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Shaq present at botched kiddie porn raid

WWW – Shaquille O’Neal was present during a botched child pornography raid last month while working in Virginia as a reserve sheriff’s deputy.

The Miami Heat centre, who pursues his interest in law enforcement during the off-season, denied Tuesday taking part in serving the search warrant at the wrong house Sept. 23. However, Bedford County Sheriff’s Lt. Michael Harmony confirmed to The Associated Press that O’Neal was there.

A.J. Nuckols, who said his family has filed formal complaints, wrote in a letter published in the Chatham Star-Tribune the raid at his Gretna, Va., home “scared beyond description” him and his family. He described being “held at gunpoint, taunted and led into the house,” and said the home was ransacked by a “paramilitary search-and-seizure team” that took computers, cameras, DVDs and VHS tapes.

Back Story:p2pnet.net News: Virginia- “It is with great pleasure that I introduce the following individual…I’m sure you recognize the face and name, as the newest member of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, Operation Blue Ridge Thunder,” says Virginia’s Bedford County Sheriff’s Department.

“Deputy O’Neal is looking forward to being in Bedford this summer and working side-by-side with our BRT investigators and, in his words, “Putting these sexual predators that surf the Internet for their next victim in jail.” Deputy O’Neal will support our task force.”

O’Neal is Miami Heat basketball star Shaquille O’Neal and as a deputy, he received a first-hand demonstration of the kind of appalling foul-ups that can result when someone uses IP addresses to identify people.

The members of the Big Four Organzied Music family, Warner Music, Sony BMG, EMI and Vivendi Universal, do it all the time, incorrrectly claiming their CP (consumer persecution) units such as the RIAA can reliably identify alleged file sharers through IP addresses.

And when the Bedford County sheriffs used an IP address as the basis for raiding the Nuckols family home looking for kiddie porn and associated Net and computer gear, O’Neal was there.

“I am a local farmer; my wife teaches elementary school; our three children are well-adjusted, A students,” writes A.J. Nuckols in the Chatham Star Tribune. “We go to church, work hard, and pay our bills and taxes. We are law-abiding, responsible members of society; we have never had reason to fear the law.”

Not until September 23, that is,because that was the date, “many police vehicles appeared in our driveway,” says Nuckols.

“Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Department, Bedford County Sheriff’s Department and Blue Ridge Thunder invaded our peaceful lives with military force based on one piece of wrong digital information.”

In his letter to the Chatham Star Tribune, Nuckols writes:

Men in black with flak jackets ran to and around our house.

My wife was at home alone. I drove up and asked, “What’s going on?”

Men ran at me, dropped into shooting position, double-handed semi-automatic pistols pointed at me, and made me put my hands against my truck.

I was held at gunpoint, searched, taunted, and led into the house. I had no idea what this was about. I was scared beyond description. I feared there had been a murder and I was a suspect.

My wife and I were interrogated about Internet crime. We are not avid computer users; we do not even e-mail. We knew nothing of what they were speaking.

After seemingly convincing them of our computer “illiteracy,” we were questioned about our children and made to doubt their innocence.

Our home was searched by a para-military search-and-seizure team.

Our computers, digital camera, disposable cameras, DVD’s, and VHS tapes were seized.

We were held in our home under guard for five hours.

Our children came home and were also interrogated.

It was awful. We were ccused of horrible crimes, crimes that even the mention of would ruin our reputations.

The investigation was to be complete within six to nine months. We were in shock.

However, on October 2, the family’s eqipment was returned and they were told their troubles were all down to the fact the police had the wrong IP address.

“No innocent United States citizen should be subjected to this based on so little evidence,” says Nuckosl.

But why not? It happens all the time with the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and other Big Four ‘trade’ outfits such as the IFPI and Britain’s BPI and no one seems to have a problems with it.

It’s, “Inexcusable,” says Nuckols. “Civil rights laws have been established to protect the innocent. Our ancestors fought and died for these rights.

“The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution states: ‘The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause…’

“Invading our home with one bit of incorrect evidence was totally unreasonable.

“I support the police and their efforts, but I believe every United States citizen should fear and be angry about these tactics.

“I will not rest until I know what went wrong in this investigation. I pray that you will not either.”

Meanwhile, although O’Neal apparently denies being in on the raid, the Associated Press quotes Bedford County Sheriff’s Lt Michael Harmony as saying O’Neal was there.

And that’s probably a good thing because otherwise, it’s unlikely the case would have received the kind of publicity that it did.

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