Morning Links

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
  • Here’s a writeup of the talks I and other panelists gave at Ohio University last week.
  • All four telecom firms also offer so-called “tower dumps” that allow police to see the numbers of every user accessing a certain cell tower over a certain time at an hourly rate.”
  • Cop shoots other cop while trying to kill dogs.
  • Chicago police managed to “persuade” a man to confess to two murders that were committed while he was in the custody of Chicago police.
  • Tape captures Alabama public school teachers verbally abusing a student with cerebral palsy.
  • For those of you who, like me, have a thing for photos of abandoned places.
  • (Attempted) puppycide: Woman calls police to report a burglary. Police respond, shoot and kill her dog, don’t catch the burglars.

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27 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  CyniCAl | 

    Let me be the first to write it today: NEVER CALL THE COPS.

    Thank you, now back to our regularly scheduled program.

  2. #2 |  Charlie O | 

    #1. You beat me to the punch.

    Everyone should know, calling the cops only brings unwanted violence into your life. Or your dogs.

  3. #3 |  Nick | 

    FYI… It wasn’t a puppycide… it was attempted puppycide. They shot the dog, but it was taken to a vet and survived and was released back to the owner.

  4. #4 |  David | 

    If the cop in that third link had died, presumably the dogs would be charged with felony murder.

  5. #5 |  Difster | 

    RE: Cop shoots other cop: MORE PLEASE.

  6. #6 |  Bob | 

    (Attempted) puppycide: Woman calls police to report a burglary. Police respond, shoot and kill her dog, don’t catch the burglars.

    So… let me get this right. The only way to get to the house in question is through someone else’s fenced in yard? How did the burglars get to it? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to drive around to the front of the house… where the burglar’s get away vehicle had to be, instead?

    How hard could this have been? “Hey! Cops are coming in through the other back yard! Let’s just drive away!”

    No wonder cops have to jack confessions out of people.

  7. #7 |  Jack Dempsey | 

    The failure to turn over material that can help a defendant’s case at trial is among the most serious violations a prosecutor can commit.

    “It’s simply unacceptable that this evidence has remained hidden for 19 years, the correct thing for the state’s attorney to do now is to go into court immediately and have the conviction set aside. … Daniel has been locked up for more than half his life, for a crime he didn’t even commit and without the benefit of a fair trial. Any further delay only magnifies the injustice.”

    Fortunately those DA’s don’t need to worry about this travisty of justice because they have full immunity to do it again and again and again.

  8. #8 |  Marty | 

    #4- nice- that gets 2 thumbs up!

  9. #9 |  albatross | 

    I’m dismayed at the lack of efficiency from the Chicago PD in this case–they could have resolved an arbitrary number of crimes using the same techniques. Sooner or later, you will say or sign anything to get the beatings to stop, or to get them to stop holding your head underwater, or to get the electrodes off your nuts. Why not solve a dozen open murder cases at once?

  10. #10 |  Nick T. | 

    So once again, the only time, the authorities (DAs, Police) question other authorities (Police, Prison personnel) is when the authorities being questioned report facts hat don’t gel ith what the authorities doing the questioning want to see happen. Great system we got here.

    Radley, I know you had commented only briefly on the Trayvon Martin case, but perhaps a unique perspective you can offer is the comparison to how Zimmerman was treated to just how absurdly easy/likely it is for the police to arrest you based on broad interpretations of the law or questionable evidence, and then pull out all the stops of an investigation including aggressive interrogations. It’d be nice if the peopel defending the police with rosy versions of these events were describing something even close to the actual, widespread thought process of police before an arrest.

  11. #11 |  John | 

    “We’re told the suspect fled out of the back door followed by two pit bulls. Officers, feeling threatened, fired at the dogs and a bullet struck a veteran officer in the leg.”

    Removing the newspaper coverage filter: The dogs, following the suspect, were fleeing. The police, somehow feeling threatened by their running away, shot at them. Being Totally Qualified To Carry A Weapon (TM), one of the cops shot another of the cops.

