Police discover over 10,000 endangered tortoises jammed into one small house

An overwhelming stench of poop and urine led authorities to check out what was going on in an unassuming two-story house in Toliara, Madagascar. When they opened the front door, they were shocked to find the house full of endangered tortoises--10,068, to be exact. According to Soary Randrianjafizanaka, a representative from Madagascar's environmental protection agency, so many of the poor little critters were jammed into the house that they literally had no room to move.

From National Geographic:

In total the house contained 9,888 live radiated tortoises, a rare species found only in Madagascar—and 180 dead ones. Randrianjafizanaka helped count them as rescuers loaded them onto six trucks that made several trips to Le Village Des Tortues (Turtle Village in French), a private wildlife rehabilitation facility in Ifaty, 18 miles north of Toliara. It took until early the following morning to transfer all the tortoises to the rescue center.

The majority of the turtles taken to the rehabilitation facility are doing well, now that they've been cleaned up, moved into more suitable quarters, and provided with veterinary care. Unfortunately, close to 600 of the turtles have died since being removed from the house, due to dehydration or infection--the result of their long neglect.

With a shrinking population of around three million of the reptiles, the trade of radiated turtles, each of which can have shells up to 16 inches across and weigh as much as 35 pounds, is illegal in 182 countries. That makes the turtles an attractive product for blackmarket traders operating out of Madagascar, to export to shady buyers around the world. Read the rest

Watch police contact the YouTube shooter the night before her attack

The Mercury News obtained and released a 30-minute captioned bodycam video of police interacting with Nasim Aghdam as she slept in a Walmart parking lot a few hours before shooting three people and killing herself at YouTube headquarters. Read the rest

Magic cocaine rides the wind into Florida woman's purse

As Rick James would be the first to tell you if he weren't dead, cocaine's a helluva drug. Aside from providing an intense high that can be followed by an even more intense bout of depression, tons of fun paranoia, anger, breathing issues and maybe if you're really into the stuff, death. Until today, I have to admit that I was unaware that it also has the power of flight.

According to the New York Times, Floridian (of course she's from Florida) Kennecia Posey was found by officers from the Fort Pierce Police Department to have a goodly amount of marching powder in her purse. The pouch of nose candy was discovered during a traffic stop after seeing the car that Posey was a passenger in was swerving all over the road. The cops decided to search Posey's purse after smelling marijuana in the car. I can't tell you what Posey had to say about her left-handed cigarettes, but her theory on how the bag of rail ended up in there is amazing: she claimed that with it being a windy day, the stuff must have blown in there.

I guess it goes without saying that Posey is getting dinged up on charges of cocaine possession and a misdemeanor count of marijuana possession. I really hope that she fights the charges in court – hard. I want expert witnesses called in to able to talk about the flight qualities of a bag of blow. I demand to hear the arguments over the aerodynamics of an ounce of Yeyo. Read the rest

If patrolling US soldiers can avoid shooting civilians, why can't US cops stop murdering unarmed black men?

David French served as squadron judge advocate for the Second Squadron, Third Armored Cavalry Regiment, stationed at Forward Operating Base Caldwell in Diyala Province, Iraq; he walked patrol with other soldiers, during which he and his colleagues confronted routine armed aggression from insurgents out of uniform, who used IEDs as well as firearms in their fights with US soldiers. Read the rest

ICE uses Facebook's backend to hunt their prey, with help from Palantir

Public records requests have shown that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- who have continued and intensified Obama's program of mass deportations and separation of families under Trump -- uses Facebook's logs, merged with logs from cellular carriers and analyzed by software from Palantir (Peter Thiel's police-state arms-dealer) to track immigrants people they're investigating. Read the rest

Raleigh cops are investigating crime by getting Google to reveal the identity of every mobile user within acres of the scene

Public records requests have revealed that on at least four occasions, the Raleigh-Durham police obtained warrants forcing Google to reveal the identities of every mobile user within acres of a crime scene, sweeping up the personal information of thousands of people in a quest to locate a single perp. Read the rest

NYPD Commissioner "troubled" by news of cop arrested for running an international heroin ring

New York Police Department Officer Yessenia Jimenez was arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration agents on weapons and drug trafficking charges following a month long investigation. According to AP, Jimenez "helped her boyfriend run a heroin trafficking ring that spanned from Mexico to New York."

