Submit a link Features Reviews Podcasts Video Forums More ▾

2013: a year of very bad cops (and some good ones)


Vice's Year in Bad Cops rounds up the worst American police stories of the years: cops who executed peaceful housepets in front of children, cops who forgot about jailed innocents and left them to drink their own urine, cops whose dogs only attack brown people, cops who only stop-and-frisk brown people, and, of course, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

But the article also singles out Chris Burbank, the Chief of the Salt Lake City Police who sounds like an awesome guy. He arranged for a peaceful, respectful eviction of SLC Occupy, refuses to have his officers enforce immigration laws, and won't turn his cops into militarized SWAT goons. His motto: "[The cops] aren't an occupying force. We are a part of the community."

Read the rest

New London police powers: the right to bite


Britons, take note: Spelling Mistakes Cost Lives has a timely reminder about the London Police's new powers. The new biting powers will be useful alongside the ASBO, detention without charge, the right to seize domain names, illegal harvesting of innocent peoples' DNA, the right to arrest you for reading things that might help terrorists, the right to kettle legal demonstrations, the right to shoot people in the street, the right to beat people standing near demonstrations to death, the right to arrest you for taking pictures that might help terrorists, and all the other legal doctrines that are so consistent with all the invisible words in our "unwritten constitution."

New Police Powers (via Boing Boing Flickr Pool)

France's new surveillance law creates a police state

Jeremie from La Quadrature du Net writes, "France just turned into a surveillance state, adopting a sneaky surveillance framework in article 13 of its Defense Bill (Loi de programmation militaire). It drastically extends the exceptional regime of extra-judicial surveillance against terrorism, for broad motives, including for the purpose of 'preserving scientific and economic interests of France' which could enable total.surveillance of political activists, journalists, corporate watchdogs, etc."

Read the rest

DHS stops NYT reporters at border, lies about it

Two New York Times reporters are suing the DHS, because the agency stopped them and questioned them extensively at the border, typing their answers into a computer, and then later insisted first that they weren't required to search for records, and then that they had no records at all on the men. Cory 14

KC cop threatened to destroy home and kill pets unless he was allowed to conduct a warrantless search


Eric Crinnian, a lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri, says that a police officer threatened to destroy his possessions and shoot his dog unless he was permitted to enter Crinnian's home without a warrant. The officer was apparently seeking two men who'd violated their parole; when Crinnian said he'd never heard of the men, the officer asked to come inside to verify that they weren't there. Crinnian told him to go get a warrant, and the officer said that, in serving such a warrant, he would be sure to destroy Crinnian's possessions and kill his pets.

Making such a threat is apparently legal in Missouri, if you are a police officer.

Read the rest

Miami Gardens police arrest black man for trespassing 56 times -- at the store where he works


In the city of Miami Gardens, outside of Miami, FL, the police use aggressive campaigns of stop-and-frisk and absurd arrests to bolster their records, to the great detriment of the African-American majority who live there. For example, a young man named Earl Sampson has been stopped by Miami Gardens police 258 times; they've searched him more than 100 times; and they've arrested him for trespassing 56 times. He's never been convicted of anything apart from simple possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Sampson's trespassing arrests occurred at his place of work, a convenience store called the 207 Quickstop; Sampson was repeatedly arrested for trespassing there, over the loud objections of his employer, Alex Saleh, who owns the store, and who explained to police that Sampson was not trespassing in his store.

When Saleh gathered video evidence that showed the police had falsified their arrest reports and violated the rights of his customers, he was targeted for police harassment, including falsified vehicle stops and personal threats. Saleh is suing for federal civil rights violations, alleging that Miami Gardens police "routinely, under the direction of the city’s top leaders, directed its officers to conduct racial profiling, illegal stops and searches and other activities to cover up illegal misconduct."

Read the rest

Example of how the police can search your car without a warrant or your consent [video]

Question: "Am I free to go or am I being detained?"

Answer: "Duh constitution don't apply at checkpoints."

The cops are desperate to bust this young man. They are surprised to discover that they are being videoed.

(Thanks, Mikea)

Roadblock stops drivers to collect saliva and blood samples

UPDATE: I made a few corrections to the post, as marked.

Reported on the Belarusskiy Partizan a local Texas TV news program:

Some drivers along a busy Minsk Fort Worth street on Friday were stopped at a police roadblock and directed into a parking lot, where they were asked by DAI agents federal contractors for samples of their breath, saliva and even blood.

It was part of a Belarus government research study aimed at determining the number of drunken or drug-impaired drivers.

"It just doesn't seem right that you can be forced off the road when you're not doing anything wrong," said Yuliya Gordyenko Kim Cope, who said she was on her lunch break when she was forced to pull over at the roadblock on Ploshcha Svabody Street in central Minsk Beach Street in North Fort Worth.

The DAI National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is spending $7.9 million on the survey over three years, said participation was "100 percent voluntary" and anonymous.

But Gordyenko Cope said it didn't feel voluntary to her -- despite signs saying it was.

"I gestured to the guy in front that I just wanted to go straight, but he wouldn't let me and forced me into a parking spot," she said.

Thank goodness this would never happen in a true democracy.

Drivers Stopped at Roadblock Asked for Saliva, Blood (Thanks, Matthew!)

