Police stop Tyrannosaurus rex on street violating coronavirus lockdown

Police in Murcia, Spain caught a Tyrannosaurus rex violating a coronavirus lockdown. The cops were kind enough to let the dinosaur off with a warning. From CBR:

On the first released video, filmed by a neighbor, the T-Rex wannabe is clearly taking out the garbage. In the second video, however, it seems as if the T-Rex was making a break for a nearby park. The video was accompanied by John Williams' Jurassic Park theme.

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Police: Don't call 911 when you run out of toilet paper

In Oregon, the Newport Police Department posted a message on Facebook (pasted below) urging citizens not to dial 911 when they run out of toilet paper. The reason they posted this is because, yes, people have been they expect stupid people will be calling 911 after running out of toilet paper. (Here's their update that spurred the correction.)

image: GorillaSushi (CC BY-SA 2.0) Read the rest

Police called to school over stolen juice box

On Friday, police were called to the Union School District in Rimersburg, Pennsylvania after a "known" juvenile allegedly robbed the school cafeteria of a juice box valued at 80 cents.

crop of image by Hp.Baumeler (CC BY-SA 4.0) Read the rest

Chicago cops under investigation after shooting man in train station

Two Chigaco police officers are under investigation after a bystander filmed them twice shooting an apparently unarmed man who was resisting arrest. The man, according to Chicago P.D., was being arrested for "moving between two train cars, a city ordinance violation".

The video shows police struggling with the man for several minutes before he breaks free from being pinned on the ground. At that point, one of the officers yells "shoot him!" and the other fires toward the man. The officer who fired the weapon shot at the man twice, police said in a statement. The man, who was not identified, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he remains in critical but stable condition after surgery, police said.

The rule would be "comply or die" but for the inability of the officers to shoot straight: they got him in the buttocks and the stomach. Read the rest

Los Angeles police capture suspect driving stolen SUV hearse with body inside

Last night, someone stole a Lincoln Navigator hearse with a body inside. The police search just ended this morning with a high-speed pursuit on the 110 freeway that ended in the Lincoln Navigator crashing. They apprehended the suspect and the body was still inside the vehicle.

According to CBS Local, the SUV "was stolen from out in front of St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Church in unincorporated Pasadena. A casket holding a woman’s body was inside the vehicle at the time of the theft."

News video below.

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Police chief, stripped of duty, dramatically walks out of town meeting in his underwear

At a Croydon, New Hampshire town meeting, the government unexpectedly decided to disband its one-person police force and lay off the only officer, chief of police Richard Lee, who had held the position for 20 years.

"Out of nowhere the selectboard made a motion to disband the police department," Lee said. "I was told at that point that I had to turn my cruiser keys in, and supply them with my badges, uniform and (other equipment) immediately."

So he stripped down to his underwear and walked out.

From CNN:

Lee says someone called his wife, who caught up to him and drove him the rest of the way home. Russell Edwards, the board's chairman, confirmed the vote to CNN and told CNN affiliate WPTZ the board's vote to dissolve the Croydon Police Department was "a well thought out decision ... and we have many issues to decide on what we have to do so this is as much of (a) comment we're going to give at this point...."

(Lee) says it's been a contentious relationship since 2016 when a new board took over, with arguments over budgets and tickets.

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No jail time for cop convicted of rape

A Texas police officer convicted of rape was sentenced to 10 years probation by a jury, reports The El Paso Times. He will serve 0 days in prison.

It was an emotional day in court, as the woman cried as she testified about the impact the incident has had on her life, while Alexander began crying when his children came into the courtroom.

The woman testified that she will forever be haunted by the sexual assault and that she is no longer the woman she once was.

El Paso Police Department Officer William Ollie Alexander was convited of sexually assaulting a woman after responding to a domestic violence call in West El Paso. According to reports, he dropped the woman off at a friend's house, began texting her, left work early to pick her up, took her to a dark area and raped her.

His defense lawyers, Dolph Quijano and Omar Carmona, argued that the woman was "mentally disraught due to fighting with her ex-boyfriend", that the text messages showed "she was willing to meet with the officer, including asking him for a ride," and that law enforcement officers face "the death sentence" in prison.

They didn't get him off the conviction, but they did get him lenient treatment: prosecutors had asked for 15 years' imprisonment. In addition to serving probation, Alexander will also pay a $10,000 fine and register as a sex offender.

“It doesn’t matter how many years,” attorney Omar Carmona said. “He will go to the penitentiary as [a] former police officer.

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Gentleman arrested for calling police to help find his missing hoodie... 25 times

In Cincinnati, Harves Gardner, 32, was arrested after allegedly calling police 25 times asking for help finding his lost hoodie. From Cincinnati.com:

“When police arrived (the) defendant only wanted rides around town to find his hoodie that he lost," officers reported.

