Archive for the ‘Police State’ Category

Does Free Speech Exist In America Anymore?

May 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Does free speech really exist in America anymore? You be the judge…


(Audio) Guest Co-Hosting The April 5th, 2017 Jeff Oravits Show

April 5, 2017 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

I had a great time guest co-hosting the Jeff Oravits show on 97.1 FM The Big Talker today. We discussed this week’s Flagstaff City Council Meeting, the border wall, robots in the workplace and much much more. Check out the full audio of the show here:

On the show it was mentioned that I live tweet the Flagstaff City Council meetings. You can follow those tweets at:

Flag Council To Reconsider RV/Boat Parking Restrictions

September 22, 2016 2 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

On February 16, 2016 the Flagstaff City Council voted unanimously to approve ordinance 2016-07 which contained sweeping changes to the Flagstaff Zoning Code. Among those changes were new restrictions on RV, boat and trailer parking which put major limitations on where you could park on your own property.

Much like Flagstaff’s recently passed Party Ordinance and rejected Property Maintenance Ordinance, residents were told that citations would only be issued on a complaint driven basis and only gross offenders would be targeted. What the City conveniently left out is the busybody element that always goes along with these types of laws.

We have one guy going around our neighborhood complaining about everyone.” Writes Susan McCullough, founder of the facebook group Flagstaff RV/Boat/Trailer Code Breakers & Friends, a group dedicated to making changes to the ordinance.

“You can park in your backyard or interior side yard (between houses, but not on the street side of your house). The front of the rig must be behind the front of your house. Even if you have a paved driveway specifically for your rig, you are not allowed to park it there.”

McCullough joined with concerned neighbors and other Flagstaff residents and was successful in getting a FAIR (Future Agenda Item Request) on the October 4th City Council agenda. At the October 4th meeting, at least four council members will need to support moving this request forward in order for the City to revisit the RV/Boat parking part of the City Code.

If you have an opinion on this ordinance, you can contact the entire Flagstaff City Council at


An illegally parked RV in Flagstaff.

Flag PD Has Double Standard On Body Camera Footage

July 15, 2016 2 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith


When Flagstaff Police officer Tyler Stewart was tragically shot and killed last year, some in the public raised concerns that the graphic body camera footage had been released and a Phoenix news station had put the unedited video on YouTube. The Los Angels Times explained that Arizona law requires the footage to be public:

“We have to abide by the Arizona state law when it comes to releasing public records information,” said Flagstaff Deputy Chief Walter Miller, who said officials sought legal advice before determining that they had to release the video under Arizona law.”

What a difference a year makes.

Last Wednesday’s shooting of an unarmed (although reportedly seen with a gun) suspect had the Flagstaff Police Department taking a different direction on the only body camera that actually worked during the incident. From today’s press release:

“Due to the graphic nature of the video and the privacy rights of the suspect and his family the complete video will not be released.”

So which is it? Arizona state law requires police to release the footage or police can pick and choose which footage they want the public to have access to? Body cameras work great to protect the public and the police if they are used properly but what happens when the police police their own footage and decide what we are allowed to see and what we are not? How do we know we are getting the whole story?

Arizona Central has a great article on the topic of public records and they say:

“A court case, meanwhile, has held that a record may only be withheld if a countervailing privacy or confidentiality interest or the “best interests of the state” outweigh the public’s right to know – and the burden is on the party trying to withhold documents to prove the harm that would follow release.”

The Flagstaff Police Department needs to tell us what the harm would be.

As for the other body cameras mentioned above that were at the scene of the shooting, they all failed to work properly. The same Flag PD press release stated:

“Due to technical issues no footage was recorded of the initial contact at the car; Ofc Syers’ camera malfunctioned due to a battery issue and Ofc Seay’s connector cable became detached prior to the incident. Due to the intensity of the moment, Cpl. Lavelle did not activate his camera prior to the shooting. After he fired his weapon, he realized his camera was not operating and immediately activated the camera.”

Really? for those of us who advocated for body cameras for Flagstaff’s police department this is a huge disappointment. We expect them to not only work but be used on the job…especially during high profile cases such as police shootings that leave suspects dead.

Even while taking Flag PD at their word, which many don’t in this case, this whole situation is an embarrassment that fosters distrust and a lack of faith in our local law enforcement.


