Friday, August 12, 2011

Renton WA Cops After Cartoonist Who Mocks

Police in Renton, Washington, are after the cartoonist who would doth mock them: Cartoonist Targeted With Criminal Probe For Mocking Police : Federal Jack
The Renton City Prosecutor wants to send a cartoonist to jail for mocking the police department in a series of animated Internet videos. The “South-Park”-style animations parody everything from officers having sex on duty to certain personnel getting promoted without necessary qualifications. While the city wants to criminalize the cartoons, First Amendment rights advocates say the move is an “extreme abuse of power. “Only KIRO Team 7 Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne holds a key document that really lays bare the city’s intent. The document was quietly filed in King County Superior Court last week. It’s a search warrant accusing an anonymous cartoon creator, going by the name of Mr. Fiddlesticks, of cyberstalking (RCW 9.61.260). The Renton Police Department and the local prosecutor got a judge to sign off as a way to uncover the name of whoever is behind the parodies. Halsne talked with three nationally respected legal experts who believe the use of the cyberstalking statute is likely stomping on the constitution. The series of web-based short cartoons feature a mustachioed street cop and a short-haired female bureaucrat. The dry, at times, witty banter between the two touches on some embarrassing insider secrets, some of which seem to match up with internal affairs investigations on file within Renton PD.

At least, the did want to. Safe to say they still want to, but realized how out of control they were for going this far. Who knows what's really going on behind the scenes, but officially, the department has dropped the charges, because of course, they have nothing to stand on.

The Renton Police Department has suspended its criminal investigation into a series of cartoons that surfaced on the Web earlier this year.

"There has been no relevant information that we have uncovered to date on the cyberstalking case to further a criminal investigation," said Renton Police Department Chief Administrative Officer Jay Covington in a written statement. "As a result, we have decided to forego any further action on the search warrant."

However, they are looking at "possible harassment and discrimination."

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