Tennessee school safety officer arrests parent for calmly objecting to pick-up policy

Here's a video of a Cumberland County, Tennessee school safety officer illegally arresting a parent who disagreed with the school's policy on picking up kids. The policy had recently changed, creating a long traffic jam, so the soon-to-be-arrested man walked to the school to get his kids.

The school safety officer was reportedly upset because the parent had called the local sheriff to complain about the school's new pickup policy and the long waits, and what followed was an argument in which the reasonable, quiet-spoken and polite parent was arrested for "disorderly conduct" by the school safety officer, who put him in cuffs and then into the back of a cruiser without advising him of his rights or enumerating the charge against him.

Presumably the officer was trying to help the local school board get rid of excess cash on its books by creating enormous, pointless liabilities for it.

Update: Here's local coverage from 6ABC/WATE: The school is South Cumberland Elementary. Officer Absolute Obedience is actually Sheriff Deputy and School Resource Officer Avery Aytes. Jim Howe is the dad. Amanda Long, his fiancee, shot the video.

Aytes's boss, Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess is described as saying he "hasn't seen the video and doesn't need to, because it won't tell the whole story. He says Aytes was just doing his job."

G4S rips off UK government for £24M, wants to continue receiving government contracts

G4S, the titanic security contractor, has admitted to overcharging the UK Ministry of Justice £24M for its contract to monitor offenders' tracking tags. This is the latest mass-scale cock-up from the wildly profitable firm, whose recent hall of shame includes forging documents in order to deport asylum seekers, catastrophic failure to deliver London Olympics security, and complete mismanagement of a South African prison.

G4S offered to return the money, but the Ministry of Justice rejected the offer.

The firm is anxious to retain its eligiblility to bid on future government contracts, including the private municipal police forces for which it has aggressively lobbied.

Read the rest

Mother fined $10 for not including Ritz crackers in kids' school lunch

Manitoba Government's Early Learning and Child Care fined mother Kristen Bartkiw $10 because she neglected to include healthful Ritz crackers in her kids' school lunches. Weighty Matters has more details:

She sent her children to daycare with with lunches containing leftover homemade roast beef and potatoes, carrots, an orange and some milk.

She did not send along any "grains".

As a consequence the school provided her children with, I kid you not, supplemental Ritz Crackers, and her with a $10 fine.

Parents fined for not including Ritz crackers in kids' school lunch

UK home secretary wants to overturn human rights treaties and make terror suspects stateless

Under international human rights conventions, nations are not allowed to withdraw their passports from citizens if doing so would leave them stateless. Theresa May, the UK home secretary, has asked her staff to find a way around this, so that British citizens who are accused of terrorism can have their passports withdrawn while they are travelling abroad, rendering them stateless, with no way to return home to Britain.

Read the rest

Running a stop sign results in multiple police-ordered anal probes

Good times in New Mexico, courtesy a police department high on the war on drugs:

Eckert's attorney, Shannon Kennedy, said in an interview with KOB that after law enforcement asked him to step out of the vehicle, he appeared to be clenching his buttocks. Law enforcement thought that was probable cause to suspect that Eckert was hiding narcotics in his anal cavity. While officers detained Eckert, they secured a search warrant from a judge that allowed for an anal cavity search.

The lawsuit claims that Deming Police tried taking Eckert to an emergency room in Deming, but a doctor there refused to perform the anal cavity search citing it was "unethical."

But physicians at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City agreed to perform the procedure and a few hours later, Eckert was admitted.

While there...

1. Eckert's abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.

2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

4. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

5. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

6. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.

8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert's anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.

Don't Appear to Be Clenching Your Buttocks When Pulled Over For Not Coming to a Complete Stop or Be Tortured by Doctors: America, This is Your War on Drugs

OMG WTF TSA

Matthew says: "The TSA is expanding its screening of passengers before they arrive at the airport by searching a wide array of government and private databases, including records such as car registrations and employment information." From the New York Times:

At the heart of the expanded effort is a database called the Automated Targeting System, which is maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and screens travelers entering the United States.

Data in the Automated Targeting System is used to decide who is placed on the no-fly list — thousands of people the United States government has banned from flying — and the selectee list, an unknown number of travelers who are required to undergo more in-depth screening, like Mr. Darrat. The T.S.A. also maintains a PreCheck disqualification list, tracking people accused of violating security regulations, including disputes with checkpoint or airline staff members.

When I flew out of Burbank to Oakland on Sunday, the agent at the ID/boarding pass station had a mobile computer that he used to look up my information. It was the first time I'd seen something like this.

Security Check Now Starts Long Before You Fly

Sting operations on people answering Craigslist ads for housepainting

Ted Balaker says: "Occupational licensing laws are implemented in the name of protecting consumers, but they're often pushed by established businesses to thwart competitors. They end up hurting poor and minority entrepreneurs, and stymie cultural innovations like African hair braiding and fish pedicures (which are popular in Asia). Practitioners of such services have been forced to comply with standard cosmetology licensing regulations, which are often costly, time consuming, and irrelevant to the services they're offering.

"In California, armed officers actually arrest landscapers, painters, and others seeking contract work. California's State Licensing Board recently completed it's 'Summer Blitz' operation. They set up sting operations all over the state and proudly post footage of the operation online."

Read the rest