Jury Acquits Restaurant Owner Of Obstruction Charges For Tweeting Out Photo Of Teens Involved In Police Alcohol Sting

from the government-yourself-accordingly,-coppers dept

Obstructing government operations seems like a serious offense, but it tends to be one of those catch-all charges used by law enforcement to generate arrests for non-criminal activities like showing less respect than officers feel they deserve or someone getting all constitutional in response to searches and/or seizures. In Nebraska, law enforcement uses it to handle “being made.”

Nebraska state police attempted to perform a compliance check at local restaurant Salt last August. In this case, “compliance check” is just a dressed-up word for “sting.” Cops sent in two teenagers to attempt to purchase alcohol. The sting failed.

Two troopers in plain clothes drove the teens in an unmarked vehicle to the businesses and stayed nearby in case things went awry, testified Christopher Kober, a State Patrol investigator.

The teens sat at Salt 88’s bar and ordered two Bud Lights, Alberico testified. The bartender asked for identification and the teens, trained on what to do, presented their real driver’s licenses. The bartender refused service and the teens left, Alberico testified.

John Horavatinovich, the owner of Salt, wasn’t too impressed by the failed sting. He tweeted out a photo of the teens, along with a warning to other restaurant/bar owners.

Assistant City Prosecutor Makayla Maclin said in her opening statement Monday that on Aug.13, Horvatinovich tweeted photos showing the faces of two teens with the comment: “Omaha restaurant peeps: These two are trying to ruin your night w/sting operations in town.”

The state police decided to shut down its sting operation since its two underage informants were no longer all that “confidential.” Instead of rounding up another set of compliant teens to perform compliance checks, the cops arrested Horavatinovich for obstruction of justice.

The arresting officer justified this with a mostly-nonsensical statement about safety — as though restaurant owners were every bit as vengeful and violent as mob bosses and drug cartel heads.

“I have never had my CIs’ identity compromised before,” Trooper Alberico testified. “I felt that it was a safety issue for them. I care about my CIs, and it’s my job to protect them.”

The police certainly seemed secure in the rightness of their actions, despite everything about the arrest looking like nothing more than petty revenge for having their operation blown. And the local prosecutors office was the most compliant entity in this failed compliance sting, as it followed through with a jury trial, rather than drop the ridiculous charge.

The jury found in favor of the restaurant owner, which means the next time an ID sting is uncovered, restaurant owners are more than welcome to let each other know which teens are acting as narc-of-the-day for the local PD.

Honestly, the problem here lies entirely with state law enforcement and its response to Horavatinovich’s actions. As Fault Lines’ Josh Kendrick points out, the public shouldn’t be forced to stay silent when law enforcement screws up.

While police are welcome to investigate crime, that doesn’t mean we now live in a police state. If your amateur hour undercover investigation targeting law-abiding business owners gets discovered, why does the public have to cover for your ineptitude? Why can’t those business owners get together and help each other? Maybe remind each other to double-check identification and watch out for teens drinking at the bar?

Just like warning drivers about speed traps, warning other business owners about law enforcement stings raises awareness and actually results in more compliance, rather than less. Those warned about speed traps slow down. Those warned about law enforcement sting operations pay more attention to those they’re serving alcohol to. The only party that “loses” is the one that thinks the general public is nothing more than a revenue stream that can be tapped into at its convenience — where arrests and fines are preferred to actual lawful behavior.

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Comments on “Jury Acquits Restaurant Owner Of Obstruction Charges For Tweeting Out Photo Of Teens Involved In Police Alcohol Sting”

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63 Comments
My Name is Privatesays:

Confidential Informants

If this Police Officer really cared about his CI’s he wouldn’t enlist underage KIDS to break the law. There are PLENTY of adults who look 12. Like many, this person thinks they are ethical but fail to accurately account for their own ethics issues.

There are so many amazing Police Officers, this isnt one of them.

Anonymous Anonymous Cowardsays:

Re: Re: Confidential Informants

If you’re pulling a sting on someone, with intent to arrest a perpetrator, then a law actually has to be broken. An adult who looks 12, and is asked for an ID in a bar, will pull out their ID and prove they are not 12, though it is also likely their ID won’t be believed. In order to catch someone breaking the law in question here, they actually have to serve alcohol to underage persons. Note that the CI’s in this case did not carry fake ID’s.

