Boing Boing 

DC cops budget their asset forfeiture income years in advance


The DC force plans out how much stuff they'll steal from the public through the corrupt "asset forfeiture" program years in advance, almost as though they don't rely on crime to seize assets, but rather just arbitrarily grab stuff from people and sell it to pay their bills.

Read the rest

The clown-prince of DHS checkpoint refusal videos

We've covered Checkpoint Refusal videos before (1, 2, 3) -- these are videos recorded by people who object to the DHS's internal checkpoints, where you are asked (but can refuse) to state your citizenship and allow your car to be searched -- but I missed the most prolific, funniest, and weirdest checkpointer of them all: Robert Trudell.

Read the rest

Molly Crabapple animation on the lessons Ferguson teaches us about policing in America

Molly Crabapple writes, "On August 9th, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot a black teenager named Mike Brown. Since then, the city has been protesting. The police did not react well."

Read the rest

Police in Brazil kill six people a day


So says a report from The Brazilian Forum on Public Safety, an NGO that singles out the Rio police for "abusive use of lethal force."

Read the rest

DOJ helps local cops get around state limits on civil forfeiture


Many states have passed laws limiting how much of your stuff the police can steal when they accuse you of a crime, but the Department of Justice has the solution for local cops: they will "adopt" a local seizure, making it federal and exempting it from state-level corruption controls.

Read the rest

City Attorneys train local cops to use "wish lists" for civil forfeiture


In "continuing education" seminars, cops are instructed to be on the lookout for people with nice stuff that can be easily resold, figure out a crime that those people might be guilty of, and tell the City Attorney so that that stuff can be grabbed through "civil forfeiture."

Read the rest

Ferguson's no-fly zone created to ground news-choppers


Freedom of Information Act requests from the Associated Press reveal that St Louis police requested the no-fly zone to prevent the press from getting overhead footage of the crackdown on demonstrations, and that the FAA was complicit in crafting an illegal ban that allowed commercial aircraft to land at the airport while still grounding the news-birds.

Read the rest

CHP officer who stole and shared nude photos of traffic-stop victim claims "it's a game"

Officer Sean Harrington of Martinez California Highway Patrol says that when he stole nude photos from the cell phone of a woman he'd traffic-stopped and then shared them with other CHP officers, that he was just playing "a game" that is widespead in the force.

Read the rest

Database of military surplus equipment sold to US police forces


Kyle writes, "The US Department of Defense has a specific program to provide: "surplus DoD military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies for use in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations, and to enhance officer safety" (Excess Property Program, or 1033 Program). This equipment can account for things like planes and helicopters, grenade launchers and assault rifles.

Read the rest

FBI chief demands an end to cellphone security

If your phone is designed to be secure against thieves, voyeurs, and hackers, it'll also stop spies and cops. So the FBI has demanded that device makers redesign their products so that they -- and anyone who can impersonate them -- can break into them at will.

Read the rest

SWAT team murders burglary victim because burglar claimed he found meth


The Laurens, GA County Sheriff's Dept broke down David and Teresa Hooks' door and fatally shot David Hooks on a tip from Randall Garrett, a burglar with multiple felony convictions, who said he saw meth while robbing their house.

Read the rest

Animation explains the dangers of Computercop, the malware that US police agencies distribute to the public

Dave from EFF writes, "Here's a funny, easy-to-understand animation explaining why ComputerCOP parental monitoring software is actually dangerous to kids. More than 245 local law enforcement agencies have purchased this software in bulk and handed it out to families for free."

Using an imaginary kid named Timmy, who gets "pantsed" by ComputerCOP, the animation by Fusion also ties ComputerCOP to the unnecessary equipment locals cops have obtained, like mine-resistant trucks. Fusion's cartoon is based on an EFF investigation published on Wednesday.

Who needs the NSA? Anyone could spy on your kids thanks to ComputerCop

(Thanks, Dave!)

OK Sheriff LARPs "Welcome to Nightvale"


Logan County, Oklahoma Sheriff Jim Bauman created an extensive set of secret files on the citizens in his jurisdiction, inadvertently recreating Welcome to Nightvale's running gag about the Sheriff's Secret Police -- but the ACLU isn't laughing, they're suing.

Read the rest

Seattle prosecutor drops all public marijuana tickets

As reported here, almost all of them were issued by a single cop, who hates legal weed and subjected his victims to humiliating rituals like flipping a coin to see which ones would get the ticket and which would walk away free.

Read the rest

CBC warns Canadians: US cops will pull you over and steal your money

62,000 US drivers have been pulled over and had their cash seized by small-town American cops in the past 13 years, under civil forfeiture laws that let them declare anyone to be a probable terrorist and/or drug dealer and take their money without charge or evidence; the only way to get it back is to hire a lawyer and return, over and over again, to the tiny town you were passing through when you were robbed at badgepoint.

