It's tough being a cop

The life of a police officer is medically and pscyhologically ruinous, writes Erika Hayasaki: "Brian had been a healthy and fit ex-airborne infantry soldier when he began his policing career. But he eventually developed hypertension, anxiety, peripheral neuropathy, hearing loss, arthritis, and post-traumatic stress disorder." [Atlantic]

Cops accidentally record themselves admitting they harassed activist at rodeo owners' request: "God, we're gonna get sued"

An anti-rodeo/animal right activist was subjected to a blatantly illegal, harassing traffic stop after he was asked to leave an Oregon rodeo. How do we know it was illegal? Because the cops who stopped him forgot to turn off their own cameras and recorded themselves admitting that the rodeo (which is a major donor to the Malheur County Sheriff's Department) had demanded the traffic stop. The same cops who participated in the stop were previously at the center of a lawsuit that the county settled in which they were alleged to have fabricated evidence, so they've got form for this. Some dialog highlights:

Read the rest

Fake cops robbing Detroiters turn out to be real cops

They did it in uniform. Amy Lange with Fox 2 News Detroit:

A Good Samaritan snapped photos of what appeared to be two men impersonating police officers involved in a pistol-whipping and robbery outside a Citgo gas station on Detroit's east side on July 21. Once Fox 2 aired those photos, an even more disturbing picture developed. ... Now under arrest are two police sergeants, a 47-year-old officer and 20-year veteran.

Don't worry, everything will be ok, they have a Robocop statue.

Detroit Free Press photographer arrested, detained for seven hours

Police in Detroit detained a photographer who shot iPhone footage of a street arrest, held her in an interrogation room with the suspect, and did not release her for seven hours. The best part: the police in Detroit are so stupid they stole the SIM card. [Freep.com via Romenesko]

Bakersfield cops and CHP beat man to death while he begs for his life, then confiscate witnesses' footage

Kern County deputies are accused of savagely beating a man to death while he begged for his life and then intimidating witnesses into giving up their cameras and phones in a coverup. The victim, David Sal Silva, was a 33-year-old father of four, and is alleged to have been publicly intoxicated in Bakersfield, CA, when Kern County deputies and California Highway Patrol officers began to beat him. After he was dead, the officers are said to have then systematically intimidated all witnesses into giving up their cameras and phones:

John Tello, a criminal law attorney, is representing two witnesses who took video footage and five other witnesses to the incident. He said his clients are still shaken by what they saw.

"When I arrived to the home of one of the witnesses that had video footage, she was with her family sitting down on the couch, surrounded by three deputies," Tello said.

Tello said the witness was not allowed to go anywhere with her phone and was being quarantined inside her home.

When Tello tried to talk to the witness in private and with the phone, one of the deputies stopped him and told him he couldn't take the phone anywhere because it was evidence to the investigation, the attorney said.

"This was not a crime scene where the evidence was going to be destroyed," Tello said. "These were concerned citizens who were basically doing a civic duty of preserving the evidence, not destroying it as they (sheriff deputies) tried to make it seem."

A search warrant wasn't presented to either of the witnesses until after Tello arrived, he said, adding that one phone was seized before the warrant was produced.

Tello said the phone of the first witness was taken after the deputies told him he was either going to give up the phone the easy way or the hard way.

"They basically told him they were either going to keep him at this house all night until they could find a judge to sign a search warrant or he could just turn over his phone," he said.

Dad who died during arrest 'begged for his life'; witness videos seized (via Reddit)

San Diego cop smashes phone & beats up suspect: "Phones can be converted to a weapon. Look it up online."

A San Diego cop beat up a man whom he was ticketing for illegal smoking, after the man refused to stop video-recording the experience. The cop told the man that he feared the phone might actually be a gun disguised as a phone, before smashing the phone and tackling the man and smashing his face into the boardwalk. He was taken away in an ambulance.

It all seemed pretty civil until the cop writing the citation told him to stop recording, which Pringle refused to do.

“Phones can be converted into weapons …. look it up online,” the cop told him.

Last month, a South Florida cop confiscated a man’s phone citing the same reason, so maybe this is a new trend.

When Pringle tried to talk sense into the cop, the cop slapped the phone out of his hand where it fell onto the boardwalk and broke apart.

The other cop then pounced on him, slamming him down on the boardwalk where he ended up with a laceration on his chin.

“Blood was everywhere,” Pringle said. “I was laying on my stomach and he had one knee on my back and the other knee on the side of my face.

“They kept telling me ‘to calm down,’ that ‘you’re making this worse for yourself,’ that ‘you have no right to record us.’”

He didn't get the cop's name, and the SDPD won't give it to him.

San Diego Police Attack and Arrest Man Video Recording Them, Claiming Phone Could be a Weapon (Updated) 294 (via Techdirt)

Cops in Somerville, MA: "It would endanger the public to tell you what guns we have"

Michael from Muckrock sez, "Want to know what guns your neighbor has? Generally public record. What guns your government has? That's top secret. A recent public records request for the armaments of a local police department in Somerville, MA., was met with a surprising response: Releasing a list of guns the department held 'is likely to jeopardize public safety,' and so is exempt from public disclosure. Maybe they're arming up for an insurrection? Cory

Pepper-spraying cop exits force

The cop who pepper-sprayed seated students at UC Davis last November is no longer employed by the force. [Sacbee via Digg]

One more response to Boing Boing post on "Police Pad" gadgets in Georgia, by Some Guy from Georgia

People walk past graffiti on a street in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, Jan. 13, 2012. (REUTERS)

Editor's Note: In response to an anonymously-sourced wisecrack we published about police corruption in former Soviet states, the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs responded with a statement, which we published in full. A Boing Boing reader from Georgia also asked to respond to the anonymously-sourced wisecrack, with which he takes issue. Like the wisecracker, this person requests anonymity.


The police in Georgia are definitely not fat or lazy. They are not corrupt on the street level, either. But the whole system still retains elements of corruption  (in enforcement, in the judiciary, and in the legislative realm). The problem lies more in the definition of corruption: the fact that you can no longer bribe the policeman in the streets or at the sovereign borders does not mean everything is crystal-clean.

The fact that citizens are still afraid  of police in Georgia as if they were monsters is still an expression of the damage of corruption. The fact that you can be imprisoned for smoking pot weeks before actually being tested by cops (because you might seem suspicious to them, not because you've been caught smoking pot) is a kind of corruption, I believe.

There is a terrible feeling of vulnerability in Georgia. Police are still used as a tool to terrorize people and make money, but these days, paying bribes to individual policemen is no longer normal.


Georgian policemen stand to attention during a daily shift change at the Interior Ministry in Tbilisi, Jan. 12, 2012. (REUTERS)

There are lots of pros and cons about the reforms in Georgia, but still, no—the "fat lazy cops" comment was not fair. The police have changed greatly for the positive.

At least you don't have to pay mandatory bribes to drive around any more; the government fought very effectively against organized crime and turned Georgia into what is almost a drug-free country. In the past, the city was covered in used syringes. You could buy heroin as easily as bread.

Now, the city is clean, and it is very hard to buy any kind of drugs. I really appreciate this, as may of my friends have stopped using heavy drugs over the past two or three years.


An employee assembles a "Police Pad" at the production line of the Algorithm factory in Tbilisi January 11, 2012. Five thousand police officers will receive portable field computers assembled at this factory, according to local media. (REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili)