California raids home of anti-Planned Parenthood activist

Apparently, California’s state law-enforcement agency has solved all other kinds of crime, and can now focus on the plague of undercover activists with hidden cameras. Police descended on the home of David Daleiden, the activist whose videos embarrassed Planned Parenthood last year, raiding his residence and seizing his equipment, including computers and storage devices that held his video:

Investigators with the California Department of Justice on Tuesday raided the home of David Daleiden, the anti-abortion activist behind a series of undercover videos targeting Planned Parenthood, the activist said.

Authorities seized a laptop and multiple hard drives from his Orange County apartment, Daleiden said in an email. The equipment contained all of the video Daleiden had filmed as part of his 30-month project, “including some very damning footage that has yet to be released to the public,” he said.

A spokeswoman for California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) said she could not comment on an ongoing investigation. But the raid confirms that California is among the states looking into possible criminal activity on the part of Daleiden and his organization, the Center for Medical Progress, which have been the center of controversy since releasing videos purporting to show that Planned Parenthood illegally sells fetal tissue for a profit.

Er, a raid? Exactly what kind of crime is alleged by investigators, anyway? Did Daleiden fail to surrender said equipment after having it subpoenaed, or did Harris et al simply decide that his videos were the equivalent of the methamphetamine empire of Walter White from Breaking Bad? The only charges announced against Daleiden are in Texas, where a grand jury indicted him and colleague Sandra Merritt on the heinous charge of using a fake ID.

Perhaps thousands of underage California drinkers will be next on the raid list, eh?

One former Arizona prosecutor now advising Daleiden is stunned, in a statement provided to me (non-exclusively) through Daleiden’s publicist:

“To storm into a private citizen’s home with a search warrant is outrageously out of proportion for the type of crime alleged.  It’s a discredit to law enforcement, an oppressive abuse of government power,” said Matt Heffron a former federal prosecutor in Phoenix AZ and now a legal adviser to David Daleiden.

The warrant isn’t the problem, and neither is the search; law-enforcement agencies execute both routinely, and most often for good reason. The issue here is the overwhelming demonstration of government force and its outrageously disproportionate relationship to any potential crime resulting from the kind of undercover journalism routinely performed not just by other activists but also by mainstream media outlets for decades. It’s clearly intended as an intimidation technique, and a warning pour encourager les âutres who might want to call a politically protected industry to account for its actions.