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 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.
The AP obtained footage from a security camera showing two speeding Chicago police vehicles, lightbars on, crashing into one another and then into a third car idling nearby. The driver of that vehicle, an 84-year-old retired teacher, was killed in the collision. The footage was released by her family, which is suing over her wrongful death.
The suit claims the officers driving the SUV and the marked van were traveling at “unconscionably high speeds through the densely populated Austin neighborhood.” It contends the risk from speeding outweighed the dangers of the suspect whom the officers were pursuing. Police said the cars were on their way to an emergency call for assistance, known as a 10-1, on the West Side when the crash happened. Chicago police initially said the civilians as well as the 10 police officers hurt in the crash all suffered “non-life threatening injuries.”
This isn't even the only story today about reckless Chicago cops killing bystanders with their cars: Chicago cop charged with DUI, reckless homicide in fatal crash while off duty.
Read the rest
An off-duty Chicago police officer has been charged with reckless homicide and DUI after he crashed his car into the side of a South Side restaurant, killing a registered nurse sitting with friends at a table, authorities said. Terrance Finley, 24, faces one felony count of reckless homicide with a motor vehicle and one count of aggravated driving under the influence resulting in a deadly accident, according to a statement Tuesday from Chicago police. Finley was also charged with a misdemeanor count of DUI and was cited for failing to reduce speed, police said.
A police officer in Decatur identified himself as "Fuck You is my name" when asked by the innocent, handcuffed black man he was getting angry with.
Dizzy Dez writes about the cops turning up outside his home:
Read the rest
[Another officer] immediately started to place me in handcuffs and attempted to search me. I asked her was I being detained, she says no but proceeds to put me in handcuffs as I ask then why am I being cuffed?! Stating I don’t consent to any searches nor seizures that are unlawful, I wasn’t searched. So while this is going on two other officers pull up, She places Artist/photographer/ graphic designer( Sa'Von Hobbs )in cuffs and proceeds to search him. He proves he has a permit for the weapon he was holding and we confirm I wasn’t being held hostage. The female officer then asks for my info. And I refuse because I was being detained unlawfully and there was no need for my ID. She then says she knows I have a wallet in my pocket and I say yes I do but I don’t consent to being searched. She then says she’s going to search me anyways and starts to pull me up off the curb by my arm and reaches in my pocket and opens my wallet getting my information and calling it in. At the end of the day nobody can tell me what’s wrong with this officer, it’s like he was mad that he couldn’t violate my rights!
Axon -- formerly Taser International -- makes police bodycams that they sell to towns on the cheap, betting that they'll make it up by gouging the towns for cloud-based storage for footage from the cameras (what could possibly go wrong?!). Read the rest
Police in London conducted a public street trial with facial recognition cameras. A man who covered his face as he walked by the cameras was stopped by officers, forced to submit to being photographed, and then arrested on a charge of public disorder after complaining loudly. The segment starts at 3:35 in the embedded BBC video; here's more coverage from The Independent:
The Independent revealed that more than £200,000 was spent on six deployments that resulted in no arrests between August 2016 and July last year. Two people wanted for violent offences were arrested after a trial in December.
Critics have called the force’s use of facial recognition a “shambles” and accused Scotland Yard of wasting public money ... The Metropolitan Police has described the deployments as “overt” and said members of the public were informed facial recognition was being used by posters and leaflets. But no one questioned by The Independent after they passed through a scanning zone in central London in December had seen police publicity material, and campaigners claim the technology is being rolled out “by stealth”.
I can barely beleive the motto of the Metropolitan Police is 'TOTAL POLICING'. Horseshoe theory is a limiting view of politics, but it is amazing how we get to the terminology of comic-book villainy by other means.
The jobsworth "for your own protection" attitude of British cops is incredibly annoying, albeit less annoying than getting executed in the street by American ones. The real danger, though, lurks in how the cops dance their way between that nonsense and, as one plain-clothes officer puts it, "covering your face is grounds for reasonable suspicion." When authorities pick and choose rationalizations depending on the audience, the true answer is a secret. Read the rest
At the Madeira Municipal Building in Ohio, a high school student's artwork depicting a pig in a police uniform was taken down by the organizers of an annual student art show. In the artwork, the pig is standing in front of collaged newspaper headlines about police using deadly force. Guess what? People complained.
The unnamed student created the artwork as a response to the following assignment:
“Take current event articles published in newspapers or magazines on a similar topic and then summarize those articles into a visual representation of the feelings and emotions within the articles selected.”
