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"In this frame grab made from a Oct. 11, 2011 video available from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida Highway patrol officer Donna Jane Watts approaches Miami Police department officer Fausto Lopez with her handgun drawn after Watts stopped Lopez, who was traveling at 120 miles per hour. The confrontation got Lopez fired and was the start of harassing and threatening phone calls for Watts." (AP Photo/Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles)

When the politicians in Germany Weimar Republic instituted a policy of firearms registration, they faced opposition from citizens who feared that the information would eventually be used for confiscation. To allay those fears, the law stipulate that the records would be secured at regional police departments. We all know how that turned out. OK, so, here’s a story from Tampa Florida’s about cops and other government functionaries accessing a “secure” database to harass another police officer. Connect the dots . . .

“The fallout from her traffic stop of a speeding police officer is continuing for Florida Highway Patrol officer Donna Jane Watts as she pursues a federal lawsuit claiming she was harassed because of her actions. Watts says in the lawsuit that after stopping the officer in October 2011, her private driver’s license information was accessed more than 200 times by at least 88 law enforcement officers from 25 different agencies. She says she received threatening and prank phone calls and other harassment.”

No online firearms database can ever be considered secure. Period.

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  1. Cops really don’t like to get speeding tickets. Something about a badge seems to make a lot of them think laws do not apply to them.

    • Both of my brother in laws are cops. One of them got pulled over for speeding recently and still yells about how DARE they expect him to follow the law.

    • A ticket would have been more than appropriate, along with a call to his boss that probably would have gotten him fired or suspended (he ended up fired). Arresting (at gunpoint) a uniformed police officer from another department in a patrol car for speeding is ridiculous. Actually, arresting ANYONE at gunpoint for speeding is ridiculous unless they just ran someone over.

      She doesn’t have what it takes and now she’s looking for a payday… and she’ll get it because of a bunch of idiots who probably did harass her.

      • “Actually, arresting ANYONE at gunpoint for speeding is ridiculous unless they just ran someone over.”

        How about doing 120 in a 35 zone? Because Dudley was late for his other job. That good enough for you?

      • I think he should have been arrested specifically because he was a police officer speeding in such a manner. Greater authority comes with greater responsibility and greater consequences.

      • Want to know what else might have been appropriate? The MPD officer could have pulled over after she flipped on the lights instead of running for seven+ miles. They could have sorted this out rapidly, and the MPD officer would have been on his way.

        As Chris Rock said on his tips on how “not to get your ass kicked by the police” skit, “If the police have to run after you, they’re bringing an ass-kicking with them.”

        • That bit of information about the cop refusing to stop for seven miles tells me that maybe Watts felt the need to arrest him at gun point because she might have thought it was a stolen police car. I’ve heard of police cars being stolen before. As far as cops assaulting people who run, I’ve been told before that it’s payback for making the cops chase you. Honestly, if you’re a cop or if you know some cops, aren’t most of their best stories about chasing people? If you asked a cop why he likes being a cop (and if he answered you honestly), he’d probably tell you he likes chasing people and catching them, and no other job offers that kind of adrenaline rush. SO, if anything the cops should be thanking the people who run from them instead of beating them down, because being paid to chase people is probably the thing they like most, and the exact reason why they became cops. In the end, what it really comes down to is that A) cops like chasing people, and B) cops like beating people. If they hated running and driving fast they’d have become garbage men.

      • He didn’t pull over for miles, so she assumed it was a cop car that had been stolen and was not actually being driven by a cop. At least that’s what I assumed based on other articles of this story that I have read.

    • The laws, including the Constitution. If they act with near impunity in betrayal of their oaths now, how then may we expect them to behave should the day come they must decide whether to wear the jackboot on their foot, or on their own neck?

      When the moment comes, and it may, they’ll choose a side, people. Ask yourselves seriously and answer yourselves honestly: whose side is that more likely to be, yours or their own?

    • And Po Pos have the unmitigated gall to wonder why people don’t respect them when they don’t respect the laws they enforce on civilians.

  2. Whoa – you’re telling me that people in absolute power become corrupted and abuse that power?! I am Jack’s complete shock.