Read the rest

Alameda Sheriff boots reporter from SWAT show for "unauthorized photos"

Read the rest

St Louis police offer to fingerprint all the children in #Ferguson


The free fingerprinting kits are part of the long-running national push to fingerprint children in the name of public safety, and are a new tone-deaf low from the region's cops.

Read the rest

Being physically unable to commit a crime is no defense against a system that has been fine tuned for prosecution

Techdirt's Tim Cushing highlights some of the more Kafkaesque moments in modern American justice -- handcuffed men who shoot themselves in the back, men who are arraigned for crimes they allegedly committed while in jail, and comes to this conclusion:

Read the rest

Nate Anderson's "The Internet Police" -- now in paperback

I reviewed it when it was released in August 2013, calling it "brisk, eminently readable, and important history of the relationship between law, law enforcement, and the net, and as you'd expect, it's excellent" ($13 for the paperback)

Read the rest

NYPD's remedial Twitter school for cops

New York's Finest need to be taught not to tweet jokes about murders they're attending, racist remarks and other difficult-to-discern no-go areas for social media.

Read the rest

UK police watchdog: burglary and car crime "on verge of being decriminalised"

The Inspectorate of Constabulary says that police now tell victims of property crimes to "solve the crimes themselves," directing them over the phone to review CCTV footage and canvas their neighbourhoods for witnesses.

Read the rest

RAIDS: law enforcement training film (c. 1974)

RAIDS, a c.1974 Federal law enforcement training film, looks like a pilot for a cop show from that era. (via r/Documentaries)

Invited citizen journalist at GOP rally violently arrested for recording speakers

Nydia Tisdale, a citizen journalist, was invited to a GOP rally in Atlanta, but State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens demanded that she (and not other, more friendly press) stop recording his speech; when she refused, he summoned a deputy who violently arrested her and then charged her with felony obstruction after she elbowed him while he was bending her over and pressing his groin into her buttocks.

Read the rest

Dashcam nails cops who beat man while shouting "Stop resisting arrest"

Two cops from Bloomfield, NJ's police department have been indicted, and another plead guilty after a suppressed dashcam video showed them beating a man who was facing years in prison for "resisting arrest" (the DA dropped his charges right away).

Read the rest

When law-enforcement depends on cyber-insecurity, we're all at risk


It's not enough to pass rules limiting use of "stingray" mobile-phone surveillance devices by civilians: for so long as cops depend on these devices, the vulnerabilities they exploit will not be fixed, leaving us all at risk.

Read the rest

Ferguson's "free speech zone" is a padlocked no-man's-land


Man arrested for briefly failing to keep moving #Ferguson/Jon Swaine/@jonswaine

The ACLU was denied an emergency injunction against Ferguson's cops' illegal "no standing on the sidewalk" rule because Ferguson promised to erect a "free speech zone," but the only thing on that site is a fenced-off, locked-up pen that no one is allowed to use.

Read the rest

Deadspin is crowdsourcing a database of police shootings in America

A police officer raises his weapon at a car speeding in his general direction as a more vocal and confrontational group of demonstrators stands on the sidewalk during further protests in reaction to the shooting of Michael Brown near Ferguson, Missouri August 18, 2014. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters in Ferguson, Missouri on Monday, after days of unrest sparked by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson


A police officer raises his weapon at a car speeding in his general direction as a more vocal and confrontational group of demonstrators stands on the sidewalk during further protests in reaction to the shooting of Michael Brown near Ferguson, Missouri August 18, 2014. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters in Ferguson, Missouri on Monday, after days of unrest sparked by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The Gawker blog Deadspin is asking for reader help gathering data on officer-involved shootings in America.

Read the rest

A future dictator's guide to disrupting protests

Watching the small-town cops of Ferguson play GI Joe with their Army-surplus machine-guns is scary enough — but what happens when the tech-smarts of Google trickles down to the Barney Fifes of America? Tom Craver speculates on tomorrow’s dissent-suppression tactics, and offers some countermeasures.

Read the rest

John Oliver on Ferguson and police militarization - must-watch video

"[A curfew] is profoundly patronizing. 'Look, let's see if you can all remain quiet for twenty minutes, and then we'll see if you can all go and play outside.' If even the governor can't distinguish between the good and the bad elements of the community, and has decided to punish everyone equally, then that should go both ways. I know the police love their ridiculous, unnecessary military equipment, so here's another patronizing test: let's take it all away from them, and if they can make it through a whole month without killing a single unarmed black man, then, and only then, can they get their fucking toys back.'"

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Ferguson, MO and Police Militarization