Just last Thursday, the House voted through a renewal of PATRIOT Act surveillance powers with minimal reforms, without allowing amendments, without regular committee process, and with only 60 minutes of debate.
Today, at 5:30pm, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will hold a vote, hoping to get 60 Senators to agree to close debate on the same Act. But together with our allies in the Senate, he’s under heavy pressure, and he may not get there. Your call now to 202-224-3121 demanding your senators votes NO on cloture may make the difference to a wavering Senator, and will pile the pressure on.
If Sen. McConnell loses this vote, he will have to allow proper amendments and discussion. Please help make this happen.
Below is Restore The Fourth’s statement being circulated to Senators.
“Restore The Fourth strongly opposes cloture on the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act. As Reps. Davidson (R-OH) and Lofgren (D-CA) have observed in their letter to the Senate, it was unacceptable for House leaders to have brought this bill up outside of the regular committee process and with no opportunities for amendment. Senator Burr shockingly claimed, on Thursday, on the Senate floor, that President Trump “can do all of this [surveillance], without Congress’s permission;” a horrifying reassertion of the “unitary executive” theory that led to vast NSA and FBI overreach and abuse. Some amendment and some discussion is appropriate before cloture is invoked. Senators have the authority to debate the government’s surveillance powers freely and openly, and to offer such amendments as they see fit. By voting NO on cloture at 5:30pm today, you allow the opportunity for these awesome powers to receive the careful and due consideration that our Founders intended for the Senate to provide.”
In 2014, two New Mexico state police officers were on their way to serve an arrest warrant at an apartment building when they saw Roxanne Torres—not the person they were serving it to—outside her vehicle and approached her. Here’s what happened next, per Ballotpedia:
The officers approached Torres’ vehicle; Torres entered her vehicle, perceived the officers to be carjackers, and drove the car forward. The officers shot her twice. Torres drove from the scene and was treated at a hospital for her injuries. Torres was arrested and pleaded no contest to three crimes related to the event. Torres filed a complaint against the officers in federal district court claiming excessive force. The district court ruled that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity and that there had been no seizure since Torres left the scene. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling. Torres filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.
Defending the act of shooting at someone fleeing from them–who did not know they were police and they were not even there to arrest–as a rightful attempt at “seizure”–brings this case under our purview.
We recommend reading the brief in full, but it comes down to debunking the bizarre argument that a police officer shooting at someone does not constitute an attempt to arrest them–and is in fact a less serious act–even if they’re running away.
The premise that physically attempting to detain someone constitutes an attempt to arrest them, and therefore is limited by all the related rules and protections (including those laid down by the Fourth Amendment) is a core legal precedent that it would be dangerous to disrupt. That is in addition to the injustice it would be for Ms. Torres.