    • The ONLY reasons are that nobody’s looking very hard, and if the true extent was reported and known the Internet stores would be deserted overnight.

  3. This is one reason why I say there is no such thing as a good cop. Any cop who does the right thing and arrests or even tickets a fellow blue liner, gets brutally harassed by other cops. Then often gets fired.

    Also, pretty much every single cop has participated in kidnapping and caging someone who has simply possessed a piece of dried plant life. This is immoral and the Nuremberg defense is the excuse they always use.

    Sorry, but cops are bad actors in society.

    • Cops are bad actors in any society where they hold a privileged status. If they are not answerable to the public for their actions and/or the system covers up or excuses their actions then they become above the law and many will then feel able to act in whatever manner they feel is appropriate rather than in the manner that society feels is appropriate.

      I see this represented every day in the many cop “procedural” shows common on television where the LEOs feel justified to twist, bend, warp or ignore laws in place to restrain them and guarantee the civil rights of the people. The fact that it happens so often in fictional accounts only shows that both LEOs and the public have come to accept this behavior as either necessary in the cause of obtaining “real justice,” or at least part of the system they have no means of countering.

      That there are also stories in which those LEOs who go too far in this are eventually punished shows that we have not lost this philosophical battle entirely. There are still some cops out there who will at least attempt to keep their colleagues in line, regardless of their personal risk.

        • Just in case you didn’t know, “Dirty Harry” was a fictional character in a make believe movie. The guy who acted the part was this guy named Clint Eastwood.
          A lot of what you see on the TV or at the movies is make believe.

        • No shit Tom. Got any other amazing revelations for us? Pooh Bear is not really a bear, but is a made up creation for children’s books? Holy crap!

          The point is, since you are too ignorant to get it, is that the same mentality that would have us cheer Dirty Hairy, a fictional character, for breaking the law, is the same mentality that carries over into the real world when police think they can bend the law and others excuses for them, and tell us why they should be above the law.


  4. The cool thing about that is there’s a paper trail, so they know exactly who accessed her information, when, and from where. I don’t really expect most of them to get more than a minor administrative punishment, but that’s really all that most of them deserve anyway. The vast majority of those 88 officers probably looked her up out of nothing more than curiosity. The harassing behavior should receive significantly more severe punishment, although that’s harder to track. I would start by discarding everyone who only accessed her info once, and look at the ones who did it multiple times, because they’re the most likely to have taken it to the next level.

      • My father worked for the Social Security Administration in their IT department. They, and the case workers for that matter, were told any unauthorized access of a persons information was grounds for immediate termination. They were also told that “notable peoples” files were flagged and all access would be immediately verified for legitimacy of the access. That seems a reasonable policy to me.

        • That’s what happens with NCIC as well. There have been cops and dispatchers who have tried to look up the info for people like the President. They get a visit from the Secret Service and usually end up suspended, at best..

        • That makes sense. I used to have a friend years ago who worked for USAA, a huge insurance company most people have never heard of, which is limited to insuring military officers and their families. He would tell me that a lot of the military’s top brass’ files would be flagged, or other now-famous people who’d served in the military, and you could get in a lot of trouble if you accessed a file without legitimate reason.

          For a celebrity, you might get suspended or fired. For active duty top brass, or a President, for example, it could mean humorless men in unmarked cars and unremarkable suits knocking on your door to ask you some questions.

    • That curiosity is a felony crime punishable by a $2500 fine per instance. But sure lets make an excuse for law breaking because they were cops.

      • In CT having the same gun you owned two years ago and failing to register it is now a felony. Let’s not pretend that all crimes are created equal.

        • “But sure lets make an excuse for law breaking because they were cops.” The implication is that the problem is with making an exception for certain people because of their choice of career. Bad law is bad law, but it should either be enforced or not equally across the board.

        • Let’s also not pretend that your feelings about unjust laws that have nothing to do with the topic at hand are relevant. Then we won’t introduce a straw man of what my actual statement was into the conversation.

  5. Well since the trooper yarded him out at gunpoint and hooked him up (leading to the harassment) you should be celebrating her integrity instead of complaining.

