Saturday, April 04, 2009

George Interviews Jeff Pataky: Phoenix police raid blogger's home because he has dirt on them

In what should send a frightening chill down the spine of every blogger, writer, journalist and First Amendment advocate in the United States, Phoenix police raided the home of a blogger who has been highly critical of the department.

Jeff Pataky, who runs Bad Phoenix Cops, said the officers confiscated three computers, routers, modems, hard drives, memory cards and everything necessary to continue blogging.

The 41-year-old software engineer said they also confiscated numerous personal files and documents relating to a pending lawsuit he has against the department alleging harassment - which he says makes it obvious the raid was an act of retaliation.

Maricopa County Judge Gary Donahoe signed the search warrant that allowed at least ten cops to raid his home in North Phoenix on March 12 while handcuffing his female roommate for three hours as they tore the place apart.

Pataky, who was out of town on a business trip during the raid, also believes police were retaliating against him for the content of his blog, much of it which comes from inside sources within the department.

They broke into my safe and took the backups of my backups, he said in a phone interview with Photography is Not a Crime on Wednesday.

I cant even file my taxes because all my business plans are gone. They took everything.

The search warrant lists petty theft and computer tampering with the intent to harass as probable causes. He has yet to see an actual affidavit that lists in detail the probable cause and is skeptical that one even exists.

They say everything has been sealed, he said.

The conflict between Pataky and the Phoenix Police Department began two years ago during a nasty divorce after moving out of the house he had shared with his wife. His said she was not taking the divorce too well and began filing false allegations against him accusing him of stalking and harassing her.

Many of the reports she filed accused him of doing things when he was out of town, he said.

So he began filing complaints with everybody from Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon down to Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris to no avail. He was eventually indicted for harassing his ex-wife.

A month before the trial, he and a few friends launched the website as a rant against the police department. When he went to trial in May 2008, his charges were immediately dismissed because of lack of evidence, he said.

We were going to shut down the website after that but then all of a sudden all these good cops started hitting the site and sending us tips, he said.

He said they would also deliver all kinds of internal documents from within the department exposing everything from a cop with multiple DUIs to another cop whose son was a child molester and was trying to get on the force (and was eventually arrested).

We have about 50 to 100 retired and active cops who provide us information, he said.

Police apparently believe one of the tipsters is an officer named David Barnes, who fell out of favor with the department in 2007 when he was a detective and went public with claims of mismanaged evidence at the city crime lab.

Police also raided Barnes home and according to Patakys inside sources, plan to raid the homes of more cops.


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