An attorney is accusing Dearborn, Michigan law enforcement of using Fake Facebook accounts to conduct “political with hunts.” Attorney Nicholas Somberg says his clients were arrested in a police station, for carry firearms.
But, there’s more to this story…
According to Detroit Free Press, James Baker (24) and Brandon Vreeland (40) were arrested on February 5. The younger of the two had on a black ski mask. He was also armed. On his waist was a semi-automatic pistol tied, and strapped to his chest was a short-barreled rifle.
And, that’s how James Baker walked into the police department.
Brandon Vreeland, wasn’t armed. He had a gun in the car, but needed his hands free to videotape the incident. The two were conducted an experiment to see whether or not the cops would respects their US Constitution Second Amendment rights. Both are legal gun owners, and it is legal for them to carry weapons out in the open… including inside a police precinct.
But, according to the men, the cops knew they were coming upon their arrival. Why? Well, they claim the police had been tracking their every move using a fake Facebook account. Reports says the officers’ guns were drawn before Vreeland and Baker got to the station.
“After the discovery, it is very clear that Dearborn (police) knew that they were coming, knew who they were, and planned the ambush,” said attorney Nicholas Somberg, who represents Vreeland, according to the Detroit Free Press. “It’s not that they were reacting to a situation they thought was going to be violent. They actually knew it was not violent, knew who they were, and just wanted to teach these guys a lesson.”
The police and the two men essentially got in a standoff as the officers, with guns out, yelled at the men to drop their weapons.
“Put it on the ground or you are dead! I will shoot you. I will put a round in you. What the hell is the matter with you?” One officer can be heard screaming in the video.
Somberg alleges that not only did his client and his associate do nothing illegal, but the police were acting in a wrongful manner. He says documents show that police created a Facebook profile with the name “Olivia” and scanned publicly posted conversations on the social media platform.
“My clients have other activist friends,” Somberg said. “They have a whole network, so they’re just screen-shotting everybody.”
But Tom Lambert, the president of Michigan Open Carry Inc., a gun-rights advocacy group, says he does not condone the actions of Vreeland and Baker, and that police handled the situation appropriately.
“Let us be clear, Michigan Open Carry Inc. in no way supports the actions of these individuals. It is our belief that their actions were reckless and primarily designed to draw attention and a response,” Lambert said.
Vreeland was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer and disturbing the peace; Baker was charged with two counts of carrying a concealed weapon and one count of brandishing firearms in public.
“We audit police to see how well they honor the Constitution and people’s rights,” Vreeland said after posting $1,500 bond. “We showcase police abuse and abuse of police power in the totalitarian police state that we live in.”
Police use of social media as law enforcement tool is growing and is now quite common.
The FBI and a data analysis company reportedly have a contract that allows the agency to scan Twitter users more rapidly and efficiently.
Facebook recently added clarification to its platform policies “to more clearly explain that developers cannot ‘use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance.’” It felt the need to update its guidelines due to public concerns that law enforcement is acquiring hoards of people’s personal information from third parties that work with the social media company.