Posts Tagged ‘cops’

Why cops are usually idiots

July 3, 2011

The answer is in a NY Times archived article from way back in 1999:

A Federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a man who was barred from the New London police force because he scored too high on an intelligence test.

Nice! We wouldn’t want a smart cop. Only ignorant dipshits need apply, please.

The judge referred to claimed the ruling didn’t violate equal protection under the law because the “No bookreadin’ types” rule applies to any applicants. So as long as any intelligent people are denied an interview for a job as a police officer in New London, CT, that’s “not discrimination.”

Jeremy Marks

December 14, 2010

Jeremy Marks is a Los Angeles high school special education student who’s been caught up in the criminal justice system. Originally he was offered to plead guilty on charges which would land him 7 years in a prison, and more recently he’s been offered a plea deal which included “attempted lynching” and would cost him just under 3 years in prison. He has been in jail for the past 7 months awaiting his day in court as his family is too poor to afford the bail set.

Here’s what happened: Marks was at a bus stop outside of a McDonald’s when a school police officer confronted another student for smoking. Based on the police report, eyewitnesses reports, and sworn testimonies (outlined in an write-up in the LA Weekly, which weirdly enough seems to be the only major news organization covering this), the cop seems to have lost her shit and smashed the kid’s head into a window until it broke. The window, that is.

Here’s part of the testimony of Los Angeles Unified School District campus police officer Erin Robles:

It was getting very, very wild.

OK, hold it right there. What do you think of when you think of something “very, very wild?” I have a few ideas, but describing them would probably violate some of WordPress’ Terms of Service. Anyway, here’s what immediately follows from the above quote:

There was screaming, people were walking behind me.

Forget about the screaming for now. People were walking behind her? That’s the second thing she remembers in order to back up her claim about it being “very, very wild?” Also, I hate to be the one to break it to officer Robles, but there are people walking behind her all the time.

Next, we get to the explanation of the screaming.

There were individuals trying to reach for my O.C. spray that had fallen on the ground. I was screaming for help on my radio.

Did you catch that?

There was screaming

Really? Why was there screaming?

I was screaming

Well that explains it. That’s why you always have to watch for the use of passive tense. People usually use it when they don’t want to identify the subject of the sentence, in this case the fact that it was her screaming instead of there just being screaming by nobody in particular.

Here’s how an eyewitness described the situation to the LA Weekly:

She slammed the student into a wall, threw him on the ground, took out her pepper spray, slammed him into the bus, broke the window out of the bus with his head, sprayed him in the face and slammed him into the bus some more.

Now’s probably a good time to note that the student in question is not Jeremy Marks. Marks was in the area, and he and a few others took out their cell phones to record video of the assault. Here is one of them and here is another. Marks was essentially arrested for recording the incident and for allegedly yelling “kick her ass!” though if you read the LA Weekly article that second claim sounds pretty dubious. The lynching charge comes from an odd definition of lynching which includes means trying to “incite a riot during an attempt to free a suspect from police custody.”

Even if Marks did call for a police ass-kicking, I don’t really see how you get from that to inciting a riot. And even if we grant the LAUSD cops that much, there would already have to be an attempt to free the suspect from police custody going on in order for that to apply to this weird lynching law, and that just doesn’t seem to be the case based on the evidence. The kids watching the altercation are just laughing and talking shit. There’s no escape attempt for the “incitement to riot” to be during.

This is just a case of an overzealous police officer with a corrupt department determined to use this kid as a scapegoat. And it’s fucking his life up for no real reason at all.

UPDATE: An engineer at Google heard about this story on reddit and has paid Marks’ bail.

Have you seen this man?

July 14, 2010

Some guy robbed a pharmacy on South Park Ave on Monday morning. This photograph was released to aid in the investigation:

Oh yeah, I know that guy! I’d recognize that blurry silhouette anywhere. It’s a human, right?

Pissed off dog totally messes up a cop car

March 26, 2010

There’s not much else to say about this. Enjoy.

Police punish responsible arsonists

November 2, 2009

OK, let’s just say you’re a teenager who likes to set things on fire. Who doesn’t, really? But let’s say you like to do it a lot. But at the same time, setting stuff on fire can have consequences. So how does one separate one’s pyromania from results like property damage and a police record?

The responsible thing to do would be to become a volunteer fireman and respond to your own fires – which is what two kids from Tennessee did:

Two volunteer firefighters in southeastern Tennessee have been charged with intentionally setting a vacant house on fire and then responding to it as Mowbray Mountain Volunteer firefighters… Both men were released on $5,000 bonds.

Now this would be a different story if they were somehow making money off of this, like in that Simpsons episode where they go from accepting rewards for putting out fires to starting fires for the purposes of responding to them in order to loot the house. And still it’s not good to burn shit down. BUT if you’re going to burn down a house, this would be the best way to do it. And it’s probably the most ideal case for restorative justice. They shouldn’t have  to go to jail or pay huge fines to bureaucrats. Just make them repair the damages.

Holy fuck

October 4, 2009

No, I don’t mean the excellent band from Toronto. I just meant it as my reaction to this story about a pretty nauseating abuse of police power.

