As I sat down after work, I turned on the TV to the popular show Live PD. While I continued to watch, I counted off the violations of civil liberties and noticed the unjust reality of policing. The first thing I tuned into was a stop and search. The man’s crime? Not having lights on his bicycle. Biking in the dark without lights, while dangerous, is not against the law in his jurisdiction. In fact, after invading his privacy by patting him down, the officer let him go. Camera crews broadcasted this man’s face nationwide and violated his privacy. The man’s story remains unknown, but at least the nation got their thrill from seeing someone pulled over.
For the past decade or so, Police Departments across the country have been implementing new forms gunfire locating technology. ShotSpotter is the primary developer of these technologies. In many urban areas, Police Departments are setting up audio sensors capable of pinpointing the sound of gunfire. They typically place about 15 to 25 of these per square mile. They are “always listening” type devices that start recording once they detect a gunshot. The technology filters out background noise and uses an algorithm to determine what soundwaves could potentially be a gunshot.
Are private police on the rise down in the deep south? In Alabama, it’s a possibility. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey recently signed legislation allowing Briarwood Presbyterian Church to establish its own private police force. While this may not be a full embrace of non-government policing state-wide, it sets a substantial precedent for the state of Alabama and private security.
An Austin, Texas woman has filed a lawsuit in a federal court for what she calls a “SWAT-style” encounter with police. The lawsuit includes a complaint of excessive force used by Austin Police Department Officers Jimenez and Canche. These two officers have been accused of using excessive force on suspects before in prior unrelated cases.
A carnival in Norristown, PA turned ugly last week when a brawl involving more than 50 children broke out. Shortly after, police arrived at the scene. But rather than de-escalating the situation, they joined in the fight.
Videos from several kids’ phones have surfaced since the incident. They show one of the officers placing a girl in a stranglehold as she appears to struggle for both air and escape. Despite this, the girl’s mother insists that she was not one of the kids involved in the fight.