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill is so troubled by the arrest that he suspended Jimenez without pay. "Cops are charged with enforcing the law, not breaking it," he said in a statement. "Today’s arrest — for serious allegations of trafficking heroin — are troubling.”

Did it really take this long for O’Neill to become troubled about crimes committed by his officers? Here are are a few recent stories about serious misdeeds conducted on his watch: Lawyer says nine NYPD officers bullied teen girl who accused two detectives of cuffing and raping her Secret NYPD files show hundreds of cops committed serious crimes and kept jobs and pensions NYPD cops charged with felonies after beating up mailman Read the rest

Cop charged with assault after beating "jaywalking" pedestrian

Leaked footage of a police officer repeatedly punching a pedestrian led to charges for Christopher Hickman, the Asheville, NC cop who also lost his job after the attack on August 24 last year. Hickman claimed that Johnnie Jermaine Rush was jaywalking and had assaulted him when challenged, but bodycam video showed a more sinister incident in which Hickman, who is white, told his black victim "you are going to get fucked up hard core", chokes him, repeatedly strikes his head with his fist, then tases him.

"I beat the shit out of his head," Hickman says on the recording. "Not gonna lie about that."

The police chief, Tammy Hooper, has also offered to resign.

Police said they plan to present an investigation into whether Hickman’s actions against Rush were criminal to the district attorney next week.

“This is a human rights issue, and Hickman should’ve been charged from day one,” local Black Lives Matter leader DeLores Venable said during Wednesday’s meeting, per the Citizen-Times report. “If no one would’ve leaked it or said something, we would be in the dark.”

Hooper issued a public apology March 1, saying, “The acts demonstrated in this video are unacceptable and contrary to the department’s vision and the progress we have made in the last several years in improving community trust.”

Jaywalking is a ridiculous crime to begin with, but "jaywalking" in the dead of night on an empty road in Asheville? No wonder people were curious about the circumstances of the arrest, and no wonder the footage had to be leaked before the public saw it. Read the rest

Police arrest 14-year-old who dressed as sheriff and "responded" to crimes

This week Victorville, California police arrested a 14-year-old boy who dressed up in a sheriff's uniform, put emergency lights on his grandfather's car, and drove around "responding" to various crimes. After the real police pulled him over, they searched his room and found "counterfeit money, simulation firearms, ballistic vests and other law enforcement related items." No word on whether the youngster had cultivated cop speak. From the Merced Sun-Star:

Police also realized the teen had a busy night before he was pulled over: He had pulled over a woman in a fake traffic stop, and asked for her identification, police said. The teen let her off with a warning.

During a separate incident that day, the juvenile turned on his emergency lights, drawing a 16-year-old out of a home. The dressed-up teen told the 16-year-old he was responding to a domestic disturbance call. But when the imposter was told no one had made such a call, he left the scene, police said.

Read the rest

Could you pass the chicken test?

To ensure that its graduates can discharge their duties with the absolute minimum of human warmth, Indiana University Police Academy challenges recruits not to laugh when a squeaky rubber chicken is slowly introduced to their field of vision and then squeezed.

I definitely prefer to be policed by the failures! Read the rest

Burglar doesn't realize he's being filmed

This burglar doesn't realize he's got about a minute to get his work done before the Scottish police turn up. It's interesting seeing British commenters complain that he was treated too roughly by them, while the American ones marvel that he wasn't executed on the spot.