Anonymous Anonymous Cowardsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Confidential Informants

I have had this sting pulled on me, and on operations I was responsible for. We always checked ID’s on anyone that didn’t look like they were 30 or older. Oh, and you are correct, the CI’s tended to be close to the correct age (during the 40+ years I was in the industry, the drinking age was not always 21).

Interestingly, I got carded more often between the ages of 25 and 30 than I did between the ages of 18 to 25.

K`Tetchsays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: Confidential Informants

I get carded all the time (even for lottery tickets), which is annoying, because I’m 37.

What annoys my eldest most of all though is I get carded, she does not (she’s 20)

In fact, went to chat with CoryD on his homeland book tour 4 years ago, he thought she was my OLDER sister, and my friend (who I run an annual lecture series with) was my father…

Bergmansays:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Confidential Informants

Back in high school, I knew a guy who started losing his hair at 16. Completely bald except around the sides of his head by 20. He did occasionally use it to buy beer underage, too.

Those store clerks who don’t card men with no hair really should start doing so.

Cdaragornsays:

Re: Re: Confidential Informants

No one was asked to break the law. It’s illegal to give alcohol to someone under age. It is NOT illegal for someone under age to ask you to give it to them.

I think I can safely say the officers made sure the kids knew they weren’t supposed to actually drink it if they were given anything.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Confidential Informants

Nebraska Revised Statute 53-180.01

“No minor shall obtain, or attempt to obtain, alcoholic liquor by misrepresentation of age, or by any other method, in any tavern or other place where alcoholic liquor is sold.”

Attempting to purchase, unless in the course of a police investigation, is illegal for a minor in the state of Nebraska.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Confidential Informants

If the FDA actually cared about public health they wouldn’t ban marijuana as a painkiller in favor of pharmaceuticals.

When Colorado legalized marijuana pharmaceutical painkiller sales dropped. This tells me that people are very willing to substitute the very dangerous painkillers for the much safer marijuana. Since this is the case the FDA should find ways to encourage people to get off of the more dangerous painkillers and get onto the much safer marijuana.

In the history of marijuana usage worldwide there may be, say, a hand full of reported marijuana deaths. In America alone there is over one death per hour due to painkillers. So why is the FDA so blatantly favoring a much more dangerous drug over a safer one? Because public safety is the last thing on their mind.

Like everything else government related it’s all politics and it has little to nothing to do with the public interest.

SirWiredsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Confidential Informants

Durn it; my attempt at emphasis got interpreted as an unclosed HTML tag.

What I meant to say is that cannabis-based drugs cannot enter the FDA approval process until the DEA allows cannabis to be obtained more easily for research. The FDA and DEA are on opposite ends of the Executive Branch org chart and barely talk to each other; you are blaming the wrong agency.

Uriel-238says:

Re: Re: Re:2 FDA approval process

You know, considering how Mirtazapine and Quetiapine both made it through the FDA approval process to ruin some lives and, result in class-action lawsuits, yet cannabis cannot, Plan B took decades and a few other advanced contraceptives (that are legal throughout the industrialized world) can’t even be reviewed, I’ve come to suspect that the FDA approval process is some kind of racket that involves either greasing the palms of some inside bureaucrats, or considers only products produced within a select cartel.

Bergmansays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: FDA approval process

This.

There was a food additive all set to go to market a few decades back. The brand name was Miraculin? and what it was, was a refined version of the protein in miracle fruit that makes sour/bitter stuff taste sweet.

The company bringing it to market had gone through the testing and FDA approval process, every single test done by the company, the FDA and third party labs had found the stuff was about as safe for human consumption as water was. The company was literally weeks from putting their first production batch on the market.

And then suddenly the FDA declared the stuff unfit for human consumption, toxic to the point that its import into the US must be banned permanently, and refused to say a word about why. But it was pretty obvious — the stuff turns aspirin powder into a compound that is sweeter than sugar, zero calorie and with absolutely no harmful side effects — it would have badly damaged the sugar industry, even with people that are not diabetic. And the sugar industry has lots of lobbyists and lots of money to spread around under the table.

So Miraculin? remains banned in the US to this day, even though it remains perfectly legal to import the fruit that does EVERYTHING the refined protein does.

