Drones in America, Tow Trucks in Taos

By: Bill Whaley
8 March, 2013

As news junkies know, the highest courts in the land, the President and the Attorney General of the United States appear to be ignoring more than two-hundred years of Constitutional government—safe-guarding the rights of citizens. Now it is okay to target American citizens with drones, abrogating their rights to due process or a fair trial. At one time, the accused were considered innocent until tried and found guilty. Now they are guilty as charged and ripe for execution. Attorney General Holder told a Senator recently that US President Barack Obama has the constitutional authority to order the use of “lethal force” against American citizens within the United States.

“It would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the president to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,” Holder said.

“The US Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening,” Senator Rand Paul said, adding that it was disrespectful to the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which states that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

Locals Follow in the wake of National Leaders

In Taos, we have further examples of both public and private government force aimed at extorting cash or acquiescence from other local entities and individuals. The Town of Taos plans to extort concessions from Taos County and its citizens in an effort to relocate the E911/Dispatch Center the KCEC Command Center, regardless of the cost to citizens or the subsequent effects on public safety. Political favors must be paid to those who hold the promissory notes behind closed doors.

On Tuesday, March 12, the Town will vote to move the E911/Dispatch Center, regardless of Taos County’s objections, which will cost upwards of a million dollars and hike current operating costs more than ten times, according to critics.

While Obama targets dissenters like Bradley Manning, say, with torture, or suspect American Citizens with drones, the Town of Taos encourages tow-truck drivers to target political protesters. In the excerpt below, sign man Jeff Northrup writes to the town’s new police chief from first hand experience. Taos Friction publishes this excerpt and withholds the names of those, who have yet to be charged.

Jeff, unlike the pinche cabrons who criticize him, walks the talk. El Pendejo tiene cojones grandes.

To: Taos Police Chief Ken Koch:

Ken: I hope you were misquoted in the Taos News today. It said that “we (presumably meaning the Taos Police Department) need a competent authority on whether this is a crime or not.” Then you offered that the defendants’ “argument was that as they (my signs) were in the public right-of-way, they (defendants) considered them litter and saw their actions as performing a public service.” You also stated that the case “will be referred to a judge for review.”

Your statements are incredibly unprofessional and show a clear bias on your part to minimize this incident, almost speaking as the attorney for the thieves, wondering if is even a crime to take someone’s property if you believe the property is litter or placed in the public right-of-way. You almost seem apologetic in bringing charges against these public-spirited citizens.

Are you aware that two judges in Taos Municipal Court have ruled that my picketing is lawful, leading the town to begin the process of rewriting the sign code? And, by the way, in New Mexico when criminal defendants appear before a judge, they are being put on trial, not there for a “review.”

Your speech is very genteel.

The driver of the vehicle, A.C. Towing owner Amos Cohn, threatened to run me over with his truck as I was attempting to stop him and his crew of thugs from stealing more signs and escaping. Cohn chased me down the road for 50 seconds (the entire event is on video tape).

Both you and the ticketing Taos police officer Ronald Montez have, incredibly, told me that I should not have attempted to stop these people from swiping my property, that I should have “gotten out of their way;” therefore, you do not consider Mr. Cohn chasing me down the street with a 4,000 pound vehicle to be an assault, and you refuse to issue him a ticket for assault with a deadly weapon, or some such.

If someone was doing the same to your wife, for instance, I’m betting they’d be hauled before a judge for “review.” You cannot bump people out of your way with a vehicle, even if you’re trying to escape from a crime scene.

I’m wondering what attempt is being made to apprehend the persons who were apparently working with Mr. Cohn. I had nine signs stolen on Saturday, with Mr. Cohn having admitted, according to the police report, to taking three of them. Mr. Cohn was working the southbound lane of Highway 68 while another truck, at the same time, was heading north, stealing six signs. Mr. Cohn was interrupted when I chased him from behind on foot, and he fled westbound on Tewa Rd; I was not able to get a license plate number, but recorded a very brief video shot. A citizen got a license plate number on the northbound vehicle, belonging to Taos resident (name withheld)— what attempts are being made to find and question (name withheld).

Mr. Cohn states in the police report that he was not acting in consort with any others— I find this unbelievable. I’ve picketed many hundreds of times over thousands of hours, and I’ve had maybe 15 signs stolen while picketing– but I’ve never had more than one sign stolen in one day.

Mr. Cohn admitted taking three signs on Saturday, and eleven on Sunday, a total of 14 signs. A likely co-conspirator stole six signs on Saturday. I placed an average value of $30 on each sign, which includes materials, time to assemble, and time to produce and mount each sign; officer Montez incorrectly listed 11 signs (failing to include the three from Saturday) on the police report, giving them a value of $330. Yet, according to Municipal court documents provided to me, Mr. Cohn has been charged with violating Municipal code 9.32.010, Larceny, $100, or less.

Ken, when I questioned you about this you said you had no way of knowing what the signs were worth, yet you chose to drop their value by 70%.

I say let the judge decide the value after taking my testimony if he has reason to question the $30 value. Given that 14 signs were taken by Mr. Cohn, the worth is $420, and if the other six are included, the 20 signs would be valued at $600— that’s another reason for finding (name withheld), and establishing the relationship between him (and/or whoever was working with him) and Mr. Cohn.

Welcome to “The Soul of the Southwest, Taos” Jeff Northrup

Editor’s Note. As I remember, the Town of Taos once had a police chief for a very brief time whose experience included cleaning up the LAPD’s scandal ridden “Ramparts Division.” But the town got rid of him quick. We want top cops in Taos, who go along to get along. 

Caveat

In yesterday’s Taos News both reporters Matthew Van Buren and J.R. Logan did a pretty good job covering the politics of the town and county re: controversial plans re: annexation and the E911/Dispatch center. We urge citizens who are concerned about public safety and the economic future of the community to attend the Town of Taos meeting on March 12 at 6:30 pm.  Former Councilor Gene Sanchez will be discussing the issues on KTAO at 8:30 am on Monday morning.

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