My guess is the copper didn't see the crowbar until right on top of him in the cramped backyard, creating an opportunity for the burglar to strike and thereby necessitating a pre-emptive beating that sadly lacks the usual jaunty interaction between British police and suspect, the extended ironic ruminations on the nature of crime and the inevitability of justice, the perverse yet socially reinforcing affectations of honor and fair play, the tea and biscuits down the station, etc., that are the usual hallmarks of modern British policing and its interactions with the criminal element. Read the rest

New Orleans Police used predictive policing without telling the city's elected officials

Palantir Technologies is a data-mining firm that loves it some predictive policing: computer-aided sorcery that uses data models to try and predict where crimes may occur and who's got a reasonable chance of committing them.

For predictive policing to work well, the predictive model being built needs to be well fed with data on criminals, their first, second and third-person acquaintances, their social media accounts, and crime statistics for the area where the model is meant to be seeing crimes before they may possibly happen. It sounds like shit right out of Minority Report, because it kinda is – just without spooky kids in a swimming pool and a hell of a lot less accuracy.

Accurate or not, the notion of predictive policing raises a number of civil rights and privacy concerns. The ACLU isn't down with it, as the methodology of stopping someone without reasonable suspicion is against the Fourth Amendment. In their eyes, computer-aided guesses don't cut it when it comes to justifying a stop-and-frisk. China's been using it to snoop on their citizens and has been sending suspected radicals and political dissidents for re-education, just in case they decided to protest their nation's ruling party's status quo. It's creepy shit.

Anyway, back to Palantir.

Did I mention that it was started up by Peter Thiel with money seeded by the CIA? No? How about the fact that they've been running an off-the-books program with the New Orleans Police so secretive that the city's own government didn't have a clue that it was going on? Read the rest

Seattle spends five years failing to come up with a privacy policy for its $3.6m surveillance network, then spends $150k ripping it out

Five years after activists forced Seattle's mayor to return the city's surveillance drones to their manufacturer, the city has announced that it is terminating its warrantless mass-surveillance program altogether. Read the rest

Motherboard files legal complaint against London police to force it to explain why an officer bought creepy, potential illegal stalkerware

Flexispy is the creepy stalkerware advertised to abusive spouses and exes that Motherboard's Joseph Cox has been relentlessly tracking; when he acquired a leaked trove of the company's files, he started to mine it to see who was buying the potentially illegal app. Read the rest

Chinese transit cops deploy face-recognition glasses to spot indebted people, oppressed ethnic/religious minorities and criminals

Chinese transit cops are wearing glasses with heads-up displays and cameras tied into the country's facial recognition to spot criminals, people smugglers, and riders who are using high-speed trains in defiance of rules that prohibit indebted people and people from ethnic and religious minorities from traveling. Read the rest

Tennessee sheriff who ordered deputies to kill driver of slow-moving car and gloated over his corpse faces excessive force lawsuit

Robyn Dial is suing White County, Tennessee Sheriff Oddie Shoupe for excessive force in the killing of her husband Michael Dial, who was shot in the head after he drove away at low speed from a traffic stop while towing a heavy trailer behind his 40-year-old pickup truck; Sheriff Shoupe was captured on bodycam mics ordering his officers to gun down Dial rather than run him off the road and risk cosmetic damage to their cruisers; after he arrived on the scene and observed Dial's corpse, he was recorded saying "They said 'we’re ramming him.' I said, 'Don’t ram him, shoot him.' Fuck that shit. Ain't gonna tear up my cars. I love this shit. God, I tell you what, I thrive on it. If they don’t think I’ll give the damn order to kill that motherfucker they’re full of shit. Take him out. I’m here on the damn wrong end of the county." Read the rest

Elite Baltimore police unit robbed with impunity, sold guns and drugs, loaned guns and armor to civilians sent to commit robberies

Detectives Marcus Taylor and Daniel Hersl of Baltimore's elite, seven-member Gun Trace Task Force are on trial for years of robbery, home invasions, drug dealing, gun dealing, and worse -- their defense is that they were not the primary participants in these activities, not that the crimes did not take place. Read the rest

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