Police said Gardner was highly intoxicated and officers told him to go back to bed, but he continued calling and gave different locations for the police to respond.

(Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)

image for illustrative purpose only: "Missing Hoodie" available from Superteeshops Read the rest

A new study further confirms that most crime TV shows are good PR for cops

Color of Change, a nonprofit founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and dedicated to social justice advocacy, and the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center just completed a new study about representation and messaging in police and crime TV shows. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results backup the revelations from the Washington Post's 2016 investigative series, "Dragnets, Dirty Harrys, and Dying Hard: 100 years of the police in pop culture" — that police department PR machines have long collaborated with Hollywood executive powers-that-be to utilize TV to influence public perceptions of law enforcement.

The report is based a data crunch of 353 episodes from 26 crime-related scripted television shows that aired in the 2017-2018 season. They analyzed the race and gender breakdowns of the writers, showrunners, and consultants involved in the shows, as well as the on-screen representation of criminal justice, persons of interest, and victims. Overall, the study identified 5,400 variable data points across the shows, focusing on such questions:

Do crime procedurals and other crime-focused series produced in the U.S. accurately depict the reality of the criminal justice system, accurately depict racial disparities (e.g., racially biased treatment by authorities, the disproportionate targeting of people of color communities, disproportionate punishment or other outcomes based on race) and depict reforms and other solutions for correcting racial disparities in the criminal justice system? If present, do series portray any specific actions or attitudes of criminal justice professionals as directly resulting in those racial disparities? Do they portray any of the routine practices of the criminal justice system as resulting in racial disparities?
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Tempe, Arizona police have caught Penis Man

Police have captured the culprit behind the "Penis Man" graffiti tags that, er, popped up in several dozen spots across Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona over the last two months. (News report from December below.) While Penis Man quickly developed a cult following, the cops weren't laughing. On Saturday, Tempe police revealed that they had nabbed Dustin Shomer, "on 16 counts of aggravated criminal damage, 8 counts of criminal damage and one count of criminal trespassing in the first degree." Shomer has since released a statement on the Facebook Unmodded - NEIGHB'rhood Group, as reported in the Phoenix New Times:

"I just spent the last 24 hours in Tempe and Phoenix police custody for spraying 'Penis Man,'" Shomer wrote. "They raided my condo and vehicle and swarmed my entire complex in west Phoenix with 25 heavily armed SWAT officers, and pointed a silenced assault rifle in my face.

"Anyone with any doubt who the bad guys are here ... be certain it is the City of Tempe, City of Phoenix, and police forces valleywide. There is no excuse for pointing an AR-15 in the face of a non-violent offender."

Shomer added in further posts that he spent a night at Maricopa County's Fourth Avenue Jail following more than five hours in Tempe police custody, during which time he was giving "nothing to eat."

He wrote that he was "told I wouldn't receive medical attention after requesting it, even though it was posted on the wall to ask if desired.

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Police accidentally auction off car with big stash of drugs hidden in its bumper

In Thailand, police auctioned off a Honda CRV that had been seized in a drug bust. The buyer spent 586,00 baht (US$19,000) on the vehicle. Later, a mechanic discovered a secret compartment behind the bumper that contained nearly 100,000 amphetamine pills. From the BBC News:

Officials said they would conduct more thorough searches in future.

"According to protocols, we search every vehicle we have received and this case was no exception. However, we couldn't find anything at the time, perhaps because the pills had been well hidden," said Niyom Termsrisuk, secretary general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), according to the Bangkok Post.

image for illustration only: "Ritalin" by Sponge (CC BY-SA 3.0) Read the rest

Chicago PD's predictive policing tool has been shut down after 8 years of catastrophically bad results

In 2012, Chicago PD collaborated with the RAND Corporation and the Illinois Institute of Technology to automatically generate "risk scores" for people they arrested, which were supposed to predict the likelihood that the person would be a "party to violence" in the future (this program was called "TRAP" -- Targeted Repeat-Offender Apprehension Program" -- seemingly without a shred of irony). Now, that program has been shut down, and the City of Chicago's Office of the Inspector General has published a damning report on its eight-year reign, revealing the ways in which the program discriminated against the people ensnared in it, without reducing violent crime. Read the rest

Cop investigating burglary stun guns his K9 after dog bites cow

Everybody hurts. No crime was solved.

In the otherwise normal town of Georgetown, South Carolina, a sheriff’s deputy who was investigating a burglary ended up using a stun gun on his own K9 after the police working dog bit a cow, which then charged at both the property owner and the deputy, reports the sheriff’s office.

Still with me?