About 45 minutes ago The Flagstaff Police Department responded to concerns from citizens including some of the concerns posted in this blog. That response can be found here:


Party Ordinance Will Impact Council’s Nuisance Parties

April 13, 2016 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Last night the Flagstaff City Council put up the final roadblock to nearly a year’s worth of work on a citizen driven effort to make changes to Flagstaff’s recently passed party ordinance. The Council work session was the last in a long line of hearings and meetings and council chose to keep the ordinance “as is” as the police department asked.

Councilman Jeff Oravits was the only member of council even interested in making any changes to the law and I want to thank him for being willing to look for a compromise that could make everyone happy. There were very reasonable changes that could have been made.

Even though we didn’t get our desired outcome, I am very impressed with the effort and work that went into this by so many people on so many levels. The fight is not over yet. We will be looking at other ways to push back against this ordinance and protect people’s right to assemble.

In the video below you can find my comments to council yesterday evening. I explain to them that they need to realize that this ordinance will impact the nuisance parties they throw.

Conflicting Party Ordinance Talking Points

March 28, 2016 Leave a comment
By Elisha Dorfsmith

The Flagstaff City Council will be revisiting their recently passed party ordinance on April 12th at their 6:00 pm work session at City Hall. This may be our last chance to institute changes to the ordinance and if you have concerns I strongly encourage you to attend this work session and make your voice heard. If you cannot attend, please send council an email. You can email the entire Flagstaff City Council at

I will be speaking at this work session but I have also emailed council several times with additional concerns. Below is an email I sent today talking about the Flagstaff Police Department’s conflicting talking points.

“Mayor and Council,

As you know, the Flagstaff Police Department recently conducted a series of meetings with students and concerned residents to discuss Flagstaff’s recently passed party ordinance. I attended these meetings and while I found Flag PD to be open to listening to our concerns, I also found that they seem to be pushing a lot of conflicting talking points. 

At our first meeting a Daily Sun reporter quizzed us about why we were opposed to the new ordinance since it takes away some criminal penalties and makes them civil. She said students should be thanking Flag PD for making their lives easier. I said the better question is how will this ordinance help Flag PD if it is all about making student’s lives easier. After all, Flag PD says they need this new ordinance to help break up parties. Flag PD responded that the reason it is better is because they can now go after property owners. 

With this in mind, pay close attention to the Flagstaff Police Department’s presentation on April 12th. As of March 9th they told us that no property owners had been cited. Yet, they will be at council touting the success, so far, of this ordinance. They will even be showing you a video of them breaking up a party. If it is the same video they played for us, you will see a crowd quietly and respectfully dispersing. You will see no citations issued. You will see a small amount of litter on private property but something I suspect would be picked up the next morning. Simply put, you will hear Flag PD touting the success of this ordinance while showing proof that 3 officers can peacefully break up large parties without using the ordinance. 

Of course, that video is not reflective of all parties in Flagstaff. As of March 9th, 95 civil and 22 criminal citations had been issued under the new party ordinance. What Flag PD could not tell us was how this measured up to the same time period in previous years. Would those violations have equated to 117 criminal citations? Or would there still have only been 22 criminal citations with no civil citations? We need to know because of the possibility that the vague language of this new ordinance is casting a wider net on the civil side. 

I hope you will join me in looking for clarification and answers to these questions at the April 12th council work session.

Thanks for your time, 


Elisha Dorfsmith


Video: Civil Asset Forfeiture Hearing At AZ State Capital

March 25, 2016 6 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Today I had the opportunity to talk with LD6 Arizona State Representative Bob Thorpe about yesterday’s hearing in the Arizona House Government and Higher Education Committee on Civil Asset Forfeiture reform. I have endorsed his reform bill in previous posts on my blog and have been anxious for it to start moving forward.

Unfortunately, I learned today that committee chairs are still refusing to allow this bill to advance. This is largely due to push back by prosecutors and police groups who profit from confiscating property and cash from people who are not convicted or even charged with a crime.

Below is the entire video of yesterday’s hearing. It is very eye opening and worth listening to. After watching it, one thing is very clear to me, we need an even bigger push for these reforms next session. We need to get this bill passed and signed by the governor.



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