top of page

Did You Help Fund Secret Government Lists With Your Tax Dollars?


Did You Help Fund Secret Government Lists With Your Tax Dollars?

By Joel Drotts

Below is the user agreement for the CalGang secret database. It is a government funded and operated secret database which the general public and the courts are kept in the dark about, but which police agencies apparently utilize and add to on a regular basis. Just take a look below at the actual “Users Agreement.” It’s what law enforcement professionals make each other promise in order to use the database.

The CalGang database contains validated records of suspected criminal street gangs, their members, and their associates. The information in the CalGang database is confidential. It is not subject to public disclosure and shall not be referred to in official reports. Misuse of the CalGang database, or any information within it, may result in penalties, pursuant to Penal Code (PC) section 186.36. Each user shall read and sign the following security requirements acknowledging that s/he understands and agrees to comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and policies associated with the use of the CalGang database prior to receiving access to the database.

Important points to remember:

1. The CalGang database is used by law enforcement agencies. Thus, the integrity and accuracy of the information is critical. You may be called to testify on the information in or the use of the CalGang database at any time. Your access may be suspended if you mention CalGang in any court proceedings.

2. The CalGang database is routinely audited. Any access is permanently recorded and will be revealed in an audit.

3. Any information that is printed from the CalGang database is protected criminal intelligence. Such printed information shall not be released to the public or the media.

4. All requests for printed information shall be submitted to the Node Administrator. Misuse of printed information may result in penalties. Printed information shall only be distributed to the approved requestor and shall be destroyed upon completion of the investigation.

5. The CalGang database shall only be used for criminal investigations or for the lawful prevention of criminal gang activity. In addition, the database shall not be used for the purposes of enforcing federal immigration law, unless required by state or federal statute or regulation; for military, housing, or employment screening purposes; or for non-criminal internal affairs investigations. This restriction does not pertain to any information that is regarding a person’s immigration or citizenship status pursuant to 8 U.S.C. §§ 1373 and 1644.

6. Your username and password are confidential. Do not share them with others. You are responsible for all inquiries and the dissemination of information that result from your access.

7. If you are conducting a search on behalf of other law enforcement personnel, you shall utilize the proxy feature.

My signature below indicates that I agree to abide by this agreement and all applicable state and federal laws that govern the use of the CalGang database. I also acknowledge that I have been informed of the above points and penalties of misuse, pursuant to PC section 186.36.

That’s what they must agree to to utilize the database. The particularly disturbing fact is it is almost a license to do “Parallel Evidence Construction.” Actually, screw that, in fact in order to use the database you must agree to conduct parallel construction based upon the fact that (A) It will most definitely be used in police investigations, and (b) they are forbade from admitting the existence of the database in a court of law. Here’s the problem, and its just a general rule of thumb. However, police should not ever possess or utilize tools or tactics must be hidden from the general public and the courts alike. If fact, the fact that it may not be admitted to exist in any court of law to utilize the database, means that legally it has no value as a law enforcement tool, and therefore need not nor should it exist as an item or program paid for by the tax dollars of Californian citizens. Why? Because law enforcement simply can not justify their ownership or use of any tool or tactic which may not be brought to light in a court of law. It fundamentally turns the rules of evidence and our constitutional protections on their head!

How? Because allegedly we give cops or pay for their tools and tactics so they can arrest and prosecute the “bad guys.” I understand if that were to actually happen cops would have to be arresting themselves. However, I am referring to the collaborative lie we as a society all pretend to be true which allows every city and county in this nation to justify the wasted millions of dollars spent on law enforcement annually, for which the only return on investment ever experienced by the tax paying citizens is that undeserved jaywalking or speeding ticket they received from their friendly neighborhood police department. Of course, that’s in nice communities, in the ghettos the taxpayers are literally paying for their own harassment and occasional “stick-time.” Ouch…. That’s really got to hurt, distasteful pun intended. At any rate, lets just pretend cops actually bust “bad-guys.” Well, in order to “bust” then they have to be able to explain logically the steps the made and manner in which they uncovered the evidence to “bust the bad guy” in a court of law. Otherwise, all their “hard-work” is for nothing, and it gets tossed out of court for a faulty chain of evidence.

