Just look at this bananamobile that a cop pulled over because he wanted to give the driver $20.

Just look at it. (Thanks, Jack Buffington!) Read the rest

Dog stuck on fence makes a new friend

Bodycam footage involving cops and dogs is rarely pleasant viewing, but this one--featuring an officer rescuing a dog snarled in a wire fence--has a great twist ending. I shalln't ruin it for you. Read the rest

"Man's neck breaks during arrest," reports newspaper

Cops in Warrnambool, Australia, broke Chris Karadaglis' neck when they arrested him. But The Age reports this as "man's neck breaks during arrest" because they're afraid of identifying the breakers, even in an article that's supposedly about their failings.

Barrett told The Age that while he can’t talk about the specifics of the ongoing investigation into Chris’s arrest, he immediately concedes what in the past may have been shrouded in police speak: no innocent Victorian should be so seriously injured after an interaction with police.

Barrett describes Chris’s interaction with the three uniformed officers as a ‘‘life-changing experience, devastating for the family of that individual.’’

"Precisely what police did to cause his injury that November day two years ago has been blurred in a sea of pain and terror," write Nick McKenzie and Grace Tobin, whose story remedies this lack of clarity by suggesting Karadaglis' neck broke itself.

It's interesting they mention "police speak" because that's what the headline is. I covered cops for a while as a young reporter and this is the language of arrest and incident reports. Cops are trained not to describe themselves in the active voice, which makes them appear responsible for their actions. Instead they are mere observers, there when things did happen. The gun did fire. The bullet did enter the suspect's body. The suspect did die at that time.

This example is particularly grim because The Age's story is supposed to be a heartfelt investigation into the victim's plight and police misconduct—one subverted from the outset with that mangled, servile headline. Read the rest

Boston cops clocked 9,000 hours of overtime at the "Straight Pride" parade — and none of it with body cams

The "Straight Pride" Parade that was held in Boston in the end of August was just another example of thinly-veiled alt-right trolling. Unfortunately, it also worked. A hateful parade of a hundred-or-so people managed to divert hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars into overtime police coverage and shutdown streets during the busiest weekend in the city (Labor Day + college move-ins = hell).

Thanks to WBUR, we now know that that cost included 9,000 hours of overtime work for local police officers—the equivalent of 4 years of full-time policing service. And none of it was officially caught on film, despite the police aggressions caught on social media and the 3 dozen counter-protestors who were arrested during the parade.

(Coincidentally, the Massachusetts State Police Union was also embroiled in an overtime scandal in the months leading up to this parade.)

There are plenty of pros and cons to debate around the use of body cameras for police officers. In this case, it means that the public only has access to choppy, not-necessarily-reliable videos that arguably paint a picture of excessive police aggression against protestors. Read the rest

Killer cop Amber Guyger convicted of murder

An off-duty Dallas cop who killed a man in his own home was convicted today of murder. Amber Guyger, armed with a gun, claimed she thought she was in her own apartment—a floor down—when she shot Botham Jean, armed with a bowl of ice cream. At trial she availed herself of a stand-your-ground defense: that even the mistaken belief he was the intruder justified shooting him dead. Jurors disagreed ... or simply didn't believe her story.

The jury has found former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger guilty of murder in the killing of Botham Jean.

The jury deliberated less than two days on the killing.

The sentencing phase will resume at 1 p.m.

His home was not her castle. Read the rest

Video of UK cops ramming suspect's scooter, then the suspect

British cops have an (unearned?) reputation for restraint. So it's always wild to see them do things that even the rootin'-tootin' murderers of America's thin blue line would balk at. Here's one simply ramming a suspect with his cruiser, on foot: "There's a myth that if they take their helmet off or take to the pavement, we won't pursue them," says officer lawnmower.

Met police use "tactical contact" to take down a moped rider who escaped by riding at speed through a park and down pavements. Officers also sprayed DNA identification spray in the incident in case the offender escaped and then potentially could be identified later. Rider arrested for failing to stop for police, theft of motor vehicle, possession of Class-A drug with intent to supply, failing a road-side drug test, and dangerous driving.

Police have gotten in trouble for 'tactical contact', but the sands are shifting underfoot thanks to Brexit rage, the normalizing effect of documentaries such as this one, and of course to posts like this one, inevitably experienced as facile entertainment irrespective of any sentiment or framing I might apply to it.

"We recovered your stolen scooter, sir! What's that, sir? No, actually you'd best come get it in your car." Read the rest

Security camera shows Detroit cop causing serious road accident then detaining his victim

As Michigan State Police have it, 27-year old Carlos Martinez was at fault when his vehicle and one driven by an officer collided at a Detroit intersection. But security footage from a nearby porch has made a liar of the officer, showing him driving through a stop sign, causing the accident, then treating Martinez like a criminal.

The Drive:

"The police officer say [sic] 'you're 27 years old, you're old enough, you don't need no parents, and plus you don't have no rights right now.'"

Maria Martinez told the channel that her son is a U.S. citizen without any criminal history or involvement with gangs.

Fox News:

MSP says after reviewing both the black box from the officer's undercover vehicle, and security camera from a nearby homeowner, police confirm the officer failed to stop at the stop sign. MSP is currently investigating both the crash and the arrest the officer made.