  12. #12 |  Burgers Allday | 


    I mean, call the owner if you know who it is, or call the property manager if you know who it is, but cops are precisely for the situation where someone is stealing copper in a neighborhood that could go either way. That is a situation where the cops can help.

    A year a go they ran thru my backyard to find the guy stealing metal and cub scout manuals and other assorted odds and ends from the nearby Church. I took video from my window because I was sure they were going to shoot my backyard neighbors dog Lucy. Fortunately they figured out that the burglar was hiding on the property next door to Lucy’s and so they went in that yard instead of Lucy’s. It was weird videoing and waiting to hear the gunshot as the officer paused to size up Lucy over the low fence. But, thats when somebody yelled, “he’s in that garage!” and the crisis was averted. I think the owner was trying to get Lucy in while this was happening, but she didn’t get him in until the policeman who was thinking about dealing with Lucy was gone. These things happen so quickly. You really have to have a sort of discipline to grab the camera and work it.

  13. #13 |  Cyto | 

    So…. Cop says he shook fence to alert any dogs. Hearing none, he hops the fence only to be confronted by a dog charging at him. So, fearing for his life or great bodily harm he shoots the dog.

    Now, call me naive, but having been confronted with exactly similar situations many times in my life it seems to me that the appropriate response at that time would be to either:

    a.) Hop back over the fence and have a laugh with your buddy about how the dog scared the crap out of you.

    b.) Use your “authority voice” to command the dog to stop and give the dog a chance to get to know you. Then use calming phrases like “nice doggy, please don’t bite me…” to gain his trust and hen make your escape. (option ‘b’ normally being used when you don’t have a handy fence or open door close by to make your escape)

    Once again, the notion of strategic retreat is not in the police playbook. But since I was able to handle these situations in elementary school when I might have actually been outweighed by the dog – without having a gun handy, and since most everyone I ever met also managed to escape similar circumstances without a gun, you’d think that just living an ordinary life would give you the tools you need to handle an angry dog without resorting to your firearm.

    This has to be a training issue…. but not in the “police lack training in handling dogs” sense, rather in the “police are trained to shoot the dog under these conditions” sense. Normal people just don’t shoot dogs that bark at them, even if they have a gun on their hip.

  14. #14 |  Thom | 

    So the big question in the puppycide/friendly fire incident is who get’s charged with assault with a deadly weapon, attempted manslaughter, etc. Do you charge the owner of the dogs? The fugitive being searched for? Somebody else? Maybe some combination of these people?

    It’s obviously an open and shut case against somebody.

  15. #15 |  Dana Gower | 

    Did anybody notice that the Chicago police story includes Agitator favorite Anita Alvarez?

    Dan Kirk, chief of staff for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, said prosecutors were cooperating with the attorney general’s office. He said they were studying the case file as quickly as possible to determine if prosecutors had an obligation to turn over the documents and whether they were withheld.
    Sally Daly, Alvarez’s spokeswoman, put a finer point on the issue, saying the office considers the claim “an unsubstantiated allegation.”

  16. #16 |  dave smith | 

    Re: wiretapping story. At least they have to pay something. This should at least make them try to be more conscientious about wire tapping. I am a free market economist but I realize that you can’t have the price system effectively arbitrate and ration everything. What is certainly the best solution would be to have a constitutionally sound process that allowed both for adequate privacy and allowed the police to listen in on legitimately suspicious activity. But since we don’t have that, maybe a correctly priced market for wiretaps would go along way to preserving civil liberties.

  17. #17 |  Christ on a Cracker | 

    #13 | Cyto
    Maybe the PD needs to take training from the US Post Office.

  18. #18 |  el coronado | 

    On the Taylor/Chicago cops thing, I actually think the cops/prosecutors are less at fault here than the idiot jury. First off, it *is* Chicago: probably the single most corrupt city in America, home to our jerkoff Dear Leader and run by a small coterie of thugs most recently culminating in the anointment of the quite probably sociopathic Emanuel as Mayor. One cannot help but think of Syria, or North Korea, say.