Gothenemsays:

This is the best paragraph in the article…

“Just like warning drivers about speed traps, warning other business owners about law enforcement stings raises awareness and actually results in more compliance, rather than less. Those warned about speed traps slow down. Those warned about law enforcement sting operations pay more attention to those they’re serving alcohol to. The only party that “loses” is the one that thinks the general public is nothing more than a revenue stream that can be tapped into at its convenience — where arrests and fines are preferred to actual lawful behavior. “

Anonymoussays:

This is one argument for using programs like KillDisk. You never known what is in your computer that might get you into trouble, which is why I use it.

If he had periodically used KillDisk, and used a VPN to hide his IP address, they would not have traced him.

This is why, as I have said, I killdisk my laptops and reinstall Windows and all my programs, before crossing the border into either Canada, or the United States, when take road trips in North America. Anything I don’t know about that might get me either refused entry, and land me in the local jail is obliterated and cannot be recovered even by EnCase, which is considered to be the best of the best, when it comes to computer forensic examinations.

I keep a disk image, so that I can quickly restore Windows and all my programs.

Anonymous Anonymous Cowardsays:

Re: Re:

He didn’t do anything wrong, why should he go to all that trouble? The arrest was malicious, the prosecution was malicious. The messages sent could have been traced back to him regardless of his wiping his phones and computers. The only law enforcement objective achieved was he didn’t beat the ride, and the illegal aftermath of that ride. Which will go unpunished.

You mention this so much, I had the impression you did it daily.

Talk about paranoia.

Or, do you work for KillDisk?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Not if he used a VPN, nothing would have been traced to him. The only thing facebook or twitter would have had would have been the IP address of the VPN he used.

That makes a good argument for using a VPN, so your activities cannot traced to you if they decide to do one of these crazy prosecutions.

I.T. Guysays:

Re: Re:

I don’t have time, but professor Google should be able to help you out. KillDisk does not do what you think it does on SSD’s.

6.9. Does KillDisk shorten SSD lifetime by overwriting several times?

No, because:
Windows OS writes to HDD much more than KillDisk (DoD 3 passes are nothing, comparing to Windows caching activity)
This applied mostly to old-style flash memory-based SSD which almost not manufactured anymore
Any storage media (SSD, HDD, Flash Card, etc?) has limits on usage (writes number), and the more you write, the more chances that, for example HDD Head touches the plate and thus producing bad sectors

I LOL’d on that one. Because… Windows. LOL.

Unless they are using TRIM commands, the old way of erasing disks is useless on an SSD.
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/securely-erase-ssd-without-destroying/

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/why-trim-important-to-solid-state-hard-drives/

Wiping an SSD takes under 2 min.
Then you run into Lenovo’s implementation of RAID on their M.2 NvME drives that does not accept the normal NvME command:
nvme format /dev/nvme0 -n 1 (Which is all PartedMagic does in a nice GUI)

For Lenovos we use a DOS… yes DOS utility provided by them.

So… yeah. KillDisk is old, outdated, and does not work the way they try and get you to believe it works. Please stop hawking it here.

Anonymoussays:

The jury found in favor of the restaurant owner, which means the next time an ID sting is uncovered, restaurant owners are more than welcome to let each other know which teens are acting as narc-of-the-day for the local PD.

It does not mean this at all. The police and prosecutors are free to try the next restaurateur who publishes photos of the CIs (or even the same restaurateur if he does it again). There’s no precedent from a jury.

I suggest that the restaurateur puts up a notice informing patrons that any underage person who orders a drink may have their photo published and then just publishes the photos as underage people who tried to buy alcohol, without explicitly naming them as testing the bar for failure to validate ages on behalf of the police.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

Well, apparently law enforcement feels they are above the many laws that everyone else must adhere to – so yeah, they will do what ever the hell they feel like, leaving their fellow citizens and the court system to deal with the mess they created. I do not see many leos giving much of a shit about any court ruling which tells them certain actions are not allowed, they just continue like nothing happened. Now pick up that can!

ECAsays:

would it be nice?

if Bars and restaurants SHARED INFO, on illegal activities…LIKE KIDS trying to get alcohol??
Or DRUNKS kicked out, before they BECAME a problem?

REMEMBER, they are Liable for the Customer..
HOW do you stop a Customer/person from being an IDIOT?

