Baltimore police respond to report they secretly spied on city with aerial surveillance tech from Iraq War

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A report out this week from Bloomberg says that since January, 2016, people in the city of Baltimore, Maryland have secretly and periodically been spied on by police using cameras in the sky. Authorities today effectively admitted that the report is accurate.

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Amusing drunk caught on police bodycam wants footage off the net

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In this footage, Sgt. Eric Kannberg deals calmly with a belligerent drunk, Cory Counts, using de-escalation techniques even after Counts gets physical. After Kannberg gets a push from Counts and it comes time to haul him to the drunk tank, Kannberg decides not to pursue through a crowd, instead stalking him at a distance until a safe opportunity presents itself. Counts earned a misdemeanor charge and the the ignominy of having the footage posted to Spokane P.D.'s Facebook page. Read the rest

Bronx cops can steal anything they want by calling it "evidence"

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In the Bronx (and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere) when your belongings are seized as "evidence," it can be impossible to ever get them back, even if you're never charged with a crime. Read the rest

Woman sues cops because they destroyed her empty house, thinking a suspect was hiding in it

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The police in Caldwell, Idaho told Shariz West that they thought her ex-boyfriend might have run into her house and they asked for permission to look inside; she said yes, but then the cops engaged in a 10-hour armed standoff against her empty home (the family dog was inside, but there were no humans), blasting holes in the walls, crashing through the ceilings, smashing out the windows, and filling the house with tear-gas, which destroyed most of the family's possessions. Read the rest

Predictive policing predicts police harassment, not crime

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In Chicago, the "Heat List" system is used to direct policing resources, based on data-mining of social media to identify potential gang-members; the model tells the cops where to go and who to arrest, and is supposed to reduce both violent crime and the likelihood that suspects themselves will be killed -- but peer-reviewed analysis (Scihub mirror) of the program shows that while being on the Heat List increases your chances of being harassed and arrested by Chicago PD, it does not improve crime rates. Read the rest

Not one Boston cop volunteers to wear a bodycam

Protestors at a march in Roxbury, MA. Photo: CBS News

Boston's police do not want to be accountable for their actions: not a single officer volunteered to participate in a pilot program for the force's bodycams, which will now be randomly distributed.

The Boston Globe reports [Police Commissioner William ] Evans made the comments Tuesday during his monthly "Ask the Commissioner" interview on WGBH-FM's Boston Public Radio. The move comes after Evans warned that he might have to force officers to wear them because no officers volunteered. The rollout date for the pilot program is Sept. 1.

The Boston Herald reports that they're still trying to find a way to avoid wearing the cameras.

Patrolman’s Association President Patrick M. Rose has said forcing officers to wear body cameras goes against the deal the union reached with the department. Rose did not respond to requests for comment yesterday. ... Attorney Leonard Kesten, who regularly represents officers, said the union may claim “unfair labor practices” if it deems that body cameras are a change in working conditions. But personally, he said he is in favor of them.

A sad reminder that it's not a case of bad apples, in many police departments, but a rotten barrel. What better reason to place public servants under scrutiny than their attempts to evade it? Read the rest

Study: bodycams increase some fatal police shootings

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"Use of wearable video cameras is associated with a 3.64% increase in shooting-deaths of civilians by the police," according to a research paper from Temple University. Here's where this research gets more interesting:

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Hijab-wearing Muslim woman racially profiled as 'terrorist' sues Chicago police

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A young Muslim woman is suing Chicago police who decided she was a "lone wolf" terrorist because she wore a hijab, or headscarf, and was walking briskly out of a city subway station on the Fourth of July last year while wearing a backpack.

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#RightToRecord: DOJ must investigate arrests of citizens who document police killings

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Editor's Note: The International Documentary Association has released a petition that asks the Department of Justice to investigate the arrests of citizen journalists who videotape police killings of citizens in marginalized communities. Boing Boing asked documentary filmmakers Laura Poitras and David Felix Sutcliffe to share with our readers why the fight to protect the rights of these amateur documentarians matters so much for all of us.—Xeni Jardin

Citizen journalists are reporting from the frontline of police violence in the United States. Using camera phones, they recorded the final moments of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, and Eric Garner. In each case, the police retaliated by arresting those citizens - either in the immediate aftermath of the killings, or within 24 hours of the deaths being ruled homicides by medical examiners.

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America will finally gather statistics on which and how many people are killed by law enforcement

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As the highly controversial deaths of black people at the hands of American law enforcement officers has crept into our public discourse this decade, so too has the revelation that no federal agency maintains statistics on killings by police officers, prompting The Guardian -- a UK-based newspaper -- to launch The Counted, a project to piece together a national picture of death-by-cop from the fragmentary evidence of press reports and open records requests. Read the rest

How racist traffic stops criminalize black people, and what to do about it

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When Philando Castile was killed by a Minneapolis cop after a traffic stop, we learned that he had been stopped 46 times before and had been fined for driving without a license. Read the rest

Chicago cops switched off bodycams and high-fived after shooting unarmed black teen

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The Chicago Independent Police Review Authority has released a video showing the aftermath of the July 28 police shooting of an unarmed black man, in which the officers checked to ensure that their body-cameras were switched off and then gave each other high fives. Read the rest

Chinese government decrees that it is always legal to video-record the police

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Chinese state corruption is so weird and manifest that it has its own literary movement, and the use of the internet to uncover corruption has become a political football that has spilled over into the Chinese press, and into street-brawls. Read the rest

Jacksonville police pension fund blows $1.8M worth of tax-dollars fighting open records requests

When Times-Union Editor Frank Denton sued the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund over breaking the law by meeting secretly to negotiate pension benefits, the fund and the city blew nearly half a million dollars fighting the case before finally losing. Read the rest

Mass shooting at Munich shopping mall leaves multiple victims dead

Police secure a street near mass shooting in Munich, July 22, 2016.  REUTERS

Reports of yet another mass shooting, this one at a shopping center in Germany. In Munich late Friday afternoon, a man with a gun shot people at mall in Munich. Local news reports that several people were killed, and several more wounded.

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Police fetch high-powered rifle to kill family dog at child's birthday party

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Fox News reports that kids watched as a Wynnewood, Oklahoma police officer used a high-powered rifle, retrieved from his vehicle, to kill a dog after it "lunged at him" when he entered their gated, fenced property searching for someone who had not lived there in a decade.

The police chief said the officer was serving a warrant, which gave him legal authority to be on the private property. However, the Malones said they were never shown any warrant. They were only told the officer was looking for someone who had listed that address as his ten years ago...

“I respect what the police do, but this was senseless, but he didn’t show any remorse and didn’t even act like he was sorry or anything,” Malone told FOX 25.

The Malones believe the death of their dog could have been avoided either by the use of less-lethal force or by fact checking on the warrant.

The Wynnewood cops have already been caught in a lie: the chief claims the dog was shot "coming around the house" to attack the officer, but video shows that the dog was killed behind a closed gate in an expansive, open yard. "The police chief said he hasn't seen the video," reports Fox. "He said 'His officers have every right to shoot dogs if they feel in danger.'"

The first rule of modern U.S. police training is that you are a soldier. The second rule is kill the dogs. Read the rest

San Francisco's bike lanes have become Uber's pickup/dropoff zones (and the cops don't care)

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It's no secret that San Francisco's cops hate cyclists -- they won't investigate hit-and-runs, they blame cyclists for accidents and harass them, they run them down in bike lanes -- so it's no surprise that they stand by idly while San Francisco's busy biking lanes are turned into pick-up and drop-off zones by Uber and Lyft drivers, forcing cyclists to swerve into traffic. Read the rest

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