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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Travel Advisory: US Gulf Coast

Increased levels of law enforcement harassment warrant issuing this advisory.

All citizens and travelers in the Gulf Coast Region of the Southern United States are advised of this travel advisory.

Continued law enforcement harassment of civilians prompts this advisory.

All citizens should carefully reconsider their travel plans. Travel in groups, ensure you have cameras ready to photograph possible law enforcement misconduct.

You are encouraged to adjust your travel plans outside the Gulf Coast region.

If the situation continues to deteriorate, we encourage all travelers to reconsider your travel plans for Spring 2006 Mardi Gras. Your personal safety is far more important than a well-deserved celebration and religious holiday.

* * *

All businesses, relief agencies, citizens, and volunteers are advised to:

  • A. Review your personal security checklists and organization guidelines.

  • B. Consider withdrawing all personnel from the affected areas.

  • C. Review procedures during police encounters and develop lawful plans to mitigate police misconduct.

    Law enforcement officers have, inter alia:

  • Verbally and physically assaulted citizens fleeing from storm damaged areas;

  • Without provocation physically assaulted civilians;

  • Physically blocked roadways, preventing safe passage of evacuees; and

  • Looted private and commercial property.

    The Department of Justice has been asked by the House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member, Congressman John Conyers, to conduct an investigation into the law enforcement misconduct. DoJ has yet to respond to the Congressman's letter.

    * * *

    We encourage all agencies and organizations connected to the affected regions to contact your state and local officials to seek information on law enforcement conduct.

    Local citizens should call on elected officials to demand civilian review boards to oversee law enforcement.

    Your regional Police Officer Standards and Training [POST] or equivalent offers you guidelines on how law enforcement officers should be conducting themselves.

    It appears these guidelines are increasingly ignored and the number of reports of misconduct are rising.

    In the meantime, we call on the state and local officials of the affected areas to immediately meeting with the FBI Special Agents in Charge. There appear to be growing oversight issues warranting SAC discussion and input.

    * * *

    It is unfortunate that the Katrina hurricane has caused this much damage. We are saddened by the massive loss of life and destruction to personal property.

    Many citizens numbering into the hundreds of thousands have been displaced, have had to uproot their lives, and are now slowly rebuilding new lives elsewhere.

    It is inappropriate for law enforcement officials to take their frustrations out on the remaining local population. These actions come at a time when the region desperate needs critical inflows of relief supplies, funds, and personnel.

    Each act of government violence against citizens has a chilling effect on the relief efforts. Business leaders have every right to be concerned about the impact these frequent actions will have on economic development.

    Law enforcement officials can only effectively combat crime when they have the support of the community. These actions are no longer isolated but a recurring pattern that warrants prompt DoJ investigation.

    The actions of a growing number of law enforcement officials are dissuading volunteers and relief workers from providing needed long term assistance.

    * * *

    Regardless the solutions, the widely affected areas have been struck another blow. Katrina brought the first wave. Now we see that government, when left to its own devices, will abuse its authority.

    Let all citizens across the country take note of these events. Law enforcement, the first line defense and first responders, are taking advantage of their special trust.

    Under the Patriot Act, law enforcement wants further immunities from oversight.

    The treatment of innocent civilians in the Gulf Coast should give all cause for concern. Law enforcement cannot be trusted unless they are given greater oversight by the independent courts.

    The Patriot Act should be repealed, and the law enforcement in the Gulf Coast region put under Federal Oversight.

    * * *

    These abuses are unacceptable at any time. But they are more egregious now that the region has been devastated.

    We look forward to more dialog, but we want better controls over law enforcement. The leadership and existing threats of lawful sanctions against law enforcement offers appear to be insufficient deterrents to this abuse.

    In the meantime, for those citizens who desire to provide relief supplies, but are afraid of the Gulf Coast, we urge you to consider more pressing requirements in Pakistan and India, two countries that may be more receptive to your generosity.

    * * *

    This advisory is not related to Congressman Conyers and this information has not been reviewed nor necessarily endorsed by any political candidate.

    This information has not been reviewed nor necessarily endorsed by the Just Law Collective.