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

Alabama cops gloat over "quilt" made from cardboard signs confiscated from homeless people over Christmas

In this photo posted to Facebook, two police officers from Mobile, Alabama pose with a "quilt" made from cardboard signs confiscated from homeless people in the area over the Christmas break.

“Wanna wish everybody in the 4th precinct a Merry Christmas, especially our captain," says the caption to the posting. “Hope you enjoy our homeless quilt. Sincerely Panhandler patrol.”

Al.com names the two grinning officers as Preston McGraw and Alexandre Olivier, and points out that the photo was taken in a police department office. It was first posted to Officer McGraw's page, but has been shared widely since.

Mobile Police Department has not responded to a request for comment. AL.com also emailed every city council member for comment. No one has yet responded.

Since being posted online the image has been shared more than 10,000 times and has over 3,000 comments. Many comments claim the image to be in poor taste, especially during the holiday season.

God Bless. God Bless. God Bless. God Bless. God Bless. God Bless. God Bless. God Bless. Read the rest

Search-warrant demands that Google turn over account info, Android info, all accounts and passwords, calendar, contacts, cloud docs, financial data, photos, location history, search history, call records, etc

Scott Budnick (producer of the "Hangover" movies) is embroiled in a complicated feud with an LA homicide cop named Sgt. Richard Biddle; Biddle has pursued his investigation against Budnick by securing an incredibly broad search-warrant to seize his Google data. Read the rest

Starbucks apologizes after two cops claimed they were ignored by the baristas

Starbucks has apologized after two Riverside County sheriff's deputies reported that baristas ignored them when they waited to place an order. This comes just a couple weeks after an Oklahoma Starbucks employee was fired for printing the word "PIG" on a police officer's hot chocolate order label (above). And back in July, a Starbucks barista in Tempe, Arizona requested that six cops leave the store because their presence made a customer "not feel safe." From CNN:

(Of the Riverside County incident,) Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges told CNN the deputies were ignored for nearly five minutes -- and there's no excuse for that.

"We are deeply sorry and reached out to apologize directly to them. We take full responsibility for any intentional or unintentional disrespect shown to law enforcement on whom we depend every day to keep our stores and communities safe," Borges said.

The deputies were "laughed at" and "completely ignored," (Riverside County Sheriff Chad) Bianco said in a video. "They tried to get served, they asked if anyone was going to help them," he said.

Eventually, they left, Bianco said.

Read the rest

BREAKING: A quantity of those who labor in police departments are the same as those who ignite crucifixes

Oh look. A bunch of American police cadets giving a Nazi salute. Whom ever could have seen this coming?

From the Charleston Gazette-Mail:

Several West Virginia state employees have been suspended after a photo emerged depicting a training class of roughly 30 correctional officers performing a Nazi salute.

Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety Director Jeff Sandy sent a letter to all employees Wednesday describing the photo as “distasteful, hurtful, disturbing, highly insensitive, and completely inappropriate.”

The photo, on state letterhead, shows almost all of Basic Training Class No. 18 displaying the Nazi salute. Text above the photo reads: “HAIL BYRD!” [a reference to the trainees' instructor]

This reminds me of something. It almost makes me feel a certain … animosity towards an automated contrivance.

While it's good to know that a "number" of these employees have been "suspended," it would be far more comforting to know that they were all fired, along with all the other officers who condone such activity. But I'm not actually expecting much more than a few slaps on the wrist and one or two high-profile Fall Guys before the whole thing gets brushed aside and these Neo-Nazis end up patrolling the streets.

WV employees suspended after photo emerges of correctional officers' Nazi salute [Jake Zuckerman / Charleston Gazette-Mail]

Image via West Virginia state officials Read the rest

Bill Barr's police speech proves the GOP doesn't actually care about "small government."

On Tuesday, December 2, the current Attorney General and former Iran-Contra fixer gave a speech at the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing in which he threatened to take away police protections from communities who refused to bow down and respect worship law enforcement.

American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officer. And they have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves ― and if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.

There's the obvious problem here, which is that serving and protecting the public should not be contingent upon the public's lavish praise. That's not a service; it's blackmail. If police truly covet public veneration, then they should be selfless enough to serve and protect without the expectation of reward, and simply because it's the right thing to do.

But the other, more ironic issue is about government dependency. Conservatives in the modern GOP love to give lip service to independence — to by-your-bootstraps self-determination. "People need to stop relying on the government, and take care of themselves!" they say. But here's Bill Barr, threatening to take away a government service as if it's a bad thing. We all know what "communities" he's referring to in this speech; they're the same ones that have been historically targeted, bullied, and oppressed by police. That's why these communities don't respect the police. Read the rest

Watch police try to catch runaway pig

A resident of Erie County, Ohio called police on Tuesday when she spotted a large pig outside her back door. The police attempted to capture the suspect but as body cam footage (below) shows, it was no easy task. Eventually, the sheriffs used apples to lure the pig into a barn and located the animal's owner.

"We try and avoid pigs," said Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth.

Read the rest

Police sad over spilled donuts get sweet surprise ending

“The final resting spot of the once glorious glazed donuts.” Read the rest

Hawaii cop "to plead guilty" after forcing homeless man to lick public urinal

KHQ6 reports that John Rabago, a Hawaii cop accused of forcing a homeless man to lick a public urinal, plans to plead guilty on a civil rights charge. Another officer, Reginald Ramones, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge: "Ramones says Rabago convinced him not to report it."

More from the AP:

The homeless man feared he would be arrested and reluctantly obeyed Rabago’s orders, according to Ramones’ plea agreement. Rabago had previously threatened another man he was questioning by saying he wouldn’t be arrested if he stuck his head in a toilet, the document said.

Alt headline: Blue water blues for the boys in blue Read the rest

Cop violently arrests and terrorizes a 15 year old Black quadruple amputee

A sheriff's deputy in Pima, AZ was video-recorded wrestling with and screaming at a 15 year old Black teenager with no arms or legs; the cop, who was not named, was called to a group home where the teen lived, because the teen had been upset and yelling and shouting, and had knocked over a trash can. Read the rest

Facial recognition tools shared by 'Massive, secretive network of police departments'

At Medium's OneZero [@ozm], new reporting based on “thousands of pages of previously undisclosed emails” confirms “the existence of a massive, secretive network of police departments working together to share controversial facial recognition tools.” Read the rest

Suspicious package at train station was new device for reporting suspicious packages

Police shut down part of a train station in Westchester County, New York to investigate a suspicious package. Turned out that the suspicious package was a new emergency calling device for passengers to report suspicious packages and behavior.

(NBC4NY)

Read the rest

Hazmat team responds to Uranium 238 delivery at halfway house

“It’s not clear why the resident ordered the uranium.”

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

#NothingButDragnet: EFF calls on @Shaq to stop endorsing police partnerships with Amazon's creepy, surveilling Ring doorbells

Amazon's Ring surveillance doorbells are part of a secretive, nationwide police surveillance network, with cops being offered covert incentives to act as street-teams to buzz market the products, and with Amazon repeatedly misleading the public and reporters about when and how police can gain access to footage from the cameras. Read the rest

More posts