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Cops mistake students' telescope for rifle, fortunately no shots fired

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A group of Fargo, North Dakota police officers confronted two men they thought were mounting a rifle on a tripod behind a garage at night. One man appeared to be wearing a tactical vest. Turned out that the "tactical vest" was a sweater and the two college students were just setting up a telescope behind their house to check out the moon.

NDSU student Levi Joraanstad told WDAY 6 that he and his buddy thought that it was just a couple of their neighbors trying to prank them by shining bright lights at them and yelling.

"I was kind of fumbling around with my stuff and my roommate and I were kind of talking, we were kind of wondering, what the heck's going on?," Joraanstadt said. "This is pretty dumb that these guys are doing this. And then they started shouting to quit moving or we could be shot. And so at that moment we kind of look at each other and we're thinking we better take this seriously."

Apparently the cops apologized when they realized that they had misread the situation. "Better safe than sorry," said one of the officers.

What ethnic group is mostly likely to be shot by police in the USA?

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Spoiler: Native Americans.

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North Dakota cops can now use lobbyist-approved taser/pepper-spray drones


Bruce Burkett of the North Dakota Peace Officer's Association introduced an amendment to ND HB 1328 that allows cops to shoot at citizens with drone-borne rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray, tasers and sound cannon.

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Dog sniffed out Jared Fogle's thumb drive that police missed

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Bear is a black Lab trained to sniff out electronic data storage devices like thumb drives and even micro SD cards. Apparently Bear found a thumb drive that police missed during their first search of Subway shill Jared Fogle's house and was also involved in this week's bust of Olympic gymnastics coach Marvin Sharp on suspicion of child molestation. From NBC News:

(Todd) Jordan, whose regular job is deputy fire chief in Anderson, Indiana, got Bear as a rescue a year ago and spent four months training him on a food-reward system.

Much the way other dogs can pick up the scent of a fugitive or a cache of cocaine, Bear can smell the components of electronic media, even a micro-card as small as a fingernail that a suspect could easily hide...

Bear just got a new owner. The Seattle Police Department paid $9,500 — basically the cost of the training, according to Jordan — for the unique K-9.

Six years after unprovoked beating, Denver cop finally fired


Denver Police Officers Ricky Nixon and Kevin Devine maced four women without provocation and shoved them to the ground in 2009, then lied about it for years.

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Gun enthusiasts show up at Pokémon finals, police catch 'em all

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Kevin Norton and James Stumbo were arrested this weekend near the Pokémon World Championship after showing up with a 12-gauge shotgun and an AR-15 they boasted about on social media.

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America does a better job of tracking bee deaths than deaths in police custody


Michael from Muckrock writes, "The federal government has a pretty good picture of where bees are dying across America, with two federal agencies collaborating on a systematic, scientifically-rigorous, long-term look at the problem, particularly important given the danger that colony collapse disorder presented."

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FBI seeking better automatic tattoo recognition tech

Police photograph and manually tag suspects' tattoos as part of the booking process, but the FBI says computers could classify them much better, leading to more "hits" when trying to identify criminals and also corpses.

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Woman fined for posting photo of police car illegally parked in handicap spot

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A woman in Petrer, Spain posted a photo on Facebook of a police car illegally parked in a handicap spot. She was subsequently fined almost €800 (~US$886) under the Citizens Security Law, aka the "gagging law," that prohibits "the unauthorised use of images of police officers that might jeopardise their or their family’s safety or that of protected facilities or police operations."

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LAPD & Chicago bought "Stingrays on steroids" with asset-forfeiture & DHS money

The military surveillance devices known as "Dirtboxes" have been in secret operation for more than a decade, tracking citizens' locations and intercepting their calls, breaking the encryption on hundreds of calls at once.

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Miami police union smears woman who posted video of cop beating handcuffed suspect in police cruiser

The woman recorded video of a Miami cop punching a suspect who had already been handcuffed and put in the back of a cruiser; the video was interrupted by another officer trying to seize her phone.

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Former Florida cop fired for KKK ties got a new job working in a Florida elementary school

David Borst is now out of a job.


David Borst is now out of a job.

“The South's gonna do it again,” Klansmen in the South who are bitter over losing the War of Northern Aggression are fond of saying.

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Student suspended for tweeting two words will get to sue his school, police chief


Rogers, MN honor student Reid Sagehorn was suspended after he tweeted two words, using his own device, on his own time, off school property.

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Twitter snoop-requests from UK cops/gov't more than double in 2015

In the first six months of 2015, UK government agencies and police departments made 299 "requests for information" of Twitter, compared to 116 in the 6 months previous.

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Police officer pulls gun on man recording him, and is placed on leave. #fixthepolice

videoA police officer in the Northern California city of Rohnert Park was caught on video pulling his gun on a resident who was recording the cop on his cellphone.

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Lawsuit: Louisiana police "beat and sodomized" innocent man

NightstickIn a federal lawsuit (PDF) filed against four Shreveport police officers, a Houston man claims that he was sodomized with a nightstick after being forced into the back of a patrol car.

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Sheriff's deputy resigns after dragging mentally ill woman down stairs–and gets hired by the next county over

A routine review of bodycam footage revealed a Wayne County, Ohio, Sheriff's deputy dragging a screaming woman from her home by her feet.

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