phoenix area is home, of course, to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who capped off his feud with the Phoenix New Times by arresting two newspaper executives at their homes under a highly questionable state law that criminalizes online publication of personal information about law-enforcement officials. State lawmakers are now considering toughening that law.

I thought the Phoenix PD was a bit smarter than Arpaio -- not better, just smarter. After all, Pataky is now getting wide publicity for his efforts courtesy of the best public-relations boost any muckraker could ever hope for. The cops would have done better to leave well enough alone.

For his part, Pataky doesn't appear to be slowing down. He's still running his Website and he's suing the city over the raid earlier this month. Pataky has even published a copy of the internal memo Phoenix City Attorney Stephen Craig issued in response to the lawsuit.

Let me give those links again. Website here. Blog here.

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Blogger akaGaGa said...

They're doing on a small scale what the Senate is planning to do on a large scale: shut down the independent voices on the internet.

From the WP:

April 2, 2009 6:06 PM  
Blogger Jehan said...

holy crap, i heard about this, and thought it was you
glad to see you're still fighting the good fight

April 3, 2009 4:24 AM  
Blogger Johnny said...

Get used to it guys. Signs of the times.

April 4, 2009 5:59 AM  

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