    No data collection is safe. including our paper at our FFL. can see some one sending out scores of atfe groupies with authorization and portable scanners….

  6. In Canada they had to destroy the long gun registry by law, it’s just that…oh how can I put this?… the law meant nothing to them.

    • In Canada well after the long gun registry was supposed to have been burned they had a flood and cops went into only hoses with long guns and broke into them and the gun safes in each and stole the guns. No one was prosecuted for accessing the destroyed list or for looting homes in the flood area.

      The list will be maintained and updated forever.

      • Until maybe Anonymous or some other of their ilk find out where the list is hidden. If I know that crowd of fun-loving laugh-a-minute kids, hilarity and lulz will ensue.

  7. Here in my South Florida city a number of officers were questioned for having accessed her information in the database when the harassment began, and they all gave lame excuses like “I wanted to know where she lived so I could respond faster if she was in trouble by anyone harassing her.”, and they all still have their jobs and were not reprimanded for abusing the system. No one questioned that the accessing of her information occurred before the stories of the harassment were made common knowledge.

  8. The lie continues…It’s not the elected representative but the unelected bureaucrats that crafts their conscience, builds their castles and gathering the peoples coin…only to serve themselves and protect their pensions.

  9. All electronic databases are only one disgruntled employee away from being public knowledge and/or used against us. Firearm registration databases are no exception.

    What is different today you might ask? Well if a disgruntled employee wanted a statewide firearms registration database in 1965, they would have to find a way to “sneak” out box after box after box of paper files. In other words it would never happen. Today, all a disgruntled employee needs to do is copy a database to a tiny USB flash drive (which is about the size of AA flashlight battery), drop that flash drive in their pocket, and walk out the door.

    I can picture a lot of passionate gun grabbers who would be thrilled to anonymously “out” citizens who own firearms. And need I mention that many databases would be worth many thousands and in some cases even millions of dollars to certain buyers? How many government bureaucrats or flunkies at some corporation would pass up a million dollar payout?

    If that doesn’t terrify you, it should.

    • Wait until they can get at your medical records online, in addition to your tax records, banking records and then firearms records.

      If you pay attention to the news, you’ll see that abuse of database info on citizens who have done nothing wrong is rampant in most all federal agencies.

    • You know, I used a variation of that very scenario in my Threat Briefing before I retired. I told them I could retire on the proceeds from selling the flash memory in their Crackberries. I loved to watch the light bulbs come on. I had some VERY paranoid world travelers after that.

    • AA Battery sized flash drives are outdated. I have one that stores 8GB that’s the size of a thumbnail.

      Excellent point about the susceptibility of this type of record to compromise.

  10. Sort-of related to this, “Officers Brian Law, 34, of Clovis, and Juan Gonzalez, 33, of Fresno, were heading to the crash on state Route 99 near the Central Valley town of Kingsburg when they swerved to avoid a person in the road and lost control of the vehicle, the CHP said.” Their squad car flipped and they were killed.

    I guess cops have to start enforcing other cops and start issuing tickets to each other.

  11. Have you seen how much money she stands to get from these officers if the suit she filed stands?

    It’s something like 3 grand per offense….

  12. Cant be. I keep hearing its just a single bad apple here or there. Couldnt possibly be hundreds across dozens of departments.

      • To be fair, this story isn’t about cops, it’s about abuse of databases by government agents. That relates to guns because we’ve been told again and again that the government needs to make a database of gun owners for our own safety, and that we can trust them to protect our information and to not use it for evil. It just so happens that both the victims and the perpetrators in this case were cops.

      • Well let’s see, we have David Codrea’s “Only Ones” file which covers a lot more misconduct than just gun related issues:

        Or you could try out the National Police Misconduct Reporting Project:

        Or Police State USA:

        …to name just a very few sites which cover this subject and if you take more than a minute or two to look around it becomes very obvious that there is a serious problem with Law Enforcement today.