Just to put this into context, I just got back from seeing Michael Moore’s new movie, Capitalism: A Love Story (which I’ll probably write about later), and even after 2 hours of his admittedly cheesy emotional pandering (mixed with some good stuff, too, but again, more on that later), this still made my jaw drop.

Phoenix police responded to a call about a home invasion. They arrived at the scene and shot a man in the back. Then they shot him again.

And again.

And again. And again. And again.

It turns out, this was the homeowner and not the perp. So officer Brian Lilly (the shooter) and Sgt. Sean Coutts (the accomplice) decided to get their stories straight and cover up their own incompetence/cowboy bullshit.

How do I know this? Because the homeowner was still on the phone with 911, which was recording the call.

“That’s all right. Don’t worry about it. I got your back. … We clear?”

-Sgt Sean Coutts, Phoenix Police Department

I can understand making a mistake. I can even understand shooting the wrong person. But for fuck’s sakes, does any police officer ever need to shoot someone six times? Isn’t the fallibility of human perception part of the reason officers are expected to show restraint within reason? And aren’t police officers in a better position than most to know that perception in humans isn’t very good? Isn’t that something they need to know to, you know, do their jobs?

It actually gets worse. The police then dragged him by his leg (which had at least one bullet wound) through his house and into his backyard and left him on a patio to writhe in pain in front of his wife and children.

Classy, huh?

Police chief favors handicapped kid over drunk who poured beer on him

September 13, 2009

This story is pretty awesome on its own, but it has this great twist I’ll explain later.

Picture this: You’re 22. You’re at a concert. You’re drunk. The band is handing out T-shirts. You want one of those T-shirts. Some loser is keeping you from the front row. He says something about holding the spot for a kid in a wheelchair.

Of course you’d be outraged. So would I. A kid in a wheelchair can’t even reach up to get the shirt. And he’s not even there. This is America – first come, first served. You might even think you would be justified in spilling your beer on the ignorant jerk getting between you and your free shirt. You might think that, but you’d be wrong.

The problem is that the jerk holding the spot for the gimp is the Kansas City Police Chief. So he and his sense of entitlement escorted the kid to the police. He had to post $100 bond. That’s how much it apparently costs to violates the apparently God-given right to not have beer spilled on you at a concert.

Now here’s the twist. I’m categorizing this under journalism because the best part is that this kid is the son of a reporter at the newspaper which reported on the story. So here I’m really more curious about the story behind the story. It’s not written by the kid’s father, which would have made it hilarious – and probably a dick move on the part of the managing editor. So I’m wondering who this Christine Vendel is, how she got the story, if it was just part of her beat, or if it was part of some intra-office political war, or what. It’s hard to tell since that last piece of information is just dangling at the end of the story, and the rest of it doens’t have any obvious bias one way or another.

Sudanese woman fined for wearing pants

September 7, 2009

Journalist Lubna Hussein was fined $200 for wearing pants. And that’s the good news.

It’s good news because she was spared of the standard penalty, which is 40 lashes, due to international attention to her case.

And she doesn’t plan on paying the fine either. When threatened by the judge with a one-month prison sentence for refusing to pay the fine, she called the potential sentence “a chance to explore the conditions in jail.” Remember, this is Sudan. I have to admire her dedication to her trade, but it’s probably fair to say that it wouldn’t be the funnest assignment of her career.

There were protests at her trial, both for and against Hussein (weird sentence). Diplomats from the western European embassies showed up with some women wearing pants in solidarity, and some men showed up in pretty dresses “traditional Islamic” attire shouting “God is great!”

Oh yeah, the Sudan is about 70% Muslim and mostly subscribes to Islamic law. But I’m sure that has nothing to do with it at all. After all, it’s a peaceful religion, right?

Hussein is apparently a little more high-profile than the average Sudanese. She used to work for the UN. So if this kind of thing can happen to someone like her – someone with contacts and access to the public eye – you kind of have to wonder what is being done to others not so esteemed and priveleged.

Maybe the most revealing part of this story is that the law in question was part of the so-called “decency laws.” Apparently it is a threat to decency for a woman to wear pants, but it is not a threat to decency to flog, or even fine or imprison, women for wearing pants.

If you ever need an excuse to avoid Arkansas, this is it.

September 4, 2009

So there’s this town in Arkansas called Jericho (population: 184 as of the 2000 census). The city recently received a grant to start its very own police force. And according to reports by its citizens, they’ve been primarily using their police force to write traffic tickets. In a town of 184 people. Srsly.

Oh yeah, that, and shooting people who complain about it.

Don Payne, the Fire Chief of the town, was in court contesting a traffic ticket for the second time that day. Seven of the seven officers on the force were also in court, since they apparently had nothing better to do. An argument ensued. And Payne ended up with a bullet wound through his hip.

And what’s almost as weird is this throwaway line from a ‘person on the street’ interview about the pervasiveness of these ticket-writing cops:

“When I first moved out here, they wrote me a ticket for going 58 mph in my driveway,” 75-year-old retiree Albert Beebe said.

So there’s a few weird things about that.

  1. 58 mph in a driveway?
  2. Was it paved, or is this one of those long dirt road driveways?
  3. And he’s 75?
  4. Oh yeah, and why are cops patrolling driveways?