Good. Read the rest

Twitter tells facial-recognition app maker to stop scraping photos, Clearview AI used by 600+ US law enforcement agencies

Clearview AI app used by 600+ law enforcement agencies, from local police departments to FBI, DHS

Twitter told law enforcement app maker Clearview AI that its scraping of Twitter images for facial recognition databases violated Twitter policies. Read the rest

Texas cop fired for giving excrement sandwich to homeless man wins appeal

Matthew Luckhurst, the San Antonio police officer fired after giving a homeless man a shit sandwich, has won his appeal. KSAT reports that he won the appeal because of a government rule that "prevents law enforcement from disciplining an officer for conduct that occurred more than 180 days before they are disciplined."

The arbitrator's report (which you can read online) says the firing was reasonable whether Luckhurst's actions were "intentionally or grossly inappropriate" – Luckhurst claims he was was helping homeless people clean up their camp and handed the man the bread-and-shit to be disposed of, not eaten – but didn't come soon enough.

Luckhurst was subsequently notified of his dismissal on Oct. 28, 2016 -- within the 180-day window if the incident occurred May 6, 2016, as initially thought.

Arbitration documents state that later, Luckhurst reviewed his medical records and found that the incident could not have occurred on May 6, 2016, because he had injured himself during a martial arts class and was on light duty from April 6, 2016, to June 14, 2016, preventing him from riding a bike, as his peers had testified.

The paperwork states that after interviewing witnesses and others who had heard about the incident -- all of whom gave varying dates -- it was determined that the incident may have occurred outside the 180-day window to discipline Luckhurst, effectively voiding his dismissal.

Luckhurst isn't back on the beat, though, as he was also fired over another incident and an arbitration hearing on that is yet to be held. Read the rest

This popular police "mindreading" technique is bullshit — but the things that cops say about it are somehow even worse.

Back in December, ProPublica published a fascinating look into the snake-oil industry around Scientific Content Analysis or SCAN, a so-called "law enforcement tool" that purports to help investigators determine whether their suspects lying. This highly-profitable yet totally-dubious training method works through a rigid grammar analysis that relies entirely on the assumption that human brains only ever work in one completely uniform, logical, rational, conscious, and deliberate manner:

With SCAN, Sapir encourages the asking of a simple, open question: What happened? After the person writes a statement, the SCAN investigator looks for signs of deception, analyzing, among other things, pronouns used, changes in vocabulary, what’s left out and how much of a statement is devoted to what happened before, during and after an event. Indications of truthfulness include use of the past tense, first-person singular (“I went to the store”); pronouns, such as “my,” which signal commitment; and direct denials, the best being: “I did not do it.” Signs of deception include lack of memory, spontaneous corrections and swapping one word in for another — for example, writing “kids” in one place and “children” in another.

[…]

Sapir likens SCAN to Sudoku, only with words, not numbers, sentences, not squares: “Everything must fit — left to right, and top to bottom.”

And of course, there's no consideration for the possibility that someone might be, idunno, nervous or anxious or god forbid under-educated and therefore might respond to this "test" in ways that seem arbitrarily "suspicious."

Yet there are still tons of cops who swear by it anyway — even though, as ProPublica reveals through a comprehensive analysis of SCAN test results, the system has about a 50 percent likelihood of accurately predicting whether a suspect is lying, which is … no better than a random guess. Read the rest

A bunch of rookie cops have recently been fired for doing bad things. Let's think about that for a moment.

Tales of piss-headed police officers dominated the news in the week before New Years (at least, in my social circles, if we discount everything related to Star Wars). In West Virginia, the governor has finally recommended the firing of the full Hitler Heil-ing cadet class. In Kansas, another cop was (allegedly) terminated after writing "Fucking Pig" on his own McDonald's coffee cup and trying to blame it on the hard-working, underpaid workers whom he should be theoretically serving and protecting. (Some cops in Alabama also made a mocking "homeless quilt" that the department later apologized for, though the officers weren't actually reprimanded as far as I can tell.)

On the surface, this is largely a good thing. Although these are somewhat-minor acts in the grand scheme of police behaviors, the fact that there are actually repercussions for police misconduct already represents a sea change from the way things have been. Police departments across the country have kept secret lists of criminal crops who remain in their employ; typically, when cops are caught lying about things (even as dumb and small as a McDonald's coffee cup), the rest of their testimony is still given weight. Hell, the National Center for Women and Policing found that at least 40% of police officers self-reported domestic violence in the home … and still keep their jobs.

But these guys in West Virginia and Kansas? They might actually lose their jobs over a couple of pictures.

The public outrage towards unfair and overly aggressive policing has noticeably swelled alongside the raise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and particularly in the aftermath of that obscene military occupation in Ferguson. Read the rest

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