Today On The Net

A Brief Look at New and Interesting Things From The Internet Today

Things Not To Do: Police Edition July 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chad L. @ 12:06 pm
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On the list of things not to do when inpersonating a police officer, right up there with trying to hold up a police station, is pulling over a real officer. One Oakland man appearntly missed that memo and pulled over an undercover officer.

Police said Martinez, who was arrested Wednesday, at first denied trying to stop the officer’s vehicle. But Officer Jim Beere, an undercover officer assigned to the vice/child exploitation unit whose vehicle Martinez was trying to stop, said Martinez later claimed he thought Beere was a member of a street gang he was having problems with and wanted to see who he was.

“He was in a black Ford Crown Victoria similar to our unmarked cars,” Beere said. “He accelerated and turned on some flashing lights on his dash board. In the grill it looked like he had red and blue lights that seemed to be on, but they turned out to be painted speakers he had for a microphone he had in his hand and appeared to be talking into.”

[Cop impersonator arrested after trying to stop real Oakland officer, police say]

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California Town Wants to Photograph Every Car Entering and Leaving July 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chad L. @ 4:25 pm
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(imported from old site)

The officials of town of Tiburon, California are currently proposing a system in which every license plate entering or leaving the town is photographed and recorded. Town Manager Peggy Curran says, “As long as you don’t arrive in a stolen vehicle or go on a crime spree while you’re here, your anonymity will be preserved.” The reason?

Curled on the edge of the San Francisco Bay in Marin County, Tiburon is not a high-crime spot. In 2008, police report there were 99 thefts, 20 burglaries and two auto thefts.

That was not a significant change from the year before. But police say with most of the crimes taking place at night, and suspects identified so far as out-of-towners with criminal records, they believe having the license plate information would be helpful in solving crimes.

….

The way the system would work is still cameras set up at town entry points will take a photograph of license plates — but not drivers. License plate numbers collected would be erased within 30 to 60 days and would not be viewed unless there is a crime to solve.

On paper it sounds like it could be a potentially useful idea, but I can’t help but think of how easily it could be to misuse the system. That is even before you realise that what this does is treat everyone who enters or leaves the town as a potential criminal. It seems like a sad twisting of the idea of innocent until proven guilty.  In the end I think Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation sums it up best with his quote on this: “If you keep pushing this, then that means we should track everyone just because some people might be bad guys. That’s not the way I think America is supposed to be.”
 
I have to agree.
 
 

Prominent Black Professor Arrested in Own Home for Being Black

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chad L. @ 3:48 pm
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(imported from old site)

The Washington Post brings us a story about Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a prominent literary critic and professor at Harvard and editor-in-cheif of TheRoot.com who was arrested in his own house after a neighbor called the police on him thinking he was his burglarizing house. Appearntly his locks had been tampered with and he ended up having to push the door in to get it to open. According to the article things just went down from there.
Gates’s home is owned by Harvard so he picked up the phone to call the university’s real estate maintenance office. Before he could finish the conversation, a police officer was standing on his porch and asking him to come out of the house. “Instinctively, I knew I was not to step outside,” Gates said, describing the officer’s tone as threatening. Gates said the policeman, who was in his 30s and several inches taller than him, followed him into his kitchen where Gates retrieved his identification.

“I was thinking, this is ridiculous, but I’m going to show him my ID, and this guy is going to get out of my house,” Gates said. “This guy had this whole narrative in his head. Black guy breaking and entering.”

After handing the officer both his Harvard and Massachusetts state identification, which included his address, Gates said he began to ask the officer this question, repeatedly. “I said ‘Who are you? I want your name and badge number.’ I got angry.”

According to Gates’s account, the officer refused to give it. The police report says, however, that the officer identified himself.

While Gates ended up having spending four hours in the jail before he was released on bail, the charges were later dropped by the Middlesex County district attorney’s office, upon the recommendation of the city of Cambridge and the Cambridge Police Department, calling the incident “regrettable and unfortunate”