That’s how it goes, and that is justice in this country. The brain washed dummies aside who believe rules like the one I am describing actually hinder the administration of justice rather than ensuring justice, for what is worth the system is fairer than anything else any where in the world as far a justice is concerned. Oh… And brain washed dummies, I have a mind bender for you to chew on while the rest of the intelligent adults continue reading this article. So, check it out, How can police break laws, in the pursuit of enforcing the law? Are some laws more important than others? Or is it some people are more important than others? Because to claim tossing out bad evidence cases gets in the way of justice, you’re then literally claiming you believe cops should be allowed to break some laws, in order to enforce other laws. So, chew on that!

Anyway, so my long winded point I’m trying to make is then that police can not justify as an expense, tool, or tactic which may not be brought up in court, as the tool then has no value or can not aid officers in their ultimate made up goal of “busting bad-guys.” Therefore, they should not have it, or more correctly we as tax payers should not be forced to pay for tools that can not be said to aid cops toward the achieving of their ultimate made up goal of “busting bad guys.”

However, that’s not even really the worst part of this whole secret police program. What is truly diabolical about the program is the fact that no one knows how some one gets on the list, you can’t ever find out if you’re on the list, and apparently cops believe they need not ever divulge that information. Don’t believe me? Well, I’d hate to have you believe me ever full of shit, so therefore here are the definitions they operate the database with:

Chapter 7.5: Department of Justice Regulations for the Fair and Accurate Governance of the CalGang Database. Article 1. General § 750. Title and Scope. This Chapter shall be known as the “Department of Justice Regulations for the Fair and Accurate Governance of the CalGang Database,” and may be cited as such and referred to herein as “these regulations.” Commencing on January 1, 2020, the provisions of these regulations shall govern the policies and procedures of the CalGang database. These regulations shall not apply to any future shared gang databases in the State of California; those shall be regulated by Chapter 7.6 of the California Code of Regulations, title 11, sections 770 to 775.6.

Note: Authority cited: Section 186.36, Penal Code. Reference: Sections 186.34, 186.35, and 186.36, Penal Code, and Section 70615, Government Code.

Article 2. Purpose of the CalGang Database and Definitions § 750.2. Purpose of the CalGang Database. The objective of the CalGang database is to provide law enforcement agencies with an accurate, timely, and electronically generated database of statewide gang-related intelligence information. The CalGang database is not designed to provide Users with information upon which official actions may be taken. Rather, the CalGang database shall only be used as a means of identifying the Node or User Agencies who supplied the information in the CalGang database. Inclusion in the CalGang database cannot be the basis of an official action, rather, the underlying source documents must be used. All records and information contained in the CalGang database are confidential and are for the use of law enforcement agencies only.

Note: Authority cited: Section 186.36, Penal Code. Reference: Sections 186.34, 186.35, and 186.36, Penal Code.

§ 750.4. Definition of Key Terms.

(a) “Access” means the ability to do one or more of the following: view, query, add, delete, or retrieve records in the CalGang database depending on the User’s level of access to the database. (b) “Agency” means any law enforcement agency.

(c) “Audit” means the process of objective examination of the CalGang database pertaining to the maintenance of records, as well as the examination of a sample of randomly selected records to determine whether the CalGang database is in compliance with these regulations.

(d) “CGNAC” means the California Gang Node Advisory Committee.

(e) “Contact” between a law enforcement officer and a potential Gang Member or Gang Associate means any observation of a person by a law enforcement officer or any lawful interaction between a person and a law enforcement officer.

(f) “Criminal predicate” means that there exists a reasonable suspicion based on the analysis of legally obtained information that the subject of the information is, or may be involved in, definable criminal conduct and/or activity that supports, encourages, or otherwise aids definable criminal conduct.

(g) “Department” means the California Department of Justice.