HOW many police dept’s, SIT outside a bar at closing??

IF’ we were all angels we wouldnt NEED police, to protect us from idiots..

They do that with speed traps in Malibu with bogus charges

I had a friend get a ticket for flashing his high beams as a warning of a speed trap. They gave him a ticket for flashing his high beams at night.

He fought the ticket by mail by sending in a copy of the LA Times weather report showing sunset and sunset times on the day of the ticket to show that it was not at night. The police are just pissed and they use clearly bogus charges, that recipients never check or fight, just pay.

That One Guysays:

See something say nothing

The kicker of course, pointed out in the final paragraph, is that the actions of the police here are actually encouraging more possible crime. The message they’re sending is that if you see an underage drinker attempt to buy booze, don’t say anything. Refuse to serve them at your place but don’t tell anyone else that they might be visited by underage drinkers looking to buy, just stay silent and look the other way.

In their eagerness to rake in more cash and score more ‘wins’ to brag about the police are actually punishing those that would otherwise remind other members of the public to pay closer attention to the laws, because when the public doesn’t break the law it’s a lot harder(harder mind you, not impossible) to steal their stuff and secure convictions and/or fines.

Anonymoussays:

For the safety of potential CIs...

Next time, don’t just refuse service. Ban them from the premises, call the cops on them right away (for the attempt to procure alcohol), and see to it they are arrested, for the safety of the underage would-be drinker (lest they find somebody willing to serve them that criminally dangerous beverage), the safety of any other less attentive bartenders in the area, and the safety of the establishment (because maybe the prosecutor will have a harder time pursuing obstruction charges when you screw up their sting by (trying to) have their CIs arrested). 🙂

Cowardly Lionsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: For the safety of potential CIs...

I kind of agree… but then I noticed that this was over 2 Bud lites.

I don’t quite know hot to put this, but the US never really lost that air of prohibition did it. By contrast, in France this would be would be unheard of. Beer and wine are just a matter of course, nothing to get agitated about.

Bamboo Harvestersays:

Maybe Nevada is different, but...

…in NY, the minors cops use for this kind of “CI” stuff aren’t angels out to help the community.

They’re usually doing it to avoid being charged with something the cops caught them doing weeks before. And as soon as they’re “blown”, the cops usually file those charges anyway.

Michaelsays:

“Two troopers in plain clothes drove the teens in an unmarked vehicle to the businesses and stayed nearby in case things went awry”

Why are the police putting children in a situation that they apparently believe could “go awry” in a way that would require police officers nearby?

Wouldn’t their time be better spent keeping children out of these kinds of situations?

Uriel-238says:

With every year stings look more and more like entrapment.

It seems the only thing accomplished by hiking the federal drinking age to 21 has been to delay booze-related incidents back three years. So we have drunk driving incidents happening at 22 instead of 19.

In the 70s, many states allowed 18-year-olds to drink three-proof as a training-wheels beer before gaining access to the whole bar.

And then there’s sting operations which look more and more like entrapment, especially when the FBI fishes for (literal) retards to commit a terror act by purchasing $20 of hardware supplies.

Maybe this is the nadir before we get sick of it and ban stings as an over-abused law-enforcement tool.

Also someone should inform these teens that in working as undercover complicitors to law enforcement they make themselves targets. Mobs and street gangs alike regard informants with the same magnitude of grace that the Kremlin handles uncovered moles. It’s a good way to get fed into industrial machinery. Somehow I bet these teens volunteered without having been fully informed regarding risks to life and limb.

And then there’s sting operations which look more and more like entrapment, especially when the FBI fishes for (literal) retards to commit a terror act by purchasing $20 of hardware supplies.
Maybe this is the nadir before we get sick of it and ban stings as an over-abused law-enforcement tool.

http://prnmeg.blogspot.com/2017/01/2017-download-yahoo-messenger.html
http://prnmeg.blogspot.com/2016/12/2017-download-line-free.html
http://prnmeg.blogspot.com/2016/12/2017-download-facebook-lite.html
http://prnmeg.blogspot.com/2016/12/2017-download-viber-free.html
prnmeg.blogspot.com/2016/12/2017-download-imo-free.html
http://prnmeg.blogspot.com/2016/12/2017-download-facebook-messenger.html

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