Read the rest

Facebook hate group investigation reveals 400 police officers, including NYPD cops, to be members

A year-long investigation of private Facebook hate groups by REVEAL finds close to 400 current and retired law enforcement officers are members, including officers from small towns as well as big cities -- including NYPD. Read the rest

Chicago police discourage use of mobile phone cases that look just like handguns

Chicago police are urging people not to use mobile phone cases that look like handguns because, y'know, it's just stupid. Apparently Illinois Conservation Police officers stopped a stolen car and saw a handgun in a passenger's waistband. According to a Facebook post by the agency, the police officer “observed this object and was able to quickly secure the individual in handcuffs and remove it. Only then was it apparent it was a cell phone case and not a real firearm." The people in the car were all minors and while the mobile phone gun cases are illegal in many places, they are not banned on state property where the incident occurred. From the Chicago Tribune:

After the juvenile was released to a parent, the case was returned to the parent “and the parent was reminded of the dangers of carrying a product like that,” Torbert said.

The department’s Facebook post said the incident “serves as a reminder how quickly situations unfold for officers under high-stress conditions, often leaving fractions of a second to make critical decisions.”

Despite such bans, which exist in other states too, the cases — in black, white and pink — appear to be easily available to purchase on eBay and from stores that ship them from overseas.

• Previously: "Man pointing bong shaped like a rifle causes major scare in San Diego" Read the rest

Colorado cop Vanessa Schultz couldn't imagine why Latino teen might be running in Wyoming. So she pulled her gun on him.

A warning for the good people of Wyoming! You never know when a trigger-happy Colorado cop might drop by to see the sights.

Emily Mieure, from The Jackson Hole News & Guide:

“Mr. Becerra, a diminutive 17-year-old Hispanic resident, was late one morning and running to catch his bus after leaving the apartment where he lived with his parents,” attorney Alex Freeburg stated in the complaint. “Without any more information, and without investigating any further, [Ms. Schultz, on vacation from Colorado] exited her vehicle, pulled out a pistol, and ordered Mr. Becerra to stop and get on the ground. ... While witnesses urged her to stop, and while Mr. Becerra pleaded with her, Ms. Schultz yelled ‘stay down’ and screamed ‘I have a gun and will shoot,’” the complaint states.

Taxpayer-dinging lawsuits are the remedy here because prosecutors show little interest in taking action. Shultz did nothing illegal, according to Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun, “because it is reasonable to assume a running teen has committed a crime. Read the rest

Courts and cops don't know what to do with "sovereign citizens," the delusional far-rightists who claim the law doesn't apply to them

The "sovereign citizen" movement is a grifty, anti-Semitic/white-nationalist-adjacent cult whose conspiratorial beliefs include a bunch of reasons that neither law enforcement nor courts have jurisdiction over them, and also that the federal government is not allowed to own land (this being the rubric for the Cliven Bundy terrorists' seizure of the Malheur Oregon Wildlife Refuge. Read the rest

Colorado cops draw guns on black man picking up trash on his own lawn

Police in Boulder, Colorado, drew their guns on a black man who was picking up trash on his own lawn. The first responder suggests that the man's trash grabber is a weapon; more cops soon arrive to escalate the confrontation, with eight eventually surrounding him in his own yard. The victim's housemate, Vanardo Merchant, took video and made sure the officers knew they were being filmed.

“You’re on my property with a gun in your hand, threatening to shoot me, because I’m picking up trash,” the man says. “I don’t have a weapon! This is a bucket, this is a clamp.”

“I’m not sitting down and you can’t make me,” the man says as additional officers arrive. “This is my property, this is my house — I live here.”

Check out officer cool dude here, relaxing with his shades and very eager to tase a man.

Another circled him while holding a shotgun the way Prince Charles holds a newspaper.

Read the rest

List of thousands of criminal cops accidentally released under public records laws, now CA AG threatens 2 reporters with legal action for having a copy

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told two Berkeley-based reporters that it is against the law to even possess a copy of this never-before-publicly-released list of convicted cops.

Rapper Willie Bo shot 25 times in his car by 6 police after falling asleep in Taco Bell drive-thru

“Overkill is an understatement,” the family’s lawyer said.

Racist christmas tree

USA Today reports that a police station christmas tree garlanded with stereotypically black items and posted to social media resulted in demotions and suspensions.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo noted that it was "racially insensitive" in a post on the department's Facebook page.

"As soon as it was realized what the display was, it was removed," Arradondo said. "I am ashamed and appalled by the behavior of those who would feel comfortable to act in such a manner that goes against our core department values of Trust, Accountability and Professional Service."

Menthol ciggies and Old English, very clever. This seems to be a thing in Minnesota.

Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey promised to fire the officer responsible by the end of the day but backed down within hours. Funny how that happens. Read the rest

Florida police chief gets 3 years in prison for framing 3 innocent Black men

For framing innocent black men, a police chief in Florida will go to prison for three years. Impunity is the norm in America for cases like this, so the conviction is a big deal. Read the rest

Receipt checkers aren't there to catch shoplifters

You're wheeling your haul out of Costco only to be accosted by the receipt-checker at the exit. You're fine, though, because you're not shoplifting anything. That slightly annoying feeling that the store assumes you're a criminal, it turns out, is tragically unwarranted, because those guys don't even care if you're shoplifting. In fact, the receipt-checkers are some kind of internal store Gestapo keeping tabs on the checkout cashiers.

Writes one former employee: “Trust me, we’re not loss prevention, we have loss prevention in the store and that’s not us. We’re literally just trying to make sure our cashiers do the job right, and when we DO catch it, all the information gets stored. Who did it, what time, etc...and those cashiers get spoken to. This is not to benefit anyone but the member to improve the experience overall.”

It's useful to remember that everything is not only worse than you think it is, but in ways you haven't yet considered. Read the rest

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