    “You knew it was a snake when you picked it up.”

    No, the WORST part of that story is this: “(Taylor’s) defense at trial seemed ironclad: he’d been [locked up] before the crime took place & [wasn’t released] until after it took place.” And 12 scumbucket jurors STILL decided he was guilty, even though there was _no possible way he could have done it_, probably because they wanted to get home in time to catch DWTS or something. Fuck ’em all. Fuck the Chicago PD, fuck the Cook Cty legal system (LOL). Fuck the Midwest, for that matter.

    Am *really* looking forward to Chicago looking like Detroit in 40 years or so: mile after mile of abandoned derelict homes and businesses, rotting away while the (straight-ticket democrat) city/county government picks over the carcass looking for that one last chunk of graft to score, like the carrion-eating maggots they are.

  19. #19 |  picachu | 

    Cyto “This has to be a training issue…. but not in the “police lack training in handling dogs” sense, rather in the “police are trained to shoot the dog under these conditions” sense. Normal people just don’t shoot dogs that bark at them, even if they have a gun on their hip.”

    I don’t think its a training issue at all its a culture issue. All the training in the world isn’t going to overcome the police culture of never retreat or admit you were wrong. You said it yourself, the sensible thing would be to hop back over the fence and laugh about how the dog scared the crap out of you excpet that in police culture you can’t admit to having fear. Almost every polcie abuse story Radley or anyone else reports on you can find the underlying cause of arrogance and pride. It is their insuffereable arrogance that makes them act the way they do. This can’t be reformed either.

  20. #20 |  markm | 

    #18 | el coronado: The story is unclearly written, but the way I interpret it is that the cops and prosecutors hid the records that would have proved Taylor’s alibi.

  21. #21 |  Pi Guy | 

    Being Totally Qualified To Carry A Weapon…

    I work at an Army Base in MD and today a deer was hit in the road right outside my office window. Cops show up, we can see the deer twitching on the ground behind a tree. We went back to our desks and, a minute later, we heard a gunshot (like 100 ft from my building) and immediately after heard someone yell “You missed! God you suck!” We all run to the window and the deer’s still twitching and the cops are laughing.

    I have no way of knowing whether the shooter perhaps felt a moment of remorse and just couldn’t do it but there was no more shots fired. At any rate, this cop couldn’t his the deer that he was standing right on top of.

    It makes me wonder how they’ve ever managed to hit even one puppy…

  22. #22 |  Pi Guy | 

    The HTML part of my brain was distracted.

    One kilopardon for the monster blockquote.

  23. #23 |  Personanongrata | 

    •Tape captures Alabama public school teachers verbally abusing a student with cerebral palsy.

    These “teachers” are fractions of human beings.

  24. #24 |  EBL | 

    Off topic: When TSA officers attack…each other!

    Isn’t it time we ended this sad experiment?

  25. #25 |  CyniCAl | 


    I know where you’re coming from with that, but it’s bad advice.

    NEVER CALL THE COPS. Even if you see a crime in progress. That’s what insurance is for.

    But go ahead, call the cops if you want, it’s a free country.


  26. #26 |  BoogaFrito | 

    [Balko] said he would be satisfied with marijuana remaining illegal if policing it involved “a less literal war on drugs.”

    Is this true? Would you find that satisfactory?

  27. #27 |  Burgers Allday | 

    NEVER CALL THE COPS. Even if you see a crime in progress. That’s what insurance is for.

    Let me see — last time I called in a crime in progress it was a man chasing a woman down with a drawn handgun. I didn’t know the man or the woman, but I did meet the man some months later and he asked for a good-neighbor-referral. Would I call again on that? Damn straight! Turns out that the man’s brother was negligently shot and the brother’s girlfriend wanted to take him to the hospital, but the man with the gun did not. Police took good care of that and nobody got hurt. God they were there so quick to get there!

    Time before that: I called police because people were trying to break into my apartment (while I was in it). In that situation calling the police turned out to be a big mistake.

    Bottom line: you are overgeneralizing.