Marijuana Smell Not Reason Enough To Search Car, Votes IL Senate


Traffic stops in the United States are, well, a pretty bad time, especially if you are a Black person who would prefer not to die or lose custody of their kids over nothing, or a woman of any color who does not wish to be sexually assaulted. There are far less dangerous ways to accomplish the goal of traffic safety — for instance, not arming traffic cops, better road design, speed limits more in line with how fast people are going to actually drive, and limiting stops to actual emergencies, while just mailing people the ticket for things like an out-of-date inspection sticker. It's clear that it's a serious problem and that someone needs to do something about it.

Luckily, legislators in Illinois are gonna try a thing. Last week, the state Senate passed Senate Bill 125, introduced by Democratic state Sen. Rachel Ventura, which would would remove pot smell odor as probable cause to search a car, its driver or any passengers therein. This would apply both to raw and burnt marijuana odor.

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State/Local Politics

Chicago Police Union President: Vote For Cop-Endorsed Paul Vallas OR DIE!!!

Ah, Chicago!

Next Tuesday is Chicago's run-off election for mayor. Current, soon-to-be-former Mayor Lori Lightfoot came in third during February's first round of voting, and the two remaining candidates are Paul Vallas, a former public schools executive, and Brandon Johnson, a county board commissioner.

A recent poll shows Vallas leading Johnson 46 to 41 percent with 13 percent of voters undecided. Vallas is the "tough on crime" pro-cop Democrat with an endorsement from Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police. He actually has a little more than a mere endorsement, though.


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John Catanzara, who retired from the police force in 2021 to avoid disciplinary action, is the powerful police union's president because that sentence somehow reflects reality. He told the New York Times — a major newspaper most of the time — that he "predicts" 800 to 1,000 Chicago police officers would leave the force if Johnson wins. This kinda sounds like gangster talk: "Nice city you have here, shame if the police self-defunded."

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Kansas City Cop Blows Whistle On Department's Jim Crow Policing

Shocked! We are shocked!

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez once said a world without police would look like white suburbs. She was roundly criticized for this, because we all know a world without police is like Mad Max where everyone drives large vehicles with heads on pikes.

It's also been argued that people in minority neighborhoods desperately want cops, but what they actually want are cops who will protect them from criminals, not just beat the crap out of them and otherwise treat their communities like open-air prisons.

Edward Williams, a 44-year-old white Kansas City, Missouri, Police officer with 21 years experience on the force, blew the whistle recently on a systemic and deliberate pattern of racist policing. William alleges in a discrimination lawsuit filed against the department that then-Chief of Police Richard Smith held a mandatory meeting in 2018 where he complained about a drop in traffic tickets. The command staff acknowledged that ticket quotas are illegal, but they still set a requirement of 1,820 tickets annually for each officer.

The suit alleges “…all KCPD cared about was the money generated by the tickets issued,” and claims the practice continues today.

Williams's suit further claims that officers were told to meet their ticket quotas in minority neighborhoods because it would be “easier to write multiple citations on every stop." Noting that minority residents might feel cranky about all the over-policing, the command staff allegedly advised to “approach every car with the mindset to be ready to kill everybody in the car."

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Should A Blunt And A Minor Traffic Violation Cost You Your Kids?

Everybody you've ever seen driving in the left lane without passing? Yeah. That.

Democratic lawmakers in Tennessee are demanding that the Department of Child Services return the five children they took from a Black Georgia family traveling through the state back in February after the parents were told in a juvenile court hearing on Monday that the state would not be returning them for the time being. The children — a breast-feeding infant and 2-, 3-, 5- and 7-year-old kids — have been in state custody for over a month ever since their parents were charged with misdemeanor possession of five grams of marijuana and a blunt.

On February 17, Bianca Clayborne and Deonte Williams were traveling with their five children from Georgia to Chicago for a funeral when they were pulled over in Tennessee by a police officer for “dark tint and traveling in the left lane while not actively passing."

Wanting to be safe, in light of the way traffic stops often go for Black people, they pulled into a gas station parking lot rather than on the side of the road. Immediately, the cops demanded Williams get out of the car and go sit in the back of the police cruiser, while Claybourne and their children were escorted into the gas station while the cops tore through their vehicle, even bringing around "drug sniffing dogs" to smell all of their bags and possessions the cops had taken out of the car ... which cannot possibly be the usual protocol for pulling people over for "traveling in the left lane while not actively passing." Okay, clearly we mean cannot as in must not, because unfortunately it very much is.

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