I recently sent the following out to my media contact list.
<<< Starchild >>>
Dear media folks,
Please take a minute to read this message -- this is NOT some unsubstantiated Internet rumor. I just spoke with Michelle Silva, and she is a real person. What she describes below happened, just 12 days ago. Michelle also told me that even after the raid, police are STILL refusing to show them the search warrant, although her attorney has asked for it, and telling her that she has to go to court in order to see it. All they will say is that they weren't looking for drugs, and they weren't looking for child porn -- but they won't say what they WERE looking for or give back all the things they stole.
Michelle's website is EmpressM.net, and she plans to post a petition there for people to sign. But whether she even gets her property back, let alone receives any real justice -- an official apology, compensation for the damage to her business MConsulting, and appropriate action taken against those responsible for the ill treatment, slurs, and other outrages of which she was the victim -- is very much in the hands of you, the members of the press who are receiving this message.
Below is Michelle's story in her own words (with a few minor formatting changes and grammatical corrections for readability). Her email and phone number are listed at the end, and she would love to talk with you. I hope you will ask tough questions of the relevant officials, demand some answers, and bring this matter to the attention of the public.
Sincerely and thank you,
<<< Starchild >>>
Outreach Director, Libertarian Party of San Francisco
Steering Committee, Sex Workers Outreach Project
* * *
On Wednesday, November 16th, 2005 at 2pm my business and home was raided by the CT local and state police. The door bell rang, “I asked who it is?” Before I could open the door, THEY pushed the door in yelling, “POLICE, SEARCH WARRANT!” Over a dozen officers entered. We were ordered to sit on the couch. We asked to see the warrant and they refused to show it to us. They told us they were looking for something specific and told us not to worry about it, we would get to look at it when they finished the search.( WE NEVER SAW THE WARRANT) We were terrified because there were over 30 officers ripping apart my home and business confiscating everything they deemed as unusual such as my leathers, bdsm furniture, personal effects such as collars, entire inventory to my on-line store, fetish novelties, expensive snake skin hand made whips and floggers, all my fetish toys and many more items. While they packed the stuff in to boxes they were making remarks about how unusual it was to possess these strange items. They told us they did not know anything about bdsm.
At this point I noticed there were two, possibly three dozen officers in the house. They were making degrading and humiliating comments about the things they were taking. At the same time we were being questioned by the officer who was guarding us, about our fetish lifestyle. He picked up a fetish magazine and in a sarcastic tone asked me, “Did you make the cover?” He then discovered my pictures in the magazine and then shouted, “Hey, they are in this magazine!” To which several officers began passing it around, making jokes and discriminating comments about our lifestyle tastes. I asked him if we were being arrested and he said no. We asked him why they were taking our things. The officer replied, “ I’ll bet if we looked, 95 percent of the homes in town here would not look like this inside.” He added, “That makes it contraband and that is why we can take it during a search.” (These toys are legal in CT and can be found at a store right near our house).
They began asking questions regarding my adult based business claiming that I did not have a permit to run it. I told them that I had a permit from the town and was approved to run my adult BDSM and fetish websites as my business. I also have two rooms in which I shoot content for my sites.
This is all documented and filed as an Adult based website with my town. We are also 2257 compliant. I explained that I am in bankruptcy and have proven in court to the judge and the trustee the legitimacy of my business and all income from it. I have all the proper paper work as well as being approved to run my business.
No one was arrested. All my computers, two rooms of BDSM furniture and all my equipment for a total of 20,000 dollars worth of items were seized at the time. I did not get an itemized list for any of the items that were taken. They left without showing us the warrant, without telling us what they were looking for. I believe my rights have been violated.
(Again, to summarize):
They entered without showing me the warrant.
Never left a copy or showed me what was on it when they finished their search.
Made harassing comments about my lifestyle and degraded us for it.
When we asked to use the phone with the intent to call a lawyer we were denied.
They did not ask if we had any medical problems that would be affected by not allowing us to eat drink or if we took any medication.
I asked to take my migraine medication after the whole incident started and was allowed to because it was prescribed to take every 4 hrs by my doctor.
They told us that we could not eat or drink because we could claim that it caused a reaction from them giving it to us.
For 5 hrs we were ordered to sit on the couch, while being denied water or food.
They all got bottled water and some even had food while here.
No one asked us if we needed a drink.
I needed to use the bathroom and was told that there were no woman officers here so they would call one. AFTER waiting another 30 minutes, I asked again to use the bathroom and was escorted by a male officer upstairs to the bathroom. He stood outside the door and told me that I could not close it all the way. To keep it half open. And I should not be embarrassed because I'm used to it because of my BDSM lifestyle.
He laughed and said I hope you’re not going to charge me a tribute.
This happened twice.
They looked at fetish magazines and made comments about the fact I was on the cover of one and passed it around to others showing me on the inside.
They teased us saying that our TV would look good down at the station and that they only took stuff that's not junk.
They continued to raid and invade my home but complained that it was getting late and that they wanted to go home. Dozens and dozens of police carried out all of our possessions for our business and personal life.
I also have a dog that has a medical condition and takes medication for nerves. They did not take him out at all, or give him fresh water or food. They kept him in the bathroom the whole time.
No charges were made or arrest but I lost everything and will now lose my home due to not being able to make my trustee payment and my mortgage and bills.
I called the attorney that the Free Speech Coalition told me to call and I have a meeting set up with him on Monday at 4pm.
He said that there would be a retainer and that we could talk in detail on Monday.
I need to raise money for legal defense and get my computers and things back. This is urgent as my business is my sole source of income.
What can I do to fight this? How do I move on? Where do I raise money for legal and living expenses? How do I get my stuff back? I still don't know why they picked my business to destroy. Originally the town approved it, we are now in fear of them entering our home again without cause.
Please let us know what i would need to do to get help with my case before anyone else's rights are violated.
We have hired a First Amendment attorney to fight this case.
We need to be heard so that we can protect others from this type of invasion of their rights.
If you want to help, please email me at missmichelle92@... or call (860) 978-4950.