New federal rules will limit police searches of DNA ancestry databases

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) this week released new rules that limit when police can access family tree DNA databases to identify crime suspects. This new genealogy policy is the first ever at the federal level to address how online genetic databases sold as services to the public can be used in law enforcement. Read the rest

"Pot Brothers At Law" explain what to do if you work in the weed business and are arrested

Also applies to everyone else, as it happens. [via] Read the rest

Phoenix's police union has a secret deal with the department to purge dirty cops' disciplinary records

For two decades, the Phoenix police union has had a secret deal with the police department that required that the disciplinary records of cops would be "purged," so that no one, not even their supervisors, would be able to retrieve them. Read the rest

"Huge drug bust" at Gatwick Airport was actually vegan cake mix

Last week, police at London's Gatwick Airport turned up a suitcase filled with bags of white powder. Further testing revealed that the pile of evidence was actually vegan cake mix on its way to a restaurant in Brighton.

According to a statement from the British Transport Police, the bags "were soon reunited with the owner, who has promised officers and staff a slice of cake in return."

(CNN) Read the rest

California Supreme Court backs expanding access to police misconduct cases

Case affects privacy rights of law enforcement officers, and freedom of information for those investigating police abuse.

Uganda installs Huawei's AI-powered facial recognition surveillance system 'nationwide'

“The cameras are already transforming modern day policing in Uganda, with facial recognition and artificial intelligence as part of policing and security.” — Ugandan Police.

Texas police lead handcuffed black man through streets by rope

The photo shows two white police officers, on horseback, leading a roped black detainee through the streets. Galveston police chief Vernon Hale apologized, after it went viral, but said there was "no malicious intent" and that "the technique was acceptable in some scenarios." The BBC: "According to a news release from the Galveston Police Department, the two mounted officers, named only as P Brosch and A Smith, arrested Donald Neely for criminal trespass. The officers were taking Mr Neely to a police staging area. Police clarified that he was not tied with the rope, but 'was handcuffed and a line was clipped to the handcuffs"'". Read the rest

Amazon's surveillance doorbell marketers help cops get warrantless access to video footage from peoples' homes

Every time I write about the unfolding scandal of Amazon's secret partnerships with hundreds of US police departments who get free merch and access to Ring surveillance doorbell footage in exchange for acting as a guerrilla marketing street-team for Ring, I get an affronted email from Amazon PR, implying that I got it all wrong, but unwilling to enter into detailed discussions of what's actually going on (the PR flacks also usually ask to be quoted officially but anonymously, something I never agree to). Read the rest

Corruption is contagious: dirty cops make their partners dirty

Police unions have systematized and perfected the process of ensuring impunity for crooked cops, ensuring that even the most violent, lying, thieving, racist, authoritarian cops can stay on the force; at the same time, apologists for police violence and corruption tell us not to blame the whole force for the bad deeds of a few rotten apples. Read the rest

Amazon's secret deals with local cops give them access to realtime 911 data for use in scary alerts sent to Ring owners

Mining the results of public records requests relating to Amazon's secret deals with local law enforcement to promote its Ring surveillance doorbells (more than 200 agencies!) continue to bear fruit. Read the rest

Amazon's secret deals with cops gave corporate PR a veto over everything the cops said about their products

Last week, Motherboard broke a story revealing that Amazon had entered into secret agreements with local law enforcement agencies that had the cops pushing Ring surveillance doorbells to the people they were sworn to protect, in exchange for freebies and access to a system that let them request access to footage recorded by the Amazon's industry-leading internet-of-shit home surveillance tools. Read the rest

Violent mobs of alleged Triad gangsters dole out savage beatings to Hong Kong democracy protesters, cops nowhere to be found

The #612strike protests that have rocked Hong Kong for more than a month continue to gather steam, as Hong Kongers march to demand that China make good on its promise to respect the island's right to self-governance. Read the rest

How to hide from the cops

Step 1: be small enough to fit in a trashcan.

(Protip: recycling cans smell better) Read the rest

WATCH: Connecticut State Troopers accidentally recorded themselves discussing plans to falsify a police report, and they got away with it

In this footage, Connecticut State Trooper First Class John Barone, Sgt. John Jacobi and Master Sgt. Patrick Torneo are recorded discussing how to justify ticketing Michael Picard, an activist who filmed them detaining him.

According to a 2017 story in the Hartford Courant, they were exonerated by an internal investigation despite planning to falsify witness reports of the encounter. The ACLU filed a lawsuit in 2016, which remains active as of June 2019.

A state police internal affairs investigator concluded there was "no evidence" to support an activist's claim that three troopers conspired to concoct charges against him during a contentious interaction at a DUI checkpoint in 2015.

Michael Picard, who supports the open carrying of firearms and opposes random DUI checkpoints, was charged with two infractions while protesting at an I-84 ramp in West Hartford.

Police seized Picard's camcorder during the confrontation, which, unbeknownst to the troopers involved, captured them discussing whether to file charges. In the audio, one trooper is heard stating that the officers "gotta cover our ass," while another adds they could "claim that, um, in the back-up, we had multiple people stop to report" a man with a gun.

The best part is when trooper Barone claims that it's illegal to film him because state property isn't public property. The "oh shit!" when they realize the camera's still running is a close second.

They do this day in and day out, which is why catching them once is addressed by internal investigators as an attack on law enforcement rather than a problem to solve. Read the rest

Police cameras to be augmented with junk-science "microexpression" AI lie-detectors

The idea that you can detect lies by analyzing "microexpressions" has absorbed billions in spending by police forces and security services, despite the fact that it's junk science that performs worse than a coin-toss. 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

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