        As David said in one of his National Examiner posts:

        “Over the past couple years, without setting out to do so, I’ve documented thousands of examples of moral and professional failings, including acts of true evil or incompetence by those with official power, that should give anyone pause claiming this group or that is somehow more trustworthy because of career choice/government employment status. I’ve actually had to beg off posting on tips because the preponderance of news accounts could easily become the dominant focus, and occasionally have to remind readers:

        The purpose of this feature has never been to bash cops. The only reason I do this is to amass a credible body of evidence to present when those who would deny our right to keep and bear arms use the argument that only the police are professional and trained enough to do so safely and responsibly. And it’s also used to illustrate when those of official status, rank or privilege, both in law enforcement and in some other government position, get special breaks not available to we commoners, particularly when they’re involved in gun-related incidents.”

        …so you may find out that cops actually make the news way too often, and most definitely more often than “peaceable” gun owners.

  13. No online anything can ever be considered secure. Ever. Trust me on this one.

    Hey, how are things at the SOC tonight? Quiet?

    • Take note: Facebook believes that if you post it on their web site, they own it. Notice how many different companies, from Microsoft to Apple and beyond, offer free FREE I TELL YOU! storage on the cloud? Just where is the cloud, and who has access to it? You must assume that it is anyone and everyone. Do you have an obligation to keep some information secure or private? As an attorney, I certainly do. Yet I see law firms happily backing up to the cloud, seemingly oblivious to the ethical implications of violating their client confidences. Absent very strong encryption (Google by the way just bought an Israeli company offering military strength encryption) security is a mirage.

      • “Take note: Facebook believes that if you post it on their web site, they own it.”

        There is always a sale taking place. If you can’t tell what the product is, then you are the product.

      • Also, don’t forget… if you still have Facebook cookies… they think they have the right to know every site you visit as well.

    • as are medical records- if you dont think the fusion centers can see those, or HIPAA rules are followed by the govt, then I have a bridge to sell you.

    • I know one who did, he joined the local PD of a small town, quit soon after, corruption and writing tickets for no good reason soured the job for him. He was much happier pushing a broom for a local grocery store, less pay and he could sleep at night.

        • ” Bad places can turn good people.”

          How do they do that? I’ve never heard of a place doing anything to a person. I mean, people do things, but places just … sit there. If you’re talking about walking into a stupid place with stupid people doing stupid things, well, don’t go there.


        • What differentiates a bad place from a good place isn’t the architecture or the number of potholes.

          It’s the culture, the people, the economy et cetera. Bad places can turn good people. The desperation, hopelessness, corruption or general malaise can get to ’em. Maybe not all of ’em, but enough to make it true.

          The sentence might be imperfect, but you know what I mean; communication has occurred.

          Ergo, the sentence was satisfactory; see Chomsky et al.

    • I firmly believe that 98 + % of cops nationwide are everything we wish them to be. Honest, hardworking, brave. Like so many other groups, that is spoiled by the 2%. But we should watch our blanket condemnation of the INDIVIDUALS involved, when it is the police state weighted SYSTEM that we actually condemn.

    • EDIT: Here’s another gem from Калифорния, the Grabbers’ showpiece.

      Georgia, on the other hand, actually sports towns which in turn sport ordinances which in turn mandate that citizens sport guns.

  14. We already have it on those 4473 forms. Our address and names are on these papers that are not supposed to be destroyed. The Dealer turns them over to the BATFE when they give up their FFL. How is that not “registration?”

  15. This lady must be *severely* mentally, emotionally, metaphysically, possibly even spiritually , ill as ill can be. I mean, sick. License to iLL sick. Bonkers, bananas, big donkey bashing in the brains sick.

    The hilarious thing is just… WHY WHY WHY?

    Anytime you do something so overly STUPID as this you deserve whatever comes. I hope they keep looking up her stuff and keep the pizzas coming by the truckload. What a moron.

  16. Essentially everywhere the police protect each other, as I understand it, without any questions as to why. What is needed is prosecutions of otherwise uninvolved officers who blatantly lied when asked about illegal activities in their offices. Sorry, good guys, but that is what it will take.

  17. Hmmm. Hoisted by their own petard.
    As many here have suggested, this is the negative side of those “secure” government databases.


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