The Madeira Police Department would not confirm or deny whether they asked for the painting to be removed. From WCPO:
Read the rest
“The members of the Madeira Police Department fully respect and support the student’s right to free speech and recognize that this young artist is very talented,” (a police) statement reads. “However, officers are troubled by the perceived message of the student’s art project.”
So was Lt. Dan Hils, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police and a frequent defender of Cincinnati officers whose use of force becomes the subject of public discussion. On Monday night, Hils said he was saddened by the piece but would not have asked for it to be removed.
“For me, the word I think of is just a little disappointed — disappointed that there is youth that believe that of police officers,” he said, adding: “It’s a beautiful thing our country has — the ability for people to express how they feel and this young person was expressing how they feel.
Privacy International's blockbuster Digital Stop and Search report details how British police forces have quietly procured phone-searching tools (including mobile "kiosks" that let them probe devices in the field), often from companies with a track-record of abetting some of the world's worst human rights abusers, and they use these in secret to capture all the data they can from phones taken from suspects, victims and witnesses. Read the rest
A Virginia state judge ruled earlier this month that automated license plate data collection by police qualified as protected “personal information," and was illegal, because it included the following elements all combined: The license plate number, images of the vehicle and license plate and immediate surroundings, plus GPS location and time and date. Read the rest
This morning, the British Transport Police has ordered Virgin Media to switch off the wifi to some undisclosed London Underground stations in a bid to make it harder for climate protesters to organise their activities. Read the rest
Dave Maass from the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, "Facebook’s practice of taking down these individual accounts when they learn about them from the press (or from EFF) is insufficient to deter what we believe is a much larger iceberg beneath the surface. We often only discover the existence of law enforcement fake profiles months, if not years, after an investigation has concluded. These four changes are relatively light lifts that would enhance transparency and establish real consequences for agencies that deliberately violate the rules." Read the rest
The Property of the People transparency group (previously) has published another damning US intelligence file, this one a report circulated by the Regional Organized Crime Information Center (RICOC, a joint state/federal intelligence body), revealing how the US intelligence bodies advised local law enforcement after the Charlottesville white supremacist march. Read the rest
You could be the proud owner of this customized 1978 Tradesman 200 undercover police surveillance van! Currently for sale on the San Francisco Bay Area's Craigslist, the white, 8-cylinder automatic has just 78,000 original miles. Asking price is $4,000. And now for the good stuff:
It has been carpeted with a bench and workbench inside. It is chock full of surprises and cool modifications including; a CB radio setup (don't think it currently works), police band radio/scanner, black out windows/shades, custom AC unit designed to run off a few deep cycle-cell marine batteries (daisy-chained together), a door to separate the cab from the rear of the vehicle, and best of all.....a periscope that comes out of the vent. It does have some minor dents and dings as a 40 year-old truck will likely have, but no major defects/issues. Everything seems to work on it, but I haven't done much driving in it since it is not currently registered or insured. Seats are going to need to be recovered or replaced. This van would make an awesome undercover PI van, party van, camper van, hippy van, surfer van, boogie van, classic 70's van. I have another one already, and with two jobs, and school, I don't have a lot of free time to convert a second van. I may consider a trade for a 4x4 van, or similar, Suburban, Bronco, Scout, Jeep etc.
After this weekend's snow in Chadron, Nebraska, Jason Blundell and his kids spent the afternoon sculpting a snow replica of their 1967 Ford Mustang GTA. Nebraska State Patrol Sgt. Mick Downing spotted the snow car and decided to have his own fun. From the Omaha World-Herald:
(Downing) drove by and recorded himself giving the sculpted car a pretend tow notice, then posted the video on the patrol’s social media channels...
Downing said he never did the paperwork for the tow notice. It wouldn’t have held up in court.
“If it would’ve been a real car,” he said, “it was parked just fine.”
In Fort Pierce, Florida, police officer Doug McNeal arrested Zachery Moellendick, 23, and Krista Leigh, 24, for shoplifting and put them in the back of his squad car. The couple started making out so McNeal played Barry White's "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love." Later, he allowed Leigh to smoke a cigarette in the car. In the police report, McNeal admitted to seeing them kiss and "was fine with it."
According to Florida Today, "The Fort Pierce Police Department said it suspended Officer Doug McNeal for 20 days without pay for the ride, which captured the couple's backseat actions on video..."