(h) “Dissemination” means the sharing of criminal intelligence among law enforcement authorities in any Agency or Agencies on a need to know and a right to know basis.

(i) “Gang Associate” means a person who satisfies the requirements set forth in subdivision (c) of section 752.6.

(j) “Gang Member” means a person who satisfies the requirements set forth in subdivision (b) of section 752.6.

(k) “Juvenile” means a minor or a person between the ages of 13 through 17.

(l) “Need to know” means a state of facts that supports the legitimacy of access to specific intelligence by a person or an Agency with a right to know. The “need to know” shall be pertinent to and necessary to the performance of a specific law enforcement activity.

(m) “Node” means a geographically located cluster of participating law enforcement agencies with access to the CalGang database that may exist from time to time.

(n) “Node Administrator” means a person who is appointed by the Node Agency to act as the leader of that Node. The Node Administrator is responsible for organizing, training, providing

technical support and coordinating the information collection activities of User Agencies in the Node.

(o) “Node Administrator’s Designee” means a person selected by the Node Administrator to act as the Node Administrator when the Node Administrator is not available.

(p) “Node Agency” means the law enforcement agency where a Node Administrator is located. (q) “Non-User” means a person or an Agency that does not have access to the CalGang database.

(r) “Offense consistent with gang activity” means either those offenses that are listed in subdivision (a) or (e) of Penal Code section 186.22; Penal Code section 186.26 or 186.28; or those offenses committed in a manner described in subdivision (b)(1) of Penal Code section 186.22.

(s) “Peer Audit” means an audit of a Node’s CalGang database records that is conducted by two Node Administrators, or the Node Administrators’ Designees, neither of whom represent the Node or User Agency being audited.

(t) “Purge” means the elimination of any record from the CalGang database and/or any printed form of the record when it is no longer in compliance with these regulations.

(u) “Reasonable suspicion” means that state of known information which establishes sufficient facts to give a trained law enforcement or criminal investigative agency officer, investigator, or employee a basis to believe that there is a reasonable possibility that a person or an organization is involved in a definable criminal activity or enterprise.

(v) “Record” means information contained in the CalGang database that pertains to a particular person.

(w) “Reliable source” means someone who provides information that the officer reasonably believes is sufficiently reliable based on the totality of circumstances that may include, but is not limited to, the following factors: (1) basis of knowledge; (2) veracity; and (3) reliability.

(x) “Revoked,” as it applies to a User’s account, means the account is invalid and the User is permanently prohibited from accessing the account.

(y) “Right to know” means the status of being an Agency or a person engaged in a law enforcement activity that, because of official capacity and/or statutory authority, may have access to the CalGang database if there is a need to know.

(z) “Source documents” means documentation that supports one or more criterion entered into a person’s record in the CalGang database. Such documents may include, but are not limited to, arrest reports, field interview cards, photographs, and jail records.

(aa) “Suspended,” as it applies to a User account, means that the User’s access to the account is prohibited for a defined period or until satisfaction of conditions under these regulations. (bb) “System misuse” or “account misuse” means unauthorized access or misuse of information in the CalGang database.

(cc) “Unauthorized access” means access by a person to the CalGang database who does not have a need to know and a right to know or who is not authorized by these regulations to access the database.

(dd) “User” means authorized employees listed within paragraph (6) of subdivision (k) of Penal Code section 186.36 whose employment duties require access to the CalGang database.

(ee) “User Agency” means a law enforcement agency that has access to the CalGang database.

Note: Authority cited: Section 186.36, Penal Code. Reference: Sections 186.22, 186.26, 186.28, 186.34, 186.35, and 186.36, Penal Code.

Still think this is not a major fucking problem? Yeah, I thought so!, So then, now that you know your tax dollars are being spent to create super-secret databases of alleged “gang members” and their “associates,” (A) which could land you or anyone you know on that database based upon nothing more than the screwed-up opinion of a poorly trained cop with a grudge against you, (B) you’ll never know your name is on the list, (C) have no way to find out if you’re on the list, (D) if you are lucky enough to find out if you are on the list you’re given no way to find out what information or what is said about you in the criminal database, (E) you have no ability to contest or correct information found in that file or database, (F) which government actors alone have access to, and (G) which they utilize to determine what kind of person you are, and then treat you accordingly, what can you as a citizen do about such a disturbing realization? Because unless you are famous taking a knee at the singing of the national anthem just isn’t going to be all that effective for you, and unfair police practices like the one I am describing is exactly the type of social/legal issues Kaepernick and other sport starts that protested with that gesture/were/are trying to wake Americans up to.

So, without a nationally broadcast platform whereby you can get your message out, what can your average citizen do to aid bringing to an end such disturbing and completely un-American activities by your local law enforcement agencies. For starters, you can contact your local police agencies public relations department or Chief of police in small towns, and ask if they participate in, associate with, or otherwise utilize the database or contribute to it. Next, contact your local civic leaders (Mayor, City Counsel, or whoever) and tell them you oppose the use of or contributions to the database by your local agency. Each town or county has every right to pass statutes forbidding their local agencies from the use of or contributions to the database. Local politicians can most certainly refuse to pay for the use of or contributions to the database. Next, contact your State Assembly Person, and tell them to end the database, or at the very least make it easier to find out if your name is in the database, and create procedures to have your name removed or information corrected.

In point of fact, the mere fact you read this article and maybe mention the issues this article covers to friends or family, is a form of working to shut this program down. Remember, its supposedly so secret that they practice “parallel construction evidence gathering and prosecutions” in order to use the database. They have no right to keep such a program secret, whereas WE as Americans have every right to talk about or inform people about the existence of this highly relevant social and legal issue, so says the FIRST AMENDMENT! Especially since the program has major ramifications on your own Fourth, Fifth, Fourteenth, and even possibly our Eighth Amendment rights.

Point blank…. Like my philosophy teacher used to always say “If it is secret, and it has power over you, you can guarantee it to be evil!” Well, super-secret police databases, and the use of terms like “police intelligence” are highly disturbing. Police in this country are not at war with those they are supposed to serve and protect, and they are not an occupying force in a hostile land! They are supposed to be a civil peace keeping agency, and not the CIA. Intelligence agencies do this sort of thing, but you know what the difference is is they do it to other countries and for military utilization. The mere fact that use of the program does not aid in lawful prosecutions and evidence gathering methods, makes the entire program completely indefensible from a pure public funding aspect. Moreover, as cops love to tell us when we seek to invoke our constitutionally guaranteed rights which protect our privacies, “If you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t mind if we take a look!” Well, if they have nothing to hide, then they will end the unconstitutional and possibly criminal policies and practices of overt secrecy about this program!!!

In closing, I just want to leave you with this final thought: Police really have no justifiable need for such a secretive program. I’m not even totally against the database as an idea or law enforcement tool, BUT the fact they are bending over backwards not to let the public and the courts know about the existence of such a database is a huge flashing red warning sign that we can all see. If anything, the removal of the secrecy aspects of the program, would make it a viable, usable, and therefore financially defensible law enforcement tool.

Cops need to learn and remember the fact that they may not have secrets. Total disclosure and transparency from police is the only way democracy survives in this country. Moreover, if cops are doing something they think the public may find objectionable, then they need to cut that crap out, and not seek to hide whatever that objectionable behaviors are. That’s the gig! They signed-up for these rules when they took their oaths and dawned the badge! Why? Because that badge grants an immense amount of power and authority which we all have agreed comes with the badge, BUT we also agreed that that same power and authorities have very rigid bright-line boundaries and limits. Limits that can not be maintained using secretive programs, especially programs kept secret from the courts. The reasons are obvious which are the that constitutionally proscribed checks on the executive branch authorities I spoke of earlier, is the judiciary as baked into the US Constitution by the founding fathers!

Herein ends the Constitutional gospel according to Joel.

Comments


bottom of page